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Art Briles as confident as ever, praises Phil Bennett

Baylor head coach Art Briles is usually a glass half-full type of guy.  Today, that glass may have been completely full, as Briles seemed downright giddy about his football team.

The Bears are coming off their first winning season since 1995, but did lose two first-round draft choices and a number of players on defense.

During an interview with Brian Smith of Fox Sports Southwest, Briles said, “We've got some guys (receivers) who can play, no doubt. We've got some playmakers, some difference makers. They're going to be counted on and they're going to make plays for us. But we'll still be tough and aggressive up front. We've got a great offensive line coming back this year, and we'll run the football effectively also.”

“Through the years, if you'll check the stats, we've been very productive throwing and rushing the football. We've been one of the few teams in America over the years to have a 3,000-yard passer, a couple of 1,000-yard receivers and a 1,000-yard rusher. We're really one of only five or six teams to do that nationally.”

“We're always going to run the football. We'll be very effective running the football. We have our own style of play that we're not altering. We've had great success in how we've been able to do it. We finished 12th or 13th last year in total offense in America. We'll continue to do what we do, and we'll continue to get better as we're doing it.”

Coach, is Phil Bennett going to be able to rebuild and restructure the Baylor defense?

“There's no 'try' to it; he's already done it. He's a doer and he's a proven commodity. That's what I love him.”

Baylor opens with three consecutive home games against TCU, Stephen F. Austin, and Rice.

Will college coaches be required to sell season tickets?

In lieu of salary cutbacks or furloughs, the Oakland Raiders’ organization is requiring coaches to sell new season tickets that total at least 10% of their salaries during the length of the NFL lockout.

Raiders chief executive Amy Trask believes, “A very strong argument can be made that this is something that staff members of every team should be doing all the time."

Oakland assistant coach Chuck Bresnahan told USA Today, "Everybody's trying to get creative in their own way. I know I've got something to talk about at every establishment I set foot in — every restaurant, every store, every winery."

Here in the towers at FootballScoop Headquarters, the story makes us wonder if certain college athletic departments should require their assistant coaches to meet a quota for season ticket sales.

Of course, we are thinking mostly about the mid-major programs and a few of the BCS programs that would undoubtedly greatly benefit from an extra 4,500 season ticket sales.

Each program has nine assistant coaches, so that would leave each assistant coach responsible for 500 ticket sales.

Here’s a great point by SI.com writer Peter King, who wrote today in his Monday Morning QB column, “I love the Raiders asking their employees (including coaches) to sell tickets in an attempt to make sure their salaries aren't cut. Jarrett Bell wrote about this in USA Today last week, and I wanted to shake my head and say, "Typical Raiders.'' But I couldn't. It's actually pretty smart. And don't you think coaches would be great ticket sellers out in the community, particularly when they can regale some Chamber of Commerce audience with stories from the gridiron. Nice job, Amy Trask.”

It should be noted that college coaches do help season-ticket sales by their various speaking engagements.  Since head coaches can no longer recruit away from campus during the spring, their time has been consumed by fundraising and speaking engagements.  There is not, however, a college that currently mandates a quota of ticket sales from a head coach or any assistant, at least not that we are aware.

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Ready for year #4, Pelini explains his philosophy

Bo Pelini is entering his fourth season as the head coach of the winning-est college football program in the last fifty years, both in number of wins and percentage wise.  Under Pelini, the Nebraska has finished 9-4, 10-4, and 10-4.

ESPN’s College Football LIVE has the Huskers ranked #13 in their pre-season poll.

Recently, Pelini talked about his philosophy with Randy York.

Pelini explained, “Part of my philosophy is, I think, you gotta be black-and-white all the time. You gotta be honest. You gotta be the same all the time. I hear people say that some guys are players' coaches, but at the end of the day, your kids have to believe in and trust in you having their best interests at heart - on the field and off the field - in everything you do.”

“Being a players' coach doesn't mean telling a player what he wants to hear all the time. You have to be honest with them, hard on them, push them and try to get the best out of them in a lot of different ways, but at the same time, players have to understand that what you are asking them to do is in their own best interests.”

Although the Huskers have lost some outstanding players the last two years to the NFL, Pelini sees more than one advantage.

“You're looking now at 90 to 95 percent of this team being guys you've recruited. I've gone into their homes, and I haven't made any promises to anybody. All I've told them is we will give them an opportunity, and it's up to them what they do with that opportunity. I've always felt it's important to set the stage for that right up front, so they know what kind of coach and what kind of system they're getting themselves into. There are no surprises. When that happens, you're all on the same page from the start. They're not coming in here with any false sense of reality about what they're being asked to do on a daily and weekly basis.”

Discipline.

Pelini explained, “I don't know if we've had a guy make a bad decision or the same mistake twice because they all know the standards. Slowly but surely, that becomes the culture and the expectations in the locker room. It gets to a point where you don't have to police them because they police themselves. That's when you get really strong.”

Nebraska opens with three consecutive home games against Chattanooga, Fresno State, and Washington.

Skip Holtz: Big East should consider expanding to 12, adding ECU

When TCU joins the Big East in 2012, the league will have nine programs competing in football.  Villanova is a possibility for number ten.

But South Florida head coach Skip Holtz believes the Big East should look at going to twelve teams.  The former East Carolina head coach from 2005-2009, Skip Holtz believes that East Carolina is a perfect fit.

During an interview with Pirate Radio 1250, Holtz explained, “I think we need to look hard at going to 12. Is that where we're going? Are we going to 12? And if we're going to 12 and we're going to add three, then I would love to see East Carolina as one of the additions in this league.”

“I have fond memories of East Carolina and my time here in Greenville. I look at their fanbase and their following and the support they have here, and being located here in the Carolinas, I think East Carolina can pick up and really grow into the program Virginia Tech has become, with the opportunity to be in a (league) like the Big East.”

“It's one of the things I'd love to see happen. It's going to be really interesting to see how this is going to play out here over the next couple of months, but I think it's definitely something the Big East needs to look at and consider."

ESPN’s Brian Bennett writes, “The Pirates have a dedicated fan base and a program that has been pretty consistently solid. It's not in a big market but could bring some attention in the Carolinas. On the flip side, have you ever tried to get to Greenville, N.C.?”

UCF and Houston are other realistic candidates.

Rich Rod: The experience has made me hungrier for my next job

We are six months away from the job hunting season.  Undoubtedly, there will be a number coaching changes after the 2011 college football season.

One coach certainly hoping to get back in the profession is Rich Rodriguez.

Rich Rod told the Register Herald, “I hope I still have 10 or 15 years of coaching in me. The whole experience at Michigan has just made me hungrier for my next job.”

The athletic director that makes the decision to hire Rodriguez will be getting a coach that has led a program to four Big East championships and twice was honored as the Big East Coach of the Year.

He has also handled his departure from Michigan in a first-class manner.

Reflecting back on his Michigan experience, Rodriguez said, “The fans were really great. Even people I’ve talked to since January. There were some that were a little more impatient than others, but overall, the Michigan fans were terrific. But the administration wanted to go in a different direction. When athletic directors change, a lot of them want to bring in their own guys. That was probably the case with this one.”

Although Rich and his family are still living in Michigan, he says they may stay the summer in Naples, Florida, but admitted that West Virginia will always be home.

“My happiness usually is related to winning football games. So my first year was miserable. Things were a little better the second year. But it wasn’t like it was at West Virginia. West Virginia is my home. It always will be my home.”

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