Narduzzi: I got our defense while visiting Miami
Back in the early 90's Pat Narduzzi was a young graduate assistant at Miami of Ohio, while down in Florida, "The U" was dominating the college football landscape.
As Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com points out, Narduzzi and the Miami (OH) staff went down to Coral Gables to visit with the Miami staff, and Narduzzi came away with the brand of defense that he wanted to run.
"Miami of Ohio visited Miami. That's really where we got the defense from. I've been running the same defense since then...4-3"
Last season, the Spartans held Youngstown State, Florida Atlantic, Central Michigan, Ohio State, and Indiana at or below the 7 point mark on their way to solidifying themselves as one of the stingiest, fundamentally sound units in the country.
After their game against Florida Atlantic Narduzzi recalls that the Owls quarterback was asked the difference between Florida (FAU's week one opponent) and Michigan State, and his answer was music to Narduzzi and the defensive staff's ears.
"One of the greatest compliments. Their quarterback was asked, 'What's the difference between Florida and Michigan State?' He said, 'Florida is more athletic and runs a little better. Michigan State is sound and doesn't give you a thing.' "
Narduzzi likes to keep his foot on the gas, noting that he calls dozens of blitzes every game and while looking back at his play calls from last season, noticed that one blitz in particular was ran more than 100 times in 2011.
When your play calling is as aggressive as Narduzzi's, you've modeled your defense after one of the most memorable defensive units of the past few decades, and you surround yourself with a defensive staff that works as tirelessly as you do, and understands your expectations because you've managed to stay together since 2004, chances are your on the right path to success.
Vandy has new uniforms...white helmets
Pretty fresh new look for Vandy.
Watch the video, see for yourself.
How Randy Jordan got used to the tempo at UNC
During the third or fourth day of practice, running backs coach Randy Jordan got a real good visual of the tempo that Coach Fedora uses for practice.
Coaches were running around everywhere yelling and motivating players to get to the next drill quickly, so that's exactly what he did. Now while he considered himself a high tempo, high energy kind of coach, his running backs weren't used to seeing him like that, and asked him about it when they got to the drill.
Jordan took a step or two out of the box in the interview when asked about his favorite workout song, admitting that it's by Justin Bieber. Jordan then explains that he needs to keep tabs on what his teenage daughter is listening to, which is why he is familiar with Bieber in the first place.
On a more serious note, Jordan also talks about the best golfer on the North Carolina staff (offensive coordinator Blake Anderson), and does his best impression of head strength and conditioning coach Lou Hernandez.
NAIA school gets red and gray turf
Boise State has the "smurf turf", Eastern Washington has the red turf...and now Lindenwood-Belleville (NAIA - IL) has added a red and gray striped field to the turf conversation.
The new field is part of a $2.3 million stadium renovation that includes new seating and a new press box, which should all be wrapped up by the beginning of next week.
For better or worse, this is definitely one of the more memorable turf jobs in the country.
Lindenwood-Belleville will compete in their first season this fall with five NAIA home games.
If you look closely you will notice that there are actually people on the field.
Red Wolves Revival: David Gunn
Another great coaching profile here in the "Red Wolves Revival" series, this time with defensive backs coach David Gunn.
During his first 10 seasons on staff, Gunn worked with the running backs (and also served as the director of player development in 2011) but when Gus Malzahn was hired and Gunn knew that he was going to be retained, he approached Malzahn and told him he had always wanted to coach the defensive backs, which defensive coordinator John Thompson was more than happy to accommodate.
Within the first 30 seconds, Gunn explains his coaching philosophy and it's easy to see why Malzahn decided to keep him on staff.
New turf going down at Vandy
The new turf is being laid down at Vanderbilt as we speak, along with a few other changes to the stadium including new hillside seating, new lights and a new video board.
The new turf, called Legion 46, is comprised of a monofilament fiber and slim film fiber along with a 50-50 mix of sand and rubber underneath.
The playing surface itself will see some major visual changes. When the turf is all laid out, fans will see alternating green panels of turf, anchor logos at the 35 yard line, black end zones with "Vanderbilt" on one end and "Commodores" on the other with the star V at the beginning and end of each word.
The star V logo will remain at midfield, and "Anchor Down" will be added to the red zone on the north and south sides of the field. The Vandy athletic website has a live stream of the construction, along with more information about the project, both of which can be found here.
"At year three it's time to wrap it up"
Since being named offensive coordinator at Texas Tech back in January of 2010, Neal Brown has led an offense that has ranked #7 in the country in pass offense each year and #15 (in 2010) and #13 (in 2011) in total offense...all while being one of the younger coordinators in major college football.
Despite the offensive success, Brown (who joined the staff from Troy) says that he's heard plenty of criticism, in part because of the recent success of a few other schools in close proximity to Lubbock. However, he keeps it all in perspective.
"It's tough right now because we didn't have a very good year last year. That's evident. And Baylor had the best year in school history. TCU's got a little momentum going because they're entering into the Big 12 plus they've had three or four solid years in a row. And A&M is able to sell the newness and Oklahoma State is coming off their best year in school history. I think putting those things all together and the battles we're still winning on the recruiting front against those schools is a positive sign."
Brown, who recently returned from vacation with his family, added that he believes it's nearly impossible for coaches to block out 100% of the criticism.
"I think you always know about it. You hear coaches say, 'I don't follow it.' I don't really buy into it, to be honest with you. You always know. Now, I know less because I've been at the beach for the last two weeks so I know less than I normally would, but I know there are some naysayers that are wondering how we're going to perform next year."
According to Brown, year three is time to put up or shut up.
"I understand the passionate fan base, I really do. I think the difference here is the split fan base. I think at year three it's time to wrap it up. Let's get on board with this. We're either going to produce or we're not and I strongly think we will produce."
Recruiting: How one D-1 coach utilizes Twitter
Many of us know, or use, Twitter as a means of staying informed of news around the country, or to keep tabs on family and friends from a distance.
West Virginia corners coach Daron Roberts uses his account to keep family and friends informed of everything from his adventerous appetite, to the occasional motivational quote, as well as how he uses it to help build a personal picture of his recruiting targets.
"I will glance at Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. I don't monitor on a daily basis what my recruits will tweet or what they post to Facebook, but there will be some times when I will go through the pages to see what a kid's interests are. It helps build a picture of the student-athlete, but it's not a substitute for personal interaction."
"The young men that I'm dealing with, the parents and the coaches who I have to get to know, they all use Facebook and Twitter every single day. I believe that you have to use them, too, just to stay in the game."
In an article from last month's Missouri Sports Magazine, Roberts was listed among the "50 College Coaches you Should Follow on Twitter" because he has "all the makings of an intriguing tweeter".
For those of you new to Twitter, or just curious, the Charleston Daily Mail talks about the five components that make a good Tweeter, complete with some advice from Roberts on how it applies to his thought process when using social media. Included the advice is one simple thought process that he uses before posting anything.
"I always think before I post anything, 'If my boss, Dana Holgorsen, reads this or one of my recruit's mothers reads this, will I feel comfortable with them reading this? If I answer yes to both, then I don't hesitate to post."