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New defensive coordinators prepare for summer film sessions

Over twenty-five programs have new defensive coordinators heading into the 2011 season.  Today, we take a look at the initial challenges that some of the new coordinators will face when the season begins.  

Our first seven coordinators may not have the most relaxing summer.  It appears to us that Todd Bradford, Jay Neimann, Dave Wommack, Pete Rekstis, Joe Tresey, and Stanford co-coordinators Derek Mason and Jason Tarver have the most daunting early season challenges.

Comparitively speaking, this summer, we would rather be in the shoes of Chad Glascow, Tracy Claeys, Mississippi State coaches Chris Wilson and Geoff Collins, or Vanderbilt coaches Bob Shoop and Brent Pry.

Not much time to relax this summer for these new defensive coordinators: 

Todd Bradford (Maryland): Maryland opens by hosting Miami (FL) and West Virginia.  Bradford, who served the last few years as the defensive coordinator at Southern Miss, faces the difficult task of coaching against Jedd Fisch and Dana Holgorsen in the first two weeks.  Fisch has a film log of 783 creative ways to get the ball into the hands of his best playmakers.  The Terps also must prepare for the “Power” and “Iso” from an Al Golden coached team.  You think Art Kehoe will have his offensive line amped up for the season opener?  Holgorsen could throw it 54 times.

Jay Neimann (Northern Illinois): Quite frankly, we could see where Jay Neimann may not have the most relaxing summer.  Northern Illinois opens against Army, at Kansas, against Wisconsin (Solider Field), and Cal Poly.  Nobody wants to spend a bulk of August camp preparing for the triple-option.  Without a sound game plan, you may look silly (Notre Dame vs. Navy).  Nobody wants to lose at Kansas.  From there, it’s safe to say that NIU head coach Dave Doeren will want a strong performance against his previous school, Wisconsin.  Then, you don’t want to lose to a D1-AA team, albeit a pretty solid program in Cal Poly.

Dave Wommack (Arkansas State): Wommack has never coached with any of the Arkansas State defensive assistants.  The Red Wolves open at Illinois, Memphis, at Virginia Tech.  So right out of the gate, Wommack gets Paul Petrino and a good quarterback.  In week two, Wommack can’t be sure what he’s getting because Memphis has a new play-caller (Kevin McGiven) and is moving more to a spread style system.  In week three, Mike O’Cain will call the plays for the Hokies for the first time and Virginia Tech will be different offensively with the loss of Tyrod Taylor.

Pete Rekstis (Miami, OH): Rekstis will coach against five straight offensive staffs that have experienced pretty darn good success.  The season starts at Missouri, at Minnesota, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, and Army.  Yost, Limegrover, Butch Jones, and Rich Ellerson have a ton of experience in their respective systems.  For Rekstis, it’s no easy task, here.

Joe Tresey (UCLA): Tresey and the Bruins hope to start fast at Houston, then against San Jose State and Texas.  Houston has a difficult system to defend and Case Keenum returns for the Cougars.  San Jose State was actually greatly improved offensively late in the year when John DeFilippo took over the play-calling.  Of course, Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin is as good a play-caller as anyone in the country.

Derek Mason and Jason Tarver (Stanford): Things aren’t as easy as they may initially appear.  Mason and Tarver open against San Jose State, at Duke, and at Arizona.  San Jose State’s offense greatly improved late in the year when John DeFilippo took over the play-calling.  Cutcliffe loves his quarterback and Duke promises to run the ball better than ever.  The Blue Devils could be primed for the first major upset in the David Cutcliffe era.  Mike Stoops says the Wildcats are loaded offensively and quarterback Nick Foles returns.  Plus, Arizona was embarrassed a year ago in Palo Alto, so the Cardinal will have the Wildcats' attention. 

I’d rather be this coach:

Chad Glascow (Texas Tech): Coming over from TCU, Chad Glascow will face Texas State, at New Mexico, Nevada, and at Kansas to begin the season.  Dennis Franchione takes over at Texas State, while Nevada has lost Colin Kaepernick and running backs coach Jim Mastro.  All things considered, Glascow and Texas Tech could start 4-0 and raise eyes.

Chris Wilson and Geoff Collins (Mississippi State): These two have been grinding already this summer.  After the season opener at Memphis, the Bulldogs get first shot at grabbing Gus Malzahn’s guru card.  A few days later on Thursday night primetime, Starkville will be rockin’ when Mississippi State takes on LSU and new offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe.  If Mississippi State upsets the Tigers, there will likely be a state of emergency back home in Baton Rouge.  Wilson and Collins could become heroes in Mississippi.

Tracey Claeys (Minnesota): Claeys gets first shot at Lane Kiffin in 2011.  The Gophers travel to The Coliseum to start the season.  The next three are home games against New Mexico State, Miami (OH), and North Dakota State.  New Mexico State hired a new coordinator, Doug Martin, just before spring practice.  Miami (OH) has a first-year coaching staff under Don Treadwell.

Bob Shoop and Brent Pry (Vanderbilt): Of all the new defensive coordinators, Shoop has one of the better schedules early on.  Vandy hosts Elon, UCONN, and Ole Miss to start the season.  The Huskies and Rebels are unsettled and unproven at quarterback.  Elon has a first year coaching staff.  The next three games, however, are a handful.  The Commodores are at South Carolina, at Bama, and then host Georgia.  Hopefully by that time, Shoop and Pry will have the Commodores feeling much more comfortable in the first year of their new defensive scheme.


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Former Michigan strength coach Mike Barwis opens training center

Former Michigan and West Virginia head strength coach Mike Barwis is opening a training center for professional and high school athletes in Plymouth, Michigan.

We thought Barwis would land a head strength position this off-season at one of the major D1 programs, but it didn’t happen.

Barwis told the Detroit News, "My intention is always been to try and give back to people who struggle in life and just need uplifting and put them on their feet. I think that's what I'm good at.” 

"I think I'm good at picking people up and making them realize what they're worth in life and give them some self-value and pride."

The 8,000 square foot facility will be called Barwis Methods Training Center and will feature an indoor FieldTurf field.

Mothers and toddlers can be trained by the same guy that trained Pat White, Steve Slaton, and Owen Schmidt.  There will also be a co-ed nightly boot camp.

Two years ago, Rich Rod was quoted as saying, "He's my guy.  I won't go anywhere without him."  Perhaps next year, Barwis will have another opportunity with Rich Rod.

Nutt: Until you've done it, it's one of the most difficult things, ever

Please don’t berate us.  Yes, this is an article mentioning “over-signing.”  Hopefully, it’s our last.  Not because it’s an unimportant issue, but because several media members do not fully understand the challenge of managing a roster.

As you know, college football programs are allowed 85 total scholarships and no school is allowed to bring in more than 25 members in any particular recruiting class.

But it’s a lot more complicated than that.  Players fail out of school, declare early, transfer, or get dismissed from the team.  In the meantime, coaches are expected to have a 3-deep at defensive tackle, right guard, and slot receiver.  When you don't, the results can really set back your program.

Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt told the Clarion-Ledger today, “Until you’ve done it, until you’ve actually done it, it’s one of the most difficult things, ever.”

Rightfully or not (we believe “not”), Nutt has been harshly criticized in recent years for over-signing.  Now, the issues have become so public and concerning that they will be at the forefront of next week’s conference meetings in Destin, FL.

Head coaches, athletic directors, and presidents will be on hand to discuss the matters.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive says, ““It’s more than just the question of over-signing or grayshirting. It’s a question of over-signing, grayshirting, early admissions, summer school admission. We’ve put together what we call a bit of a package to address these issues that will give our people a chance to think about these issues in a more global fashion. So then it will be an important discussion item in Destin.”

Georgia head coach Mark Richt recently shared his disgust regarding over-signing.  Richt said, “If you bring them in in the summer, and you work them and you let your strength staff work with them, and you kind of decide which ones you like the best, and you tell five of them, ‘Hey we know we signed you, and we expected you to be able to come in, we don’t have space for you, we’re really sorry about that but we don’t have space for you – you’re gonna have to leave and come back in January. I think that’s an awful thing to do, I think that’s the wrong thing to do. And it’s nothing that we’ve done since I’ve been at Georgia.” 

Although it may not be one of the most difficult things “ever,” as described by Nutt, neither is leading a program in the SEC.

You better not get caught short.


Stanford gets creative with recruiting mail-out

Stanford would like for their recruits to understand very clearly that choosing a college is a forty-year decision, not a four year decision.  Where you go to college will impact the next forty years of your life.

Part of Stanford recruiting strategy is to show recruits exactly how much a Stanford education will help them in the future endeavors, including making money.

Creatively, one of Stanford’s latest recruiting mail-outs to recruits included some figures from a PayScale.com report.

According to PayScale.com , the average salary of a “mid-career” alumni is $119,000.  But Stanford took it a step further, by pointing out that of the programs that finished in the Top 25 last season, only Virginia Tech and Texas A&M came within $30,000 of Stanford graduates.

Mid-career alumni, classified as those 15 years out of school, averaged $94,700 (Virginia Tech) and $93,300 (Texas A&M).

The recruiting letter reads, “While the complete college experience sets Stanford apart, there is no question that a Stanford degree later will provide you earning power which can forever change your life. The average Stanford graduate pulls down $40,000 (ital)per year(close) above the grads of the rest of the Top 25 college football programs in the country. Compounded over a career, this represents an advantage of at least $1-2 million. That’s just the salary advantage for the average Stanford grad, and there has been nothing average to this point in your life. Stanford Varsity Athlete alumni are the most sought-after employees across all sectors of the economy in every corner of the country.”

To find out what the average salary for your school is, click here.

Looking at the pre-season College Football Live Top 5, here are the mid-career average salaries for their alumni:

Oklahoma: $77,200

Alabama: $80,100

Oregon: $76,200

LSU: $79,700

Boise State: $66,100

Brian Kelly wants to face the SEC in a BCS game

Last week during a speech to a Notre Dame alumni chapter in Alabama, Brian Kelly made the statement, "Notre Dame will be taken serious when they beat an SEC team."

On Monday, Kelly did it again.

During a speech in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Kelly said, “Our (goal) at Notre Dame is to get back to a BCS game that hopefully draws an SEC team, so we can start to reverse that trend of where they think the best football is in the country because the SEC can hold that (claim) right now.”

The 2012 BCS bowl schedule is set up as follows:

January 2 - Rose Bowl (Pasadena)
January 2 or 3 - Sugar Bowl (New Orleans)
January 3 or 4 - Orange Bowl (Miami)
January 4 or 5 - Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, Ariz.)
January 9 - National Championship Game (New Orleans)

What if Notre Dame runs the table and plays Alabama in New Orleans for the national championship?  Do you think that would be a cheap ticket?

Eddie Gran wants the 'Noles to "Take Doak Back"

A year ago, Florida State was 6-1 playing inside Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.  In Jimbo Fisher’s first season as head coach, FSU defeated Samford, BYU, Wake Forest, Boston College, Clemson, and Florida.  The only hiccup in Tallahassee was a 37-35 loss to North Carolina.

The home schedule this season includes ULM, Charleston Southern, Oklahoma, Maryland, NC State, Miami (FL), and Virginia.

Not only does FSU running backs coach Eddie Gran want to run the table, but he also wants to “Take Doak Back.”

During a recent radio interview, Gran reiterated the need to fill the stands and to create a powerful environment at Doak.  Gran admitted the crowd on two separate Saturdays last year created that special goose bump feeling, but that was just two of seven opportunities.

Gran said, “There were five games where I didn’t feel you…we need to take that stadium back.”

And let’s be honest, having coached in the SEC for over ten years, Gran know the advantage the home team crowd can bring to the table.

Perhaps this is what Gran is hoping to see week in and week out:


Art Briles as confident as ever, praises Phil Bennett

Baylor head coach Art Briles is usually a glass half-full type of guy.  Today, that glass may have been completely full, as Briles seemed downright giddy about his football team.

The Bears are coming off their first winning season since 1995, but did lose two first-round draft choices and a number of players on defense.

During an interview with Brian Smith of Fox Sports Southwest, Briles said, “We've got some guys (receivers) who can play, no doubt. We've got some playmakers, some difference makers. They're going to be counted on and they're going to make plays for us. But we'll still be tough and aggressive up front. We've got a great offensive line coming back this year, and we'll run the football effectively also.”

“Through the years, if you'll check the stats, we've been very productive throwing and rushing the football. We've been one of the few teams in America over the years to have a 3,000-yard passer, a couple of 1,000-yard receivers and a 1,000-yard rusher. We're really one of only five or six teams to do that nationally.”

“We're always going to run the football. We'll be very effective running the football. We have our own style of play that we're not altering. We've had great success in how we've been able to do it. We finished 12th or 13th last year in total offense in America. We'll continue to do what we do, and we'll continue to get better as we're doing it.”

Coach, is Phil Bennett going to be able to rebuild and restructure the Baylor defense?

“There's no 'try' to it; he's already done it. He's a doer and he's a proven commodity. That's what I love him.”

Baylor opens with three consecutive home games against TCU, Stephen F. Austin, and Rice.

Will college coaches be required to sell season tickets?

In lieu of salary cutbacks or furloughs, the Oakland Raiders’ organization is requiring coaches to sell new season tickets that total at least 10% of their salaries during the length of the NFL lockout.

Raiders chief executive Amy Trask believes, “A very strong argument can be made that this is something that staff members of every team should be doing all the time."

Oakland assistant coach Chuck Bresnahan told USA Today, "Everybody's trying to get creative in their own way. I know I've got something to talk about at every establishment I set foot in — every restaurant, every store, every winery."

Here in the towers at FootballScoop Headquarters, the story makes us wonder if certain college athletic departments should require their assistant coaches to meet a quota for season ticket sales.

Of course, we are thinking mostly about the mid-major programs and a few of the BCS programs that would undoubtedly greatly benefit from an extra 4,500 season ticket sales.

Each program has nine assistant coaches, so that would leave each assistant coach responsible for 500 ticket sales.

Here’s a great point by SI.com writer Peter King, who wrote today in his Monday Morning QB column, “I love the Raiders asking their employees (including coaches) to sell tickets in an attempt to make sure their salaries aren't cut. Jarrett Bell wrote about this in USA Today last week, and I wanted to shake my head and say, "Typical Raiders.'' But I couldn't. It's actually pretty smart. And don't you think coaches would be great ticket sellers out in the community, particularly when they can regale some Chamber of Commerce audience with stories from the gridiron. Nice job, Amy Trask.”

It should be noted that college coaches do help season-ticket sales by their various speaking engagements.  Since head coaches can no longer recruit away from campus during the spring, their time has been consumed by fundraising and speaking engagements.  There is not, however, a college that currently mandates a quota of ticket sales from a head coach or any assistant, at least not that we are aware.


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