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Rich Rod: The experience has made me hungrier for my next job

We are six months away from the job hunting season.  Undoubtedly, there will be a number coaching changes after the 2011 college football season.

One coach certainly hoping to get back in the profession is Rich Rodriguez.

Rich Rod told the Register Herald, “I hope I still have 10 or 15 years of coaching in me. The whole experience at Michigan has just made me hungrier for my next job.”

The athletic director that makes the decision to hire Rodriguez will be getting a coach that has led a program to four Big East championships and twice was honored as the Big East Coach of the Year.

He has also handled his departure from Michigan in a first-class manner.

Reflecting back on his Michigan experience, Rodriguez said, “The fans were really great. Even people I’ve talked to since January. There were some that were a little more impatient than others, but overall, the Michigan fans were terrific. But the administration wanted to go in a different direction. When athletic directors change, a lot of them want to bring in their own guys. That was probably the case with this one.”

Although Rich and his family are still living in Michigan, he says they may stay the summer in Naples, Florida, but admitted that West Virginia will always be home.

“My happiness usually is related to winning football games. So my first year was miserable. Things were a little better the second year. But it wasn’t like it was at West Virginia. West Virginia is my home. It always will be my home.”

Athletic departments getting creative to increase ticket sales

It’s an interesting idea and one that we haven’t seen before.  In early June, the University of Buffalo athletic department will host a 4 on 4 flag football tournament that will cost $150 (youth team) or $200 (adult team).

All participates will receive 2 tickets to a Buffalo home football game this season.  Although the weather is not always ideal in Buffalo, the Bulls’ averaged just 12,981 per home game last season.

The good thing is that the event will give the athletic department a chance to interact with fans, students, and the local weekend warrior.  There is even a co-ed division for the tournament, which will take place at the Buffalo football practice fields and inside UB Stadium.

The whole idea made us wonder how much money some of the larger schools in the country could raise by hosting a similar event. 

Could you imagine how many people would pay to play flag football inside Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, or even on the LSU practice fields? What about places like Ohio State, Wisconsin, or Texas?

Plenty of colleges now host Fantasy Camps for boosters and "Football 101" for women, but the 4 on 4 flag football tournament is a new idea.

Props to the Buffalo athletic department.  We hope the event turns out well.


Like everyone, USC is trying to sell tickets.  Check out the Trojans' strategy. 


Muschamp glad he answered call from an unknown number

Certain people love to say, “I don’t pick up my cell if it’s a number that I don’t recognize.”

Well, Will Muschamp is glad he did.

In December, while in Austin, Texas, Muschamp got a call that he’ll certainly remember for the rest of his life.

Muschamp explained to CBS reporter Brett McMurphy, "I got a phone call on my cell phone from a 352 area code. When I lived in Gainesville [as a kid] it was 904. So as I look at the cell phone and -- as a football coach you never turn down a call you get coming in because it might be the next great player -- I said, 'Hello.' He said, 'I'm looking for Will Muschamp. This is Jeremy Foley, athletic director at the University of Florida.”

"Well I've got a lot of buddies that like playing jokes, so I, of course, said 'What do you want?' He said, 'Maybe this isn't a good time. I can call you back.' I said, 'No, no, no. What do you want?' Thank goodness I didn't say what I would normally say -- or I may not be standing here right now. As I continued talking to him, I thought, ‘You know what? This sounds like Jeremy Foley.' So I said, 'Yes, sir, what do you need?'"

Muschamp’s first summer as the Gators head coach will be a busy one.  Florida will host a 4-day quarterbacks / individual camp, a 4-day OL / DL / individual camp, a 3-day kicking camp, and a 3-day youth camp.

Muschamp will personally coach the kickers, all day long, during the 3-day kicking camp.**

Something tells us that he’ll likely wind up in Omaha, about 9 rows up on the third base line doing an interview with Erin Andrews, assuming the #6 ranked Gators continue to mash.  Remember, this is the first year the College World Series won't be held at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium.  The classic gives way to TD Ameritrade Park.

** If you believe that, please seek help.  Immediately.


Sark and U-Dub take All-Access to a new level

Washington has taken All-Access to a new level.  Today, the Huskies released the helmet cam video, coupled with the audio, of quarterback Keith Price during the UW spring game.

You can listen to huddle calls like “Gun Flip Right Over, R Right, 50 quick on 1.”  You can also hear the quarterback cadence. (Something tells us Eastern Washington defensive line coach Ryan Sawyer will show this video to his players.) (Though, something tells us that it won’t give Eastern Washington any type of advantage in the season-opener).

Steve Sarkisian named Price his starting quarterback following spring ball.  Sark says, “Keith is to me very reminiscent of a Charlie Ward type player.  He plays the game as a point guard, distributes the ball very well.  Very accurate, throws a beautiful ball. He’s had a really good camp and has really come a long way for a redshirt sophomore.”

We just noticed that Price, as a first-year starter, faces a brutal road schedule that includes at Nebraska, at Utah, at Stanford, at USC, and at Oregon State.  No easy wins, there.


Brian Kelly: Notre Dame will be taken serious when...

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly was in Huntsville, AL today to speak to a Notre Dame alumni chapter when he dropped a line that will undoubtedly stick with his program.

Kelly made the statement, "Notre Dame will be taken serious when they beat an SEC team."

Asked when the Fighting Irish will win another championship, Kelly responded, “I don't think I have much time. I don't mind listening about the past. I think that's great and I don't mind being reminded about it. I don't like to mortgage my future. I like to live in the present. And in the present, we need to win at Notre Dame.”

"We need to win right now."

Notre Dame claims 11 national championships, the last of which came in 1988 under Lou Holtz.

It should be noted that while in Alabama, Kelly has donated $5,000 to the tornado relief efforts.

Notre Dame hosts South Florida to begin the 2011 season.  The cheapest seats in the house are going for $154 right now on StubHub.  Seats around the 50-yard line will run you at least $425 per ticket.


Mack Brown talks tailback problem, says Mike Leach is part of reason

Texas has been criticized over the last several years for not consistently lining up with one of the premier tailbacks in the country.  A lot of people look at Mack Brown and wonder how in the world can Texas, with all of their facilities and tradition, not have a stallion toting the rock.

Jamaal Charles was the last back to go over 1,000 yards when he went for 1,400 in 2007.  Before Charles, the biggest workhorse was Rickey Williams in 1998.  

Today, Mack Brown addressed the problem on Sirius/XM College Football Playbook with Mike Leach and Jack Arute.

Brown, in fun, said, “He (Leach) is part of the problem is a positive way.  So many people got so good in the league throwing the football.  It became a spread league.  Mike did a whole lot to start it.”

He added, “You get away from guys knocking people off the ball.  That’s why we hired Bryan Harsin.  We feel we need to go back and get some lineman in a 3-point stance.”

In February, Texas signed a 5-star tailback named Malcolm Brown from Steele HS (TX).  Longhorn fans are hoping he is the daddy, the tailback the program has been missing.

Texas opens against Rice, BYU, and then travels to UCLA.  


Related story: Texas, LSU, Auburn, and USC combine for only 5 players on Gil Brandt's Top 100 draft eligibles

Hardest working guys in football

Last week we spent some time at the DFO Spring Meeting in Dallas.  For the third straight year the event was well attended and the content continues to be excellent.  This year nearly 100 DFOs attended the meeting.  The meeting was very productive and everyone who attended seemed to share openly about what they are seeing and doing in the profession.  

This year, topics covered included agents, NCAA investigations, recruiting, technology, travel, calendars and an open sharing of ideas within the room.  

A couple of highlights from the meeting:

The NCAA, working hand in hand with a large number of schools, are working diligently to clarify the rules surrounding agents; however with the massive deficits that most states are facing it doesn't sound like many states have what they feel are sufficient funds to consistently enforce these rules and laws.  

On the recruiting front, Sherman Morris (Director of Player Personnel at LSU) gave a great talk about how LSU recruits (365 days a year). We believe that everyone in the room was impressed with Sherman's talk; although we're also quite sure that most in the room have a bit of a smaller budget than LSU affords.  With that said, LSU, and Coach Miles specifically, are big believers in technology.  As you see often on here, they put out some great marketing materials via the internet; but what Sherman shared with the room is that they also utilize a number of cutting edge technologies within the staff.  Sherman invited Mike Thrower, President of OTScout.com to join him in the presentation.  Thrower and his staff have developed some native iPad apps that are truly based on the iPad platform (rather than just an app that really is just showing things from a website) and not only did Thrower seem to impress everyone in the room, we hear the guys at Apple and most of the other technology companies in attendance were pretty impressed as well.  LSU is OT Scout's first football client (although Thrower also owns another software company that is thriving in other industries).  We spent a few minutes with Thrower looking at the build of his software and it truly is impressive.  If your coach is interested in adopting iPad's as part of your program, you should call Thrower to talk about what they are doing.  

With regards to other recruiting & compliance technologies discussed, there clearly has been a tectonic shift in service providers.  Some that were leaders a few years ago are practically gone now and there are some new leaders.  The use of video (both for marketing as well as for communicating with recruits) is more prevelant than ever.  Over the next few months we'll continue to bring you examples of what schools are doing.

Finally, we'd like to commend all of the Ops people who took the time to attend this meeting and we'd also like to thank their head coaches for supporting them.  

Todd Graham changing the culture at Pitt

Pitt football will have a different feel in 2011.  Todd Graham replaces Dave Wannstedt as head coach, but the Panthers also lost five key players that were selected in the NFL draft.

Gone are running back Dion Lewis, wide receiver Jon Baldwin, defensive ends Greg Romeus and Jabaal Sheard, and linebacker Jason Pinkston.

Building a new foundation, installing new schemes, and developing team chemistry will take time.  The 2-back power running game gives way to “High octane, fast temp, explosive, dynamic, powerful, unique, intense, innovate.” (Straight from the Pitt summer camps brochure)

Graham explained to Rivals, "We are not going to go from A to Z, not in one year. When I was at Rice, we went from A to G. When I went back to Tulsa, we went from A to M. We're hoping we can be somewhere in there."

"We will look very different from Year One to Year Four."

The new coaching staff is working to build a family atmosphere within the program.  GoPittFootball.com, an in-house website for the Panthers’ program, has a well-produced video revolving around the theme of “family.”

Graham’s first four games as the head coach at Pitt will come against Buffalo, Maine, at Iowa, and Notre Dame.

This summer, Pitt will host three separate 1-day prospect camps for high school campers, a 3-day individual camp for ages 12-18, a 1-day specialists camps for high school campers only, a 1-day “Big Man Challenge,” and 2-day team passing camp.


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