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Saban: New kickoff rules won't affect our philosophy

With college football kickoffs moving up from the 30 to the 35 and touchbacks being moved out five yards to the 25, some coaches are rethinking their special teams philosophies.

Nick Saban is not one of those coaches, at least not right away.

“Until you live it, you don't know for sure how it's going to affect the game."

Saban noted that the move up will obviously lead to more touchbacks, but that doesn't mean that the focus on coverage should be minimized.

“I think when you're kicking off and you have a kicker that can do that, then the coverage element that you have to work on is not going to be nearly as necessary. But you still have to work on it because the one he doesn't kick you're going to have to cover it.”

On the flip side of the coin, the Tide's kick returners won't be taking extra risks to take the ball out of the end zone when they're five yards deep.

“I don't necessarily think that's a positive because drive start is the most important thing. If you start 5 or 6 yards deep in the end zone, then the chances of your drive start getting out to the 29 or 30 yard line where you want it to be are not going to be very good because now you have to return it 35 yards or 40 yards to get it there."

I don't think it will change philosophically how we manage to return kicks.”


Chip Kelly: How we practice momentum changes

After practice last night, Chip Kelly was asked about Todd Monken's comments on scrimmages being hard because of the absence of momentum swings.

Kelly explained that they practice "sudden change" during practice. The field goal unit will be on the field they'll simulate a turnover and the defense has to take the field on the opposite end and prevent a score.

As Kelly explains, "Just because you turn it over doesn't mean the other team is allowed to score."


Wisconsin's new mantra on defense

Looking back on last season, big plays were the common denominator of the Badgers losses last season. According to Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal, in games against Michigan State (two games total, one of them a loss), Ohio State and Oregon the defense gave up 154 points. 

In their other 10 games combined, they gave up only 132 points.

After reflecting on losses to Michigan State and Ohio State (in back to back weeks) last season, Wisconsin decided to adopt a new mantra on defense for 2012; "Triple A, Bar None."

Defensive coordinator Chris Ash explains that the new saying is meant to bring an identity to the defense.

“What we’re trying to do is create an identity. It’s something I put together: Anybody, anytime, anyplace, bar none. We want to be the type of defense that any time the ball’s down and it’s time to play, we’re going to go play.”

One player, defensive lineman Ethan Hemer, pointed out the importance of the new mantra and making every snap count. "You can play great 99 percent of the time and that one time you don’t, it’s a bad defense.”

Southland Conference (FCS) expanding

The FCS' Southland Conference has invited two D-II teams, Incarnate Word and Abilene Christian, to join the league.

If both schools were to leave, as expected, the Lone Star Conference (D-II) would drop down to seven teams, while the Southland Conference's total would bump to 13.

If Abilene Christian were to accept the invitation, football would have to wait until 2014 to compete because of games that have already been scheduled. The school board is expected to discuss the move this weekend.

60 great seconds with Jon Gruden

He's still got the passion. 

One of these days we're going to get him back on the sideline and when we do it's going to be a whole lot of fun....

Azzani: "Coaching's overrated at times"

This past off season, Bret Bielema hired six new assistant coaches to get the Badgers back to the Big Ten title game and a Rose Bowl berth. New receivers coach Zach Azzanni explains how he sees the transition from his perspective.

"Change always involves discomfort; change always involves risk because it's unknown. The new coaches, we really, really respect what's been done here. We understand the coaches who came before us did one hell of a job, and are probably why we're here. Our kids know we respect what they've done in the past, how they've been coached, but we're also going to be ourselves." receivers coach Zach Azzanni explained.

"As far as everyone patting you on the back and saying we've had great years, that's great, but personally, I haven't done anything here. As new coaches, we all have an edge to prove ourselves and not let this thing go backward."

Azzanni also offered up an interesting viewpoint on why coaching is sometimes "overrated." 

"Coaching's overrated at times. If you're saying it's all about coaching, then you're saying our players aren't very good. That's how I approach it with our wideouts. If your offensive coaching is so great and now there's new coaches and we're going to be awful, then that means you guys aren't very good, either. It's about players. … Coach Bielema and Coach Alvarez have built a machine here."

According to ESPN, this off season Bielema dug up some notes he took from 2006 when he first oversaw a coaching staff. That staff taught Bielema that the best environment for assistant coaches is one where they have the freedom to express their own ideas, or as he put it, one that is more "a democracy more than a dictatorship."

Also, Bielema notes that he beleives that more coaching should get done Monday through Friday rather than on a Saturday afternoon.

"Saturday isn't the day to blow someone up. Saturday's about managing the game and making sure we have success going forward." he explained

Plenty more quality nuggets from Bielema and Azzani in the original article, which can be read here.



CBS crew to follow Arkansas journey

CBS has embedded a crew to follow the Razorbacks all season. Should be a good series to follow.

The first episode airs on August 29th and will feature seven shows.

Anchor Down - The movie trailer

Another solid movie trailer style highlight from Vanderbilt...this one created by a fan.

Notice the rating at the beginning; "Rated 'V' - Non SEC fans must be accompanied by a die hard SEC fan. Viscious Hits, Ankle Breaking Jukes, and Precision Passes" 

Nice touch.