Advice on successfully transitioning to a new system

This time of year brings countless new coordinators stepping into new positions trying to figure out the best way to implement their philosophies and their systems with their new personnel.

Andy Ludwig is one of those coaches. Ludwig joined Gary Andersen's staff as the Badger's new offensive coordinator recently and brings 18 years of play calling experience on the offensive side of the ball from places like Fresno State, Utah, Cal, and most recently, San Diego State.

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez made it clear after Bret Bielema left for Arkansas that he wanted to bring coaches to Madison that would keep the Wisconsin style of play.

That is Ludwig's mission now. To make the transition to his system, but mesh that with what Wisconsin has established as their physical, smash mouth style of play and he offered some advice on making that transition successful in a recent interview with ESPN.

Ludwig explains that the key is to first develop great communication with your players, and then be detail oriented during the installation process, including going beyond just the how you plan to do things, and getting into the why you're doing it.

"The first thing is, you've got to have great communication. And through that communication, you earn trust. That's going to be a big part of the initial part of the transition, is just getting to know the players by name and position, and having great communication with them."

"Then being very meticulous in terms of the installation process and making sure they understand the whys behind the how. Not just the 'this is how we're going to do it,' but just as important is the why we're going to it." he explains.



ACC announces 2013 home/away schedule

One day after the Pac-12 announced its 2013 schedule, the ACC follows suit on Friday by revealing its 2013 home/away slate. Dates and times are still TBA. As a reminder, Syracuse and Pittsburgh, are now officially ACC members as far as football is concerned. 

For the uninitiated, here's a refresher on the divisional alignments:

Atlantic Division: Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, N.C. State, Syracuse, Wake Forest
Coastal Division: Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Virginia Tech

Here is each team's home/away slate:

Boston College
Florida State, N.C. State, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech*
AWAY: Clemson, Maryland, Syracuse, North Carolina^

 Boston College, Florida State, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech*
AWAY: Maryland, N.C. State, Syracuse, Virginia^

Florida State
Maryland, N.C. State, Syracuse, Miami*
AWAY: Boston College, Clemson, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh^

 Boston College, Clemson, Syracuse, Virginia*
AWAY: Florida State, N.C. State, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech^

N.C. State
HOME: Clemson, Maryland, Syracuse, North Carolina*
AWAY: Boston College, Florida State, Wake Forest, Duke^

HOME: Boston College, Clemson, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh*
AWAY: Florida State, Maryland, N.C. State, Georgia Tech^

Wake Forest
HOME: Florida State, Maryland, N.C. State, Duke*
AWAY: Boston College, Clemson, Syracuse, Miami^

Georgia Tech, Miami, Pittsburgh, N.C. State^
AWAY: North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest*

Georgia Tech
 North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Syracuse^
AWAY: Duke, Miami, Virginia, Clemson*


HOME: Georgia Tech, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest^
AWAY: Duke, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Florida State*

North Carolina
Duke, Miami, Virginia, Boston College^
AWAY: Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, N.C. State*

Miami, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida State^
AWAY: Duke, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Syracuse*

Duke, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Clemson^
AWAY: Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Maryland*

Virginia Tech
HOME: Duke, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Maryland^
AWAY: Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia, Boston College*

* - indicates primary crossover game
^ - indicates rotating crossover game



A valuable recruiting nugget for D-III schools

One of the things that we heard from small college coaches at the AFCA convention this past week, was wanting to see more content aimed at small college coaches.

Earlier this morning, we came across an article from the Huffington Post on graduation rates for D-III schools that has a few good nuggets that may be worthwhile on the recruiting trail. For example, the graduation rate among athletes at the 128 D-III schools that the article focused on was an impressive 86%, while the graduation rate for all students was just 62%.

That's quite the differential between athletes and non-athletes.

Among D-III football programs specifically, 74% of students graduated, compared to just over 50% for male students.

Take a look at the entire article here, which is littered with some good nuggets that may come in handy when you're selling your program, or small college football in general, while out on the recruiting trail.


Azzanni: The right or wrong personality can change your program

With the Vols staff finally getting settled in together down in Knoxville, a couple of the coaches, including receivers coach Zach Azzanni met with the media to talk about philosophies on the recruiting trail from his perspective as the recruiting coordinator.

Azzanni noted, that like every other coach in the country, he wants a whole lot of talent and speed in his group, but he also added that he wants some different personalities as well.

"After 15 years of doing this, I want personality. I want guys with different personalities that bring a different edge to the field." he explained.

"Personality is big these days. If you bring in the right or wrong one it could change your program."

If you don't have personality on your checklist already, right up there next to talent and size or speed, it may be something worth keeping in mind as you hit the recruiting trail.



Bowl attendance down, TV ratings up

The 35-game bowl season wrapped up Monday night and, with the season officially complete, attendance figures and TV ratings are now fully available. The conclusion: much like the regular season, fans are buying fewer tickets in favor of the couch and flat screen. 

Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News reported Tuesday that, for the second straight year, bowl attendance has hit a record low. The bowls averaged 49,222 fans, down slightly from last year, and the lowest total since 1978-79. 

Meanwhile, ESPN recorded its best bowl slate of all-time. The BCS Championship was the second-highest rated telecast in cable TV history, and the five-game BCS package averaged more than 15 million viewers, up seven percent from last year. Additionally, the Chick-fil-A Bowl and Outback Bowl were the network's second and fourth most watched non-BCS games in ESPN history, respectively. The 28 non-BCS bowls were collectively averaged a 2.3 rating, up from 2.2 in 2011-12.

What conclusions should we draw from this?

The BCS commissioners, who wrangled control of the bowl system over the past year, are going to take an even tighter grip on college football's postseason. 

"Since we've made such a significant change with the playoff, it's a perfect time to look at the bowls and how they work," SEC commissioner Mike Slive said this week. "This is a very good time to take a hard look at how we do our bowl relationships and see if there's a better way."

According to Stewart Mandel of SI.com, that means conferences will have more of a say in where their teams play. 

"According to one source," Mandel writes," the conference collaboration... may consist of a format like this: Over a six-year cycle, the Big Ten and Big 12 might share spots in the Holiday (San Diego) and Kraft Fight Hunger (San Francisco) bowls, with each league playing three seasons in both."

There's also talk of changing the way tickets are sold in bowl games. For years, participating schools have traditionally been required to purchase a large number of tickets (often 17,500 for the bigger games) at prices well above street value and be forced to eat the losses. For instance, Florida State reportedly sold less than a third of its allotment for the Orange Bowl, and Nebraska moved only 4,000 tickets to the Capital One Bowl. 

Now, that risk may get transferred may become shared between the schools and bowls. 

"Everybody wants the ticket allocations to be managed differently," said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. "Bowls feel one way about it and schools and conferences feel another way. We'll have to hit on some middle ground."

Now with only one season standing in the way of sweeping reform to the way college football conducts its postseason, it's imperative to be aware of what those changes will entail. 

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