Spavital on Holgo: "He's putting in more Xboxes"
As CBSSports' Bruce Feldman points out, players and coaches have noticed some major (and welcomed) changes entering year two of the Dana Holgorsen era in Morgantown.
The addition of a few large murals, some Xboxes, a few flat screens, and some good old fashioned TLC went a long way.
Quarterback Geno Smith, who threw for 401 yards and 6 touchdowns in their Orange Bowl romp, has spent time this off season sitting down with defensive coordinator Joe DeForest to dissect film and learn how to look at a defense from a different persepective. "We talk about what he sees and what I see. That's something I'd never done before but it helps. I know I can trust him and he knows he can trust me."
Even the arrangement of the coaches offices has changed. No longer is the offense on one side of the building and the defense on the other, Holgorsen has mixed them all up. Just before they hosted Junior Day, some large Orange Bowl murals were added to the hallways between offices and meeting rooms. Director of football operations Alex Hammond, and quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital have noted that they have already paid huge dividends in recruiting.
As Spavital explains, "We have all these pictures of Pat White and Steve Slaton, which are good but you'd see pictures from the 2008 Fiesta Bowl everywhere. It was a good thing, but you can't live in the past forever. Dana's put the emphasis on these kids now. You'll see it go from Bruce Irvin to Will Clarke. He's trying to get the team to come around the office more. He's putting in more Xboxes. He doesn't want them to dread coming over here."
Even how coaches watch film has changed. Last year, Spavital had an ancient monster tube TV propped up on a filing cabinet to watch film on, this year it's film on HD flat screens and HD computers.
"He fixed what's most important to us, that's watching tape." Spavital added.
Behind the scenes: D1 recruiting trip (13 days of video)
Bowling Green secondary coach Nick Monroe hit the recruiting trail armed with his itinerary and a camera to document what it's like to be a Division 1 coach on the recruiting trail.
Monroe starts the trip off going from Bowling Green to Cleveland before heading down to the Miami and Tampa Bay areas to watch spring ball in the Sunshine state. During his 13 days on the road, Monroe covered 4,500 miles.
During the trip, Coach Monroe shares some trade secrets of the road, including one thing that wakes you up better than coffee and how he is able to skip meals because of an essential road snack.
No word yet if the rights to the outtakes have been purchased by anyone. BG video guys, let us know if you have any good ones.
Matt Limegrover shares a lesson learned
Big Ten Network's Tom Dienhart sat down with Minnesota offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover to talk about last season's struggles and the off season progress recently, and Limegrover took the opportunity to reflect on a lesson learned. What he has to say is something that all coordinators should take to heart.
After finishing at the bottom of the conference pack last season in total offense, and scoring offense, Limegrover looks back and realizes that they tried to do too much, and didn't approach year one at Minnesota quite right.
"We had done some good things as a staff two seasons ago at Northern Illinois and liked the direction our offense was heading. I think the mistake we made last year was we tried to continue on in that same trajectory, almost like year four at Northern Illinois instead of year one at Minnesota."
"I think we were doing some things that we hadn't laid the foundation that we needed to. So, we scaled back about half way through the season...or a little later...and learned what our kids did and didn't do well. With that in mind, we went a little different direction and we laid down a foundation."
That new foundation will have some time to take shape early on in the non conference schedule for the Golden Gophers this coming season. They open up at UNLV (2-10 last season), then have the next two games at home against FCS New Hampshire (8-4 last season) and Western Michigan (7-6 last year) before traveling to Syracuse (5-7 last season).
Coaching legends want in on playoff selection
Bobby Bowden is one of a handful of coaches willing to serve on a selection committee to determine the top programs that should make up a college playoff. BCS officials are meeting this month to iron out the finer details of the playoff.
Bowden told ESPN, "I would be willing to serve on it. I think ex-coaches have a lot of wisdom. I watch the games. And I watch the game films on my iPad."
Bowden has been casting his vote in The Legends poll since 2009. The Legends poll is compromised of 17 retired head coaches and Bowden feels that these ex-coaches would be the most logical people to sit on a playoff selection committee.
"This Legends group is about as real a group as you can have. I voted for years as an active coach. But what you're really doing then is putting yourself and your conference in position. I used to have an idea of what was going on around me. But now I really have an idea of what's going on around the country. When we're retired, we all have a better view."
Former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum, and former BYU coach LaVell Edwards echo that same sentiment.
"No person is better equipped to handle the pressure that would go with being on that committee than an ex-coach. We've seen a lot more pressure than being on a poll."
"It's a lot better than a computer. And it's a lot better than people who have never worked in the game. The system is flawed. We all want to do what we can to help preserve the integrity of the game." Slocum pleaded.
Edwards also explained how this scenario would be best for the game.
"This is not ballots being filled out by sports information directors. This is watching film and having in-depth discussions with people around the country. It's as close as anybody could come to being completely objective. Computer formulas with no transparency are no good. Former coaches have the ability to evaluate things like how a team is playing at a particular time."
According to Twitter, other coaches that have demonstrated interest (as of this morning) in being a part of a selection committee include Phil Fulmer, and Vince Dooley.
Bill Snyder's building blocks: #8 - Enthusiasm
As you may remember, back during the season we shared Bill Snyder's 16 building blocks for a program with you. At the beginning of each season, Snyder hands the team a laminated card with 16 goals listed that if they can conquer, will lead to victory.
Every once in a while one of the videos will make the front page for "Video of Day", but their recent addition of enthusiasm (#8), was worth a little extra love.
Enthusiasm not only stands for the emotion that Coach Snyder and the staff have the Wildcat's playing with, but also the energy that fills the stadium on Saturdays in Manhattan. The video highlights one big play against Baylor last season that illustrates both types of enthusiasm.
Each video ends with the following quote "If we as individuals accomplish or achieve these goals, then we, as a unit, will be successful". Very well done series.
It takes a real man to film this video
We have identified our first nominee for video of the year.
Young coaches, if you ever have the opportunity to spend time with (or if the good lord blesses you with an opportunity to work with) Chris Hatcher, get there as soon as you can. Wonderful guy, great coach, excellent father, decent golfer, every now and then he can tell a joke or two....Trust us, find a way to spend some time with Hatch, you'll be better for it.
Hatch, what's in the box?
Kevin Wilson: Use Twitter to sell what your trying to do
Like all major college head coaches, Kevin Wilson has hit the road hard this off season to help rally support from the home state crowd.
At his most recent stop in Evansville, Wilson talked about some of his new additions to the staff, and how important it was to hire people from programs that not only win, but programs that also demonstrate good work habits.
One recent addition for Wilson is a trainer from the Nebraska staff, who he is admittedly pretty "jacked up" about. On the way to Evansville, they were touching base and Coach Wilson learned that he had just got done testing the conditioning limits of one of the players...not something you hear everyday coming from the training staff.
Wilson also admits he is hitting Twitter pretty hard, taking some advice from Tom Crean. Crean told Wilson to "use your Twitter to sell what your trying to do". Wilson made sure that everyone in attendance knows that he handles his own Twitter account (@IUCoachWilson). He understands that in society there may be no better tool out there to reach the masses quite like the power of Twitter.
NAIA Video: Size doesn't matter
Menlo College strength and conditioning coordinator Victor Brankovich coordinates the strength program for one of the smallest schools in the country to sponsor a football program. The NAIA program in California has only 650 students enrolled at the school, and last season 96 players made up the football roster.
Menlo started off last season hot, winning 5 of their first six games, before facing a tough stretch in their schedule and finishing 5-5.
Below is a short clip of what they have been up to in the off season. You can tell these guys are hungry to improve on their .500 record.