Mic'd up at Illinois
Billy Gonzales joined the Fighting Illini in January, bringing with him some great experience from LSU, Florida, and Utah.
In the clip below from their spring practices, Gonzales runs his receivers through individual drills, gets them focused up during stretches, and also serves as a defender during a screen drill. Good stuff.
Leach weighs in on the worst part of coaching
The Omaha World Herald ran an interesting interview with Mike Leach over the weekend where the Coug's head coach opened up about the possibility of a college football playoff, his respect for Tom Osborne and his least favorite part of coaching.
Leach says the worst thing about coaching is the distractions that come up throughout the year. "The worst thing is dealing with distractions. You've got a plan to do something, then all of a sudden there's a distraction."
According to Leach, one of the the biggest challenges of being a head coach is finding balance managing everything surrounding your program, something he felt Tom Osborne excelled at.
"Tom Osborne never had highs and lows. He withstood the test of time. One of the biggest challenges of being a head coach is to be a good balancer, having the ability to balance all the things inside and outside the program. To me, it seems that Tom Osborne is one of the best balancers that's ever been involved in the game."
Leach also weighed in on the recent talk of a college football playoff.
"I think they need to have at least an eight-team playoff for it to do any good. Eight, I think, is the minimum you can get by with. Sixteen would be better. But I'd rather see 64. You'd cut the regular season down to 10 games, then make sure everybody plays 12 games if they don't get in the playoff. The teams that make the championship game would play 16, just like they do in Division I-AA."
20 teams make the playoffs in FCS, 24 in D-II and D-III...
Inside look at a successful California JUCO
As far as JUCO programs go, Cerritos College has a long and rich tradition of success on the field and preparing players to transfer to four year schools. The past two seasons have produced back to back conference championships and bowl wins, and head coach Frank Mazzotta has served as head coach for over 34 years.
Mazzotta and the staff visited the staff at Michigan State last week to swap some ideas, and to check up on a former player of theirs that is now the starting offensive tackle for the Spartans. Dantonio and the staff in East Lansing complimented the Cerritos staff on how prepared the young man was from the moment he arrived on campus.
The clip below gives a great inside look at the program at Cerritos where you hear from players on exactly how the staff prepares them for life after they walk away from campus in Norwalk, California.
Simulating game day intensity in the weight room
With spring practices over, the staff at Cincinnati has turned their focus to winning in the weight room, and simulating a game day like intensity while training throughout the rest of the summer.
Judging from the clip below, the entire staff has clearly done a great job training the players on the importance of mental toughness and intensity in everything that they do.
As one player says in the clip below, "It's not so much the coaches telling us 'Hey you gotta up the intensity', it's ingrained in us now. The coaches have been here for three years. It's expected, it's a standard and everyone is starting to get that."
Richt on his transfer policy: "Life is too short"
There has been a lot of chatter this off season about players in all sports requesting a transfer and coaches limiting the schools that the player can attend.
Mark Richt is not one of those coaches.
“First of all, I think life is too short. I want every young man to have a successful time in his four or five year window to be able to go to college. So I don’t want to impede a guy from realizing his goals and his dreams, wherever it is."
“I want our guys to stay, and sometimes when they do choose to leave, I still like the kid and I still want the kid to have success. If he thinks he will have success at a school you compete against, then so be it.” he added.
Richt further explained the bottom line in his eyes. "When we recruit a guy, we want him to be at Georgia. We want him to have success. We want him to enjoy his experience. If, for whatever reason, it doesn’t work out, wherever the guy goes, I want him to have the same ability to have the same success he was hoping to have when he came to Georgia. So I don’t want to keep a guy from doing that.”
New head coach: Why should I tell you what my offense looks like?
Since Paul Chryst took over at Pitt back in late December, him and his staff have went about their mission focusing on outworking their opponents and preparing their players better than any other staff in the country.
"It's a players' game, always has been and always will be. We've gotta make sure they're confident and prepared to go play.''
One of the most popular questions he's fielded in press conferences is about his smash mouth offensive philosophy, to which he told the Patriot-News, "You don't announce who you are and what you are, I truly believe that. It's what we put on the field and what we do on the team that matters. Other people, they can say what they want. We gotta worry about just doing it the right way.'' Chryst explained.
Chryst has done more than his fair share of traveling as a coach, spending time in West Virginia, Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas, Oregon and two stints up in Canada. One thing that he admits he's still getting used to is the food of Pittsburgh.
"You know, I've never been to a city where they put fries on everything.'' he laughed.
Academic redshirts on the way in 2016
Some major academic changes for freshmen student athletes are on the way in 2016.
Current academic standards require incoming college freshman to graduate high school with 16 core courses passed and a minimum of a 2.0 GPA matched with an ACT or SAT score, on a sliding scale. The higher the core GPA, the lower the allowed ACT or SAT score.
The changes for 2016 still include that the student must pass 16 core classes in four years, but further notes that 10 of those courses must be finished by the start of their senior year. The minimum GPA also jumps up to 2.3. The message is clear. Better prepare student athletes for the hurdles that they will face in college.
According to ESPN, a recent survey showed that of all Division I football players to enroll this past fall, about 40% of them would have failed to meet the new requirements. That's two out of every five players on the roster.
The term academic redshirt will be used for student athletes that meet the old standards, but fail to meet the new standards set to take effect in 2016. Those players will be allowed to practice with the team, and still receive a scholarship, but will ineligible to play in games. As long as the student athlete passes nine credit hours in their first semester on campus, they will be eligible to continue to participate through the off season and begin the next year as a redshirt freshman.
Emporia State: Night of Champions
To wrap up all the hard work of the off season, the coaches at Emporia State got all their players together to compete in a fun and competitive jack-of-all-trades strength event last Thursday in front of a community of support.
The second annual event was designed to help raise money for the strength and conditioning program and to also give the community a behind the scenes look at the strength of the athletes.
Competitors were divided into three divisions (skill players, middle skill, and bigs) and then further sorted based on their maxes in the bench, squat, and power clean. The top three lifters in each category competed against each other for the title of strongest man in their classification.
In an effort to involve the everyone, the team was split into 8 separate teams at the beginning of the off season. Those 8 teams faced off head to head in different competitions throughout the winter and spring and competed to win or lose points based on community service hours, grades, and other football related activities.
During the final Night of Champions event, the four teams that had accumulated the most points were seeded accordingly. The first event was a tug of war, with the top two teams advancing on to an obstacle course that required team work, speed and strength to take the crown.
Full highlights from the event below.