Brian Kelly pumped up about the Irish defense
On Monday, Notre Dame practiced outside for just the third time this spring.
Offensive coordinator Charley Molnar believes thing are drastically different than a year ago.
Molnar said, “It’s so much better. Just about every position. We really have developed some depth. The quarterback position really exemplifies that.”
Meanwhile, head coach Brian Kelly told ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, “I think the biggest reason to be excited is we’re going to be able to play some defense. I’ve learned in 22 years of coaching that if you’re good on defense and solid in special teams, you can muck it up on offense enough to find a way to win games.”
“That’s been our job since we were hired -- to fix the defense."
“It’s all about momentum,” explained Kelly. “It’s about beating USC for the first time in 8 years and beating Miami handily. Clearly, momentum is huge and gives you something in the offseason and in recruiting. But we’ve got to win more games. Eight is not enough.”
The Irish will practice on Wednesday, Friday, and then play the spring game at 3 PM EST on Saturday. The game will air LIVE on the Versus Network.
Addazio explains the Urban Meyer coaching tree
A number of assistant coaches that have worked under Urban Meyer have landed head coaching jobs.
The list includes Dan McCarney, Steve Addazio, Charlie Strong, Dan Mullen, Kyle Whittingham, Gregg Brandon, Mike Sanford, and Tim Beckman.
What’s the secret?
According to Temple head coach Steve Addazio, "Let me put it like this: The coaches who become head coaches, who came from Florida - you bought a franchise."
Addazio told Mike Jenson of the Philadelphia Inquirer that it’s important to know who you are and what you are.
He explained, "You've got to be sure of who you are and what you are. Let me put it in perspective here. In 100 and something years of football at Florida, there were three national championships. I was there for two of them.”
“Does this mean that they had 97 years of misery? That if you don't win a national title it's all misery? Come on. As a coach, you've got to learn how to handle that, right?"
Temple will play their spring game this Saturday. Addazio’s first game as head coach will be against Villanova. The next three are at Akron, Penn State, and at Maryland.
Clancy Pendergast set to dial blitzes in AT&T Park
Cal opens the season with 5 games at 5 different sites due to the renovation of Memorial Stadium in Berkley.
The season starts with Fresno State (Candlestick Park), at Colorado, Presbyterian (AT&T Park), at Washington, and at Oregon. In total, the Bears will play 5 games at AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants.
Unfortunately, Jeff Tedford will start a quarterback without much experience, if any.
All the way from FootballScoop Headquarters, we can hear Tedford hollering down the hall, “Clancy, we’re gonna need the defense to be stout early on.”
So have the players been more comfortable in their second spring in Clancy Pendergast’s defensive scheme?
Pendergast told ESPN’s Ted Miller, “No question. We are able to move on to more specific details and really focusing on our technique. Our defense is not only predicated on communication but playing fast, and when you know what you are doing, you’re able to play fast.”
“As you look at our tape, game by game as the season went on last year, I felt like we were playing faster and faster. We are way ahead at this point as opposed to last year. Guys are picking it up and there is a lot of chatter on the field.”
In the meantime, check out Cal’s promo video that encourages fans to support the Bears during their home games at AT&T Park.
Brandon Doman: We're going to return to our roots
Brandon Doman once won his first 14 starts as the BYU quarterback.
Now, as the Cougars’ offensive coordinator, Doman says the offense will have a different feel next season.
As BYU nears the finish of spring practice, Doman said, “We’re going to return to our roots.”
“I want BYU fans to feel like we are attacking, and through the air. I want them to feel like this is the BYU offense of old, and that we are going to throw the football a lot, like we used to do.”
Luckily for Doman, he’ll have talented sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps under center when the Cougars open on the road at Ole Miss.
Doman is part of a revamped staff that include new wide receivers coach Ben Cahoun and former Navy assistant Joe DuPaix. DuPaix is coaching the running backs and serving as the recruiting coordinator.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall likes the chemistry of the new staff and told the Salt Lake Tribune, “I have had more fun this past two months, or however long it has been, than in the last six years.”
Those are some interesting comments, but not the most interesting involving BYU today.
During an morning interview on ESPN Radio, former BYU quarterback Jim McMahon was asked his thoughts on Brandon Davies’ suspension from the BYU basketball team for reportedly violating the school’s honor code of not having premarital sex.
McMahon said he had a simple solution back in the day.
“You had to find girls who kept their mouths shut.”
Petrino and Willy Robinson thinking Atlanta, could be another wild Saturday
Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson and head coach Bobby Petrino believe it’s time for Arkansas to take the next step.
Under Petrino, the Razorbacks have finished 5-7, 8-5, and 10-3.
Robinson told ESPN’s Chris Low, “Our first spring here, my wife, who had grown up in Pennsylvania and knew a lot about football, sat down there and said, ‘You guys look like a high school football team. That doesn’t look like a college team. I don’t know how you’re going to compete in the SEC because I’ve seen those people, too.’ ”
“Without a doubt, we feel like we can be playing for our conference championship in Atlanta. We feel that in all of our hearts. We’ve taken a step every year, and our kids are really driven to do that. We had so many freshmen playing for us our first year on defense. That was scary, but it helped us on down the line.”
Petrino echoed Robinson’s comments. He said, “Everybody in our program understands now how we’re going to work and how we’re going to go about our business. We’re not fighting attitudes or guys saying that we never did it this way or that way before. Just the continuity of the program … it’s all in order.”
Following Saturday’s scrimmage, Petrino said, "Defensively, we keep getting better. We're playing our gap control. I really think we have a chance to be a very, very good defensive front that will really rush the passer."
Saturday should be a lot of fun on campus in Fayetteville. The spring game kick-offs at 4 PM EST. Later on that night, coming off a sweep of LSU, the Razorbacks will host Mississippi State in baseball.
This past Saturday night, the Hogs hit a 3-run walk-off homer in the 9th to beat LSU. If the scene this weekend is anything like this past Saturday...well, there's going to be plenty of cold beverage drinking and good times in the outfield stands.
Watch this celebration after the walk-off homer.
Vic Koenning: The worst thing that happens to a fighter...
Vic Koenning wants more toughness out of the Illinois linebackers.
In his second year as defensive coordinator / inside linebackers coach, Koenning says, "We're little cocker spaniels right now.”
His goal? Make them like Pitbulls.
Koenning told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, “Like Mickey told Rocky, 'The worst thing that can happen to a fighter is to get civilized. You've got to get back to old school.' In my opinion, we've got to get back to a little bit of old school.”
He didn’t stop there.
Koenning offered up, "It’s like one of those country dances. You take one step forward and two steps back or two steps forward and one step back, however that goes. I haven’t been able to crack the code with some of these guys to get them to absorb it. We’ve got a lot of questions to answer in the linebacker corps."
Following Saturday’s scrimmage, head coach Ron Zook said things looked a lot better than the first scrimmage from a year ago. Zook was pleased with the tackling, but disappointed with a number of big plays the defense allowed.
You can watch the Illinois spring game on BigTenNetwork.com on April 23 at 2 pm EST. The Big Ten Network will broadcast the replay at 7 pm EST.
Illinois practices this week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Zook's squad will open with five consecutive home games in 2011 against Arkansas State, South Dakota State, Arizona State, Western Michigan, and Northwestern. The schedule features 8 home games and just 4 road games.
Ohio State, Michigan, and Wisconsin all travel to Champaigne. Gotta capitalize, Zooker.
Dana Holgorsen: It comes down to 3 things
Dana Holgorsen is implementing the diamond backfield set this spring at West Virginia.
It’s a set Holgorsen (39) first used at Oklahoma State, featuring three running backs in the backfield.
Holgorsen told Mike Casazza of the Charleston Daily Mail, “It's a little different. We can go inside and talk the rest of the day for, like, seven hours for me to explain the blocking stuff and schemes and all that, but what we do with one back or two backs, we can put a third one in there and do the same thing."
West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel admits, "It poses problems. You have a chance to insert a tight end or a lead back to outnumber you at the point of attack. But there's a balance. It's a lot like our (3-3-5) defense. We have the three linebackers and you don't know where the overload is coming from. It's the same thing in the run game."
"When you've got three backs in the backfield and the two wideouts go out, you've got to go out and cover the wideouts and take your chances stopping the three backs, or you have to drop a safety in and go one-on-one with your corners," said Casteel.
Holgorsen admittedly doesn’t care about the size of the backs. He explained, “It comes down to the three things. It comes down to being able to be productive when you run, being able to be productive when you block and being able to be productive when you have the ball in your hands.”
“Regardless if the guy weighs 160 or 260, if it’s productive it’s productive. We’ve had guys that are 185 pounds that were our best pas protectors, so they got more reps.”
Here’s Holgorsen talking with the media after Saturday’s practice:
Jim Grobe holding firm with his philosophy
Jim Grobe enters his eleventh season as Wake Forest head coach determined to get the Demon Deacons back to sucess.
In 2006, Grobe led Wake Forest to 11-3 record and Orange Bowl bid. Since then, the team has finished 9-4, 8-5, 5-7, and 3-9.
Much of the success was built on teams stockpiled with redshirt juniors and redshirt seniors.
So after consecutive losing seasons, has there been a massive overhaul? What about a change in philosophy?
Not so, according to Grobe, who spoke with the News Observer recently. Grobe said, “We haven't really changed. If we end up with 16 or 18 juniors and seniors out on the field starting for us and playing their very best football, then we're going to be a good football team."
The spring has been productive.
"Much more energy than we've had the last two years," Grobe said. "The last couple of years there was some complacency going on. Our players just kind of assumed that because we've done it three years in row that it would just happen."
In the off-season, former West Virginia assistant Lonnie Galloway joined the staff as wide receivers coach / passing game co-coordinator. Quarterbacks coach Tom Elrod added the title of passing game co-coordinator.
Brian Knorr shifted from wide receivers coach to co-defensive coordinator / linebackers. Defensive ends coach Tim Billing was promoted to co-defensive coordinator. He will now coach the outside linebackers. Keith Henry, who coached the corners last season, will now serve as the special teams coordinator.
Wake Forest opens at Syracuse. The home schedule includes Florida State, Virginia Tech, and Notre Dame.