Brian Kelly to reporters: This whole conversation can be in a few words
Brian Kelly summed it up for reporters, who were asking multiple questions after Saturday’s scrimmage.
After fielding several questions, Kelly tried to make reporters aware of what this whole thing really boils down to.
Kelly stated politely, “Look, at the end of the day, this whole conversation can be in a few words, ‘Dayne Crist is getting better everyday.’ The rest of this other stuff, it’s good, but it’s really going to focus on Dayne’s ability and the upshot is ‘he’s doing a nice job.’”
The first-year Notre Dame head coach added, “More than everything else, we’ve learned how to practice in terms of fighting through the bumps and bruises. We’re still trying to find ourselves relative to what our strengths and weaknesses are. I think we are starting to focus on, in week 2, ‘who we are.’”
“We’re going to be able to run the football. That’s pretty clear after a week, that we have solid backs. The big question I have with Armando is could he answer the bell with every snap, and he has answered the bell.”
Notre Dame hosts Purdue on September 4th.
Holtz & Fitch want passing game to improve after 150 play scrimmage
Skip Holtz led the Bulls through a 150 play scrimmage on Saturday in Vero Beach.
Holtz said, “Kind of a tail of 2 halves. I thought we were somewhat lethargic, didn’t have a lot of energy, didn’t have a lot of passion. We went about 50 plays in the first half, kind of regrouped, decided we were going to get some things done in the second half.”
“Right now, we are a long way from being productive as an offensive football team. I made them drive 80 yards every time. With the penalties, dropped passes, miss an open receiver…inconsistencies in the passing game, I mean we have a lot of work to do, but they’re attitude is going and they are willing.”
Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch added, “First half…very very sluggish. I thought we were tentative a little bit. Second half, I thought we got more physical, more down-hill natured with our run game, which was good to see. We gotta make some plays in the passing game. I thought we had people open, and maybe, didn’t see them. Maybe open, didn’t catch ‘em. First scrimmage, passing game is always going to be a little an issue probably.”
“Probably the biggest thing I come out it (scrimmage) saying is that we gotta play with a little bit better tempo, better chemistry. Our running game has been better at that during camp, but didn’t really show it until the second half.”
A 200 play scrimmage in the SEC?
Petrino officially worked the dog out of the Hogs today.
On Friday, Arkansas beat writer Brandon Marcello tweeted, “Expect 100-plus plays (in Saturday’s scrimmage).”
Well, that number increased more than slightly. According to Marcello’s lunch-time tweet from today: “Approaching 200 plays in scrimmage. Most I've ever seen at Arkansas.”
We’ll have more on the Hogs and Petrino's latest quotes later on today.
Saturday morning - Coaches Quick Hits
Interesting quotes from around the country...
Quoting Western Michigan head coach Bill Cubit: "You have a chip on your shoulder. Why does [Brian Kelly] have that job and why am I down here? Because a couple breaks here and there. That's just the way it is. We want to make our mark at Western Michigan University and be a top-notch program. Have we got there yet? No. But it ain't for a lack of trying. And we're going to do it the right way too. I'm not going to bring in bad character guys, I'm not going to bring in guys that will sacrifice the values of this institution."
Quoting Brian Kelly: "I think security for your football team is very important. I don't believe that banning the NFL scouts from your team is going to help with the agent problem. I think that was more of a message, maybe, more than anything else. From our end, I'm not going to give into all of those kinds of messages. We are simply going to try to protect our kids and educate them on making good decisions. Our practices will be open to NFL scouts."
Quoting Paul Rhoads: (on poor tackling last season) "We control ourselves right before our hitting situation, so when a ball carrier makes a move, we're just not going to be grabbing air like a cartoon character," he said. "We didn't take good angles. Our eyes weren't in the right location."
"As I go from airport to airport recruiting or to places within the state, I get approached by more University of Iowa people complimenting us, how we conduct our program, how we're righting the ship and what we're doing with it. And emphatically they say, 'We're not changing over. But we're getting to the point where we'd like to see you have some success — every week other than one.' "
"Here's what I told our football team at the end of our first team meeting (in 2009). I said the expectations of the 2009 Cyclone football team are to win a bowl game. I was asked after we fulfilled that, did I really believe that was possible? It didn't matter. I had to set the bar so high that they expected it to take place."
Quoting Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini: "I anticipate a big jump (offensively). I've said it before, I'll say it again: I take some responsibility for it being what it was. We were playing really good defense. We got beat up on offense. People will say, 'Was it the quarterback position?' No, it was a lot of issues of why we did what we did.
"We kind of pulled back and said, 'Here's our formula for how we need to win football games right now.' I think you saw more what our true offense is, what we can be, in the bowl game, when we got healthy again. And, like I said, I might have overreacted a little bit and pulled back the reins a little too much.”
"I don't think we'll see that being the case again."
Quoting Dan Mullen: "Today should be one of the toughest days of the year for us. Everyone's tired, everyone should be tired. But if we can fight through it and improve, we've got a chance to be a pretty good team."
Quoting Marshall defensive coordinator Chris Rippon: "I think the unit, as a whole, has matured over the summer. They were very committed to the strength and conditioning program, came back in the kind of shape that showed they were ready to participate in preseason camp. It's impressive with the way they're attacking practice and carrying it through."
Memphis head coach Larry Porter post-practice interview:
Houston DC Brian Stewart putting premium on 1st Down
During the off-season, Kevin Sumlin hired former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator (2007-2008) Brian Stewart to direct the Cougars’ defense.
Citing the poor play in the past from the Houston defense, Sumlin admits, “We can’t be much worse.”
Now, over a week into summer camp, Sumlin says, "We're on the right path. I like what coach Stewart is doing as far as disguising coverages. We're not going to sit there and be a bend-but-don't break defense. We tried that. That didn't really work too well, so let's try something else. Put it this way: We can't be much worse."
Stewart explained his system by saying, "It's all based on attacking and putting pressure on the offense, be it pressure coming or the look of pressure. We're always going to have the feel that we're attacking."
According to Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle newspaper, “Stewart said the overriding philosophy is to get the offense off its schedule. He puts a premium on winning first down — be it by a sack, a stuffed run, or pressure that causes the quarterback to hurry a throw. That puts the defense in a position to go on the offensive- to dictate the terms of the possession.”
Houston begins the season by hosting Texas State and UTEP. Sumlin will then take the Cougars to the West Coast to play UCLA in the Rose Bowl. The season-finale is at Texas Tech.
Below, you can watch Case Keenum behind-the-scenes at ESPN. Keenum flew to Bristol, CT last week to film a number of segments for ESPN.
Joe Pa: I feel like saying 'Go jump in a lake'
Joe Paterno is done with his traditional Thursday night state-wide radio show.
Paterno explains, "It's a tough show for me, because I have to come right off the field to do it. If we have a lousy practice and somebody wants to ask me something [Paterno doesn't like], I feel like saying, 'Go jump in a lake.'”
"It's a pain in the rear end. I want to get home and start doodling, figuring out a couple of things for the game on Saturday. It does wear on you a little bit."
Good stuff, Joe Pa!
Penn State opens with Youngstown State before traveling to Alabama in week 2. Kent State and Temple follow the trip to Tuscaloosa.
Kiffin: I can't wait till September is all I'll say...
Lane Kiffin is featured in a Men’s Journal cover story titled, “Crunch Time for Boy Wonder.”
Here are 4 quite interesting quotes from Kiffin in the story:
“I could sit here and say, ‘Why did Oakland happen? Why did leaving Tennessee cause the trouble it did?’ Those things happened to prep me for this, to be a stable manager in a crisis. My model was Obama and his coolness under fire, the confidence he projects during disaster.”
“People ask if I can coach – well, isn’t recruiting coaching? You’re a lot smarter coach when you’ve got a bunch of All-Americans playing each other in practice every day.”
“Meanwhile, other schools are smelling blood, calling my juniors and seniors. They’re calling our recruits now, saying ‘SC’s done, they’re finished.’ I can’t wait till September is all I’ll say. They’re gonna see a fury coming at ‘em.”
“We’re still USC, still the team that others fear, and still the school that trains you for the NFL. We’re King Kong to deal with when we aren’t pissed off, and now we’ve got a chip on our shoulder.”
USC opens at Hawaii on Thursday night September 2nd. ESPN will broadcast the game.
Around the country - Friday afternoon
A few quotes, notes, and tweets from this afternoon:
Caldwell loses mustache…Arkansas beat writer tweets: “Then this: DE coach Steve Caldwell is sans mustache. Woke up two days ago & decided it was gone. First time without it since -- 1978!”
Quoting Urban Meyer: “If you set a rule, you have to enforce it. We want our players to do the right thing, but I’m not going to tell them they can’t Twitter.”
Quoting Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe: “We've been doing something we haven't done before by giving the freshman about as many reps as the upperclassmen. With that, I anticipate tomorrow we will probably make some mistakes, but the two practices will be about keeping the effort level high and getting everyone a lot of reps."
Quoting North Texas head coach Todd Dodge: “We are absolutely going to see more tackling in practice this year.”
Quoting TCU head coach Gary Patterson: "Overall, the group that has been most impressive is the quarterback and the wide receivers," he said after Tuesday's practice. "They're older; they're in great condition for the summer. They haven't stopped running since the first day of practice. Every day they've been at the top of their game."
New Mexico State head coach Dwayne Walker tweets: “The in-season twitter ban applies to me as well. Thanks for following and we'll talk after the season.”
Quoting Memphis head coach Larry Porter: "At the (offensive) line position, we definitely have a deficiency of depth. At the tight end position we have addressed that some. At the linebacker position I'm not as excited about our depth as I once was."
Iowa behind the scenes: