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As only Jon Gruden can...

Seriously, is there anyone out there with the ability to focus on the positives (when there are few, if any to talk about) as Jon Gruden can?

Gruden shared his thoughts about Terrell Pryor on the Scott Van Pelt Show this afternoon on ESPN Radio.

Here are Gruden’s comments:

“You can’t deny the fact that this guy has very rare physical size and strength to play football, whether it be quarterback, receiver, or some creative role at the next level.”

“There is something for Terrell Pryor to do, that’s all I’m saying.”

“He is a premier game day competitor.  I do know this…I’d find something for Terrell Pryor to do.  I don’t know about being a return guy.  I do think if you watch the Fiesta Bowl his freshman year, you see him stand out there at wide receivers against Texas, Beckman throws a fade streak in the end zone, and he jumps up and takes it away like he’s stealing from a child.”

“I’ve seen him stiff are defensive ends.”

Gruden did bring up the fact that NY Jets head coach Rex Ryan effectively utilizes Brad Scott, a former college quarteback at Missouri.

“He could be an outstanding receiver with the size and strength advantage much like Calvin Johnson in Detroit.  There are not many athletes like this that I’ve worked out.  Go on YouTube and watch him on the high school basketball court.  When I stood on the sidelines at the Rose Bowl, I thought he was Julius Peppers.”

“I do think somebody is going to pull the trigger and acquire the rights to someone they can use.”

“I see a big guy that has won a lot of games.  If you ask me, someone is going to find something for Terrell Pryor to do.”

Translation…Gruden wouldn’t touch Pryor as a quarterback.

 

Jon Embree says Colorado players have changed habits

It’s only sixty-six days until Jon Embree will lead the Colorado Buffaloes against Hawaii in his first game as a head coach.

Embree has already declared the opener at Hawaii as a “brick game,” a tradition started by former Colorado head coach Bill McCartney, but discontinued by Dan Hawkins.

A win…and the Buffs will have a new gold brick outside the locker room signifying one of the bigger wins in program history.

Embree said yesterday at the Colorado Football Kickoff Luncheon, “We've accomplished some great things here. We've won a national championship, we've played in some of the biggest games in college football history. They (our players) need to know that, they need to understand what they're a part of."

Despite losing a number of players from the roster in the off-season, Embree is optimistic about 2011 and beyond.

He explained, "Because I know me. I know my coaching staff. I believe in those players . . . that they've made unbelievable changes in their habits off the field, the fact that every guy is there this summer working out. I don't think that guarantees anything, but it gives you a chance."

According to Embree, twenty-four players were under a 2.0 GPA when he inherited the program.  After starting a 6:45 am study table, only two players on the team finished the spring semester below a "C" average.  

That's a start, but the progress the Buffalo supporters want to see is on the field.

Embree and his new coaching staff open at Hawaii, but return to Boulder in week #2 to host Cal.  

Iowa State getting a "big boy" video board

Before the start of the 2011 season, Iowa State will have a brand new, massive video board and speaker system in the North end zone.

The construction is well underway and evident by the video below, this is a “big boy” display that will certainly enhance the fan’s experience at Jack Trice Stadium.

In fact, the entire display weighs 67,050 pounds.  The high-definition screen measures 36 feet high and 79.5 feet wide.  Iowa State contracted with Daktronics for the project.

Iowa State opens the season by hosting Northern Iowa.  A week later, the Cyclones will host in-state rival Iowa.  Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas, and Oklahoma State will all make trips to Ames this season, as well.

Jack Trice Stadium holds a capacity of 55,000.

 

4th down: Which coaches are 'going for it'

One of the great early season games in 2011 will be the matchup between LSU and Oregon at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX.  ESPN’s College Gameday will be on hand.  Amazingly, LSU sold out their allotment of 37,000 tickets.  Oregon sold 15,000 tickets, as well.

The game will feature Les Miles, who led the nation is fourth down conversion percentage a year ago.  Meanwhile, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly attempted the second most fourth down attempts a year ago.  The Ducks “went for it” a total of 34 times during their run to the national championship game.

July 4th is right around the corner, so let’s take a look at some fourth down statistics.

In 2010, seven head coaches “went for it” on fourth down more than thirty times.

  1. Paul Johnson - Georgia Tech (40)
  2. Chip Kelly - Oregon (34)
  3. Todd Berry - ULM (33)
  4. Urban Meyer - Florida (33)
  5. Lane Kiffin - USC (32)
  6. Bill Cubit - Western Michigan (30)
  7. Troy Calhoun - Air Force (30)

Six coaches “went for it” on fourth down less than ten times.

  1. Steve Spurrier – South Carolina (6)
  2. Frank Spaziani – Boston College (6)
  3. Larry Porter – Memphis (7)
  4. Skip Holtz – USF (8)
  5. Gene Chizik – Auburn (9)
  6. Al Golden – Temple (9)

Seven head coaches watched their teams convert more than 75% of fourth down attempts.

  1. Les (91%)
  2. The Zooker (81%)
  3. The Vest (80%)
  4. Bielema (80%)
  5. Dan Mullen (78%)
  6. Ruffin McNeill (75%)
  7. Chris Ault (75%)

SEC proposes 7 recruiting rule changes

The SEC is proposing at least seven recruiting rule changes that would certainly alleviate some of the stress that coaches endure.  CBS obtained a copy of the letter that outlines the potential rule changes that may or may not be adopted by the NCAA.

The SEC is trying to be proactive, hoping many of the rules will become part of NCAA bylaws that govern all of college football.

It is obvious by reading the amendments listed, coaches are fed up with the ability of the media to portray any particular assistant or head coach in negative fashion for an accidental mistake.  Sadly, newspaper or internet headlines can shine negatively on a coach who returns a text message from an unknown number with a simple, “Thanks.  We played well.  I appreciate the text.”

Here are the rules that the SEC is proposing:

1. Coaches would like to text message recruits instead of being limited to only email and Facebook messaging.

2. Coaches would like an earlier date for the first off-campus contact with recruits.

3. Coaches would like to the ability to accept Twitter follower and Facebook friend requests without the knowledge of compliance.

4. Coaches would like to any staff member to be allowed to answer any phone call from a recruit, recruit’s parent, or recruit’s coach.

5. Coaches would like for the elimination of the “bump rule.”  Essentially, coaches would like to be able to talk with recruits off-campus during spring recruiting.

6. Coaches are interested in a summer official visit date.

7. The SEC will propose a NCAA mandated banning of 7-on-7 competitions on any college campus.

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