Behind the scenes with Florida State during national title week
Before actual kickoff of the BCS National Title game, there's a ton of behind the scenes stuff that each team participates in. A lot of it is serious, but there's also a fair share of events just to blow off some steam.
Here's an excellent 20+ minute, all access look at Florida State's week leading up to the title game, with some quality game footage where you can almost feel the peaks and valleys of the game from the FSU perspective.
Why it took them so long to release this, I'm not sure, but the quality is outstanding.
Video: Lineman run at the combine to a hilariously appropriate soundtrack
The NFL combine has coaches everywhere glued to the NFL Network as grown men run 40 yard dashes, jump as high as they can, and run through position specific drills.
It's obviously a very serious event full of commentary and strong opinions from "experts", but SB Nation had a little different spin where they compiled highlights of the combine's big fellas and matched it with "Wobble Baby" by V.I.C.
I'm confident that it's the best thing you'll watch today.
Video: Mic'd up for morning workouts at Penn State
The energy in the football building in Happy Valley must be contagious, because Charles Huff is full of it during their 5:30am morning workouts.
While the conditioning / agility footage is solid, it was the advice that Huff gave his guys after the workout that caught my attention, because it seems to be an outlook that he approaches coaching with.
"If you want to go where we are going, and Seniors if you don't want to leave here with a 'coulda, shoulda, woulda' feeling, then you've got to give it up. You've give it up and get better, everyday. No different."
"Those of you that say you want to make it in the league, them guys come to work every day. There's not a switch."
A bunch of Big Ten coaches got paid today
A year ago at this time, we were talking about how the Big Ten had seemingly become the minor leagues of major college football with Bret Bielema's departure for Arkansas and the talking point that the Big Ten just didn't pay its coaches enough. That talk has all gone away now.
In what is shaping up to be the winter of Big Ten resurgence - with Penn State nabbing James Franklin from Vanderbilt, Ohio State taking Chris Ash from Arkansas, to name two key moves - Michigan and Michigan State announced two key moves on Tuesday afternoon that will go a long way toward securing their own futures.
First, Michigan announced it had inked a three-year contract with offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. While he isn't in the million-dollar coordinator club quite yet, he could be there by 2016. In a significant raise from the $681,500 he earned at Alabama in 2013, Nussmeier will make $830,000 in 2014, $860,000 in 2015 and $880,000 in 2016 with a $200,000 retention bonus tacked on if he remains on the job all three seasons.
The contract would bump Nussmeier from 12th to sixth for all coordinator salaries in 2013, below what Georgia paid Todd Grantham but above what Justin Wilcox made at Washington.
Up the state in East Lansing, Michigan State announced it was rewarding the staff that turned in Sparty's best season in a quarter century with significant raises.
First, head coach Mark Dantonio received a bump from $1.99 million to $3.64 million, a raise of $1.65 million. The raise catapults Dantonio from 51st to 11th nationally among 2013 head coaching salaries. Where he was previously sandwiched by Kentucky's Mark Stoops and SMU's June Jones, Dantonio now falls between Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy and Iowa's Kirk Ferentz. Dantonio's salary now ranks fourth in the Big Ten, trailing only Urban Meyer, Brady Hoke and Ferentz. Considering Michigan State's 2013 season and their three top 14 finishes since 2010, he's still the conference's biggest bargain even after an 83 percent raise.
Dantonio new deal allows him to work for MSU 5 years after he retires from coaching, compared to 2 years in previous contract— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) February 25, 2014
Elsewhere on his staff, defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi catapults from the criminally-underpaid $559,000 he banked in 2013 to a more proper salary of $904,000, making him the highest-paid assistant in the Big Ten and the fourth-highest in all of college football.
(Still probably a decent bargain) RT @ESPN_BigTen: Michigan State DC Pat Narduzzi now highest paid Big Ten assistant at $904,583— Adam Kramer (@KegsnEggs) February 25, 2014
Michigan State also provided an additional $440,000 for Dantonio to split among his eight remaining assistants - those details can be seen here.
In retaining its best coaches and hiring god ones away from other conferences, the Big Ten is again functioning like the major conference it is.
Tomorrow: the inaugural FootballScoop / SB Nation Coaches Draft
We have now entered a dark time, the time of year when the entire football universe somehow agrees 40 times, bench presses, hand size and vertical leaps matter more than what happened on the field four months prior. It's a portion on the calendar when any opinion, no matter how ridiculous, is bestowed credibility as long as it's attributed to an anonymous NFL executive. It can all be a little nauseating if you don't let the hot air out of the room.
Which is where we come in.
Tomorrow morning, we will debut the first (and possibly last) FootballScoop / SB Nation Coaches Draft. The FootballScoop staff - Scott, Doug and Zach - with the help of our trusted friends at SB Nation will each draft our own coaching staff. Each team will have one head coach, nine assistants, a strength coach, a director of recruiting and two GA's. Here's the catch: we'll only be drafting from a pool of head coaches. The 10 on-the-field coaches plus recruiting and strength spots will be chosen from the current roster of FBS head coaches, while the GA's will be plucked from the lower divisions. If you've ever dreamed of a staff where Mark Dantonio, defensive coordinator, had to contend with Dana Holgorsen, offensive coordinator; or better yet, where RichRod was calling plays against Bret Bielema's defense, tomorrow is your lucky day.
The intrigue stretches far beyond there. Will Nick Saban and Gus Malzahn wind up on the same staff? Which head coaches will get the prized GA status? With 10 teams of 14, a total of 140 head coaches will receive the honor of hearing their name called in the world's first (???) coaching draft.
We'll hold the draft Wednesday morning (keep your eye on Twitter around 11 a.m. ET) and at the end of the day we'll have our very own Mel Kiper and Mike Mayock grade each draft.
Coaches (and your agents), the phone lines are open. Make your case now; because once the draft starts it's all business (well, no not really).
Let the debate begin.
Jerry Kill urges you to focus on three areas to win more games
Jerry Kill and his staff have absolutely transformed the Minnesota program in three years, starting off at 3-9 his first season, improving to 6-7 with a bowl appearance in year two, and this past season the squad finished 8-5. This spring marks an opportunity for them to take another step toward being a legit challenger for the Big Ten title.
Asked about what they'll focus on offensively during spring ball, Kill offered up a few things that coordinators on both sides of the ball will find interesting.
"From the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, you look at wins and losses, and most of the time they're in the red zone. From a defensive standpoint getting stops, and from an offensive standpoint, scoring inside of the red zone." he explained
"If you're a good red zone team, and you're good at fourth down situations, and you don't get in third and long, you're going to win most of your games. So that's a big emphasis behind what we're doing."
"Go through and take a look at it. It's the truth."
Take a look back through your game film this year and evaluate your losses. How many of those outcomes would have been different if you improved in those three categories? Chances are your season would look quite a bit different.
Watch the Metrodome disappear in five seconds
Minneapolis' Metrodome was the only venue in America to host a Super Bowl, a Final Four, an MLB All-Star Game and a World Series.
Key word: was.
The home of the Minnesota Vikings - and previous home of the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Golden Gophers - has been put out to pasture to make way for something newer and better. Minneapolis said goodbye to the 31-year-old structure the best way you can say goodbye to an out of date stadium: bye exploding it from the inside.
VIDEO: Explosives demolish Metrodome http://t.co/2t5cjzR9Fd— NFL (@nfl) February 23, 2014
Hoke explains why he prefers his DC to coach linebackers
With the rise of the spread, a lot of new head coaches like their defensive coordinator to also have a hand in coaching the secondary. Brady Hoke has a different version in mind.
When Brady Hoke hired Greg Mattison away from the Baltimore Ravens back in 2011, Mattison was tabbed with overseeing the defensive line on top of his duties as defensive coordinator. That continued until late last week when Hoke switched some duties around, moving Mattison to linebackers coach, and having Roy Manning move from outside linebacker to corners to split duties with Curt Mallory, who will handle the safeties. Inside linebackers coach Mark Smith will now coach the defensive line.
For Hoke, moving Mattison (who coached the linebackers in Baltimore from 2008-2010) from the front four, to the middle of the defense, just makes sense.
"I think having your coordinator in a position in the middle of the defense, he’s coached linebackers for a lot of different years, I just feel, for us as a defensive staff and him as coordinator, it just makes more sense."
“In this day and age of football, with spread offenses, you’re having sub personnel in the game, nickel and dime and all that kind of stuff, that’s a lot to take for one coach. I did some research on it and talked to a lot of different coaches across the country about how they configure their secondary. You look at the National Football League model. They have a corners coach and a safeties coach in most places."
A lot of head coaches would agree would agree with that outlook.
According to my research, of the top ten defenses of the 2013 season (in terms of total defense), six of the top defensive coordinator's backgrounds are dominated by experience coaching the linebackers (Pat Narduzzi, Bud Foster, Dave Aranda, DJ Durkin, Art Kaufman, Mike Elko), while four have most of the experience in the defensive backfield (Vance Bedford, Jeremy Pruitt, Kirby Smart, Phil Parker).