FIU spring hype video
FIU released an impressive hype video yesterday mixing season highlights with their off season efforts.
The Golden Panthers finished last season 8-5, with only one of their losses coming by more than 10 points (and three of the five losses by a total of 10 points). From the looks of this video, Cristobal and the staff will be looking to close that gap and win at least a share of the conference title for the second time in three seasons.
FIU's spring game is slated for the March 30th.
Video: Mattison shares some valuable insight
Greg Mattison sat down with the media for the first time this offseason to talk about the progression and expectations for the defense in the second year under his leadership.
The number one goal is to get better at everything they do in the defense, one practice at a time, Mattison told reporters.
Mattison noted that every defense he has ever seen or been a part of has been "strong down the middle" starting with a good noseguard, then linebackers, and then the safeties.
The video is a bit long, but there are a few gems at the end worth hanging in there for. At one point a reporter asks about a player that had lost a significant amount of weight, and Mattison was flattered for a moment, thinking that the reporter was referring to him.
He also remarks at the end about a few guys that haven't been in pads as of yet, and have only been able to participate in conditioning. "This isn't cross country, they can come out there and run like crazy...they can be the best runners in the world and if they won't hit anybody, I won't like them as much".
Oregon State strength staff focusing on "want to"
Just before we stopped by Corvallis last week on the Pac 12 Tour, we brought you a video highlighting the Beavers intense off season efforts.
Brian Miller, Oregon States sports performance center director, told ESPN's Kevin Gemmell recently that the emphasis for this off season was to work on the team's "want to".
Miller explains that the "'want to' refers to the individual's preconceived internal desire to maximize and apply effort to everything they are doing. You have to want to get better, you have to want to be faster, you have to want to overcome an injury, you have to want to eat and recover properly"
Miller believes that football is about more than just effort. In his opinion, "you have to peel away the many layers and factors that create and influence effort; and that begins with an individual’s 'want to.' Simply put, the team was challenged every day to be on a relentless pursuit of increasing their 'want to.' You have that approach every day and mix in a highly competitive training environment and you hope that it carries over onto the football field.”
Oregon State will begin to put that belief to the test when they take the field on April 3 to kick off spring ball. The Beavers spring game will take place April 28.
Good stuff from Pitt DC Dave Huxtable
New Pitt defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable sat down with PittPantherVision, and former Pitt quarterback Pat Bostick to talk about his objectives through spring ball and what drew him to Pittsburgh.
Huxtable says that the tradition at Pitt and the familiarity he had working with Paul Chryst last year at Wisconsin made this new opportunity very appealing.
According to Huxtable, the main goal through spring ball is that the defense comes out with a good grasp on the new scheme and that players become "professionals at their techniques" so they are prepared for the fall.
Bostick also asked Huxtable if any leaders are emerging at this point, and Huxtable responded by saying "I think that's a little longer of a process. Right now they're all trying to learn, and once they gain that confidence in knowing what they're doing, I think some leaders will emerge".
Grambling State staff visits with LSU
Grambling State head coach Doug Williams and several assistants traveled to Baton Rouge to visit with Les and the LSU staff recently and came away with some valuable stuff.
A few years ago when they met at a camp, Les told Williams, "You let me know. Any time you can come, you can come." Williams said that when he picked up the phone to ask Les about bringing his staff in for a visit, Les more than happy to have them. "When I called about the possibility of doing some sort of spring training, he didn't hesitate" Williams said.
The visit to Baton Rouge was much different than some visits Williams has taken in the past because they got the opportunity to sit in on their meeting and the staff actually asked what they wanted to know, and also went over some individual drill work as well.. At some places Williams said that they would "sit you in a room and give you film and you get what you want from it". LSU was much more personal in their approach.
With 8 year staff veteran Andre Robinson taking over the defensive coordinator duties this season, Williams said taking the time to visit LSU was a no-brainer.
"For us, it's a pleasure to be able to go down to LSU and sit in. The difference with LSU, Tech, Grambling and ULM is we're not Division I. We're Division I-AA, so I don't play against LSU, and I'm not trying to be on the same level. I am trying to learn what they do, and there's no animosity there. I'm glad for the opportunity to come in and have them welcome us with open arms." Williams explained.
We have a feeling Williams left Baton Rouge feeling pretty good about the fall. As they were leaving, Les told him that he thought he had done a great job putting together a good staff that "worked hard and understood". Compliments from Les don't get much better than that.
Leach ready to hit the field for spring ball
In a matter of a few months, Mike Leach and his staff have had to put together a recruiting class, a new strength program, and install an entirely new offense and defense for the Cougars.
Starting with winter conditioning, Leach said that he was impressed with the progress that they made.
“I thought some competitive aspects emerged, you could see guys develop and be a little more competitive. You could see kind of some leaders emerge a little bit. I thought it was very good. The other thing is with regard to working hard, nobody really knows how hard they can work. Everybody can work harder than they think they can.”
Leach says spring practices will be an especially tall order for them. “Every year, you want to evaluate and then, of course, sharpen your skills. In our case, we have to install our package and teach it to everybody. This isn’t going to be a case where you teach it to some and then you’ve got the older guys to help. In our case, we’ve got to teach it to everybody.”
Mike Stoops enjoying being on the field again
After eight seasons as a head coach, Mike Stoops is transitioning back to the life of an assistant...and enjoying the change.
Since being back at Oklahoma, Mike said he went out to the first few practices thinking like a head coach. "It took me a couple of days to realize I wasn't the head coach" he said, "I realized pretty quick I wasn't."
Coach Stoops went on to say that he now has time to enjoy the "personal" side of things more now and being a head coach allowed him to learn a ton.
"I learned so much. I have so much more grasp of college football and the overall operation. I understand what a head coach goes through." he added.
Pac 12 Tour - Stanford
Stanford is a special place. Visit campus and you'll see and feel what I mean.
After having lunch at the 49ers facility, Mike and I arrived at Stanford's campus about 30 minutes before our projected time so we drove around campus a bit. I'm having a hard time finding the words to explain how nice Stanford University is. The campus is huge and it's immaculate. With total undergraduate enrollment of less than 7,000 students, Stanford must have the best ratio of faculty to students anywhere.
Quick side note, Mike (@OT_Software) is a bit of a software geek. As we drove around campus, multiple times he sensed the brilliance of a student walking nearby and seriously considered offering them a job on the spot. Yes, he was in software coder heaven...and he was happy.
At 2pm on the nose Stanford assistant athletic director for football operations Matt Doyle met us and brought us in to see the place. First stop was the coaches offices. Head coach David Shaw and several of the assistants (along with a couple of the players) were watching the last few minutes of one of the basketball games that day. All of the coaches were extremely welcoming and hospitable. Shaw was a great choice to replace Jim Harbaugh as head coach and he has made a number of equally impressive personnel decisions...and the results continue to show up on the field. We'll write more on this topic in the coming weeks, but there is no doubt in our mind that coach Shaw and his staff will keep Stanford football at the highest level for a long time to come.
First stop on the tour was down to the weight room where I had the opportunity to present head strength coach Shannon Turley with his award (2011 FootballScoop Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Year).
Doyle then brought us over to see the stadium. In the tunnel, Stanford has some very cool graphics.
The stadium itself is as picturesque as you would expect. Inside the appearance is crisp, clean and has a very classic feel to it. New grass will go in this Summer.
The training table and dining options at Stanford are excellent and blend well with rest of the student population. Next we had the opportunity to visit the training / medical facilities. These are truly world class and both in terms of injury prevention and in rehabilitation the treatment at Stanford is top notch.
We continued the tour of campus and were consistently impressed with the people we met, the facilities we saw, student life in general at Stanford and everything we learned about the Univeristy. Anyone who has the opportunity to go to Stanford needs to take that visit. When visiting the world famous Stanford business school we noticed a familiar name from our trip...Phil Knight (who earned an MBA from Stanford) has an entire program, and several buildings, named after him.
We headed back to the football offices as running backs coach / recruiting coordinator Mike Sanford Jr. had asked Mike to demo their software apps for him. As they were sitting down I noticed tight ends coach Ron Crook teaching his son a sweet post route down on the basketball court within their offices. The kid has a future in the game!
I sat in on a few minutes of the idea session raging between Sanford and Mike with OT. Some of the things that Sanford and their staff are doing in terms of recruiting are incredibly smart...things I haven't heard of other programs doing. These guys are smart. This is Stanford. We'll write more about this subject over the next few weeks as well.
With Stanford being located in tech-mecca Palo Alto (yes, Mike had us drive by the headquarters of Facebook, Google, Apple, etc...he said something about he and I becoming smarter simply though osmosis) real estate is extremely expensive. About a year ago, the University built a number of homes on campus for their coaches to live in (coaches of all sports). 7 current assistants live in these homes which are very nice new construction. I believe the head coach and two coordinators livd in off campus homes the university purchased as well. All of this was made economically feasible through a donation from one man, John Arrillaga who has generously supported Stanford athletics and the University for many years and for several projects.
We were invited to join a couple of the coaches at their homes and saw a vibrant mini-community filled with coaches and their families. No doubt this type of idea comes with a significant price tag, but every coach we spoke with raved about the homes and how much they enjoy living so close to so many of their peers. We think this is a great idea.
We went out to dinner Friday night with Doyle and several of the coaches and couldn't have had a better night. Huge thanks to Mike Bloomgren and Mike Sanford and their wives and children for opening their homes to us and to Matt Doyle for taking time away from his previously scheduled speaking engagement to host us.
Thousands of high school students and their parents dream of getting accepted to Stanford University. After meeting Coach Shaw and his staff and experiencing 24 hours at Stanford, it's hard to imagine that there aren't also thousands of coaches out there that dream to one day have the opportunity to join the staff here as well. Amazing place.
We'll write more about our visit to Stanford and some of the unique things they are doing over the coming weeks. We've got visits with UCLA and USC on Monday. Stay tuned for for more reports on our Pac 12 Tour on the site and on twitter @FootballScoop.