Mike Riley: "I've learned that if you're happy - stay happy"

Oregon State head coach Mike Riley appeared on the Wetzel to Forde radio show last night, and Dan Wetzel asked Riley about coaching at a school where the head coach is given time to build a program and national championship teams aren't expected to be built in a fortnight.

Riley answered explained his gratitude to Oregon State's loyalty to him, and in return, his loyalty to Oregon State.

"I'm very appreciative of all of that because when you're in this long enough you understand the business and you have to win games," Riley said. "I'm very thankful for the people at Oregon State. First of all, when we came back here and were given the opportunity to come back in 2003, my wife and I hoped we could make this our last stop so we scratched and clawed to try to keep it like that.

"I've understood how important consistency and longevity are in a program," he continued. "And then understanding you're going to have some valleys and you've got to fight hard to make those valleys not too deep. You've got to be consistent and continue to build. It's really a unique thing in our business. I've learned some hard lessons and to be able to build (a program), it's hard to come by. I'm thankful for all that and appreciative for the time."

Riley served as the head coach at Oregon State in 1997 and 1998, going 8-14 before becoming the head coach of the San Diego Chargers. He stayed in San Diego until 2001 and, after a one-year stop with the New Orleans Saints, returned as the Beavers' head coach in 2003. 

Riley led Oregon State to bowl games in six of his first seven seasons before a two-year downturn in 2010 and 2011 in which the Beavers won just eight games. Riley's team was picked to finish last in the Pac-12 North in 2012 only to start the year 6-0 and rise to No. 7 in the BCS Standings.

No matter where Oregon State finishes this season, Riley plans to coach the Beavers again in 2013.

"I've learned the lesson that if you're happy - stay happy," Riley said. "You don't have to go search for it somewhere else."

The MAC is looking strong

Taking a look at the MAC standings earlier today, we couldn't help but notice how strong the top teams in each division look through the first eight weeks of the season.

Ohio (7-0) is the lone undefeated team, while Toledo (7-1), Northern Illinois (7-1) and Kent State (6-1) all have one loss each. MACtion at its finest.

Kent State started off their first seven games last season 1-6 under Darrell Hazell, and Hazell now has the Golden Flashes with that record reversed, sitting at 6-1 (with their only loss coming to Kentucky), and 4-0 in conference play. Their numbers on the offensive side of the ball, particularly running the rock, have made huge strides. Last season Kent State ranked 119th nationally in rushing offense through seven games (75 ypg), this season they rank 27th (210 ypg). Coach Hazell and his staff look like they're in the beginning stages of a turnaround. Dating back to last season, Kent State has won 11 of their past 13 games, with their only losses coming to Temple and Kentucky.

Ohio opened their season up with a big win over Penn State, and has carried that momentum to a 7-0 start, including three conference wins. Frank Solich has his guys playing their best in close games. All but one of their FBS games have been decided by 10 points or less,

After losing their season opener in a thrilling fashion against Arizona in OT, Toledo has come back to rattle off seven straight wins, including their big win last Saturday over a Cincinnati program that had put together 10 win seasons in four of the past five years. Very solid start under first year head coach Matt Campbell.

Northern Illinois is another MAC team off to a great start under second year head coach Dave Doeren. Their only loss of the season also came during their season opener, a disappointing one point (17-18) loss to Wisconsin  Iowa. Since that loss, the Huskies have put together four wins of with a margin of 21points or more. Now in his second season, Doeren has led the program to a record of 18-4, and has helped them collect their first MAC title since 1983 and a top five APR rating in the country. 

Below is a very well done clip from the Huskies, who are trying to put together three consectutive double digit win seasons for the first time in school history. This one is very well put together.


Major changes to NCAA enforcement policy to take effect next week

The NCAA will vote on a major change in its enforcement policy next week, holding head coaches accountable for rules violations committed by their assistants. The new bylaw is applicable for all Division I sports, but we will, of course, focus on how things will change for football coaching staffs. Read the full NCAA document here.

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors will vote on the proposals this coming Tuesday, and if passed the NCAA's Bylaw will hold head coaches responsible for the actions of all assistant coaches and administrators that report, either directly or indirectly, to the head coach. A head coach will now be held responsible for all Level I and Level II (major violations such as academic fraud or recruiting  inducements) violations.

After August 1, 2013, a head coach may be suspended a full season for Level I violations and a half season for Level II infractions. The NCAA does provide some wiggle room for head coaches. As stated in the legislation, a head coach will be suspended "unless the coach can show that he or she promoted an atmosphere of compliance and monitored his or her staff."

Change doesn't stop there as, effective August 1, 2013, a head coach may be suspended for any Level III violations committed by assistant coaches. The NCAA defines a Level III violation as:

  • In-person, off-campus contacts during a dead period (particularly during the NLI signing dead period.

  • Exceeding the permissible number of contacts with a prospective student-athlete.

  • Intentional or significant game-day simulations and/or impermissible recruiting aids.

  • Providing team gear or other inducements to prospective student-athletes.

  • Violations that occur as a result of engaging nonscholastic third parties in the recruiting process (e.g., prescheduled unofficial visits that are impermissibly funded, etc.).

  • Collective recruiting violations and/or other intentional recruiting violations (e.g., multiple impermissible early phone calls, multiple impermissible contacts, providing inducements).

  • Holding 7-on-7 events on an institution's campus and/or otherwise attending or being involved in nonscholastic events.

  • Impermissible benefits to student-athletes or inducements to prospective student-athletes by third parties that the coaching staff knows about or is involved with.

  • Providing a written offer of athletically related financial aid to a prospective student-athlete prior to August 1 of the prospect's senior year in high school.

The NCAA strongly encourages head coaches to be proactive in looking for possible violations and to communicate their strategy and expectations with both their staffs and their superiors on campus through monitoring and documentation. For example, head coaches are expected to assign a staff member as a liaison to the university's compliance staff, and also assign staff members to monitor specific areas of compliance. 

Credit to USA Today's George Schroeder and Dan Wolken for their report.

Here is ESPN's update on the changes:

Really good Notre Dame video

College GameDay is in Norman this weekend for Notre Dame's match up with the Sooners. Oklahoma is 0-4 all time when hosting the Irish (the last meeting at Memorial Stadium took place in 1966).

Here's a solid video highlighting Notre Dame's fast 7-0 start, including some passionate pre game words from Brian Kelly, and their big goal line stand against Stanford. Pretty well produced.

The opening quarters of each half will be key for the Irish, as Notre Dame has outscored their opponents 84-10 in the first and third quarters.

The game will get started at 8pm ET and can be seen on ABC.


"You can't simulate Oregon's speed"

Tomorrow night, Colorado will face the best offense that they've seen all season when they travel to Oregon to take on the Ducks.

That's not to say that the past few weeks have been easy. In their past three outings, the Colorado defense has faced Arizona State (23rd nationally in total offense), UCLA (top 25 nationally in rushing, passing, and total offense), and a very talented USC offense with Matt Barkley, Robert Woods, and Marqise Lee.

Through the first seven weeks of their schedule, Colorado is giving up nearly 500 yards per contest (112th nationally) and 43 points (119th nationally), and has also allowed 133 plays of over ten yards (119th nationally).

With this week's game coming against one of the highest powered offenses in the country, head coach Jon Embree was asked how they are simulating Oregon's speed.

"You can't. We don't have, we only have a couple fast guys anyway. It's not like we have a plethora of them to put out there to simulate that."

"But the tempo of the offense, I think we've done a good job simulating that." Embree said.

The tempo tomorrow will be unlike anything that Colorado has seen so far this season. The defense has been on the field for an average of 71 plays per game, and Oregon is coming into the game averaging 83 snaps per game, and producing 51 points per game off of those snaps (2nd nationally). And if you've watched Oregon this season, you know any one of those 83 snaps can go for six at any moment.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3pm ET on the Pac 12 Network.



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