The SEC is looking at adding an 8th official due to offensive tempo
The breakneck pace of college football has more than just defensive coordinators wondering how to adjust. According to AL.com, the SEC officiating offices have explored adding an eighth official to the normal seven man crews.
Auburn was the first to use the experimental eight man officiating crew during their spring game. The extra official lines up in the offensive backfield, opposite of the referee and his main responsibility is to spot the ball and "get out of the way of the offense if there are no substitutions", the article points out.
Normally the umpire is the one to spot the ball, but with the tempo getting faster and faster, the eight man crew would allow the umpire to focus on counting players and spotting holds, while the eighth man focuses on solely spotting the ball and clearing out.
SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw said that the first trial went really well.
"It really worked pretty well. I don't think we're ready to go there just yet but we're testing it. Some of the coaches said, well, so this eighth official is a way we can go even faster. Really, my answer was, no, the eighth official is not to help you go faster. It's to help us be more consistent, do our job and allow the umpire and referee do their jobs more effectively."
While the extra man seems to give an advantage to offensive coaches over defensive coaches, Shaw is more focused on keeping things consistent from crew to crew. Hugh Freeze points out in the article that their bowl game was officiated by a Big 12 crew, who was much better acclimated to the type of tempo that the Rebels ran, and Freeze noticed a significant difference.
"Our goal is not to help the offense or help the defense. It's really to stay within the rule, keep the pace consistent throughout the game. The rule says, when the ball is ready, they can snap it."
With SEC offenses like Texas A&M, Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Auburn wanting to push the pace come fall, an eighth official would be a much appreciated addition by the offensive staffs. It likely won't happen this fall, but it will be interesting to see how the game changes if an eighth official is added to the crew.
'The process of hiring Mark Dantonio was one of the most unique ever'
MLive writer Mark Griffith released and article this morning that took a fascinating look at the hiring of Mark Dantonio back in 2006.
The athletic director at the time, Ron Mason, appointed his right hand man, senior associate AD Mark Hollis (now the athletic director at Michigan State), to head up the hiring process. Hollis then came up with a special formula to find the right man for the job.
"It was one of the most unique hiring processes ever done. A lot was done on metrics, 72 different metrics, on every possible coach." Hollis explained.
"I took every coaching transition, five years before and five years after, and came up with the variables that resulted in positive transitions and negative transitions." Hollis went on to explain that NFL experience, regional connections, time spent in East Lansing as a player or coach, and college playing experience were all things that were considered when he was looking through applicants.
"Then we took an approach where we said, `What do we call an ideal coach? How do we see them in a leadership role, motivational role and teaching role?,' We went through that by committee.'' Other people on that included AD Ron Mason, Hollis, and basketball coach Tom Izzo, just to name a few.
Over the span of the next 26 days, the 72 different metrics helped the committee narrow a pool of 30 names down to 8. Those eight were interviewed and eventually whittled down to four, and then the decision was made that Mark Dantonio was the right man for the job.
One Big Ten title, a Legends Division title, a five game winning streak against Michigan, and six straight bowl appearances later, Hollis knows that those 72 specific criteria led him to the right guy for the job.
"We'd developed that list of 72 criteria to eliminate candidates. Coach D gave us 72 reasons to make him our head coach. He's the complete package." Hollis said.
Mark Hollis can probably expect a handful of calls from athletic directors around the country over the next few days wanting to get their hands on that list of 72 metrics.
Mullen: 'When you're in the SEC West, you're just trying to win games'
A hot topic all off season for the media when talking to SEC coaches has been the possible switch from a 8 game conference schedule to a 9 game conference slate.
Dan Mullen isn't as concerned with that as some other coaches seem to be. As Mullen explained to Tim Brando yesterday during a radio interview, there are more pressing things to worry about when you're competing in the SEC West.
Things like winning ball games.
"I don't give a whole lot of thought to it. To me, when you're in the SEC West, you're just trying to find a way to win games week in and week out and not dream about what might and might not happen."
Mullen also shared an experience he had in the spring that he hopes he never has to go through again.
"One thing that I don't want to try to do is go through the fall with one scholarship quarterback. That will test your patience on a daily basis, especially when the trainers come up one day and tell you that our one quarterback has a fever and won't be able to go today." Mullen explained
"So I looked around the room and said 'Well I guess everyone can go home...we can't practice'. So we bumped practice back a day since we can probably use a quarterback. It makes things a little easier out there on the field."
Hear more from Mullen's interview below.
Video: This is how one Florida HS prepares for their spring game
West Orange HS in Orlando (FL) is preparing for their spring football game against Edgewater HS tonight very similar to how they would for a regular season game in the fall.
Case in point is this hype video here to make sure the guys'' mind is in the right place. This clip shows all the hard work from the off season leading up to the spring game as well as some big hits from spring practices.
'When you're getting better every day, you're going to be a great player'
With 100 days until August 31 - more commonly known as opening Saturday of the 2013 college football season - plenty of programs are rolling out some great material to mark this key off-season milestone.
We've already highlighted the great recruiting video that Clemson produced, and now we go to the left coast to see highlights from Cal's spring practices. With a freshly-renovated stadium, a new coaching staff and, of course, new uniforms, there's a lot to be excited about in Berkeley.
"When you're getting better at something every single day," says assistant head coach/inside receivers coach Rob Likens, "by the time you look up you're going to be a fricking great player, you understand?"
Video: 'We're modern day gladiators, playing football in Death Valley'
Very well done video here on the game day environment and "The Hill" entrance at Clemson, regarded as one of the top entrances in all of college football.
Dabo Swinney weighs in on the overall atmosphere and traditions on game day, and current and former players talk about what it's like to play in Death Valley. Star quarterback Tahj Boyd puts it all in perspective for recruits by saying, "I look at it as if we're almost modern day gladiators, playing football in Death Valley."
That quote, along with the way the cameras capture players getting off the bus and walking down the hill to enter the field is going to really impress recruits.
It's no wonder Brent Musberger called the entrance "the most exciting 25 seconds in college football".
This is another well done video by the people at Bluechip Media Group.
Video: Indiana's got a surprise up their sleeve
Take a look at the video below and judge for yourself. Is Indiana using their football legends in this video to tease a new uniform combination or maybe an alternate uni? We'll keep you posted.
Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Tulsa band together for tornado relief
The terrible devestation brought by Monday's tornado has brought three long-time competitors on to the same team. To raise money for the state's relief effort, the Sooners, Cowboys and Golden Hurricane have partnered to create an "OK Together" t-shirt. The short sleeve version sells for $19.95, and the long sleeve goes for $24.95, with proceeds going to the United Way. Shirts may be purchased at any of the schools' online stores; here's a link to the Tulsa store.
The Big 12 Conference has also provided a $200,000 donation to the relief efforts.