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Video: Maxing out at North Dakota

Back in 2010 the FCS's Big Sky conference decided to welcome North Dakota as a new member starting in 2012. Starting July 1st, North Dakota will officially no longer be a D-II program.

North Dakota has spent the past few seasons becoming a bigger, faster and stronger team in order to immediately compete for the Big Sky title.

The clip below shows the team getting after it in the weight room. Notice the heavy weight being thrown around by guys of all sizes, the great form all around, and no wrist straps are in use. These guys have been coached up well.




Advice from an off the field coach

Quincy Wilson, West Virginia's newly appointed assistant director of football operations and former Mountaineer running back, wants to use his experiences as a player to help mold the lives of the players in Morgantown as he focuses on his new off the field role in player development.

"I want them to trust me and I want them to know I'm going to shoot them straight. So that aspect of dealing with the kids that way is awesome because I feel like I experienced a lot of different things and unique things that will come up once you get here on campus. I want to be that guy they can lean on."

Dana Holgorsen hired Wilson to be the man that  measure the pulse of the team and all of its players. To do that Wilson plans on getting to know every single player and their background, as well as what makes them tick both as a person and a player, and then relay that information to Holgo when necessary.

"I want to know what your favorite movie is. What's your favorite color? Do you have a girlfriend? What are your day-to-day activities like? The quicker I get that down, the quicker I figure out how to approach them and then it's easier to get them going because you know them and you know how to pump them up." Wilson explained.

Wilson also offered some advice on what to focus on as an assistant DFO, or anyone working in player development.

"The big thing is to concentrate on the young guys coming in and to give them a plan for the four or five years they're going to be here. The quicker we get them adjusted, the more we eliminate the transfers, the more we eliminate the off-the-field stuff. My biggest goal is when you look on TV you don't see one of our guys is arrested for beating up his girlfriend or this guy got an underage consumption. I don't want any of that for our guys so I've got to get to know them and know what we've got going on here."




What it takes to be retained by two new head coaches

Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson is entering his 21st season as a Wolverine assistant coach. Jackson was the only member of the coaching staff that was retained when Rich Rod took over, and again was the only coach retained when Brady Hoke was brought in. 

In an interview with the Ultimate Sports show, Jackson shares his thoughts on why both coaches decided to retain him and what it was like to see his son Jeremy choose to play at Michigan over offers from Iowa and LSU.

"I have had very good running backs that have had great success in this program. I have done the job they've needed me to do in recruiting by bringing in players that have been productive throughout the country, and I think when your looking for a running backs coach who knows the game to the point where he can make his players productive each week, and recruiting...you'd have to go out and find someone who could top that, and I think that's probably the reason I was retained here."




Tom Crean goes to bat for Kevin Wilson

In Indiana the head basketball coach at IU is one of the most important people in the entire state. 

Well, according to IU head basketball coach Tom Crean, in Oklahoma the order of most talked about people goes:

1. OU Head Coach

2. OU Offensive Coordinator

3. Governor

Crean's point is that IU went out and got a winner. He said that with Wilson at the helm, "there's no doubt that it's gonna turn....it's just a matter of when." 

Towards the end of this short video, Crean says that IU has all of the assets they need (coaches, facilities, weight room, etc...); but they need the right players. 




Video: Tennessee's new facility is impressive

We got word of this video this morning via twitter

Tennessee's new facility will be awfully impressive when it's complete. Heck of a recruiting tool here both for coaches and players. 




JUCO Video: Nobody outworks us

Lackawanna College and head coach Mark Duda put together a nice video highlighting their program up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, 

Coach Duda has had one thing missing in his 19 years with the Lackawanna College football program...a practice field. That changed recently and the players now have a field to help further develop.

The lack of a practice field hasn't stopped Duda and the Falcons from compiling a 128-63 record (including a 7-4 mark last season), winning a handful of conference titles, and sending 200 players to Division 1 rosters on scholarship during his tenure.

As coach Duda says in the video, "The NCAA has decided, through the rules and regulations, that many of our players aren't able to play in the NCAA, so they have to take another path. We become that path."

The video will most definitely be making its way in front of recruits.




How hosting the HS state title game changes recruiting

Starting in 2013, Northern Illinois will host the state football championship games every other year, and head coach Dave Doeren is excited about having NIU as the final football destination for every high school program in the state.

"For us, our mission is to go to Detroit. So now, you're going to have high schools talking about, 'we want to be in DeKalb [Thanksgiving weekend],' It's going to be a conversation piece for all these championship level programs, for the goal of their season will be to end up here."

That type of buzz and excitement will end up helping the Huskies once Doeren and his assistants get the communities and players on campus.

"Their parents are going to have a lot of dead time while their sons are doing what they do, and they'll come in our building and check it out, and they'll see all the things going on as well. They'll be in there. So now, when we reach out to recruit that student athlete, it's not going to be, 'we haven't been up here in 15 years.' Mom and dad are going to be the ones talking to their son about how great the place was when they were here."

Doeren has plenty of first hand experience on the scenario since serving as an assistant on staff up at Wisconsin, where the state title game has been played at Camp Randall each season since the early 80's.

"Thousands of conversations that 'yeah, coach we were here in the playoffs, or we were here in the whatever.' You'd watch their film and you'd see the W on the field and be like 'hey, this kid played in the playoffs,' and it was just, our home field was their destination. You can bring a kid in your office, and they look out the window 'I remember being out there, we beat so and so.' "

However, hosting the state title games also has its complexities as well. For example, if the staff watches a player during the state title game on campus, it is counted as an official evaluation. So the questions becomes whether they should watch a player earlier in the year, or wait and see if they have a chance to see them on campus in the state championship game.

As Doeren explains, "There's going to be a lot of, really, looking at who you think might make it during the year. Should we go see them in September when they're probably going to be here in November?...You'll have to be smart about who you go see"




Dantonio's keys to success

Mark Dantonio credits the success that he has had at Michigan State to great team chemistry, outstanding team leadership, the relationships he has developed inside of the athletic department and being able to keep players in the program.

The past two seasons have seen the Spartans reach the 11 win mark back to back for the first time in school history, play in the inaugural Big Ten title game, and provided some of the best game winning heroics in recent football memory.

"I think our chemistry is tremendous on our football team. We've had great leadership. This'll be another year, so, you'll have other leaders stepping forward. And just as importantly as anything, there's a great relationship between our administration, Mark Hollis, Lou Anna Simon, our president, our board of directors and then our fans, and the top alumni people. Everybody's on board and everybody's going in the same direction. That's what we see across our athletic department and with our coaches, as well."

At the end of May Dantonio's assistants received a nice raise, something that he had been vocal about for quite some time.

"I think it was very important to pay our coaches the going rate. The administration got in line. It's a crazy world out there, the world of college athletics, it's very crazy at times. So our guys are in line, they're making a good living, provide a great atmosphere for them to work in and hopefully you can see the continuity and it's paying off." 

Dantonio also talked about how a few key times in a season can determine the direction of the program.

"I think every season has tipping points in the season, that are going to flip you one way or another. The last two seasons we've had points in the season that have just sort of given us confidence to roll. And that's what we've seen happen. And I think the one thing that we've done here, from the '07 team all the way through the 2011 team, is that when we've had a tough situation, and we've had a setback, we've bounced back. We've put our foot in the ground and we've driven forward. I think that's a result of just good leadership at the ground level, which, to me, that's players."

"I think if we can just learn by our mistakes, not feel sorry for ourselves, not change just for the sake of change, we're going to be OK. It's not always about winning football games, it's about other things, too. And we have a very healthy environment at our place right now. And that gives us a lot of enthusiasm for what we do."