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Cutcliffe blames himself for Bama game, looks forward to hosting Stanford

Duke head coach David Cutcliffe believes the Blue Devils are close and he knows what has to happen to produce more wins.

During a radio interview on Thursday, Cutcliffe said, “I know we’re better.  We just have to produce wins.  That’s the bottom line.”

“We played well last year, (but) we didn’t win.  We lost five ACC football games that we very easily could have won, three by five points, one by six, and one by ten at Georgia Tech when we were leading but managed to throw a pick-six.”

“We have to take care of the football and we certainly have to play better defense.  If we can do those things and do them much better, we can have a really fine football team.”

Cutcliffe is hoping for a much improved season from quarterback Sean Renfree, who threw 17 interceptions a year ago.

Cutcliffe explained about Renfree, “It’s a mental thing.  Not trying to win games.  Shaun is really athletic and people don’t know it.  I want him to relax.  When are they going to turn the corner.  He takes that personally and is out there trying to win games on every possession.  You can’t play quarterback like that.  He has matured.  He’s watched hours of more film.  He’s watched those seventeen interceptions. I think he has a much better grip on who he is and how to go about winning football games as a quarterback.”

Last year, Duke hosted Alabama at Wallace-Wade Stadium.  The Crimson Tide won 62-13.  Cutcliffe, who is usually one of the best in preparing for marquee games, seemed disappointed with himself in the preparation for Alabama.

This year, the Stanford Cardinal will travel to Duke in week #2.

Cutcliffe said, “A year ago, Alabama came to town and we laid an egg.  I think I underestimated the emotions.  We were drained before we ever played the game.  I just didn’t manage, it was kinda normal for me, but that’s what I’ve done my entire career.  Our team was just spent.  I think we’re better equipped this time and I think we’ll play really well against Stanford.”

Dooley addresses potential multi-year scholarships

Early in the week, we made an SEC Media Days prediction that,Dooley will spend at least 40% of the time talking about rule changes, NCAA stuff, athletic director questions (the stuff other than this year’s team).”

In the words of a loyal FootballScoop reader, “It wasn't your wildest prediction in the article, but you were correct on Dooley.”

The Tennessee head coach loves to talk, which leads us to Andrew Gribble’s article this morning with a stunning title…“Dooley Not Afraid to Share Opinions.”

Addressing the topic of potential multi-year scholarships that Mike Slive is interested in, Dooley didn’t hesitate to offer his opinion.

Dooley explained, "I hear about how it's so awful when a player gets a scholarship taken away. I'm sitting there going, 'Universities give academic scholarships all the time, and if a student doesn't meet certain academic requirements, they take it away from them.'"

"It's no different to me in athletics. We have a commitment to them, and they have a commitment to us. So we're giving them a benefit and they're giving us a benefit. That's why it's a contract."

Good point, young Derek.


Pat Fitzgerald talks about money and text messaging

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald has a thought about alleviating the financial pressures on college football players.

Fitzgerald told ESPN, “What's the easiest way to do it? Get their tax returns, get their family's tax returns and then create a scale.”

“That's one thing I thought about. Create a scale. If you're whatever percent above, you don't get anything. If you're below it, then you get (funds) based on your need. There's the easiest thing to do. To base it on revenue generated for a school, no way, no way. Now we're not talking about amateur sports."

It’s an interesting thought, one that Fitzgerald could probably expand much more upon.

Fitz also offered his opinion on text messaging.  We’re sure some coaches would definitely agree with Fitz on this one.

He said, "We don't need to text message. I think the quality of life factor for the student-athletes we realize when we had it, and on the coaching side when we had the ability to text message was awful for both sides. I'm not for that. I'm not for that for our assistant coaches. I do like the ability to communicate with the kids and build a relationship, and we can do that right now via Facebook, so we don't need it.”

On Wednesday, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said the text messaging just makes sense.  Slive said it’s ridiculous that text messages have caused probations.  In reality, that’s how young people communicate, so you might as well text.

If only they could come to a happy medium where coaches couldn't and wouldn't feel obligated to send "recruiting" texts. But that's not going to happen.

Joker: Our theme this year is 'Rise'

Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips wants to take Kentucky football to the next level.  It’s time for the Wildcats to “rise.”

Joker explained, “Our theme this year is 'Rise.' Our marketing department came up with the theme rise. We have shown that we at Kentucky can compete in this league.”

“Our challenge to our players, our veteran players and our young players, our new players, is to try to fill the void of some of the departure players we just lost. We lost a lot of production out of this past class. We have challenged our present players, our new players, to make sure that they are filling that void. 
In order for this program to continue to rise we have got to do the things that is necessary for it to rise. 'Rise' meaning not just going to bowl games, but being able to contend for championships in this league.”

“We are doing a lot of things to elevate this program to the next level. We've been 8-5. We dropped to 6-7 this past year. The thing we have to do, and I've told this football team, The teams that are successful in this league are the teams that have discipline, teams that are physical, teams that are tough, have toughness. Those are the things that we've got to strive to get back to.”

Kentucky opens against Western Kentucky in Nashville, TN.  The other non-conference games include Central Michigan, Louisville, and Jacksonville State.

Two weeks away: Clemson OC Chad Morris starting to feel it

Martavis, Cherone, Sammy, and Mike may become household names by the middle of the season, but Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris wants them to fully understand, “You may have done something in high school.  Big deal.  I don’t care.”

Love it!  College football is getting close.  And the coaches are starting to feel it, too.

Clemson fans are drooling over the 4 and 5-star offensive skill position players that signed with the Tigers in February.

But here are Chad Morris’ thoughts:

“There are about four of ‘em or so that will have an opportunity.  When fall camp starts, we’re fixin’ to find out what they can do.  They’re gonna have every opportunity.  But again, they hadn’t done anything yet.”

“These guys need to know, you hadn’t done nothing yet.  You may have done something in high school.  Big deal.  I don’t care.  What are you fixin’ to do right now?”

“We can’t get you here as a 5-star athlete whatever you are, 4-star All-American or whatever and you think you’ve arrived.  Just because you’re here doesn’t mean you’re here.  You haven’t arrived. “

“That will be my first day meeting with those guys.  If they don’t like it, tough.  They can do something else.  This is how we’re going to play.”

Memphis coaches selling 'weapons' and 'million-dollar baby'

And the sales job of the month goes to………Memphis head coach Larry Porter.

Not often do we bring you recruiting related news, but we like to humor you when we can, so we thought we’d catch you up on the reasons why Melrose HS (Memphis, TN) quarterback Will Gross verbally committed to Memphis this week.

According to Scout, Gross is a 4-star prospect and the #14 overall quarterback in the country.  He claims a number of big offers and his three reasons for committing are pretty funny.

Here’s what Gross told the Commercial Appeal.

Will Gross quote #1: “I just love the city of Memphis.  I’m going to be the million-dollar baby who can bring the community and Memphis State together.”

We like the “million-dollar baby” phrase.  We also like the fact that the University of Memphis hasn’t been called Memphis State in over a decade.

Will Gross quote #2: “Everyone kept going, ‘the SEC is where it is.  Or North Carolina.’  But my heart was in Memphis.”

Fair enough.

Will Gross quote #3: “(The program) is changing.  They have so many weapons. I think I’m capable of using all the weapons they have.”

Is he talking about the overabundance of weapons that helped Memphis finish 119th in scoring offense last season and 117th in total offense? 

For that reason, our sales job of the month goes to Larry Porter.

Speaking of Porter, here's a nine minute video interview with the Memphis head coach.  He talks about how he has grown as a head coach in the last year and the future of the Memphis program.

Spurrier jokes about Mississippi State, Dan Mullen responds

Dan Mullen won nine games last season.  He’s allowed a subtle shot / joke at one of the veteran successful coaches.

It was all fun and play...and that's why it's ok.  

Asked about the reported $12,000 that South Carolina spent on recruiting services last year, Steve Spurrier responded, "We operate pretty cheaply around here for some reason. I saw Dan Mullen. Mississippi State has a jet airplane out there. They've got a lot of money at Mississippi State."

Beautiful.  A good and typical jab from Spurrier.  (Who ever thought he would be taking jabs at Mississippi State?)

Upon hearing Spurrier’s comment, Mullen responded later in the day, "I've never played Augusta National, so I can't be on his level. He's probably a member there, we just don't know."

Now that’s good, clean, fair, and entertaining stuff.

Good stuff from Spurrier, but point awarded to Mullen…for have the gonads to step up after a 9-win season. (We're pretty positive neither coach gives a rats @ss who we are giving points to.)

Spurrier at Augusta National


7 things SEC commissioner Mike Slive is out to change

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive offered his state-of-the-union speech today in Birmingham.

We like to get to the point and provide you with what you need to know.

So here are the important notes:

1. Slive wants to consider multi-year scholarships.  (Saban probably just blew a gasket.)  (Spurrier said later today, “I think that’s a terrible idea.)

2. Slive wants former players to be able to come back a get their degree (on scholarship) after the current 6-year permissible window.

3. Slive wants to raise the minimum high school graduating GPA from 2.0 to 2.5 in order to compete in the first year of college. (Petrino said later today that he’s opposed because that puts more on the high school coaches).

IMPORTANT NOTE: Our boy @EDSBS noted, “Slive wants to raise GPA requirement to 2.5. The Sun Belt is going to have some AWESOME defensive tackles in 2016.”

4. Slive wants high school student to have to pass a required number of core courses starting with their freshman year in high school in order to compete in their first year at college.  Slive wants to avoid last-minute “get eligible” plans.

5. Slive wants coaches to be able to text message.  He said it’s ridiculous that text messages have caused probations.  In reality, that’s how young people communicate, so you might as well text.

6. Slive said, “The SEC has submitted national legislation prohibiting institutions from hosting, sponsoring, or conducting non-scholastic football events at any location on or off campus.”

7. Slive wants to get rid of the “bump rule.”  He said, “If a coach is permitted to travel off campus to recruit, he or she should be allowed to evaluate and have a conversation with the prospect on the same day. Maybe we can make the so-called 'bump' history.”  (Saban and Jimbo are fired up


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