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The hottest assistant coach in the country?

Week in, week out everyone wants to talk about the "hot assistants". People ask us all the time about Kirby Smart, Chad Morris, Todd Monken, Pat Narduzzi, etc...

Well, this weekend, one guy has the opportunity to make himself the "hottest assistant in the country". 

Imagine if the Texas defense shuts out West Virginia this weekend...

If that were to happen, the media coverage would be as if Manny Diaz somehow turned into Tim Tebow. 

So, could it happen? Well, we'll see Saturday night; but so far we haven't found anyone willing to place hard dollars on or near a Texas shutout. 

Here's a look inside some of the numbers...

In West Virginia's previous four games (against Marshall, James Madison, Maryland and Baylor), the Mountaineers offense has put up some monster numbers, but has yet to face a quality defense outside of Maryland (#8 in total defense).

Maryland's defensive ranking may be a bit a skewed. The Terrapins schedule has included William & Mary, Temple, Connecticut and the Mountaineers, so outside of West Virgina, none of the teams that they've faced rank higher than 106th in total offense in the FBS. The Mountaineers previous FBS opponents, Marshall (115th) and Baylor (120th), each rank toward the bottom of the barrel nationally in total defense. By the way, we heard that, on the flight home from Morgantown, things got a little testy within Art Briles' staff; but that's not what we're talking about here today.

But back to Manny Diaz and the Texas defense. The team is coming off back to back wins at Ole Miss and Oklahoma State and ranks #15 in total defense (261 ypg allowed), and #18 in pass defense (178 ypg). The Longhorn defense will present a challenge to a West Virginia squad that is putting up nearly 600 yards of total offense a week (599 ypg - 3rd nationally) passing for 442 ypg (1st nationally) and scoring 53 points per game (3rd nationally).

West Virginia (4-0, 1-0) hits the road for the first real time this season (they played James Madison in DC) against the Longhorns (4-0, 1-0). The two teams will square off at 7pm ET on FOX Saturday night. Not sure we'll see anything near a shutout; but the whole country is looking forward to a good football game. 

Bob Davie has New Mexico playing tough

Bob Davie has two wins in his first five games at New Mexico, which is more than they had all of last season, and is just one win shy of their win total from the previous three seasons (3).

The last week of 2011, Boise State routed New Mexico 45-0. Last weekend was a different story as Davie and the Lobos gave Boise State all that they could handle before falling 32-29.

Boise took a 25-0 lead into the half, before New Mexico put together a 29 point second half to rally back within three points before the final buzzer sounded. They had a chance to win it after getting the ball back with just over three minutes left to play, and ended up throwing an incomplete pass on 4th and 4.

Davie has got New Mexico (2-3) playing tough, and should lead them to handful more wins as they continue conference play. Their three losses have come to Texas (4-0), Texas Tech (4-0) and Boise State (3-1).

This weekend, they've got Texas State (2-2) at home and will head to Hawaii (1-3) next week. Their remaining eight games feature only two teams currently sitting above .500 (Fresno State who is 3-2 and Nevada who is 4-1).

100 yards rushing is the magic number under Les Miles

LSU (5-0, 2-0) and Florida (4-1, 2-1) square off this weekend in SEC play.

We saw an interesting note earlier this morning saying that when LSU has rushed for over 100 yards under Les Miles, and held their opponent to under 100 yards rushing, they are 47-0.

That's impressive.

Florida brings in the nation's 20th ranked rushing attack, averaging 225 yards on the ground through their first four games (Bowling Green, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Kentucky).

Dating back to last season, the last time the Gators did not reach the 100 yard mark rushing was against Florida State in late November, when they finished with 54 yards on the ground in a loss. In their 13 games last season, Florida rushed for over 100 yards in 8 of those games. Each game that they failed to reach the century mark (Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Florida State) resulted in a loss.

LSU will take on Florida in the swamp Saturday at 3:30pm ET on CBS.

Mark Snyder: "We hold our twos accountable"

We've all been in the situation at one point in our career where you're up big, and your defense is pitching a shutout and late in the game you put in your number twos to get them some field time.

Some teams have a big drop off between their starters and backups, while other teams are fortunate enough to have some depth.

After a conversation with strength coach Larry Jackson, Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder has gotten the team to buy into the belief that those "twos" should be held accountable to the same standard as the starters.

"A couple weeks ago against SMU, the two's didn't perform as well, and it was interesting, we got on the bus and it was just me and (strength coach) Larry Jackson. He was drawing some similarities to when he played when they were good on defense."

"He said 'You know, the one thing that we did as players is that we held the twos accountable,' and I shared that with our defense and you could see it in practice. Guys getting on the twos and encouraging the twos so that when they got their opportunity, that was really really good to see." Snyder explained.

That was evident last weekend against Arkansas. The Razorbacks put up ten points in the first quarter, taking a 10-7 lead at the end of the first. But then the Aggies put together 51 unanswered points and the twos held their ground late in the game to finish with a final score of 58-10.

 

How many athletic directors would do this?

Many head coaches have the full support of their athletic directors, but we can bet that many coaches wish they had the type of support Mark Dantonio just got at Michigan State.

Spartan Stadium is about to undergo an $18 million expansion project, highlighted by a new, state-of-the-art welcome center to host recruits for all Spartan sports. In an impressive gesture of support of the efforts, MSU Athletic Director Mark Hollis personally donated $1 million towards the upcoming renovations. “It sends a pretty good signal that we love this place” he said.

A native of Michigan, Hollis graduated from Michigan State in 1985, serving as a team manager for the basketball team as a student, and has been working in the athletic department since 1995. Hollis became AD in 2008 and recently signed a new contract which could be worth up to $750,000 per year. A Spartan for life, he felt this was the least he could do.

“It’s a message of what should be done,” Hollis said. “Is it easier to walk in a room? I met with an advisory board, which is made up of a group of donors. When I spoke to them about it, I was extremely emotional. I kicked the staff out. One of the members thought I was announcing my resignation as I started to break down. It’s an emotional process to think what impact you want to have on your alma mater.”

Before becoming AD, Hollis played a major role in the hiring of current head coach Mark Dantonio, who is 65-40 since taking over in East Lansing, highlighted by back-to-back 11 win seasons, the first time that feat has ever been accomplished at MSU. Now he is supporting his head coach and his staff in the most selfless way possible, by helping finance a facility that will directly impact their recruiting efforts.

"It’s a component that most of the competition has in place already," Hollis said of the new facility. "Postgame, it’s like jam yourself in the locker room, maybe high-five a player and a coach, and then leave. This gives them an opportunity to engage. Recruits at halftime can come in from all sports and talk with each other”.

Mark Hollis put his money where his mouth and his heart are, and the biggest winners will be the coaches at Michigan State.

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