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The importance of relationships

As coaches, we all understand how important relationships are in our profession. Relationships with other coaches as well as relationships with our players.

When David Cutcliffe woke up in the hospital following his triple-bypass surgery a few years ago, on visitor came in to see him. That man was John Latina, now on Cutcliffe's staff as the offensive line coach.

Latina and Cutcliffe had formed a strong bond during their time together at Ole Miss and Latina eventually joined Duke staff as the offensive line coach.

During the off season, Latina headed a group of 11 of players that decided to take their bond to the next level by taking a mission trip to Ethiopia. While there their objective was to hand drill a freshwater well for the villagers. Not an easy task.

The trip was meant to bring the offensive line unit closer together, to further develop their relationship as teammates and friends so that as individuals they can work better together as a unit...much like the working relationship between assistant coaches and the head coach. Everyone working toward a common goal.

“Everybody was in it together. It’s not like he was the head coach and everybody else was waiting for his command to go to work. I think that really formed what I consider a great friendship.” Latina said about his relationship with Cutcliffe.

It is that type of attitude and focus that the two have brought to Duke that will be important this season as they take on Stanford on the road, as well as conference road games at Virginia Tech, Florida State, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech.




In the film room with Mack Brown

Mack Brown breaks down the last 40 seconds of last seasons Texas A&M game for the Longhorn Network in the video below.

As you may remember, Texas is down 1 with about 40 seconds left on the clock and Chase McCoy scrambles for big gain and a first down. Brown then decides to center the ball up and send out "team automatic" for the win.

Hear what was going through his mind as it all unfolded.




Gundy: The best hire I've ever made...

Ask Mike Gundy about the best hire he has ever made and, with very little hesitation, he'll tell you it was Dana Holgorsen.

“When I look back at decisions that I've made, and there were some that were wrong, but one of the best coaching moves in the country was to hire Dana Holgorsen. And the reason why is Brandon Weeden couldn't run, which is the system we had before. So we took a chance.”

“People were scared to death we weren't going to run the ball, but I'd done my research and knew (Holgorsen) ran the ball. And he brought a little bit of attitude into our program.”

In his only season under Gundy in 2010 the Cowboys had the #2 ranked passing offense (346 ypg), #3 total offense (520 ypg), #3 scoring offense (44 ppg) and also finished in the top 10 in sacks allowed (.77 per game).

In year one at West Virginia, Holgo led the Mountaineers to a 10-3 record and top 25 finishes in multiple offense categories including a #6 ranked pass offense, #15 total offense, and #13 scoring offense.

Makes you wonder...What's he have in store for year two? This time, back in the Big 12.

 

 




Weis: For players, it's all about word of mouth

When Charlie Weis was hired, he decided to hire two coaches with deep Kansas roots to build a fence around the state. 

Special teams coordinator Clint Bowen and offensive line coach Tim Grunhard both have pretty big names in Kansas. Grunhard has NFL experience with the Cheifs, as well as time as a high school coach in the Kansas City area. Bowen has developed a unique loyalty in Lawrence where he played defensive back, and has also worked under three different Kansas head coaches.

According to Weis, these are the two guys that in state recruiting starts with for the Jayhawks.

“We’ll sprinkle everyone else in, but it all starts with those two."

As Weis explains, having household Kansas names on staff like Bowen and Grunhard, coupled with their work ethic on the recruiting trail is eventually going to have a snowball effect on recruiting.

“What happens is, when you start winning some of them, then you start winning more of them because those guys talk to the other guys about the experiences they’re having."

“It’s all about word of mouth for the players.”




JUCO Video: "They said it couldn't be done"

East Mississippi Community College has come came out with a solid 2012 movie preview themed trailer .

EMCC proved many of their doubters wrong last season, going 12-0 and solidifying themselves as National Champs when it was all said and done.

...who said it couldn't be done?




You can win with bad facilities, but not with bad people

It has been an exciting off season in Iowa City.

Greg Davis joined the staff as the offensive coordinator, Brian Ferentz left the Patriots for a chance to coach the offensive line under his father, and former Hawkeye and NFL veteran LeVar Woods was promoted from administrative assistant to linebackers coach.

Not to mention the new indoor practice facility that the finishing touches are being put on as we speak.

Relecting on the offseason, Hawkeye athletic director Gary Barta noted the importance of getting the right foundation of people in place first, and then focusing on facility upgrades.

"The first thing you have to do is hire and retain great people. You can have horrible facilities, but great people, and still have success. You can also have great facilities, but less than great people, and you are likely going to fail. Our first responsibility is to get great people on staff."

"Once you have great people, you need to give them the tools to succeed. That's been part of our master plan."




Mic'd up at UCLA

On this episode of UCLA Football Friday, the crew caught up with linebackers coach / special teams coordinator Jeff Ulbrich.

Ulbrich, who spent a decade in the NFL as a linebacker, admits that he may love coaching as much as he did playing. 

"You leave the game and you think there's nothing that will equal that, as far as an emotional approach. But for me it'e been a really easy transition to coaching in my brain. I always try to bring the same energy as I did as a player."

In the clip below, Ulbrich talks about still lacing the cleats up to go out to practice, and shares his experiences on the road recruiting for the first time.




Withers: The value of experience

Everett Withers went from graduate assistant to defensive coordinator in one promotion. That promotion at age 24 forced him to mature quickly, and also allowed him an opportunity to get some great experience at a young age.

After all, it can't be easy directing a group of coaches older than you that wanted that same promotion.

It was then that Withers had to take his own advice. The same advice that he had been telling his players.

"We all say that football is probably the closest thing to real-life situations. The ups and downs and adversity, those things you go through in football are just like everyday life. When you learn how to deal with those situations on the football field, you're better prepared for real life."

Experience and adversity, eventually become knowledge.

"I think the value with experience is just dealing with different people and different situations, that's probably the biggest thing. What you try to do as a coach is try to put the good things and the bad things, the things you like and the things you don't like, evaluate them and see how you would run a program. As many experiences as you have, the better you are."

Well said.