Houston Nutt creates player-partner program to stress accountability

To stress accountability during the off-season, Houston Nutt implemented a player-partner program.

A large “circle of champions” sign hands in the Ole Miss indoor practice facility.

From the inside moving out, the targets illustrates “Everyone Starts Here” (bullseye), Circle of Untrustables, and the “Circle of the Uncommitted.”

Nutt explained to The Clarion Ledger, “So when we got back we said that everybody’s going to pick a partner. And if your partner doesn’t go to class, you both run. One of you oversleeps? Both of you overslept. And both of you have got to pay a penalty. And so you get so many penalties and you start, you get outside — you don’t want to be outside the blue. What I’m excited about, with 121 right now, I think we’ve got four names up there.”

“It’s real simple. You do what’s right. You don’t? There’s a penalty, and it’s costly. Every morning at 5:30, and you’re welcome to come, at 5:30 every Friday, all penalties will be — you have to pay your penalty.”  See a photo of the sign, right here.

Ole Miss finished their second day of practice on Tuesday.  It was the second practice with new assistant coaches David Lee (offensive coordinator / quarterbacks) Keith Burns (corners), Gunter Brewer (wide receivers / passing game coordinator / associate head coach).

George O'Leary explains denial of scholarship release

If you hadn’t heard, 4-star quarterback DaMarcus Smith has asked UCF head coach George O’Leary for his scholarship release before ever arriving on campus.

Smith, who attended Seneca HS in Louisville, seems to think he made the wrong choice by not signing with the hometown Louisville Cardinals.

Today, George O’Leary denied Smith’s request.

O’Leary said, “To me, you spend a lot of money, a lot of time, a lot of hours recruiting a kid. I think the big thing is you sign a legal document and that’s what it is – a legal document."

"I’ve never in all my coaching given a release to an NLI and I’m not about to start. And he knew that. I told him that. Again, that’s why they have such a stiff penalty for people that don’t fulfill the NLI.”


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Niumatalolo drops 10 coaching cliches in 26 seconds

Navy began Spring practice yesterday in chilly temperatures in Annapolis.

Courtesy of the behind-the-scenes video, we heard Ken Niumatalolo tell the them, “As I think about our team for Spring, this a great opportunity for some of you to either change your stock or perception that a coach has for you.  You have 15 days.  This is where we set the tone for our 2011 season.”

In his 26-second post-practice comments, Niumatalolo was able to drop 10 coaching clichés.

He said, “We just completed day 1 of our spring ball.  We are trying to establish the culture of Navy football and the way we play. (1)  I thought it was a start…a good start (2). It’s only one step (3), we have a long ways to go. (4) I am excited about our young men. (5)  Coach Bras did a great job with our strength staff in getting our guys ready for Spring ball (6).  There was great energy (7) and great enthusiasm out here (8).  I liked we saw on day 1 (9), but we have 14 more to go (10).”

Translation...Navy is already working on Lincoln Riley's offensive scheme.

Yesterday marked the first day of practice for new wide receivers coach Mick Yokitis, who previously served as the head coach of the Naval Academy Prep School.  Danny O’Rourke moved from wide receivers to slot backs.  He replaced Joe DuPaix, who accepted the running backs / recruiting coordinator job at BYU.

Navy opens against Delaware before traveling to Western Kentucky and South Carolina.

Video: Al Golden and staff planting a virus on Canes

It’s hard not to get on board with Al Golden, in part to the excellent marketing that CanesAllAccess is providing.  If you didn’t know much about Golden before coming to Miami (FL), now you can see why the Hurricanes hired the former Temple head coach.

Golden is focusing on changing the culture.  In his words, “We’re trying to plant a virus on this team.”

In the latest behind-the-scenes, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch says, “When we step on the football field, we step on the field looking to dominate.  It starts with the running backs.”

The coaching staff is making sure the players buy in to Golden’s ball security philosophy.

Running backs coach Terry Richardson says, “Just because a guy is talented, there is still a lot of fundamental work and technique that need to go on.  Those are the things that can take a talented kid to a whole different level.”

Golden says, “Talent is not going to be enough.   I think the kids have put their egos aside and have opened their hearts and minds and are listening now to what we are telling that.  You cannot win a championship when you are 119 in the country in turnovers.  It just does not happen.  It’s too much to overcome.  So we are focusing on the ball.  We are focusing on ball security.  As you saw yesterday, if a kid fumbles the ball or creates a penalty, he’s going on the other field for a little venture.”

“It’s like a virus.  In fact, if you read Malcolm Gladwell’s work, The Tipping Point, it all starts with a virus.  All you need is a couple of guys to start to do it and you can get a virus.  We’re trying to plant a virus on this team, change the culture.”

Due yourself a favor, watch the latest behind-the-scenes.


Holgorsen to chill out in Morgantown on Thursday nights

Dana Holgorsen lived in a hotel his entire time in Stillwater and still lives in a hotel in Morgantown.

Holgorsen told the Charleston Daily Mail, "It's just easy. Convenience is a part of what I do. It makes sense. A lot of stuff that doesn't make sense is inconvenient. I try to live like that. That makes sense to me."

He then compared it to coaching offense.

"That's my approach offensively as far as just making sense of things," Holgorsen explained. "Life's hard. If you make it harder, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense."

Last season, word circulated that Holgorsen would leave Stillwater on most Thursday nights and chill out in Tulsa, a bigger city.

Holgorsen explained, "Thursday, when practice is over, that's when you have to shut it down a little bit. There isn't a whole lot you can do after that. Thursday night is the night coaches go home and get away from things for a little while.”

“That's why I would go to Tulsa every Thursday night when I lived in Stillwater. When I lived in Houston, there was all kinds of stuff you could do to disappear and get your mind away from football."

Holgorsen admits he’ll be sticking around Morgantown this year on Thursday nights.

"There's enough to do here," he said. "You're going to have plenty of coaches around. We may go to someone's house to watch football and be a fan and have a cookout. It's just about getting away from the office and getting your mind off of it because there's just not a lot you can do at that point."

There's much more from Mike Casazza's article about Holgorsen's simple way of life.  It's a good read.

West Virginia starts Spring practice this week.  The Moutaineers open against Marshall, Norfolk State, and at Maryland.

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