Leach: "During tomorrow's meeting we're going to show shots of the sideline"
Through the first few weeks of the season, one theme that has resonated during Mike Leach's post game press conferences is his disappointment in the mentality and resilience of his team come game day. While practices throughout the week may be going well, they have a not yet carried that success over to the field when it counts.
To illustrate that point, Leach points out that they're going to grab some television clips of the sideline so that they can observe body language and their overall demeanor throughout their 35-34 loss to Colorado. Colorado scored 21 points in the final quarter to complete a comeback last night.
Leach spent the majority of the presser noting his frustration in their lack of mental toughness as a team, referring to their mentality and focus throughout the game as "crazy" and "insane".
Hear more thoughts from Coach Leach below.
New D-I passing record set
Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke aired the ball out nearly 80 times (55/79), and completed just under 70 percent of his passes for 5 touchdowns against conference opponent New Hampshire yesterday.
While the 55 completions, and 79 attempts are both new school records, it was his 716 yards passing that broke the D-I mark set by Houston's David Klingler back in 1990. Heinicke's leading receiver, Nick Mayers had 12 catches for an impressive 271 yards and three touchdowns.
The previous high in passing yardage in the FCS was 668 yards set by Jackson State quarterback Robert Kent against Alabama back in 2001.
Earlier in the year, Eureka College (D-III - IL) quarterback Sam Durley set the NCAA record with 736 yards passing, and needed nearly all the time on the clock to come out with the win.
Old Dominion was in a similar situation Saturday and needed a fourth quarter comeback to get the win (they were down 54-38 at the end of the third). With the game tied at 61, Heinicke led ODU on an 11 play drive that covered 74 yards that ended with a 25 yard field goal.
ODU's field goal ended up giving them the 64-61 win over New Hampshire.
Sunday TV - Full slate of NFL games
Prime time game tonight features New England and Baltimore, and tomorrow night for MNF we'll see Green Bay travel to Seattle.
Eastern time listed.
St. Louis at Chicago - 1 - FOX
Buffalo at Cleveland - 1 - CBS
Tampa Bay at Dallas - 1 - FOX
NY Jets at Miami - 1 - CBS
San Francisco at Minnesota - 1 - FOX
Kansas City at New Orleans - 1 - CBS
Cincinnati at Washington - 1 - CBS
Detroit at Tennessee - 1 - FOX
Jacksonville at Indianapolis - 1 - CBS
Philadelphia at Arizona - 4:05 - FOX
Atlanta at San Diego - 4:05 - FOX
Houston at Denver - 4:25 - CBS
Pittsburgh at Oakland - 4:25 - CBS
New England at Baltimore - 8:20 - NBC
Video: The Duck truck
Yesterday, we noticed a picture making its way around Twitter showing Oregon's new equipment truck, that they have appropriately named the "Duck Truck".
Early this morning we noticed this clip that provides a closer look at all the bells and whistles on the new ride as well as a little bit of the history behind it.
Gotta love the "No Rest Stops" on the back. Clever touch.
Saturday TV - Good games on every network
A lot of good games on today (covering basically every major network) with many teams starting their conference schedule.
Eastern time listed.
Maryland at West Virginia - 12 - FX
Kentucky at Florida - 12 - SEC Network
UAB at Ohio State - 12 - Big Ten Network
Virginia at TCU - 12 - ESPN
Massachusetts at Miami (OH) - 12 - ESPN3
Bowling Green at Virginia Tech - 12 - ESPNU
UTEP at Wisconsin - 12 - ESPN2
Central Michigan at Iowa - 12 - Big Ten Network
Army at Wake Forest - 12:30 - ESPN3
Norfolk State at Ohio - 2 - ESPN3
Connecticut at Western Michigan - 2 - ESPN3
Miami (FL) at Georgia Tech - 3 - ESPN3
Missouri at South Carolina - 3:30 - CBS
Oregon State at UCLA - 3:30 - ABC
Eastern Michigan at Michigan State - 3:30 - Big Ten Network
Idaho State at Nebraska - 3:30 - Big Ten Network
East Carolina at North Carolina - 3:30 - ESPNU
Temple at Penn State - 3:30 - ABC
Gardner-Webb at Pittsburgh - 3:30 - ESPN3
VMI at Navy - 3:30 - CBS Sports Network
Kansas at Northern Illinois - 3:30 - ESPN3
Colorado at Washington State - 4 - FX
South Florida at Ball State - 4:30 - ESPN3
Florida Atlantic at Alabama - 5 - ESPN3
Wyoming at Idaho - 5 - ESPN3
Cal at USC - 6 - Pac-12 Network
Memphis at Duke - 6 - ESPN3
Citadel at North Carolina State - 6 - ESPN3
LSU at Auburn - 7 - ESPN
Louisville at Florida International - 7 - ESPN3
South Alabama at Mississippi State - 7 - ESPN3
Rutgers at Arkansas - 7 - ESPNU
Southern Miss at Western Kentucky - 7 - ESPN3
South Carolina State at Texas A&M - 7 - ESPN3
Troy at North Texas - 7 - ESPN3
Alcorn State at Arkansas State - 7 - ESPN3
Coastal Carolina at Toledo - 7 - ESPN3
Michigan at Notre Dame - 7:30 - NBC
Akron at Tennessee - 7:30 - ESPN3
Vanderbilt at Georgia - 7:45 - ESPN2
Kansas State at Oklahoma - 7:50 - FOX
Clemson at Florida State - 8 - ABC
Syracuse at Minnesota - 8 - Big Ten Network
New Mexico at New Mexico State - 8 - ESPN3
Fresno State at Tulsa - 8 - CBS Sports Network
Louisiana Tech at Illinois - 8 - Big Ten Network
Utah at Arizona State - 10 - Pac-12 Network
Arizona at Oregon - 10:30 - ESPN
Nevada at Hawaii - 10:30 - NBC Sports Network
Maryland unveils another new uniform
Not sure anything about these makes me think "Maryland"; but these are a pretty good new look for Maryland.
The Terps will trot these out for the first time at West Virginia on Saturday. Rhetorical question: If your team get's beat by 50 the first time you wear a uniform do you ever wear it again?
If you're showing your guys highlight films a day before the game, you're doing it wrong
One thing is certain in Columbus; you won't catch the Buckeyes watching a highlight film on Friday night before a game.
However, you will see the team engaging in some interesting team building activities, which is one big change from their long Friday night meetings under Jim Tressel.
Before the steak or chicken dinners on Friday night (one tradition that has been carried over), the team will get together for an occasional home run derby in their indoor facility or to do their best "trick shot quarterback" impression throwing balls the length of the court into basketball hoops.
Another one of the changes in the routine this year is the availability of snacks at the team hotel for players, something that was not available under the previous staffs, and it's a wrinkle that players have really enjoyed.
The relaxed atmosphere the day before actual game day is something that Urban Meyer says that he picked up during his time at Colorado State under Sonny Lubick, and it forces the players to shift their mindset from relaxed and fun to focused a few times throughout the day.
"His whole theme was they have to get their rest on a Friday night. You can't be showing highlight tapes to them Friday night, get them all razzled up. You're dealing with 17, 18, 19 year-old kids."
Instead of a highlight film on Friday night, players wake up at about 7 am on game day and grab breakfast, have a few meetings and do a walk through, then they are shown the highlight tape. One player described the highlight film on game day as a way to "lock in."
Meyer says that he likes the way that the guys build camaraderie during those pregame activities and get to wind down with a good meal before ultimately refocusing on the game before they head to bed.
Just to make sure they're all focused before lights out, Urban does the nightly bed checks himself.
"I check in each guy. I go around to each room and have a little conversation with each guy before they go to bed." he noted.
The best staff at developing talent?
I was asked recently which coaching staff does the best job of developing talent / having "the next guy up" ready to go. Without hesitation, I believe that LSU's staff does the best job in the country of roster development.
Every roster in the country has some strong points and some weaker points and logically LSU's has some of the same; but their depth throughout the roster is really something to behold. Let's take a quick look...
At quarterback they have their starter Zach Mettenberger who has been in this system for a year and who has another year in front of him. They have a Penn State transfer with another year of eligibility to add some seasoned depth. Behind these guys the Tigers have 4 other quarterbacks who each have 3 or 4 years of eligibility to go.
At running back they list 25 9 tailbacks and 6 fullbacks on the roster, including starting fullback J.C. Copeland a converted defensive lineman. When you run the style of offense that offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa likes to run in the SEC, you need a bevy of running backs; because they are going to touch the ball 30+ times per game. LSU routinely rotates in a fresh backs and each of them seems to take pride in both being able to outrun their opponents and being able to "truck" would be tacklers. It seems like every game it's a different guy making the big run for the Tigers. How many other teams would like to have Alfred Blue, Spencer Ware, Kenny Hilliard and Michael Ford all as available options?
On the offensive line, it seems as is every year the Tigers lose a couple of guys to the draft and one or two to injury (or something); but the next guy in just trots out there and opens another huge hole for the running game. It's really remarkable.
LSU is notorious for using multiple tight ends throughout the game. They might not have a pure All-American this year; but they've got a stable of guys who they have confidence in.
So that's a quick look at the offense which by itself is impressive...now take a look at the defense and just be blown away.
The defensive line has been the strength of LSU's team for a number of years now and they just seem to reload every year. Seems like year in, year out two guys get drafted and there is pre-season hype for two more guys...Those two guys live up to it; but there are three other guys that opposing coaches fear just as much. LSU is one of those programs that can bring four fresh defensive linemen in and still beat nearly anyone's offensive line regularly. Heck, there was so much depth at this position they moved Copeland to fullback. Really impressive.
If there has been one position group in recent history that hasn't overly wow'd everyone it would be linebacker (perhaps by design, or maybe they are simply overshadowed by the All-Americans in front of (DL) and behind them (DBs). I ran this point by a coach who played the Tigers earlier this season and he joking said, "There's nothing wrong with LSU's linebackers; but imagine if they played 5 guys with their hand in the ground and six of those nasty DBs all at once. It would be fun to watch and miserable to coach against." That is a scary thought; but really there's nothing wrong with the group of linebackers and they have loaded up on young talent. The Tigers have 20 linebackers on the roster and 10 of them are freshmen. Give Tommy Moffitt a year with these guys and we're all going to be looking at a bunch of grown ass men real soon cleaning up for the Tigers.
Now a quick look at the defensive backs. They call the place "DBU". There's really no need to elaborate. Seemingly every year one or two top guys go to the league and three or four new guys begin to make plays. The amazing part about these guys is that they play so early in their careers. All those names you know, they are freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Honestly, I don't even think they have a senior DB on the roster.
Oh, and their kicking game is just as deep and as good.
So, how does this all happen? It's a complete dedication to recruiting and player development. Les Miles and the coaching staff, particularly Frank Wilson (associate head coach / running backs / recruiting coordinator), get the public credit; but there are two other guys within that program that deserve a tremendous amount of credit for developing the roster and the players at LSU - director of player personnel Sherman Morris and director of strength and conditioning Tommy Moffitt.
Morris is charged with ensuring that there will never be talent gaps / holes on LSU's roster. He's the first guy in the office and he's always focused on how to bring the best, and the right, players to LSU. He's the first guy to take a look at needs of the recruiting classes "X" years out by position. He ensures that the coaches get the right information & video for the right kinds of players for LSU's system (no small task). Oh, and you know all of those great videos and websites that LSU football puts out...those things all come out of Morris' office. Working with Les, Morris dictates the message flowing out to future Tigers. Recruiting isn't something you do after the season or in the Spring...Morris is the guy who thinks about his team's recruiting needs 365 days a year.
Once Morris and the coaches get the players onto campus, it's Moffitt's job to help each player realize his potential. Want to know how good Moffitt is, take a look at these before & after photos of former defensive lineman Michael Brockers. Enough said.
There are plenty of other key pieces to the puzzle over at LSU; but Morris and Moffitt are huge assets to the coaching staff. If this isn't the best staff in the country at developing talent I'd like to see who is.
Scott F. Roussel - President - FootballScoop.com