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Photos: Mississippi State's new facility

Update> We're sure this won't shock frequent visitors to the site; but we have learned that our friends at Advent did all of the branding, exhibits, displays, graphics, etc... for this project as well. Guys do good work. 

Original story:

Mississippi State has officially opened the Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex spanning 80,000 square feet which includes a new weight room, locker room, training room, and coaches offices.

A $12 million donation from the Seal Family Foundation (comprised of three former Bulldogs) helped fund the $25 million dollar project, and Dan Mullen was very vocal in his appreciation of getting his entire staff under one roof.

“I’m extremely appreciative of the Seals and other families who have helped make this a reality," Mullen said in a release. "This is a vital addition to our football program. We’ve talked since I’ve arrived at Mississippi State about getting all of our football operations under one roof, allowing us to have daily interaction with each of our players and continuing to develop the family atmosphere around our program – this will accomplish those goals.”

Take a look at what they've done down in Starkville.

 

MSU auditorium

MSU office

MSU weight room

MSU facility

See the full photo gallery here

NCAA proposing several rules changes for 2013 season

The NCAA is becoming more and more aggressive in officiating against head injuries. In its proposed rules changes that were announced today, the NCAA Football Rules Committee is now proposing to eject any player who target and make contact with defenseless players above the shoulders.

Targeting will be handled similarly to fighting, where a first half ejection removes the player for the rest of that game, and an ejection in the second half or overtime will result in a removal from that game and a first half suspension from the following game. 

Ejections will be eligible for video replay, but the burden of proof will essentially lie on the offending player, as video replay will have to provide evidence to overturn the call on the field to keep the player in the game. 

“Student-athlete safety will always be one of our primary concerns,” said Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun, who chairs the committee. “We all have a role to embrace when making a positive impact on our game. Taking measures to remove targeting, or above the shoulder hits on defenseless players, will improve our great sport.”

Other proposed rules modifications include: 

- Blocks below the waist would now be allowed in typical line play, as long as they come from the front. Below the waist blocks from the side or back would not be allowed. 

- A 10-second run off would be enforced for any injury timeouts that occur with less than a minute to play in each half.

- Spiking would only be permitted with three seconds on the clock or more remaining. If the ball is snapped with two or one seconds to play, the offense must run a play. 

- A player changing numbers during a game must report the change to the referee, who will then announce the change. No more USC-Colorado situations allowed.

- Players would not be allowed to have the same number if they play the same position. Teams could still have two No. 7s, for instance, but they both can't play quarterback.

- Teams would have to wear either pants or jerseys that do not match the field. So Boise State would not be able to wear its all-blue uniforms. 

- Officials would be permitted to communicate through electronic headsets.

- The Big 12 would be permitted to experiment with using an eighth official on the field for conference games. 

- Instant replay would be allowed to adjust the clock at the close of each quarter. Previously, instant replay was only used to adjust the clock at the end of each half. 

The four seasons of life as it relates to football

During Matt Rhule's first signing day celebration as Temple's head coach, assistant VP for Athletic Development Mark Ingram talked about the four seasons of life as it relates to football.

"There are four seasons in life," Ingram explained. "There's football season, recruiting season, spring ball....and then deep, dark depression."

Amen to that.

On a serious note, Temple's signing day celebration video is top notch. They do some great stuff with the Philadelphia sky line in the intro, and Coach Rhule talks about the message that they give to recruits during the process, and when the get on campus.

 

The death of FCS football as we know it?

Memo to everyone: FCS has some really good football. Really good. Think North Dakota State, Sam Houston State, Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, James Madison, Eastern Washington, App State, Murray State, Villanova, Towson, Richmond, Lehigh, Eastern Kentucky, Youngstown State, etc... Everyone remembers App State's win over Michigan and James Madison's takedown of Virginia Tech. 

Many, but not all, FCS programs rely upon a "revenue" game to help fully fund their football program (and sometimes their overall athletics department).  Most of these revenue games come from FBS (and typically BCS conference) opponents. For the FCS program, the dollars involved are very important but the experience is also worth it's weight in gold. 

Earlier this season LSU hosted FCS Towson University. As Armen Keteyian of 60 Minutes reported, Towson was paid $500,000 to come to Baton Rouge to face the Tigers. Towson played a great game on national TV. Towson athletic director Mike Waddell said, "There will be more people watching this game tonight then perhaps anything involving Towson University in our history going back 146 years." Waddell later added, "You couldn't buy this type of advertisement nationally." 

There is no question in my mind that the level of play on the field has risen substantially over the past ten years at the FCS level. I don't know how they maintain that without the dollars and exposure associated with playing mainstream FBS opponents. There isn't an alternative avenue these programs could turn to if the money from these revenue games is gone. 

Reduced revenue impacts the number of scholarships the team can provide, the salary pool for qualified coaches and ultimately the quality of players the program will be able to attract. FCS programs will feel this, not only in terms of reduced game revenue, but also in reduced national awareness & publicity that came from "TV" games and ultimately could see enrollment decline as a result. 

Perhaps a better decision for everyone involved would be for the new playoff format to include strength of schedule components from all Division I programs (FBS & FCS). Then, the Big Ten could have simply encouraged their member universities to schedule quality FCS opponents rather than simply banning them from playing any FCS opponents at all. Consider this past season, where do you think North Dakota State (FCS National Champion) would have fallen in an overall Division I strength of schedule analysis? My guess is, they would have been in the top 100, well above a number of FBS programs that found their way on to a number of Big Ten schedules.

Unfortunately, the decision by a major conference to stop scheduling FCS opponents looks like it will have a significant negative impact on FCS football and universities.

Update> Apparently some of the large media outlets don't share our concerns...

Yahoo Sports: B1G to stop scheduling FCS games, hopefully eveyone else follows suit.

Big Ten Network: Dropping FCS foes makes total sense 

ESPN: SEC should follow Big Ten's scheduling plan

 

10 Questions With: Buffalo cornerbacks coach Maurice Linguist

An All-Big 12 safety at Baylor, Maurice Linguist began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Bears in 2007. After a one-year stop at Valdosta State, Linguist landed at James Madison, where he helped the Dukes topple then-No. 13 Virginia Tech in 2010. He joined Jeff Quinn's staff at Buffalo in 2012 as the Bulls' cornerbacks coach and in-community coordinator, and he was recently promoted to defensive passing game coordinator. 

We caught up with the fast-rising coach to touch on his advice for young coaches, his role on Buffalo's staff and JMU's monumental upset. 

1. You mentioned at the AFCA graduate assistant forum how important it was to go visit other coaching staffs in the offseason. What are some of the beneficial things you've learned in your offseason visits?

When you visit other staffs you gain an opportunity to evaluate how other coaches handle their day-to-day operations. When doing offseason visits, you obviously discuss the X’s and O’s; however, you gain a better perspective on how each particular staff operates on a daily basis. Making assessments of different programs is truly insightful and educational. 

2. What staff(s) are you planning on visiting this offseason?

I’m not sure where I’ll go this offseason. Nevertheless, once summer approaches, I plan to call some of my coaching colleagues and get their preliminary summer schedule. I will use their schedule and my availability to determine where I will visit. If time permits, I would like to visit two or three staffs.

3. In addition to coaching cornerbacks, you're also Buffalo's in-community coordinator. What does that mean?

As the Bulls in the community coordinator, I am responsible for scheduling and organizing many team activities that involve community service events. This program includes, but is not limited to, public appearances made by our players, and community outreach events that enhance the visibility of the university.  Under the guidance of my head coach, Jeff Quinn, I also schedule and organize speaking engagements with individuals that wish to address our team on athletic, educational, and social development.  

4. You just finished your first season at Buffalo. What's your view on when and where is the right place to take a new job?

Every coach’s situation is unique. For instance, some coaches are single, theoretically making them more mobile, while other coaches must factor in their family’s well-being and level of comfort when moving to a new city. I think one of the most important factors in the coaching business is chasing after responsibility, not money.  If you work hard and do a good job where you’re at, other coaches will take notice. I go by the following motto: Be professional and responsible when it pertains to handling your job. A lot of times, the grass is greener wherever you water it, not necessarily where it appears to be.  

5. What are some teams and coaching staffs you enjoy watching?

I like watching football in general. A lot of times, I’ll record the games, and whenever I have time, I will go back and rewind and evaluate a team as if they were an upcoming opponent. The camera always follows the football, but whenever I can, I try to see what a team is doing coverage wise, on the back end. In general, if football is on, I’m going to watch. Personally, I’m from Dallas, so those that know me know that I’m a Cowboy fan. 

6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?

God has blessed me with a passion for coaching football. In the years to come, I see myself coaching football, enjoying life, and correcting freshman defensive backs about poor transition steps or having their eyes in the back field in man coverage. Football has given me a lot in my life. Some of the most influential men in my life have been my coaches.  The game has taught me how to compete, how to persevere, and how to win. Therefore, it is my goal to lift as I climb and give back.

7. With six years of coaching experience, what are some of the things you wish you could go back and tell yourself as a rookie coach?

Aside from gaining a more general knowledge on recruiting, developing my players, and the learning the X’s and O’s, one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned over the years is knowing when to speak up and learning when to shut up and not getting the two confused.

8. How are you using social media and the Internet in recruiting and coaching?

I use social media on the recruiting side because it’s relevant to how players access information nowadays.  Nevertheless, when I recruit players, I still prefer to hand-write letters, phone conversations, or face-to-face communication. I believe you learn more about the players and their families that way, and you can develop a more authentic relationship with the recruit and his family.  

9. You were on the James Madison staff that beat Virginia Tech in 2010. What was that experience like?

Whenever I think about that game and that day, I always remember the resiliency, perseverance and commitment of those players. If we would have played Virginia Tech 100 times, maybe they would beat us 99 times. But on that day, we toed the line and refused to lose. I’m just thankful that I could be a part of one of the greatest upsets in college football history. 

10. Where does cornerback rank among the most difficult positions to play? What are the most difficult positions to coach?

If you’re a detailed-oriented coach, then there isn’t a position on the field that doesn’t require extreme discipline, a competitive mindset, and the ability to make plays. The beautiful thing about our game is that football is 11-on-11, but when the ball is snapped, its 1-on-1. And those small battles usually yield themselves to the most discipline, competitive players. There is so much preparation involved on a daily basis. Football is a tough game for tough coaches and tough players. And the level of commitment necessary usually separates the pack. I believe there is no  place on the field or in the classroom where a lack of mental and physical toughness will lead to success.

10 Questions With is a new weekly feature at FootballScoop. If you know a coach who would make a good interview subject, email .

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