Highly recommended questions for each head coach at SEC Media Days
We’re not going to be able to make it to Birmingham later this week for SEC Media Days. The FootballScoop Staff has very important 9 AM tee times on Thursday and Friday mornings at the TPC Sawgrass neighborhood course.
With that, we’re recommending some questions for each of the twelve head coaches. We’ve also included a few predictions.
Here we go:
Highly recommended question for Nick Saban: Coach Saban, in 2003 at LSU, your starting defensive backs (Webster, Daniels, Hunt, Landry) going into the year had a combined 10 career starts. And they balled. Your starters this year in the secondary have a combined 62 career starts. You ought to be nasty in the secondary, right?
SEC Media Days Prediction: Saban will drop fewer than normal “a’ights.” We’ll predict nine.
Highly recommended question for Dan Mullen: Coach Mullen, could you talk about “Grindin,” “D-Swag,” and “Our State?”
Question #2: Coach Mullen, you have helped Mississippi State sell out of season tickets for the second consecutive year. You said earlier this summer, “It’s amazing. We came in and they told us if you guys win, then we’re gonna sell tickets.”
What was the initial reaction from the fans that you told that to?
SEC Media Days Prediction: Mullen will talk about the challenge of responding to winning, something the Mississippi State program hasn't had to deal with in a while.
Highly recommended questions for Will Muschamp: Coach Muschamp, Dooley made it known last year that he wasn’t looking forward to third downs against Coach Saban’s defense because “all of the kah YA” and flying missiles that can come from every which direction. You worked with Coach Saban for a while. Can you tell us just how many hits on the quarterback you want to have after your first three games (FAU, UAB, and Tennessee)?
Question #2: Urban Meyer has stated his most time consuming deal and biggest headache at Florida the last few years was dealing with the “rock star” status of the players. Can you explain the difference in culture amongst the players at Texas and what you initially saw at Florida?
SEC Media Days Prediction: Muschamp will try to make it through media day without saying the word, “Saban.” And he will.
Highly recommended questions for Les Miles: Coach Miles, Jordan Jefferson made the statement a few weeks ago that he is, “hands down” the starting quarterback. Does his statement fire you up?
Question #2: Coach Miles, it is a pantheon of concrete & steel. Pretty awesome, isn’t it?
SEC Media Days Prediction: Les will be noticeable fired up for the season.
Highly recommended question for Gene Chizik: Coach Chizik, Trooper Taylor thinks Gus is a magician. He thinks Gus is Harry Potter and all Malzahn needs is the broom. He even said this week, “It won’t matter. Just watch. I’m 100 percent confident that whoever he puts at quarterback is going to play big in this offense.” Do you agree with Trooper? Also, do you understand Gus’ offense and do you have any parameters for him or do you just totally let him do his thing?
SEC Media Days Prediction: Chizik will make it clear early on that he’s not interested in discussing Cam Newton or NCAA investigation type of stuff.
Highly recommended question for Steve Spurrier: How irritated will you be if Garcia holds on to the ball in the pocket too long this year? Whose fault will that be?
SEC Media Days Prediction: Spurrier will be in a pretty good mood, but will make it known that it’s out there for South Carolina to take the next step. He’ll drop a total of seven “anyways” and three “we’ll see’s.”
Highly recommended question for Houston Nutt: Coach Nutt, seriously, how glad are you that Kyle Veazy is no longer the Ole Miss beat writer for the Clarion-Ledger?
SEC Media Days Prediction: Nutt will talk about quarterbacks and ball security.
Highly recommended question for Bobby Petrino: Coach Petrino, how many times have you second guessed your decision to give up play-calling duties to Garrick McGee? Not a knock on McGee, but isn’t that what you do? It looks like you live for the moment when you can put your laminated script in front of your mouth and dial the next 5-step drop.
SEC Media Days Prediction: Petrino will master the art of monotone talk.
Highly recommended questions for James Franklin: Coach Franklin, after being at Vanderbilt for a few months, what are three things you realized you absolutely had to get changed in order to give your staff a chance to succeed?
Question #2: Coach Franklin, it’s your first SEC Media Days. Pretty sweet, isn’t it?
Question #3: Coach Franklin, your offensive line coach Herb Hand is a devastating dodge ball player, isn't he?
Question #4: Coach Franklin, going back to your awkward introductory press conference at Vandy, how many times did you think in your head, "If I get interupted once more, I'm gonna..." ?
SEC Media Days Prediction: James Franklin will say the words, “We will not settle.”
Highly recommended questions for Joker Phillips: Coach Phillips, have you ever caught Tee Martin tweeting in a staff meeting?
Question #2: Coach Phillips, what have you learned and implemented from John Calipari?
SEC Media Days Prediction: Joker will explain what Kentucky needs to do to take the program to the next level.
Highly recommended question for Derek Dooley: You have clearly illustrated how you inherited a program that was hardly where you would have wanted when you arrived in Knoxville. You even referred to last year as “Year Zero.” Without coach speak, what would make this year a successful season in your eyes?
SEC Media Days Prediction: Dooley will spend at least 40% of the time talking about rule changes, NCAA stuff, athletic director questions (the stuff other than this year’s team).
Freeze describes awkward situation in taking over at Arkansas State
In the off-season, Hugh Freeze replaced Steve Roberts as the head coach at Arkansas State. Freeze served one year as the Red Wolves offensive coordinator before being elevated to head coach after Roberts was dismissed from the head coaching position.
Freeze described the transition today during the Sun Belt conference call.
Freeze stated, “It wasn’t a little awkward. It was very awkward. Awkward from the standpoint of you coached a year with a lot of guys that ultimately you were responsible for them looking elsewhere for jobs and had nothing to do with them not being quality coaches or quality men, it’s just when you get your one chance, you want to make the most of it.”
“It was very awkward from a standpoint that Steve Roberts, who maybe the guy that I respect the most in this business after coaching with him for a year because of the type of man he is and the type of program he runs and the influence and impact he had on the kids in the program.”
“To see him (Roberts) hurt and then find out that I’m going to get to accomplish a dream, at his expense so to speak, was very difficult. The way he handled it all, and the relationship we continue to have, I’ve learned so much from watching him go through this difficult time.”
“When I first realized that I was a person of interest here, I asked if I could visit with him. I told him what I thought was going on. Being the man he is, he said this is the way our business is. I would rather have those young men with someone I trust and know has their best interest at heart than someone I don’t know.”
“He was very honest like he always is. It was nothing personal with us, and wished me the best in getting it. He thought I should go after it if that’s what my dream was. I just have great respect for him and am very thankful for him.”
Freeze and Arkansas State open the season at Illinois. After hosting Memphis in the second week of the season, Arkansas State will travel to Virginia Tech.
WKU predicted 7th, but Taggart votes 1st in Sun Belt poll
The Sun Belt Conference pre-season coaches’ poll it out. Mario Cristobal’s FIU program is the favorite to win the conference.
The coaches predict Western Kentucky to seventh in the conference, but the Hilltoppers surprisingly received one first-place vote.
So who voted the Hilltoppers to win the conference title?
None other than WKU head coach Willie Taggart.
Taggart explained, “We were in a lot of football games last year. That’s our expectation around here. We’re not going to expect anything less. Our goal is to win multiple Sun Belt championships. That’s what we’re going to do, and we have it in our guys to do it.”
“Our football team got better every single game after that Kentucky game. We’re a lot better from a depth standpoint. Our guys are more comfortable with our schemes. We’ll be a lot better when we play Kentucky. We’re going into that game to win.”
You hear me, Joker. You write that down, too. And post that $%^T in the locker room!
The poll shapes up like this:1. FIU
5. Arkansas State
6. North Texas
7. Western Kentucky
Jimbo fired up this morning: It's utterly ridiculous. I call it the lazy man's rule.
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher talked about a number of topics this morning on the Joe Rose Radio Show.
In light of the Willie Lyles situation, Fisher believes that all recruiting services should be mandated to charge the same price for each college.
Jimbo explained, “My thing is if you’re registered with the NCAA and it’s the same amount for everybody out there, (then it’s ok). There has got to be some sort of regulation on those guys. You have to regulate those guys. They are solely there to provide tape and information.”
Why do people use guys like Willie Lyles?
“There are not enough days and not enough people to cover your ground.”
Fisher is very displeased with the fact that Nike can fly a family of four to Eugene, Oregon for camp that takes place on the Oregon campus.
He explained, “It’s has to be at a neutral site. I don’t blame Oregon. Oregon is taking advantage of the situation. It’s not their fault. They (Nike) can fly the family members out there to spend four days on a camp, but I can’t fly ‘em here for an official visit. Think about that.” (Colleges are only allowed to pay the airfare of a prospect, not his family members, during an official visit.)
Jimbo believes everyone would benefit if high school coaches were compensated to run 7 on 7 teams in the summer.
“The high school coaches should be in charge.” (Not these mentors, agents, jacklegs that don’t have the best interests of the prospects at heart)
In terms of the summer 7 on 7 teams, here’s where it goes bad:
“When they (prospects) get involved with a bunch of different guys on a bunch of different teams, then they get coached differently and then they get a bunch of different people in their life that stick to them and affect the way their getting coached in high school and affect their recruiting because they now become mentors and agents. That’s the part you have to regulate.”
So what about head coaches not being allowed to go on the road to recruit during the spring?
Fisher said, “That’s my biggest pet peeve. I am responsible for players. I am responsible for picking guys. And not only that, but what about promoting football in the state of Florida? What’s a greater thing for a high school than when a head coach at a major university walks in your school?”
“To me, that is utterly ridiculous. I call it the lazy man’s rule. It’s utterly ridiculous for head coaches to not want to go out.”
What else is ridiculous? To Fisher, it’s the fact the NCAA is thinking about decreasing the overall size of football staffs.
Fisher said, “I think you need more people to monitor your kids. Why would you want to police more and take less people to do it? The problems that kids face today is tenfold what we faced when we were in school because of the facebook world, the twitter world, all those things that go on with a kid’s life.”
“We have to be able to have enough people to be able to monitor what we’re responsible for.”
Stoops, Oklahoma start recruiting the class of 2022
It’s seems like recruiting is starting earlier and earlier. It’s not yet August and almost half of the top 100 players in the country are already pledged a verbal commitment for next year.
In fact, just last summer, Lane Kiffin received a verbal commitment from a 13-year old.
But one thing that you don’t see all that often these days is a high school prospect committing to the home-state university that he’s dreamed about playing for his entire life.
It still happens, but not like in the old days.
Oklahoma University, however, has started a campaign that could pay off next decade. Oklahoma has started the Sooner Jr. youth education initiative with the theme of, “I’m gonna be a Sooner Someday.”
The same producers of The Lion King and Curious George have created a new video that could make Bob Stoops’ recruiting efforts a little easier next decade.
Check it out.
Nick Holt: For the first time, I can say that our front...
It’s taken three years, but Washington defensive coordinator Nick Holt is beginning to feel comfortable with the Huskies’ defensive personnel.
During a radio interview this morning, Holt said, “First time I can really say that our front looks like a Pac-10, Pac-12 defense, starting to. That's our biggest progress is our front, our defensive line, just watching our guys walk around campus, we are starting to look like the real deal finally, just bigger and real athletic.''
Holt added, “Our conference offensively is just so good that day-in and day-out, week-in and week-out, it's a hard conference. But hopefully we are getting to a point defensively where our players know our stuff and we've got good players that that won't happen, and we have to make it not happen, and hopefully that's the case. Athletically we're getting to that point. We're nowhere near where we need to be but we're a lot better than we were three years ago, that's for sure.''
In his first season as defensive coordinator, the Huskies allowed 26 points per game. Last season, that number rose to 29 points per game, but the Washington defense limited to Nebraska to only 7 points in the 19-7 Holiday Bowl victory.
This season, Washington opens against Eastern Washington. After hosting Hawaii in week #2, the Huskies will travel to Nebraska.
Your town, Your team, Your gameday
Please football season get here. Yes, we are going with a LA Tech schedule report on Monday afternoon.
LA Tech head coach Sonny Dykes is one of twelve head coaches entering his second overall season as a head coach.
Unfortunately for Dykes, the Bulldogs will host only five home games this season. The Bulldogs will host Central Arkansas, Houston, Hawaii, San Jose State, and New Mexico State.
The road schedule includes Southern Miss, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss.
Beginning with an October 8th game at Idaho, the Bulldogs will travel five out the next six weeks. It’s at Idaho, at Utah State, San Jose State, at Fresno State, at Ole Miss, at Nevada. Boy, don't those long plane rides sound exciting.
Surprisingly, Phil Steele ranked the LA Tech schedule only 78th toughest in the country.
On the same day that Steele released his “toughest schedule” rankings, LA Tech released their 2011 marketing slogan.
We like the little kid on the lower left side with the face paint. How fired up is he to be on the LA Tech schedule poster? He gets a great photo, but Sonny gets nothing.
"Your town, Your team, Your gameday"
12 coaches preparing for year #2 as head coaches
In a couple of weeks, twelve coaches will enter their second overall season as head coaches.
That list includes Joker Phillips, Rob Ianello, Jeff Quinn, Dan Enos, Ruffin McNeill, Jimbo Fisher, Sonny Dykes, Charlie Strong, Doc Holliday, Larry Porter, Mike MacIntyre, and Willie Taggart.
Of that list, only four head coaches led their teams to bowl games...Fisher, Strong, Phillips, and McNeill.
After leading Kentucky to a 6-7 record in 2010, Joker Phillips admitted this week, “Everybody says if you're a coordinator, it prepares you to be a head coach, but that's not true. There's so many little things that you have to take care of."
He added, "There's nothing that really prepares you for all of the things that come up during the season."
In 2011, Kentucky will be rockin' new uniforms. That’s not the only thing new, either. Rick Minter is now coordinating the defense, while Steve Perdue joined the staff as the new running backs coach.
There will also be a brand new HD video board and sound system at Commonwealth Stadium.
Kentucky opens the season against Western Kentucky in Nashville, TN.