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Pigskin Palooza is back at Texas A&M

Pigskin Palooza is back for its second year at Texas A&M.

Following the Aggies’ practice on April 14th, Texas A&M students can take the field to participate in drills with the players.

Want to catch passes from starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill?  Get it line.

Want to throw a pass to All Big-12 wide receiver Jeff Fuller?  Get it line.

There will be food, drinks, and plenty of opportunities to win prizes such as sideline passes to home games against SMU and Oklahoma State.

It's an interesting way to get the student-body involved in Spring practice.  The Pigskin Palooza event even has its own Facebook page and YouTube video.

 




Skip takes USF through 170 play scrimmage

Skip Holtz put his team through a 170 scrimmage on Saturday.  The Bulls have 39 practices remaining before heading to South Bend to play Notre Dame in the season-opener.  (Who is Dr. Lou going to pick?)

Holtz said, “I wanted to make sure we got a great evaluation of some of the young guys and redshirts.  This wasn’t a scheme scrimmage.  This was about personnel.  We’ll probably release a depth chart by Tuesday or Wednesday.”

“This was a physical day for them.  They will be sore.”

“We are light years from where we where a year ago.”

Defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said, “We are nowhere near where we need to be.  The overall tackling is just not where we need to be.  The bar has been risen and we are going to push to get there.”

Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch echoed the theme of the day by adding, “We are way ahead of a year ago, but not where we want to be.”

USF opens at Notre Dame before hosting Ball State, FAMU, and UTEP.




Dan McCarney offers blunt explanation

North Texas head coach Dan McCarney warned us at his introductory press conference, "I’m a real passionate guy. I don’t sugar coat it.”

Ever since, McCarney has made it clear that he has a plan and that plan includes building a tough football team.

With the first day of full pads looming, McCarney offered a rather blunt description of what he’s looking for out of his players.

McCarney explained, “This is when we will really find out. You have to be a physical football player to have a chance to play. You can lift, you can run, you can be accountable, you can learn the offense and defense, but if you are not ready to make physical plays when contact starts, you are not going to play for me and this staff.”

It sounds pretty clear to us and it’s not surprising to hear from McCarney, a former assistant under Urban Meyer.

Just last Fall as the Gators were struggling, Meyer said, “Obviously, we’re down. We got to build this thing back up. How do you rebuild it? Tough-ass players and tough-ass coaches.”

North Texas will practice this week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  According to the North Texas website, Friday's practice session is set to begin at 6 am.  

Boy, I bet the players are fired up for that one.




Saban posts signs in facility: Never forget. 28-27.

"Never forget. 28-27."

That is the sign in the Alabama weight room, locker room, and around the practice facility.

With Spring practice underway in Tuscaloosa, Nick Saban isn’t letting his team forget how and why his team lost the Iron Bowl to Auburn.

Saban says, “We left points out there by errors that we made. And then to not be able to control the game in the second half was just as disappointing. You put the 24-0 score up there and then put the final score up, 28-27, and you say, ‘Are we ever going to let this happen again in terms of our psychological disposition to compete for 60 minutes?'”

It was fundamentals, too.  And that’s what the Crimson Tide coaching staff is preaching this Spring.

Saban says, “The most important thing that you do in the spring is establish fundamentals. We lost games last year because of lack of fundamentals, and I’m talking about something as simple as how you carry the ball, which got punched out in the Auburn game. The ball wasn’t being carried right.” 

“That’s an issue. That’s a fundamental. We made too many mental errors last year.”

 




Lembo bringing back Bill Lynch as honorary coach

We noticed on this Friday afternoon that Ball State head coach Pete Lembo is embracing the history of Ball State football by selecting former head coach Bill Lynch and Paul Schudel as honorary coaches for the Spring game.

Lynch, who is now an associate athletic director for development at Butler University, led Ball State to a MAC championship in 1996.

Although Lynch is unsure if he’ll end up coaching again, we’ll guess he’s having fun in New Orleans as he watches the Butler Bulldogs once again DO WORK in the NCAA tournament.

Lynch explained, "I don't know. I'm looking forward to this, obviously it’s easy to go sell Butler, I have a passion for the place and spent a lot of time here, growing up and going to school here and playing and coming back as a coach. It's a great opportunity and I know Barry wants to get a lot of things done and I want to be a part of it."

It’s certainly a nice gesture by Lembo, who landed the Ball State job after going 35-22 in five seasons at Elon University.  Before serving as the Elon head coach, Lembo led Lehigh to five consectutive seasons of 8 or more wins.

We’ve heard local referees in Muncie have been warned of potential explosive sideline blowups during the April 23rd Spring game.




Video: Jerry Kill introduces 'The Minnesota Way'

There are twenty-one new head coaches in college football this year.  As you know, we cover the press conferences of all the head coaches throughout the year.

We must admit, we’re looking forward to covering Jerry Kill’s pressers as much as any.  The guy has a sense of humor and often offers some unique analogies.

Today, Kill set the tempo for the beginning of Spring practice at the University of Minnesota.

We have transcribed most of what was said, but do yourself a favor and watch the 4 minute video.  You’ll see a head coach that is ready to do some coaching.

Kill explained, “We want to teach our kids called ‘The Minnesota Way.’  We are going to expect him to play hard.  How do we identify the personnel that’s going to play at the University of Minnesota in the Fall? It’s just what I told you, they are going to have to do it ‘The Minnesota Way.’”

“If they can’t do that, they are not going to play.  Now we may only have 22 of ‘em out there that can play, but that’s what we’ll go with.  We’re going to eliminate the ones that don’t do it ‘The Minnesota Way.’”

“The great John Wooden use to teach ‘em how to tie their shoe.  That’s kinda what we gotta do.  It ain’t going to be nothing fancy in the Spring.  We’ll be simple cuz we have to be.”

“We will not give away playing time.  I don’t care who you’ve been in the past, how many games you’ve started.  It doesn’t matter to me.”

“It took me 28 years and I’m still getting to know my wife.  That’s why I’ve been married 28 years.  We’re trying to change the culture.  You’ve got to earn playing time.  We don’t want to get into the fourth game with somebody you can’t trust and rely on.”

“It’s like business.   You don’t just walk in to a struggling business and you got all the answers today.  You try to meet with as many people as you can to get a feel for the history of the football program here at the University of Minnesota, and then you got to figure out how you’re going to change it.”

“How quick that happens? I don’t know.”

 




Video: James Franklin introduces 3 on 3 'Dore Wars' drill

Spring practice has started at Vanderbilt under first-year head coach James Franklin.

Part of the first day of full pads is a drill called "Dore Wars," which pits offensive players making individual blocks against defenders that are pursuing a ball carrier in a confined space.

We initially thought the drill strictly featured Herb Hand’s offensive line against Sean Spencer’s defensive line.

On second look, we noticed #6, #45, and #35 lined up on the offensive front.  We’re guessing these guys are not a part of Herb Hand’s offensive line, so the drill involves the skill position players as well.

We liked the “rope technique” to keep the extras behind the line.

Here’s the evidence:




Kevin Wilson explains the difference between Oklahoma and Indiana

Spring practice has started in Bloomington under first-year head coach Kevin Wilson.

Wilson is excited about the facility upgrades, but knows the Hoosiers have a long way to go to get to where he wants on the field.

“The facility upgrade definitely gives us a chance to recruit, we just now have to get the product on the field to match our facility.”

During a radio interview yesterday, Wilson described the largest contrast between the Oklahoma program and Indiana.

He explained, “I think the kids at Oklahoma just liked to practice hard every day.  It’s not the talent gap.  And we had some good players, but we had some areas that we weren’t as good as people thought.  I think our kids at OU had a high expectation level, a high standard.  They expected to be good. They wanted to be good.  They wanted to be pushed.  They loved practice.  The loved the weight room.  They embraced the process.”

“And like I said in our first press conference, winning is a daily process.  You have to win every day.  You have to bring it every day.  You have to love working hard.  Right now, there is a difference between where I was. It’s teaching our guys that mindset.  If you’re going to expect winning in the Fall, it’s not going to happen unless you embrace the process and max it out every day.”

A staple of the Oklahoma program under Bob Stoops has always been a physical style of play.

To no surprise, one of Wilson’s early goals during Spring practice is incorporating a high level of toughness and physicality within his team.

“We have to teach our guys how to practice physically, and at the same time not beat ourselves up. We have to train kids how to hit and how to be physical.”

Indiana opens against Ball State in Lucas Oil Stadium (Indy).  The Hoosiers will then host Virginia and South Carolina State before traveling to North Texas.