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Good stuff from Pitt DC Dave Huxtable

New Pitt defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable sat down with PittPantherVision, and former Pitt quarterback Pat Bostick to talk about his objectives through spring ball and what drew him to Pittsburgh.

Huxtable says that the tradition at Pitt and the familiarity he had working with Paul Chryst last year at Wisconsin made this new opportunity very appealing.

According to Huxtable, the main goal through spring ball is that the defense comes out with a good grasp on the new scheme and that players become "professionals at their techniques" so they are prepared for the fall.

Bostick also asked Huxtable if any leaders are emerging at this point, and Huxtable responded by saying "I think that's a little longer of a process. Right now they're all trying to learn, and once they gain that confidence in knowing what they're doing, I think some leaders will emerge".

 




Grambling State staff visits with LSU

Grambling State head coach Doug Williams and several assistants traveled to Baton Rouge to visit with Les and the LSU staff recently and came away with some valuable stuff.

A few years ago when they met at a camp, Les told Williams, "You let me know. Any time you can come, you can come." Williams said that when he picked up the phone to ask Les about bringing his staff in for a visit, Les more than happy to have them. "When I called about the possibility of doing some sort of spring training, he didn't hesitate" Williams said. 

The visit to Baton Rouge was much different than some visits Williams has taken in the past because they got the opportunity to sit in on their meeting and the staff actually asked what they wanted to know, and also went over some individual drill work as well.. At some places Williams said that they would "sit you in a room and give you film and you get what you want from it". LSU was much more personal in their approach.

With 8 year staff veteran Andre Robinson taking over the defensive coordinator duties this season, Williams said taking the time to visit LSU was a no-brainer.

"For us, it's a pleasure to be able to go down to LSU and sit in. The difference with LSU, Tech, Grambling and ULM is we're not Division I. We're Division I-AA, so I don't play against LSU, and I'm not trying to be on the same level. I am trying to learn what they do, and there's no animosity there. I'm glad for the opportunity to come in and have them welcome us with open arms." Williams explained.

We have a feeling Williams left Baton Rouge feeling pretty good about the fall. As they were leaving, Les told him that he thought he had done a great job putting together a good staff that "worked hard and understood". Compliments from Les don't get much better than that.




Leach ready to hit the field for spring ball

In a matter of a few months, Mike Leach and his staff have had to put together a recruiting class, a new strength program, and install an entirely new offense and defense for the Cougars.

Starting with winter conditioning, Leach said that he was impressed with the progress that they made. 

“I thought some competitive aspects emerged, you could see guys develop and be a little more competitive. You could see kind of some leaders emerge a little bit. I thought it was very good. The other thing is with regard to working hard, nobody really knows how hard they can work. Everybody can work harder than they think they can.”

Leach says spring practices will be an especially tall order for them. “Every year, you want to evaluate and then, of course, sharpen your skills. In our case, we have to install our package and teach it to everybody. This isn’t going to be a case where you teach it to some and then you’ve got the older guys to help. In our case, we’ve got to teach it to everybody.”

 




Mike Stoops enjoying being on the field again

After eight seasons as a head coach, Mike Stoops is transitioning back to the life of an assistant...and enjoying the change.

Since being back at Oklahoma, Mike said he went out to the first few practices thinking like a head coach. "It took me a couple of days to realize I wasn't the head coach" he said, "I realized pretty quick I wasn't."

Coach Stoops went on to say that he now has time to enjoy the "personal" side of things more now and being a head coach allowed him to learn a ton.

"I learned so much. I have so much more grasp of college football and the overall operation. I understand what a head coach goes through." he added.




Pac 12 Tour - Stanford

Stanford is a special place. Visit campus and you'll see and feel what I mean. 

After having lunch at the 49ers facility, Mike and I arrived at Stanford's campus about 30 minutes before our projected time so we drove around campus a bit. I'm having a hard time finding the words to explain how nice Stanford University is. The campus is huge and it's immaculate. With total undergraduate enrollment of less than 7,000 students, Stanford must have the best ratio of faculty to students anywhere. 

Quick side note, Mike (@OT_Software) is a bit of a software geek. As we drove around campus, multiple times he sensed the brilliance of a student walking nearby and seriously considered offering them a job on the spot. Yes, he was in software coder heaven...and he was happy. 

At 2pm on the nose Stanford assistant athletic director for football operations Matt Doyle met us and brought us in to see the place. First stop was the coaches offices. Head coach David Shaw and several of the assistants (along with a couple of the players) were watching the last few minutes of one of the basketball games that day. All of the coaches were extremely welcoming and hospitable. Shaw was a great choice to replace Jim Harbaugh as head coach and he has made a number of equally impressive personnel decisions...and the results continue to show up on the field. We'll write more on this topic in the coming weeks, but there is no doubt in our mind that coach Shaw and his staff will keep Stanford football at the highest level for a long time to come. 

First stop on the tour was down to the weight room where I had the opportunity to present head strength coach Shannon Turley with his award (2011 FootballScoop Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Year). 

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Doyle then brought us over to see the stadium. In the tunnel, Stanford has some very cool graphics. 

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The stadium itself is as picturesque as you would expect. Inside the appearance is crisp, clean and has a very classic feel to it. New grass will go in this Summer. 

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Stanford Field

The training table and dining options at Stanford are excellent and blend well with rest of the student population. Next we had the opportunity to visit the training / medical facilities. These are truly world class and both in terms of injury prevention and in rehabilitation the treatment at Stanford is top notch. 

We continued the tour of campus and were consistently impressed with the people we met, the facilities we saw, student life in general at Stanford and everything we learned about the Univeristy. Anyone who has the opportunity to go to Stanford needs to take that visit. When visiting the world famous Stanford business school we noticed a familiar name from our trip...Phil Knight (who earned an MBA from Stanford) has an entire program, and several buildings, named after him. 

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We headed back to the football offices as running backs coach / recruiting coordinator Mike Sanford Jr. had asked Mike to demo their software apps for him. As they were sitting down I noticed tight ends coach Ron Crook teaching his son a sweet post route down on the basketball court within their offices. The kid has a future in the game! 

I sat in on a few minutes of the idea session raging between Sanford and Mike with OT. Some of the things that Sanford and their staff are doing in terms of recruiting are incredibly smart...things I haven't heard of other programs doing. These guys are smart. This is Stanford. We'll write more about this subject over the next few weeks as well. 

With Stanford being located in tech-mecca Palo Alto (yes, Mike had us drive by the headquarters of Facebook, Google, Apple, etc...he said something about he and I becoming smarter simply though osmosis) real estate is extremely expensive. About a year ago, the University built a number of homes on campus for their coaches to live in (coaches of all sports). 7 current assistants live in these homes which are very nice new construction. I believe the head coach and two coordinators livd in off campus homes the university purchased as well. All of this was made economically feasible through a donation from one man, John Arrillaga who has generously supported Stanford athletics and the University for many years and for several projects. 

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We were invited to join a couple of the coaches at their homes and saw a vibrant mini-community filled with coaches and their families. No doubt this type of idea comes with a significant price tag, but every coach we spoke with raved about the homes and how much they enjoy living so close to so many of their peers. We think this is a great idea. 

We went out to dinner Friday night with Doyle and several of the coaches and couldn't have had a better night. Huge thanks to Mike Bloomgren and Mike Sanford and their wives and children for opening their homes to us and to Matt Doyle for taking time away from his previously scheduled speaking engagement to host us. 

Thousands of high school students and their parents dream of getting accepted to Stanford University. After meeting Coach Shaw and his staff and experiencing 24 hours at Stanford, it's hard to imagine that there aren't also thousands of coaches out there that dream to one day have the opportunity to join the staff here as well. Amazing place. 

We'll write more about our visit to Stanford and some of the unique things they are doing over the coming weeks. We've got visits with UCLA and USC on Monday. Stay tuned for for more reports on our Pac 12 Tour on the site and on twitter @FootballScoop.




Pac 12 Tour - Cal & the 49ers

Friday morning began with a tour of the new football facilities at Cal. The field and the stadium will be "game-ready" for their home opener this season. 

Cal Stadium

The coaches offices are now all within the stadium (Tedford just moved into his earlier this week). All within the stadium, we toured the coaches / operations area (which includes a nice production studio and an impressive video office fully decked out with all of the latest...compliments of XOS).

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Each of the position meeting rooms likewise has what has now become standard digital technology built into it. Training table is on this main level as well. One floor below we toured the new locker room, players lounge (which was pretty nice), the weight room, team meeting room, etc...

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We drove down to Santa Clara for lunch with some of the coaches with the 49ers. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman gave us the tour and then we had lunch with Roman, offensive line coach Tim Drevno and defensive coordinator / mastermind Vic Fangio. Coach Harbaugh joined us for a few minutes as well. One thing we picked up on was the cohesion between the coaching staff and the personnel guys. These guys are all focused on winning the Superbowl, they are working together to get there and they are close. 

One interesting note from the 49ers facility (which was designed by Bill Walsh) is that both the offense and the defensive staffs have their own staff / war rooms surrounded by the four position coaches offices with sliding glass doors to each. Slightly dated style wise, but extremely wise and efficient design. 

It was now time to head over to Palo Alto to spend the rest of the with the staff at Stanford. 

 




Pac 12 Tour - Days Two & Three

Driving down to Los Angeles provides an opportunity to catch everyone up on the Tour.

Day two of the tour began in Corvallis. Driving around the city that morning both Mike (@OT_Software) and I remarked how nice of a small town this is. Several of the coaches had asked Mike to come back in to demo some of his apps for them. Overall, it was a great visit. 

We then headed south to Eugene. We had lunch with Craig Pintens, senior associate athletic director for marketing at Oregon (and formerly of LSU). Craig's a smart guy and is a great addition to Oregon athletics. He shared some marketing plans that the Ducks have to take their brand to the highest level. Good stuff, great lunch. Then the real fun began ...

Josh Gibson and Kyle Wiest gave us the full tour. Oregon's current facilities were built in the early 90's; and they have just broken ground on a brand new six story football only facility that I have no doubt will be the nicest in the country. The current facilities are easily in the top 5. The coaches offices and meeting rooms would be considered fairly standard and possibly even slightly outdated by current BCS conference standards, but all of the player oriented space is exceptionally nice. 

When you first walk into football the walls are adorned with high end graphics and high res photos of players, plenty of different uniforms and a number of quotes from opposing coaches and ESPN announcers. 

Josh and Kyle took us through the tunnel and into the stadium. Impressive. We then went back into the locker room. Has to be the nicest in the country. Bells and whistles that we had never heard of before. The ventilation system works. No locker room scent at all. As you leave the locker room you can step into the training area which has the feel of a high end spa. Nutritionists greet you and provide you with the appropriate drink or snack, etc...they have all of the hydro-therapy pools imaginable. Weight room seems top of the line, but they tell us the new one will be far more impressive. 

Video below shows you many of the same areas we saw on our tour. 

We took a quick tour of campus which is very nice. Plenty of state of art buildings on campus featuring the "Knight" name. The guys took us through the Jaqua academic center for student athletes. This is the nicest building I've ever been in. Seemed like countless full-time tutors for the players. The building had endless technology built into it. 

Video below shows you some of the facets of the academic center. 

It was time to get back to football as Coach Kelly had a staff meeting at 3. As we learned, Chip's staff meeting are quick. After about 3 minutes they invited us in. We talked FootballScoop for about 10 minutes and then Chip asked Mike to demo his software. About 3 minutes into it Chip looked over to me, winked and said this is pretty impressive. Coach Kelly and the staff asked Mike a number of questions...ideas were happening, the room liked what they were seeing. Meeting ended and Chip invited us to spend a few minutes in his office. Well, about two hours letter, we headed to dinner with about 9 guys from the staff. Great time at dinner. Ran into a number of pro scouts that night in town for Oregon's pro day the next day. 

Overall, really couldn't have been more impressed with the Oregon facilities and the quality of guys on their staff. 

Chip asked us to come back in Thursday morning so he and their recruiting / technology guys could go over Mike's software and their requested customizations in greater detail. The stuff they were talking about was cutting edge stuff. Haven't seen it anywhere before. A couple of hours later it was time to head south to the Bay Area. 

Can't thank the coaches and support staff at both Oregon State and Oregon enough for all of the time they afforded us. 

On our way south, we detoured over to Healdsburg, CA (Sonoma county) that night for dinner with friends that own Zichichi Family Vineyard. Great times and great wine. I highly recommend a visit next time you are in wine country. 

For more pictures and stories from the tour follow @FootballScoop on twitter. 

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Gamecock workouts: "To the top!"

Coming off the best season in Gamecock history, South Carolina is putting in some serious work to build on last seasons success.

From the video below you can see the sweat they're putting in, the strength staff doing an excellent job motivating, and the players are competing pretty intensely and throwing around some serious weight.