Mack Brown: "I don't like inexperienced players inside the 20"
The recent struggles of the Longhorn defense have led Mack Brown to a few conclusions on how to get things fixed as they move forward in their final four games of the regular season.
One thing that Brown has told both coordinators is to substitute some experienced players inside of the 20 yard line.
“I don’t like inexperienced players inside the 20 on either end. That’s something we’ve talked about a lot. That was a key play in the ballgame. We not only lost points, but we gave up the possibility of points offensively. That won’t happen again.” Brown explained, referencing a specific defensive play in their Kansas game where they had two freshman linebackers in.
The Longhorns have only allowed less than 170 yards rushing on just one occasion this season (week one against Wyoming). A year after finishing in the top ten nationally in run defense (6th - 96 ypg), the Longhorns have dropped to 108th this season, allowing opponents to run for 218 yards per game.
This week, after giving up at least 450 yards of total offense in the past four out of five games, Brown has been hanging around defensive staff meetings a little more, lending a fresh set of eyes to their defensive struggles, and how to get them fixed. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz welcomed the new viewpoint.
“I enjoy it. The thing the head coach can control is maybe subtle changes to how we are practicing. This is Mack understanding our issues and the easiest ways to fix them.” Diaz explained.
The Horns will be tested this weekend on both sides of the ball against Texas Tech. Kick off is scheduled for 3:30pm ET on ABC.
"You just got your asses whipped by a bunch of g'damn nerds"
Last season, Vanderbilt went into Lexington hosted and beat Kentucky handily, 38-8. Included in that victory was a run by Vandy running back Zac Stacy where he absolutely willed his way into the end zone, with what seemed like the entire Wildcat defense (literally) on his back.
Before every meeting this week, Kentucky defensive line coach David Turner has showed that clip to his guys. Just in case that message hasn't been heard loud and clear, he also sent the clip to their cell phones.
Coach Turner's message is clear. Don't let it happen again this weekend.
We're checking with sources We have now confirmed; but we're pretty sure this classic line has been uttered at least a few times up in Lexington this week...
Video: Mike Leach shares great story about going to K-State
Only Leach could tell this story. Only Leach...
UCLA introducing new blue uniforms this weekend
UCLA (6-2, 3-2) has got some new threads for their homecoming game this weekend against Arizona (5-3, 2-3).
The uniforms were first unveiled via UCLA's Instagram account.
From everything that we're hearing, the new uni's are well liked by the Bruin fan base, and look like a nice change up from their usual powder blue look. The exact color of the uniform is referred to as "L.A. Night" by adidas.
Saturday's kickoff is scheduled for 10:30pm ET on the Pac 12 Network.
Borges: Success, or a lack of success, is never due to one thing
After losing one of the nation's most dynamic play makers in Denard Robinson on Saturday, Michigan's offense started to struggle behind an ineffective run game and a backup quarterback. Those two things are never a good combination for any offensive coordinator.
Offensive coordinator Al Borges was asked about the recent offenses struggles yesterday, and responded with a quote that he had heard from Bill Parcells years ago.
"The media and everybody always want to blame it on one thing, whether it's depth, or the playcalling or whatever. I heard Bill Parcells say this years ago, 'It's never one thing, it's always a bunch of things.'"
"As you go through and you critique a tape, and you look at the play calling, and you look at the blocking, it bears it out. Seldom is it the same guy making the error time and time again. I won't say that never happens, but it's usually a combination of issues that prevent you from succeeding, just like it's a combination of issues that help you when you do succeed."
Earlier in the interview, Borges noted an interesting statistic that should catch the attention of offensive coordinators. In the years that his teams have been most successful in the red zone, they've ran for 60% of their red zone touchdowns.
Video tour of Iowa State's new facility
Almost two years ago, head coach Paul Rhoads gave the architects of the new 60,000 square foot Bergstrom Football Complex five pages of hand written notes that detailed his vision for the new facility down to the smallest of details.
"We wanted it to be designed with a blue collar work ethic in mind, that's exactly the finished product that we had, with plenty of "wow" to go on top of it." Rhoads told the media.
Above is a video tour of the nearly finished, $20.6 million facility, done by the video staff at Iowa State, along with a clip below from IowaStateDaily.com that has some great insight from coach Rhoads and his staff on their input for the project.
The "front porch" of the new facility ethic is the 11,000 square foot football-only weight room. We saw a note earlier that some of the equipment in the weight room is powered by hydraulic racks, allowing players to life safer, faster, and more effectively. Director of strength and conditioning Yancy McKnight explains how their loss to Missouri led to the plan and layout of the new weight room, and explains, "We were very hands on in the whole design, as far as the room. I have no one to complain to about anything except myself if I don't like it. It would be my fault."
You can definitely see the "blue collar" work ethic in the details that Rhoads was aiming for, and there's definitely still that "wow" factor that will impress recruits and their families.
Interesting note at the end of the clip below. Listen carefully to what Ben Bruns, the project manager from The Weitz Company, has to say about the facility at the end.
"It could be bigger, we could have spent more, but it is as efficient as you could have ever imagined it to be, and that's what you want. People design kitchens and they think 'I want my kitchen to be really big.' Well that makes it harder to cook. So this thing is designed to cook the right way." Bruns explained.
Wednesday TV - Games back on tomorrow night
Games will be back on tomorrow night (both NFL and college).
Eastern time listed.
Seventeen staffs coaching for bowl eligibility this weekend
Earlier this week we touched on the note that 18 staffs will play for bowl eligiblity this weekend in First and 10. (We originally counted 20 bowl eligible teams, but the number is actually 18. Penn State is ineligible and Cincinnati, though it has five wins, needs two more wins to reach a bowl. The 18th team, BYU, is off this week.) With that in mind, here are the scenarios facing each of the 17 staffs looking to strike gold.
Air Force: at Army (12 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network). Last non-bowl season: 2006. Outlook: Air Force has only lost to Army twice since 1989. The Black Knights are struggling again this season (1-7), so the forecast looks good for a sixth straight bowl trip.
Arizona: at UCLA (10:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Networks). Last bowl appearance: 2010. Outlook: The Wildcats are riding high on a two-game winning streak, including Saturday's thriller over USC. Arizona won this game last season, 48-12, but with two new coaching staffs this year's meeting won't bear much resemblance to the 2011 game.
Arizona State: at Oregon State (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2). Last non-bowl season: 2010. Outlook: The Sun Devils have missed their first two chances to reach six wins with a loss to Oregon and last week's shootout loss to UCLA. A visit to the Coliseum to face USC follows this week's game, so it's entirely possible Todd Graham's team may have to wait until Nov. 17 vs. Washington State to lock in a bowl game. Arizona State had better not pass that chance up, because their season to be on the line when they close the season in Tucson.
Arkansas State: at North Texas (5 p.m. ET). Last non-bowl season: 2010. Outlook: Mark Gus Malzahn among the group of first-year coaches looking to toast a successful debut season. The Red Wolves' offense has clicked in recent weeks, scoring 34, 36 and 50 points in their three-game winning streak. North Texas has an improved defense but will struggle to match Arkansas State's firepower.
East Carolina: vs. Houston (12 p.m. ET, FSN). Last bowl appearance: 2010. Outlook: It's hard to believe a team very much contending for a conference championship can not be bowl eligible entering November, but that's the state of things in Conference USA. Nevertheless, Ruffin McNeil's group fell an overtime loss short of going bowling last year, so the Pirates would treasure a win on Saturday.
Iowa State: vs. Oklahoma (12 p.m. ET, ABC). Last non-bowl season: 2010. Outlook: Paul Rhoads continues to make strides at Iowa State, and clinching back-to-back bowl trips for the first time since 2004-05 would demonstrate that.
Michigan: at Minnesota (12 p.m. ET, BTN). Last non-bowl season: 2009. Outlook: This is one of many games pitting teams on the brink of bowl eligibility against each other.
Michigan State: vs. Nebraska (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2). Last non-bowl season: 2006. Outlook: 2012 has been a rollercoaster ride for Mark Dantonio as the Spartans' last five games have been decided by four points or less. Michigan State won't return to the Big Ten Championship this season but they will play in a bowl for the sixth straight year.
Middle Tennessee: at Western Kentucky (9:15 p.m. ET, ESPNU on Thursday). Last bowl appearance: 2010. Outlook: Leaving Bowling Green, Ky., where the Hilltoppers have won five of six, will be a tough task. But if Rick Stockstill's squad is unable to clinch bowl eligibility on Thursday, a trip to South Alabama next week should do the trick.
Minnesota: vs. Michigan (12 p.m. ET, BTN). Last bowl appearance: 2009. Outlook: With three wins in each of their past two seasons, Minnesota's next win will be a much-celebrated one. Jerry Kill's team will look back on a 30-27 triple-overtime win over UNLV as its saving grace.
Navy: vs. Florida Atlantic (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network). Last bowl appearance: 2010. Outlook: Credit Ken Niumatalolo with one of college football's best in-season turnaround jobs. After a 2-7 finish to 2011 and a 1-3 start this year, the Midshipmen have won four straight. Carl Pelini's program is still gathering its footing in year one, so Navy could be celebrating on Saturday evening.
N.C. State: vs. Virginia (12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2). Last non-bowl season: 2009. Outlook: Virginia has struggled in ACC play, so all signs point to go for Tom O'Brien and co. locking up a bowl for the fourth time in five years.
Oklahoma: at Iowa State (12 p.m. ET, ABC). Last non-bowl season: 1998. Outlook: It's only a matter of time before the Sooners lock up their 14th straight bowl trip under Bob Stoops. Paul Rhoads' team will provide an interesting test after an emotional loss, but Oklahoma is in no danger of missing a bowl game.
Oklahoma State: at Kansas State (8 p.m. ET, ABC). Last non-bowl season: 2005. Outlook: Saturday begins a month-long proving ground for Mike Gundy's team with the first of four consecutive ranked opponents on tap. A sixth win may not come at Bill Snyder's No. 2 ranked Kansas State, but it will happen at some point.
Ole Miss: at Georgia (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS). Last bowl appearance: 2009. Outlook: Just getting to this point is a testament to the work of Hugh Freeze in his first season in Oxford. Predicted to finish last in the SEC West, the Rebels still have three top 15 teams left on the slate, so next week's date with Vanderbilt is paramount.
TCU: at West Virginia (3 p.m. ET, FOX). Last non-bowl season: 2004. Outlook: TCU will look to beat their new conference-mates to the punch to secure a place in the Big 12's bowl lineup. Things don't get easier from here for Gary Patterson's team with dates ahead against Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma to close the year.
West Virginia: vs. TCU (3 p.m. ET, FOX). Last non-bowl season: 2001. Outlook: Dana Holgorsen and co. will look to snap a two-game losing skid after taking a week off.