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Brian Kelly: This is about getting the QB's ready to win a championship

Brian Kelly will not make a decision on the starting quarterback until sometime during August.

Notre Dame will play their spring game on Saturday at 2 pm EST on Versus.  Kelly will be mic’d up.

Kelly said he’s not behind schedule with the quarterbacks just because he’s not going to name a starter.  The likely candidates are Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees, but even Everett Golson took snaps with the ones recently.

He explained, “No, I just think we need as much practice time as possible. I’m pleased with the progress they have all made. We want to win a championship. This is really about getting the quarterbacks in a position to win a championship.”

“No, we won’t say (after spring ball), you are one, you are two, you are three, you are four. We’ll tell them, these are the things, and our expectations, and you guys are in seven-on-seven and we’ll have a clear sheet of things we think they need to work on. There’s no way we would leave the spring game, unless something dramatic would happen, where we would say we have found our starter.”

Kelly added, “If I had Andrew Luck standing in front of you, I’d be very happy right now (laughing). For me, I don’t think I have a preconceived notion. I kind of deal with it. In dealing with it is, we have four guys who need a lot of work and need to continue to develop. I’ve been on the other side of this where we’ve had a quarterback who is clearly number one. It allows you to do a number of different things as well. I can adapt to whatever the situation is.”

The Irish open with South Florida in South Bend.

You can listen to Kelly's entire post-practice media session, right here.  

Brady Hoke didn't emphasize special teams this spring

For the first time since 1986, Dan Ferrigno isn’t coaching on the West Coast.

Since leaving Western Michigan in 1986, Ferrigno has coached at Oregon State, Cal, USC, Oregon, Cal, St. Mary’s HS, and San Diego State.  He’s a West Coast guy, born in San Francisco.

Now, he’s back in the state of Michigan serving as the special teams coordinator / tight ends coach for the Wolverines.

Unfortunately, based on Brady Hoke’s comments today, it doesn’t seem like the Wolverines spent an inordinate amount of time on special teams this spring.

Hoke told reporters, “You know, we didn’t do, besides some specialist things…catching balls and that type of stuff…we worked a little bit on some frontline kick-off return stuff to see who can sink their hips, who can get back and retreat the way you want them to and get on guys.  We’ve done some of that.  Most of the kicking game though has been in the field goal and extra point department, and punt.”

Michigan will play their spring game on Saturday.

You can watch another intertiew with Hoke, right here.


Tressel cleaning up Fly Sweep blocking scheme

When Ohio State hosts Akron in the season-opener, co-defensive coordinator / linebackers coach Luke Fickell will be leading the Buckeyes.

Until game week, things aren’t changing.  That's when the process will begin.

Jim Tressel told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, “The week of the game. You don't rehearse anything about the game until the week of the game. We don't do it in spring, we don't do it in preseason.  There probably will be very little differences before game week."

Fickell was recognized last season as the FootballScoop Linebackers Coach of the Year.

He said, “I'm sure there will be a gamut of emotions. But if you let yourself get drawn into those things and have them occupy your mind, that's not what I need to do. One of my strengths is to not allow my mind to be in those types of situations."

Fickell’s first full-time job was at Akron, where he coached the defensive line from 2000-2001.

It will be interesting to see if defensive grad assistant Anthony Jordan has an expanded role with the linebackers during the early part of the season.  Jordan was an All-MAC linebacker at Toledo before serving as a grad assistant for the Rockets and then serving as the special teams coordinator / linebackers coach for two years at Seton Hill University.

Breaking News: Somebody has to block the 9-technique on the Fly Sweep. (See the video - 1st play of Team Period yesterday)

Crazy stats involving turnovers in the SEC

Mr. SEC has done an impressive statistical analysis of the impact of turnovers on winning in the Southeastern Conference games.

In 37 of 49 SEC games last year, one team had fewer turnovers than their opponent.  The team with the fewer turnovers was 32-5.

How about this hardcore stat?

During in-conference games since 2007, SEC teams are 56-19 (75%) when not committing a turnover.  Commit 2 turnovers and your chances of winning drop to 45%.  Since 2007, when committing 2 turnovers, SEC teams are 40-47.

Props to Mr. SEC on this statistical breakdown.  You can see the entire turnover breakdown, right here.

Want more hardcore statistical breakdowns?  Check out the Slow Grind Defensive Efficiency Chart.

UPDATE: Unconfirmed, but we are hearing several grad assistants including Kevin Garver (Alabama), Eli Drinkwitz (Auburn),  Jeff Blasko (Florida), and Chino Fontonette (Tennessee) have already printed this article for their coordinators.  

Cubit emphasizing physical football this spring at Western Michigan

Western Michigan offensive line coach AJ Ricker understands the Broncos have to improve their run game efficiency in 2011.

Ricker, who coached the offensive line at St. Joseph’s College (IN) the last two years, joined Bill Cubit’s staff this off-season.

Over the last four years, Western Michigan hasn’t been able to consistently run the football.

Beginning last season, the Broncos finished 93rd nationally (125 ypg), 100th (112 ypg), 96th (116 ypg), and 86th (130 ypg).

Ricker told the Kalamazoo Gazette, “Our biggest thing coming into this spring is being more physical and tough, and I think we’ve had a real physical spring. My philosophy’s maybe a little different in years past. I want to re-create the line of scrimmage, move guys and it’s not an overnight success."

New wide receivers coach Josh Gattis is also emphasizing explosive downfield blocks.  Gattis joined Cubit's staff after serving as the offensive grad assistant at North Carolina.  

Gattis wants his players to have a swagger.  He told the Kalamazoo Gazette, “I think there’s something to be said about the receiver position obviously being divas. I think that’s an attitude that comes with that position. The younger guys now call it having that swag. I think that you’ve got to have it as a receiver. But the other aspect, coming from the other side, is you’ve got to play with an attitude and in our room, we talk about dominating every play, we talk about playing with an attitude to where we put fear into the opponent every time we line up out there.”

Western Michigan opens at Michigan.  The next four games are against Nicholls State, Central Michigan, at Illinois, and at UCONN.

Kevin Wilson: Practice was awesome on eve of Lil Wayne coming to town

Apparently, the Indiana players had a ton of enthusiasm and energy at Tuesday’s practice.

Head coach Kevin Wilson was really pleased, but wondered if the newfound energy was related to the arrival of Lil Wayne.

The grammy-award winning and tatted up “Weezy” was set to perform last night in Assembly Hall on campus in Bloomington as part of his “I AM STILL MUSIC” tour.

Wilson said, “Really good, today.  One of best ones, today.  A lot of energy and enthusiasm.  I don’t know if they’re excited about Lil Wayne coming to town.”

“I told them I’m going to make a cameo.  I’m going to get on stage and smoke.  I think he was at my wedding, so I’m going to have to pay homage.”

Asked his favorite Lil Wayne song, Wilson quickly stated, “I don’t know, but my daughter knows.”

Unconfirmed, but we heard Lil Wayne went old-school last.  

Apparently, the show was legit.  Indiana freshman Sean Jordan told the Indiana Daily Student, “This has been the sickest experience of my life. Nothing parallels it. It’s a star-studded cast of rappers, and to top it all off, it’s Little 5 week.”

Our sources tell us "Weezy" set it off at the end of the night with "The Block is Hot."

USC AD Pat Haden: Here's the difference between our program and others

Lane Kiffin welcomed back former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez to meetings and practice last week.

During his visit, USC athletic director Pat Haden sat down with Sanchez and talked about the past.

Haden started off, “When I think of USC football against versus some other schools even the school across town, we have had including Matt Barkley 15 years of really good, sometimes superb quarterback play.  15 straight years.  That’s the difference between our program and others.”

The list includes Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, John David Booty, Mark Sanchez, and Matt Barkley.  

Sanchez was quick to point out the advantage he had in New York having already gone through the dealings with the large market Los Angeles media during his days at USC.

Sanchez said, “Coming from here, that strong foundation, the media preparation.  Just talking with other guys on the team, they never had that, and we’re talking about guys from big-time programs that played in major bowl games every year.  They never had that.  They didn’t have preparation like we had.”

“One of the things here, talking with Coach Sarkisian and Carson (Palmer), as soon as the game is over, people want to know what happened.  You have to formulate your thoughts.  You have to take a second. Sark and Carson use to tell me that.  They said after the game you have to sit at your locker, or go to the training room, or sit in the shower for an extra minute and you just unwind (and gather your thoughts).  I learned that here.”

With arms around the quarterbacks just after practice, USC quarterbacks coach Clay Helton said, “I’d like to thank Coach Sanchez for coming out today.  If there’s a guy you want to model yourself after, model yourself after him.  Student of the game, great mechanics, leader.  Wore #6 proudly (looking at current #6 Cody Kessler).”

You can watch the video of the conversation with Haden and Sanchez, right here.

Coaches complain that Saban and Bama received unfair advantage

In the weeks leading up to the BCS National Championship game last season, ESPN aired a 30-second Roll Tide commercial, as part of the “It’s not crazy, it’s sports” series of funny commercials. 

Yesterday, Nick Saban said a number of college coaches attempted to voice their displeasure about the commercial to SEC commissioner Mike Slive. 

But that’s not it. 

There were even a number of coaches that flipped out about the fact that Saban was able to appear as a pre-game, halftime, and post-game analyst on ESPN during the BCS National Championship game.  Saban and Urban Meyer joined the ESPN set in Glendale for the event. 

Saban said, “They were really, really upset about the (ESPN) Roll Tide commercial, which I thought was wonderful. They were all trying to get Mike Slive to say, 'Why should that be allowed, for one of the coaches to do the game and also to have a commercial?' It sort of directs the passion of 'Roll Tide' all over the state and how much passion we really do have. Seeing that commercial made me feel great." 

In case you left the country for a few months, here’s the commercial that Saban is referring to.