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Manny Diaz: There's a buzz around the place and no status quo feeling

You could totally sense the excitement of new Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz as he talked with 1300 am The Zone earlier today.

The Longhorns begin Spring practice today with five new assistant coaches.  On the defensive side, Diaz and former Alabama defensive line coach Bo Davis are the new faces.

Diaz said, “There is an exciting dynamic to that. There is sort of a buzz around the place. It really feels like, and I have been on brand new staffs with a first year head coach, it really has the same feeling here.  There’s not that status quo feeling.  It’s a little bit ‘Hey, how do we practice here?  Where’s the practice field?’ And everybody is out of their comfort zone again.  I think it’s good.”

What about the depth chart?

Diaz explained, “As long as you are honest and tell them the truth, that’s what the players want.  All we do is go off the film.  We don’t talk about who we like the best.  All we go by is production.  It doesn’t matter if they are coming off a successful season or not so successful season.  It’s still always about what you do next.”

Diaz said players need to know how things work in the NFL.  He says he has explained to the players, “You’re going to have to fire a guy, they already have a guy.  You’re going to have to put a guy on the street to try and take his job.  Anybody who doesn’t feel like waking up every morning and competing, in reality is not what we are looking for anyway.”

“My job is to make them all go the same speed.  I don’t want guys out there making decisions.  I’m not concerned so much about the scheme. I know they’ll get the scheme.  We don’t play today.  I’m more worried about great effort, great attitude, and getting fundamentally better.  I know we’ll have the right balance.”


Former Miami (OH) assistant coaches facing tough times

A number of assistant coaches that served on Mike Haywood’s staff at Miami (OH) are still searching for new jobs.

Most of the coaches were expected to follow Haywood to Pitt after helping Miami (OH) win 10 games including a convincing bowl win over MTSU.

Haywood, as you know, didn't last very long at Pitt.

When Miami (OH) hired former Michigan State offensive coordinator Don Treadwell as head coach, Treadwell retained only one staff member from Haywood’s regime.  Deland McCullough was promoted from offensive / special teams intern to running backs coach.

Former offensive line coach Bill Mottola told Cincinnati.com , "I understand what's going on, but I don't think everybody understands the actual human factor. I've applied for unemployment and food stamps and all that ... stuff I was hoping I would never have to do."

"It's tough to tell your kids. Look what happens when you work toward a goal, you reach it, then you're out of a job. You're not guaranteed anything."

Those coaches still searching for their next job include Mottola, Bill Elias (linebackers / assistant head coach), Carl Reese (defensive coordinator / linebackers), JD Vonderheid (tight ends), KiJuan Ware (running backs), and Antoine Smith (defensive line).

"People keep asking me if I'm mad, but I'm not," added Mottola. "I know the situation, and I still can't see myself doing anything but coaching. It's all I know."

As one of the coaches told FootballScoop, “I’m not so much worried about me as I am my little one.  Not know what’s next is difficult.”

Let’s hope these coaches land jobs in the next few weeks.

Richardson confused, Stinespring explains changes, Dan Disch on his plan

Miami (FL) running backs coach Terry Richardson confused by decision of previous staff: “My thinking about that is, and I told Storm the same thing, with the amount of work he got last year, with the guys they had, he would have been better off redshirting.”

“If you burn [a redshirt year], he’s probably got to get a little bit more work than nine carries. …If you burn it, you’re burning it for a reason with a guy that young. That’s just my opinion. I’m not knocking [the previous coaching staff]. They probably had their reasons, whatever it may be. That’s just how I see the situation.”


Virginia Tech offensive coordinator / tight ends / tackles coach Brian Stinespring talks about staff moves: "I think it’s one of those situations that presents itself that you study and look at yourself and address what’s best for your program. How can you improve your program? What needs to be done to enhance your program? About three or four indicating factors within our quarterback system, with additional responsibilities and endeavors, I think it fits us right now. I think it’s the best for us right now."

"In the final analysis, that’s what you’re looking to do, what’s best. What’s best for your program and the young men you’re entrusted to put in a position for success. That’s No. 1. That’s who we are, what we do. This is one of those areas we looked into not for the first time, this is not a new area, we’ve discussed it before, it is not a world changing event in any way shape or form."


Southern Miss co-defensive coordinator / safeties coach Dan Disch says the Golden Eagles “D” will attack and dictate: "I get tired of getting dictated to. These modern offenses, man, they kind of tell you what to do. We're going to try to tell them. We're going to try to dictate to them more than being dictated to."

"I can close my eyes and visualize what I want. I want what all these fans want. I want a defense that runs around and is aggressive and rough, don't let them get in the end zone.

"We're going to attack, come from all different areas. We're not going to sit in anything for very long. We're going to try to be multiple and dictate to them."

Kragthorpe focused on utilizing playmakers with weekly packages

LSU offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe today stressed the importance of creating packages weekly to get the ball into the hand of the Tiger’s playmakers.

Kragthorpe, who is keeping the terminology installed from previous coordinator Gary Crowton, believes the key to a good working relationship with the head coach is communication.

“It’s communication.  Philosophically, we are on the same page,” explained Kragthorpe.  “We are going to be a strong power running team.  We’ll have a quick strike play-action game.” 

“We’re going to keep the same terminology here.  We’ll bring in some of the ideas I have.  To me, the biggest thing is the put the ball in the playmaker’s hands .  We have to have packages to put the ball in the playmakers hands and attack the defensive weaknesses.”

Kragthorpe plans to call the game from the press box.  He explained, “You have a better view from there.  It’s a little bit more sterile environment.  From a communication standpoint, I can get the things I need to get done.”

What about having one quarterback or using a 2-quarterback system?

“Either or.  If we have more than one that is capable of taking us to where we want to be, I’m not opposed to that.”

The Tigers will open the 2011 season against Oregon at Cowboys Stadium.  The other three non-conference games include Northwestern State, at West Virginia, and Western Kentucky.


Dan Mullen explains new challenge for his staff

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen does not want his players to have any sense of entitlement or overconfidence as the Bulldogs head into Spring practice.

Mullen explained this morning on 790 The Zone in Atlanta, “We have really good focus.  One of things we have to deal with now is dealing with success.  A lot of our players have not had to deal with success before.  Now, we’re getting everyone pat them on the back when they are walking to class now.  They’ve dealt with adversity.  They’ve dealt with everyone telling them what we can’t do.”

“It’s a little bit of a challenge.  We’re worked awfully hard to win 9 games last year, but I don’t want to be satisfied with 9 wins.  We have to work that much harder this year.  There is some confidence in our team.  There are some guys that now believe…that maybe before didn’t believe they could do some things that they are doing right now.”

“Now, we have to defend against that overconfidence, that sense of entitlement.  We try to squash that in our off-season program very quickly and remind them how hard they have to work.”

“Our goal is to find a way to get to Atlanta.  That is one thing that we can control.  Find a way to win the SEC West and get to Atlanta.”

The 2011 non-conference schedule for Mississippi State include at Memphis, LA Tech, at UAB, and UT-Martin.

So who exactly is now coaching at Nebraska?

It’s been an interesting off-season at Nebraska, where head coach Bo Pelini has made several staff changes.

So who exactly is now coaching at Nebraska?

Carl Pelini remains and the defensive coordinator.  John Papuchis remains as the special teams coordinator / defensive line coach.  Papuchis has added the title of recruiting coordinator.

Tim Beck, who coached the running backs last season, is the new offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach.  Beck will serve as the play-caller.

Beck says, “You can't be afraid to start over…junk everything and get a system in place. A mistake of a lot of football coaches that coach a lot of years in a lot of different places, they tie in so many different philosophies, techniques and verbiage and it becomes a bunch of stuff."

Barney Cotton remains as the offensive line / associate head coach.  Ron Brown shifts from tight ends to running backs.

The Rivers School (MA) head coach Rich Fisher joined the staff as wide receivers coach.  Fisher coached at Idaho from 1999-2003.  From 2004-2009, he operated the New England Gridiron Football Camps.

Pelini promoted staff intern John Garrison to assistant offensive line / tight ends coach.

After a roughly 2-week stay in Bloomington, Corey Raymond joined the staff as defensive backs coach.  Raymond coached the corner at Utah State last season.  He was hired at Indiana, but shortly thereafter opted to join the Nebraska staff.

Ross Els, who served as the linebackers / assistant head coach at Ohio University this past season, accepted the linebackers job.

No longer on the staff are Shawn Watson (Louisville), Ted Gilmore, Marvin Sanders, Mike Ekeler (Indiana).

The 2011 season begins with four consecutive non-conference games for the Huskers.  Nebraska plays Chattanooga, Fresno State, Washington, and travels to Wyoming.   

Quick Hits: Tracy Rocker, David Shaw, David Lee, Mizzou mat drills

Tracy Rocker admits he was shocked the Titans hired him as defensive line coach: "I never knew. I've never been one of those guys who politicked for a job. I guess I always felt if I was doing something right, someone would notice. So when Coach Munchak called and said he wanted to bring me in for an interview I was shocked. And I'm still shocked to this day I've been (hired).”

"The No. 1 thing is I am always looking for leadership … and the next is to go to work. Stop talking and get better at your craft and be willing to perform every week at a high level. The hardest thing at being a good player is can you do it the next week, and the week after that? You have to be consistent, and that is what I strive for.''


Stanford head coach David Shaw closing spring practice to focus on going to the next level: “We had one spring practice that was open for everyone to see. Now they’re all closed. Now it’s time to see who’s tough, who wants to rise.”

“When you reach that championship level, you don’t just sit there and enjoy it. You make it harder on yourself. Then you see who’s tough.”

Ole Miss offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach David Lee says Houston Nutt will improve his game management with subtraction of play-calling role: “I remember being a head coach way back 100 years ago. When I took over play-calling, I felt like I really didn't know what we were doing defensively, not like I should have. I didn't have time to look at the kicking game or the opponent's kicking game. I was planning, coordinating, calling plays and coaching quarterbacks.”

“I can remember being mentally stressed and tired from wearing all those hats when November hit. I think this will give him a chance to improve his game management as a head coach, to call the shots and manage the game. He can oversee defense and the kicking game.”


Highlights of Missouri mat drills:


Frank Beamer hammered with questions about staff changes

Frank Beamer announced this morning that quarterbacks coach Mike O’Cain will serve as the play-caller next season instead of offensive coordinator Brian Stinespring.

Today’s announcements conclude a number of changes this off-season to Beamer’s coaching staff.  In all, veteran running backs coach Billy Hite moves to assistant to the head coach / senior advisor.  Outside linebackers / strong safeties coach Jim Cavanaugh moves to director of high school relations & recruiting.

Shane Beamer was added to the staff as running backs / associate head coach.  Cornell Brown joins the staff as outside linebackers / assistant defensive line coach.  Stinespring will continue to serve as the offensive coordinator / tight ends coach, but he will now coach the tackles as well.  Offensive line coach Curt Newsome will now serve as the center & guards coach.

This afternoon, Beamer was hammered with all sorts of questions regarding his changes.

Beamer downplayed the play-calling change by saying, "To me, it’s not as big a deal as maybe you guys would make it out to be.”

According to Beamer, the decision to change play-callers was Stinespring’s decision.

Beamer explained, "One thing would be play-calling. That came about in sitting down with Bryan (Stinespring) and talking about it. Mike O'Cain meets with the quarterbacks every day, and I think having that guy that meets with them every day and is watching video and watching video of the last game, I think in the big picture, actually having that guy be the primary play-caller ... sometimes you’d run into a situation where you're watching film of the upcoming team and it's third-and-10 and it's, 'Logan, what would you like in this situation?' I think coach O'Cain has that opportunity.”

“Now let me say, Coach Stinespring did that every Friday night at the hotel with Tyrod. But I think meeting with the guy every day, sometimes you get more in tune with what your quarterback likes in certain situations. He knows why you're calling things in certain situations. I just think it’s kind of more open in that regard, so that's the reason. And Coach Stinespring was the guy to decide it, and that's the reason we ended up going that way."

Beamer also explained, “It wasn’t like I didn’t want Billy Hite around or didn’t want Jim Cavanaugh around. I did want them around. They’re valuable, valuable people to Virginia Tech football. If they wouldn't have been around, I wouldn't want to do this. If either one of them weren't going to stay around Virginia Tech football, I wouldn't have wanted to do this."

The press conference transcript is available here.  It’s pretty interesting and includes his reasoning for Bud Foster not getting the associate head coach title.