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Bronco believes BYU has something it's been missing in the past

BYU began practice on Saturday in Provo and head coach Bronco Mendenhall bragged on the quality depth at most every position.

Mendenhall believes the Cougars have to use their depth as an advantage during an brutal early-season schedule.  BYU opens the season at Ole Miss then travels to Texas the following week.  The next two games are in Provo, but against Utah and UCF.

After practice, Mendenhall said, “Most positions…there are some that are three-deep, but most are four-deep and there are a couple that are five-deep.  It’s reflective of the program’s maturity and it’s been a while, especially in the line positions, that we’ve had that luxury.”

"I think the competition will actually be even more fierce between better quality and not as many unknowns. It's how the reps will be divided. My hope is that I'm looking for a higher level of performance from our team through camp at a faster pace than what we've had before because it's a difficult early schedule."

By all accounts, there is a ton of excitement and enthusiasm around the BYU program heading into this season.

Offensive lineman Terence Brown told The Deseret News, "Our goal is to be the nastiest, most aggressive offensive line in the country, and it started with what we did in the offseason.”

Here is Bronco’s post-practice media session from Saturday:

Josh Heupel sends a message to reporters

Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel met with the media for ten minutes on Saturday.

The reporters wanted to know a lot, but to say the least, Heupel made it pretty clear he’s not really in to giving a lot of information.

Heupel (33) was friendly, articulate, humble, well-spoken, and tight lipped.  Perhaps “vague” would be the best way to describe Heupel’s approach.

Not yet understanding?  Think about the 100% dead opposite of Derek Dooley in terms of giving out information.

For example, “So Josh, what do you bring to the team different as a play-caller than Kevin Wilson?”

Heupel’s answer, “To compare the two, I can’t do that.  I think that who and what we are as an offense isn’t going to dramatically change.  We want to play with multiple personnel groupings, we want to maintain some form of balance to be able to run the football effectively, play-action pass, we want to move the pocket, we want to play up tempo.  So some of those things are going to be similarities, but during the course of preparation, game planning during the week, and what type of situations you want to put your players in on game day, there is going to be some differences throughout that.”

“Ultimately, we have a great offensive staff room.  We have a great chemistry up there.  It’s never been about one guy.  And really excited about the way we are working together and trying to build this unit.”

So coach, are we going to see some of those diamond sets and multiple tight end sets that Kevin Wilson liked?

Heupel said, “Our personnel variations are going to determine on the guys we think can play at a high level.  We want to have balance.  We want to be multiple in our personnel groupings.  We are going to be as multiple as we can be with the guys we feel are going to play at a high enough level that will give us the best chance to win.  We are trying to find a way to get the ball into the hands of our most explosive players.”

Just a guy who wants to coach some ball and help the program with a national championship…

To get our drift, listen to the last minute of Heupel's media session.

Dan McCarney: You know it and I know it. We have zero chance to win unless...

Camp is underway at North Texas under new head coach Dan McCarney, who was point blank with anyone listening yesterday.

McCarney said, "This was the smallest D1 team I had ever been around (when I got here). We addressed it.  We worked on it.  We did make improvements because you have no chance, zero chance, to win games in the Sun Belt or non-conference or anybody we play unless we are more physical in the trenches than North Texas has been for many years.  You know it and I know it.  You can have playmakers with speed and quarterbacks and running backs with a lot of yards and all that stuff and you keep seeing 9 losses, 10 losses, 9 losses, 10 losses.  Why? Because you keep getting dominated in the trenches, period, end of story."

Alrighty, coach.  We'll take your word.  Now what about the brand new stadium and new uniforms?

McCarney said, “The perception on the outside is that football stinks at North Texas. The perception is there is no commitment, no winning, no success, it hasn't been run the right way -- if you want to go small time, you go to North Texas. If you want to go big time, you go somewhere else. That's what we stepped into."

“Once we get young men and their families on campus, it is a whole different world now. What I ask all of them is if it is less than what you expected, what you expected or more than you expected. Everyone has said it is more than they expected.”

North Texas opens at FIU on Thursday night, September 1st.  The first home game in the new stadium is against Houston on Saturday, September 10th.

Ruffin McNeill: I was like a ninja today

East Carolina opened practice on Friday under second-year head coach Ruffin McNeill.

After off-season hip replacement surgery and gastric-bypass surgery, McNeill moved around better than any time last season.  In fact, the former Texas Tech defensive coordinator has lost 120 pounds.

He recently joked, "My brother told me, 'You've lost a fourth-grader.'?I told him, 'I'm trying to lose a sixth-grader.'?"

Last season was really tough on McNeill as he constantly used a golf cart to move around on the practice field. 

But on Friday, he joked, “I was like a ninja today. The kids couldn't hear me coming up on them. The cart is there and sometimes I might need it. But today was good. I felt good and I've been walking every day. I walked before practice today and I feel great conditioning wise, but it's still a process.”

Here’s part of his post-practice media session with reporters:

Derek Dooley: Life wouldn't be so difficult if...

Derek Dooley believes the Vols absolutely have to learn how to work through adversity in practice.

Following Thursday’s session, Dooley said, “After four practices, we’re not a very good football team.”

Dooley had an interesting outlook, one that he admitted his wife passed along to him.

He said, “Life wouldn’t be so difficult if we didn’t expect it to be so easy.  If you know adversity is going to hit you every day, (if you know) bad things are going to happen and you treat it as an opportunity to do great things, then you generally do.  But if you come out here every day expecting it to be the greatest, when something bad happens to you, then you don’t know what to do.”

“It starts with (pause), you need to expect adversity to happen.  It’s going to happen in the Fall.   It’s going to happen in every game because we play against good players.”

“It’s all what you think about.  It’s training your mind.  With the last play, what happened is not going affect the outcome of this play.”

It’s all part of building a team.

Here’s more from Dooley and his post-practice soiree with reporters.

Mark Richt admits blunder in scheduling Boise State

Earlier today, we told you about Mark Richt’s intense team meeting on Wednesday night, but have you heard about his interview with WCNN in Atlanta on Thursday morning?

Richt may have been better off keeping this close to the vest.

Asked about the process of setting up the season-opener against Boise State, Richt explained, “[The athletic director] came to me with that and he was like, ‘Well, that quarterback's a senior and he's leaving.' I really didn't look at it. I knew that he had been there a long enough time that he was probably on the way out. After we signed on the dotted line, then I went and looked at the depth chart and realized he was still there. Then I was hoping he would turn pro early and he didn't do that."

Hard to tell if Richt was joking.

If not, ouch.


You can listen to the interview, right here.

UPDATE: Twitter is blowing up.  People are saying it was a booster club joke, but that Richt should have clarified that.

Interesting perspective: Brian Kelly tells you the dead honest truth about facilities

Coaches and athletic directors are always talking about the importance of facilities.  Today, however, Notre Dame head coach shared his thoughts about facilities.  His comments may surprise you.

Kelly said, “Look, I was at Cincinnati. I didn't have a practice field. We did okay there. I think facilities are overrated when it comes to that. Obviously you've got to be on a level playing field. If you're recruiting against other schools, they come here, facilities should be a wash.”

“It doesn't give you an advantage anymore over somebody else. At Cincinnati we had a hard time, we didn't have an indoor facility. We didn't have a practice field. That's a disadvantage.”

“But today, you know, the facilities are really about it's a wash. You've got enough that kids don't have to make a decision anymore because I like their conference room better or I like their locker room better. I really don't think that's an issue anymore in recruiting.”

That was just one of the interesting subjects that Kelly touched on during this pre-camp press conference today. 

Kelly talked about the Top 25 rankings and admitted, “I want to be in Bob Stoops' position today where he's talking about being No. 1. That's why we're here. We want to get to the point where we're part of the conversation as a championship-caliber football team. We're not there yet. We're thrown in the mix there. 18 to 25, pick a number out of the hat.”

“Right now we're being recognized for maybe a little bit of what we did at the end of the year and because we're Notre Dame. That's not where we want to be. So at this time next year if we're talking about 1, 2 or 3 in the country, we'll go back and talk about the things that Bob is talking about. It's through hard work, commitment, it's how you prepare.”

So what is a realistic goal for this season?

Kelly responded, “You know, and I've said this before, I don't know at Notre Dame that you can pick out a bowl. We don't have a lot of options for bowls. It's BCS for us. If it's a conference championship at Cincinnati or a MAC championship at Central Michigan, it was a national championship at Grand Valley, it's here at the University of Notre Dame a BCS bowl game.”

“We can't set the goal board any other way. What do you throw out there? Sun Bowl, Champs Bowl? We don't have any way other than set the bar at a BCS. But I knew that coming in.”

29 days until the Irish host South Florida.

James Franklin nails part one, now begins 'what really matters'

James Franklin has been the Vanderbilt head coach for seven months and he’ll admit that all he has done since accepting the job is sell, sell, sell.

Franklin and the athletic department have done a terrific job marketing their program and selling a new Vanderbilt.  

His attitude and enthusiasm has been well received in Nashville and at the least, brought hope to the Commodores’ fan base.

For example, today, Franklin ended a radio interview with 104.5 in Nashville by saying, “Another thing is I invite you guys to come on out here.  If you guys want to do a show from here, I’d love to have you guys.  You can setup all your equipment on our patio and broadcast from our facility.  Anything we can do to give you guys more access, we’ll do.  I couldn’t be more thankful or appreciative for what you guys have done since we’ve come to town.”

Pretty smart.

But Franklin knows what really matters.  Later on this morning, Franklin said it best during his pre-camp press conference.

“In the end, I better put a product on the field that people can be excited about and that’s what we’re doing right now, that’s our focus,” admitted Franklin.

He added,  “At a place like Vanderbilt, I have to wear more hats than anywhere.  And I’m more than willing to go out and talk to whoever I have to talk to, whether some in the community, it’s the media or whatever it is.  All we’ve really done since we came here is sell our program. Sell our program.  Sell our program, sell our kids, sell our university, sell this city…all the positives we have.  All those things are great, the plan, the vision.  Now we have to get on the field and we gotta do it.”

“I think everyone in this room understands this is a process.  We’re not going to walk in and flick a light switch.  Every day, we’re just going to keep chipping away at it and moving to the direction we want to go.  But we have very high aspirations of where we are going and we’re not going to let anybody tell us who and what we can be.  We are going to define who and what we can be.  I’m not worried about the history, the past, any of those things.  We are going to worry about what we can control, which is right now.”

You can only do one thing at a time.  Franklin’s done the first part quite nicely.  Those interesting in becoming head coaches down the line should have taken notice.  Now, let’s see him put together a team.