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Not so fast my friend: Changes coming to recruiting deregulation?

We've chronicled the NCAA's intention to deregulate the recruiting landscape since the news first broke last month. Along the way, many prominent coaches and athletic directors have given their two cents to what undoubtedly amounts to a 5.0-level earthquake on the way business has previously been done in recruiting. First there were Big Ten head coaches and athletic directors, then Texas head coach Mack Brown, Arizona director of player personnel Matt DudekGeorgia athletic director Greg McGarity and Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen.

For those not in favor of the new wave of recruiting, the NCAA wants you to know it is listening.

USA Today writer Dan Wolken spoke to NCAA vice president David Berst, who said the NCAA will "modify as necessary" the changes that would peel back the limits on the number of personnel schools can employ in recruiting, as well as the limits to electronic and traditional mail communication from schools to prospects.

"We're reaching out to folks to see what they're thinking," Berst said. "You had some football coaches, a few conferences, some institutions that have expressed concerns. I expect, whether you have some number of overrides or just people talking to us, we're going to end up at the next board meeting trying to assess that information and probably modify the legislation accordingly."

Next, John Infante, who spends more time thinking about this kind of stuff than anyone outside of the NCAA offices in Indianapolis (and, heck, perhaps more than them, too) wrote a long piece with suggestions for how to modify the deregulation of recruiting. 

Infante on balancing coaching/recruiting staffs: 

"But a more creative idea would be to start separating coaching and recruiting," he writes. "A sport like football could have a limit of 10 permissible recruiters who need not be coaches. For every coach the program is willing to take off the road and keep off the phone, it can add a full-time staff member devoted to recruiting. And those staff members should be able to go beyond calling and watching film to in-person evaluation and off-campus contact with prospects. Programs would need to balance less personal involvement by the coaching staff in recruiting with freeing the coaches to coach while recruiters recruit."

 Infante on Mullen's suggestion of having schools declare their own four-week dead periods each summer.

"Mullen has a germ of a solution, but his idea has a number of flaws," he explains. "First, the NCAA is getting away from declared weeks in recruiting, like how football now uses evaluation days during the fall and spring evaluation periods. Second, this needs to be a regular, year-round solution rather than a little break in the summer. And third, each school declaring its own recruiting breaks helps coaches, but does little for prospects. Unlimited calls from half the schools is still unlimited calls."

Below is Infante's solution, a year-round recruiting calendar that would look something like this:

  • August 1-August 15: Contact Period
  • August 15-September 7: Dead Period
  • September 7-December 1: Contact Period
  • December 1-January 1: Dead Period
  • January 1-March 1: Contact Period
  • March 1-April 1: Dead Period
  • April 1-July 31: Contact Period 
  • Agree or disagree with Infante's proposals, he definitely provides intriguing reading for those interested.

    117 years: the sensational staff continuity at St. John's (Minn.)

    We ran across a note earlier this week on ESPN's Big Ten blog noting that of the 12 teams in the league, only Minnesota and Northwestern have not endured a coaching change in the past two off-seasons. We haven't done the math, but the numbers would likely be similar across the entire Football Bowl Subdivision.

    With that in mind, take a look at the eye-popping continuity at another school in the Big Ten's footprint: Division III St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn.

    You probably recognize St. John's as the home of college football's all-time wins leader, John Gagliardi. Gagliardi, or John, as he preferred his players to call him, took the St. John's job in 1953 and just retired after the conclusion of the 2012 season. In 63 years as a head coach (his first four years were spent at Carroll College in Montana), Gagliardi won 489 games, 30 conference championships and four national championships. When a head coach has been at a school long enough to coach a player's father and grandfather (and wins a heck of a lot of games along the way), it's a good starting point to build a cohesive and long-standing coaching staff.

    Next, take a look at the current staff:

    Gary Fasching: head coach. Named Gagilardi's replacement on Dec. 28, he spent 17 seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Fasching graduated from St. John's in 1981.

    Jerry Haugen: defensive coordinator. Haugen just completed his 38th season as the defensive coordinator at St. John's. He has also won 665 games as the school's baseball coach since 1990 and served a stint as St. John's head hockey coach. Haugen graduated from St. John's in 1976.

    Kurt Ramler: associate head coach/offensive coordinator. Ramler is in just his first season as the Johnnies' offensive coordinator, though he did coach at the school in 2002. He was the head coach at Carleton (Minn.) for six seasons, earning the 2008 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors. Ramler is a 1997 St. John's graduate.

    Jim Gagliardi: wide receivers coach/coordinator of football operations. The son of John, Jim Gagliardi played at St. John's from 1985-88 and has been on the coaching staff for 22 years.

    Brandon Novak: co-defensive coordinator. A 2001 St. John's graduate, Novak was a two-time All-American at linebacker and was also a national champion wrestler. He has been on the football staff for 13 years, and spent the past nine years as St. John's head wrestling coach. 

    Damien Dumonceaux: defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator. Named D3football.com's Defensive Player of the Year in 2005, Dumonceaux was the Johnnies' starting nose tackle from 2003-05 and is now in his eighth year on the coaching staff.

    Jim Mader: offensive line coach. The only non-alum on the staff, Mader has spent a decade on the St. John's coaching staff after coaching for 23 years at Albany (Minn.) High School.

    Charlie Welsh: running backs coach/video coordinator. Welsh played quarterback and wide receiver at St. John's from 2003-07, helping the Johnnies win the 2003 national title, and has been on the coaching staff for five years.

    Michael Orts: offensive assistant. A wide receiver and quarterback at St. John's from 2006-09, Orts is in his second season on the St. John's coaching staff.

    Andrew Pierskalla: defensive assistant. A defensive lineman at St. John's from 2005-09, Pierskalla is also in his second season of coaching at St. John's.

    Add it all together and you'll see that the 10 St. John's coaches (nine of whom are alums) have 117 years of combined coaching experience at St. John's, with half the staff depositing a decade or more at the school.

    Last month we highlighted the staff continuity the Wofford staff has enjoyed, but St. John's blows the Terriers out of the water. If there's another staff across college football that can approach St. John's, we'd love to hear about it.

    Every staff in the country should aspire to aspire to build even 10 percent of the cohesiveness and sense of family that John Gagliardi's program has fostered. 

    Thanks to coach R.C. Helton at Trevor Browne High School in Phoenix for tipping us off to this amazing story. 

    Tim Beck explains how to balance productivity and staying healthy

    During a team's spring practices there's a fine balance between productively ironing out the issues that you had during the season and making sure to keep everyone healthy.

    Down in Lincoln, Nebraska is coming off a season where their offense flashed signs of greatness, often followed by moments where they hurt themselves with a costly turnover. Offensive coordinator Tim Beck knows the turnover issue has to get resolved in order to contend for championships.

    While the Huskers finished the season ranked in the top 30 in rushing offense (#8), total offense (#26) and scoring offense (#28), they also lost a total of 22 fumbles and threw 13 costly interceptions, finishing 105th in turnover margin nationally.

    Beck, now in his third season calling the shots on offense, wants to make sure they find a balance between addressing the turnover issue and keeping everyone healthy.

    “There’s drills you do where they’re not getting tackled, but, still, defensively they constantly rip at the ball and strip at the ball." Beck told Husker Extra. "They do things like that to make sure that through traffic the quarterback and running back always carry the ball the right way. So we manage it. We just don’t always make the contact live and take them to the ground.”

    During their bowl game, there were times where the Husker offense had Georgia on the ropes, but the Cornhuskers couldn't stay consistent enough to finish off one of the SEC's best defenses. Looking  back on that game, it's the flashes of dominance that give Beck hope.

    "We’re on the right track and we’re close. Sometimes it takes a game like that, and it almost wakes your team up: ‘You know what guys? We can be pretty good. We just have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot.’”

    Video: Oklahoma State's competitive workouts

     The theme of Oklahoma's winter workouts is competition.

    Here's a six and a half minute clip of how they get after it in Stillwater.

    VIDEO: Scott Cochran leads a tour of Alabama's weight room

    If there's one college football program in America that should have a sprawling, off-the-charts, state-of-the-art weight room, it's Alabama. After a five-month construction period, Alabama now has a sprawling, off-the-charts, state-of-the-art weight room.

    Call it the Palace of The Process.

    The particulars:

    - The facility checks in at 37,000 square feet - 21,000 on the lower floor and 16,000 on the upper floor.

    - You probably saw the now-infamous "Sweat is just your fat crying" sign posted around the Internet yesterday, along with a "Never Again" sign made after Auburn's comeback win over Alabama in 2010. 

    - Twenty combination racks are built into the ground. 

    - Not surprisingly, the weight room sits in between Alabama's indoor practice facility and the outdoor practice fields.

    - A full service nutrition bar.

    - A sound system that can even drown out the sound of Cochran's booming voice. Allegedly. 

    - More than anything, the facility was built with functionality top of mind. Cochran mentioned multiple times that every exercise a Crimson Tide player needs to do can be done largely in one spot. 

    Even if you aren't a fan of Alabama, the videos are worth watching just to see Scott Cochran's entertaining turn as a strength coach turned real estate agent.  

    "Just because you have it and it looks great doesn't mean you're going to be strong. We're not going to change anything just because it's beautiful," Cochran said. 

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