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Paul Johnson defends his program

Georgia Tech isn't sitting where Paul Johnson and his staff had hoped to be at this point in the season. Instead of being in the drivers seat for the ACC title, they're battling their way back to .500 and are currently sitting at 3-5 (2-3 in ACC play) heading into this weekends match up with Maryland (4-4, 2-2).

Earlier this week, Johnson got on 790 The Zone and took calls from listeners who didn't dice their words when it came to the program's recent struggles.

Johnson reminded callers and listeners of how close they are to having a record that looks much different.

"We’ve lost two games in overtime. It isn’t making excuses, it’s just facts. We’ve lost two games in overtime. We lost the one at Clemson after being ahead in the fourth quarter. But all in all we played with them to toe to toe until we fumbled the snap on 4th and 1 from the 7 yard line. If we don’t fumble the snap, maybe we go up two scores in the fourth quarter and it’s different."

Johnson was also asked about recruiting and if they're bringing in the caliber of players that can compete in the ACC, and responded by noting that they've entered the fourth quarter five different times with a lead.

"If the talent level is that bad, then we must be doing a hell of a job coaching to stay in there and I don’t think that’s the case. We’ve got to finish the games. Now, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. We need to win games"

Two areas that casual fans always seem to critique the most when a team is struggling is the play of the quarterback, and the playcalling. Georgia Tech is no different. Johnson responded to one caller on the radio show Wednesday by saying that he's not ready to throw the season away and start over with a back up quarterback, and added that calling plays on Saturdays is much different than calling one with a controller in your hand in the living room.

"You try to call the plays that people can run," Johnson explained. "I don’t mean this in a  bad way or whatever, but it’s not like PlayStation, where you just pick a play. You have guys out there who can do certain things. And if guys struggle pulling, you don’t run the pulling plays. If guys aren’t as good at throwing one way, you try to throw the other way. That’s all the things that you know from being with those guys every day in practice and going into the game plan.”

He explained that if he does decide to get the backup quarterback some snaps, it won't be because someone told him to do it.

"It’s going to be because I think he gives our football team the best chance.  Because my job is to try to give us the best chance to win the game. I see those guys every day we practice. I know there’s a lot of people out there that can do my job better than I can. I gotcha. I understand that. But pardon me if I’m not going to listen to everybody who tells me who I should be playing, what I should be doing."

"I’ve managed to survive for 34 years doing what I’m doing without getting fired and we’ve won a lot of games. If I’m going to go down, I’m going to go down doing what I do and knowing what I know."

The last four games on their schedule will test the Yellow Jackets. After traveling to Maryland this weekend, they'll wrap things up at North Carolina (6-3, 3-2), before taking on Duke (6-3, 3-2) at home, and ending the regular season against rival Georgia (7-1, 5-1). We'll see how things shake out, but that's a heck of a stretch when your looking to get things back on track. 

"We grade the performance, not the person"

Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder was asked yesterdat how he manages to keep things light and fun at practice and how that has played a role in the team's success this season.

Snyder answered by explaining, "We're all in this together, and it starts at the top with Kevin (Sumlin)."

"Kids have got to trust you nowadays...times are different. They just are, even with my girls. They have to know that you care about them, you have to have a little fun, and you have to keep it real with them. I think players respond to that at all levels. That give me an opportunity, when it is time to put the foot down, I can do that, and they don't take it personal."

Then he added, "We're grading the performance, not the person. That's the key."

If your a coaching staff that hands out performance based grades, or breaks down film with the whole team after your games, that point may be something worth touching on before you hit "play" next time. Good stuff.

Friday TV - Pac 12 game featured

Pac 12 action is featured tonight with Steve Sarkisian's Huskies taking on Jeff Tedford's Golden Bears.

Eastern time is listed.


No games


Washington at California - 9 - ESPN2

High School:

Camden County (GA) vs. Lowndes (GA) - 8 - ESPNU

Big Ten coaches approve of new NCAA penalty system

In case you missed it, the NCAA approved of a new penalty structure earlier this week. In a nutshell, the NCAA has dumped its major and secondary-violation system in favor of a new four-level grouping and, most importantly, holding a head coach accountable for violations committed by an assistant. See the original reporting from USA Today and our write-up about the bylaw changes. Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated does a good job of explaining everything in layman's terms here

Several Big Ten coaches gave their thoughts on the rules changes to the Chicago Tribune

"Throughout history," Ohio State's Urban Meyer said, "the only way to keep civilization and to keep things in order is to have very strong rules and enforce them."

"The way coaches act when they are on the road (recruiting) is a direct reflection of the head coach," Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald said. "At the end of the day, the buck stops with the head coach.

"It's been frustrating for a lot of coaches trying to do it the right way," Wisconsin's Bret Bielema said.

The NCAA's changes were well received, but it always helps to have the endorsement of some of the biggest names in college football. 

Tulane's on-campus stadium (with video)

This is happening...and is a great thing for Tulane's program.

Rick Dickson, Tulane's athletic director, is holding a press conference right now at which he is introducing some of the largest donors to the project.

The stadium will be named "Yulman Stadium" after the founders of Serta Corportation (mattress company) who donated $15 million of the total $55 million needed for the stadium. Two NFL owners, Tom Benson of the Saints and Malcolm Glazer of the Bucs are some of the larger donors and as you will see in the video below, their names will be on the field (Benson) and part of the club area (Glazer Family).

Happy to see this coming to fruition for Tulane.

Grad Assistants gettin' after each other

The staff at Jacksonville State sent us this one.

Grad assistants Jimmy Welker (played on 2007 LSU National Championship team) and Brandt Thomas (all-OVC defensive tackle at JSU) have a friendly rivalry type relationship that many coaches have. They often challenge each other and the staff and players all enjoy it...and they do as well. 

Yesterday, the two got together for a little "Halloween Havoc"...yes, they put on the pads and helmets and went one on one in the box drill! 

The smile on Jack Crowe's face at the end tells you all you need to know. This was all in the name of fun and the staff and players all got a kick out of it.  Watch and enjoy!

Clemson hopes to open indoor facility this month

After nearly a two-year wait, Clemson is on the verge of moving into its indoor practice facility. In fact, the school hopes it will be ready in time for the Tigers' game with South Carolina on Nov. 24. 

"They're starting to put on the finishes touches," said head coach Dabo Swinney told OrangeandWhite.com. "They're grading it right now, and hopefully the turf will be here Monday. They've told us they think we're going to be in there the week of the South Carolina game, or maybe just a hair earlier."

Announced in January 2011, the facility will boast a regulation-sized, artificial surface field complete with a coach's tower and video platforms. Garage-style doors will give the team the option of holding open-air practices on days with favorable weather. The project was expected to cost $10 million when it was announced.

The indoor facility is built on top of the Tigers' existing outdoor practice fields. Which means that in the meantime, the team's existing practice field real estate has been downsized. Like a family forced to vacate its home for a hotel room so the house can be fumigated, things have gotten cramped.

"Our fields are just torn up right now and are in terrible shape because we've been limited," Swinney said. "Two fields are hard to manage when you're talking about big athletes, big bodies.

"We've really just had one field - Field 3 - to do all our competitive work. It's just a dirt pile out there."

Below is a video released by the architecural firm with artistic renderings of the facility.

The video that Texas A&M watched before the Auburn game

We genuinely enjoy being able to see how coaching staffs motivate their players before a game, whether it's empassioned speeches in the locker room, or hype videos like these. There so many different ways to motivate and create a competitive edge for your guys. 

Here's what Texas A&M watched before their 63-21 victory over Auburn last weekend.

Nice touch adding keys to the game / coaching points in text throughout the clip.