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Always recruiting

We recently spent half a day with UCLA football and the other half at USC's offices. Eye-opening to say the least. 

When you enter UCLA's coaches offices most of the initial visuals you see focus on UCLA beating USC. Honestly, over at SC, you virtually don't see any mention of UCLA (most of the focus is on their 11 National Championships); but lurking somewhere; perhaps in a closet [not much space in the current offices], perhaps just in Lane's mind, someone seems to constantly be thinking of ways to out-recruit the boys across town.

The latest dig surfaced today when Scott Enyeart who covers USC football tweeted, "USC lists its game @UCLA as a "home game" on its schedule." Just another day in L.A.

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Willie Fritz jumps out of an airplane

That's the short version of Sam Houston State head coach Willie Fritz jumping out of an airplane!

Full version with explanation is below. Enjoy!

NCAA closes case on South Carolina (minor penalties)

The NCAA has wrapped up their investigation into allegations surrounding the South Carolina athletics program, and cited the Gamecocks for failing to monitor the athletics program.

In short, South Carolina will be on probation for three years, lose 3 scholarships per year for two years, will pay an $18,500 fine and will limit the number of official visits this year to 30. 

In the article summarizing the findings, the NCAA noted the University's outstanding cooperation throughout the process, which "went beyond standard expectations" (even tweeting about it). 

Case closed, move on.


Mazzone: "It's kind of like a Clint Eastwood movie"

UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone compared their offensive progression in the spring to the Clint Eastwood movie "The good, the bad, and the ugly".

Mazzone explained that offense has shown glimpses of each in their first spring under the new system. He added that he has been pleased with the pace that they've learned and the effort all spring.

The offense has had to claw for yards against the defense all spring, and Mazzone commended the defense on their progress. "Sometimes your the dog, and sometimes the dog gets you".

More from Mazzone in the clip below.

The O-Line is headed to Ethiopia

Eleven Duke offensive lineman and assistant strength coach Marcus Johnson are planning a team building trip to Ethiopia to drill a fresh water well and help build some cohesiveness within their unit.

Last season, the offensive line finished in the middle of the pack nationally in sacks allowed (#43 - 1.58 sacks per game), and provided the time necessary to finish 28th in the country in passing offense (272 yards per game).

Guard Dave Harding got the ball rolling with an idea a few years ago and recently they were able to secure a total of $45,000 from private donors within the University to make the trip a reality. While on the trip, the team will also visit an orphanage and hold a sports camp for kids in the area.

"The coaches always say, 'Go through camp...and everybody, you bleed together,' and it just builds camaraderie. I think people are going to be challenged, mostly mentally and spiritually with what they're seeing. To be able to talk that through with each other and experience that together is something that no other college offensive line or football team will be able to experience or has experienced in a long time." Harding said.

The logistics of the actual project are what's really interesting. While one group actually physically pounds the pipe into the ground, the others will anchor a rope attached to a pulley system to help make it a little easier...regardless, it's going to be no walk in the park.

"Offensive linemen, I call them brothers. To see how your brothers bond with you in a different situation, you get to see what guys are really like. Can you really trust them? Are they accountable? I think it'll teach not only them, but myself as well, just what to expect from a guy, if things do get tough over there." assistant strength coach Marcus Johnson explained.

Head coach David Cutcliffe is also huge supporter of the trip. "The best part of it is, it makes them aware of a responsibility that we all have to help others around the world, not just at home. It should be a big eye-opening experience for all of those young men."

Weis talks discipline

Last season, Kansas ranked near the bottom in the nation in almost every major defensive category. Charlie Weis has been determined to change that, starting with changing the team's outlook with discipline.

The Jayhawks finished last in the FBS in total defense and scoring defense, giving up over 518 yards per game and 44 ppg (both 120th nationally), and ranked near the bottom in rushing defense (#117 - 239 ypg), and pass efficiency defense (#118 - 165).

Weis' approach since his hire in December has been that you get one chance to set things right, and that's what he aims to do before loosening up at all.

“I think you only get one opportunity to set it right. You only get one chance and you do not get a do-over. It is a common philosophy with coaches that it is always easier to loosen up on a team after it has been rigid than it is to tighten up on a team after it’s been lose.”

On the same note, Weis is hoping to see the guys have some fun in front of the fans during their spring game tomorrow.

“I would just like to see us go out there defensively and run and tackle and have some fun. I would like to see us sling it around a bit on offense and have some success, especially with the front line guys to see how there continuity is playing with each other. I would like to be able to run the ball in the red zone when people are stacking it up on the goal line and daring you to run it.”


Davie: "I got a call from Houston Nutt"

Bob Davie wrapped up spring practices with a press conference yesterday and talked about everything from their focus of a staff moving forward in the off season, to a phone call he got from Houston Nutt.

The focus for the Lobo players and the staff moving forward from spring ball are focusing on finishing strong academically, players taking care of their business off the field, and continuing to develop physically through the summer months. Davie explained that much of January was spent just getting the team up to speed regarding their condition so that they could eventually practice effectively.

Davie also said that he got a phone call from Houston Nutt asking him how he was doing and if he was liking things so far. Davie responded by saying "You know I've had the chance to do a lot of great things over the past ten years, but nothing compares to what we have a chance to do now. It's more fun, more rewarding than I've done the past ten years." He added that Nutt understood that, as only coaches coach really could.

The spring has allowed Davie to bring in numerous coaching colleagues to visit campus including Lou Holtz, and Barry Alvarez (Nutt and his wife were heading into town when he called last night to stay at a resort). Davie explained that it simply took a look out his office window for each of them to comment on what a "heck of a place" The University of New Mexico is. That kind of reinforcement is why Davie believes that they can bring major college football to Albuquerque. 

You can tell that meant a lot to Davie, considering it comes from two guys that are not only friends, but also have over 360 combined wins as head coaches.

Plenty more from Davie below.

Combining smash mouth with spread at Temple

Steve Addazio and Temple are coming off a strong 9-4 season, including a 37-15 victory over Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl. Three of their four losses came by a combined 11 points, including a week 3 loss to Penn State where they lost 10-14.

Addazio explains that when you line up against them, they're going to make you defend the power run game, as well as the spread option game. That's something that he's been aiming to do for quite some time.

Addazio told ESPN that the offensive staff has focused this off-season on tweaking their offense to combine spread elements with the ability to line up under center and play smash mouth football, all with the same personnel. To do that, the staff has recruited well and loaded the roster with hybrid type players that can play multiple positions.

"I always thought cutting edge was the ability to not only be in a spread component, but then to have the ability to line up under center and come right at you. We never quite got that done at Florida. We stayed in the shotgun with Tim (Tebow) and we had a lot of success with Tim doing that...but in my heart, I always knew, when I get a chance I'm going to run this thing."

"I want a defense to feel the power aspect, defend the run-power game, and then have the ability in that same grouping to spread the field and put in a spread-option component. That's where we are now." 

Simply having the ability to move the ball effectively both ways is going to stress a defense and force them to find practice time to cover it all, he explains. "Lining up under center, having a power run game creates its own issues for a defense. Attacking a defense with that, then having the spread offense component to it, now it creates a lot of stress to say: 'Now this is what we have to stop but wait a minute, we also have to stop this and we also have to stop this.'"