Todd Fitch believes USF offense is way ahead of last year
A year ago, quarterback B.J. Daniels completed 58% of passes with 11 TD / 13 INT. The Bulls scored 24 ppg (85th nationally) and averaged 309 ypg (105th nationally.
Offensive coordinator / running backs coach Todd Fitch is looking forward to a much improved offense in 2011. Following the first scrimmage of camp, Fitch said, “It was a lot better than last year, let’s put it that way. We all came out with a daemon over our head from last year.”
“From the naked eye, it looked like they (quarterbacks) had pretty good command of whey they were doing. No real dumb mistakes. I was pleased with how they handled themselves.” (It should be noted that Daniels sat out the scrimmage with a minor hamstring injury.)
“We made some plays down the field.”
“I think we’ll have a good run game. We have some kids that can really run the ball. Our line is jelling.”
“From here, we have to get more situational based. Can we move the chains on third-down? (That was) one of our nemesis last year.”
The biggest negative to Fitch was too many pre-snap penalties.
South Florida opens the season in South Bend against Notre Dame. The Bulls will then return home for three straight games against Ball State, FAMU, and UTEP.
Jimbo and Muschamp respond to Texas A&M speculation
Jimbo Fisher and Will Muschamp refuse to let the Texas A&M speculation be distracting. On Saturday, both coaches were asked multiple questions about A&M joining the SEC.
Fisher said, “I don’t know. Can’t comment on what you don’t know.”
You don’t care what league you’re in?
“We’re getting ready for the fall. We got an ACC schedule we gotta win. We gotta a couple of big non-conference game we gotta win. We got an ACC championship we gotta win. That’s our focus and what I’m concentrating on.”
Could you see yourselves in the SEC?
“We’re in the ACC and happy to be in the ACC.”
Do you have any comment on A&M all but going to the SEC?
“I got enough problems worried about practice. I ain’t got time to worry about Texas A&M.”
Muschamp was asked his thoughts on the A&M situation. In classic style, Muschamp said point blank, “I'm trying to get pass rush. I've been think about that a lot more than the Aggs, I can tell you that."
He added, "I could care less what the Aggies do, I can tell you that."
Vance Bedford: Charlie Strong is back to his old self, he's in everybody's face
Charlie Strong is set to enter his second season as the head coach at Louisville. With a ton of youth and inexperience across the roster, the Cardinals are picked the finish seventh in the Big East.
Strong, however, may just will the program to another bowl game. At media day on Saturday, Strong went on a fired up, 10-minute opening rant about where the program is heading.
Let’s just say that Strong is fired up. At the podium, he took the opportunity to point out a number of positives in the program, some of which we must say are quite impressive, and then pointed out the immediate challenges to have a successful 2011 season.
Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford even says Strong is a different man in year number two as a head coach.
Bedford said, “Now he’s doing what he has to do to be a leader. He’s back to his old self, like he was at Florida when he was the (defensive) coordinator. Now we are seeing what Coach Strong really is like. We get after it in practice. He’s in everybody’s face.”
“He’s comfortable in his role now. Coach Strong is just more of a developed leader right now. He understands what it takes.”
The Cardinals do have to settle on a quarterback, but as you should expect, the program is going to be about defense as long as Strong is the head coach.
Strong said, “You look at our defense with the front seven, this defense has a chance to be an outstanding defense. The strength of our football team should be our defense. We’ll be good down the middle. The issue right now is the corner position.”
“We are a pressure defense. We are not going to back down. We are going to always play man coverage and pressure people.”
“We won’t be a good football team unless we get those guys developed on the offensive and defensive lines.”
Louisville opens with Murray State. A week later, the Cardinals will host FIU.
Lane Kiffin dealing with world's longest injury list
A year ago, due to low squad numbers, Lane Kiffin decided to significantly reduce the amount of tackling the Trojans did during practice. USC absolutely couldn’t afford to lose anyone due to injuries.
As a result, poor tackling showed up mightily in the early part of the season.
This year, Kiffin made the decision to return to more of the physical types of practices that USC was accustomed to during the Pete Carroll era.
The result has been a ridiculously long injury list.
As usual, Kiffin began his Friday post-practice media session by going through the injury list. His first words were, “Okay. Continuing to mount…”
In fact, Kiffin ran through a list of 18 players that are either OUT or currently injured.
A reporter even asked, “If you had this many guys out last fall, could you have practiced?”
Kiffin said, “Probably not. We’re getting thin, but it’s the decision we made with the direction to go. We’ll fight through it and get them back eventually.”
Take a minute to listen to Lane’s opening comments. It makes us wonder what the Trojans are doing at practice to accumulate all of these injuries. It seems abnormally higher than most other college programs.
Todd Graham: We've been running a play every 17 seconds
During his four years as the Tulsa head coach, Todd Graham's teams averaged over 40 points per game three different seasons. Starting in 2007, the Golden Hurricanes averaged 41, 47, 29, and 41 points per game.
Make no mistake about it, Graham is serious about high octane football.
Just how serious? If you google the words “Pitt football,” the search will lead you to HighOctaneFootball.com, which is the now the official website for Pitt football.
Alright, that might not be the biggest deal or most convincing evidence, but what about this quote from Graham following Saturday’s practice:
"We’ve been running a play every 17 seconds in team (period). That’s down from every 22 seconds in the spring. We want to be around 10 to 12 seconds. So we’re getting better with our tempo."
Dude is definitely serious about high octane football.
Chad Morris: They came out here pretty full of themselves
Clemson offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Chad Morris wasn’t too pleased with the Tigers’ offense during Saturday’s scrimmage.
Morris explained, “I think they came out here pretty full of themselves. Not nearly what I wanted. As an offensive staff, not nearly what we wanted. I thought we let some of the elements get to us. We got a little soft. We were out of rhythm. Part of that is the first scrimmage. The other part of that is some of our veteran guys aren’t cuttin’ it right now, not like I want to see. They better step it up.”
“We’re turning the ball over. Turning it over in the red zone.”
“We can’t give an illusion at all that we’ve arrived because we ain’t done nothing yet.”
“I thought our tempo was okay. I thought we got tired because of the heat, then we slowed down.”
“When you turn the ball over in the red zone, it’s totally unacceptable.”
“We did do some good things. Don’t get me wrong. Hey, it’s alright. We’re going to go back to work on Monday.”
Clemson will host Troy in the season-opener on Saturday, September 3rd.
Jon Gruden talking about his old buddy
In case you are watching the Chargers / Seahawks game, you probably heard Jon Gruden talking about Chargers new special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia.
The Chargers were nothing short of horrendous a year ago on special teams. So in the off-season, Norv Turner went out and hired Bisaccia away from the Tampa Bay Bucs.
Bisaccia had been with the Bucs since 2001, where he won a Super Bowl with Jon Gruden.
Before that, Bisaccia was the special teams coordinator / running backs coach at Ole Miss when this happened:
The video was recently produced by the Ole Miss athletic department in order to help lure fans to the stadium before kick-off starts. Good looking girls, booze, and something called The Grove have traditionally led to a late arriving crowd at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Coincidently, the return occured against current Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt, who was the head coach at Arkansas at the time.
Ole Miss wants to change that tradition this year.
Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit channels his inner Rex Ryan
Western Michigan head coach Bill Cubit stepped to the microphone today and didn’t mince words.
To an extent, Cubit’s inner Rex Ryan emerged.
Cubit said, "It's our time. I think it's our time to go out there and go get it done."
"The MAC, that'll be a disappointment if they don't win the MAC. That's how we all feel. Some years you can't say it, because you're really missing some pieces. I don't think we're missing pieces, I really don't."
Hey coach, what about the boys from Central Michigan that keep giving y’all trouble?
"That elephant in the room, we see it. Hey, we've got to go out and win. We all know what's going on. We're challenging these guys, we're challenging the coaches. We're doing everything we can to rectify that thing there."
Western Michigan opens in the Big House against Michigan. According to the official WMU site, the Broncos return home the following week to host “Nicholls.” We assume that’s Nicholls State, as in the Colonels from Thibodaux, Louisiana.
Cubit is hoping his offense will make plays like this: