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Clemson: "We're the total package"
Photos: Washington's new unis
D-II version of "Evolution of Dance"

Tom O'Brien explains his theory to running a clean program

Listening to NC State head coach Tom O’Brien this morning on 620 The Buzz, it’s clear that O’Brien is disgusted by the number of programs that are violating NCAA rules.  He also shared his thoughts on why his programs, whether at Boston College or NC State, have been able to steer clear of major violations.

O'Brien said, "It’s embarrassing because it touches all of us, especially the amount of programs that are now involved.”

“The number one question that was asked to me during the caravan all spring was, ‘What are you going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen to State?’”

“I think a lot of it has to do with the people you surround yourself with, the people you hire.”

“As a head coach, I've hired twenty-two people in fifteen years.  Seven of them have left me to become head coaches.  Whatever I’ve done, I’ve been able to hire the right people.  I’ve been able to identity people you can trust, that understand what’s right and wrong, what’s ethically right and ethically wrong, and how you’re supposed to carry yourself.”

Now, that’s a pretty impressive statistic.  The list of seven coaches includes Al Golden, Mike London, Frank Spaziani, Jeff Jagodzinski, Bob Shoop (Columbia), Don Treadwell, and Jason Swepson (Elon University).

O’Brien said, “Maybe that’s the best thing I’ve done in college football...is hire the right people.”

Butch Davis talks about #1 lesson learned through UNC adversity

North Carolina head coach Butch Davis talked this morning with 620 The Buzz about the most important thing he learned through all the adversity last season.

Davis began by explaining, “Last year was one of the most difficult years you could ever imagine as far as a football coach.”

“There’s always going to be adversity.  I can’t ever remember in thirty-seven years some kind of tough times. It might be that that Troy Aikman is going to miss four games in the middle of a Super Bowl run.  You just control your own attitude, your own preparation, your hard work, and say ‘Let’s do all we can, the best we can, no regrets.’”

“Anytime that something goes wrong, there is an opportunity to learn a lot. There are a lot of things we’ve already changed to make sure these things don’t happen again.”

Davis said the most important thing he learned throughout the adversity from last season was, “Starting to talk to our players at an earlier stage of their career.”

“You gotta start as freshman.  The paradigms of everything has changed with the Army All-American games, Under Armour All-American games, all these prolific scouting.  There is hardly nobody under the radar, even in high school.”

“Now, I better start talking to our freshman. I better start talking to our sophomores.  I can’t wait until they are juniors to talk about the things you can do.”

“One or two meetings a year are not enough.  You’ve got to constantly, continually talk about and look at all the things going on around the country.”

Al Golden not in the mood: I'm so tired of talking about swagger

In case you’re wondering, Miami (FL) head coach Al Golden is not in the mood to talk about “swagger.” 

Golden said on Monday, “I’m so tired of talking about swagger.”

“I mean, to me, swagger, as it was said to me [by] Alonzo Highsmith and so many other former players, swagger was the byproduct, it wasn’t the product. Just like throwing up the U is the byproduct. Somebody is making money off it. You know they sell T-shirts on it and stuff.”

“For us the swagger was developed by demonstrated performance and from having a chip on your shoulder and from work ethic and from being the hardest-working team and from being a tough team and from playing with passion. And all of a sudden people said, ‘Miami plays with swagger.’”

“Well, then it only takes a couple years where you have kids that put on the uniform and think you automatically get the swagger because you wear the U. But they don’t want to do the things that made the U special.”

“So we have to get back to that. We have to get back to doing all those little things. We’ve got to get back to having the right people and the right mind-set.  What I’m tired of is just everybody thinks that’s the answer. I’m saying that’s the product, not the process. We’ve got to get back to the process.”

“I’m tired of everybody thinking that’s the only problem we have.’’

Before the Hurricanes' spring game, Golden asked former player Michael Irvin to talk with the team.  Irvin sent an emotional and clear message to the 'Canes.  We imagine that Golden really appreciated Irvin's message to the team.  On the other hand, we'll just take a wild guess that Golden won't be listening to the "2011 Miami Hurricanes Rap Song" that hit youtube recently.

Dabo offers first 'state of the union' address of 2011 season

Dabo Swinney offered his first 'state of the union' address for the 2011 season today during ACC Media Days in Pinehurst, NC.

Yes, the season has yet to being, but some jackleg had the nerve to ask him about his job security.

We like to stay away from topics like that, but Dabo did have some other interesting things to talk about.

Swinney said, “We’ve had two years of laying a foundation. I can’t be held accountable for 20 years. I need to be held accountable for the opportunities we had here.”

“We’re proud of (the division title) and felt like we did take a good step there, took a step back last year. We’re recruiting at a high level and that’s where it starts. I’ve put together an incredible staff, and we’ve got great chemistry. They’ve committed resources, facilities, we’ve got great support from the administration and president. All those things are what it takes. I don’t think it’s always been that way at Clemson.”

Tommy West and Tommy Bowden are somewhere saying, “A little late for me.”

Swinney added, “The way we are right now, we just need to stay the course. Back away from the ledge. Let the coaches do their job. I think we’re on the verge of greatness at Clemson, in the near future.”

In the off-season, Chad Morris joined the staff as offensive coordinator, Robbie Caldwell took over the offensive line, and Marion Hobby returned to Clemson to make sure the Tigers continue to produce passing rushing studs like Gaines Adams, Ricky Sapp, and Da’quan Bowers.

“I feel like we addressed our issues. I was able to make a transition with my staff for the first time since I had the job. I’ve hired everyone on the staff,” said Swinney.

“It’s exciting for me. I was dealt an unusual hand as I got this job. I’ve been blending it for a couple years, so it was good; we had some adversity but good things come from that.”

Clemson opens with four straight home games against Troy, Wofford, Auburn, and Florida State.

Here’s more from Dabo:


UNC chancellor: It begun to chip away at this university's reputation

University of North Carolina Chancellor Holden Thorp has dismissed Butch Davis as head coach.

Thorp said in a press release, “To restore confidence in the University of North Carolina and our football program, it's time to make a change. What started as a purely athletic issue has begun to chip away at this University's reputation. I have been deliberate in my approach to understanding this situation fully, and I have worked to be fair to everyone involved. However, I have lost confidence in our ability to come through this without harming the way people think of this institution. Our academic integrity is paramount and we must work diligently to protect it. The only way to move forward and put this behind us is to make a change."

Thorp said the decision was not related to any change in the NCAA investigation, but that it was the result of the cumulative damage to the University's reputation over the past year.

"Athletics and football are an important part of this University, and a successful football program is essential to the overall health of our athletic program. That's why we have to put this behind us and move forward."

August camp begins in just eight days for the Tar Heels.

FootballScoop has learned that an interim head coach will be named tomorrow.  Our sources tell us the candidates are Everett Withers, John Shoop, Sam Pittman, and Ken Browning.

The consensus is that it will be Withers if the Tar Heels are hoping to potentially keep it together after next December.  It will likely go to Browning if UNC wants to go Robbie Caldwell style.

Davis finished 28-23 in four years as head coach, 15-17 in ACC games.


Randy Edsall focused on building a program, instilling accountability

Maryland begins practice on August 9th under new head coach Randy Edsall.  After 29 practices, the Terps will host Miami (FL) during a Monday night nationally televised primetime game.

Because the season-opener is a conference game, Edsall said the program needs to have a sense of urgency.  “It’s not like we’re opening against a D1-AA team,” said Edsall.

The immediate goal, however, is to build a foundation for a program, not just a team.  “I really believe you have to come in and establish that foundation,” admitted Edsall.

“I’m a coach, teacher, parent, and mentor.  What I’m doing is preparing these guys for life.  After they leave in four or five years, they need to go out and produce to earn a living and probably support a family.  All we are trying to do is get them understand there is a right way and wrong way to go about your life.  It’s giving them responsibility, but then holding them accountable.”

“I basically have two rules for them.  Be on time and do what’s right.”

Looking at his team, Edsall said, “We have a nucleus of young men that gives us a chance to be a really good football team this year.”

The downside is the Terps will only get 17.5 hours with the players each week instead of the usual 20 hours.  The Terps will also be without two grad assistants during August camp.

On the bright side, Edsall believes quarterback Danny O’Brien is a special player.  He added, “Then to me, he is very grounded, humble, and realizing he needs to work every day at his craft.  He’s fun to be around.  He can joke with you.  He knows when to joke, knows when to be serious. He's just got this infectious personality and he's a great leader.”

The most important thing, according to Edsall, is for this these guys to play as eleven.  


Art Briles offers line of the day about NCAA taunting rule

It’s early, but the line of the day goes to Baylor head coach Art Briles, who is taking part in Big Twelve Media Days. 

Briles was asked his opinion on the new NCAA taunting rule, which everyone knows will be an utter failure.

This season, if a player taunts an opponent on his way to a touchdown, the play will be nullified.  In other words, there's no room for salutes, flips, and high stepping.  In short, no trying to pay homage to Deion.

So asked for his thoughts, Briles responded, "When Edwin Moses ran the hurdles, he wasn't low-stepping at the finish line."

FYI: The new rule will assess a penalty from the spot of the foul.

Our prediction: Kirk Herbstreit will lose it on on College Game Day a week after some officiating crew blows a ridiculously subjective call that costs a team a ball game.  Herbstreits' rant will become a YouTube sensation.  We're talking, Herbstreit will be seriously agitated and rip the NCAA. By the post-season, the NCAA will get rid of the penalty. 



Cutcliffe hoping Andrew Luck continues to grow his beard

David Cutcliffe is heading into his fourth year as the Duke head coach and encouraged about the future, but Cutcliffe is beginning to get tired of, “We’re close.”

Fortunately, the Duke roster has evolved from just 91 players (2008) to a current total of 112, which will finally allow Cutcliffe to practice with way he was accustomed to practicing at Ole Miss or Tennessee.

Cutcliffe told 620 The Zone this morning, “Here’s the thing I know.  And this is the part that encourages me the most.  We’re much better physically and our guys, this is the truth, are working as hard as they can possibly work to prepare.  They have learned how to compete in the off-season. I can’t ask for anything more.”

“People get tired of people saying they’re close.  Saying your close is saying you’re just not getting it done.  We’re at a point where simply need to do or we don’t.  If we don’t, we’ll shut our mouths and come back and go to work.”

This season, Jim Knowles takes over the defensive coordinator role.  Knowles coached with Cutcliffe at Ole Miss in 2003 when the Rebels tied for the SEC Western Division title with LSU, then defeated Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.

“Defensively, we’re still too young, but we’re not going to use that as an excuse.  We can run and if you can run, then you have a chance.  We’re not very big. What we do have at defense is competition at every position.  Jim Knowles will make a significant difference in his leadership of our defense.”

Cutliffe also singled out co-offensive coordinator / offensive line coach Matt Luke for his day-to-day approach.  Cutcliffe said, “(Matt) is one of the most consistently upbeat people.  If you’re in a bad mood, just get in the car and go ride an hour with Matt.  You’re gonna laugh and have a good time.”

Duke opens the season by hosting Richmond.  A week later, Stanford comes to town.  Cutcliffe joked, “I hope he (Andrew Luck) keeps his beard and it grows over his eyes, so he can’t see.”

The Heisman Trophy isn't the only award Luck is in contention for this season. Reportedly, the Stanford signal caller is in the running for the Geico Award...even a caveman can do it.