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Video: Dave Clawson program building

During his time at Fordham, Richmond, and Bowling Green, Dave Clawson has been tasked with taking a underachieving team and resurrecting the program.

At Fordham, his first college head coaching stop, they went 0-11 in his first season, but by his fourth season the program had improved to 10-3. Richmond was a similar story; 3-8 in year one and 11-3 in year four.

At Bowling Green he led the team to a 7-6 season his first year, and then saw a dip to 2-10 in year two. That was followed by two solid seasons (5-7 in 2011 and 8-5 in 2012) before exploding on the scene last year as the Falcons went 10-3 including a MAC title and a narrow loss to Pitt in the Humanitarian Bowl.

To summarize, everywhere he has been, he's successfully turned programs around. And not just that, but in the high pressure / win now world of college athletics, he's done it his way. That's exactly what Wake Forest AD Ron Wellman had in mind when he decided to lure Clawson away from Bowling Green.

The video below is a tip of the cap to Clawson and his approach to building a program. He's obviously got a blueprint that he, and his staff, believe in 100% and has the results to prove that there is a method to his madness. 

Clemson gives their men in the trenches some love with a highlight video

First, Nebraska gave their offensive line their very own highlight video. Now, Clemson has been handed the torch as they love up their bigs with this highlight dedicated to the defensive line.

Now granted, finding sacks and tackles for loss from the big guys up front isn't exactly difficult, but too often the men in the trenches get ignored / overlooked in highlight films, so seeing them get the love they deserve is always nice.

Big Ten presidents release joint statement regarding athlete welfare

In light of the ongoing Ed O'Bannon trial fighting over the rights to college athletes' name, image and likeness - and where Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany took the witness stand last week - the 14 Big Ten presidents released a joint statement Tuesday stating their position for where they'd like to steer college athletics moving forward. (Pac-12 presidents did the same thing a month ago.)

"The best solutions rest not with the courts, but with us – presidents of the very universities that promote and respect the values of intercollegiate competition," the statement reads. "Writing on behalf of all presidents of the Big Ten Conference, we must address the conflicts that have led us to a moment where the conversation about college sports is about compensation rather than academics."

While pointing out that a tiny minority of college athletes go on to carve out a career in professional sports, Big Ten presidents pledged the following: 

- Guaranteeing four-year scholarships, regardless of the students' ability to compete on the field. "We want our students to graduate," the statement reads. USC announced yesterday it would now offer four-year scholarships in football and both men's and women's basketball. 

- Guaranteeing even if a student leaves school early to pursue a professional career. A player could play in the NFL for 15 years or 15 minutes, either way his scholarship is waiting for him when he hangs 'em up. "Again, we want our students to graduate."

- Provide improved medical care for student-athletes. "We have an obligation to protect their health and their well-being to return for the physical demands placed upon them." 

- Provide a full cost-of-attendance scholarship. The Big Ten and its peers have stated this desire before today.

If you're wondering where this goes from here, you're not alone. No one does. 

For example:

Again, beefing up its scholarship package is nice, but it may come a day late and a dollar (so to speak) short in terms of the O'Bannon trial. 

This ongoing debate has may twists and turns still ahead, but Tuesday's letter was a step in the right direction for the establishment.

Why college football programs should be studying the Sacramento Kings right now

The Sacramento Kings need help. A lot of help. After finishing 28-54, third to last in the NBA's rough-and-tumble Western Conference, Sacramento garnered the eighth picking in the league's upcoming draft. They're the Sacramento Kings.

Last month, general manager Pete D'Alessandro announced his franchise would crowd-source analytics consulting on what to do with pick No. 8. There's a massive community of NBA nerds that devour statistics like the Cookie Monster with a fresh batch of Chips Ahoy, and the Kings wanted to solicit their well-researched but experience-lacking advice. 

Sacramento received thousands of applications, and ultimately settled on nine guns for hire. As you'll see in the documentary below, their amateur analytics experts ranged from 20-year-old college students to 48-year-old data analysts (most fell closer to the former, though). Each brought an interesting perspective, one that the Kings may not have otherwise considered. 

At the time of the shooting, Sacramento was debating whether or not to keep the pick and build around their new player, or trade it in an attempt to win now. General managers' careers are made and broken by decisions like this one. Is it risky to give input to a set of such unproven eyes? Possibly. D'Alessandro doesn't see it that way because, in his words, everyone in the NBA already crowd-sources their decision, just in a much less direct way.

"We've gotten all these websites where they're getting all this information," D'Alessandro said. "Are we as a league drafting better? Are there less mistakes? Because we're subconsciously crowd-sourcing through these websites. We're all reading them. It's been happening for years. But we're doing it consciously here because we feel like there's a way we can have an advantage. Whether it works or not, we'll find out, but we're going to try."

In my opinion, it would be worthwhile for college football programs to adopt this idea in some shape or form. If you're, say, Tulsa, why not put up the bat signal for some analytics help? You wouldn't want amateurs giving advice on something so specific as to whether or not to offer a certain player, but why not let some bright and fresh (and, most of all, cheap) minds run a data analysis in hopes of finding an undervalued recruiting market, or examine the efficiency of play calls in certain down and distance situations? Projects like those fall under the all-encompassing umbrellas of GA's, QC's and interns, yes, but every college football staff in America has some extra work they'd like done if only they had the manpower to do it. 

It's too early to tell if the Kings ultimately followed the advice of their analysts-for-hire with the draft still 48 hours away. But it will be interesting to find out.

 


 

Update from Scott: 

I read this article after Zach posted it and have watched the video as well. I'm an analytics guy, formerly served as vice president of planning & analysis of a Fortune 500 company, and I have to say that while I'm very interested in this kind of analysis and thinking, my initial take upon seeing this was, "Man, if an NFL GM relied this much on 8 guys he'd never met until a few weeks ago in the days and weeks leading up to the draft, he'd be roasted. What would that say about his confidence in his own personnel department? This seems like a very interesting way to bring in some outside knowledge and get to know them...and possibly even find one or two to hire; but to be spending this much time with all 8 guys in the days leading up to the draft sure does seem questionable to me. I understand that in the NBA they are drafting only a player or two; but given how significant that number is to the overall roster number in the NBA, I still see this as a huge risk, one I really don't think I understand. 

Video: Minnesota takes you behind the scenes of a Gopher game day

It's about to be that time of year again. 

With the 2014 season nearly two months away, programs across college football have started hyping the oncoming season. Just today, in fact, Auburn and Wyoming have released season-ticket commercials. And now Minnesota has unveiled its video showcasing an up-close look at a Gophers home game in hopes of whetting its fan base's appetite. 

After all, kickoff is just 65 short days away.

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