A coaching icon passes away

Darrell Royal, a mainstay on the Texas sidelines for twenty years, passed away earlier this morning, at age 88 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Certainly, our staff's thoughts are with the family and loved ones of Coach Royal as they go through this very difficult time.

In coaching circles, Royal was well known for his highly successful wishbone offense, and he compiled an 167-47-5 record at Texas before retiring from coaching .

Despite taking over a one win team when he took the Texas job in 1957, during the next twenty seasons on the Longhorn sideline Royal never had a losing season. The Longhorns collected two national titles, won or shared 11 conference titles, and made 16 bowl appearances under his watch. Royal also earned national coach of the year awards five times and was a shoo-in inductee into the the college football hall of fame in 1983. Very impressive resume.

The Longhorns named their stadium after him in 1996.

Reading a few articles this morning on Royal, it is clear to see that he will remain a valued member of the coaching fraternity forever and will go down as one of the best to ever roam the sideline.

Here's a few of the best written articles that we came across this morning on Royal and the legacy he has left behind.

- Some great quotes and stories from the New York Times. 

- The Houston Chronicle also has a nice take on his legacy, with some good quotes from coaches who knew him.

- ESPN also has a nice take on Coach Royal and his contributions.

- Here's another well done piece from the Houston Chronice with some of Royal's famous quotes.

- Our Zach Barnett chimed in with his impression of Royal's legacy


Behind the scenes with Auburn's video staff

Here's a good look behind the scenes with the Auburn video staff and what their day to day job entails during a normal practice.

Video coordinator Brent Thomas does a great job making sure that the students working under him understand their role, and also is sure to let them know that he appreciates what they do on a daily basis.

"We're just that 'behind the scenes, no body knows about you' kind of people that if we don't do our job, no one else can get their job started."

At the end of the clip there's a very good message from Thomas that you can take with you regardless of your profession. Be sure to thank those who make your job easier.

"You have to have precision to be successful in the red zone"

According to Brian Kelly, precision is the most important trait of teams that are successful in the red zone.

Without the ability to stretch the field vertically, windows become smaller, and quarterbacks need to be more precise with the football when trying to fit the ball into narrow windows.

"You have to have 'precision.' That's not a word that's thrown around very easily in our room right now. Precision is not what we have yet." Kelly explained.

"I've had quarterbacks that were precise and could read things quickly and then it was easy down there. It was like shooting fish in a barrel."

In their 46 red zone trips, the Irish have come away with points 35 times (76%) with 21 of those trips resulting in touchdowns. That ranks 96th nationally. The other three undefeated teams (Alabama, Kansas State and Oregon) all rank in the top 22 nationally in red zone conversions, and Louisville, the nation's best red zone team, has come away with points in 38 of their 39 red zone trips (97%).

With their three remaining games against Boston College (away), Wake Forest (home) and USC (away), there's no doubt that their precision will need to improve in order to finish the season undefeated.

A good sign that you're recruiting the right type of player

After practice yesterday, Steve Addazio said something that caught our attention and is something that should show plenty of promise for the Temple program moving forward.

The Owls are 3-5 heading into this weekends match up at Cincinnati, and the players and staff haven't had the type of season that they had hoped for. But late in the season head coach Steve Addazio says that his guys are still really enjoying practice, and "can't get enough."

Addazio explains that, even after losing the past three straight games, his guys are still focused and getting after one another in some very spirited practices.

"I've been coaching a long time, and at this time in the season you usually have teams that just don't want to be out there like these kids want to be out there, and that's a very key point."

That's a solid point and a great barometer for any program.

If you can bring in the type of kids that are still enjoying practices late into the season, (especially after getting off to a less than ideal start) you've got to feel really good about the direction of your program...and Addazio definitely does.


Les Koenning: You have to be perfect in crucial situations

After quickly climbing the polls and winning their first seven games of the season, Mississippi State has slipped in recent weeks against Alabama and Texas A&M, losing two straight.

After averaging 38 points per game during their seven game winning streak, the Bulldogs have managed just 10 points per game in their two losses. Offensive coordinator Les Koenning attributes their drop off in production to their execution early in games, and during key situations (especially in the red zone).

As he explains, being just a hair off in terms of execution is something you may be able to get away with against lesser teams, but not in the SEC.

"If you really look at it, it's just a matter of execution." Koenning said.

"When it comes down to big games, and playing in big games, you have to execute. Those things are very very small. The small things become big things, so you can't be just a hair off on your route or throwing the football, or your read, you have to be spot on. Those are the type of things that we're experiencing right now, we're getting in that situation where if we're just a little bit off it's not nearly as good as it would be against a Middle Tennessee, or someone like that."

"Execution gets magnified in those situations," Koenning noted about the need to execute against a top defense in a compressed section of the field, like the red zone. "You get down to a crucial situation and you've got to execute. Those are things that are hard to duplicate at practice because of the speed of the game."

This weekend their ability to execute will be tested once again, as they take on a 7-2 LSU squad. While LSU does rank in the top five nationally in pass efficiency defense, scoring defense, and total defense, they rank near the bottom nationally (112th) in opponents red zone conversions, allowing teams to come out of the red zone with points 90% of the time (including 15 touchdowns in 20 attempts).

Kickoff is scheduled for 7pm ET on ESPN.


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