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Rutgers assistant blows out hammie, toughness being tested

Toughness has always been a staple of Greg Schiano’s program at Rutgers.  Now, the toughness of one of his assistants is being tested.

Rutgers defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley recently blew out a hammie.

Hafley, who joined the Rutgers staff this off-season after coming the last few years at Pitt, was limping quite noticeably today at practice.

Following practice, head coach Greg Schiano met with reporters and said, “Yeah, we have a coach on the IR.  We got him gimping around out there…treatment.  We gotta see if he’s tough.  We’ll see.”

Then Schiano unloaded, “When you spend a couple of years elsewhere, you get back to Jersey, we gotta find out if he’s tough enough.”

A reporter responded, “You soften up in Pittsburgh?”

A smiling Schiano responded, “I didn’t say that.  You were trying to set that up.  I’m not going to agree to that.  We don’t need that on their bulletin board.”

Schiano paused then added, “Born at night, but not last night.”

It was all fun and games.  Pick it up at the 2 minute mark…




Dan Mullen: The hierarchy on this staff is I'm one, he's two

Spring football is over at Mississippi State, so the next time Dan Mullen and his coaching staff can be hands on with the players is August 4th.

For now, Mullen will hand over the players to his most trusted staff member, head strength coach Matt Balis.

Mullen told Brad Locke of the Tupelo Daily Journal, "I tell people, the hierarchy on the football staff is I'm one, he's two. That, to me, is the hierarchy of this program, of how decisions are made, who people report to, how the program's run. You have to have somebody in that position that you trust."

"I trust Matt Balis with anything that I possess or own."

Admittedly, Mullen is a “control freak,” but going into his third year as head coach, Mullen says he’s changed a little bit.

"I'm probably more relaxed now than when I first came in. I maybe delegate some responsibilities a little bit better. I'm still kind of a control freak – I just like things done, and I like them done the right way. But I'm also much more relaxed in letting our coaches go coach, and I want to evaluate the effort that players give."

Coming off a 9-4 season, Mullen says the voluntary workouts are going to be critical.

"If we take some good strides forward between now and then, I think we'll have a great year," said Mullen. "If guys kind of go through the motions and they're not pushing themselves to the next level on their own, it'll be a long season for us."

The Bulldogs open at Memphis, at Auburn, then host LSU on Thursday night primetime.  

Today, Dan Mullen and athletic director Scott Stricklin talked about the future of Mississippi State football.  




Video: James Franklin cancels Vandy workout, opts for dodgeball

A couple of days out from the spring game, Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin opted for a team-building exercise instead of the usual day of training.

Franklin broke the surprising news during a team meeting.  As expected, the players were pretty jacked, but video shows that offensive line coach Herb Hand was equally fired up.

Herb goes wristbands, cut-off shirt, bank robbers jimmy hat, and looks dead serious.  And he’s talking s%*t.

We’ll assume that Franklin and Herb Hand were co-captains of “The Obliterators.”

Unfortunately, as seen in the video, Hand gets eliminated early.  Direct kill shot to the face.

But the kill shot to the face was a lot better than the one quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne received.  (That’s gonna take a few minutes to recover from.)

Overall, it looked like the players and coaches had a great time.

Vanderbilt will play their spring game on Sunday night at 7 pm EST.




Brian Kelly: This is about getting the QB's ready to win a championship

Brian Kelly will not make a decision on the starting quarterback until sometime during August.

Notre Dame will play their spring game on Saturday at 2 pm EST on Versus.  Kelly will be mic’d up.

Kelly said he’s not behind schedule with the quarterbacks just because he’s not going to name a starter.  The likely candidates are Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees, but even Everett Golson took snaps with the ones recently.

He explained, “No, I just think we need as much practice time as possible. I’m pleased with the progress they have all made. We want to win a championship. This is really about getting the quarterbacks in a position to win a championship.”

“No, we won’t say (after spring ball), you are one, you are two, you are three, you are four. We’ll tell them, these are the things, and our expectations, and you guys are in seven-on-seven and we’ll have a clear sheet of things we think they need to work on. There’s no way we would leave the spring game, unless something dramatic would happen, where we would say we have found our starter.”

Kelly added, “If I had Andrew Luck standing in front of you, I’d be very happy right now (laughing). For me, I don’t think I have a preconceived notion. I kind of deal with it. In dealing with it is, we have four guys who need a lot of work and need to continue to develop. I’ve been on the other side of this where we’ve had a quarterback who is clearly number one. It allows you to do a number of different things as well. I can adapt to whatever the situation is.”

The Irish open with South Florida in South Bend.

You can listen to Kelly's entire post-practice media session, right here.  




Brady Hoke didn't emphasize special teams this spring

For the first time since 1986, Dan Ferrigno isn’t coaching on the West Coast.

Since leaving Western Michigan in 1986, Ferrigno has coached at Oregon State, Cal, USC, Oregon, Cal, St. Mary’s HS, and San Diego State.  He’s a West Coast guy, born in San Francisco.

Now, he’s back in the state of Michigan serving as the special teams coordinator / tight ends coach for the Wolverines.

Unfortunately, based on Brady Hoke’s comments today, it doesn’t seem like the Wolverines spent an inordinate amount of time on special teams this spring.

Hoke told reporters, “You know, we didn’t do, besides some specialist things…catching balls and that type of stuff…we worked a little bit on some frontline kick-off return stuff to see who can sink their hips, who can get back and retreat the way you want them to and get on guys.  We’ve done some of that.  Most of the kicking game though has been in the field goal and extra point department, and punt.”

Michigan will play their spring game on Saturday.

You can watch another intertiew with Hoke, right here.

 




Tressel cleaning up Fly Sweep blocking scheme

When Ohio State hosts Akron in the season-opener, co-defensive coordinator / linebackers coach Luke Fickell will be leading the Buckeyes.

Until game week, things aren’t changing.  That's when the process will begin.

Jim Tressel told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, “The week of the game. You don't rehearse anything about the game until the week of the game. We don't do it in spring, we don't do it in preseason.  There probably will be very little differences before game week."

Fickell was recognized last season as the FootballScoop Linebackers Coach of the Year.

He said, “I'm sure there will be a gamut of emotions. But if you let yourself get drawn into those things and have them occupy your mind, that's not what I need to do. One of my strengths is to not allow my mind to be in those types of situations."

Fickell’s first full-time job was at Akron, where he coached the defensive line from 2000-2001.

It will be interesting to see if defensive grad assistant Anthony Jordan has an expanded role with the linebackers during the early part of the season.  Jordan was an All-MAC linebacker at Toledo before serving as a grad assistant for the Rockets and then serving as the special teams coordinator / linebackers coach for two years at Seton Hill University.

Breaking News: Somebody has to block the 9-technique on the Fly Sweep. (See the video - 1st play of Team Period yesterday)




Crazy stats involving turnovers in the SEC

Mr. SEC has done an impressive statistical analysis of the impact of turnovers on winning in the Southeastern Conference games.

In 37 of 49 SEC games last year, one team had fewer turnovers than their opponent.  The team with the fewer turnovers was 32-5.

How about this hardcore stat?

During in-conference games since 2007, SEC teams are 56-19 (75%) when not committing a turnover.  Commit 2 turnovers and your chances of winning drop to 45%.  Since 2007, when committing 2 turnovers, SEC teams are 40-47.

Props to Mr. SEC on this statistical breakdown.  You can see the entire turnover breakdown, right here.

Want more hardcore statistical breakdowns?  Check out the Slow Grind Defensive Efficiency Chart.

UPDATE: Unconfirmed, but we are hearing several grad assistants including Kevin Garver (Alabama), Eli Drinkwitz (Auburn),  Jeff Blasko (Florida), and Chino Fontonette (Tennessee) have already printed this article for their coordinators.  




Cubit emphasizing physical football this spring at Western Michigan

Western Michigan offensive line coach AJ Ricker understands the Broncos have to improve their run game efficiency in 2011.

Ricker, who coached the offensive line at St. Joseph’s College (IN) the last two years, joined Bill Cubit’s staff this off-season.

Over the last four years, Western Michigan hasn’t been able to consistently run the football.

Beginning last season, the Broncos finished 93rd nationally (125 ypg), 100th (112 ypg), 96th (116 ypg), and 86th (130 ypg).

Ricker told the Kalamazoo Gazette, “Our biggest thing coming into this spring is being more physical and tough, and I think we’ve had a real physical spring. My philosophy’s maybe a little different in years past. I want to re-create the line of scrimmage, move guys and it’s not an overnight success."

New wide receivers coach Josh Gattis is also emphasizing explosive downfield blocks.  Gattis joined Cubit's staff after serving as the offensive grad assistant at North Carolina.  

Gattis wants his players to have a swagger.  He told the Kalamazoo Gazette, “I think there’s something to be said about the receiver position obviously being divas. I think that’s an attitude that comes with that position. The younger guys now call it having that swag. I think that you’ve got to have it as a receiver. But the other aspect, coming from the other side, is you’ve got to play with an attitude and in our room, we talk about dominating every play, we talk about playing with an attitude to where we put fear into the opponent every time we line up out there.”

Western Michigan opens at Michigan.  The next four games are against Nicholls State, Central Michigan, at Illinois, and at UCONN.