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When you sign the nation's top recruit...

When you just completed one of the most successful seasons in school history and your top recruit has an impressive freshman season, playing in all 13 games as a freshman, finishing second on the team in tackles for loss (12) and sacks (8), it's only fair to feature him in a video that is aimed at bringing excitement to fans looking forward to 2012.

Another solid "It's great to be a Gamecock" season promo from South Carolina.




Stricklin: "We practice everday against an SEC team"

Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin sat down with the NEMS Daily Journal to explain why the Bulldog's football schedule has not included a BCS opponent in over 3 years recently.

According to Stricklin, their scheduling philosophy is aimed towards making sure they have 7 home games scheduled and are bowl eligible at the end of the year. Dan Mullen added that he likes scheduling close non conference opponents to make travel easier on their fan base. Last years road games included games at Memphis and UAB, along with a neutral site game in Nashville against Wake Forest.

Unless strength of schedule is eventually weighed heavily into playoff selection or bowl berths, Stricklin says that he is happy with the way that they currently do things. According to the NCAA, Mississippi State had the 25th toughest schedule last season, with their opponents racking up a combined record of 74-57 (LSU had the toughest schedule in the country with an opponent record of 94-45). 

“We’ve had 16 straight sellouts and we have a waiting list for tickets, so whatever we’re doing right now seems to be working from a fan perspective, and we’ve been to two straight bowl games, so it’s working from trying to produce a consistent winner perspective.”

Taking a look at this seasons schedule, no one can say it's a cake walk, with road games at Alabama and LSU and then hosting Arkansas before the Egg Bowl in Oxford to wrap up the regular season. And with non conference games at home against Jackson State, South Alabama, and Middle Tennessee State (and a road game at Troy) for 2012, Stricklin reminded everyone of their opponent on a daily basis in practice.

“We practice every day against an SEC team."




HS Video: Championship Training

Downey high school (Modesto, CA) has created a nice "movie trailer" style video showcasing their "Championship Training".

During the video, the phrase "Team 61" flashes across the screen, which is surely head coach Jeremy Plaa's tip of the hat to Brady Hoke and his motivational methods where Hoke uses the "Team X" mantra as a reminder that each team writes their own story and leaves their own legacy.

If one thing is evident in the video, it's that Team 61 of Downey high school has been getting after it and Coach Plaa is teaching his guys how to train like champions.




The 12th Man: "It's almost like we're cheating"

For the past week or so, each day Texas A&M has released a countdown video highlighting an aspect of Aggie country that they'll be bringing with them to the SEC. With three days remaining until they become an official member of the SEC, today's video focuses on the unique advantage that the 12th man provides.

During his introductory press conference, Kevin Sumlin described the environment at Kyle Field as a "7 to 10 point advantage" during the day... and night games are a totally different story.

As one player describes in the video below, "With the 12th man behind us, it's almost like we're cheating."




Swarbrick: Strength of schedule should matter

Notre Dame has historically fielded one of the toughest schedules in the country year in and year out, and athletic director Jack Swarbrick wants to make sure that strength of schedule is taken into consideration when determining what four teams will compete for the national title under the new playoff system.

Much like the selection committee for the NCAA basketball tournament, Swarbick wants an emphasis to be placed the strength of schedule, along with other important factors that determine a teams success throughout the course of the season.

"One of the things we like so much about that is as much as this happened in basketball in the past decade, the selection committee will send a real message about strength of schedule. If you choose not to challenge yourself, especially in the pre-conference games, it's going to impact your rating. That's another way we think we're contributing to the vibrancy of the regular season through this process." 

Swarbrick also noted that he wants to see the committe made up of people that understand the game and have at least a basic knowledge of all 121 teams. He believes that eventually the committee will be comprised of representatives of each conference, and then individuals with extensive football knowledge, but no specific conference affiliation.

"We want the sort of sophisticated analysis that says you know this team lost their first game, but their quarterback didn't play the last three quarters. The rest of their season they were undefeated, so if you factor that in, maybe they're a top-four team in the country. We want to have that level of sophistication."

However it all gets ironed out, we'll see this system in place for 12 years starting in 2014, meaning any additional changes won't take place until 2026.

 




Camp Video: Showdown in Siskiyou

Very nice video below from the Southern Oregon football program and their annual team camp in Ashland, Oregon. The camp was held during the first few weeks of June and is comprised of guys entering grades 9-12.

These high school players are competing hard in every drill and are getting some quality instruction from college coaches along the way. There's even some American Gladiator like competitions mixed in the as well.

There's some good footage of the coaches getting hyped up and getting after it as well. Enjoy.




NATA: "Conditioning shouldn't be used as punishment"

The National Athletic Trainers Association released a recommendation today from their annual convention in St. Louis asking coaches to stop using exercise as a form of punishment.

As coaches we have all been in a situation where a player misses a class or team function, or gets in trouble over the weekend, and some extra conditioning is used to remind him of the high standard that players within the program are held to. According to Dr. Douglas Casa, chief operating officer at the Korey Stringer Institute, those days are numbered.

"There usually is no medical staff around and punishments are not scientifically planned out, so it raises a lot of unique dangers. Is it realistic? In a sense I really don't care if it's realistic. We're moving in this direction. Some day it's going to be eliminated."

Dr. Chuck Stiggins, executive director of the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association echos the same sentiment.

"Conditioning should be there to maximize durability of the athlete, but it should not be used for discipline. We have got to change our culture. It happens very slowly, but we have to get away from that punishment mentality. There are better ways to handle that."

"It's kind of like wearing seat belts. Most people wear their seat belts now, but its taken time. This is a culture change and is something that needs to be done." Stiggins explained.

The lengthy list of recommendations also includes a suggestion that freshman, and players coming off injuries, should have a unique tailored work out schedule, and coaches and athletic trainers should work together to come up with a workout plan for those individuals.

One way that they are looking at making these recommendations stick as legislation is to get the NCAA to ensure that all strength and conditioning coaches are nationally certified, which they say is something that they are currently working on.




Survey: What really matters to recruits

Rivals did an interesting survey during their Top 100 Five-Star camp in Atlanta last weeked that provided some really good perspective from some of the top players in the country.

The players were polled on everything ranging from the best facilities and campus atmosphere to what head coaches are the most intimidating, the easiest to talk to, and the most persuasive. Recruits said the best facilities are found at Alabama, Texas, Georgia and Tennessee, and the best campus atmospheres can be found at Southern California followed closely by Texas and Alabama.

When recruits were asked about coaches, things got a little more interesting. Nick Saban was regarded as the most intimidating coach to talk to by a large margin. Saban received 30 votes while Lane Kiffin and Will Muschamp were the next closes with 5 and 4 votes each. 

Gene Chizik, Mack Brown, Lane Kiffin, and Steve Sarkisian were head coaches that were listed as the easiest to talk to and Chizik, James Franklin, and Kiffin were all guys that recruits viewed as the most persuasive.

Interestingly enough, 79% of recruits noted that their position coach factors into their decision much more than the head coach. The players noted the fact that their position coach will have a greater impact on their career both on and off the field, and they'll also spend much more time together compared to the head coach.

The original article, which can be found here, also asks players to weigh in on whether program tradition and uniform combinations really factor into their decision, as well as the top issues that they really consider when selecting a school.