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Ruffin McNeill explains importance of staff chemistry

With an offense going one way and a defense going another way, East Carolina head coach Ruffin McNeill says staff chemistry is absolutely critical.

After a 76-35 loss to Navy, the ECU defense now ranks 117th in scoring defense (41.3 ppg) and 115th in total defense (456 ypg). 

On the offensive side, the Pirates are 14th nationally in scoring offense (36.4 ppg) and 21st nationally in total offense (436 ypg).  East Carolina is 7th nationally in passing offense.

McNeill says, “The one thing in building the staff was that it was constructed on chemistry. Anybody can handle the good times, but when tough times happen, that’s when the integrity of the staff and team is tested. I have been a part of staffs that when things got tough, it divided. Instead of saying ‘us’ and ‘we,’ it became ‘them,’ ‘they,’ ‘you’ and ‘I.’

“When Coach Holland and the board named me, it was important for me, knowing there would be tough times and good times, to get that staff chemistry. There will be a lot of cheering times here, but there will be tough times. During those hard times are when the staff chemistry is very important.

“You’ll see Lincoln and Brian talking all the time. Lincoln apologized to Brian for the four fumbles. Brian wasn’t worried about that, he knows things happen. Brian was as disappointed as anybody in the defense because he works so hard.

“I have veteran guys on my staff who have been in it a long time. The key is that great chemistry. Times are a little tough right now, just like after the Virginia Tech and North Carolina games. We held tough and tight during that time and we will do the same thing now. Those guys are working hard and pulling for one another on all three sides of the ball.”

At 5-4 in his first season as head coach, Ruffin McNeill’s team will finish at UAB, at Rice, before hosting SMU in the season finale. 




$100,000 on the line in The Swamp

A trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship is on the line on Saturday night when Florida hosts South Carolina. 

 Urban Meyer wants it “out of control” in The Swamp.

Meyer said, “I’d like to make this one go down in the books. “Obviously, the football team’s gotta do their part, which is the most important one, but I’d like to see this stadium absolutely out of control. The best home field advantage in America, let’s use it to the maximum.  Unless people got something else to do, I’d love to see a couple hundred thousand people here, packed house.”

A win for the Gamecocks would clinch the SEC East for South Carolina, in which Spurrier would receive a $100,000 bonus.

Upon hearing that his quarterback Stephen Garcia called the game “the biggest in school history,” Spurrier said, "No, that's not true. Please don’t listen to Stephen when he talks."

South Carolina is third in the nation is sacks with 3.56 per game and eleventh nationally in rushing defense.  Urban said last week, “We’re just not very good on defense.  We’re just not.”  The Gators, do however, rank 7th nationally in total defense and 25th in scoring defense.

Too bad for the Gamecocks this one isn’t in Columbia.  Sandstorm would be ridiculous.

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Lane Kiffin and Mark Richt defend Cam Newton...sort of

It absolutely pains us to write anything about this whole Cam Newton situation, but we were glad to see Lane Kiffin and Mark Richt come to Newton’s defense.

Kiffin said yesterday that Newton did not ask for money from Tennessee.  The Vols recruiting Newton, but didn’t offer him because he wasn’t the perfect fit for Kiffin’s offensive system.

Kiffin said, “You hear so many things down there.”

"I remember so many things said about me that weren't accurate. It was a good lesson learned. If something comes on the radio or in print, I don't think there are any facts to it at all until someone shows some proof. This is a perfect example."

Mark Richt added, “It’s just amazing the amount of noise there is around it. Whether somebody does something or not, there’s just a lot of attention put on accusations that may or may not be true. I’m not even talking about this one in particular, but just in general.”

“Somebody gets accused of something and it’s like a bomb goes off. Whether or not it’s true — and I don’t think some people care if it’s true or not — they’re going to sensationalize and make a big deal about it.”

“I think anybody is innocent unless there’s some proof that they’re guilty. That’s America. That’s how we’re trying to operate.”

We hope you have enjoyed our lack of Cam Newton / NCAA investigation stories.  Don’t forget to follow us @footballscoop or join the 3,100 people that follow us on Facebook.  Search “FootballScoop Staff” on Facebook. 




Jim Chaney and Doug Marrone break out the humor

Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney is set to enter Saturday’s game against Ole Miss with a true freshman under center for the Vols.

Derek Dooley said earlier in the week, “I still don’t know if he (Tyler Bray) knows what coverage the other team is playing.  It drives Coach Hinshaw crazy.”

After Wednesday’s practice, Chaney added, “My wife's a pharmacist. I'm heavily sedated right now."

 

At 6-3 in his second year at Syracuse, head coach Doug Marrone was asked if he was surprised to see that his team is a 3-point favorite at Rutgers this weekend.

Marrone went Caddyshack on reporters by saying, "Com'on, you guys shouldn't be looking at that either. I'm going to put up a sign for all the media that gambling is illegal.”

"Kind of like Caddyshack. No gambling allowed at Bushwood."

The Orange finish at Rutgers, before returning home to play UCONN and Boston College. 

 

At Minnesota, interim head coach Jeff Horton knows the Gophers are really struggling on offense heading into Saturday’s game against Illinois. 

"We’ve really got nothing to lose. We can try anything. If it works, it works, If it doesn’t, who cares?"

"We need to win for them [the players]. Who cares about me? I'm 53 years old. When you're in coaching, you got a lot of ups, you got a lot of downs. That's all part of it. Wade Phillips feels like crap today. He's won a lot of games, been in Super Bowls. That's the nature of the business."




Classic Spurrier, Shannon concerned, Kiffin pleased with offense

Spurrier’s response upon hearing that Stephen Garcia said Saturday’s game against Florida is the biggest in South Carolina history: "No, that's not true. Please don’t listen to Stephen when he talks."

 

Randy Shannon concerned again with Georgia Tech’s chop blocks: “It’s a major concern because chop blocks are part of what they do. It’s always the backside of it, not the front side. We are going to work on it in practice. I don’t know if the officials will see it. They probably will not see it, but its part of what we have to work on. We have to work on it and tell our guys that we can’t depend on officiating to help us. If the guy gets you, you have to get up off the ground and keep running. The difficult part of it is that you can lose somebody due to it, and you don’t want that to happen.”

UPDATE: Shannon has clarified his comments today. "Chop blocks to me are not illegal. It’s getting guys on the ground within the scheme. They do not high-low you. They just make sure they get you down on the backside. So sometimes you know when people hear the word ‘chop block,’ they’re thinking it’s something negative.”

 

Urban says he’s going after the best QB possible: "To say we're never going to recruit a drop-back quarterback again, that would be incorrect.''

 

Quoting Nick Saban: "It's a reality check. We're 2-2 in our last four games, and we're not last year's team."

 

Lane Kiffin pleased with offense, but wants Barkley too stay patient: "A year ago, we would have the No. 1-ranked offense in the Pac-10 in scoring."

“He (Barkley) gets so anxious to make plays all the time. He has great streaks where he goes 120 passes without an interception. (But) the most disappointing play against Arizona State was when he threw an interception in the end zone on first down. The same thing happened against Washington State. We blocked a punt and then on first down, he threw an interception."

 

West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart talks about Cincy: “Our defense has not seen an offense like this. They are going to give us fits.” 




Jimbo says FSU needs to add focus and killer instinct

A month ago, FSU thumped Miami (FL) 45-17.  Kirk Herbstreit said, “I don’t know if there’s a team in the country that’s playing as well as Florida State.”

Since then, Jimbo Fisher’s team is 1-2 including a sloppy win over Boston College.  The ‘Noles had chances to win in the fourth quarter against NC State and last week against UNC, but fell short in both games.

Yesterday, Fisher said his team lacks focus and a killer instinct. 

"It's focus … you have learn to focus … it's just a couple of issues and focus … we didn't focus … we've got to learn to focus the whole time … when you focus you have attention to detail."

"This team has to learn to develop a killer instinct," Fisher said. "It has to learn to take its own identity and not let people get off the ground when they get them down. And not hope to win, but understand how to win."

"And there's nobody on this football team that has [done that]."

FSU (6-3) returns to action on Saturday night against Clemson.




Jim Leavitt, Gary Patterson, Mike Leach talk about jobs

Jim Leavitt on if he will get another head coaching job: "That is the unknown. This is such foreign territory for me. I never have been in a situation like this in my life. ... Some people wonder why I don't just move on. Well, if I move on, that means I am admitting that I hit and choked this young man, which would be a lie.”

"My character ... I can't lie. That's why it's extraordinary that they said that I lied and tried to manipulate people. That couldn't be farther from the truth. My point in all of this is I don't know how it all will play out."

 

Gary Patterson says it’s that time of year again: "I think it's good for everybody if your name is out there, but I'm not the one putting it out there. I take it as a compliment that our name comes up. The reason why Gary Patterson's name comes up is because TCU has been successful. Hopefully that happens for a long, long time."

"There is a reason why your name is out there. It's because you have good players, good assistants, good structure in place that helps you win. Sometimes people take jobs and move and find out some of the things that made them successful aren't there anymore."

 

Mike Leach hopes past doesn't derail him from getting another job: "If it does, it's somebody who doesn't know the facts. I want a good situation. I don't want a place that just wants me to sign up. I want to go to a place that wants to win. I want one that values academics. I want one that believes in my body of work and has the presence of mind to realize that we wouldn't have had the success we did if I ever abused a student-athlete, so that obviously is false."

 

Washington State head coach Paul Wulff frustrated: “You watch us practice. You watch us do things. You’d never guess what our season is right now record-wise.”

“I like our attitude. I like the fight. I like the consistent go-to-work mentality. It’s the first time we’ve had that since we’ve been here.”




Jerry Kill: Games are won by players, not coaches. We've got good players.

Northern Illinois rushed for 422 yards and totaled 584 yards in the Huskies’ 65-30 win over Toledo on Tuesday night.  Both teams entered the game 5-0 in the MAC.

NIU head coach Jerry Kill said, "I didn't have to do a lot of motivating for this game.  With the websites, media, and all the things that go along with it, these kids all knew how important it was to win this game.  I was worried about us being too "up" for the game, that we'd come out and not execute, but that wasn't the case.  I told them to be excited about playing, but keep your head."

 "We had some big plays, we've got some speed, and the kids performed well.  They were in some one on one coverage and we were able to capitalize. Games are won by players, not coaches.  We've got some pretty good players, and they're playing well."

 "I think our kids are believing in each other.  When you get a little confidence, things seem to fall into place.  I think the kids are playing with confidence right now. We've got two more weeks.  You can't listen to all the things people say, you have to keep getting better.  We still can get better.  That's the good thing, we can get a lot better."

Northern Illinois has won 7 straight games and is now 8-2 on the season.  NIU finished at Ball State and at Eastern Michigan.