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Interesting new game day elements at UNC

UNC released a note this morning listing some changes to the game day atmosphere at Kenan Stadium.

For starters, they have implemented an early bird concessions discount on hot dogs and soft drinks where fans will be able to get both at half price until 30 minutes before kickoff. 

Also, the Tar Heels plan on breaking out the white on white on white look against Virginia Tech on October 6th and fans are encouraged to white out the stadium.

And lastly, everyone is aware of the high octane offense that Larry Fedora and his staff have brought in, but it's also interesting to note that last season Fedora's punt team ran fake punts from their own end zone twice...and they were both successful.

It should be an exciting season in Chapel Hill.

In The Swamp, only Gators get out alive

Back one morning in 1992, the phone of sports columnist Mike Bianchi rang. On the other end was Steve Spurrier.

"Got a story for you, Bianchi." Spurrier said. "We're gonna start calling our home field 'The Swamp'. what do you think?"

As Spurrier explained twenty years ago, “Us Gators are comfortable in there, but we want our opponents to be tentative. A swamp is hot and sticky and can be dangerous.” In other words, in swamps, only gators get out alive.

Bianchi, who was somewhat surprised at the time, reflected back on the phone call. 

“My first thought when I heard it was, this guy is the sports world’s most unlikely marketing savant. We all knew he was a great coach and a great player, but more than anything he was a Gator through and through.”

Spurrier met with the communications director, Norm Carlson, a few times that off season to brainstorm some nicknames for the field. As Carlson remembers, one nickname that didn't make the cut was "Gator Bog."

After doing some research, Carlson discovered that the president of the University at the time had picked out the location for the field, and described the area being a "swampy depression" at the time. Pipes were brought in to drain the area, and over 60 years later a nickname was born.

Under Spurrier, the Gators went an impressive 68-5 at "The Swamp", and are 122-18 since the stadium debuted it's nickname in Bianchi's article...and it all started with an unexpected phone call from the ol ball coach. 

A great example of coaches utilizing their relationships with the media to help their cause. 




Big 12 nearing a multi-billion dollar TV deal

During a recent stop at Kansas during a tour of conference schools, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby talked about a multi-year, $2.6 billion TV deal for the league that should be finalized soon.

According to CBSSports.com, the deal is expected to cover 13 years and an arrangement will be made with FOX and ABC / ESPN to share the cable rights. Bowlsby noted that, hopefully, the contract should be finalized by next Saturday.

"There are some elements that need to be worked out, some of it by the end of today, but we're not working under any sort of deadline. We're moving forward as if we have an agreement, and we do have an agreement on almost all elements of it."

"The exposure for our football programs, for men's and women's basketball and our Olympic sports, will be unprecedented. We'll be much more widely distributed." he explained.

Bowlsby also noted that significant progress has been made on a TV deal and host location for the Champions Bowl, and an announcement should be made within the next few weeks.

USC now listing Twitter handles on players bio's

In an interesting move, the University of Southern California is now listing players Twitter handles on their official online roster.

Here is a link to Robert Woods' bio page as an example.

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The move is surely going to play well with recruits. Good move, we like it.

How to develop your third string and redshirts

During the season, it can get tough to get your redshirt players and third stringers quality reps running your scheme. 

Dave Clawson and his staff at Bowling Green have devised a plan to address that.

Occasionally after practice (every third practice to be exact), Clawson and the staff will keep the third string and redshirt guys after practice and go through separate indy, skelly, pass rush, and team sessions with them.

"I just told our three's and redshirts that our priority, right now, is to win in 2012. But we never lose fact of the sight that we want to develop the players in the program so that we're good in '13, '14 and '15."

"The payoff for doing this may not show up until 2015, but that's okay." Clawson added.

Mullen talks about the hiring of Tim Brewster

Two words could sum up the past 96 hours for Dan Mullen, "a blur."

Between practice, meetings, film sessions, player evaluations, and game preparation, Mullen also hired Tim Brewster to coach the receivers.

"We're extremely, extremely fortunate to be in the situation that we're in and have a coach the quality of Tim Brewster. You know, wanting to come be a part of it, wanting to step in and be a part and wanting to step in and help in this very difficult situation that we're in."

Mullen said that while previous head coaching experience isn't something that they were necessarily looking for in the process, it's always an asset to the program. 

"Anytime you can get someone that has been a head coach, that understands what it's like to sit in the chair that you're in at times as situations come up is always a great asset to your staff."

Plenty more from Mullen below.

Friday TV

One NFL game, and a few high school games to enjoy tonight, including Good Counsel (MD) traveling across the country to take on Bishop Gorman (NV).

Times listed are Eastern.


Philadelphia at Cleveland - 7:30

Atlanta at Miami - 7:30

New England at Tampa Bay - 7:30

San Diego at Minnesota - 8

Chicago at New York Giants - 8 - CBS

Seattle at Kansas City - 8


No games

High School:

Joliet (IL) at Providence Catholic (IL) - 8 - ESPNU

Good Counsel (MD) at Bishop Gorman (NV) - 9 - ESPN2

Video: "Nobody has any conflicts at 6am"

Stanford has rolled out a well done series entitled "How We Do It" that covers everything from morning practices to the players lives inside the walls of a classroom.

On the field, sports performance coordinator Shannon Turley explains the reason for 6am workouts in the off season saying, "What we're trying to do is inconvenience the guys by getting them up early and giving them some adverse circumstances and seeing who can still have the enthusiasm and energy and focus despite that."

"Your going to have to compete and your going to have to beat somebody, and earn that spot and take that job from someone else."

As one player put it, "Nobody has any conflicts at 6am." No excuses.

This clip is a great example of why being a student athlete at Stanford is a truly a unique experience.