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The best graphics in college football

Last night the tweet below from Tom VanHaaren, ESPN recruiting analyst, caught my eye. 

Last April I visited Ohio State and when I walked into director of player personnel Mark Pantoni's office I immediately noticed all of the graphics he had on the wall. I told Pantoni at the time that their graphics were some of the best I've seen anywhere and he promptly introduced me to Sammy Silverman, a former Ohio State student, who does all of the graphics for Ohio State football..and by the looks of his twitter feed, might also be helping Ohio State basketball out now as well. Since then I've frequently seen Silverman's work featured by the Ohio State staff and it's clearly some of the best graphic work in all of college football. 

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 Ok, pick your chin up. Yeah, those graphics are sick. 

Step 1, call your head coach into your office (or perhaps walk down to his).

Step 2, you guys think about how much having access to a graphics stud like this would help you guys market the program to recruits and energize your current players...and donors.

Step 3, go find your own Sammy. He's out there...probably on campus somewhere or just off campus trying to find someone who can help him put his creative energy and passion to work.

Ok, now back to Tom's original tweet...I said that Sammy's work is easily in the top 5 in FBS. Over the past few years I've seen some really impressive graphics at LSU, Alabama, USC and Miami is pushing out some cool new graphics of late as well. But I'm wondering, am I missing anyone? 

Help me out, if your graphics person routinely pumps out great stuff send me a link or some pictures. I'd love to share with everyone. Email us at [email protected] or even easier, tweet it at us @FootballScoop

 Send us your input and I'll circle back to this later this week. Thank you




Video: One of the most intense spring game hype videos you'll see

If new Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin wasn't satisfied with the intensity of his team's spring practices, he had a two-step process to fix it. First, he opened up Bronco Stadium and let a new set of orange and blue-clad eyeballs watch. Then, he and his fellow coaches got out of the way.

"There's definitely a lot more energy, I think that's the big thing. You've got people watching and cheering," said Broncos quarterback Grant Hedrick. "And another big difference is you don't have the coaches coaching you every play. You've got to go out and play like it's a real game."

Boise State will host the first spring game of the Harsin era on Saturday, and the Broncos want 20,000 in attendance. 




Photos: Florida State's championship rings are in, and they're pretty sweet

To the victor goes the spoils - and lots and lots of tiny little diamonds.

Florida State quarterback Sean Maguire posted a photo of the Seminoles' championship rings on Tuesday, and they're pretty darn impressive. The Seattle Seahawks' rings will surely appraise for more money, but only in college football do the winners of the whole shebang get three rings - one for winning the ACC, one (the dull one) from the BCS itself, and the center ring designed by the Florida State staff. 




Video: Les Miles kisses a pig

The title really says it all, but here it is. Les Miles kisses a pig.

As he explains here, Miles was asked to kiss a pig for a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of LSU. "Kissing a pig is not the worst thing I've ever done," says Miles.




Mic'd up with new North Carolina assistant Seth Littrell

Before he was one of the hottest coaching acquisitions in the ACC, Seth Littrell was a reserve running back for an Oklahoma program that had lost its way. Then, following Littrell's sophomore season, the Sooners hired Florida defensive coordinator Bob Stoops as head coach, and he hired a staff that included Mike Leach as offensive coordinator, Mike Stoops as defensive coordinator and Mark Mangino as offensive line coach.

Oklahoma won the national championship in 2000, and Littrell graduated that same year. His coaching career began as a graduate assistant at Kansas working for Mangino in 2002. By 2005, he was the running backs coach at Texas Tech under Leach. In 2009, he moved to Arizona, this time coaching under Mike Stoops, where he coached running backs, tight ends, h-backs and coordinated the offense. After a coaching change in Tucson, another Bob Stoops connection found Littrell at Indiana under former Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, working as offensive coordinator, tight ends and fullbacks coach.

Coaching players like Rob Gronkowski and Nick Foles, and coordinating an offensive uprising in Bloomington, Indiana, of all places, pulled Littrell out of the Bob Stoops coaching tree for the first time, as North Carolina hired him away to replace new Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson as assistant head coach for offense and tight ends coach. 

North Carolina caught Littrell in action for a recent Tar Heels practice, where he spread his wisdom beyond just the tight ends, and ended with him calling plays during a live session. 




Video: Can your specialists do this?

The trick shot video was born when quarterbacks like Johnny McEntee (former UConn quarterback) and Alex Tanney (from D-III Monmouth) took the internet by storm a few years ago. The trend has helped make the guys at Dude Perfect pop culture sensations, and every trick shot video to come out since has captivated a nation of sports fanatics.

This morning this video was sent to us (from an unidentified high school) and it might be the most impressive trick shot I have ever seen...and it comes from a kicker.

Notice that the ball starts flat on the ground, the kicker uses his feet to give it some spin, and then punches a thirty yard field goal (give or take some distance). Very impressive.

We all know how hard specialists work during spring ball, but it would be great to get a submission of one of your guys who can duplicate this. Challenge issued.

UPDATE >> Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee (who has tied the NFL record for 50+ yard field goals in a season with 3) issued a rather direct response to our challenge. His rebuttal can be seen below the clip.

UPDATE 2 >> South Carolina holder / punter Patrick Fish accomplished the trick-kick last year. See the video at the bottom of the page.

 




Reminder why you can never recruit enough running backs

Adam Schefter tweeted something on Tuesday that sent a shooting streak of pain through the hearts of Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders and their contemporaries.

 There's a reason, of course, that running backs are now less valuable than those damned specialists.

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That graph charts all running backs since 2001 with at least four years experience that tote the rock at least 75 times in a season versus wide receivers with at least 50 catches per season. 

Running backs are now viewed as a depreciating asset, and the market has responded. Not a single running back was taken in the first round of last year's NFL Draft, ESPN notes, and the highest projected pick in the upcoming Draft is Ohio State's Carlos Hyde... in the middle of the second round. 

The college game has already seen its evolution away from the workhorse era. For every Andre Williams racking up 355 carries, there were three or four schools like Baylor, who rotated among a menu of ball carriers throughout the season. It was that deep stable allowed Bears running backs coach Jeff Lebby to take home our 2013 Running Backs Coach of the Year award, similar to previous winners Frank Wilson (LSU, 2011) and Jim Mastro (Nevada, 2010). 

Nick Saban deserves some credit here, too. He signs a handful of elite running backs seemingly annually, and he pitches to each one of them the prospect of playing time with the promise that they won't be overworked. Obviously, that arrangement has worked well for the Crimson Tide.

2008
Glen Coffee - 223 carries, 1,383 yards (5.9 avg), 10 TDs
Mark Ingram - 143 carries, 728 yards (5.1 avg), 12 TDs

2009
Mark Ingram- 271 carries, 1,658 yards (6.1 avg), 17 TDs
Trent Richardson - 145 carries, 751 yards (5.2 avg), 8 TDs

2010
Mark Ingram - 158 carries, 875 yards (5.5 avg), 13 TDs
Trent Richardson - 112 carries, 700 yards (6.3 avg), 6 TDs

2011
Trent Richardson - 283 carries, 1,679 yards (5.9 avg), 21 TDs
Eddie Lacy - 95 carries, 674 yards (7.1 avg), 7 TDs

2012
Eddie Lacy - 204 carries, 1,322 yards (6.5 avg), 17 TDs
T.J. Yeldon - 175 carries, 1,108 yards (6.3 avg), 12 TDs

2013
T.J. Yeldon - 207 carries, 1,235 yards (6.0 avg), 14 TDs
Kenyan Drake - 92 carries, 694 yards (7.5 avg), 8 TDs

Through the Tide's run of absolute excellence over the past half-dozen years, he's had a defined system where a true freshman serves a year (or two, in Richardson's case) as an apprentice, and then takes the lead while another freshman takes his place. The starter averages 224 carries, with a high of 283 in 2011, while his backup racks up 127 carries per season, never less than Drake's 92 attempts last season. 

What's the lesson in this? First, like relief pitching in baseball and outside shooting in basketball, you can never have enough running backs. If your staff plans on taking only one runner in the 2015 class, you may want to rethink that plan. And if you currently play running back... you may want to buy a tee and practice place kicking, just in case. 




This 'Scorched Earth Offense' video is art

Henderson State University, a Division II school in Arkansas, not only had one of the most prolific offenses at the Division II level, but they led the entire NCAA in multiple categories with their potent attack this past season. They even earned our crown as the top offensive unit of 2013 back in late January, narrowly edging out Baylor.

The Reddies led the NCAA in points per game (53.3), passing yards per game (428.4), and touchdowns per game (7.17). In their first two games alone, the offense put up 82 and 75 respectively, and then went on to score 40 or more in all but two of their remaining nine games, one of which was the 35-40 loss to St. Cloud State in the first round of the playoffs.

They were so explosive offensively, that the highlight film of all of their scoring plays is nearly 11 minutes long.

You'll see them score offensively in almost every conceivable way in this clip; the screen game, the power run game with three tight ends on the field, long pass plays, short routes where receivers make one man miss and outrun everyone else, runs where you think the guy is down and then he bursts out of the pile...this offensive highlight has it all.

If you're an offensive coach, this is art. If you're on the other side of the ball, you might have nightmares after watching this.