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9 first round picks in two years?

Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide have put together an impressive run. They've rolled out two of the last three national titles, are second only to Stanford in BCS graduation rate, and they have also been able to churn out an impressive number of first round draft picks.

With the NFL draft starting on Thursday, Bama has 5 guys projected by many experts to go in the first round (although we all know the draft never works out quite the way it's projected). If they do end up having five guys go in the first round this season, on top of their 4 picks in the first 28 choices last season, it would mark an impressive run of 9 first round picks in a two year span.

Doing some quick research, we noticed that feat would rank right up there just behind Miami, who had 10 first round picks in a two year span back in 2003-2004 (including Kellen Winslow, Vince Wilfork and Andre Johnson) and just ahead of USC who churned out 7 first rounders in two seasons in 2008-2009 (including Mark Sanchez, Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews).

At a charity event yesterday in Mobile, Saban addressed that possibility, and noted that it's not necessarily where you get drafted that's important, what is important is the opportunity that they have after the draft and being able to take full advantage.

Video: Sports Science with Oklahoma State

Sports Science released a draft special highlighting Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon yesterday, and to see the type of talent that Mike Gundy, and Todd Monken have to work with in Stillwater is nothing short of impressive.

Brandon Weeden showed off his accuracy by taking out some clay pigeons, and Justin Blackmon showed his impressive range by being able to catch anything within the area comparable to the size of a two car garage. Once he got into his rhythm, Weeden took out 4 out of 5 clay pigeons at one point.

Seeing this display of talent, it's easy to see how the Cowboys finished with the #2 passing offense in the nation (387 ypg), #2 scoring offense (49 ppg), #7 in passing efficiency (160.78) and #3 in total offense (546 ypg). 

John L. Smith to Arkansas

It's official. Arkansas is bringing back former assistant, and current Weber State head coach, John L. Smith to serve as the interim head coach for the season.

"I am extremely pleased to welcome Coach John L. Smith back to the Razorback program as our new head football coach. Coach Smith brings a wealth of football knowledge, BCS conference head coaching experience, passion for the game and a close familiarity with the current team and coaching staff. I firmly believe that his selection is in the best interests of the young men in our program and will also best serve the mission of our football program and university in achieving success on and off the field in the upcoming season and in the long term." Athletic Director Jeff Long said of the hire.

His contract will be for 10 months and be worth $850,000.

Smith has spent a total of 18 seasons as a head coach including stops at Weber State, Michigan State, Louisville, Utah State, and Idaho.

In the short term, this hire makes a ton of sense. First and foremost, the entire program and all the players are familiar with him. Also, bringing John L. back allowed the staff to remain completely intact and does volumes in terms of the continuity allowing first year Razorback coordinators Paul Petrino and Paul Haynes to focus on their offenses and defenses. Overall, the move keeps everyone on the same page.

We also saw a note earlier that Smith has worked with 8 out 9 of Arkansas' current assistants at one point or another in his career. That was surely a huge factor for Long.

Although this makes sense for the season, a number of sources that we talked to assured us that there will be a complete search for a permanent head coach come December.

As the official press release states, "Long announced the University of Arkansas will continue to evaluate the program and the head coaching position in anticipation of naming a head coach following the 2012 season. The current appointment will allow the program to identify a head coach for the future of the program in a timeframe that is more conducive to attracting the potential candidates expected for one of the nation's premier football head coaching positions."

Smith will be officially announced at a press conference tomorrow at 2 p.m CST.

National media seems to be polarized by the hire. As examples, here are CBS Sports' Gregg Doyle's thoughts (very negative) and Yahoo Sports Pat Forde's take (very positive). 

As for Weber State, we'll keep you posted to how things play out. Their AD just took to twitter to voice his thoughts: 

 

 

Ole Miss Video: "The Program"

Ole Miss just released a video entitled simply "The Program", highlighting the changes that the new coaching staff has brought on board, as well as the offensive and defensive philosophies. 

Linebacker D.T Shackelford has been impressed with the amount of time that the coaches are putting in with interaction with the players off the field. 

"I may get a text sometimes in the morning, and it has nothing pertaining to football. It's probably something about life, or in the afternoons I may get something saying we got film. It's just constant reminders and you can just tell they care."

Hugh Freeze made one thing very clear during the video. They will understand how to compete for an SEC West title. 

"We're going to put ourselves in position in years to come to be in the mix for that. I understand how tough this conference is, but Ole Miss is going to put ourselves in the talks for the SEC West Championship and not only on the field, but also in recruiting classes. We refuse to think we can't compete with others for those titles."

As the first practice wrapped up, Freeze commended the team on their effort and attitude, and then reminded them to tell three people (trainers, coaches, managers, etc.) thank you on their way off the field.

"If you didn't notice, we try to make our practices as chaotic as possible. That way when you get into a stadium that's chaotic it's just a normal everyday for us" he added.

Very good video.

 

How to kick off a spring game

If you weren't a part of the impressive 81,112 people in attendance at the Ohio State spring game, you may have missed the "Circle Drill " that kicked things off.

Luckily, we came across some footage inside the drill that shows you just how intense things got.

After calling out a number of big fellas to butt heads in the center, Urban Meyer called out his two quarterbacks.

"Our quarterbacks are like everybody else. They've got to put their nose on people" Meyer explained. "You'e got to be very careful and very smart, and sometimes I'm accused of neither."

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