Feel good story of the week - The email said: "You saved her life"

A simple swab of the mouth during a recruiting visit to SUNY Cortland (D-III - NY) started a relationship that Junior linebacker John Stephens will never forget.

After taking part in a bone marrow drive during a visit to campus Stephens ended up being a perfect match and saving the life of a toddler named Clara Boyle who had been in life and death battle with leukemia. Nearly two years after making his donation, Stephens received an email from Clara's mother, Brooke, explaining how grateful she was for the gift of life that Stephens had provided for her daughter.

"You saved her life." the title of the email said.

Stephens was admittedly emotional while reading the email and finally being able to put a face to the life that he had changed.

Brooke commended Stephens choice to donate, saying "You made a choice that many people don’t make, and your choice and your self-sacrifice and your prayers saved our daughter’s life.”

One particular line of the email stuck with Stephens.

“Your blood is clearly running through my daughter’s vein. She LOVES football.”

To make the situation even more special, the family has decided to travel across the country nearly 3,000 miles to watch Stephens play against Brockport tomorrow afternoon.

On average, only one out of every 540 members of the National Bone Marrow Donor Program is a match. Cortland has signed up four potential matches in the past four years that it has organized a bone marrow drive. Pretty impressive stat.

While the past few weeks we have highlighted bone marrow registries and donations, what we are hoping to bring to light is the multitude of ways that coaching staffs and players can impact lives in their local community and beyond. It's all a small part of our jobs as coaches to help our players become well rounded people in the big picture.


Iowa State will face their sixth straight undefeated opponent this weekend

Paul Rhoads is 19-1 at Iowa State when holding opponents to under 24 points, and 18-2 when leading at the half. While both of those are impressive, Rhoads pointed out one stat that no other program in the country may be able to claim.

Entering their sixth game of the season against Kansas State (5-0, 2-0), The Cyclones (4-1, 1-1) head coach noted that they'll be facing their sixth straight undefeated opponent. Their previous five opponents (Tulsa, Iowa, Western Illinois, Texas Tech, and TCU) all came into their match up with Iowa State without a loss.

Now that's impressive. Rhoads challenged the reporters in attendance at the weekly press conference to find another program in the country that could say the same.

Bill Young urges you to not delay doctors visits and take their advice

It's great to hear that Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Bill Young is back on the sideline and doing okay, after missing the first two games of the season.

As John Helsley of The Oklahoman points out, an (almost undetected) aneurysm was what kept Young off of the sideline. What started as a routine visit to the doctor taught Young a valuable lesson that we can all learn from.

Don't put off going to the doctor, and always follow your doctor's advice.

"The doctor said I was a walking time bomb,” Young explained. “If your doctor recommends something, he's a lot smarter than you are, and I almost didn't listen. And I'm sure I'd have lived to regret it.”

The most dangerous aspect of aneurysm's is that they sometimes have no symptoms. They have been known to cause strokes, or lead to disability and even death. Young had one the size of a thumbnail right between the eyes that would have gone undetected if it weren't for a doctors decision (and help from Young's wife) to do a routine MRI to rule out any existence of aneurysms, of which he has a family history.

Young said that it was $500 that had originally deterred him from getting an MRI. Despite having an aneurysm burst during a workout back in 1982, Young insisted he didn't need an MRI, but thankfully his wife was persisent.

“It's like $500 to get an MRI. I thought, ‘Why would I spend $500 to get an MRI? That (previous aneurysm) was 30 years ago. It's the smart thing to do. Looking back on it, it was being idiotic to have even considered not doing it.”

Recently, Young went back in for a routine checkup and was given a clean bill of health, and says that he will continue to get checked regularly.

“I'm just so grateful and thankful that I had such great care. It's really comforting to know there are people out there to give you great care when you need it." Young said.

“I've been big-time lucky, twice now. The first time I was really lucky because it burst," Young said, referring to his first aneurysm. “So take care of yourself, you only get one body.

As we all know, coaching is an awesome yet stressful profession where it's easy to get caught up in wins and losses and preparing a group of young men for game day, and ultimately, life after football. Several health scares in the profession over the past few seasons serve as a reminder to all of us to take care of ourselves, so that we can continue to make an impact on young mens lives, provide for our families, and coach a game that we all love.

Bill Young realizes that now, and it should serve as a reminder to all of us to take care of ourselves, get checked regularly, and follow your doctors advice.





Muschamp explains the three things left in his office when he arrived on campus

On the Dan Patrick Show yesterday Will Muschamp was asked about the rich tradition and history at Florida and how much of that "hangs over his head." Muschamp responded by telling a story about what he found in his office when he showed up in Gainesville to move in.

Back in December of 2010, as Muschamp was moving his belongings into his new office, there were only three items left in the otherwise empty room. Those three items were Florida's National Championship trophies.

“When I walked into my office, there was only three things left in a very barren office, and that was three national championship trophies. I think our athletic director left them here on purpose to make sure I understood the expectation level.”

Muschamp said that he went down the hall to ask athletic director Jeremy Foley if the trophies were left there on purpose and Foley responded, "That’s what we expect.’".

Muschamp responded by simply smiling and saying "Yeah, I got ya."

The Gators, who are sitting at 5-0, and 4-0 in SEC play, travel to Vanderbilt this weekend. Kickoff will take place at 6pm ET and can be seen on ESPNU

We saw a note earlier this morning that Florida is running the ball on 71% of their offensive plays (236 rushing attempts out of 333 total offensive plays). Vanderbilt's defense is giving up 179 yards per game on the ground (80th nationally) and have given up over 190 yards rushing to three of their four FBS opponents this season (South Carolina - 205 yards rushing, Northwestern - 191 yards rushing and Georgia - 302 yards rushing).

Holtz: We're using the bye week to reward production and effort

After dropping their last four games after a 2-0 start, Skip Holtz and the South Florida are looking to breath some new life into their depth chart for next weeks match up with Louisville.

During this bye week of practice, Holtz explained that they're giving some fresh faces an opportunity to compete for starting jobs.

Holtz noted that when you win there aren't a whole lot of guys that can argue about their playing time, but when you're not winning there are always players who feel like they can help the team, so this week has allowed the staff to evaluate all of that with scrimmage reps.

"We've graded every scrimmage rep that we've had this week. Seventy five plays a day, about 225 scrimmage reps we've had these last three days, we've graded every play and we've moved the depth chart accordingly."

"We're not going to reward talent, we're not going to reward experience, we're going to reward productivity and effort so the depth chart has bounced around an awful lot today." Holtz explained.

Holtz noted that once the season starts it's hard to get in quality evaluations during a practice because your preparing your ones and twos for game time, but the bye week has allowed them to do some evaluating .

"Once the season starts, it's hard to have tryouts because once the season starts you're rolling two teams and trying to get your ones ready and your twos ready to back up." Holtz said. "It's not really the time to say 'Okay, lets have open tryouts', but that has been refreshing this week to be able to get back to that.

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