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Chizik: We have to replace 30 scholarship players

Gene Chizik is concerned about Auburn’s youth.  In fact, thirty scholarship players from the national championship team are no longer with the Tigers.

In five months, Auburn will open with Utah State.  A week later, the Tigers will host Mississippi State.

Reflecting back on spring practice, Chizik said, “I just saw a lot of young faces. A lot of kids with some talent, not a lot of experience. Our numbers, obviously, have been affected by over 30 guys that were on scholarship last year that won’t be with our team this year.  So you just have to get used to a lot of new faces and a lot of new names, but work really hard.”

To stay near the top in the SEC, Chizik says it’s a year round grind.

“College football is like one big circle; there’s no beginning, and there’s no end,” admitted Chizik. “You just go from one thing to the next. We typically get a little time off in the summer. You try to get away and get your batteries re-juiced for about two weeks. Other than that, it’s just always on the go.”

Some of the notable players that won't be with the Tigers are the four drafted players including QB Cam Netwon, DT Nick Fairley, DT Zach Clayton, and OL Lee Ziemba.  Other key losses include Marion Fannin and Darvin Adams.

The Auburn road schedule includes at Clemson, at South Carolina, at Arkansas, at LSU, and at Georgia.

Top 2 overall picks once signed by a Franchione

Looking back on the 2011 NFL draft, it turns out that Dennis Franchione and his son Brad Franchione at one point signed the top 2 overall draft picks.

While serving as the head coach at Blinn College, Brad Franchione signed Cam Newton after the quarterback left the University of Florida.

Dennis Franchione was able to land Von Miller while leading the Texas A&M program.

Not bad for a father-son combo.  

In the off-season, Dennis landed his first coaching job since his departure from Texas A&M.  He is now the head coach at Texas State University.  Not surprisingly, “Fran” hired his son Brad to coach the special teams and linebackers.

Texas State opens at Texas Tech.  A week later, the Bobcats travel to Wyoming.

Texas State is moving from D1-AA to the WAC.  Fran says one of the biggest obstacles in this transition to D1 is elevating every single part of the program.  The Bobcats will compete in the WAC for the first time in 2012.

Weird fact: Did you know there is not a Lone Star Steakhouse in the state of Texas?  

Want to talk about a true leader of a football team? Here's one for you.

Leadership.  It’s often the difference going from good to great.  It’s what college coaches are hoping to get out of their players during voluntary summer workouts when the coaches are not around.

It’s the essence of Drew Brees.

With the lockout ongoing and teams not allowed at their practice facilities, Brees has seized the opportunity to be a leader once again.

Starting today, the Saints surprised many be conducting an organized team workout at Tulane’s practice facility.  Brees, the unquestioned leader of the Saints, setup the practice that was attended by numerous veteran players.  It's the first of many workouts at Tulane, says Brees.

Asked what he’s trying to accomplish with these workouts, Brees said, “Honestly, it’s to prepare us to have a championship season.  That’s obviously our ultimate goal.  I feel like the more organized you can be as a team and the more you can communicate during this time, in May, June, July prior to a normal training…the better off you will be once the season does come around.”

“None of us know how long this (lockout) is going to last. This gives us the best position to be successful once the season does start.”

Brees added, “It helps being a veteran team, but also having young guys that are strong character guys and willing to follow the leaders on this team and when you have veteran guys showing up like Sharper, Vilma, Stinchcomb, and countless others, Heath Evans, David Thomas, then others can say ‘These guys are doing the right thing.  These guys know how to be a pro and you know what, I want to be there because I want to show them I can be counted on, too.’”

And that, my friends, is leadership!

20 minutes before tee time, Spurrier pressed about Garcia

Just twenty minutes before tee time this morning, Steve Spurrier was kind enough to give a quick interview with the guys over at 790 The Zone in Atlanta.

From the get go, Spurrier made it clear he was thrilled to be doing the interview.

“So coach, how are you doing today?”

Spurrier responded, “Oh, we’re getting ready to go play here in about 20 minutes.  Sterling (Sharpe) is about to carry my butt around this thing.”

Translation…glad to be with you, but let’s get this thing over as fast as possible.

Asked about Stephen Garcia, Spurrier said,  “We’ll, I’ve learned not to get too mad at him.  As you’ve probably noticed the last year or so, I don’t throw any temper tantrums on the sidelines, try not to. Stephen could still be back, he’s got some things to do.  We’ll make a statement in about a month or so.”

Spurrier was pressed about why he hasn’t just said “That’s it, I don’t need this in my life anymore.”

He responded, “Well, he hasn’t been arrested lately and he hasn’t done anything too stupidly.  But he still has some immature acts that cause some problems around school.  But we’re not giving up on him.  We don’t just want to cast him aside, so we’ll see if he makes some attitude adjustments to get back.”

You can listen to the interview, right here.

Dan Hawkins visited 9 colleges this spring, reflects back on Colorado

Former Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins visited 9 different college programs during spring practice.  He will soon head to Stockholm, Sweden for a month to watch his son Cody play in a semi-pro league and oddly enough, will begin working on a Ph.D in psychology.

Hawkins told Rivals’ writer Tom Dienhart, "I have been working these Nike combines. I have been to a lot of spring practices -- Oregon, Oregon State, BYU, TCU, Missouri, Air Force, Colorado State, Colorado School of Mines and Rutgers.”

Reflecting back on his tenure at Colorado, Hawkins offers no excuses.

He said, “When you are the head guy, it's no excuses. You either get it done or you don't. All the other particulars don't matter. I grew a lot and learned a lot. The interesting thing is I'm probably a way better coach now. I probably know more and am more organized and more convinced about what should be done now more than ever. But when you get fired for not winning enough games, sometimes people think you don't know anything.”

"I had a discussion with Pete Carroll about this. After he went through the New York Jet deal and the New England Patriot deal and got hired at USC, I think he was more convinced than ever about what needed to happen. But sometimes in our society, we don't view failure as that type of a learning operation."

Colorado is a difficult job.  Plenty of coaches that we have talked with believe Hawkins is capable of leading another program.  From 2001-2005, Hawkins was 53-11 as the head coach at Boise State.  The Broncos were 37-3 against conference opponents.  

We hope to see Hawkins back on the sideline in another year.

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