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Dog House Party

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Here are three generally true statements: Brand new coaches like to do outreach with their brand new student bodies. Programs that went 3-9 the season before like to give their students a reason to come out and see their football team play. Students love free pizza.

Add those three generally true statements together and you get Connecticut's first ever Dog House Party on Wednesday night. The Huskies hosted more than 600 students and media members, and provided free pizza on the field afterward. 

"Coaches at the university understand, whether it be coach Geno, Ollie, Calhoun, Stevens or Reid, that great school spirit typically equals success on the athletic field" said Diaco. "We don't want to box out that incredible battery. Let's put the battery in the back of the machine. The battery is school spirit. That's a big part of it. We want to do more things to engage that and make it stronger."

Nothing about Paul Pasqualoni or the way his teams played screamed excitement, which no doubt pushed students away from the program. In their search for his replacement, the Huskies sought high energy coaches like Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi and, obviously, Diaco. In addition to winning games, Diaco has to be a salesman and court people back to Huskies games. Hence, the first Dog House Party. 

This is a great way for Diaco's new program to build a bridge to the student body and intertwine the football program with their peers.

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South Carolina is doing something that every program in America should borrow

It was Pro Day at South Carolina on Wednesday. That means Jadeveon Clowney, ESPN, NFL Network and hundreds of NFL personnel descended upon Columbia and Williams-Brice Stadium. For the Gamecocks, it was a big day, the type of day that won't happen again soon. 

Naturally, the South Carolina athletics department wanted to document the events of the day. How they did it is an idea every program in America should copy.

The Gamecocks utilized the services of Exposure.so to create GamecocksOnline.Exposure.so. It's a beautiful page but, best of all, it's a beautiful page that wasn't very hard to create. Big headlines, a few lines of text, and gorgeous photos like this. 

AASC opening

AASC jump


AASC throw

The best part, though, is the price. This page cost South Carolina a subscription of just $99 a year or $9 a month. If you've got a coach, staff member or parent with a decent camera and workable knowledge of the Internet within your program - believe me, you all do - you can create something just like this in less than an hour. The applications are endless. Document a spring game or a game weekend and use it for recruiting, for fundraising, for goodwill with parents. Every program in America - FBS to pee wee - can borrow this idea. 

I've embedded their tutorial below.

Trust us, this isn't an advertisement. Far from it. They've never given us a dime and, in fact, we'd never even heard of Exposure.so until today. We just want to get the word out about good ideas, and if anyone has a similar service they'd like to share, please let us know and we'll get the word out. 

Here's an interesting trivia question for you

From time to time we rave about how great of a tool that Twitter is, and today one of those many reasons popped up in the form of a trivia question from the Ball State Football Twitter account. The good people in Muncie posed an interesting trivia question to us earlier today that required some serious thought. We don't Twitter challenges lightly here at The Scoop, especially when it comes to coach related trivia.

Can you come up with all of them without scrolling down on the page? I personally took a stab, and while I did forget one wildly popular coach, I did uncover a few others that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Come to find out, there are actually 10 coaches (not 7 as originally thought) who have posted nine or more wins at at least three different schools (as well as one coach with 9+ wins at five schools, and one coach with 9+ wins at four schools). Those coaches are:

- Pete Lembo  (Lehigh, Elon, Ball State)
- Nick Saban (Michigan State, LSU, Alabama)
- Brady Hoke (Ball State, San Diego State, Michigan)
- Dennis Franchione (Southwestern, Pittsburg State, New Mexico, TCU, Alabama, Texas A&M)
- Brian Kelly (Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Notre Dame)
- Urban Meyer (Bowling Green, Utah, Florida, Ohio State)
- Paul Johnson (Georgia Southern, Navy, Georgia Tech)
- Terry Bowden (Samford, Auburn, North Alabama)
- Jerry Kill (Saginaw Valley, Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois)
- Dave Clawson (Fordham, Richmond, Bowling Green)

There were plenty of coaches that just missed out on the list, including Tommy Tuberville (who won 8 games at both Ole Miss and Texas Tech on top of the 9+ win seasons at Auburn and Cincinnati), and Steve Spurrier (who won 8 games at Duke and 9+ at Florida and South Carolina).

Take another look at the list. Is there anyone that comes to mind that we're missing? 

These kind of trivia questions make the off season a little more fun. Feel free to challenge us by contacting me via Twitter @CoachSamz. I'll be sure to share the best ones with the rest of The Scoop staff and share our findings with everyone.

Football school or basketball school? Examining coaching salaries

Some schools - Alabama, Texas, Nebraska, Auburn - are football schools through and through. Others - Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana - lean toward basketball for every one of the 365 days a year. The others, though, could go either way, depending on how each program is performing. People want to go where the party is. 

One way to determine where a school's priorities lie is to follow the money. Who do they pay more, the football coach or the basketball coach? USA Today, the experts on all things coaching salaries, has published their list of coaching salaries for the field of 68 participants in this year's NCAA Tournament. We decided to compare those numbers against their football counterparts on campus. 

First, a disclaimer. This is far from a representative sample. By its very nature, it's going to lean toward basketball. There are also extenuating circumstances - tenure, market demands, negotiating skills of a given agent - that play into the results. That being said, we found that the biggest basketball names tended to draw the highest salaries (led by Coach K raking in nearly $10 million) but the further you look down the list, the more likely a school is to pay its football coach more than its basketball coach. 

Of the 68 teams selected for the 2014 NCAA Tournament, 41 hailed from FBS. Among those 41, we uncovered salary information for 34 of them. Of those 34, 20 leaned toward the gridiron. 

Basketball (14)

Basketball: Mike Krzyzewski - $9,682,032
Football: David Cutcliffe - $1,792,285

Basketball: Rick Pitino - $5,758,338
Football: Bobby Petrino - $3,000,000

Basketball: John Calipari - $5,511,381
Football: Mark Stoops - $2,001,250

Basketball: Bill Self - $4,960,763
Football: Charlie Weis - $2,503,727

Basketball: Billy Donovan - $3,905,964
Football: Will Muschamp - $2,734,500

Michigan State
Basketball: Tom Izzo - $3,893,954
Football: Mark Dantonio - $3,640,000

Basketball: Steve Alford - $3,473,973
Football: Jim Mora - $2,300,000

Basketball: Josh Pastner - $2,650,000
Football: Justin Fuente - $956,779

Basketball: Sean Miller - $2,627,806
Football: Rich Rodriguez - $2,150,000

Basketball: Tony Bennett - $2,291,100
Football: Mike London - $2,189,703

Basketball: Bo Ryan - $2,288,500
Football: Gary Andersen - $2,200,000

Basketball: Dana Altman - $2,000,000
Football: Mark Helfrich - $1,800,000

North Carolina
Basketball: Roy Williams - $1,827,945
Football: Larry Fedora - $1,730,000

San Diego State
Basketball: Steve Fisher - $909,250
Football: Rocky Long - $800,000

Football (20)

Football: Charlie Strong - $5,000,000
Basketball: Rick Barnes - $2,550,000

Ohio State
Football: Urban Meyer - $4,608,000
Basketball: Thad Matta - $3,282,000

Football: Brady Hoke - $4,154,000
Basketball: John Beilein - $2,498,242

Oklahoma State
Football: Mike Gundy - $3,450,000
Basketball:Travis Ford - $2,450,000

Football: Bob Stoops - $4,773,167
Basketball: Lon Kruger - $2,200,000

Football: Art Briles - $4,000,000*
Basketball: Scott Drew - $2,133,120

N.C. State
Football: Dave Doeren - $2,555,000
Basketball: Mark Gottfried - $2,009,000

Arizona State
Football: Todd Graham - $2,303,020
Basketball: Herb Sendek - $1,804,050

Kansas State
Football: Bill Snyder - $2,803,000
Basketball: Bruce Weber - $1,754,050

Iowa State
Football: Paul Rhoads - $1,712,282
Basketball: Fred Hoiberg - $1,618,750

Football: Tommy Tuberville - $3,143,000
Basketball: Mick Cronin - $1,552,205

Football: Bo Pelini - $2,975,000
Basketball: Tim Miles - $1,525,000

Football: Kirk Ferentz - $3,985,000
Basketball: Fran McCaffery - $1,501,250

Football: Mike MacIntyre - $2,403,500
Basketball: Tad Boyle - $1,427,500

Football: Butch Jones - $2,950,000
Basketball: Cuonzo Martin - $1,350,000

Football: Bob Diaco - $1,500,000
Basketball: Kevin Ollie - $1,250,000

Football: Bill Blankenship - $619,549
Basketball: Danny Manning - $480,606

Football: Mark Hudspeth - $803,000
Basketball: Bob Marlin - $400,000

New Mexico
Football: Bob Davie - $760,000
Basketball: Craig Neal - $750,000

Western Michigan
Football: P.J. Fleck - $392,500
Basketball: Steve Hawkins - $312,000

'The first stats I look at after a game are...'

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald has infamously stated that "stats are for losers". He believes. and a lot of coaches agree, that the only stat that really matters at the end of the day is the final score (and wins of course). 

But in order to gauge efficiency and areas to improve on both sides of the ball, some of us find the post game stats (and cumulative stats) vital to our overall success. Middle Tennessee offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner is one of those coaches. Faulkner told GoBlueRaiders.com that he will take a look at the stat sheet following a game with a few things in particular in mind in order to gauge offensive success.

"The first thing is our percentage in the red zone then our third down conversions. Last year we were really good on third down and not very strong in the red zone. We moved the ball but just did not punch it in consistently. We have made it a point of emphasis this spring to be better in the red zone."

The Blue Raiders excelled on third downs last year, converting on just over 46% of their attempts last year to extend drives (ranking 25th nationally). They emphasized it last year during practice and saw impressive results, converting on 20 more attempts than in 2012 (an increase of about 5%)

Third down conversions equal a new set of downs, which translates to more scoring opportunities, and a higher red zone conversion percentage means more points on the board. Both of those seem like no-brainers for every offensive coordinator to keep an eye on each game, and as the season progresses, but the other thing that Faulkner looks for isn't a common stat that you'll see in the box score.

"I also like to look at how many plays of zero yards that we had because that will play a huge role in all of the above."

While zero yardage plays aren't exactly a popular "box score stat", it's something that's just as important as red zone percentage and third down percentage for Faulkner and his staff because it does play a part in the other two key areas that he keeps an eye on.

What stats are you and your staff looking after games? Or are you from the Fitzgerald school of thought where "stats are for losers"?

A few more photos of the Aggies' new football facility

In late January, Texas A&M announced its plans to invest $16 million in upgrades to the Bright Complex, headquarters for all things Aggie football, along with an artistic rendering of the new locker room.

On Thursday, the school unveiled three new renderings, along with a larger look at the updated locker room. It doesn't appear Texas A&M is sparing any expense to create to turn the Bright Complex into the Taj Mahal of all things maroon and white.

The new locker room:

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Aggie players lounge

A new hydrotherapy pool:

Aggie pool

(via @AggieFBlife)

Inside the scheduling philosophy at LSU

There are two ways to approach non-conference scheduling in major college football. Some programs challenge themselves in non-conference play, while others avoid challenges like Indiana Jones fleeing an oncoming bolder. LSU is in that first group.

The Tigers have been fixtures in college football's kickoff game era, opening their 2010 season against North Carolina in Atlanta, facing Oregon to open the 2011 season in Dallas, returning to Dallas to face TCU to open last season, and they'll open this coming season against Wisconsin in Houston. LSU is 3-0 in kickoff games. 

One of the few SEC schools willing to leave the South, the Bayou Bengals have also completed recent home-and-homes with Washington and West Virginia. LSU is 4-0 in those games. This may have something to do with why Les Miles' club isn't afraid to schedule major opponents outside of SEC play. 

The man behind LSU's non-conference scheduling strategy is associate athletics director Verge Ausberry. He's handled the Tigers' scheduling since 2007.

it's not a coincidence that LSU has sought neutral site games in major recruiting hotbeds like Atlanta, Dallas and Houston, and would like to play a neutral site game in New Orleans. In addition to filling a schedule, Ausberry has to expand LSU's brand. 

“The world has changed,” Ausberry said. “Everybody says LSU’s brand is already big. I say, ‘Yeah, but you can’t ever stop growing.’ You either get better or worse every day. You’ve got to keep working on that brand.”

With the College Football Playoff oncoming, Ausberry says he hasn't seen a reason to change LSU's strategy for filling its four non-SEC games. (In addition to Wisconsin, LSU will host Sam Houston State, Louisiana-Monroe and New Mexico State in non-conference play.)

“They’re going to (look) at a lot of statistics on games, how much you won by, who you played,” Ausberry told the Baton Rouge Advocate of the CFP committee. “There are some things the SEC has sent out to all of us to take a look at (about) how the new process is going to work. … We’re all kind of like, ‘Let’s just see how this plays out.’ I think our schedules strength wise looks pretty good from here on out.”

In addition to this season's Wisconsin game, LSU has another neutral site date with the Badgers at Lambeau Field in 2016, and contracts with Arizona State, N.C. State and Oklahoma. 

It's an interesting tightrope Ausberry walks. You don't want to submarine your own team's chances with a schedule that's too challenging, but then again, the ultimate nightmare scenario in Ausberry's world is an 11-1 LSU team that's left out of the College Football Playoff due to a schedule that the selection committee deems too soft. It sounds ridiculous today, an SEC team playing an inferior schedule, but no one knows what to expect in age where 13 voters have the fate of the college football world in their hands.

Adding to the uncertainty that makes Ausberry's job a challenge is the SEC's current 6-1-1 scheduling model. With a round-robin against six SEC West foes, an annual game against SEC rival Florida and one rotating SEC East opponent, LSU's in-conference schedule could swing wildly from year to year. It's a wild swing from year to year when you're saddled with, say, 2012 Florida and South Carolina versus 2013 Florida and Kentucky as your crossover opponents. In the end, LSU's East division draw could prove the difference between receiving a golden ticket to the College Football Playoff and not, and, of course, that's the one aspect of LSU's schedule of which Ausberry has no control. 

Still, though, Ausberry builds every schedule with one thing in mind. “Our ultimate goal is to hold the crystal ball over our head,” Ausberry said.

Read the full article here.

Video: Mike Yurcich breaks down the OK State inside zone read

Every program that runs zone schemes runs the zone read, and variations of it.

In the latest installment of "Coaches Chalk Talk" at Oklahoma State, offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich not only gets on the board and breaks down the inside zone read, but also provides some great coaching points (like the running back staying play side and not making his first cut until he's at the heels of the offensive line) and then cues up some cut-ups of the play in action.

Gundy and his staff have done an outstanding job with this series. Fans and coaches everywhere appreciate it.