Lane Kiffin says SC special teams making a difference
There is a lot of talk on the west coast that USC is playing better on special teams this season than any year under Pete Carroll.
USC ranks 6th nationally in punt return average (17.6) and 29th nationally in kick-off returns (29.3). The Trojans are 30th nationally in net punting (38.3). Only 8 punts have been returned against the Trojans this season. USC has also blocked five kicks and scored twice on returns.
Lane Kiffin says, “To see it pay off, all the way back to spring ball, we dedicated more time to special teams than any of our staff had ever been around. To see it pay off again, so many times this year it has, and as we said from the first day that with these sanctions and reduced roster, we’re going to have to play great special teams down the stretch for 3 or 4 years, until we can get the roster back to full strength. And obviously we still want to play well at that time.”
In USC's 34-33 win over Arizona State, the Trojans blocked an extra point attempt that ended up being the difference in the game. Arizona State head Dennis Erickson was irate. Erickson said, "It's ridiculous, it's accountability to do your job all the time regardless whether you are playing three plays or whether you are playing 70 plays. You got to be accountable every time the ball is snapped and obviously we didn't block it correctly."
Obviously, special teams coordinator John Baxter deserves a great deal of credit.
USC (6-3) travels to Arizona this weekend. The Trojans finish at Oregon State, Notre Dame, at UCLA.
Gundy wants to make sure his assistant gets a head coaching job
Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen has the Cowboys ranked 3rd nationally in total offense (549 ypg) and scoring offense (46.3 ppg).
Holgorsen, however, says the Cowboys shouldn’t feel like they’ve got things figured out.
The Mike Leach disciple said yesterday, “No, they found out in the third quarter when we were up 35 points and we fumbled and then we 3 & outted and I was extremely pist. So they kind of knew what to expect from me. When it doesn’t look good, I tell them it doesn’t look good. They shouldn’t ever feel like they’ve got things figured out, that’s for sure. When you do, that’s when you get beat.”
“I thought Coach Gundy did a great job yesterday. It’s the same people that said we were going to win 5 (games) that are telling us that we’re good now. The one thing we’ve done a good job this year of is worrying about ourselves.”
(about rankings) “It’s good exposure for the program. You can talk about how rankings don’t matter, but the truth of the matter is they do. It’s good notoriety for the program. It’s good for recruiting, good for fanbase, and all the rest.”
The 8-1 Cowboys travel to Texas this weekend to play the 4-5 Longhorns.
Mike Gundy says retaining Holgorsen is a top priority in the off-season. "I want to make sure that he is taken care of. And then ...we're going to do everything we can to help him when he wants to become a head coach. There's no question in my mind that he can leave here and be a head coach.”
A happy Rich Rod: We've got sirens, people screaming, countdown clock, all that stuff
After all he has been through, we couldn’t be happier for Rich Rodriguez.
Coming off the 67-65 (3OT) win over Illinois, Rich Rod was asked today, “With such a long game, do you spend extra time breaking down that film?”
Rodriguez responded happily, “We’re not breaking no rules. Nah, we’ve got our 4-hour limit today, so they lifted for about 50 minutes or so and that gives us 3 hours and 10 minutes. We’ll use all 3 hours we have left from 2:30 on. In fact, when it gets close to that 4 hour limit, we’ve got sirens going off, people screaming, countdown clock, all that stuff. Normally, we’re shorter than that. We don’t even cut it close. Boy, if we’re at that 3 hours and 50 minutes, coaches are running in the building now. (Smiling) I’m messing around.”
A reporter then asked, “Does it feel good to joke about that now?”
“Yeah, but I’m not joking.” (Huge laugh from everyone)
“Last week was a good week. It was good to get that process over. A lot of people are relieved we got that over.”
It was great to see Rich Rodriguez in such a good mood.
Dan Hawkins: Life makes no promises. It's an adventure with risks to be taken
Dan Hawkins answered questions today about a fourth quarter during which Colorado blew a 45-17 lead and lost at Kansas 52-45. According to John Henderson of the Denver Post, Hawkins also “sounded resigned to his fate when asked about it (job) on the conference call.”
"Life makes no promises," Hawkins said. "Life's an adventure and there are always risks to be taken and that's the nature of this job and this profession. I don't think you walk around with that haunting you. I don't think that's your driving force by any means."
"You have to do what you think is right, and you have to do it to the best of your ability and let it go. You win a bunch of games it doesn't mean you're a genius and if you don't it doesn't mean you're awful, either. It's always somewhere in the middle."
"I'm mostly concerned about our players and their feelings and their emotions. That's the thing I'm always most concerned about."
Colorado hosts Iowa State on Saturday.
Greg Davis and Ellis Johnson disappointed
Texas OC Greg Davis disappointed in his own performance: "I'm disappointed in the job I've done. My job is to do one thing and that's score points. The No. 1 factor in winning and losing is scoring offense and we're not scoring points."
Ellis Johnson talks about South Carolina defense: "I expected to see our players play better. We're just not performing well. The statistics and the score aside, there are still assignment problems, there are opportunities out there. It's just disappointing and concerning. But I thought our performance was very poor. We wouldn't have beaten an average football team (Saturday). But we didn't play an average team. We played a really good offensive team. They showed it."
"The reason they were successful with the run is because it got to the point where we couldn't score and couldn't stop them on third down. Why would they want to keep throwing the football? They started running the ball and we didn't fit the run well at times. We didn't do a good job against it, obviously. A lot of their rushing yards were piled up there at the end. They had two big runs in their short yardage formation where they overload one side. Some of our problems were technical, some of them were physical. Arkansas knocked us off the ball. But I think their running game was a minor story in this one."
Larry Porter says Memphis fans deserve better: “I'll be the first to say the fans deserve more. They should keep demanding more. But we need them now more than ever."
Paul Rhoads talks about faked kick: “The fake field goal was actually called on that kick we made at the end of the half. But they were in a fake alignment, a safe alignment and that’s why I called the timeout to get us out of it and kicked the field goal.”
Charlie Strong glad to have Louisville fans behind the team: “Somebody said they announced the score at Church Hill and the place just erupted. You could just tell people are feeling it now.”
“We haven’t won back-to-back Big East games since ’06. Let’s go play these next three and see where we end up.”
Dooley describes QB Tyler Bray: “I still don’t know if he knows what coverage the other team is playing. It drives Coach Hinshaw crazy.”
“It’s not just knowing where to go with the ball against a coverage. It’s where do you place the ball to give them (wide receivers) a chance.”
“We out personnelled them (Memphis) too, so I’m a little cautious to think we’re going to sling it around like that again.”
Les Miles thanks fans and coaching staff
Two days after thumping Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide 24-21, Les Miles said he has never seen such a wild scene in Tiger Stadium. Miles congratulated and thanked his coaching staff for a job well done.
"I can tell you that Tiger Stadium may have never been as exciting as it was Saturday afternoon. I can tell you that there were several times that the crowd was instrumental in cheering on its team. When that game ended and that stadium did not leave, I promise you it will be one of those memories I will have for some time.”
“I think I am fortunate to represent a quality group of men that have character and will fight you for victory. Those coaches prepared an excellent game plan, and the offensive staff came together at halftime and took advantage of some things they needed to see in the game. John Chavis and the defensive staff did a magnificent job with a very talented Alabama offense."
It seems as though the Tigers are now playing for their head coach and the opportunity for a 1-loss season. LSU finishes with ULM, Ole Miss, and at Arkansas.
If you haven't been to Tiger Stadium....GO :
Akey: You better get your bleep button ready if you...
Nevada racked up 844 total yards in the 63-17 win over Idaho.
Today, Idaho head coach Robb Akey said, "You better get your bleep button ready if you want to talk about that one."
Not only did Colin Kaepernick complete 20-30 passes for 5 touchdowns, but Nevada had three players rush for over 100 yards. The Wolf Pack ran 91 plays, tallied 38 first downs, and averaged 9.3 yards per play. Kaepernick summed it up pretty well by saying, “When you go 96 yards in 46 seconds, that demoralizes a defense.”
Following the game, Akey said, “I'm glad I don't have to see him (Kaepernick) again. I told him that too.''
At 4-5, Idaho is still bowl eligible. Unfortunately, Boise State comes to town this week. The Vandals will finish at Fresno State and against San Jose State.
East Carolina AD embarrassed, mentions Utah & Texas shellackings
East Carolina took it on the chin, 76-35, to Navy on Saturday. Today, ECU athletic director Terry Holland posted a message on the ECU official site:
Saturday's defeat to Navy by the score of 76-35 is one of those disappointing losses that is forever a part of ECU's football history. No one was more embarrassed and more intent to use that loss as motivation to build a great football program than the coaches and players who fought that battle.
As is the case every Saturday in today's game, there were other proud programs experiencing similar agony. Texas down 39-0 at Kansas State and No. 6 Utah behind 40-0 at home in a showdown game with TCU come to mind first.
If anyone had told us before the season that this team would be 5-4 with three regular season games remaining, most sane Pirates would have exuberantly accepted such an offer. Furthermore, if told that the wins would include a nationally-televised shootout with Tulsa, a gutsy comeback at Southern Miss and a heart-stopping overtime win over N.C. State, we would have been even more elated.
This is a reminder that the team and the Pirate Nation cannot be distracted from the task at hand by the loss to Navy or any other adversity we may face.
We have come this far by pulling on the same oar and the rough seas ahead will require our very best team effort.
East Carolina is 5-4 and finishes at UAB (Thurs), at Rice, and SMU.