Why is James Franklin wearing a wig?
James Franklin, a few assistant coaches (including Charles Huff and Sean Spence), and a handful of players went down to a hair salon to get their heads shaved for charity yesterday.
I know what you're thinking...James Franklin has as much hair as Michael Jordan did in his prime, but that didn't stop him from having some fun and contributing to the event.
After initially walking through the door, and shaking some hands, Franklin disappeared to the bathroom and came out wearing an afro wig. As you can see, he pulls off the look quite well actually.
Huff was the only coach who actually had any hair to shave off, and while the clippers were just getting started he stated "I feel like I'm getting ugly already."
It was all part of a "No Hair, Don't Care" cancer awareness event where students came in and donated $10 to the charity to have their heads shaved. The event raised $2,600 and 215 heads were shaved according to Penn Live.
The power of one tweet
UAB's Friday morning off-season workout was just like any other, until it wasn't.
First, the backstory. Timothy Alexander was a very talented high school football player until a 2006 car accident robbed him of his football career and his ability to walk. A few years later, Alexander enrolled at UAB and as we understand it reached out to then-head coach Garrick McGee to see if he could become a part of the football program. Now bound mostly to a wheelchair, Alexander has his own locker and participates with the team as much as he can, including doing upper-body workouts with the team.
One thing he can't do, is run the Legion Field bleachers. Friday morning the team was running the stadium stairs. Everyone was on their way up when strength and conditioning coach Zac Woodfin looked down and realized that Alexander was left on the field by himself.
@DrewChamplin I didn't know what was going on. I was about to go stand up on the fence and coach says. "You wanna go to the TOP" Yes Sir!!— Timothy Alexander (@1stN2ndTimothy) February 15, 2014
Director of football operations Tyler Cook snapped this photo.
Then the rest of the team joined in.
There's a lot of things happening at once here. Woodfin and the rest of the team provided a moment Alexander will remember for the rest of his life but that moment also helped galvanize the team. Following the workout, Alexander broke it down with "One team, One goal!"
Moments like this don't often happen; and usually when they do they are remembered by only those there at the time. This time, Cook realized the moment and was able to capture the moment in a great picture from his phone. Cook told head coach Bill Clark that he wanted to share this moment with the football community. They decided to tweet the photo and tag @FootballScoop in the tweet. We retweeted the photo and it caught life of its own.
To date the tweet has been retweeted 459 times and received 304 favorites. It inspired articles in UAB's hometown Birmingham News, and was picked up by other websites across the country. Social media is a powerful tool when used correctly.
Coach Woodfin's selfless act brought his team together and undoubtedly was a moment Timothy will never forget. Coach Cook capturing and sharing the moment helped us all recognize the power of teamwork and determination.
We spoke with Coach Cook today and he said Timothy is a very determined young man who continues to make great strides in his recovery. We hope this moment gives him further encouragement to keep working towards all of his goals.
Are you ready to see college football's largest scoreboard?
They say everything's bigger in Texas, and no one says that more often than Texans. I still remember as a high school freshman touring Baylor's student recreational center when they made sure to note that their indoor climbing wall was two feet taller than Texas A&M's.
With that in mind, of course Texas A&M's new scoreboard is going to be the largest of its kind in college football. Measuring in at 47 feet tall and 163 feet wall, the Aggies' scoreboard will span a total of 7,661 square feet, just surpassing the current placeholder for college football's largest scoreboard... the 7,370-square foot so-called Godzillatron belonging to the University of Texas.
The new Aggietron is expected to be open for business by Texas A&M's home-opener against Lamar on Sept. 6.
Video: The before and after of USC's Heritage Hall will wow you
Previously, USC's Heritage Hall was.... not great. It was a place where the Trojans' seven Heisman trophies were on full display, only the display stands had outlets on them, and visitors would rest their charging iPhones beside Charles White's bronze block of college football history.
Led by Pat Haden and Mark Jackson, USC has turned Heritage Hall into a place that can beautifully house and celebrate the Trojans' 125-year history of the program's 21 sports.
Why aren't students going to football games any more?
Here's the bad news: your school is having serious trouble getting students to show up on time - if at all. Now here's the good news: you're not alone. Far from it. In many cases, the biggest schools in college football are the ones having the toughest time getting students to show up.
According to a report from ESPN, only 3,773 of a possible 9,000 students seats were filled for the second half kickoff of Arizona's upset of Oregon last November. Twenty-six percent of Michigan's student ticket holders didn't make it inside the gates this season. Georgia reduced its student section by nearly 2,000 seats, and nearly 30 percent of those ticket holders still no-showed.
ESPN reached out to students across the nation for their reasons for staying home.
"People would rather stay at fraternity houses with unlimited food, booze and a big-screen TV than make the trek to the stadium," North Carolina student Thomas Doochin said. "Phone service is terrible during games and it's hard to stay in touch with the world for the three hours you're in the stadium."
"The routine is the exact same as it was the first game of my freshman year," said Nebraska student Bryce Maher. "The exact same warmup songs at the same time in every game. Even the tunnel walk has gotten stale after being there for a couple seasons. I believe the university needs to try some new rituals, get some new traditions. At a place that covets tradition, as much as any fan base in the country, a change is needed."
Personally, those sound like lame excuses to me. But like football enough to get a job writing for a football website.
The most common answer was that the opportunity cost of attending a game was too high. Many kids would rather miss a game in person than miss three hours of text, tweets and other games on TV. The NFL is wrestling with the same issue, albeit with an older clientele. If a fan thinks they can get more value watching a game from behind a (television or smartphone) screen than with their own eyes, how can you convince them otherwise?
Many schools start their sales pitches on students as soon as they get on campus, if not before. "We spend a great amount of time in the summer and the fall working on the freshman," Miami associate athletics director Chris Freet said. "We want them to understand that athletics is a big part of college life at Miami and make sure that their first experiences are entertaining. If you get off on the right foot, hopefully they become a fan and matriculate to a season-ticket-holder after graduation."
The most common answer has been to turn the stadium into one big living room. The Big Ten has made a concerted effort to boost the wireless experience inside its own stadiums, and the Big 12 has started showing in-game highlights of other conference games inside its own stadiums. Of course, Nebraska recently dumped $12 million into Memorial Stadium's in part to improve its wireless capabilities, only to be told its traditions were too monotonous.
This empty-seat plague is one that stretches across regions, divisions and conferences. Athletics administrators aren't exactly sure how, when and why this became a problem, but they're in agreement that they need to find a solution.
"We have to solve this because we are talking about the season ticket-holders of tomorrow," Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said. "But interests and attitudes are changing so rapidly it's not easy to quickly identify what we need to do."
Manziel's story of his HS coach at the Heisman ceremony is a brilliant reminder
During Johnny Manziel's Heisman acceptance speech in 2012, he took the time to thank all the usual people that played a role in his success, as all award winners typically do. That included his teammates, his parents, grandparents, and his college and high school coaches.
None of that was out of the ordinary for a Heisman speech. All those people contributed to the type of electric player that Manziel became in one way or another. But only one of those people he mentioned played the type of role capable of making him break down in a room crowded with past Heisman winners...his high school offensive coordinator at Kerrville Tivy HS (TX), Julius Scott.
As the Ultimate Texans blog points out, Manziel told a story during a dinner last week that should serve as a great reminder to high school coaches out there.
After giving his speech, hoisting the Heisman, and shaking the hands of past winners, Manziel made his way up to the Heisman suite. There, he saw his old offensive coordinator, and the same player that had stoically shredded SEC defenses all season as a freshman lost control of his emotions.
“After I won the Heisman, I was cool and calm and didn’t lose my emotions until I got to the top floor and the Heisman suite,” Manziel explained at the dinner. “Coach Scott was there. When I saw him, I just lost it. I bawled my eyes out right there."
“I told him, ‘I would never have been here without you.’ His shirt was soaking wet when I pulled away.”
That's some powerful stuff.
After the biggest moment of his athletic career, and maybe his entire life, Manziel didn't cry in the midst of his college coaches like Kevin Sumlin or Kliff Kingsbury, it was his high school coach that brought out the most heart-wrenchingly honest reaction.
That's a nice reminder of the role that you play in the lives of your players. Regardless of whether they go on to win the Heisman, or work as the bagger at the local grocery store living in their parent's basement, you hold a position of monumental influence in their lives.
Every once in a while, a reminder like such as Manziel's is needed.
Mike Ekeler's fascinating first-hand account on the life of an assistant
Mike Ekeler is from David City, Nebraska. After playing his college ball at Kansas State, Ekeler's coaching career began at Skutt Catholic High School in Omaha. After climbing the coaching ladder at Oklahoma and LSU, his first full-time job came as the linebackers coach at Nebraska. In 2011, Ekeler left his dream job for another dream job, as Indiana's defensive coordinator. Two years later, he was coaching linebackers at USC, where the Trojans' tilt-a-whirl 2013 season left out of a job despite a wonderfully successful season considering the extraordinary circumstances.
Ekeler provided a letter to the Journal Star detailing his travels since leaving Nebraska and the scramble that led him to land a job as Georgia's inside linebackers coach. It's a fascinating peek inside the world of a major college assistant. We're not going to post the full letter - which may be found here - but here are a few excerpts.
On leaving Nebraska for the Indiana defensive coordinator job:
Dec. 24th, 2010, was one of the hardest days of my life. We had our last bowl practice in Lincoln and it was the day I told our LB group (Will Compton, Sean Fisher, Lavonte David, Alonzo Whaley, Matt May and pseudo assistant coach Blake Lawrence) that I was leaving. After practice we gathered in our LB group and I broke the news, at least tried to break the news. I couldn't talk, I just started crying and looked up and the whole group was crying. When you leave a dream job, you leave for one reason, and that is to grow both as a person and as a coach.
On learning that he would not be retained at USC:
Dec. 4th, I was sitting in my office game-planning for our bowl game and noticed who I thought was Peter Sirmon (Sark's LB coach from Washington). He was in the office across the hall filling out H.R. paperwork. I walked over and introduced myself as the "former LBs coach at USC." I ended up meeting with Sark the next day and told him if he hadn’t brought his defensive coaches from UW, I wouldn’t have respected him or wanted to work for him. During the next three weeks, I became friends with all the new coaches. It was unusual. We shared our offices and they watched the bowl practices. Dec. 21 we won our bowl game, and I'm officially on the street.
On using his old contacts, especially ones at Nebraska, to get his new job at Georgia:
Video: The 4 bottom lines of the Mizzou program
Pat Ivey, FootballScoop's 2013 Strength and Conditioning Coordinator of the Year, runs you through their speed station portion of their "Winning Edge Program" here in this clip.
After touching on the goals of the speed station, which is part of a three station approach that they do on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the off season, Ivey talks about the four bottom lines of the Missouri program, which include;
1) Be enthusiastic
2) Be a six second competitor
3) Know your assignment
4) Play tough and physical
From just this two minute video, you can tell that #1 is constantly stressed, and that should come as no surprise to people that watch Gary Pinkel's teams fly around, making plays on game day.
Perfecting that approach and driving home that message starts in the off season with the strength staff, as Ivey and his staff show here.