New head coach: Why should I tell you what my offense looks like?
Since Paul Chryst took over at Pitt back in late December, him and his staff have went about their mission focusing on outworking their opponents and preparing their players better than any other staff in the country.
"It's a players' game, always has been and always will be. We've gotta make sure they're confident and prepared to go play.''
One of the most popular questions he's fielded in press conferences is about his smash mouth offensive philosophy, to which he told the Patriot-News, "You don't announce who you are and what you are, I truly believe that. It's what we put on the field and what we do on the team that matters. Other people, they can say what they want. We gotta worry about just doing it the right way.'' Chryst explained.
Chryst has done more than his fair share of traveling as a coach, spending time in West Virginia, Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas, Oregon and two stints up in Canada. One thing that he admits he's still getting used to is the food of Pittsburgh.
"You know, I've never been to a city where they put fries on everything.'' he laughed.
Academic redshirts on the way in 2016
Some major academic changes for freshmen student athletes are on the way in 2016.
Current academic standards require incoming college freshman to graduate high school with 16 core courses passed and a minimum of a 2.0 GPA matched with an ACT or SAT score, on a sliding scale. The higher the core GPA, the lower the allowed ACT or SAT score.
The changes for 2016 still include that the student must pass 16 core classes in four years, but further notes that 10 of those courses must be finished by the start of their senior year. The minimum GPA also jumps up to 2.3. The message is clear. Better prepare student athletes for the hurdles that they will face in college.
According to ESPN, a recent survey showed that of all Division I football players to enroll this past fall, about 40% of them would have failed to meet the new requirements. That's two out of every five players on the roster.
The term academic redshirt will be used for student athletes that meet the old standards, but fail to meet the new standards set to take effect in 2016. Those players will be allowed to practice with the team, and still receive a scholarship, but will ineligible to play in games. As long as the student athlete passes nine credit hours in their first semester on campus, they will be eligible to continue to participate through the off season and begin the next year as a redshirt freshman.
Emporia State: Night of Champions
To wrap up all the hard work of the off season, the coaches at Emporia State got all their players together to compete in a fun and competitive jack-of-all-trades strength event last Thursday in front of a community of support.
The second annual event was designed to help raise money for the strength and conditioning program and to also give the community a behind the scenes look at the strength of the athletes.
Competitors were divided into three divisions (skill players, middle skill, and bigs) and then further sorted based on their maxes in the bench, squat, and power clean. The top three lifters in each category competed against each other for the title of strongest man in their classification.
In an effort to involve the everyone, the team was split into 8 separate teams at the beginning of the off season. Those 8 teams faced off head to head in different competitions throughout the winter and spring and competed to win or lose points based on community service hours, grades, and other football related activities.
During the final Night of Champions event, the four teams that had accumulated the most points were seeded accordingly. The first event was a tug of war, with the top two teams advancing on to an obstacle course that required team work, speed and strength to take the crown.
Full highlights from the event below.
Inside Scoop: Arizona's staff on the recruiting trail
Arizona's director of on campus recruiting / player personnel Matt Dudek joined us this afternoon to talk about how the staff is doing on the road. Dudek says they have 7 guys out spending as much time as possible with local high school coaches "laying down roots in Arizona".
Dudek and director of football operations Mike Parrish spent a few days earlier this week traveling to Eugene and to Palo Alto doing some advance planning for their first trips into Autzen and Stanford Stadium this season. We joked about it raining while they were in Eugene; but in all honesty Eugene, OR is a beautiful place (especially in the Summer).
Nothing wrong with the scenery on Arizona's campus either though! For those looking to follow Matt on Twitter, you can find him @AZ_Matty_D
Saints & Mayor of New Orleans support Tulane's effort
Around 2pm today the New Orleans city council voted 4-2 to require an "Interim Zoning District (IZD) Hearing" that would at the very least delay Tulane's plans to break ground on their new on campus stadium (ground breaking was planned for January 2013).
Immediately the Mayor of New Orleans announced that he opposed the IZD (but stopped short of saying he'd veto it). The Saints late this afternoon issued a statement in support of Tulane's plan to build on campus:
The New Orleans Saints wholeheartedly support plans to build a new stadium on the Tulane University campus. Our team knows firsthand that strong fan support can make a tremendous difference on the playing field. But most importantly, it builds community spirit and cohesiveness and allows New Orleans and Tulane University the unique opportunity to showcase not only our great city but this great school. And add to that the positive economic impact it can have on our local economy.
It is our hope that all issues can be resolved to allow the Green Wave to return home, where it belongs.
Glad to see Benson and the Saints voicing their support for Tulane football.
Around 5pm tonight the Mayor let it be known that he would veto the IZD if the city council adopts it (after the hearing in a few months).
In our opinion it's truly unfortunate that this was allowed to happen. Tulane football needs a boost the new stadium would provide. Let's all hope it gets done.
Tulane's on campus stadium plans hit a snag
Tulane Football hired Curtis Johnson earlier this year and announced plans for a new on campus stadium. A lot of positive energy was happening uptown New Orleans for a program that has had a number of down years.
Unfortunately, reports out of New Orleans say the plans for the stadium hit a snag today.
Here's the short summary as we understand it.
First, it would be a tremendous boost to the program if they were to be able to build a new stadium on campus; and it was our understanding that they had already received commitments for most of the money necessary to fund the new stadium.
Fairly recently, the city council began considering a new motion that would make it more challenging for Tulane, or theoretically anyone else looking to build a stadium in a residential part of the city, to gain the necessary approvals to do so.
There was a meeting today at which the University President, athletic administration, football and basketball staff and hundreds of local supports voiced their opposition to the proposed motion; but apparently their pleas were unsuccessful as the motion was passed 4-2.
Hard for us to tell if this effectively kills the project or simply delays it; but here's part of what WWLTV.com reported:
The ordinance prohibits "the construction or expansion to existing structures of any building or facility within college and university campuses that will result in a building or facility in excess of 250,000 square feet of gross floor area and will cover a footprint of more than 50,000 square feet within any residential zoning district..."
After the vote, Tulane President Scott Cowen called this "another hurdle"; but Todd Graffagnini, the "Voice of Tulane Athletics" (and a very good guy) went off on twitter saying, "embarrassed and ashamed to be a New Orleanian today" and "My blood is literally starting to boil right now."
Clearly a setback for Tulane and new head coach Curtis Johnson. Hopefully, just a speed bump though, they need this.
Inside Scoop: Ron Roberts - Eval meetings & Summer plans
Southeastern Louisiana head coach Ron Roberts joins us today. Roberts shares his thoughts on how he handles end of Spring evaluation meetings with his players and talks about some of the staffs plans to visit with some NFL staffs and other college staffs this Summer.
UW Whitewater: The making of a Champion
Great video here from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater highlighting their journey as they captured their third straight Stagg Bowl (and fourth in five years) over Mount Union 13-10 last season.
This is a team that currently has the longest winning streak of any division at 45 games, with no sign of slowing down. Lance Leipold and the staff up there have done an outstanding job and this video does a great job of capturing their journey.
Some really good content from the coaching staff and players throughout the clip.