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Clemson: "We're the total package"
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Dan McCarney offers blunt explanation

North Texas head coach Dan McCarney warned us at his introductory press conference, "I’m a real passionate guy. I don’t sugar coat it.”

Ever since, McCarney has made it clear that he has a plan and that plan includes building a tough football team.

With the first day of full pads looming, McCarney offered a rather blunt description of what he’s looking for out of his players.

McCarney explained, “This is when we will really find out. You have to be a physical football player to have a chance to play. You can lift, you can run, you can be accountable, you can learn the offense and defense, but if you are not ready to make physical plays when contact starts, you are not going to play for me and this staff.”

It sounds pretty clear to us and it’s not surprising to hear from McCarney, a former assistant under Urban Meyer.

Just last Fall as the Gators were struggling, Meyer said, “Obviously, we’re down. We got to build this thing back up. How do you rebuild it? Tough-ass players and tough-ass coaches.”

North Texas will practice this week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  According to the North Texas website, Friday's practice session is set to begin at 6 am.  

Boy, I bet the players are fired up for that one.




Saban posts signs in facility: Never forget. 28-27.

"Never forget. 28-27."

That is the sign in the Alabama weight room, locker room, and around the practice facility.

With Spring practice underway in Tuscaloosa, Nick Saban isn’t letting his team forget how and why his team lost the Iron Bowl to Auburn.

Saban says, “We left points out there by errors that we made. And then to not be able to control the game in the second half was just as disappointing. You put the 24-0 score up there and then put the final score up, 28-27, and you say, ‘Are we ever going to let this happen again in terms of our psychological disposition to compete for 60 minutes?'”

It was fundamentals, too.  And that’s what the Crimson Tide coaching staff is preaching this Spring.

Saban says, “The most important thing that you do in the spring is establish fundamentals. We lost games last year because of lack of fundamentals, and I’m talking about something as simple as how you carry the ball, which got punched out in the Auburn game. The ball wasn’t being carried right.” 

“That’s an issue. That’s a fundamental. We made too many mental errors last year.”

 




Lembo bringing back Bill Lynch as honorary coach

We noticed on this Friday afternoon that Ball State head coach Pete Lembo is embracing the history of Ball State football by selecting former head coach Bill Lynch and Paul Schudel as honorary coaches for the Spring game.

Lynch, who is now an associate athletic director for development at Butler University, led Ball State to a MAC championship in 1996.

Although Lynch is unsure if he’ll end up coaching again, we’ll guess he’s having fun in New Orleans as he watches the Butler Bulldogs once again DO WORK in the NCAA tournament.

Lynch explained, "I don't know. I'm looking forward to this, obviously it’s easy to go sell Butler, I have a passion for the place and spent a lot of time here, growing up and going to school here and playing and coming back as a coach. It's a great opportunity and I know Barry wants to get a lot of things done and I want to be a part of it."

It’s certainly a nice gesture by Lembo, who landed the Ball State job after going 35-22 in five seasons at Elon University.  Before serving as the Elon head coach, Lembo led Lehigh to five consectutive seasons of 8 or more wins.

We’ve heard local referees in Muncie have been warned of potential explosive sideline blowups during the April 23rd Spring game.




Video: Jerry Kill introduces 'The Minnesota Way'

There are twenty-one new head coaches in college football this year.  As you know, we cover the press conferences of all the head coaches throughout the year.

We must admit, we’re looking forward to covering Jerry Kill’s pressers as much as any.  The guy has a sense of humor and often offers some unique analogies.

Today, Kill set the tempo for the beginning of Spring practice at the University of Minnesota.

We have transcribed most of what was said, but do yourself a favor and watch the 4 minute video.  You’ll see a head coach that is ready to do some coaching.

Kill explained, “We want to teach our kids called ‘The Minnesota Way.’  We are going to expect him to play hard.  How do we identify the personnel that’s going to play at the University of Minnesota in the Fall? It’s just what I told you, they are going to have to do it ‘The Minnesota Way.’”

“If they can’t do that, they are not going to play.  Now we may only have 22 of ‘em out there that can play, but that’s what we’ll go with.  We’re going to eliminate the ones that don’t do it ‘The Minnesota Way.’”

“The great John Wooden use to teach ‘em how to tie their shoe.  That’s kinda what we gotta do.  It ain’t going to be nothing fancy in the Spring.  We’ll be simple cuz we have to be.”

“We will not give away playing time.  I don’t care who you’ve been in the past, how many games you’ve started.  It doesn’t matter to me.”

“It took me 28 years and I’m still getting to know my wife.  That’s why I’ve been married 28 years.  We’re trying to change the culture.  You’ve got to earn playing time.  We don’t want to get into the fourth game with somebody you can’t trust and rely on.”

“It’s like business.   You don’t just walk in to a struggling business and you got all the answers today.  You try to meet with as many people as you can to get a feel for the history of the football program here at the University of Minnesota, and then you got to figure out how you’re going to change it.”

“How quick that happens? I don’t know.”

 




Video: James Franklin introduces 3 on 3 'Dore Wars' drill

Spring practice has started at Vanderbilt under first-year head coach James Franklin.

Part of the first day of full pads is a drill called "Dore Wars," which pits offensive players making individual blocks against defenders that are pursuing a ball carrier in a confined space.

We initially thought the drill strictly featured Herb Hand’s offensive line against Sean Spencer’s defensive line.

On second look, we noticed #6, #45, and #35 lined up on the offensive front.  We’re guessing these guys are not a part of Herb Hand’s offensive line, so the drill involves the skill position players as well.

We liked the “rope technique” to keep the extras behind the line.

Here’s the evidence:




Kevin Wilson explains the difference between Oklahoma and Indiana

Spring practice has started in Bloomington under first-year head coach Kevin Wilson.

Wilson is excited about the facility upgrades, but knows the Hoosiers have a long way to go to get to where he wants on the field.

“The facility upgrade definitely gives us a chance to recruit, we just now have to get the product on the field to match our facility.”

During a radio interview yesterday, Wilson described the largest contrast between the Oklahoma program and Indiana.

He explained, “I think the kids at Oklahoma just liked to practice hard every day.  It’s not the talent gap.  And we had some good players, but we had some areas that we weren’t as good as people thought.  I think our kids at OU had a high expectation level, a high standard.  They expected to be good. They wanted to be good.  They wanted to be pushed.  They loved practice.  The loved the weight room.  They embraced the process.”

“And like I said in our first press conference, winning is a daily process.  You have to win every day.  You have to bring it every day.  You have to love working hard.  Right now, there is a difference between where I was. It’s teaching our guys that mindset.  If you’re going to expect winning in the Fall, it’s not going to happen unless you embrace the process and max it out every day.”

A staple of the Oklahoma program under Bob Stoops has always been a physical style of play.

To no surprise, one of Wilson’s early goals during Spring practice is incorporating a high level of toughness and physicality within his team.

“We have to teach our guys how to practice physically, and at the same time not beat ourselves up. We have to train kids how to hit and how to be physical.”

Indiana opens against Ball State in Lucas Oil Stadium (Indy).  The Hoosiers will then host Virginia and South Carolina State before traveling to North Texas.




Dooley explains the importance of this Spring practice for Vols

With inclement weather in Knoxville, the Vols went outside, inside, outside, and back inside during the second day of Spring practice.

It sounded as though Dooley wanted a little adversity.

Dooley explained, "They didn't take a step back but a lot of the change disrupts routine. I mean it when I said it. It's good when things get a little disrupted because you have to get it back quick. You can't let the momentum shift on you.”

The Vols will go full-pads later on Thursday.

Dooley said, "I hope it's a physical practice. I told them today that I've never seen one team win a conference championship that wasn't physical. It doesn't happen. They need to go to bed tonight with a physical mindset tomorrow. It's going to be day one of turning us into a physical football team."

One thing is for sure.  Dooley is glad his first spring at Tennessee is behind him.

“There was so much emotional baggage that was out there (last year) that it was difficult to get your arms around everything.  This year, I think everybody understands each other.  There is not a lot of newness.  I think we’ll be able to dive into the teaching, coaching, and improving without all the other stuff on the periphery.  And because of that, we’ll be able to get better.”

Dooley said perhaps his biggest concern is, “the freshman turning into dependable SEC starters.  That is a giant leap from getting out there a few plays, flashing a few plays, everybody getting excited.”

 




Mike Stoops: Our skill level has never been this high

Mike Stoops enters his 8th year as the head coach at Arizona.  During Stoops’ tenure, the Wildcats have finished 3-8, 3-8, 6-6, 5-7, 8-5, 8-5, and 7-6.

As the Wildcats begin Spring practice, Stoops says, "Our skill level has never been this high. This is the best group of receivers we've ever had. We've got to get the ball in our playmakers' hands."

The coaching staff made a couple of new additions during the off-season.  Former BYU assistant Robert Anae has joined the staff as offensive line coach / run game coordinator.  Former San Jose State assistant (2009) Joe Salave’a is the new defensive line coach.  Also, Stoops promoted defensive grad assistant Ryan Walters to defensive backs coach.

Stoops says, “I really like this team.  Each year, our maturity and our overall team experience is much better."

Arizona hosts Northern Arizona in the season-opener.  The Wildcats will travel to Stillwater to play Oklahoma State the following week.  Arizona will finish the season with a non-conference game against UL-Lafayette.

At one point, the schedule includes a stretch at Oklahoma State, Stanford, Oregon, and at USC.