"You have to have precision to be successful in the red zone"

According to Brian Kelly, precision is the most important trait of teams that are successful in the red zone.

Without the ability to stretch the field vertically, windows become smaller, and quarterbacks need to be more precise with the football when trying to fit the ball into narrow windows.

"You have to have 'precision.' That's not a word that's thrown around very easily in our room right now. Precision is not what we have yet." Kelly explained.

"I've had quarterbacks that were precise and could read things quickly and then it was easy down there. It was like shooting fish in a barrel."

In their 46 red zone trips, the Irish have come away with points 35 times (76%) with 21 of those trips resulting in touchdowns. That ranks 96th nationally. The other three undefeated teams (Alabama, Kansas State and Oregon) all rank in the top 22 nationally in red zone conversions, and Louisville, the nation's best red zone team, has come away with points in 38 of their 39 red zone trips (97%).

With their three remaining games against Boston College (away), Wake Forest (home) and USC (away), there's no doubt that their precision will need to improve in order to finish the season undefeated.

A good sign that you're recruiting the right type of player

After practice yesterday, Steve Addazio said something that caught our attention and is something that should show plenty of promise for the Temple program moving forward.

The Owls are 3-5 heading into this weekends match up at Cincinnati, and the players and staff haven't had the type of season that they had hoped for. But late in the season head coach Steve Addazio says that his guys are still really enjoying practice, and "can't get enough."

Addazio explains that, even after losing the past three straight games, his guys are still focused and getting after one another in some very spirited practices.

"I've been coaching a long time, and at this time in the season you usually have teams that just don't want to be out there like these kids want to be out there, and that's a very key point."

That's a solid point and a great barometer for any program.

If you can bring in the type of kids that are still enjoying practices late into the season, (especially after getting off to a less than ideal start) you've got to feel really good about the direction of your program...and Addazio definitely does.


Les Koenning: You have to be perfect in crucial situations

After quickly climbing the polls and winning their first seven games of the season, Mississippi State has slipped in recent weeks against Alabama and Texas A&M, losing two straight.

After averaging 38 points per game during their seven game winning streak, the Bulldogs have managed just 10 points per game in their two losses. Offensive coordinator Les Koenning attributes their drop off in production to their execution early in games, and during key situations (especially in the red zone).

As he explains, being just a hair off in terms of execution is something you may be able to get away with against lesser teams, but not in the SEC.

"If you really look at it, it's just a matter of execution." Koenning said.

"When it comes down to big games, and playing in big games, you have to execute. Those things are very very small. The small things become big things, so you can't be just a hair off on your route or throwing the football, or your read, you have to be spot on. Those are the type of things that we're experiencing right now, we're getting in that situation where if we're just a little bit off it's not nearly as good as it would be against a Middle Tennessee, or someone like that."

"Execution gets magnified in those situations," Koenning noted about the need to execute against a top defense in a compressed section of the field, like the red zone. "You get down to a crucial situation and you've got to execute. Those are things that are hard to duplicate at practice because of the speed of the game."

This weekend their ability to execute will be tested once again, as they take on a 7-2 LSU squad. While LSU does rank in the top five nationally in pass efficiency defense, scoring defense, and total defense, they rank near the bottom nationally (112th) in opponents red zone conversions, allowing teams to come out of the red zone with points 90% of the time (including 15 touchdowns in 20 attempts).

Kickoff is scheduled for 7pm ET on ESPN.


Wednesday TV - More MACtion tonight

Another night of MACtion on tap tonight. If last night was any indication, this game will be fun to watch as well.

Eastern time listed.


No games


Bowling Green at Ohio - 8 - ESPN2

High School:

No games

Mark Richt needs off-season hip surgery

Coaches commonly tell their players to play hurt and fight through pain to help their team. Georgia head coach Mark Richt is leading his team by example as he fights through a hip injury that he has battled for two decades. 

Richt reluctantly told reporters how he injured his hip: in a swing set demonstration gone wrong. Here, in his own words, is how it happened.

“I was trying to show (my wife) what a good swinger I was,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I was swinging really high on a big heavy swing set with those big heavy chains. Sometimes if you go super high, on the way back you get a little bit of that lag. You've got those big S-hooks on top, and you’re swinging, and I swung enough to where the one on the left came out. So it comes out, but I didn't know. I’m still on the swing. So when I come back down, the chain on [on the right] stayed taut and the other one just goes. I turned sideways and the first thing that hits the ground is my left hip. Just smashed it.

“It was traumatic. I mean, when I hit I was like, ‘I think I broke it.’ I couldn't hardly breathe. Sometimes with an injury like that you get a full-body sweat and a little nauseous. But the pain kind of went away and I went about my business, until about a year and a half ago.”

Richt re-injured the hip doing p90x. He fought through the pain until finally consulting his doctors, who told him he could have the hip replaced when the pain became too much. 

The coach kept the injury quiet until athletics director Greg McGarity was told recently when he tried to schedule off-season meetings with Richt. 

With the Bulldogs on the verge of winning their second straight SEC East title, expect Richt to coach through the pain for a little bit longer. 

Read the full report here

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