Yard work for the Buckeyes
Ohio State has already pre-sold over 47,000 tickets to their spring game on Saturday, and Urban Meyer is more than ready to finally hit the field.
"I’ve been fortunate enough to coach in some of these big spring game atmospheres, and there’s nothing like it. It’s priceless. You can’t simulate this atmosphere in any indoor venue or out on the practice field." he told the media yesterday after practice.
Meyer anticipates a lot of passing during the spring game, although he's still not sure who will be on the receiving end of those balls. “The ball will be thrown a lot. I just don’t know if it will be caught.”
Offensive coordinator Tom Herman will serve as the head coach for the Scarlet team and defensive coordinator Luke Fickell will handle the coaching duties for the Gray team.
Keeping with the competitive mindset in everything they've done since Urban arrived in Columbus, the losing team will be putting in some extra work next Friday on a community service project. That project might just be doing three hours worth of landscaping at Buckeye Grove, just south of the stadium.
Changes in philosophy and technique at Wisconsin
The Wisconsin coaching staff is full of new faces, and with new faces come new experiences and techniques for the players.
UWBadgers.com caught up with a few key returning players and the new coaches to talk about the changes in technique and philosophy so far.
"We try to keep it simple," new linebackers coach Andy Buh said. "You've got to be able to move your left foot left, and your right foot right, put your right hand up and your left hand up. It's real simple. Play fast, make full speed decisions and if it moves hit it, and if it's in your way knock it down."
Some advice for high school coaches
The Toledo Blade wrote an interesting article on how the rise through the coaching profession has changed, citing new Ohio State corners coach Kerry Coombs as the perfect example.
Historically in Ohio, many great coaches have rose from the high school level to become college coaches (Woody Hayes, Earl Bruce...etc). At one time, high school used to be the pipeline for college coaches and administrators looking to fill their vacancies.
Ohio State has carried on that tradition, in a sense, with two assistants that were once former Ohio high school head coaches. Coombs is one of them, and tight ends coach Tim Hinton is the other.
Coombs modestly admits that Ohio is full of high school coaches that could handle coaching at the major college level. "I bang that drum all the time, I tell people all the time there's a lot of people coaching at this high school or that high school that can do this job. I'm not a better coach than a lot of guys I coached against. Some of them are probably better coaches than I am."
While he was happy at the high school level, Coombs definitely appreciates the opportunity he has now. "I was going to be a high school football coach until the day I die, now I'm going to coach on a national championship football team someday, can you imagine that? In my state?"
He said he almost quit after the first day because of the image of the approach that he had for college coaches. "I tried to be a college football coach, what I thought a college football coach should be and be cerebral and have my arms folded. I was absolutely miserable and almost quit after the first day. I decided I needed to coach the way I was comfortable, and that's the way I coach. I don't know any other way."
He shares a little bit of advice for high school coaches hoping to make the jump to the big time someday.
"Pray, you like to think that you found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow." he said while laughing. "I would tell every high school coach to do the best you can at the job you have, don't worry about what's coming. I didn't look for any of these jobs. Something is just out there for you. If you're good at what you do and you try hard and you try to be a good person, something good is coming your way. It has for me."
Sunseri's unlikely film partner
During his playing days, Sal Sunseri would come home from practice and watch film a few rolls of film on the weeks opponent...with his wife.
"At that time she was a gymnast, and she understood that if she was going to spend time with me, it was going to be watching tape." Sunseri added that she came to genuinely enjoy it, and when the Olympics come on "she's a wacko".
"The bottom line is she'd sit there and she'd watch tape with me, and I would tell her what was going on. So she, right now, knows more football than a lot of other people out there." Sunersi explains that he believes his kids success in football (Tino plays at Pittsburgh and Vinnie plays at Alabama) is due in large part because of the lessons that she eventually handed down to them from the film sessions with him.
Sunseri said that Vinnie got a list of things that he did wrong at Alabama's spring game from his mother, and Sal said he was right on the money with her assessment.
As for the Vols, Sunseri has been impressed with the initiative that the Tennessee players have shown getting in the film room to learn the new defensive system and believes that they're right on track with where they need to be.
Pushing to the limit at Clemson
Clemson just came out with a solid weight room highlight.
Joey Batson and the strength and conditioning staff have put together an impressive program utilizing everything from chains to high intensity cleans to some killer core workouts.
LSU proposing stadium expansion
LSU is proposing a stadium expansion of approximately 60 suites, 3,000 club seats, and 1,500 general population seats to be entirely funded privately.
The new expansion would take place in the south end zone with the general public seats located above the club and suite level seating. Standing room only tickets will also be made available when the new structure opens, and should bring the total capacity in Death Valley to around 100,000 screaming fans.
"It is important to always have an eye on the future and this investment in our facilities is critical for the future of LSU Athletics. When things are going well, you can move forward or you can fall behind. We are choosing to advance the athletics program so that it can remain a viable and successful part of the mission of our university." Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva stated.
The expansion will allow for two video boards to be added in the southwest and southeast corners of the stadium, replacing the current video board sitting on the south bowl.
If the project is approved, construction would begin in the fall and be completed in the summer of 2014.
The Box drill at Texas A&M
Texas A&M receivers coach David Beaty takes 12thManTV through a drill called "the box drill" in the film room with some very good footage from a recent practice, and provides some excellent coaching points.
Beaty says that Kevin Sumlin and the staff have really put a renewed emphasis on making every off season drill they do very competitive, with a definitive winner and loser.
The box drill works release moves, with a focus on getting the defensive back in a trail position. The object is to stay inside of the marked 5 yard area and touch the coach once the receiver gets stacked back on top of his route.
Very good drill and good coaching points in the video below.
Financing for Cal's stadium renovation becoming a problem
The Wall Street Journal ran fascinating article about the status of the major renovation to Cal's Memorial Stadium and the major financial problems they are having paying for it.
The planned renovations had a hefty price tag of $321 million, and would make the project one of the most expensive renovations in college sports history. Originally, the University had hoped to fund the project through long term seating sales and naming rights to various parts of the stadium. The renovation will actually reduce seating capacity from 72,000 to about 63,000.
Athletic director Sandy Barbour, who approved and promoted the renovation plans and the associated funding plan (which called for raising $270 million from the sale of seats), is now admitting that the University will have to borrow the vast majority of the money. As of December, which marked about three years into the project, Cal had only collected $31 million. In the WSJ article, Barbour added, "We're not asleep at the wheel here."
According to the WSJ, the $321 million is far more than what Minnesota and Stanford paid to build brand new football stadiums. To further put things in perspective, Michigan spent $148 million to add luxury seats at The Big House, Washington is spending about $200 million on recent stadium renovations, and Minnesota borrowed $220 million to build their new stadium. In the WSJ article, Barbour says that about 70% of the total cost of the project is attributable to "safety upgrades" due to the fact that the stadium sits atop a geological fault. Really? So is that saying that if the stadium weren't there, it would only cost 30% of $321 million ($96 million)? TCU is reportedly spending about $150 million on their renovation. Baylor's proposed on campus stadium is projected to cost "up to $250 million".
Along with the football stadium renovations, the athletic department was also planning to build a new multi sport training facility for $153 million. Combined, the two projects were looking at a half a billion dollars. It's no secret that higher education in California is going through some financial troubles of their own. Last year the state legislature cut $650 million dollars from the University of California's $3 billion operating budget.
Despite leading the country in tuition increases (in-state tuition increased 17% this year, with another double digit tuition increase in the near future), University officials say that because of the shortfall from athletics the rest of the funds will have to come from campus funds including an increase in student fees.
When we visited Cal on our recent Pac-12 tour, construction was ongoing, hot and heavy (see picture below). The word from the staff was that the stadium would be "game ready" by opening day; but the project would be far from finished. In fact, the coaches were just moving into their new offices the week that we were there.
We're hoping Coach Tedford and his staff can win a bunch of games this year to help shore up the financing of this project.