Thursday TV - ACC and NFL games tonight
North Carolina and Virginia are on ESPN tonight, and the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills square off on the NFL Network.
Eastern time listed.
Miami at Buffalo - 8:20 - NFL Network
North Carolina at Virginia - 7:30 - ESPN
Ball State rollin out black unis tonight
Ball State hosts Ohio tonight in what should be an excellent football game. Good teams, excellent coaches, #MACtion... should be a great one (8pm est / ESPNU).
Check out the new unis that Ball State is rollin out!
Maryland's "black ops" uniform
Maryland has unveiled their new "black ops" uniforms that they'll wear this weekend against Florida State.
These are pretty sick looking, but are they the best Under Armour uniforms out there so far?
Let us know your thoughts.
Should your offensive and defensive philosophies mirror each other?
Auburn defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder explained yesterday that part of their struggles on the defensive side of the ball have to do with not being physically big enough to hang with their opponents for a full sixty minutes.
"I'm from the school of 'big.'" VanGorder explains.
"I think that I am right in that. I think if you look at the NFL there was one defense that was built with the idea of small and fast, and it was a defense that was built with a high scoring offense that was ahead all the time. And it worked, I'm speaking of Indianapolis."
"It's a heavyweight game. It's for big people, and strong people, and we've got to improve in that area."
That brings up an interesting point. Depending on what level your coaching at, do you (or should you) adjust your offensive or defensive philosophies (and ultimately your recruiting strategy) based on what the other side of the ball does?
Take what VanGorder says in the clip for example; If you've got an offense that puts a ton of points on the board and is up and down the field in a hurry, wouldn't it make sense to have smaller, faster guys out there on defense? And on the flip side of that, if you've got an offense that is big and physical and can grind it out each week, isn't there some value in having a big and physical defense as well?
We're interested to hear your thoughts on this one.
If you want to play good defense you have to be in position 100% of the time
After dropping their last four straight games after a 5-0 start, Dana Holgorsen talked to the media yesterday about their struggles on the defensive side of the ball.
The Mountaineer defense ranks 110th or worse in pass efficiency defense (119th), total defense (110th), scoring defense (117th), and pass defense (120th). The Mountaineers have allowed at least 34 points in seven of their nine games this season.
"You gotta be there 100% of the time if you want to play good defense, it's got to be all the time. You can't say we played good defense with the exception of seven or eight snaps...which they scored on."
"We're having a hard time getting through to our guys, which is coaching, that we have to play like that all the time. That's the challenge." Holgorsen explained.
This weekend they'll have their work cut out for them as they take on an Oklahoma offense that ranks in the top 16 nationally in passing offense (15th ), total offense (16th), and scoring offense (13th).
Al Golden: At this point in the year you're either wearing headphones or earplugs
Miami has hit a recent rough patch in the schedule, losing their past four of five. Beyond just the wins and losses, Al Golden is frustrated with having to discipline players this late in the season, when they should be focused on winning games and getting better on each side of the ball.
"Every team battles it. I just don’t want to be battling it in November. I mean, you’ve either got a headset on or earplugs or you just don’t listen to what anybody else is saying in the building, because for two weeks now that’s all we’ve been talking about.”
The past two weeks answering questions about suspensions and behavior issues have felt more like a television show than a football program at times Golden noted. “It’s been TMZ since I’ve been here. Let’s be honest, right? It’s been tough on the coaches. It’s been tough on me.”
One of the the most frustrating parts for Golden and his staff has been taking time away from instructing the entire team to hash out the mistakes of a few players. With that said, it's important to set the standard of expectations for the future players of the program.
"I say to the team all the time, you’re sitting in a room with 110 guys and 107 of them are doing everything right and it’s two or three guys that [mess] up. Now you’re in there yelling at the whole team. We have to make sure we don’t drain everybody else’s energy because a couple of guys aren’t doing what they need to do."
"You have to break the cycle. You can’t hand that down as acceptable to the next generation of Miami Hurricanes." Golden explained in the Miami Herald.
Noting that players always respond better to their peers, Golden and his staff put together a "unity council" that is comprised of a few players from each class who handle themselves the right way on and off the field.
Defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio explained the unity council philosophy.
“Always, players respond better to their peers. Sometimes you hear the same thing over and over again from a coach, but when one of your guys — the guy that you live with, you’re in the dining hall with, you hang out with — tells you the truth and keeps it real, they respond better. Guys have to be proactive in that area, and that’s something we have to improve on."
“Our job here is to develop them as human beings. If we were worried about ourselves, we wouldn’t suspend them. You’re suspending them in hopes that it will help them. You try to save everybody, but eventually they don’t save themselves. The last thing is to give up on somebody. We’re not pro football coaches. We’re college coaches.” D'Onofrio added.
This season has been a trying time for the Hurricanes on and off the field, but the staff understands the big picture. When you're dealing with college aged kids on a day to day basis, some of them will make knuckle-headed decisions. As coaches it is our responsibility to help them learn from it, and make sure that the everyone involved with the team understands the expectations of being a player within your program.
Also, good move by the staff in creating a "unity council". Developing an effective way to communicate with your the leaders among your team is a great way to allow players input into the major decisions involving the program, and it also allows coaches a great pulse on everything involved with the team.
Inside Scoop: Being a first time head coach
Being a first time head coach is never a cake walk. Throw in retaining your offensive coordinator responsibilities and time management becomes more critical than ever before.
Don't take my word for it, listen to Abilene Christian head coach Ken Collums explain the challenges he encountered in his first year as head coach at ACU.
As you will see in the video, Collums' quarterback once again had an outstanding year (wait until you hear the stat). Collums then spends most of the video talking about how handles the day to day challenges that he faced as a first time head coach. Towards the end of the video Collums spends a few minutes discussing their upcoming move up to FCS which they do next season. In his words, this is the right thing to do for the university; but it won't be easy going for the team (which won't be able to compete in the FCS playoffs for five seasons).
On that last note, can anyone explain the logic in that restriction? New programs, by rule, can't compete for the championship for five seasons. That's a head scratcher...
Anyway, great talk with Coach Collums. You can see and hear why his players enjoy playing for him. He a smart, hard-working coach who cares deeply about his players yet has absolutely no ego.
Wednesday TV - MACtion doubleheader
Two big conference games in the MAC tonight. Ohio heads to Ball State (who has won four games in a row), and Toledo takes on Northern Illinois. Both should be quality mid-week contests.
Eastern time listed.
Ohio at Ball State - 8 - ESPNU
Toledo at Northern Illinois - 9 - ESPN2