The O-Line is headed to Ethiopia
Eleven Duke offensive lineman and assistant strength coach Marcus Johnson are planning a team building trip to Ethiopia to drill a fresh water well and help build some cohesiveness within their unit.
Last season, the offensive line finished in the middle of the pack nationally in sacks allowed (#43 - 1.58 sacks per game), and provided the time necessary to finish 28th in the country in passing offense (272 yards per game).
Guard Dave Harding got the ball rolling with an idea a few years ago and recently they were able to secure a total of $45,000 from private donors within the University to make the trip a reality. While on the trip, the team will also visit an orphanage and hold a sports camp for kids in the area.
"The coaches always say, 'Go through camp...and everybody, you bleed together,' and it just builds camaraderie. I think people are going to be challenged, mostly mentally and spiritually with what they're seeing. To be able to talk that through with each other and experience that together is something that no other college offensive line or football team will be able to experience or has experienced in a long time." Harding said.
The logistics of the actual project are what's really interesting. While one group actually physically pounds the pipe into the ground, the others will anchor a rope attached to a pulley system to help make it a little easier...regardless, it's going to be no walk in the park.
"Offensive linemen, I call them brothers. To see how your brothers bond with you in a different situation, you get to see what guys are really like. Can you really trust them? Are they accountable? I think it'll teach not only them, but myself as well, just what to expect from a guy, if things do get tough over there." assistant strength coach Marcus Johnson explained.
Head coach David Cutcliffe is also huge supporter of the trip. "The best part of it is, it makes them aware of a responsibility that we all have to help others around the world, not just at home. It should be a big eye-opening experience for all of those young men."
Weis talks discipline
Last season, Kansas ranked near the bottom in the nation in almost every major defensive category. Charlie Weis has been determined to change that, starting with changing the team's outlook with discipline.
The Jayhawks finished last in the FBS in total defense and scoring defense, giving up over 518 yards per game and 44 ppg (both 120th nationally), and ranked near the bottom in rushing defense (#117 - 239 ypg), and pass efficiency defense (#118 - 165).
Weis' approach since his hire in December has been that you get one chance to set things right, and that's what he aims to do before loosening up at all.
“I think you only get one opportunity to set it right. You only get one chance and you do not get a do-over. It is a common philosophy with coaches that it is always easier to loosen up on a team after it has been rigid than it is to tighten up on a team after it’s been lose.”
On the same note, Weis is hoping to see the guys have some fun in front of the fans during their spring game tomorrow.
“I would just like to see us go out there defensively and run and tackle and have some fun. I would like to see us sling it around a bit on offense and have some success, especially with the front line guys to see how there continuity is playing with each other. I would like to be able to run the ball in the red zone when people are stacking it up on the goal line and daring you to run it.”
Davie: "I got a call from Houston Nutt"
Bob Davie wrapped up spring practices with a press conference yesterday and talked about everything from their focus of a staff moving forward in the off season, to a phone call he got from Houston Nutt.
The focus for the Lobo players and the staff moving forward from spring ball are focusing on finishing strong academically, players taking care of their business off the field, and continuing to develop physically through the summer months. Davie explained that much of January was spent just getting the team up to speed regarding their condition so that they could eventually practice effectively.
Davie also said that he got a phone call from Houston Nutt asking him how he was doing and if he was liking things so far. Davie responded by saying "You know I've had the chance to do a lot of great things over the past ten years, but nothing compares to what we have a chance to do now. It's more fun, more rewarding than I've done the past ten years." He added that Nutt understood that, as only coaches coach really could.
The spring has allowed Davie to bring in numerous coaching colleagues to visit campus including Lou Holtz, and Barry Alvarez (Nutt and his wife were heading into town when he called last night to stay at a resort). Davie explained that it simply took a look out his office window for each of them to comment on what a "heck of a place" The University of New Mexico is. That kind of reinforcement is why Davie believes that they can bring major college football to Albuquerque.
You can tell that meant a lot to Davie, considering it comes from two guys that are not only friends, but also have over 360 combined wins as head coaches.
Plenty more from Davie below.
Combining smash mouth with spread at Temple
Steve Addazio and Temple are coming off a strong 9-4 season, including a 37-15 victory over Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl. Three of their four losses came by a combined 11 points, including a week 3 loss to Penn State where they lost 10-14.
Addazio explains that when you line up against them, they're going to make you defend the power run game, as well as the spread option game. That's something that he's been aiming to do for quite some time.
Addazio told ESPN that the offensive staff has focused this off-season on tweaking their offense to combine spread elements with the ability to line up under center and play smash mouth football, all with the same personnel. To do that, the staff has recruited well and loaded the roster with hybrid type players that can play multiple positions.
"I always thought cutting edge was the ability to not only be in a spread component, but then to have the ability to line up under center and come right at you. We never quite got that done at Florida. We stayed in the shotgun with Tim (Tebow) and we had a lot of success with Tim doing that...but in my heart, I always knew, when I get a chance I'm going to run this thing."
"I want a defense to feel the power aspect, defend the run-power game, and then have the ability in that same grouping to spread the field and put in a spread-option component. That's where we are now."
Simply having the ability to move the ball effectively both ways is going to stress a defense and force them to find practice time to cover it all, he explains. "Lining up under center, having a power run game creates its own issues for a defense. Attacking a defense with that, then having the spread offense component to it, now it creates a lot of stress to say: 'Now this is what we have to stop but wait a minute, we also have to stop this and we also have to stop this.'"
In the film room with Kliff Kingsbury
Texas A&M wrapped up their last film study session with offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Kliff Kingsbury.
In the clip, Kingsbury critiques the quarterbacks as they go through a skelly period on everything from footwork, to their hitch step at the top of their drop, to tapping the ball before they throw.
Overall, this is a little over three minutes of quality coaching and footage from an offensive coordinator whose system has put up crazy numbers the past few years. Enjoy.
BCS "proposes" a four team playoff for 2014 season
As the fine folks of ESPN, SI, CBS Sports, etc...are breaking, the BCS people have decided that they will propose to the conferences that the right path forward is the four team playoff. Details have not been flushed out; but here is their statement.
“As part of our deliberations, we have carefully considered a number of concepts concerning the post-season structure for the BCS. From the start, we set out to protect college football’s unique regular season which we see as the best regular season in sports. We are also mindful of the bowl tradition and seek to create a structure that continues to reward student-athletes with meaningful bowl appearances.
“Having carefully reviewed calendars and schedules, we believe that either an 8-team or a 16-team playoff would diminish the regular season and harm the bowls. College football’s regular season is too important to diminish and we do not believe it’s in the best interest of student-athletes, fans, or alumni to harm the regular season.
“Accordingly, as we proceed to review our options for improving the post-season, we have taken off the table both an 8-team and a 16-team playoff.
“We will continue to meet and review the exact structure for what a new post-season could look like. We are making substantial progress. We will present to our conferences a very small number of four-team options, each of which could be carried out in a number of ways.
“We have discussed in detail the advantages and disadvantages of in-bowl or out-of-bowl games. We have discussed in detail the advantages and disadvantages of campus sites or neutral sites. We have discussed in detail the advantages and disadvantages of various ways to rank or qualify teams.
“Our process is proceeding as we have planned and we look forward to further conversations.”
Rebel Life series: The weight room
Ole Miss is doing a new series entitled "Rebel Life" highlighting the Ole Miss program under Hugh Freeze. The second installment of the series focuses on the weight room and the strength and conditioning staff.
As a few of the players explain, the mindset of the team has been changed and bumped up a notch since the arrival of head strength coach Paul Jackson and assistant John Thompson.
Coach Freeze and the staff have also stressed the importance of accountability to the team and stressed the belief that if one of them succeeds, they all succeed, and if one messes up, they all mess up. In order to demonstrate this, the team was split into groups of ten this off season and if one player isn't meeting expectations, the whole group is punished, but on the same token, if someone is doing exceptionally well, the staff makes a point to recognize that in front of their teammates.
The staff has also organized a morning training table starting at 6:30 am equipped with an impressive breakfast buffet to make sure that they are starting their days off on the right foot.
"Everything we're doing is to make them better football players" Jackson explained. "We will produce the fastest, most explosive team in the conference, there's no doubt about it."
Falcons working on plans for new stadium
The Atlanta Falcons are currently working on a deal that would construct a new world class stadium, complete with a retractable roof.
Originally, the plan was to build an open air stadium and keep the Georgia Dome around for other events such as concerts, SEC championship games, and Final Fours. Building the retractable roof stadium would eliminate the need for that, and possibly lead to the demolition of the Dome.
The planned cost for a new retractable roof stadium is about $947.7 million, with $300 million of that coming from the public sector. Adding a retractable roof to the Georgia Dome was not an option, after a study found that it would cost over $859 million and the new seating capacity would fall short of the minimum requirements of the Falcons organization.
The Georgia Dome is relatively young, opening only 20 years ago, but lacks some of the premium seating options that other NFL venues offer that bring in a substantial amount of money.
“One of the concerns we had with a retractable-roof solution was cost. We have come to understand that to make a deal that is in the best interests of all the stakeholders, that is the best alternative for a 30-year solution. We understand that ups the cost." Falcons President Rich McKay said.
As long as a deal can be reached, construction will begin in 2014 and would be ready for play in 2017.
The idea of tearing down a fully functioning 20 year old stadium and spending $1 billion to build a slightly nicer one seems absolutely insane to us; but maybe that's just the world we live in today.
At FootballScoop we strongly believe in capitalism. If there is a business case for this and someone (presumably Arthur Blank) wants to pony up the funding, then have at it. If not, then this sure seems odd.