'Big guys are hard to find. And big guys beat up little guys.'
Following his loss to Alabama in the 2010 BCS National Championship, Mack Brown pledged to build his team more like the one that had just beaten him. His reasoning made sense. After seeing your franchise quarterback exit the game five snaps in - and take any realistic hope your team had of winning the game with him to the locker room - it's certainly understandable that a coach would want to construct his team in such a way that it wouldn't be paralyzed without one certain player on the field.
But then, following a 2012 season that saw Baylor, Oklahoma and seemingly the rest of the Big 12 race up and down the field at a pace that would challenge for the pole position at Daytona. Again, this made sense on the surface. Why swim up stream against such a prevailing current?
The result, though, was a 2013 Texas team that was caught in the middle between two opposing ideas, ending with an 8-5 mark and a new head coach in Charlie Strong.
In a recent interview with the Austin American-Statesman, Strong laid out his philosophy in building a team. Unsurprisingly, it's as straightforward as he is. “I’m big into linemen,” Strong said. “I tell these guys all the time, ‘I’ll find a little guy.’ I want big guys. Big guys are hard to find. And big guys beat up little guys.”
Following National Signing Day, Strong explained his recruiting philosophy of using his first 10 scholarships on the 10 best available players, spending his next 10 at positions of need, and then saving his final five for late bloomers. “And at the end of the day, you’re going to win with that second 10,” Strong said. “That top 10, they’re going to be more concerned about themselves. Ten, ten, five. I just think you’ve got to start off and categorize them.
As for how he wants to disperse those scholarships? Strong would like to Texas' numbers at offensive line by as much as 50 percent, from the current number of 12 up to 15 or 18. Texas currently carries 10 defensive linemen; Strong wants 14. Add in his optimal number of six tight ends (Texas currently has five), and the Longhorns will devote up to 45 percent of their 85 available scholarships on big guys.
“Me personally, I want to go big,” Strong said. “You win big. You win with guys up front on your defensive front and win with guys on your offensive line. That’s going to tell me whether we’re going to be a physical football team when we can get those guys.”
Video: Players explain the UTSA game experience
The football program at Texas-San Antonio is still in it's infancy, but the experience that the players are able to have as they lay the foundation of the program is something that's very, very unique in college football. That can have quite a draw with recruits.
In this clip, players walk you through their game day experience, and some of the traditions. They talk about the what it feels like from a players perspective during the spirit walk, and the game day atmosphere in the tunnel as they emerge through the smoke onto the field.
This is an excellent way to highlight the way that a program, and its players approach game day, and is something that recruits will really enjoy seeing.
Rich Rod had the wittiest tweet of the weekend
Rich Rod's Twitter account (@CoachRodAZ) has only sent 77 tweets, but the one he sent this weekend might have been the best tweet of the entire weekend.
Playing some golf with his son on Sunday, play was evidently a little slow so Rodriguez took to Twitter with a quick, clever thought.
Enjoying the great tucson weather and playing golf with my son. Play is a little slow though #isItAPlayerSafetyIssue?— Rich Rodriguez (@CoachRodAZ) February 23, 2014
Very witty coach. Well played.
The first trick shot video of 2014 has been released
Trick shot season is underway for 2014. Our first entry comes from the specialists - who else? - at East Carolina. Pirates kicker Davis Plowman kicks what he claims is a 50-yarder with his shirt pulled over his head.
I'm no kicking expert, but to me the most impressive part of the video is that the ball is in a full spin when his toe hits the pigskin.
The sordid state of affairs in HBCU football
There are 21 universities snaking their way from Maryland across the Southeast to east Texas comprising the MEAC and SWAC conferences, collectively known as HBCU programs. And nearly all of them are drowning.
In an excellent report this week for ESPN.com, Mark Schlabach details the myriad of ways HBCUs have deteriorated from a proud corner of college football to the bottom tier of Division I in nearly every metric. Eleven of the 21 schools operate on athletics budgets of less than $10 million; three-time FCS defending national champion North Dakota State runs on an $18.8 million budget. Eleven of the schools were penalized by the NCAA for poor academic performance. Only two players from HBCU schools were selected in the 2013 NFL Draft, up from one in 2012. As a group, MEAC and SWAC schools went 20-55 in non-conference play over the course of the 2013 season; 10 teams failed to win a game outside of conference play, 19 lost at least twice, and only North Carolina A&T posted an undefeated record outside of its league schedule.
Of course, the loss column is certain to inflate thanks to guaranteed pay-day games from major FBS schools. Unfortunately, that revenue stream appears to be drying up.
"It is kind of unchartered waters with strength of schedule being what's going to be looked at," Southwestern Athletic Conference commissioner Duer Sharp told ESPN. "Our schools just have to be smart. There are different ways to make money, and you've got to be smart about it.
"It's a huge disadvantage. For schools with the small budgets, you're even more locked into guaranteed games. Not only in football and men's basketball but even in women's basketball. You're asking the women's basketball team to go on the road to generate money."
Sharp said the SWAC has turned to neutral site "classic" games as a way to generate revenue, but nothing can fully replace the budget boost of a trip to Tallahassee or Miami.
Many HBCUs have felt the ill effects of reduced state funding, which in turn shortens the financial depth of their athletics departments. Grambling State was the most extreme example this season, where the Tigers players went on strike and ultimately forfeited a game in protest of the program's equipment and facilities.
If financial viability becomes an unmanageable fight for these football programs, you have to wonder where that leaves their athletics departments and, in turn, their universities.
The level of quality videos high schools churn out these days is impressive
We here at FootballScoop are consistently amazed by the quality of videos people pass along to us from the high school ranks. Two we got this week in particular.
First, there's this 18-minute mini-documentary from Concord High School in Concord, Calif. It's much longer than your standard video (it was shown as the team's year-end banquet) but by the end I was rooting for the Minutemen. It's also shot as beautifully as a Hawaiian sunset.
Finally, this pep rally video from Bethlehem Catholic in Bethlehem, Pa., used an impressive array of effects to get the blood moving.
Video: Watch this if you want to get your blood pumping
If you want to be fired up to get something productive done today, you've come to the right place. One-hundred and eight-six seconds of the Georgetown College Tigers furiously hitting the weight room should do the trick.
The Cleveland Browns reportedly tried to trade for Jim Harbaugh
The Cleveland Browns were ridiculed in some circles for the length of its coaching search, but there may have been a very good reason why.
According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, the Browns apparently had a deal in place to trade for Jim Harbaugh. Yes, current San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. A trade was reportedly in place that would have shipped Harbaugh to Cleveland with multiple draft picks returning to San Francisco, but Harbaugh ultimately changed his mind and nixed the deal. A completed trade would have pitted Jim and John Harbaugh against each other twice annually as AFC North rivals.
Harbaugh is way too smart to have allowed himself to have been traded to the Browns. Would have been terrible move. Why even consider it?— FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) February 21, 2014
Both teams have declined to comment on the alleged deal. We have no inside sources here, but have to believe Florio has rock-solid confidence in his sources to go forward with something like this.
Harbaugh has angled for a contract extension from San Francisco for some time but the two sides have not completed a deal as of yet. Meanwhile, of course, Cleveland ultimately hired Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to be its head coach.