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Gary Pinkel explains transformation to a winning program

Gary Pinkel is set to enter his 11th season as the head coach at Missouri.  Since 2005, the Tigers have finished with records of 7-5, 8-5, 12-2, 10-4, 8-5, and 10-3.

As Spring practice approaches, Pinkel explained the transformation to a winning program in a Q&A with the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Pinkel said, “The reason we’re having success here is not because I’m a great football coach. It’s because we have a lot of great people here. It’s a place that became committed to winning. Mike Alden building facilities. Intelligent scheduling. And a great university. Everybody’s been talking about Missouri forever. I heard that for 15 years before I came here about what a great job it was even when they were struggling.”

“But to continue to flip the attitude and to continue to get national prominence, it’s all the stuff we’re doing, continuing to build and continuing to invest in the facilities, keep winning and keep graduating your players. Eventually, you change attitudes.”

"I think it’s everything. It’s recruiting. It’s facilities. It’s how you market your program. It’s the consistency of doing things over and over and over again at a high level. It’s graduating your players. It’s winning games. That’s how you change. And that’s how you grow."

Pinkel and his staff have flipped the perception of the program.

“You go back when we first got here, and they had two winning seasons in 16, 18 years, whatever it was. Back then, when we brought a 17-year-old kid in here, all he knows is that Missouri loses. They’d been losing for years and years, so he doesn’t’ have a very good attitude. Now, you flip it. I’m talking to this guy, and all he remembers is that Missouri always wins.”

Consistency in leadership has been critical.

Pinkel explained, “What I’m saying is it’s the consistency of doing it over and over again. … To me, it’s a little bit like Virginia Tech. (Beamer) stayed there. He could have left many times. And I think he’s been there 22 years now. And now all of a sudden Virginia Tech is considered a national football team. And it wasn’t 15 years ago.”

Without Blaine Gabbert, the Tigers will try to do it again in 2011.  The non-conference schedule includes Miami (OH), at Arizona State, and Western Illinois.

Brian Kelly: Our players are hearing the same thing every day

Entering his second Spring as head coach at Notre Dame, Brian Kelly has tangible evidence his players are trusting his plan.

Kelly told the New York Times that wide receiver Michael Floyd is a 6-star recruit.

He explained, “Part of building a program is the trust you need from your players and in recruiting. When you see a Michael Floyd, who was not recruited by me or this staff, nor was he a guy who had to come back to college, it does a lot toward giving trust to your program. It’s like: ‘Hey, they’re doing the right things here. I’m sticking around.’ That is why he got the sixth star from me. That meant here’s a guy who wants to stick around because he believes in what’s going on.”

As Spring practice approaches, Kelly is continuing to strengthen the foundation and core beliefs that his program will grow upon.  For Kelly, progress has come from consistency.

Kelly explained, “I would say consistency in message. Our players are hearing the same thing every day. It’s like in your own home, you build a value system, and it’s repeated day after day. I’ve said this from Day 1. Everyone talked about what was wrong with Notre Dame; there wasn’t a consistency. There were too many head coaches here. There was no consistency, for whatever the reasons the changes were made, right or wrong. Going into our off-season workouts with our guys, Year 2 is a lot different than Year 1.”

The Irish open with South Florida.  The November schedule is a little different than usual.  Notre Dame plays at Wake Forest, Maryland (Washington, D.C.), Boston College, and at Stanford.


Former Vols' assistant Chuck Smith goes off, very agitated about departure

An agitated Chuck Smith, who served as the Tennessee defensive line coach this past year, took 24 minutes to speak his mind today on his departure from Derek Dooley’s staff.

Smith, who was pushed out, made it quite clear that he isn’t a big fan of Tennessee assistants Justin Wilcox, Lance Thompson, and Terry Joseph.

Smith explained, “There are rumors about dissension, about not getting along, things that in a competitive field happen all the time.  Lies.  Blog rumors.  Vicious rumors that started earlier in the year because of petty jealously, divided a room.”

"The rumors, the lies, the smearing of my name internally from inside our defensive room were unfair."

A former Tennessee player, Smith, made it clear that he is a Vol For Life (VFL) and that it wasn’t his decision to leave the staff, a decision that Derek Dooley announced as a “mutual decision.”

Smith said, “I would like to put all rumors and negative conversations about who Chuck Smith is to the side.”

Pointing out the positive contributions he made to the program, Smith said, “I want to say congratulations to Malik Jackson for making All-Conference.  Congratulations to Jacques Smith.  Congratulations out to Tyler (Bray), who I’m probably closest to on that team.  Congratulations to the d-line U posse, academics are up. I’m really proud of our numbers.   We are who we are.”

"When I turned it up, those last 5 games, the defensive line, we were the MVP’s of the last 4 games.  You didn’t know that, did you?"

“Somebody in this group (of reporters) wrote that we were the worst Tennessee team in the last 100 years, worst d-line ever.  We finished #3 in the league in sacks for a d-line.  We had 2 All-Conference guys, a guy that I switched from end to tackle.  It is what it is.”

"I wish I could have recruited a few guys with the defensive staff."

"I signed 7 guys.  No one ever said thanks.  Then they created the deal online on the blogs, 'Well, who did he recruit anyway?'  Who didn't I recruit is the real story?"

Smith did, however, take time to thank several coaches on the offensive side of the ball.

“Thank you to Charlie Baggett and the entire offensive staff for letting me help you recruit Cam Clear, for recruiting the guy from Michigan.  Thank you to Darrin Hinshaw for passing over Gabe White, for letting us be on the phone with him to fight Auburn in just over 6 months.”

“My mentor Charlie Baggett, wish you could have done more.  He’s my guy.  He’s the best.  Darrin Hinshaw.  Jim Chaney.  Thank you for letting me speak to Tiny and recruit your guys.  Thank you to Charlie also for me and you going in there together, you setting me up, and you being muscle to get Majit   Thanks for helping me get Majit, he’s my Derrick Thomas speed rusher. Darrin, great job with Mo Couch.   We did this together.  We’re in this together.”

“Gainesville twins, who are absolutely going to be two of the greatest players Tennessee has ever seen.  Williams, Saulsberry, thank you.”

“Thank you Chino Fontenette, being an intern teaching me, helping me, guiding me.  Thank you to Robert Nunn of the New York Giants, Steve Caldwell at Arkansas, Marion Hobby at Clemson.  Thank you to all the defensive line coaches that heard rumors, all built from within a room that helped destroy a man’s career.”

FootballScoop applauds Chris Petersen for comments on pointless report

Many of you have been loyal followers of FootballScoop for years.  We certainly thank you for visiting the site daily, if not even couple of hours.

Part of the reason FootballScoop is so widely viewed by nearly all of the coaches throughout the country is because we try to keep the site as positive as we can.  We made the decision years ago to avoid topics such as NCAA investigations, rule violations, criminal activity, DUI arrests, and other various negative news.

99% of the time, we keep our opinions to ourselves.  We would rather provide educational content to coaches to allow them to keep track of what other coaches around the country are saying and doing with their programs.  Of course, we are known for our timely & accurate coaching job information.

Today, in light of the SI/CBS report on criminal activity in college football’s Top 25 programs, we were glad to see the following comments from Boise State head coach Chris Petersen.  We agree with Petersen's thoughts.  We also believe the article is unnecessary.

The article centers around the statistic of the 2,837 players on Top 25 teams, 7% had criminal records; 8.1% of scholarship players in trouble. 

In reaction to the pointless article, Petersen told the Idaho-Press Tribune:

“I'm really disappointed in that article. The reason why is that it paints the perception of something that's very different than what goes on here, and I think the players know that, the coaches know that, our administration knows that and the police around here know that.”

“The people I feel bad for in this thing is our fans. When you see something like that, you're like 'wow.' I saw it, going 'wow, what's going on?' and that's not how it is.”

“You're not going to win the games we've won and graduate kids if you're not running a tight ship.”

“When you've got 100 guys, you're going to have some issues. We're not living in fantasy land here, and I know we'll have issues in the future. It's the toughest, hardest, most miserable part of the job, but it's also the most important part of the job, to make sure that's correct, the discipline is in line, that if guys get out of line, we'll get them back in line.”

“Nothing goes away here. The thing I feel bad about is that we can't do a lot of this private. They've got to be put in the newspaper ... they get it way worse than any normal college kid.”

“It's hard enough what we put them through, let alone the public humiliation and this type of stuff.”

To read the rest of Petersen’s comments, click here.

Let us know what you think.  Send us an email to [email protected] 

Dennis Erickson: It's got to happen. After 4 years, we're worthy.

Entering his fifth season as Arizona State head coach, Dennis Erickson has never felt so confident in his team. Since becoming the head coach of the Sun Devils, Erickson has led the program to records of 10-3, 5-7, 4-8, and 6-6.

Erickson told DevilsDigest.com , “It's exciting and it's got to happen. What's exciting to me, finally, is after four years we're worthy. I thought last year we were really close, now I feel like we're here. Now we've got to do it on the field.”

Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and defensive coordinator Craig Bray return to the staff, allowing each side of the ball to continue with their current systems.

Regarding the offense, Erickson said, “It might even be simpler than it's been. I think one thing we can do right now is line up and run the football without having to trick people.”

“I think offensively, this spring with guys that have played, guys that have started, guys that have made plays, this team offensively isn't anywhere close to what we've had in the past. So we come in offensively with a year under the system, even though Steven (Threet) isn't here, with Brock's (Osweiler’s) experience, and then the young guys, it's exciting. It's really exciting, offensively, compared to what it's been.”

Of his quarterback situation, Erickson said, “It's the best I've ever been around in college. I've never had it that deep. Three of them are unproven, of course.”

“And the offensive front is a totally different world than it's been in the past. We used to wonder just who would play.”

Arizona State opens with three straight non-conference games against UC-Davis, Missouri, and at Illinois.  The home schedule includes USC, Oregon State, Colorado, Arizona, and Cal.  The Sun Devils will travel to Utah, Oregon, UCLA, and Washington State.

Colorado AD: We don't just say 'Yeah, ESPN, that'll work. We love you'

College football coaches and fans always enjoy the ESPN Thursday night game of the week.

For many, it signifies the start of a new week of great college football.  Jimbo Fisher would point out that the only person who doesn’t like the Thursday night game is the visiting team’s head coach.  Always entering a hostile environment, visiting teams rarely win the Thursday night game.

The 2011 ESPN Thursday night schedules includes LSU at Mississippi State, NC State at Cincinnati, USF at Pitt, Cal at Oregon, USC at Cal, UCLA at Arizona, Virginia at Miami (FL), FSU at Boston College, Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, UNC at Virginia Tech, and West Virginia at USF.

ESPN could add the USC at Colorado game as part of a November 3rd doubleheader with FSU at Boston College starting the night.

According to Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn, "We don't just go, 'Yeah, ESPN, that'll work, we love you,' and hang up the phone.”

Somewhere, Herm Edwards is screaming, "WHY NOT?"

One holdup at Colorado could also be a concern of loud noise that would interrupt physics classes.


Auburn expense report, Mack Brown and Bill Stewart stressing chemistry

Auburn spent some serious $$$ on the trip to Glendale: The expense report at Auburn for the BCS Championship trip to Glendale came out at $2.9 million.  In total, Auburn brought 938 people to Arizona, counting players, staff, band, cheerleaders and the official party. Oregon had a total of 493 people -- only 20 more than Auburn's team and staff members. 


West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart says he’s not a “dead man walking” : “There are a lot of people saying that I am a ‘dead man walking’ and I don’t agree with that.  I think we are professionals here; I have a great staff and I am very blessed with tremendous players, coaches and a supportive administration. Our chemistry has to be one of high value. Every football team has to have great chemistry, and if you don’t have that, then nothing you do is going to matter.”

“The Mountaineers always play hard and play with pride. We are known for being a physical football team and we don’t want to change that. There is also a great effort the players have to emulate on the field and the coaches have to coach with. If you don’t play with a hard edge and a physical demeanor, then it will show.”


Mack Brown preaching chemistry to his team this Spring: “We talked about respect. We talked about toughness. We talked about confidence,” Brown said. “We talked about body language. We’ve got to get our swagger back. We lost it last year, and that’s something that we’re working on daily ...The first thing that has to happen is the guys coming in have to mesh well and have good chemistry with the staff that was here and the coaches that were here. That chemistry is working really well. When that works well, it makes it easier for the team chemistry.”


Gary Patterson is amused by the scheduling from the MWC this upcoming season: "The Mountain West Conference has to do what it has to do. If I didn't know any better I'd think the Mountain West was treating us like an independent. I'm not so sure they shouldn't just consider us an independent."

Charlie Strong: More than anything, what pissed me off was grades

A year ago, a lot was made of Charlie Strong’s first team meeting.  Strong didn’t exactly go Ed Orgeron style, but he admittedly absolutely ripped the Louisville players.

Reflecting back, Strong told ESPN this week, "More than anything, what pissed me off was grades. That's why I said I want a team meeting right away, because of their grades.”

“You show me a good football team, and I'll show you good grades. You show me a bad football team, and I'll show you bad grades. [Bad grades show you] they're not committed, they don't care, they're just going through the motions. A team with good grades has players who want to graduate, who want good things to happen."

Strong led Louisville to a 7-6 record in his first year as head coach.  As Spring practice approaches, he will undoubtedly reiterate his core of toughness and stopping the run.

He added, "We have a lot of skill guys coming back. But what you don't ever want to do is let that be the core of your team. The toughness of your team is built up front, with the offensive and defensive lines.”

This off-season, Louisville had just one change to the coaching staff.  Former Nebraska offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson replaced quarterbacks coach Mike Groh, who accepted the wide receivers job at Alabama.

Louisville opens against Murray State.  The Cardinals play FIU, at Kentucky, Marshall, and at North Carolina before Big East play begins.