The NFL Network will have a few more preseason games to enjoy tonight.
All times are eastern.
Houston at Carolina - 7 - NFL Network
Tennessee at Seattle - 10 - NFL Network
Creating a culture on the offensive line
Connecticut offensive coordinator and offensive line coach George DeLeone has spent the spring and fall focusing on creating a very specific culture up front for the Huskies.
"I want to establish a culture of work ethic, unselfishness and of toughness," he explained. "Guys that have been around here for a while can get complacent. But I think what happened is, we've said, 'Hey, you've played, but some of the stuff you've done hasn't been up to Division I standards. Now let's get that up.'"
Last season, the Huskies went 5-7 and allowed 41 sacks, ranking them tied for 113th in the country. But as DeLeone explains, that stat can be somewhat misleading of offensive line play.
"Fans, people are going to look at the sacks, but the sacks are just as much a team function as they are an offensive line function. Sometimes, if the quarterback holds the ball too long and he gets sacked, well, that's on the quarterback. Sometimes when a running back misses a block and the quarterback gets sacked, that's on the running back. Every single sack is not offensive line-related. With that said, we gave up way too many by the offensive line."
Part of the culture change up front is getting players to enjoy the grind of the season, and embrace the expectations of running a multiple offense. The multiplicity may not be what fans want to see come Saturday's, but it definitely has the potential to put defensive coordinators in a bind when they have to prepare for a ton of different looks.
"We have to get a culture where players on the offensive line love to grind. I think we're making progress. We're not there yet, but I think we're better than we were last year."
"That means we're going to have to understand a lot of schemes, a lot of plays, and they're going to have to be on point mentally every day. Some teams in college football don't run as many plays as we do."
USA Today / AFCA outed Lane Kiffin's "confidential vote"
Wednesday night, after being asked about Rich Rod's preseason vote where he placed the Trojans as the top team in the country, Lane Kiffin responded by saying, "I would not vote USC No. 1, I can tell you that."
This is Kiffin's first year voting in the "Coaches" poll. According to a USC spokesman, "USA TODAY sent a June 4, 2012, letter to coaches who agreed to vote in its college football poll stating that, except for the final poll of the regular season, 'votes for all other polls will be kept confidential by USA TODAY.'"
The "coaches" poll is conducted by the AFCA; but administered by USA Today (they collect the votes, tabulate the results and publish the polls).
After hearing Kiffin's quote, USA Today apparently called him to discuss; because he had in fact voted USC #1 in his poll. According to USA Today, when a voter (coach) offers false information about his vote, "then USA TODAY Sports, in its oversight role as administrator of the poll, will set the record straight to protect the poll's integrity." And thus, presumably with the AFCA's knowledge and approval, they outed Kiffin...destroying any trust that any coach has in the concept of keeping votes "confidential".
Kiffin told USA Today last night that he did not see how his quote misinterpreted his vote, noting their thin roster as the reason for the comment, but adding that the talent that they return was the reason for his vote.
"We have less players than everybody else. So looking at it from the outside, I wouldn't (vote USC No. 1). Did I? Yeah, I did. That's not based off of 75 vs. 85. That's based off of (USC players) Matt Barkley, T.J. McDonald and Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. When everybody has the same record, I can't go into a meeting with our players and have them say, 'You put that team and that team ahead of us.' That's why I did that."
Kiffin added "I don't really buy things are confidential anymore."
USC's spokesman added, "The fact that the leadership of the American Football Coaches Association, which tasks USA TODAY to administer its poll, joined with the poll administrators from USA TODAY to decide to breach that confidentiality by providing to a reporter a coach's vote in its pre-season poll is disappointing and attacks the integrity of the poll. Further, that the reporter who was given this information represents the very organization that conducts the poll is a conflict of journalistic interest.''
As news of this "outing" broke today, we called five division 1 coaches and asked for their thoughts. Some were head coaches, others were not; but unanimously said that they feel those administering the poll have lost all credibility. Nearly every single coach questioned why the AFCA and USA Today would go public with this information.
We have no answer for that and would welcome input from either party.
For those that want to see Kiffin's original statement about that he would not vote USC #1, it's below.
Davie on camp: Logistically, it couldn't be better
After practice yesterday, Bob Davie sat down to explain the advantages of bringing the team on the road to open up fall camp, and why their setup couldn't be much better.
Davie explains that players are sleeping at a hotel that many people pay a lot of money to come vacation at, and they have access to three and a half well groomed practice field. Players can literally walk out of the hotel less than a hundred yards to the convention center where they have all of their meals, meetings as well as locker room and training rooms access.
"From a logistical standpoint, it really couldn't be any better. I am sure there's maybe some NFL camps that would rival it somewhere but it's as good as it can get." Davie explained.
You'll enjoy this video
Awesome video here of James Franklin taking notice of some outstanding work from walk-on Marc Panu. Keep your eye on the fullback and man in motion during the cut-ups.
The end of this one gave us chills. Classy move Coach Franklin.
Video: Tour Texas A&M's new weight room
Larry Jackson, Texas A&M's director of sports performance, took 12th Man TV on a tour of their new Player Development Center, and it's impressive.
Other than the finishing touches like the graphics, everything is in place.
Take note of the camera system and how players see their workouts...very impressive.
Take a look at LSU's season hype video
LSU's season hype video "Back to Life" opens up with a few quotes from Les followed by some highlights from camp (including plenty of highlights from their "Big Cat" drill) and last season.
As always, very well done and well produced.
Inside Scoop: The making of a "Behind the Scenes" success
When done properly, a "Behind the Scenes" video offers thousands of fans (and potential recruits) an opportunity to learn a huge amount about the coaches, support staff, players and facilities that are your program.
Over the last three years we've noticed that nearly every new coaching staff has adopted a video strategy focusing either on prepared videos or behind the scenes videos featuring their players and / or their staff. Fans, alumni, boosters...and prospective student athletes love these videos and we fully believe that we will see more of these in the future.
One staff that really grasped this concept was Frank Solich's staff up at Ohio University. Ohio has averaged nine wins over the last three seasons and the program is in great shape and still on the rise. They have improved their facilities and are breaking ground on a new indoor facility within months and will renovate the locker room after this season. Solich and his staff recognized that doing a professionally produced "behind the scenes" series chronically their season would be a great way to spread the word and the vision about the program. "Relentless" which chronicled Ohio's 2011 series turned out to be a critically acclaimed, award winning series that we featured on this site frequently. This is one of the best produced videos of it's kind that we've seen.
We asked Jason Grooms, assistant athletic director for football operations at Ohio University, to come on to tell us how Ohio executed their plan with regards to Relentless. Listen to Grooms explain the investment (which honestly was less in terms of $ than we expected) and the return they have seen (huge for the program). He also discusses how the staff got over the initial apprehension about having coaches and players mic'd up. Good stuff that we can all learn from.
With the success that Ohio's "Relentless" has had, along with that of HBO's Hard Knocks, it's hard to imagine that more programs won't be creating and producing their own series in future years. We commend Ohio for having the foresight and making the investment and the commitment to doing this the right way.
Below is Episode 1 of Season 2 of "Relentless" which was released earlier this week. Great stuff!