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Inspirational Video: Beyond Limits

It's Thursday, which means Friday is just around the corner. You may find yourself in need of a pep talk to make it through the remainder of the week.

Thank goodness to the good folks over at Linfield (D-III - OR) who know a thing or two about providing inspiration. Here's your daily dose.

Linfield is an impressive 53-6 over the past five seasons, and is ranked as the preseason #4 team by D3football.com heading into this fall. The video includes footage from those last five highly successful years.

Offensive line coaches will love this

Hey Bob Wylie, what do offensive line coaches have in common with mushrooms?

“They keep us in the dark, feed us s— and expect us to grow,” he says. “We’re fungus, basically.”

Wylie has been coaching offensive linemen for three and a half decades at 16 different stops across college football, the NFL and CFL, where he is in the midst of his first season as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' offensive line coach. In addition to his duties in the fall (or summer, now), every May for the past 19 years Wylie has run the Coaches of Offensive Linemen (COOL) clinic in Cincinnati. 

Greg Bedard of theMMQB.com profiled the COOL clinic and the coaches who frequent it this week, and it's an interesting outsider perspective into clinic culture. For instance, anyone who has been to a sizable clinic can certainly appreciate this observation, "These sessions, normally conducted out of sight of media and very much off the record, are like traveling carnivals. You’ll smell cookies being baked in the hallway, bait to get a coach to hear a sales pitch on uniforms, pads, game-film programs, books, etc." 

What began in the Bengals' offensive line room in the early 1980's has transformed into a full-fledged operation - complete with mushroom logos (what else?) plastered throughout - with more than 400 attendees every May. COOL clinic veterans say there isn't a better place to talk offensive line in the country. "It's the best, by far," said Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren. 

COOL clinic tradition reserves a speaking spot for the offensive line coach of the defending champions in college (Friday) and the NFL (Saturday). Cable couldn't make it, but Florida State's Rick Trickett provided this gem on making his players swap positions: “Those tackles do not like going back in to guard, I can promise you that. They think they have their stuff down. They go inside and they say, ‘Stuff happens a lot faster.’ Well, no s—. Try playing center. They like it outside. Of course they do. Any moron can play tackle. It’s all man on man out there. How complicated is that?”

You probably won't learn anything from the writing given the audience it was written for, but Bedard's article is an excellent homage to offensive line coaches, their rough exterior undercut by their love for each other.

Check it out.

Chuck Martin: "Not many people are selling you a good ass-kicking these days"

 

New Miami (OH) head coach Chuck Martin sat down with Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports recently, with the main focus to explain why he left one of the most highly regarded coordinator positions in college football (as the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame), to become the head coach at Miami University, who had just wrapped up a winless 0-12 season, going 0-8 in the MAC.

On top of all of that, Miami finished 105th or worse nationally in scoring (124th), rushing offense (116th), passing offense (121st), total offense (124th), scoring defense (107th), rush defense (113th), pass defense (105th) and total defense (115th) by the end of the season. I could go on and on about their dismal stats last year, but more importantly, Martin took at $200,000 pay cut when he accepted the job.

For a program known for its "Cradle of Coaches", the program had certainly seen better times. When asked why he decided to take the job, Martin jokingly noted "I'm just a little bit off."

"I took a significant pay cut. Not small. Significant. That's where you have to be a little bit off." 

"That's part of that is the allure in doing this. A reporter came up to me after I took the job and honestly asked me, 'Do you think you can get this turned around?'" Martin responded, "Based on my last job and my last pay, if I can't then I am the dumbest person on the planet."

In all seriousness, Martin has no shortage of confidence in him and his staff's ability to get things turned around at Miami. It's a place with a rich football tradition and with a history of some of the most successful coaches in football, and it should really be primed for success.

Wetzel points out that Martin is so confident that he can see big success in the MAC that he's already pitching recruits on the potential of playing in the NFL. I doubt that many MAC programs are effectively using that as a recruiting pitch, and Martin has successful NFL players from his time at winning national titles at Grand Valley (D-II - MI) as a testament to his word. When one of Maimi's verbal commits flipped to Rutgers, citing the opportunity to play in a major conference like the Big Ten, Martin's response oozed confidence in him and his staff.

"The highest level is the NFL. If you think they can get you to the NFL more than me, then go play there." Martin told the recruit, who then flipped back to Miami.

That's just part of his unique recruiting pitch.

"Here's what's in it for you if you come to Miami: I'm going to kick your ass every day." Martin added. "If you don't want that, then that's fine. I'm good. Not many people are selling you a good ass-kicking these days."

Read Wetzel's full piece will coach Martin here. It's well worth your time.

Video: This is how you turn around an 0-10 program

Ryan Sulkowski calls it the coffee grinder. Upon his arrival from Baker County High School in Glen St. Mary, Fla., the first-year Coffee County Central (Manchester, Tenn.) head coach has installed a 60x36-foot pit filled with black sand, and it has become the centerpiece of his attempt to rebuild a program coming off an 0-10 campaign. "During my time (at Baker County) we were huge in promoting our summer workouts with our sand pit as we prepared for the season," Sulkowski told FootballScoop. "We installed a sandpit down there in 2011 and immediately saw success. We went 32-12 in those years and produced a number of Division I players. I swear by sand pit workouts."

Sulkowski served as a graduate assistant at Valdosta State under defensive coordinator Will Muschamp and defensive backs coach Kirby Smart, and later worked as a GA at Clemson under both Tommy Bowden and Dabo Swinney before taking over at Rifle High School in Colorado, boosting that program from 0-10 in the year prior to his arrival to 4-6 in his first year on the job, and then at Baker County, where he went 32-12 in four seasons. 

And now he's at Coffee County, grinding his program up and hoping it becomes something more, well, digestible. 

"We have broken our sand pit workouts into four quarters and determine whether or not we are ahead or behind after each quarter," he said. "Since January, the kids in the program have had only five weeks off and have been working 20 hours a week with us in the weight room and in the sand pit."

Players will get next to nothing from $60 million video game settlement

Lawyers for the parties have submitted new terms of a proposed settlement to US District Judge Claudia Wilken in hopes of resolving the video game settlement. 

Here’s the short version…

The settlement is capped at $60 million. 

The attorneys involved are seeking fees of $19 million and expenses of $3 million. Assuming those are approved by the judge (and they typically are), the amount available to current and former players is $38 million. 

So, let’s look at that $38 million. 

Per the settlement, there are approximately 60,000 current and former players who appeared “as an avatar” in the video games. Those 60,000 each are able to submit claims. 

Additionally, there are “tens of thousands” of additional players who were on rosters but were not avatars in the games. These “tens of thousands” of additional players would be “eligible for smaller amounts” if they file. 

According to the documents filed in support of the settlement, if every eligible former and current player submitted a claim, it is “likely that a player with numerous appearance years would end up with no more than about $1,600.” 

$1,600.

However, no one really expects everyone to file a claim.  One of the attorneys involved in the filing stated that he expects between 5% and 20% of eligible players to file a claim.  

So, we did some math.  Let’s assume than only 10% of eligible players who had an avatar in a game file a claim (which we happen to think is way, way to low)…and let’s assume that 0% of the other “tens of thousands” of additional players who were on rosters but were not avatars in the games file…. that would mean about 6,000 players would split $38 million….which would yield an average payout of just over $6,000 per player.

Let’s state that again.  If we make extremely low estimations of how many players will file claims (10% of those with avatars in game and 0% of all others) then the average payout would be just over $6,000 per player. 

Now, allow me to state what is more likely to happen.  Attorneys, who have already received $22 million of the $60 million total settlement, will begin reaching out to all of the former and current players. They will sign athletes up as clients and they will then fill out the claim forms for them…for let’s just estimate 20% of whatever the athlete gets.  

By going this route, well more than 10% of current and former athletes will file claims; but in doing so, each will receive less and less (not to mention the additional 20% haircut that the lawyers will get).  

Let’s get hypothetical and project that perhaps as many as 20% of the “players who had avatars” in the video games file claims. Yeah, that would then reduce the average payout per player down to about $3,000 per player…and then the attorney takes his $600 and the IRS gets their $300….yep, players are looking at $2,000 or so.  

I'm sure the attorneys are happy; but I hope the plaintiffs / players involved realize just how small these payouts will be. I wonder how different reality is from what their attorneys and advisors told them they were likely to get when they started down this path.

Final note - USA Today has done an excellent job following this trial and proposed settlement. Much of the facts that we have used were gleaned from their coverage including this piece from this morning.  

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