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Want to talk about a true leader of a football team? Here's one for you.

Leadership.  It’s often the difference going from good to great.  It’s what college coaches are hoping to get out of their players during voluntary summer workouts when the coaches are not around.

It’s the essence of Drew Brees.

With the lockout ongoing and teams not allowed at their practice facilities, Brees has seized the opportunity to be a leader once again.

Starting today, the Saints surprised many be conducting an organized team workout at Tulane’s practice facility.  Brees, the unquestioned leader of the Saints, setup the practice that was attended by numerous veteran players.  It's the first of many workouts at Tulane, says Brees.

Asked what he’s trying to accomplish with these workouts, Brees said, “Honestly, it’s to prepare us to have a championship season.  That’s obviously our ultimate goal.  I feel like the more organized you can be as a team and the more you can communicate during this time, in May, June, July prior to a normal training…the better off you will be once the season does come around.”

“None of us know how long this (lockout) is going to last. This gives us the best position to be successful once the season does start.”

Brees added, “It helps being a veteran team, but also having young guys that are strong character guys and willing to follow the leaders on this team and when you have veteran guys showing up like Sharper, Vilma, Stinchcomb, and countless others, Heath Evans, David Thomas, then others can say ‘These guys are doing the right thing.  These guys know how to be a pro and you know what, I want to be there because I want to show them I can be counted on, too.’”

And that, my friends, is leadership!

20 minutes before tee time, Spurrier pressed about Garcia

Just twenty minutes before tee time this morning, Steve Spurrier was kind enough to give a quick interview with the guys over at 790 The Zone in Atlanta.

From the get go, Spurrier made it clear he was thrilled to be doing the interview.

“So coach, how are you doing today?”

Spurrier responded, “Oh, we’re getting ready to go play here in about 20 minutes.  Sterling (Sharpe) is about to carry my butt around this thing.”

Translation…glad to be with you, but let’s get this thing over as fast as possible.

Asked about Stephen Garcia, Spurrier said,  “We’ll, I’ve learned not to get too mad at him.  As you’ve probably noticed the last year or so, I don’t throw any temper tantrums on the sidelines, try not to. Stephen could still be back, he’s got some things to do.  We’ll make a statement in about a month or so.”

Spurrier was pressed about why he hasn’t just said “That’s it, I don’t need this in my life anymore.”

He responded, “Well, he hasn’t been arrested lately and he hasn’t done anything too stupidly.  But he still has some immature acts that cause some problems around school.  But we’re not giving up on him.  We don’t just want to cast him aside, so we’ll see if he makes some attitude adjustments to get back.”

You can listen to the interview, right here.

Dan Hawkins visited 9 colleges this spring, reflects back on Colorado

Former Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins visited 9 different college programs during spring practice.  He will soon head to Stockholm, Sweden for a month to watch his son Cody play in a semi-pro league and oddly enough, will begin working on a Ph.D in psychology.

Hawkins told Rivals’ writer Tom Dienhart, "I have been working these Nike combines. I have been to a lot of spring practices -- Oregon, Oregon State, BYU, TCU, Missouri, Air Force, Colorado State, Colorado School of Mines and Rutgers.”

Reflecting back on his tenure at Colorado, Hawkins offers no excuses.

He said, “When you are the head guy, it's no excuses. You either get it done or you don't. All the other particulars don't matter. I grew a lot and learned a lot. The interesting thing is I'm probably a way better coach now. I probably know more and am more organized and more convinced about what should be done now more than ever. But when you get fired for not winning enough games, sometimes people think you don't know anything.”

"I had a discussion with Pete Carroll about this. After he went through the New York Jet deal and the New England Patriot deal and got hired at USC, I think he was more convinced than ever about what needed to happen. But sometimes in our society, we don't view failure as that type of a learning operation."

Colorado is a difficult job.  Plenty of coaches that we have talked with believe Hawkins is capable of leading another program.  From 2001-2005, Hawkins was 53-11 as the head coach at Boise State.  The Broncos were 37-3 against conference opponents.  

We hope to see Hawkins back on the sideline in another year.

Dan McCarney creating sense of urgency as new stadium nears completion

North Texas head coach Dan McCarney believes that opening the season against a conference opponent (FIU) will create a sense of urgency during summer workouts.

Following the season-opener, North Texas will play Houston, at Alabama, Indiana, and at Tulsa.

It seems as if McCarney has created a sense of urgency since his introductory press conference on November 30, 2010.

The Mean Green is set to open their brand new stadium against Houston.

McCarney told the Denton Record-Chronicle, “We know what they can do and what they can’t do and what needs to be done. That wasn’t some fabricated statement. I believe if we are going to be competitive we have to make the most physical improvement of anyone we play.”

“It’s not just guys in the trenches, it’s offensive skill guys, special teams guys, running backs and wide receivers. We all know it’s a year-round program of development now and we have some major strides we need to make in the months ahead.”

Edsall laying the law, building a foundation at Maryland

Randy Edsall is making academics a priority for the Maryland Terps.  It’s all part of Edsall’s plan to lay a strong foundation for his new program.

Senior wide receiver Quinton McCree told the Washington Times, “The day he walked in and gave a speech, I knew he was about business. I knew ‘That’s it.’ It’s like when I went to Hargrave Military Academy. It was no playing around. It was straight academics.”

Edsall said, “If we don’t teach them that, then were not doing what were supposed to. If we do those things, the results out on the field, that’ll happen. I’m confident that’s going to happen. If you don’t lay the foundation right from the get go, it’s not going to happen.”

We were surprised to hear offensive coordinator Gary Crowton has implemented certain parts of Oregon’s offensive scheme.  The Baltimore Sun has reported the Terps spent time watching Oregon film this spring and will utilize some of the up-tempo style that has become the staple of the Ducks' offense.

Edsall's first game as the Maryland head coach will be against Miami (FL).  Out of the gates, the Terps host Miami (FL), West Virginia, and Temple.

Here are some highlights of the Maryland spring game:


8 colleges had at least 6 players drafted, none played in a BCS bowl

North Carolina and USC led the way with nine players selected in the NFL draft.

Miami (FL) had eight players selected, while Nebraska had seven.  Clemson, Georgia, Iowa, and LSU each had six players drafted.

Rivals writer Mike Huguenin uncovered one of the most interesting facts regarding this year’s draft.

Huguenin pointed out that none of those eight programs played in a BCS bowl game, and Clemson and Georgia even finished with losing records.

Miami (FL) was taken to the woodshed by Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl.  Nebraska lost in miserable fashion to Washington in the Holiday Bowl.

Oregon, who played in the BCS National Championship game, had just one player drafted.  LB Casey Matthews went in the fourth round to the Philadelphia Eagles.

TCU had 5, Ohio State had 5, Auburn had 4, Stanford had 4, Oklahoma had 4, UCONN had 3, and Arkansas had 3 players drafted.

9 UNC players were drafted including DT Marvin Austin, LB Bruce Carter, WR Greg Little, LB Quan Sturdivant, DB Da’Norris Searcy, RB Johnny White, QB TJ Yates, DE Robert Quinn, and TE Ryan Taylor.

9 USC players were drafted including RB Allen Bradford, FB Stanley Havili, WR Ronald Johnson, DB Shareece Wright, TE Cameron Jordan, OL Tyron Smith, DL Jurrell Casey, WR David Ausberry, and OLB Malcolm Smith.

Both UNC and USC finished 8-5.  

Check out Huguenin’s article to see the 13 players that declared early for the draft, but never heard their names called.

Tom O'Brien makes interesting decision, cuts loose Russell Wilson

In a surprising development, NC State head coach Tom O’Brien has given a scholarship release to quarterback Russell Wilson, the runner-up ACC Player of the Year.

Wilson, who is playing baseball in the Colorado Rockies organization, did not participate in spring practice.  O’Brien recently made the decision that Mike Glennon will be the starting quarterback, even if Wilson had returned to the team.

Wilson told the Charlotte Observer, "I really want the fans, N.C. State alumni and most of all my teammates to know if I had been given an equal opportunity to compete for the starting job, I would not have asked for my release. I am a competitor."

In a Friday night press release, O’Brien said, “Russell and I have had very open conversations about his responsibilities respective to baseball and football. While I am certainly respectful of Russell’s dedication to baseball these last several years, within those discussions I also communicated to him the importance of his time commitment to NC State Football.”

“My staff and I thank him for his contributions as a member of Wolfpack football and to this University and wish him only the best in the future.”

Wilson is not allowed to transfer to another ACC school or opponent on the NC State 2011 schedule.


Sark: My wife wants me to decide, so she doesn't have to keep asking

Third-year head coach Steve Sarkisian wrapped up spring practice this weekend at Washington without naming a starting quarterback.

Redshirt freshman Nick Montana and redshirt sophomore Keith Price both performed well and protected the football during the last fifteen practices.

It appears Sark will make a decision in the next few weeks.  He wants the starting quarterback to “fit the personality” of the team and offense.

Sarkisian said, “My wife wants me to decide, so she doesn’t have to keep asking about it.”

“It’s a great battle. I’ve been able to watch these guys continually compete – not necessarily with one another, but with themselves. Not just their own playing at the moment, but some of the adversity that can come with it."

“Maybe they struggle for a day, and the other guy has a good day. Maybe they have a couple of drops. Maybe it’s the weather. But they both improved to a high level. To think we have a redshirt freshman and a redshirt sophomore competing for this job and play the way they are is pretty encouraging.”

Overall, Sarkisian was really pleased how the Huskies improved as a “team.”  The Huskies named team captains earlier than usual in order to help bring the team together during summer voluntary workouts.

UW will open with Eastern Washington.  A week later the Huskies will host Hawaii, then travel to Nebraska.