Kevin Sumlin defends CUSA, not interested in two-for-ones anymore
Kevin Sumlin is set to enter his fourth season at Houston. Under Sumlin, the Cougars have finished 8-5, 10-4, and 5-7.
Expectations are high in Houston this season with the return of Case Keenum and a defense that enters their second season in the 3-4 under defensive coordinator Brian Stewart.
Sumlin, however, doesn’t expect any sort of cake walk to the Conference USA championship.
He told Sports 56 in Memphis during CUSA Media Day, “I said it and people think I’m nuts, but this league is getting better and better every year. You look at the final AP poll last year…two teams in the final Top 25. And there’s one league that didn’t have any, a big six league.”
(Nice work, Big East)
Houston opens the season by hosting UCLA. It’s the middle game in a two-for-one series that sends the Cougars back to Pasadena next season.
Sumlin is hoping it’s the last two-for-one he plays as the head coach at Houston.
He said, “Within a 60-mile radius of campus, we’ve done a study and over the course of the last three signing classes, in that 60-mile radius every year there have been between 100-108 players sign D1 scholarships.”
“Quite honestly, with the 105 players or so in the area, there is a little bit of an incentive for people to come and play in Houston. We try to market that and we try to market our brand of football. We think we ought to play home & home series with just about anybody.”
Video facility tour: FSU strength center - "Fear the Spear"
Florida State released a video today highlighting head strength coach Vic Viloria and the Seminoles’ strength facility.
Viloria joined the FSU staff when Jimbo Fisher took over for Bobby Bowden. He previously served as the head strength coach at SMU and an assistant strength coach at LSU.
Viloria explains, “Everything that we do through Coach Fisher’s vision of where our team is headed, is about creating an attitude and an atmosphere.”
“Our motto is “fear the spear.” And this is where they come to sharpen the spear.”
There shouldn’t be a lack of motivation in the ‘Noles strength facility.
Viloria says, “You can hear the war chant jamming. We have this room rockin'. We want to create that atmosphere. We want to create the environment that it’s time to go to work. It’s time to train, no matter what. These next 45 minutes or hour training session will be the best I’ve ever had. Every single day, that’s what our athletes come to do. That’s what we demand. That’s what Coach Fisher demands.”
Check out the video:
Butch Jones defends chest bumps when trailing
Talking about awkward…
Tim Adams of Bearcat Lair asked Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones to comment on the chest bumps that Cincinnati coaches and players partake in, even when the team is trailing by two or three touchdowns. (Apparently, the chest bumps are quite annoying to the Bearcat fans.)
Jones responded, “First of all, I’m a very passionate individual and so are our coaches. I think it’s very important to bring a high energy level to the field. Also, college football is a grind, and with eighteen, nineteen and twenty-year-old individuals, I think you still have to make it fun.”
“The Wall Street Journal did a study on ‘high fives’ and chest bumps as did the University of Cal-Berkley. The teams that do those types of things are usually successful and have great team chemistry. You win with team chemistry. We’ve done this before, and we know what it takes. It’s an infectious attitude, a mentality, a passion for what you’re doing. When you’re 4-8, everyone is looking at someone or something to blame, but that’s the way we’re going to do things. The program will be centered on passion and energy.”
Research indicates that winning teams touch more, evident by these stats about the Dallas Mavericks.
Cal-Berkeley scientist Michael Krause found, “With few exceptions, good teams tended to be touchier than bad ones. The most touch bonded teams were the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers … and at the bottom were the mediocre Sacramento Kings and the Charlotte Bobcats. The same was true, more or less, for players. The touchiest player was Kevin Garnett, followed by Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer.”
Butch Jones added, “When you have a passion, a commitment and an energy level to be the best, it leads itself to have the work ethic, discipline, willingness to sacrifice and the overall effort that goes into being successful. Because of this, an individual and team will be able to persevere through any obstacle or situation that presents itself not only through the course of a game but throughout the course of a long season as well.”
Cincinnati opens the season against Austin Peay. The next three games are at Tennessee, Akron, and NC State. The NC State game is the ESPN Thursday night primetime game.
Keep an eye on the chest bumps and high fives.
ESPN already working on 2012 season-opener
ESPN is already working on the 2012 television schedule and the “World Wide Leader” wants Vanderbilt.
According to The Tennessean, ESPN is hoping to kick-off the 2012 season by airing the Vanderbilt vs. South Carolina game on a Thursday night from Nashville.
This year’s season-opener on ESPN will feature UNLV at Wisconsin. We may watch Mississippi State at Memphis instead, which airs on Fox Sports Net.
Vanderbilt vice-chancellor of athletics David Williams said, “This was an SEC request. They really wanted us to play South Carolina on that first weekend.” (Translation: ESPN wants Marcus Lattimore, Jadaveon Clowney, Spurrier, and the SEC.)
In order for the game to occur, Vanderbilt will have to shift its already scheduled game against Presbyterian College to another date or future year. In other words, Vanderbilt will be booting the Blue Hose in the next few weeks.
For those interested, here’s the latest from Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin.
Skip Holtz heading 165 miles east with his team for camp
For the second consecutive year, Skip Holtz is opting to hold part of August camp away from campus.
South Florida will spend eleven days in Vero Beach, where the Los Angeles Dodgers host their spring training.
Holtz explained the decision, “It was a great experience for us last year coming there for the first time. There were a number of reasons why. It is a zero-distraction place for our staff and our team.”
“The other thing is it's so convenient. The setup of the place with the dorms, the dining hall, the meeting rooms, the locker room and the practice fields are all pretty much within a 200-yard circle. And you've got 150 people living together for 11 days within 200 yards of each other, it will build some togetherness.”
“The combination of all of those things — I felt like we grew together when we there, we got better as a football team and I felt that was invaluable to the success we were able to have last year."
South Florida opens at Notre Dame on September 3. After returning from South Bend, the Bulls will host Ball State, FAMU, and UTEP.
Kirk Ferentz: If a guy can't facebook, he can't coach
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz hasn’t had to replace many assistant coaches during his tenure at Iowa.
In fact, when August camps begins this week, the Hawkeyes’ coaching staff will be one of seven staffs in all of D1 football that has the same nine assistant coaches as they did at the start of the 2009 season.
If Ferentz did have to make a new hire, one of the prerequisites might surprise you.
During Big Ten media day, Ferentz explained, “In the old days, you use to hire coaches based on communication skills, what they know about coaching football. Now, the number one requisite is facebook. If the guy can’t facebook, he can’t coach. Sad commentary, I know.”
Not exactly a technology enthusiast, Ferentz’ facebook page isn’t exactly filled up. He joked, “No, not yet. Working on it.”
To be honest though, it's not a joking matter for assistant coaches. Have you seen the comments from UCONN offensive coordinator / tight ends coach George Deleone?
The other six coaching staff that will be the same this week as at the start of the 2009 season are Missouri, Oregon, Penn State, TCU, Washington, and Army.
Bob Toledo: It's time to win. I'll say it. We got to win.
Bob Toldeo is set to enter his fifth season as the Tulane head coach. It’s also the last year on Toledo’s original five-year contract.
Toledo believes, “It’s time to win.”
In his first four seasons at Tulane, Toledo has led the Green Wave to final records of 4-8, 2-10, 3-9, and 4-8. Of course, he did inherit a program in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Co-offensive coordinator / running backs coach Greg Davis Jr. believes Tulane has been smart to give stick with Toledo, pointing to the days when his father, Greg Davis, was dismissed as Tulane head coach after four years.
Greg Davis Jr. explained to the Times-Picayune, “(About the time) when my dad was hired here at Tulane, Frank Beamer was hired at Virginia Tech, Dan McCarney was hired at Iowa State. My dad was let go in year four, the other two were almost fired in year five. But they gave them one more year and all the sudden they sustained it. Now Beamer’s been there 20-something years, Dan McCarney was there 10, 11 years whatever at Iowa State and went on a five-year bowl deal, but they built it the right way. It takes a little time to do it, but Coach Toledo is doing it the right way … so it takes a little time.”
Toledo said, “Now it’s no longer good enough just to be competitive in a lot of peoples’ opinions, including mine. It’s time to win, and I’ll say it. We’ve got to win. It’s time to win, it’s time to get to a bowl game.”
The Green Wave opens with Southeastern Louisiana. A week later, Tulane will host Tulsa in the conference opener. The next three games are on the road against UAB, Duke, and Army.
By the way, have you seen Tulane's season-ticket marketing promo? It's actually pretty cool, so check it out.
Gary Patterson explains the most important thing about great defense
What’s the identity of your defense going to be?
August camp is right around the corner and that’s the question most defensive coordinators will be sorting out during camp.
The best coaches will get the most out of their talent and tailor their schemes to fit their personnel. It’s something TCU has done extremely well over the last ten years, five of which the Horned Frogs have led the nation in total defense.
Head coach Gary Patterson carefully explained to the Star Telegram the reason for the traditionally strong and successful defensive units at TCU. The Horned Frogs have always based out of the 4-2-5, but adjusted the philosophy each year to fit the players' strengths.
Patterson said, “We have tradition, so that's something we talk about, and we talk about it in recruiting. But out on the field now we're a whole new defense again. We did it differently all five times.”
“In 2000, we had 10 NFL guys and we hardly blitzed at all, playing base defense and only blitzed 6 percent of the time. In 2002, our personnel was different and we man-blitzed 43 percent of the time. In 2008, we were a zone-blitz, two shell team, that's what we did the best. In 2009, we were a four-man rush team because we could run. In 2010, 50 percent of the time we held offenses to three and out. When you get teams down to six possessions you're going to have a chance to win. You just have to find what you're good at.”
“Last year we weren't very good in red-zone defense. The key was, teams didn't get there, so it didn't make any difference. Our whole thing comes down to how many touchdown passes do you give up in a year. We want to average one a game. The last three years we've allowed eight, 10 and 10. We're going to have people in the box to stop the run. Stopping the run and don't give up big touchdown passes, don't give up the big play.”
TCU opens at Air Force, then travels to Baylor.