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Memorial Stadium remodeling begins, ESPN showing Cal some love

With the remodeling of Memorial Stadium, Cal is set to split their 2011 home games between AT&T Park and Candlestick Park.

The Bears will host the season-opener against Fresno State at Candlestick.  Games against Presbyterian, Utah, USC, Wazzu, and Oregon State will be played at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.

Memorial Stadium is keeping its bowl shaped structure, but reducing the stadium’s capacity from 71,799 to 63,000.  Cal assistant AD Bob Milano Jr. says nobody wanted a double-deck stadium.  The entire renovation is expected to cost $321 million.  

Click here to see photos of the current state of construction at Memorial Stadium.

Cal will get plenty of national exposure this season as the Bears will play back-to-back Thursday night primetime games on ESPN in early-October.   ESPN will be in Eugene when Oregon hosts Cal on October 6th. A week later, ESPN will broadcast the USC vs. Cal game from AT&T Park.

This week, ESPN announced the Cal at Arizona State game to end the regular season has been moved from Saturday to Friday night to allow for a national TV audience.

If PAC-12 commissioner Larry Scott somehow manages to get a national broadcast for the Cal vs. Presbyterian College game, we guess he will immediately receive a 25-year contract extension.  Considering what Scott has been able to do thus far in his brief tenure as commissioner, don't discount it.  

Dooley frightened by Vols' youth, but not scared of Knoxville K9 unit

According to Derek Dooley, it’s scary how young the Vols will be in 2011.

Dooley told ESPN’s Ivan Maisel, “The frightening news is that as young as we were last year, we’re going to be even younger this year.  If you look at our roster going forward, over 70% of our people are freshmen and sophomores next season.”

On the bright side, Dooley was glad to spend time developing players this spring.  The first spring practice was about learning names, learning schemes, and figuring out how to practice.

“It was a monumental leap as far as what the expectation are, our systems, how we practice, how we install.”

A year ago, the Vols played a number of freshmen.  Dooley said, “Our challenge is to get all of those players who flashed last year and turn them into dependable, every down players this year.”

What about quarterback Tyler Bray?

Dooley said, “Quarterbacking is a long journey.   He is still in his infant stages.  He lost a fourth round pick, a fifth round pick, and another real dependable receiver.  It caused him (this spring) to think a lot more than he was use to.”

The Vols host Montana to begin the season.  After hosting Cincinnati in week #2, Tennessee will travel to Florida.

In the meantime, Dooley will fight some K9's.

Kansas producing videos to highlight assistant coaches

Kansas is continuing their terrific football marketing by highlighting their assistant coaches via video productions.

Courteous of Turner Gill’s latest tweet, we came across a video that seemingly was produced for recruits to understand the personality of veteran offensive line coach JB Grimes.

Grimes, one of the most respected offensive line coaches in the country, believes, “The number one thing for any offensive line in the country or any offensive line that I’ve had is you’ve gotta be tough.  There is no substitute for toughness, there’s no substitute for character.  You’ve got to have those two attributes to be the best you can be.”

“If you don’t have the attributes of toughness and character, those other things will only carry you so far.”

Grimes says, “If there was one thing that I’d want another coach to say about our offensive line is that ‘They are one tough group and they’ll get after you.’”

“I’ve always felt to be a good coach, you have to be a good teacher.  The best teacher I ever had was a football coach.  You have to make these guys want to learn what they are doing.”

Check out the video:

COACH PROFILE: GRIMES from Kansas Jayhawks on Vimeo.

Gus Malzahn reacts to Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock

On Tuesday, during an interview with the Ledger-Enquirer, Gus Malzahn got to the bottom line about Cam Newton.

Malzahn stated, "In my opinion, it's like passing over (Michael) Jordan."

"Nobody. Nobody. I hear people compare him ... Naw. They don't know. They don't know what I know. "

So what about when Jon Gruden placed your quarterback on the spot about communicating plays in a huddle?

"Here's the deal, we're simple with our communication, but that's the only thing simple with what we do. I know a lot of people made a big deal of that, but that's not his fault that we're simple with our communication. What we ask our quarterback to do after the communication is probably as tough as anybody in college football. How fast we go, to process things, to communicate things and our reads. We do a lot of different things.”

What about Mike Mayock questioning his motivation when he becomes a millionaire?

Malzahn said, "Cam is one of the most motivated players I've ever coached. He hates to lose. Matter of fact, he refuses to lose. And I expect him to carry over that same mentality to the next level. Cam's the type that if you challenge him, he'll rise to the occasion. Cam hears all this stuff. He'll use that to motivate him. I promise you that."

Can he handle the spotlight?

"You look at what he went through last year, he deals with pressure unlike anybody I've ever seen. He has the ability to use that to motivate him and he has the unique ability to rise to the occasion. He plays his best football when he's under the most pressure. And that's a rarity."

Those are pretty interesting words from a man who knows Cam Newton as well as anyone.

Michigan AD: We could sell 150,000 tickets for Notre Dame night kick-off

Rich Rodriguez has recently expressed disappointment that his staff didn’t get to see it through, didn’t get to finish the job.  Rodriguez felt the Wolverines were over the hump and on the verge meeting expectations.

AD Dave Brandon isn’t surprised by Rodriguez’ comments.

Brandon told the Free-Press, “He’s a good man and likely will go someplace and be successful, and I think in the right circumstance Rich has proven he can win football games. … I hear some of the comments out there — ‘If I had just had some more time’ — well, of course he’s going to say that. Why wouldn’t he say that? He should say that. … He’s a proud guy who believes in himself.”

Brandon also pointed out the Rodriguez was not solely the problem.

“To point the finger at Rich Rodriguez would just be wrong. You could do a book on all the factions that split off and all the camps: the Harbaugh camp, the Miles camp, the Carr camp, the Rodriguez camp. There was all kinds of splintering. And now you start losing and everything gets jump-started. … It was a lot of different factors, but it was no one individual.”

Of note, Michigan hosts Notre Dame in the Big House this season.  The game is set for a rare primetime kick-off at Michigan.  Brandon believes the athletic department could sell at least 150,000 tickets to the game if the stadium held that capacity.

Currently on Stubhub, you can purchase 2 tickets in the corner endzone for $250 each.  The cheapest sideline tickets will run you $559 per ticket.

Expect The Big House to be electric when Notre Dame comes to town.  Kick-off is set for 8 pm EST.

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