A few reasons Skip Holtz can lead USF to victory in Gainesville
First-year South Florida head coach Skip Holtz talked about the Bulls’ chances of upsetting Florida in Gainesville on Saturday.
Holtz said, “Can we? Yes, we can. Could we beat them nine times out of 10? No. There aren't many people in the country who can beat them even 50 percent of the time. I'll put it this way. We have a chance."
Holtz added, "To the people at Florida, it would be that extreme if we were to win, yes. From where we want to build this program, for the people on the inside, no, it wouldn't be that extreme. That's where we have the expectation level. Are we there yet? That's why we're playing the game. We'll see."
"Do you think our seniors want to hear about a five-year plan?" Holtz said. "They don't even want to hear about a two-year plan. They don't want to hear how we're going to be down the road. … I think our expectation level has to be the same now as it will be five years from now. If our players don't believe we have a chance, we have no chance."
Former Memphis head coach Tommy West paid a very nice compliment to Skip Holtz this week.
While talking with Sports56 Radio in Memphis, West said, “I thought Skip did as good a job as anybody in the country at not giving away games. We all have games we come out of saying ‘we should have won that one. Should have found a way to win it. Made a mistake here. Made a mistake there. Well, that’s what bad teams do. Bad teams give away games. East Carolina was the best team that really I’ve seen in a while at not giving games away. You had to beat them. That’s why he won back-to-back championships and he won the underdog in both championship games. Tulsa turned it over and he didn’t. Houston turned it over and he didn’t. He beat two teams that he probably shouldn’t have beat by not making mistakes and playing great defense.”
Kick-off in Gainesville is set for 12:21 pm EST on the SEC Network / ESPN – GP.
Mack Brown remembers advice from Frank Broyles
Heading into Saturday night’s game against Wyoming, Mack Brown is concerned about leadership and the chemistry of his football team.
Brown says, “We are really a work-in-progress. Leadership changes. We have lost great leaders over the last two years, and we are trying to figure out who those guys are and how they can work together. It is not just being a leader, it is how do you stir up a whole bunch [of others]. It’s not yourself. It is who else do you get stirred up.”
“I did not think that our boundary was stirred up like it should have been Saturday. I do not think that the kids had enough fun and enough life, and that is something that I want to see this week. Same with chemistry. Chemistry is hard with a young team and an early team - to figure out who is looking at who, who is following who, who steps up. That is something that we have to continue to work on. I mentioned energy on the sidelines. It is amazing to me that we can pull out two basketball goals, ask two coaches and four players to shoot, and they are all over the place jumping up and down and screaming, and then we play a football game and they’re just standing over there looking at each other. It makes no sense to me, so we have to have more energy on Saturday night on that boundary. I think it does matter. It affects the crowd, and it affects the guys on the field. The guys played well on the field, but I want to see the guys on the boundary pulling harder for them.”
Brown also reflected on some old advice from legendary coach Frank Broyles.
Brown said, “Fifty percent of the teams lose their opener every year, based on my calculations. We’ve been one of those that has not, so my expectation of us playing like it’s the Oklahoma game is something that you all [the media] really made my standards higher than [they were] when I got here. I’ll never forget when I worked at Oklahoma, coach [Frank] Broyles told me - they were playing 11 games at that time - he said, ‘If you can get your team to play hard four times with a lot of emotion, you’re going to be lucky. The other seven you’ve got to be good enough to win.’”
Kick-off on Saturday night is set for 7 pm EST on FSN.
Thursday morning Coaches Quick Hits
Some interesting notes & quotes from around the country:
Quoting Chip Kelly: "We're not playing against Justin Wilcox - we're playing against Tennessee.”
Oregon DC Nick Aliotti calls Justin Wilcox a ‘Rock Star’ : "All I can say, I would never have expected our offense to look like it did on that particular day (Boise State game in 2009). But he's good, he's a rock star.''
Idaho getting ready to get paid: Nebraska is dishing out $800,000 to Idaho. Texas A&M is slated to pay $850,000 to Idaho for a game next season in College Station and Louisiana State will write a check for $950,000 to the Vandals for a guaranteed game in 2012 in Baton Rouge.
Northwestern ticket sales skyrocketing: “Season-ticket sales are up more than 40 percent from last season, and ticket estimates for the Wildcats home opener on Saturday against Illinois State (11 a.m., Big Ten Network, 720-AM) are 50 percent higher than for the 2009 opener. NU's ticket office has also established a waiting list for those who wish to buy 2011 season tickets.”
Tony Franklin explains the ‘Tony Franklin System’ : “The goal is to take coaching out of the game. I’m not a very smart football coach or scheme coach. But this can let coaches be great teachers. And if you line up fast enough, then a defense can’t do what they want to do. Make it a player’s game instead of coach’s game. And then when fatigue sets in, you’re in trouble.”
LA Tech head coach Sonny Dykes returns to Kyle Field: "It's probably my favorite place in college football, atmosphere-wise. I've been lucky. I've been in a lot of different stadiums in the SEC and the Big 12 and the Pac-10, and I'm not sure that it's not my favorite place I've ever been, just in terms of the student body support. It's an unusual environment. It's fun. It really is. The fans are great, and they're passionate about college football. It's kind of what college football is all about.
Todd Graham feels for his players: “I'm heartbroken for our kids and for our program because I know how hard they work. That's just very tough. To battle and to put yourself in position to win in that type of atmosphere is always disappointing. The people who were there and who watched on TV could see that it was an unbelievable effort. You can't ever say that losing is something you ever want to experience, especially like that. It's a loss, but the sun comes up and we have to go to work and get better. I just hated it for our kids because I felt like we deserved to win.:
“There is a lot of work that goes into playing 12 regular-season ballgames. There are a lot of practices, meetings, sprints and workouts. The kids understand that, just like in life, you're going to have setbacks and sometimes it's hard to understand.”
Lane Kiffin describes USC DE Nick Perry: “I mean you’re talking about a guy who was a Freshman All-American last year, a guy who has had a great offseason and testing-wise is off the charts. I mean he tests right now as a top 10, top 15 pick on paper - height, weight speed, vertical. We were watching some film last night, I was in there with Coach O watching some drills and there’s probably only 10-15 people like him in the world that have his ability. If you’re talking about a guy who jumps 34 inches and plays defensive end, a guy who if you take his 10-yard and 20-yard dash it matches our DBs. Hopefully he’ll reach that potential. We’re very excited to get him back whenever that is.”
Dooley: We did a clinic on proper shower technique
Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley says a few players have staph infections.
"We've had a few staph infections, so we did a clinic yesterday on proper shower technique and soap and using a rag," Dooley said. "We put some new rags in -- y'all think I'm kidding, but I'm serious.”
"We had, I told them, the worst shower discipline of any team I've ever been around. So we talked a little bit about application of soap to the rag and making sure you hit all your body. You know, you can neglect it trying to cut corners, and it shows in how you practice and elsewhere. I'm hoping we show some improvement in that."
Staph infection isn't the only problem the Vols are facing this week.
The Ducks, who dropped 72 on New Mexico, roll into Neyland Stadium on Saturday night. Kick-off is set for 7:00 pm EST on ESPN 2. You can see the entire Week 2 TV Schedule right here.
Todd Graham defends his aggressive 2-point philosophy
Tulsa head coach Todd Graham has been second-guessed by many for twice choosing to go-for-2 before the fourth quarter in the 51-49 loss at East Carolina.
Graham decided to go-for-2 when leading 13-10 in the first quarter. Near the end of the third quarter, Graham again decided to go-for-2 when leading 29-24. Also, with a 35-31 lead in the fourth quarter, Graham tried a third unsuccessful 2-point attempt.
Graham explained, “If we knock down the Hail Mary, then no one is talking about it. You are going to get second-guessed. When I asked Coach Morris to come in here and be the offensive coordinator, that's part of his offense. That's part of what he does. He is going to be aggressive. If you go back and look at the first two on film, both of them should have worked hands down and we just didn't execute. If you could take them back, would you change them? Well of course because you didn't win. We're going to be aggressive. I've given Coach Morris the latitude to run the offense his way. That's what we've always been here. We've been a team that runs it in the (fast) lane. We're high-tempo and that's part of it. Naturally, when something doesn't work, you can always go back and second-guess it. If we can kick a field goal (one was blocked earlier), we can win a game. If we can execute one of those two-point conversions, we tie the game. The last two-point conversion, our chart called for us to do that. We tried to throw a fade to Trae (Johnson). The first two-point play was one where we tried to be aggressive. We felt like they weren't prepared after we lined up the first time (for the first extra point). We thought we would walk in (and easily score), but actually we had a bad snap or we would have scored on that. The bottom line is you win or lose. If you lose, there's a lot of second-guessing. If you have things to do over, we wouldn't do them any different. We're going to be aggressive.”
“We're moving forward. That was our philosophy with Coach Malzahn and that's our philosophy here. We are going to be a team that attacks and is very aggressive. That's what makes us who we are and what makes us very unique and special. That's why people like a lot of points scored. That's how you score points, it's not being conservative. We evaluate every single call and every single play. I looked at that play and both of those two-point conversions should have been easily converted. We just didn't execute. You don't get to go back and have do-overs. I want Coach (Morris) to be aggressive. I want Coach to be creative. I want him to do the things that he did. When you score 49 points and punt the ball twice, you ought to win football games. We could have scored more.”
“We don't go by a chart (early in the game). We go by how we feel in our offensive staff. They're going to game plan each week and we're going to force people to defend that. If you follow where that comes from, it comes from Boise State. That's their philosophy as well. We're a long way from being where they are at, but that's where that philosophy is at. We've exchanged ideas with Coach (Chris) Petersen and them and that's where we got that from. Coach Morris used it at Lake Travis (High School) and he brought it here. We're not going to be careless, but if we have the numbers, we're going to be aggressive. That's where it comes from and it's part of who we are offensively.”
Tulsa hosts Bowling Green this Saturday.
Lunch time Coaches Quick Hits
Some interesting quotes from around the country:
Northern Illinois head coach Jerry Kill has surgery: "My situation is not serious. It was not cancer-related, but I didn't have a choice. I went in on Friday and was out on Saturday. I missed Friday, Saturday and Sunday practices. I came to practice (Monday) anyway, even though I wasn't supposed to."
Bill Stewart says Bowden talked to team: “The biggest change that we need to see is the elimination of mistakes. When coach Bobby Bowden came to speak to our players last week, it was all about the elimination of mistakes. That really hit home. You just can’t let players make mistakes. We didn’t have a lot last week, but what we had needs to be cleaned up.”
“I liked the way our team flew around and I liked almost everything I saw last weekend. However, I saw a little touchdown celebration on Sunday while watching tape that I didn’t care too much for. If we have to kick off from the 15 yard line after someone’s disco moves, then I am going to be a little bit tougher.”
Mark Dantonio doesn’t want Spartans to overlook FAU: "Don't get caught looking ahead. I'm quite confident that we won't let that happen. I'll go back to what coach Perles says, 'They all count as one.'
"They'll come to play. We better be able to respond."
Virginia offensive coordinator Bill Lazor emphasizing physical football: "No matter how many times you decide you're going to throw it or run it in the game, and sometimes you know ahead of time and sometimes you don't, but you've got to be physical. We've said that from the first day. I know I've probably used that word too many times when you guys have asked. The easiest way, and the way people think about it the most, is running the ball.”
"And when you're in a situation where you're being successful running the ball, then there's no reason to stop calling them. I believe that it is an attitude that builds for your whole team. I'm hoping offensively we can help affect the way the whole team plays when we have games like that."
Army head coach Rich Ellerson compliments Eastern Michigan: "Well, somehow and some way we get to be 1-0 this week. It was a hard-fought football game that we were very, very fortunate to win. It speaks to the power of the turnover, which was probably the thing we did best: take the ball away. We were better, but Eastern Michigan was much better as well. They actually improved dramatically through the course of last season, and through the course of the offseason. Defensively, they have made some changes. They were a very sound and very well-coached outfit. It was a hard-fought game and we were fortunate to win.”
“Frankly, we don't feel great about how we played defensively last week. Our defensive guys were visibly distraught. They have high expectations for themselves, and they didn't feel like they played well; and they were right. I don't think I coached especially well. I think we may have tried to be a little bit too clever. We were having a hard time getting our eyes and feet right, which is something you try to do for your team. We have a relatively veteran defense, and I think we have put them on their heels a little bit.”
Pat Fitzgerald disappointed with offensive line: "We gave up 11 tackles for loss which is the most we've given up in a long time. On about half of those we targeted the wrong person so we had someone free on the perimeter, which was a little disappointing. We missed some assignments, we had a couple finishing issues, we knew a few times they were going to knife underneath us on the perimeter and we allowed it to happen. There were just some things we had breakdowns on but we didn't see anything we weren't prepared for. We thought maybe we over-prepared them with the whole offseason, we studied every game and probably got them prepared for too much. At the end of the day, we learned from them and we coached them up today, so we'll improve on it this week."
Cutcliffe: If you're a QB and you're not smart enough...
Duke head coach David Cutcliffe is really excited about coaching red-shirt sophomore quarterback Sean Renfree. Cutcliffe is also thrilled that former quarterback Thad Lewis has made the St. Louis Rams 53-man roster.
Regarding Renfree, Cutcliffe explains, “He has command because he’s worked at it. He’s a brilliant young man. He puts the time in. It’s serious business to him. We (Renfree) were watching Phillip Rivers, watching football and defense and some things together, and it’s really interesting when you get around a special one. Generally, it’s like watching it with a coach. Sean has a great understanding of the game.”
“What we do when training a quarterback, we’re going to spend about two years teaching them defense. We’re watching the Jets and Cowboys on defense and the Packers on defense, and he understands what’s going on. That will benefit him greatly.”
After talking about his excitement for Thad Lewis making the St. Louis Rams roster, Cutcliffe said, “What it did was it rewarded hard work. Thank goodness it paid off for him. I love seeing good things happen to good people. Everybody not only loved Thad, but respected Thad. Whatever he chooses to do after football, he’ll do real well. Folks ought to be lined up right now trying to hire him. He is just such a special young man.”
Asked if Lewis’ remarkable improvement and success in a short period under Cutcliffe would help recruiting, Cutcliffe responded, “If you’re a quarterback and you’re not smart enough to see what we can do with quarterbacks, I don’t want you. I’m not being cocky. It’s just a fact now. It’s kinda plain and simple.”
Duke travels to Wake Forest this weekend. Kick-off is set for 1 pm EST on Raycom / ESPN-GP.
O'Leary disappointed with UCF fans, student section
UCF head coach George O’Leary admitted his disappointment with certain UCF students and the overall crowd at Saturday’s game against South Dakota.
UCF announced a crowed of 34,373 fans, far shy of the 45,000+ capacity at Bright House Networks Stadium. Perhaps most disappointing to O'Leary, many of the students booed starting QB Rob Calbrese during starting lineup announcements.
Calabrese entered the game 4-7 as the UCF starting quarterback.
During his weekly press conference, O’Leary said, “You know, I get a little disturbed at some of our student body. You know before the game, [Eric Kohler is] announcing the starting lineups and we’ve got the students booing your starting quarterback. I turned around and they saw me looking and stopped, but you know that’s not how that kid should be treated.”
“I was disappointed in the turnout. I moved the game to night time to help people. I’d much rather play at 12 o’clock or 1 o’clock because, for my football team, it gives them half a day off their feet — another half a day of rest when the game’s over. The reason we move it to six o’clock, seven o’clock games unless it’s a TV game is for the fan base. I was disappointed in the fan base that showed up. I think the regular fan base is there, but you know I don’t listen to Labor Day excuses because every other stadium it’s Labor Day too. And I watched some games on TV and it didn’t seem to bother them. We need to address that as an administration. We really do.”
UCF won 38-7 with Calabrese completing 12 of 15 passes with 1 touchdown. The Golden Knights host NC State this Saturday night.