Golden: "I worry about everything"
Last week, the University of Miami announced a self imposed bowl ban that will keep Miami from playing in the post season for the second straight year.
Asked if the bowl ban and ongoing NCAA investigation is something that he is worried about, head coach Al Golden responded by saying "I worry about everything."
Golden notes that sentiment goes beyond just his players...it includes everyone that touches the program, and each individual that has invested their time and energy into accomplishing their team goals.
"I worry about all the kids that sit in a room and the staff, our strength staff, our training staff, everybody. When we go on that field, there are usually 240 people on that field. So there are a lot of people involved, a lot of lives involved. But I can see what we're becoming and what we want to do with the program." Golden explained.
"That vision pulls me a little bit stronger than some of these things that try and tear us apart. I think we're here for the right reasons, which is why you have a tendency to dig in and fight as opposed to flight."
Golden notes in an Associated Press article that how they respond to the ban and investigation this weekend against a much improved Duke squad will likely define this team.
"We can complain all we want but we can't change it. But the challenge for our team is we're going to be defined by how we respond to this. And the first test of that is Saturday against Duke. We can say whatever we want. We can say we have a great attitude, we're working hard, we're focused, but the test is Saturday at 12:30."
If Miami can get to the 30 point mark tomorrow, watch out. In all six of their wins this season, Miami has scored at least 30 points, and are 16-2 when scoring 30 or more in their past 18 games. Also, the Hurricanes have converted their last 18 consecutive red zone trips into points (13 of them being touchdowns).
One thing is for sure, Golden has a young team that has played pretty well. Their starting offense and defense have a combined 11 starters that are either freshman or sophomores (redshirts included). The success of the young players has shown that Golden and his staff have been able to recruit very well regardless of the NCAA cloud that has been hanging over the program.
The U still has a lot to sell. They've got a beautiful campus in a great location, a football program that should return to prominence sooner rather than later, a recruiting pipeline that coaches from every state wish that they had direct access to, and a coaching staff that are committed to the university and care tremendously about the individuals that they bring into the program. With that formula already in place, it's only a matter of time before the program is competing at the level that Golden and his staff expect.
Leach to radio host: "If your opinion mattered, you'd be invited to staff meetings"
Mike Leach joined ESPN 710AM in Seattle on Wednesday, and wasn't a fan of the questions that were being lobbed his direction.
The question that set the following events in motion came after the hosts of the Kevin Calabro show asked Leach if he felt that his players were "unified in their effort and support" of him and if they'd be "willing to run through a wall for him" after a disappointing season thus far.
"I don't know if that is really the entire thing," Leach responded. "I think that you continue to teach and improve and stuff like that. From the beginning here I think you've had an agenda, but what I would say is that in this business, that we're not unified just because you've tried to make a mountain out of a mole hill about everything that has gone on over here and just haven't accepted the dynamic of change certainly doesn't mean that we haven't had players that are playing extremely hard and overachieving."
"In that stack of articles that you have sitting there, I'm sure that you can probably find a dozen other teams that are playing with 15 freshman, and then I'd also like to know how those guys are doing. Now those guys are running through the wall, and the fact that you happen to be dissatisfied doesn't mean a great deal to me or this team here."
The host, obviously not happy with the 2-9 record the Cougs had put together, then tried to explain that he didn't have an agenda, and was just trying to state his opinion on the state of the program.
"If your opinion really mattered to me, you'd probably be invited to some of the staff meetings around here, and unless that invitation has been lost in the mail, I don't guess you were." Leach explained.
Then Leach mentions siccing an owl on a the hosts dog. Only Leach can somehow fit that kind of nugget into a (somewhat) heated radio conversation.
Skip to the 9:50 mark of the clip to catch the good stuff.
Friday TV - Ten post turkey day games
The weekend gets off to an early start with ten college football games on tonight, including multiple in-state rivalry games..
Eastern time listed.
Ohio at Kent State - 11am - ESPNU
Syracuse at Temple - 11am - ESPN2
Nebraska at Iowa - 12 - ABC
Marshall at East Carolina - 2 - CBSSN
LSU at Arkansas - 2:30 - CBS
Utah at Colorado - 3 - FX
Washington at Washington State - 3:30 - FOX
West Virginia at Iowa State - 3:30 - ABC
South Florida at Cincinnati - 7 - ESPN
Arizona State at Arizona - 10 - ESPN
The Scoop on TCU vs. Texas
Out with the old and in with the new as Texas continues its Thanksgiving night tradition, but this year's opponent is Gary Patterson's young but dangerous TCU team.
Texas enters tonight riding a four-game winning streak and appears to have found itself over its past two outings - a 31-22 win at Texas Tech and a 33-7 victory over Iowa State. After allowing 1,065 rushing yards on 177 carries (6.02 ypc) over its first four Big 12 games, the Texas defense has surrendered just 201 rushing yards on its last 88 attempts (2.3 ypc) dating back to the second quarter of the Kansas game. Texas will need those numbers to continue tonight against a TCU offense that runs for a Big 12-worst 3.86 yards per carry.
The Texas offense has been hitting on all cylinders of late, keyed by the emergence of Mike Davis as a deep threat. Davis caught seven passes for 113 yards and a 61-yard touchdown versus Iowa State, nabbed four passes for 165 yards and two scores, including a 75-yarder against Texas Tech, and caught a key 39-yard pass in the game-winning drive versus Kansas.
The deep post has been the weapon of choice between Davis and quarterback David Ash. Davis averages 18.6 yards per catch for the year, ahead of the likes of Baylor's Terrance Williams, USC's Marqise Lee and West Virginia's Tavon Austin. Davis' emergence has given the rest of the offense room to breathe, as Texas gained 609 yards against Iowa State and, outside of end of half time killers, only had one drive march less than 47 yards.
TCU is still looking for a signature win in Year 1 of the Big 12, but beating the in-state behemoth in their house on national TV would definitely be something for Gary Patterson to hang his hat on to recruits across the state of Texas.
The two players that make up the face of Patterson's young Horned Frogs team are redshirt freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin and true freshman defensive end Devonte Fields. Boykin has thrown for 1,540 yards with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions while adding 267 rushing yards and two scores in six starts after stepping in for opening day starter Casey Pachall. Fields has drawn Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year consideration as his 10 sacks share the league lead with Texas senior Alex Okafor, and his 20 TFL lead the Big 12 and place him among college football's top dozen playmakers behind the line of scrimmage.
Davis will need a big game tonight to open things underneath for Texas to run against the Big 12's best rush defense (98.4 ypg, 3.12 ypc). Meanwhile, Fields will face an offensive line averse to allowing plays behind the line of scrimmage. Texas has allowed the fifth-fewest sacks and the second-fewest TFL in college football.
Whichever player can turn his opponent's strength into a weakness will lead his team to victory.
Bowl Eligibility Watch: A Dozen Teams on the Brink
It's almost closing time here at Bowl Eligibility Watch and 10 teams have their last calls this weekend (Baylor and West Virginia end their seasons on Dec. 1). Now more than ever, it's put up or shut up time for the group below.
Baylor: vs. Texas Tech (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX). Last non-bowl season: 2009. Outlook: All it took was a 28-point hammering of the BCS No. 1 team, but Art Briles' team now has a date with a sputtering Texas Tech to reach win number six. Baylor has played in 18 bowls, but a win over the Red Raiders would give the Bears their first streak of three consecutive bowl seasons in school history.
Central Michigan: at Massachusetts (3 p.m. ET on Friday). Last bowl appearance: 2009. Outlook: Defense has been the problem for CMU this season, allowing an average of 43 points in their six losses. Luckily for Dan Enos' team, next up is a Massachusetts team that has scored 41 points in the entire month of November.
Marshall: at East Carolina (2 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network). Last non-bowl season: 2010. Outlook: Outside of a two-game losing skid to Purdue and Tulsa, the Thundering Herd have alternated wins and losses every week this year. Marshall beat Houston last week, 44-41. Time for Doc Holliday's team to reverse the trend.
Michigan State: at Minnesota (3:30 p.m. ET, BTN). Last non-bowl season: 2006. Outlook: Mark Dantonio's team has statistically the best defense in the Big Ten and, though they're just 2-5 in conference play, all five losses have come by four points or less. With that in mind, it just wouldn't feel right if Michigan State didn't qualify for postseason play.
Missouri: at Texas A&M (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2). Last non-bowl season: 2004. Outlook: Gary Pinkel's team blew its best chance for an eighth straight bowl game with its 31-27 loss to Syracuse last week. Next up is a Texas A&M team looking to give Johnny Manziel every chance to lock up the Heisman Trophy.
Ole Miss: vs. Mississippi State (7 p.m. ET, ESPNU). Last bowl appearance: 2009. Outlook: Hugh Freeze's team couldn't close the deal in Death Valley, and now goes into the Egg Bowl looking to extend its season. I don't make predictions often on this site, but I will here: this will be the most competitive SEC game this weekend.
Purdue: vs. Indiana (12 p.m. ET, BTN). Last non-bowl season: 2010. Outlook: Purdue started the Big Ten season with five straight losses, three of them blowouts. But wins over Iowa and Illinois (combined Big Ten record: 2-12) have righted the ship, and now Danny Hope's team can lock up a second straight bowl trip by beating 4-7 Indiana for the Old Oaken Bucket.
Rice: at UTEP (7 p.m. ET, Fox College Sports). Last bowl appearance: 2008. Outlook: David Bailiff's team had just a come-from-behind win over Kansas to its credit with a 1-5 start to the season. John Reagan's offense has kicked things into high gear in the second half of the year, averaging 37 points per game in a 4-1 streak where the only loss was to Conference USA leader Tulsa. Now the Owls must win at the Sun Bowl in Mike Price's swan song to end their three-year bowl drought.
Troy: at Middle Tennessee (3 p.m. ET, ESPN3). Last bowl appearance: 2010. Outlook: Larry Blakeney's team came up short against the Sun Belt's first place team Saturday versus Arkansas State, and next up is the league's second place team. Ten of Troy's 11 games has been played within 13 points one way or the other, so expect the Trojans' postseason eligibility to be in question right until the very end.
Virginia Tech: vs. Virginia (12 p.m. ET, ESPNU). Last non-bowl season: 1992. Outlook: Half of Virginia Tech's roster wasn't even in school yet the last time the Hokies stayed home during bowl season. Virginia Tech also holds an eight-game winning streak over in-state rival Virginia. Other than that, there's not much on the line on Saturday.
West Virginia: at Iowa State (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC on Friday). Last non-bowl season: 2001. Outlook: If Bowl Eligibility Watch was televised in the same format as the NFL Draft, Holgo's team would be the top 5 pick that's somehow the last guy left in the green room. The Mountaineers came on fourth down stop from upsetting Oklahoma, but nevertheless, 5-0 has turned into 5-5. Luckily for Holgo and co., if the slide somehow reaches six games, Kansas comes to town next week.
Wake Forest: vs. Wake Forest (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU). Last non-bowl season: 2010. Outlook: No one expected Wake Forest to beat Notre Dame, and it didn't happen. But up next for Jim Grobe's team is a red-hot Vanderbilt squad on a five-game winning streak.
David Shaw: "I didn't pray for a made kick. I prayed for him to do his best"
If this one doesn't (at least) give you chills, you need to check your pulse.
The clip starts off with a good video highlight of Stanford's win over Oregon, but then switches gears to an emotional locker room where David Shaw addresses his team and commends the "resolve" that they showed all game.
The best part of the clip is when Shaw explains why he closed his eyes and bowed his head before his kicker, Jordan Williams, lined up for the game winning field goal in overtime.
"I said a prayer. I didn't pray for a win, I didn't pray for a made kick. I prayed for Jordan Williamson to do his best."
That, ladies and gentlemen, is why David Shaw is so highly regarded among our profession. Genuine care for his guys and staff.
Navy's uniforms for the Army game
Nike has come out with some nice new threads for the Midshipmen to wear against Army to wrap up the season December 8th.
Some may not be a fan of the chin-to-chin gold horizontal stripe on the helmet, but we think it's a nice addition that you don't see every day. The Nike Dri-FIT is also well done.
Take a look and let us know your thoughts.
Tackling issues? Pitt defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable has a drill for you
As a defensive coordinator, one of the most frustrating things to see is missed tackles, especially after spending countless time on it throughout the week.
After losing a nail biter to UConn (24-17), Pitt defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable decided that enough was enough. Their missed tackles was something that needed to be addressed during their bye week if they were going to finish the season strong.
According to TribLive reporter Jerry DiPaola, Huxtable dug deep into his desk for a drill to fix the issue and came up with something interesting. In the drill Huxtable and his staff have since implemented, players lock their arms behind their backs and knock over ball carriers using nothing but their pads.
The drill may initially sound puzzling to some coaches, but Huxtable explains the rationale, noting how the drill addresses the most common mistakes in a missed tackle.
“In our last football game, we didn’t tackle very well. The whole drill is teaching them to take that extra step to contact. One of the biggest mistakes in tackling is defenders stop their feet. They leap off the launching pad and the first thing they do is reach with their arms."
"We are doing a drill to take the arms out of it and step on the toes of the ball carrier."
In theory, the drill definitely makes sense. However, we'll let the Panthers defensive performance in their last two games against Rutgers and South Florida be the real barometer of the drill's success.