Briles pleased, Phil Bennett "tickled to death"
Baylor wrapped up spring practice on Saturday with a scrimmage in front of 3,500 fans.
Art Briles seemed very pleased, especially because the Bears stayed healthy throughout the spring. Three new assistant coaches joined the staff in the off-season. Former Pitt assistant Phil Bennett is now serving as the defensive coordinator. Former North Texas corners coach Carlton Buckles is coaching the corners, while former Stony Brook defensive coordinator Jim Gush is the new linebackers coach.
Following the scrimmage, Briles said, "(We're) healthy is the main thing. Everybody that's in the huddle will be ready to go against TCU, and that was kind of our plan when we started back in late February. We felt good about the way it progressed. I think we lost a little bit of our energy as the scrimmage went on today, but that's to be expected. It's our eighth workout in the last 10 days. So that's going to add up a little as you go along.
“The crowd was good, the energy was good. It was a great atmosphere for our recruits. We had a lot of great recruits here. And that's always important. But the main thing is we stayed healthy. (We) did pretty good up front, both sides of the ball. Protected the ball on offense and then had some good stops on defense.”
Defensive coordinator Phil Bennett said, "We've got to make (opposing offenses) earn everything they get and make them know you're going to line up right and be physical and that nothing's going to be given to them. During the last seven practices, I've been tickled to death. I really thought we made some good strikes. I told them we can be anything we want. There are no limitations."
That is encouraging to hear since the Bears allowed an average of 47 points in their last four games - Oklahoma State (55), Texas A&M (42), Oklahoma (53), and Illinois (38).
Baylor opens with three consecutive home games against TCU, Stephen F. Austin, and Rice.
As only Ellis Johnson and Spurrier can describe it
Want to know a coach who never sugarcoats it, but hardly ever comes across as being negative?
We can't think of a coach, any sport, that does it better than South Carolina assistant head coach for defense / linebackers coach Ellis Johnson.
Following Saturday’s scrimmage in Williams-Brice Stadium, Johnson said, “The thing that I have not been able to see right now is the ability to do things consistency over and over and over. It’s too many mistakes and lack of improvement. Improvement has got to start coming along.”
“This isn’t about playing a game. It’s about trying to developing players. What I’m disappointed in is not consistently improving.”
“We just don’t have guys who are consistently taking care of their assignment.”
“I thought it was the same old stuff. I haven't seen a lot of progress and that is to be expected. We have a bunch of guys in and out of the lineup.”
“It looks to me the same things are occurring too often. When you see the same things over and over, you get a little concerned. Things at some point in time just have got to turn around.”
“We’re not a very physical football team. Just to be honest with you, we’re not very physical.”
“What I see is some players that haven’t played very much before not making a lot of progress.”
Just across the field, Spurrier was typical Spurrier. It was beautiful.
Pleased early with the quarterbacks, but then same old $^%%.
“You noticed how the quarterbacks threw the ball early? Then…they started flee-flarting around as we call it and nothing good happens. Until we teach these quarterbacks to get back there and make a decision, we’re always going to struggle.”
“It was disappointing, but not surprising.”
When asked if Stephen Garcia was his guy, Spurrier said, “Ahh, we’re not putting them in categories this spring.”
“I really think it could be the guy who ever has the best summer.”
As only Spurrier can describe it.
Greg Mattison: I know what Michigan defense is
Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is focusing on developing leaders and creating a fundamentally sound defense that Michigan fans were accustomed to in the 1990’s.
Mattison says, “I know what a Michigan defense is. I know how it’s supposed to be played because that’s where it started was here. That aggressive, that’s running to the football, playing tremendously fundamentally sound, and playing as a team not as an individual.”
“They have to play the way Michigan defense has always played. There is no either or. That’s what comes with wearing that helmet.”
A heavy concern for Mattison this spring is the lack of leaders on defense.
“I wouldn’t be able to tag one guy and that is a concern. I haven’t seen that yet,” admits Mattison.
“The Michigan defense of old, they were all leaders. We have to develop leaders. Anybody who wears that helmet and plays defense has to be a leader. That’s the way we do it.”
As the former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator, Mattison has shared stories of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed to help the Wolverines understand what it takes to be successful.
“Ray Lewis would come out to practice every day as if he was a rookie. Ed Reed the same way, Haloti Ngata, Jarret Johnson, all of those guys that had any success, you wouldn't have know they were 15-year, 10-year, eight-year veterans, because they knew every day they had to come out and improve or somebody would go by them.”
"That's one thing you'd love for our players to understand, that when you're a fourth-year or fifth-year player, you better keep working as hard as you can or somebody's going to pass you. It may not be on this team, but somebody you play against is going to be better than you. (Those Ravens) would never let that happen."
Michigan will hold their spring game on April 16th.
Jimbo thrilled with his quarterback following today's scrimmage
Following Monday afternoon’s scrimmage inside Doak Campbell Stadium, Jimbo Fisher offered high praise for quarterback EJ Manuel.
Manuel, the 6’4 234 lb junior from Virginia Beach, will take over at quarterback for Christian Ponder.
Jimbo said, “Just control of the game…total control of what’s going on. Poise…managing people, getting on people, leading people, encouraging people, making throws, making runs. It was just like you want the guy, you feel very comfortable with him running your unit.”
“If it was a bad play, he pushed it off and went to the next play. If it was a good play, he pushed it off and went to the next play.”
The scrimmage format was ones vs. ones, twos vs. twos.
Jimbo added, "We moved the field, did two drives - two 12 play series and moved the field. We did third downs, we did coming out, we did red zone, we did goal line, did two minute. We covered a lot of situations. We got a lot of things in."
Jerry Kill mic'd up...This is classic
A record 1200 coaches showed up for the Minnesota Foootball Coaches Association clinic. The high school coaches in Minnesota are excited about the new head man for the Gophers, Jerry Kill.
Kill served as the keynote speaker of the clinic, which was held in St. Louis Park. His underlying message was the importance of hard work.
Kill explained, "We're going to push, we're going to work, and we're going to build from the ground up. I only know one way to do it - I'm not changing. I've been doing it for 28 years, and I'm not giving in. We are going to work hard."
On Saturday, Kill led the Gophers through their first scrimmage of the spring.
Kill said, “We don’t have the depth we need right now. We have 6 receivers that are healthy and they’re running two huddles…running 60 yards down the field. They probably ran 20 miles today.”
“It’s a long, long journey here. We’re going to take one step at a time. No guarantees. I’m not doing those kinds of things.”
Here’s a 24 second clip of Coach Kill mic’d up. You don’t want to miss this:
Mack Brown: I committed to start over
ESPN will broadcast the Texas Longhorns spring game today at 3 pm EST.
Coming off a 5-7 season, Mack Brown admitted this weekend, “I committed to start over like it’s my first day at Texas.”
Brown explained, “We ask our players with the new ideas and the new staff to move forward and act like it's their first day at Texas. We ask the staff and coaches that were here to greet the new coaches and staff that came in like it was everybody's first day at Texas. I committed to start over like it's my first day at Texas, and I don't think I've ever had any more fun at a spring practice.”
Moving forward, Brown wants better communication.
“Things are still new. We're still a work in progress. The number one thing with family relations and teams is communication. You can't build trust and respect without communication. You can't get on the same page and have a common purpose without communication. What we're trying really hard to do is get it so the players will talk to the coaches and ask them questions and not be intimidated and worried about what a coach is going to think.”
Today is the first spring game in Austin for new assistant coaches Bryan Harsin, Darrell Wyatt, Manny Diaz, Bo Davis, and Stacy Searels.
Texas hosts Rice and BYU before traveling to UCLA to begin the 2011 season.
Mike Stoops reacts to 14 stops and 5 takeaways
The Arizona Daily Star reports the Arizona defense stopped the offense on 14 of its 15 possessions and forced five turnovers during Saturday morning's scrimmage.
Following the scrimmage, Mike Stoops said, “Defensively, I think we have a chance to be better at all 9 positions. Obviously, losing 2 All-PAC 10 defensive ends gets a little hard to replace, but I like what are defensive ends are doing.”
“When it’s all said and done, I think defensively we’ll be stronger than we’ve ever been.”
In the off-season, Mike Stoops hired Joe Salave'a as defensive line coach. Salave'a replaced Mike Tuiasosopo, who joined the Colorado staff. Defensive grad assistant Ryan Walters was elevated to defensive backs coach. Walters replaces Greg Brown, who also left for Colorado.
Arizona opens with Northern Arizona. A week later, the Wildcats travel to Stillwater for a rematch of last season’s Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma State.
Al Golden encouraged by Hurricanes scrimmage
Miami (FL) head coach Al Golden seemed pretty positive about Saturday’s scrimmage.
Over 3,000 fans attended the scrimmage at Spanish River HS in Boca Raton.
Running backs coach Terry Richardson and offensive line coach Art Kehoe had to be pleased with the 226 rushing yards on 41 carries (5.5 average).
Golden was most pleased with no turnovers and just a few penalties.
“Correct me if I’m wrong, did we have a turnover today? We didn’t have many penalties,” Golden pointed out.
“I think it’s our job as coaches to put our players in position to make plays. I thought we did that today.”
“I thought we caught some really good slants today. That’s something we didn’t do a year ago. We’ll continue to develop the down-the-field game as the spring evolves.”
One early emphasis offensively has been taking the check down throws to the running backs.
Golden explained, “It should be. It’s got to be. I think Jedd (Fisch) has done a great job of that. Our quarterbacks have done a good job of buying in to that. A 5 yards catch, it’s an 18 yards run, but goes in the books as a 23 and that’s what our kids gotta learn.”
There was still no sighting of the Hurricanes' receivers utilizing Michael Irvin's three-point stance. Wide receivers coach George McDonald hasn't bought in to the idea just yet. But...it is early.