Jim Mora: Be careful not to over-coach your guys

After a 3-0 start, UCLA (4-2) has dropped two out of their last three (week 5 win at Colorado is sandwiched by losses to Oregon State and Cal).

In each of their wins (against Rice, Nebraska, Houston and Colorado), UCLA has scored at least 36 points. In their two losses the Bruins have failed to reach the 21 point mark.

We also noticed that in each of their four wins this season, the Bruins have rushed for over 210 yards. In both of their losses they have struggled to get the run game going, failing to reach the 130 yard mark both times. This weekend they will face an experienced Utah defensive line that has allowed only one team to run for more than 100 net yards (Northern Colorado in week 1 had 193 net yards rushing).

Mora noted during his press conference after practice today that their run game scheme going into each week is simple, and couldn't get much more basic. He reminded his coaches this week that it's important to not over-coach their young and inexperienced guys up front.

Other than focusing on the guy across the line of scrimmage, Mora explained that they'll continue to put a renewed focus on their fundamentals in the run game. Mora said that offensive line coach Adrian Klemm has returned to stressing the fundamental footwork, and the correct hand and eye position that will lead back to the run game success that they saw the first three weeks of the season.

"What you try to do is not make it too big for them. I think sometimes you can over-coach in terms of emphasis on the other guy instead of emphasis on yourself. I think Adrian does a really good job of bringing it back to our fundamentals and our technique, our calls, playing the way that we're supposed to play and not making it so much about them." Mora explained.



BC has a new AD - What that means for the football staff

Miami (Ohio) athletic director Brad Bates was announced this afternoon as the new athletic director at Boston College. Bates, who had been at Miami for a decade (and was at Vanderbilt for over 15 years prior to that), now holds the future of Boston College's football program in his hands. 

When he gets to know the current staff, he'll find a likable and capable set of coaches; but also one that for whatever reason hasn't been able to obtain the success that they would like on the field. It's hard to imagine any scenario in which Bates isn't selecting the new head coach for the Eagles within the next 60 days. 

No one truly knows how the selection process will unfold; but one name that can't be dismissed from consideration is Mike Haywood. Bates hired Haywood in December 2008 to turnaround Miami's faltering football program. In his first season Haywood's team went 1-11; but in their second season, the Redhawks went 8-1 in conference and 9-4 overall. Haywood was hired to be Pitt's head coach but was released from that contract shortly after his hiring following a domestic dispute (the charges would later be dismissed). Haywood and Bates remain close and have a very effective working relationship. 

Haywood is Catholic (which is relevant at BC); but far more important is his overall body of work as a coach. His early stops in his career were at Army, Ohio and Ball State. He then had a long run as running backs & special teams coordinator at LSU and then at Texas. From 2005 - 2008 he served as running backs coach / offensive coordinator at Notre Dame. At each spot he garnered accolades for his rapport both with his players and his fellow coaches. 

Haywood is currently out of football; but that won't be the case a few months from now. He loves coaching and wants back in. We don't know if he gets back in as a head coach; but we're very confident that Bates has confidence in Haywood and will consider him for a position at BC in the future.

There is a long, long list of guys who like to be the head coach at Boston College and we're by no means saying Haywood is a shoe-in; but he's on the proverbial list. 

USF athletic director comments on status of Skip Holtz

South Florida athletic director Doug Woolard released a written statement on the status of Skip Holtz, who is 2-4 and 0-2 in conference play heading into their bye week before facing Louisville next weekend.

The Bulls have dropped the last four in a row, including losses on the road to Ball State (3-3) and Temple (2-2).

Wollard's written statement is below:

I know Skip, his staff and the players are working diligently to get that next win and to find sustained success. Certainly, the results, in terms of wins and losses to date, are disappointing to everyone involved with our program -- the coaches, players, athletic administration and our passionate fans. Our expectations for this program are very high. I also know this team has a lot of football left to play and great opportunities in front of it. We're only six games into a 12 game regular season.

We are going to provide all the support possible for our football program, including employment contracts that reflect our commitment to success. Many factors come into play when considering contract terms, including conditions in the national coaching marketplace. In Skip's case, multiple BCS schools sought his coaching services at the end of both the '10 and '11 seasons. As a result, we felt it was important to maintain the stability of leadership in our football program and extended Skip's contract.

As has been our practice in the past, we will evaluate the status of each or our 19 programs at the conclusion of their respective seasons. We'll identify where we are as a football program at that time and continue to build from there.

Since taking over prior to the 2010 season, Holtz is 15-16 overall, and has won just 4 of 16 games in the Big East (4-12 overall), including losses in their past 10 of 11 conference games.  After having his name mentioned for other jobs, South Florida extended Holtz's contract last Summer through the 2017 season with an annual salary of $2 million. If the university were to buy Skip out after this season the price tag would be $2.5 million

The three oldest coaches in the FBS are a combined 17-0

We just saw a note a bit ago that the three oldest coaches in the FBS (Bill Snyder, Frank Solich and Steve Spurrier) have yet to lose a game this season.

Bill Snyder has his Kansas State (5-0, 2-0) squad hitting on all cylinders, putting up at least 35 points in all but one game this season. Their 5 wins include wins over Miami (52-13), Oklahoma (24-19 in Norman) and in state rival Kansas (56-16). So far this season, four of their five games have been at home, and they hit the road the next two weekends to take on Iowa State and West Virginia in back to back games.

Ohio (6-0, 2-0) and Frank Solich are also off to a fast start, winning their first six games including a season opening win over Penn State (24-14) and already have two conference wins under their belt as well, winning both games by a combined total of 10 points. Solich and the Bobcats have only one team on their remaining schedule with a winning record (the last week of the season against Kent State who is currently 4-1).

Steve Spurrier (6-0, 4-0) and the Gamecocks are the third team on the list of teams with a veteran coach yet to lose a game this season. After winning their season opener in a close one against Vanderbilt (17-13), South Carolina and the old ball coach have gone on to win their next five games by 21 points or more. Following their fourth SEC win last weekend against Georgia (35-7), the Gamecocks get to head to Baton Rouge Saturday to take on LSU. 

Sometimes there's just no substitute for experience.

Lengendary HS head coach returns to help teach players a lesson

Last week, head coach Christian Mahaffey was controversially let go as the head coach at Rio Americano (CA) high school. Recently, a new head coach was brought in, and he brought with him a lesson that will not soon be forgotten.

According to published reports at the time, one of the Rio Americano players, who was also a baseball stand out, told coach Mahaffey that he would be missing a game early in the season to attend a baseball showcase. Mahaffey told the player that it would be an unexcused absence and, due to team rules, he would be suspended for a game upon his return. After hearing of the suspension, 11 players decided to walk out and quit the team. Coach Mahaffey was let go soon thereafter and the players were later reinstated.

We don't know enough of the facts to opine on what happened; however we read a follow up this morning that Rio Americano recently hired Max Miller, the winningest coach in Sac-Juaquin section football history. Miller got the call from the Rio Americano principal while he was on the golf course with his wife, pleading for him to take the head coaching job. Coach Miller and his wife immediately packed up their belongings and hit the road to meet the administration, and he later agreed to become the next head coach, making it his second stint at Rio Americano.

What really stood out to us was that, after officially accepting the head coaching position and being introduced to his new team, Miller told the players who had originally left the team that they were wrong to leave their coach and that they would be punished. The players would have to sit out a game and do some community service before dressing again. Also, each player would have to personally call Coach Mahaffey and apologize before moving forward.

Forty eight hours before their first game under Miller, Miller scrapped the spread and went back to the I-formation, moving a lineman to the backfield to carry the load for the new offense. That first Friday night Coach Miller went into their game against Cordova HS (where he had recorded most of his 258 career victories) with just four plays, and came out with a 30-6 win. Oh yeah, and that converted lineman / running back rushed for three touchdowns.

These days you don't hear too many stories about a new coach coming in and immediately focusing on respect and discipline; but in this case it seems to be working out for everyone. 

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