Defensive differences: The Big Ten and Big 12
Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck has experience working at Big 12 conference schools at Nebraska, Kansas and Kansas State. The second year coordinator was asked by Tom Dienhart of the Big Ten Network about the defensive differences between the Big Ten and the Big 12.
Beck explained that while the Big 12 defenses were more multiple, the defenses in the Big Ten were much more physical and fundamentally sound.
"I thought Big Ten defenses were much more physical. In particular, the defensive lines were better. The Big Ten defenses didn’t do as many things; Big 12 defenses do a lot of things, different fronts, coverages. In the Big Ten, you don’t have that."
"I also thought the Big Ten defenses knew their systems a little bit better. In the Big 12, there are so many spread offenses, you have a lot of gimmick blitzes and gimmick coverages to try to confuse quarterbacks to get them to screw up. You could find holes in those defenses, or you could put something new in from week to week to beat those defenses."
"In the Big Ten, they seem to know their defense better. They adjusted to things better, they knew their weakness of the coverage or front. As soon as we started to take advantage of something, they knew how to fix things."
Looking back at the statistics from last season, an impressive five Big Ten teams finished in the top 25 in scoring defense (Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois) and Ohio State finished just outside the top 25 at #27. The Big 12 had no teams represented in the top 25, and their first team, Oklahoma, came in at #31 .
"We draw the map, they do the driving"
After spending the past 15 of 16 years in Columbia, Missouri (both as a player and a coach), Barry Odom joined Justin Fuente's staff at Memphis in mid December.
In an interview with the Columbia Daily Tribune, Odom talks about how Fuente wants him to control the defense like a head coach runs the whole team.
"The guys we were able to hire on defense, along with myself, we're putting together a plan. He (Fuente) wants me to run it like a head coach and take charge of that side of the ball. That's what we're doing right now."
"The last couple years, we understand what has happened here and we understand where we have to show some progress. The only way we're going to get that done is by taking the group we have and putting a plan in place for them. We're drawing the map and they're doing the driving."
As far as the X's and O's go, Odom is borrowing concepts that he learned from his time at Missouri and combining them with concepts and terminology from last year's Memphis team, along with some ideas from Wake Forest and Ole Miss.
"We have to be smart with what we do with personnel, and that's one of the things I really enjoy as a coach. That's been really fun for me, to piece together what gives you the best opportunity to have success."
Video: "The dawn of a new era"
Illinois released their season ticket promo last night.
The clip is simple and to the point. Tim Beckman and these guys are working hard to usher in a new era of Illini football.
The Aggies new uniforms
Texas A&M just unveiled their new Adidas techfit uniforms.
Take a look.
Video: Pac 12 team commericals
The new Pac 12 network has released a handful of videos featuring members of the conference and advertising the availability and innovation of the new Pac 12 network.
The network will feature six regionally located networks, listed in the commercial as Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Mountain, Washington, Oregon, and Arizona and will also be available via the iPad or any other mobile device.
Vikings want a retractable roof stadium
As the Minnesota Vikings look to around to hire the manpower and developers necessary to get their new stadium up, their point man, Lester Bagley is looking at options to manage their expenses so that they can get a retractable roof to fit into the finals plans.
The stadium, which already has a price tag of $975 million, is hoping to attract high school, college, and amateur baseball, as well as soccer and basketball events.
"We need to make sure this facility works for our fans and our organization. We have to make sure we get everything with a $975 million budget. It's a fixed-roof facility, but if we can cut costs, manage costs, our goal is to have a retractable feature." Bagley explained.
The retractable roof would able to open up and provide an impressive view of downtown Minneapolis, as this picture from the Pioneer Press illustrates.
Franklin: Staying current was focus of uniforms
The Vandy faithful gathered for the big uniform unveiling last night and, as you can see in today's video of the day, the crowd loved the new look.
James Franklin met with the media after the event and explained that their focus when designing the uniform was to stay current with the community, current players, and recruits.
Staying current included adding in some subtle changes like the material that the jerseys are made out of, the addition of the anchor, and "Anchor Down" across the back of the neck, and creating some flexibility in the uniform choices on Saturdays with the addition of the white helmets.
Franklin also points out that while many other programs bring in a third party to help design the uniforms, Vandy's were designed in house starting with director of football operations Mike Hazel, and head equipment manager Luke Wyatt who then bounced ideas off of Franklin and the rest of the staff.
Narduzzi: I got our defense while visiting Miami
Back in the early 90's Pat Narduzzi was a young graduate assistant at Miami of Ohio, while down in Florida, "The U" was dominating the college football landscape.
As Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com points out, Narduzzi and the Miami (OH) staff went down to Coral Gables to visit with the Miami staff, and Narduzzi came away with the brand of defense that he wanted to run.
"Miami of Ohio visited Miami. That's really where we got the defense from. I've been running the same defense since then...4-3"
Last season, the Spartans held Youngstown State, Florida Atlantic, Central Michigan, Ohio State, and Indiana at or below the 7 point mark on their way to solidifying themselves as one of the stingiest, fundamentally sound units in the country.
After their game against Florida Atlantic Narduzzi recalls that the Owls quarterback was asked the difference between Florida (FAU's week one opponent) and Michigan State, and his answer was music to Narduzzi and the defensive staff's ears.
"One of the greatest compliments. Their quarterback was asked, 'What's the difference between Florida and Michigan State?' He said, 'Florida is more athletic and runs a little better. Michigan State is sound and doesn't give you a thing.' "
Narduzzi likes to keep his foot on the gas, noting that he calls dozens of blitzes every game and while looking back at his play calls from last season, noticed that one blitz in particular was ran more than 100 times in 2011.
When your play calling is as aggressive as Narduzzi's, you've modeled your defense after one of the most memorable defensive units of the past few decades, and you surround yourself with a defensive staff that works as tirelessly as you do, and understands your expectations because you've managed to stay together since 2004, chances are your on the right path to success.