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Andy Ludwig explains leaving Cal for San Diego State

When San Diego State head coach Rocky Long offered the offensive coordinator position to Cal offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, it didn’t take Ludwig long to accept the position.

Ludwig told the San Diego Union-Tribune, "At Cal, I was an offensive coordinator with a coach who was also an offensive coordinator. I'm excited to get back to running my system. I have nothing but positive things to say about my time there and we'll be implementing a similar system to what we had at Cal, just with my signature on it."

In 2008, as the offensive coordinator at Utah, Ludwig helped the Utes to a 13-0 season.  The Utes dominated Alabama in route to a 31-17 win in the Sugar Bowl.  The Utes averaged 37 points per game that season.

After the season, Ludwig decided to bolt for Manhattan, Kansas to join Bill Snyder’s staff at Kansas State.  After a few weeks however, he left K-State to join Jeff Tedford’s staff at Cal.  The results weren’t as Ludwig hoped for.

This past season, Cal was 5-7 while finishing 90th in total offense and 73rd in scoring offense.  In 2009, the Bears were 8-5 while finishing 49th in total offense and 47th in scoring offense.

Now, Ludwig can get back to his own thing.  "I bring a style and a philosophy that matches the head coach," said Ludwig, 46. "We have a chance to minimize the transition from one system to another. There are going to be a lot of similarities in style, terminology and method. All in all, I think it's going to be a pretty clean transition.”

"This isn't necessarily about one system. It's about identifying the strengths of the players and making the system fit them."

The Aztecs’ non-conference schedule in 2011 includes at Army, Cal Poly, Washington State, and at Michigan.

Rick Neuheisel sticking with "The Pistol"

UCLA is sticking with “The Pistol.”

New offensive coordinator Mike Johnson, who served as the San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator in 2010, says "My philosophy is that I want to make a defense defend the entire field, horizontally and vertically, and that is going to be the goal, so we're going to put together an offense -- and we're going to give it a new name, eventually -- but the Pistol is going to be a portion of it; it won't be the entire offense."

"I know Rick wants to be involved in the play-calling and I have no problem with that."

Neuheisel obviously isn’t handing over the entire offense to Johnson.  The Bruins will work together as an offensive staff to put together game plans.  In fact, the Bruins still have one remaining hire to make on the offensive side, which should come just after signing day.

Neuheisel says, "During my assessment of our program, I felt it was necessary for me to be more involved in the day-to-day operation of the offense. I decided that going forward, I will coach the quarterbacks and will be more hands-on in the area of play calling with a new coordinator.”

UCLA opens the 2011 season at Houston.  The Bruins will then host San Jose State and Texas, before beginning PAC-12 play.

Stockstill names two 30-year-old coordinators

MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill has promoted to 30-year-old coaches to coordinators.

Running backs coach Willie Simmons is the new offensive coordinator, while corners coach Steve Ellis is the new defensive coordinator.  Both coaches will continue to tutor those specific positions in addition to their role as coordinators.

Rick Stockstill says, "Both Steve and Willie have everything I am looking for in the coordinator positions.  They possess great knowledge of what we want to run at Middle Tennessee, are highly organized, and coach with unmatched passion and enthusiasm. Our players will feed off their energy level."

Simmons is a former quarterback at Clemson.  He coached one year at Lincoln HS (FL) before joining the Clemson staff under Tommy Bowden as a grad assistant for one season.  Stockstill then hired Simmons as the running backs coach at MTSU.

Ellis once served as the defensive coordinator for three seasons at Nichols State.  He most likely dined at Bubba II’s Restaurant for some good ole Cajun / Creole food during his time in Thibodaux.

Stockstill is looking to hire a quarterbacks coach and linebackers coach.  Former offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Mike Schultz has joined the Texas State staff under Dennis Franchione. 

Quick Hits: Neuheisel, Les Miles, Spurrier, and Dave Brandon

Rick Neuheisel will be more involved in the offense: "During my assessment of our program, I felt it was necessary for me to be more involved in the day-to-day operation of the offense. I decided that going forward, I will coach the quarterbacks and will be more hands-on in the area of play calling with a new coordinator.”


Les Miles talks about Gary Crowton and Steve Kragthorpe: “ We're going to miss him. We feel like the opportunity always is to get better. I told my team this, I said, 'Had I left (to Michigan), there'd be a better football coach standing in front of you today than me.' And the reason is because it's LSU. It's not because there's another opportunity, but that in fact LSU is a great place.”

"Steve is a very strong fundamentals coach. He'll improve our ability to throw. The main criteria for me in this hire was No. 1, a fundamental football coach to be able to affect our quarterbacks' abilities to throw the football better and more accurately. No. 2, experience in the throwing game. We'll want to come out and throw the football, and we want to throw it more efficiently and we want to throw it more times. I needed to have a guy who could show me not only that he would pass it, but that he could teach that passing in a very logical, very fast, efficient manner to our guys. And then therefore, I could expect that the passing would be better. And certainly an experienced play caller."


Steve Spurrier talks to the crowd at halftime of the South Carolina vs. Kentucky basketball game: “Six years ago, I stood right here and said, ‘Why not us? Why can’t we win some championships?’?”

“Obviously, we had hoped to win 10 games, hoped to win the bowl game, but we didn’t do it. There are still some firsts out there for some of these recruits. If we can add two or three players to this team and coach a little better, we have a chance to do some good things.”


Michigan AD Dave Brandon defends that Michigan will pony up the money: “Fact: we went after Greg Mattison and we convinced him to leave a highly successful NFL football franchise. An important part of making it happen involved us being prepared to pay for the talent and experience we needed. Fact: I understand the dynamics of the marketplace and we have and will pay for top talent to keep our programs successful."

A grown ass man & coach on the field

According to Baltimore Ravens linebackers coach Dean Pees, linebacker Ray Lewis took a grand total of 5 plays off this season.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Lewis played 1,111 of 1,116 defensive snaps for the Ravens this season.

Ravens new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano added, "And we chewed him out when he came out for that, for missing five plays.”

Pagano said, "You stay in this league and you play at the level that he's played at for 15 years, because of your due diligence in the weight room in the offseason, watching tape and taking care of yourself. He's taken great care of his body, and he understands that his body is his earning power and what's made him. There is not a more passionate guy. He's a great one."

In other words, Ray Lewis is a grown ass man.


James Franklin makes soft guarantee during halftime speech

At halftime of the Vanderbilt basketball game on Wednesday evening, new head coach James Franklin addressed the crowd.

Franklin said, “We have a plan.  We have a vision for what this program can be.  But we can’t do it alone.  We need everybody’s support.  We need this community, this campus, to come together and be united more than it ever has before.”

“Thank you so much.  I can guarantee you that there are bright days ahead.  We have a very specific plan.  Failure is not an option.  Go Dores!”

We were bracing for an explosive and bold statement such as, "I am hear to tell you that we will own this state and have no plans to lose to Derek Dooley ever."  Unfortunately, Franklin didn't say that, opting for a much more conservative approach.

Franklin did explain to the television audience shortly thereafter, “It starts first with the administration.  We’re willing to do whatever it takes to win.  We have a very clear vision with what we’re trying to get done.”

“The important thing to me is that we are aggressive.  We have to take advantage of our strengths.  We have to hide our weaknesses.  We’re not going to be afraid to make mistakes.”

Franklin will coach his first game when Vandy hosts Elon University in early September.  Other non-conference games include UCONN, Army, and at Wake Forest.


Al Borges: I'm on the Brady Hoke page

As Michigan’s new offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach, Al Borges says, “I’m on the Brady Hoke page.”

Borges, who led the Auburn offense during their undefeated season in 2004, couldn’t wait to follow Brady Hoke from San Diego State to Michigan.

Borges says, “It doesn’t get much better than this.  This place is the best. To be here is a little surreal.”

“I’m on the Brady Hoke page.  Toughness is critical.  There are a lot of people coming off the ball.   You start with toughness and great effort.  Offensively, there has to be a premium on execution.”

“I was once told a great coach make the kids do what he wants them to do.  And that’s what we’re going to do.  We’re going to hard coach them, love ‘em up and we’re going to make it hard on them sometimes.”

During his career, Borges has served as the offensive coordinator at Portland State, Boise State, Oregon, UCLA, Cal, Indiana, Auburn, and San Diego State.  In his four years at Auburn, the Tigers were 41-9.


Quick Hits: Mattison, Pasqualoni, Minter, Morris, Spurrier

Greg Mattison explains decision to leave Baltimore for Michigan: “The biggest reason is Brady. I know he's going to win. Michigan is a special place. The longer you're away from it, even when you're in the NFL, it's still Michigan. Every Saturday when we're in our rooms relaxing before the Sunday games, I always watched Michigan. That doesn't leave you."

"When Brady got the job (at Michigan last Tuesday), I said to myself, 'If I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this with Brady. I wouldn't have gone to any other college team. I wouldn't have changed what I was doing for anybody but Brady.


UCONN head coach Paul Pasqualoni explains his offensive philosophy: “The philosophy will be to score, kick or punt the ball over the opponent's 25-yard line every time we have it.”

“It's a complementary game. So I want the offense complementing the defense and I want the defense getting the ball and putting it on a short field for the offense. If you pay attention to those things, you have a chance to have great success. And we'll pay attention to those things and especially turnovers and ball security, because those are big factors in determining winning and losing at any level.”


Rick Minter remembers when Rex Ryan served as his defensive coordinator at the University of Cincinnati: "It's really his bravado that you remember most about Rex. He had our players believing nobody could score on them. There's a fine line between confidence and arrogance, but Rex really doesn't care what other people think. It's just an honest trait, and he has that confidence. He can also laugh at himself."


Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Raheem Morris says Rich Bisaccia left to help him become a head coach: "That shouldn’t surprise anybody. Rich has been one of those fence guys for the last five years. I’m leaving, I’m leaving, I’m leaving, okay, I’m staying.”

"I don’t know that he wants a change of scenery, he wants to be a head coach. In order to do that, he thinks he’s got to go and meet other people, get involved with different organizations. There’s nothing else, I guess, he can do from Tampa. I think it’s a really good move for him.”


Spurrier doesn’t believe his team deserves “much preseason ranking” : “Our guys are not good at handling a lot of success, that’s for sure. I don't think that (USC) coaches will tell them they’re that good. I hope they don't believe it after the last game, and the way we played the last two games, we don't deserve much preseason ranking, I don't think.”