The DII SEC West
This offseason six schools left the DII Gulf South Conference to form the Great American Conference. Thus, the Gulf South is left with only 5 schools (Delta State, North Alabama, Valdosta State, West Alabama and West Georgia).
Speaking honestly, West Alabama's first year head coach Will Hall said, "No offense to anyone; but that was four, five or six wins you could count on each year. What's left is like the SEC West."
Hall takes over a team that went 7-4 last season; although the 4 losses came by a combined nine points. In an interview this weekend, Hall said the biggest difference between himself and former head coach Bobby Wallace was that, "He (Wallace) is one of the most patient people I have ever met and I am probably one of the most impatient...Every team takes on the attitude of it's head coach. Our team will take on the attitude of being impatient."
Senior wide receiver Gerald Worsham said, "It (last season) was very frustrating, we knew we could do better and we were nine points away from maybe being No. 1....We've never had much senior leadership and Coach put this right into the seniors' hands."
Hall and West Alabama open the season Thursday night at South Alabama. The "SEC West" portion of the schedule comes late as they play all four conference opponents between weeks 7 and 10.
Work backups in to keep your #1s fresh
Last season USC's defense got worn down. Going into game 1, Lane Kiffin says he plans to play a number of backups on defense throughout the game.
"We're going to play a lot of guys...We don't want to happen what happened last season in which 3 times our opponents drove the field 60 yards and scored to beat us the last time they had the ball."
Kiffin says he'd rather play some backups throughout the game to ensure that his starters aren't gassed at the end of each game.
Middle linebacker Chris Galippo said, "The difference between playing 40 plays and playing 75 plays, when it's the fourth quarter in a two-minute situation, it's huge."
Kiffin explains his thinking in this video (skip the first 1 minute which is injury update and announcing the captains).
Missouri defensive coordinator Dave Steckel is one of the best at getting his players to do what he asks of them.
Stec teaches his players to understand that this is their defense, "Not my defense."
Senior linebacker Will Ebner said of Stec who served in the Marine Corps in the mid 70's, "He's got that military background, which you can sense and feel...but, when you're off the field, he's the first one to give you a hug and love you up. When you have a coach like that who you can connect with and you can love off the field, it makes it that much easier to play for him and do what he asks of you on the field.
Dave Matter of the Columbia Tribune wrote a great article on Steckel this weekend.
One note that we found interesting, Stec is one of 5 coaches currently on the Mizzou staff that played Center in college. Matter asked Stec how good he was in college, "They'd all be sitting on the bench if we were on the same team together," he joked.
Missouri opens up Saturday with Miami (OH) at home.
Here's a short video of Stec coachin'em up.
Only one game tonight, MNF.
All times Eastern.
Jets vs. Giants - 7PM - NFL Network
USC Depth Chart
Well done Lane. Late Sunday night Coach Kiffin released his depth chart for the game this weekend vs. Minnesota.
11 on offense and 11 on defense, right? Well, not exactly.
On offense, 5 positions (LG, RG, TE, FB and RB) all included multiple names. In the case of running back, Kiffin listed four guys, "Baxter, McNeal, Morgan and Carlisle". 4 at LG, 3 TEs. Well played Coach.
On the defensive side of the ball, it's more of the same. DE, all 3 of the LB positions, SS and CB all have "or" involved in announcing the first teamer.
Situational football. Can you blame him?
Another light day today; but the real action begins later this week...
By our count it looks like 15 college games on Thursday night alone. Some quality games too!
Saints at Oakland - 8PM - NBC
Glenbard West (IL) at Wheaton Warrenville South (IL) - noon - ESPN2
Cocoa (FL) at Colerain (OH) - 3PM - ESPN
The Longhorn Network
The Longhorn Network launched last night...and we're betting you didn't see it.
In fact, nationwide, only about 20,000 people even had access to it (none of them in Central Texas).
Beginning September 1st, the joint venture between the University of Texas and ESPN, the network is expected to be available in nearly 4 million homes within the state.
Programming this weekend includes three live volleyball games, a live women's soccer match, replays of 10 "classic" UT football games played over the last 40 years and yes, the inaugural episode of "Texas All Access" which offers behind the scenes footage of the football program.
Yesterday it was announced that no other cable news channels (presumably not to include the Worldwide Leader which is a partial owner of the Longhorn Network) would be allowed to broadcast Mack Brown's postgame or his Monday news conferences live.
Also yesterday, the NCAA came out with the following statement regarding the Longhorn Network's ability to show high school athletic content:
The NCAA is monitoring content on the Longhorn Network and its news coverage of high school sports. With respect to NCAA bylaws as the Association has continued to review the issue, acceptable content is limited to scores, statistics, standings and news video used to report those details.
We will continue to monitor the Longhorn Network to determine if the content is produced within those guidelines.
Today we're introducing a new "news" feature in which we'll bring you updated daily TV listings for live broadcasts only. We rely on published reports for this data. All times shown are Eastern.
Patriots at the Lions - 8PM - CBS
St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) vs. Prattville (Ala.), in Hoover, Ala. - ESPN - noon
South Panola (Miss.) at Hoover (Ala.) - ESPN - 3:30
Sulphur Springs (Texas) at Denton Ryan (Texas) - ESPN - 7
Pleasant Grove (Calif.) at Monterey Trail (Calif.) - ESPN2 - 10