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Syracuse players get iPads

Syracuse has announced that the football team will be receiving iPads to utilize in the classroom and on the road. Head coach Doug Marrone is "enamored" with the iPad's capabilities and wants to make sure his guys have every opportunity to succeed in the classroom.

'Cuse is one of a few schools, including Ohio State, to make iPads readily available to their student athletes. Last season, the Orange led the conference with an impressive 28 players on the Big East all academic team.

Max Miller, the team's senior academic coordinator explained, "I know that Coach Marrone has (an iPad), and was very enamored by the capabilities of it. He felt that it would be a good tool for our guys in the classroom."

Miller went on to explain that the iPad will allow students access to specific apps that will help improve their classroom performance by adapting to their learning styles. The technology will also allow the coaches and support staff immediate access to their "Blackboard", which reports their grades and allows players to keep their notes in one easy location.

"Some of the apps will be great for the guys. One is Dragon Dictation, which is a great app that dictates anything that you say. Another thing that will help with the word processing aspect is that the keyboard splits up. Some of our guys might not know how to type very well, but what they do know how to do is text. The keyboard pulls apart and serves as two texting keyboards."

"They can be anywhere and pull up their notes and PowerPoint's right in class so that they don't have to print out the paper forms. It's going to be a great tool for us to be able to monitor their grades, as well, because they can bring their Blackboard to us."

Players will also have access to audio of their lectures so that they can listen to them while on the road, something that will surely be an asset for the audio learners on the team. 

More and more schools and athletic programs are taking notice. The iPad is a game changer, on the field, and in the classroom.

O-Line insight from Bob Bostad

Bucs offensive line coach Bob Bostad is taking over a veteran offensive line in his first season in Tampa Bay, and is stressing the importance of gelling as a unit early and being able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each individual.

“The offense line has to gel as one. You can’t have this guy with a good game and this guy with a bad game. I think what makes that happen is identifying guy's strengths and weaknesses. You only get so many reps in a game. When you go out to practice you can't just run plays to run plays. You have to say 'This guy does this well, and this guy does this well' and then start to formulate a plant to attack a defense in multiple and balanced ways so you are not just looking like (an offense) that guys in the stands are figuring out.”

Early on workouts, Bostad has his eyes guys that have potential and are right on the verge of making the roster and shares his thoughts the qualities he looks for in a player on the fringe.

“To have the quality is one thing, but now do you have the work ethic? Do you have the attention to detail? Are you taking the coaching and are you getting better off of it? I think those are the things that kind of make that (fringe) guy come out of nowhere and go in the direction you want them to go."

The Bucs return two quality Pro Bowl guards and Bostad believes the strength in the interior will allow them really open things up and be balanced. 

“If you can be good on the inside you have a chance to do a lot of good things tackle to tackle. You want to have those elements and those guys fill those prerequisites. They are strong guys.”

“I have always believed you have to be balanced. I think that is something I have always have done, if I want to take ownership for some things, is to make sure that the team comes in and lines up across from you says, 'They aren’t just going to line up and attack one way.' And whatever the scheme is, have some balance. Do what you do well. Then how can we exploit what they do well? Make their key players be guessing a little.”

Video: Kentucky facility renovations

Players entering Kentucky's Nutter training facility saw some major improvements when they came back from their two week break following the spring semester.

The Kentucky staff and administration managed to keep the renovations under wraps so that players were genuinely surprised when they got back on campus.

The new touches include lots of new blue, white and silver graphics, the team slogan of "Operation: WIN", and pictures of past, and present Wildcats along with those who have made it the league. Overall, some very nice upgrades that will definitely help in recruiting.

Strong: "You still have to play the game"

With the preseason magazines hitting shelves and experts weighing in on conference rankings, Charlie Strong is urging people to keep everything in perspective.

This time last season, many magazines had the Cardinals picked at the bottom of the Big East, and after winning five of their last seven and finishing 7-6 (5-2 in the Big East) last season, many outlets have Louisville as one of the conference favorites.

When Strong was asked about the fan expectations during a recent charity golf event, he responded by saying, "Well you know one thing we need to do, let's tone it down with the fans, No. 1, because expectations are out there. You look at the first two years, we were picked last and this year for some reason people think we're going to have this outstanding football team. It's all about work, it's all about our players understanding that you still have to go play the game."

However, looking at how far the program has come since taking over and the positive changes that the coaching staff has made, Strong believes that they have earned the right to be talked about at the top of the conference.

"They deserve to be picked where they are just because of how hard they've worked and the job the coaching staff has done but we still have to realize who picked it, and we still have to do the work. We can't allow as a coaching staff for us to get full of ourselves."

"We have a ton of youth, but the whole work ethic has changed. The accountability has changed. The responsibility has changed."

GA of the Day - Keola Loo (Arizona State)

Keola Loo coached at Mt. San Antonio College, a community college in California, for the last six seasons. He put in his time and paid his dues. Then one day the phone rang...

Watch the video and hear Keola tell his story. He's a humble, hard working young man (comes from a coaching family). The coaches at Arizona State tells us that he's been a great addition to the staff. 

Fuente on women's clinic: The only difference is the crowd

Justin Fuente and the Memphis coaching staff invited women on campus yesterday to take part in Memphis' first ever women's football clinic.

According to Fuente, the only difference for the coaches between the clinic and a regular practice is the audience. Coaches are still doing what they love to do, and that's teach.

"Every one I have every been a part of has been a really enjoyable experience for the women and for the coaches because the coaches really enjoy getting up there and talking about the game and trying to inform, because that's what we do. We teach...and it's just a different crowd." 

Video: Maxing out at North Dakota

Back in 2010 the FCS's Big Sky conference decided to welcome North Dakota as a new member starting in 2012. Starting July 1st, North Dakota will officially no longer be a D-II program.

North Dakota has spent the past few seasons becoming a bigger, faster and stronger team in order to immediately compete for the Big Sky title.

The clip below shows the team getting after it in the weight room. Notice the heavy weight being thrown around by guys of all sizes, the great form all around, and no wrist straps are in use. These guys have been coached up well.

Advice from an off the field coach

Quincy Wilson, West Virginia's newly appointed assistant director of football operations and former Mountaineer running back, wants to use his experiences as a player to help mold the lives of the players in Morgantown as he focuses on his new off the field role in player development.

"I want them to trust me and I want them to know I'm going to shoot them straight. So that aspect of dealing with the kids that way is awesome because I feel like I experienced a lot of different things and unique things that will come up once you get here on campus. I want to be that guy they can lean on."

Dana Holgorsen hired Wilson to be the man that  measure the pulse of the team and all of its players. To do that Wilson plans on getting to know every single player and their background, as well as what makes them tick both as a person and a player, and then relay that information to Holgo when necessary.

"I want to know what your favorite movie is. What's your favorite color? Do you have a girlfriend? What are your day-to-day activities like? The quicker I get that down, the quicker I figure out how to approach them and then it's easier to get them going because you know them and you know how to pump them up." Wilson explained.

Wilson also offered some advice on what to focus on as an assistant DFO, or anyone working in player development.

"The big thing is to concentrate on the young guys coming in and to give them a plan for the four or five years they're going to be here. The quicker we get them adjusted, the more we eliminate the transfers, the more we eliminate the off-the-field stuff. My biggest goal is when you look on TV you don't see one of our guys is arrested for beating up his girlfriend or this guy got an underage consumption. I don't want any of that for our guys so I've got to get to know them and know what we've got going on here."