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Jimbo thrilled with his quarterback following today's scrimmage

Following Monday afternoon’s scrimmage inside Doak Campbell Stadium, Jimbo Fisher offered high praise for quarterback EJ Manuel.

Manuel, the 6’4 234 lb junior from Virginia Beach, will take over at quarterback for Christian Ponder.

Jimbo said, “Just control of the game…total control of what’s going on.  Poise…managing people, getting on people, leading people, encouraging people, making throws, making runs.  It was just like you want the guy, you feel very comfortable with him running your unit.”

“If it was a bad play, he pushed it off and went to the next play.  If it was a good play, he pushed it off and went to the next play.”

The scrimmage format was ones vs. ones, twos vs. twos.

Jimbo added, "We moved the field, did two drives - two 12 play series and moved the field. We did third downs, we did coming out, we did red zone, we did goal line, did two minute. We covered a lot of situations. We got a lot of things in."


Jerry Kill mic'd up...This is classic

A record 1200 coaches showed up for the Minnesota Foootball Coaches Association clinic.  The high school coaches in Minnesota are excited about the new head man for the Gophers, Jerry Kill.

Kill served as the keynote speaker of the clinic, which was held in St. Louis Park.  His underlying message was the importance of hard work.

Kill explained, "We're going to push, we're going to work, and we're going to build from the ground up. I only know one way to do it - I'm not changing. I've been doing it for 28 years, and I'm not giving in. We are going to work hard."

On Saturday, Kill led the Gophers through their first scrimmage of the spring.

Kill said, “We don’t have the depth we need right now. We have 6 receivers that are healthy and they’re running two huddles…running 60 yards down the field.  They probably ran 20 miles today.”

“It’s a long, long journey here.  We’re going to take one step at a time.  No guarantees.  I’m not doing those kinds of things.”

Here’s a 24 second clip of Coach Kill mic’d up.  You don’t want to miss this:


Mack Brown: I committed to start over

ESPN will broadcast the Texas Longhorns spring game today at 3 pm EST.

Coming off a 5-7 season, Mack Brown admitted this weekend, “I committed to start over like it’s my first day at Texas.”

Brown explained, “We ask our players with the new ideas and the new staff to move forward and act like it's their first day at Texas. We ask the staff and coaches that were here to greet the new coaches and staff that came in like it was everybody's first day at Texas. I committed to start over like it's my first day at Texas, and I don't think I've ever had any more fun at a spring practice.”

Moving forward, Brown wants better communication.

“Things are still new. We're still a work in progress. The number one thing with family relations and teams is communication. You can't build trust and respect without communication. You can't get on the same page and have a common purpose without communication. What we're trying really hard to do is get it so the players will talk to the coaches and ask them questions and not be intimidated and worried about what a coach is going to think.”

Today is the first spring game in Austin for new assistant coaches Bryan Harsin, Darrell Wyatt, Manny Diaz, Bo Davis, and Stacy Searels.

Texas hosts Rice and BYU before traveling to UCLA to begin the 2011 season.  

Mike Stoops reacts to 14 stops and 5 takeaways

The Arizona Daily Star reports the Arizona defense stopped the offense on 14 of its 15 possessions and forced five turnovers during Saturday morning's scrimmage.

Following the scrimmage, Mike Stoops said, “Defensively, I think we have a chance to be better at all 9 positions.  Obviously, losing 2 All-PAC 10 defensive ends gets a little hard to replace, but I like what are defensive ends are doing.”

“When it’s all said and done, I think defensively we’ll be stronger than we’ve ever been.”

In the off-season, Mike Stoops hired Joe Salave'a as defensive line coach.  Salave'a replaced Mike Tuiasosopo, who joined the Colorado staff. Defensive grad assistant Ryan Walters was elevated to defensive backs coach.  Walters replaces Greg Brown, who also left for Colorado.

Arizona opens with Northern Arizona.  A week later, the Wildcats travel to Stillwater for a rematch of last season’s Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma State.


Al Golden encouraged by Hurricanes scrimmage

Miami (FL) head coach Al Golden seemed pretty positive about Saturday’s scrimmage.

Over 3,000 fans attended the scrimmage at Spanish River HS in Boca Raton.

Running backs coach Terry Richardson and offensive line coach Art Kehoe had to be pleased with the 226 rushing yards on 41 carries (5.5 average).

Golden was most pleased with no turnovers and just a few penalties.

“Correct me if I’m wrong, did we have a turnover today?  We didn’t have many penalties,” Golden pointed out.

“I think it’s our job as coaches to put our players in position to make plays.  I thought we did that today.”

“I thought we caught some really good slants today.  That’s something we didn’t do a year ago.  We’ll continue to develop the down-the-field game as the spring evolves.”

One early emphasis offensively has been taking the check down throws to the running backs.

Golden explained, “It should be.  It’s got to be.  I think Jedd (Fisch) has done a great job of that.  Our quarterbacks have done a good job of buying in to that.  A 5 yards catch, it’s an 18 yards run, but goes in the books as a 23 and that’s what our kids gotta learn.”

There was still no sighting of the Hurricanes' receivers utilizing Michael Irvin's three-point stance.  Wide receivers coach George McDonald hasn't bought in to the idea just yet.  But...it is early.

Video: Up close in the action at Clemson's afternoon practice

Dabo Swinney says new offensive coordinator Chad Morris has simplified the terminology of the Tigers’ scheme.

A year ago, Billy Napier would have dialed up, “Storm personnel, flood right, A-peel, Lakers West, Z-space, hitch.”

For the same play this spring, Morris calls, “Flood right, Z-space, hitch.”

Dabo says, “(Last year), you had to call personnel, formation and movement; now we have eliminated a few of those steps in the play-call sequence, and I think that has helped a little bit.”

“That helps with your tempo, but the biggest thing is just the system of it is simpler in how it all fits together. It’s simpler to grasp.”

The Tigers returned to practice field today.  Most of the 3 on 3 and some 1 on 1 action was caught up close on film.

Pretty good film, but we’d like to have Marion Hobby and Robbie Caldwell mic’d up.  Now that would be some good stuff.

Mullen: The offensive line is just really really bad

Dan Mullen is hoping for over 40,000 fans on campus next Saturday for for the Mississippi State spring game.

That gives Mullen a week to clean up what he calls “a really sloppy offense.”

Following Thursday’s practice, Mullen didn't sugarcoat his thoughts about the offense and specifically, the offensive line.

“It’s just sloppy, really sloppy.  The offensive line is just really really bad, a long way to go, but it’s a really young crew.  We’ll get ‘em going.”

He added, “The defense was great at times.  They were great at times because the offense was really bad.  They were great at times because they did good, but there were really some glaring mistakes.  As we keep developing and keep teaching, you want to see a consistent performance and that’s not what we are seeing right now, but we have a lot of practice time to get that fixed.”

Mullen also mentioned he would like to see consistency from his young punters, who both have tremendous leg strength.

CSS will broadcast the spring game next Saturday.  Former Mississippi State head coach Jackie Sherrill will serve as an analyst.  The Bulldogs’ baseball team hosts Florida at 12 pm before kick-off of the spring game at 5 pm.

To add some depth on the offensive line, Mullen visited with the Sigma Chi’s today at lunch.  We heard there weren't many prospects, but a number frat guys ready for Super Bulldog Weekend.



Les Miles lands new gig with reality TV

LSU sports marketing posted their annual April fool’s joke on the LSU official website this morning.

It’s a pretty good one that pokes fun of Les Miles' habit of eating grass.

The title of the press release: Les Miles to be featured on SPIKE TV’s “Sod Wars.”

Sod Wars pits two homeowners against each other to determine who has the best yard in the neighborhood. Each contestant is given a $10,000 budget for the week to create a dream landscape in their yard, with celebrity judges determining the winner.

Within the week-long period there will be bonus points based on challenges and obstacles such as wild animals and destruction of flower beds with explosives that wreak havoc on the contestants.

Miles, who starts his seventh year with the Tigers in 2011, became a fan favorite of yard enthusiasts everywhere in 2010 when he was seen on national television sampling a piece of turf from Tiger Stadium prior to big play late in the fourth quarter in a win over Alabama. Since then, Miles has become a coveted spokesperson for many lawn and garden companies throughout the country.

The press release quotes Les as saying, "I have always enjoyed reality television and the want to be a part of a project with Bob Sacamano is something that has always interested me. I take pride in both of my yards - the one at my house and the one in Tiger Stadium. I think with my expertise in grass growing and my ability to spot talent makes this a perfect fit.”

The Tigers even created a fake “Sod Wars” website.

Once again, LSU sports marketing nails it.