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  • NFL extends International Series through 2025

    NFL London

    Coming to a stadium near you: more empty Sundays. The NFL announced Wednesday it has extended its International Series through 2025, with the addendum that now games will move beyond the United Kingdom.

    The NFL has long stated its goal to push revenue to $25 billion by 2027. Reports pegged revenue at $12 billion for 2015. So that’s $13 billion that needs to be created in the next dozen years. Coupled with moving a team (or teams) to Los Angeles, expanding the shield’s footprint beyond our shores is the fastest way to get there.

    “This marks an important step in our long-term international growth,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Fans in the UK have responded incredibly well to the regular-season games we have played in London since 2007. They have demanded more NFL games, and we have worked to accommodate them. We think it’s time to expand our International Series to other countries and respond to the growing interest in our game not only in the UK, but elsewhere around the world.”

    The NFL has signed an agreement with English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur to host two games per year at its new London stadium to be completed in 2018.

    Sites for future International Series games are expected to be announced later this fall.

  • Video: Mike Leach keeps a battle axe in his bedroom, and has a logical reason why


    The recent shooting on the college campus at Umpqua Community College (OR) last week ripped open a scab that never seems to get a chance to truly heal, and that scab is the ongoing conversation on how to curb gun violence in America.

    Because Mike Leach is known to speak exactly what is on his mind, a reporter decided to ask him his thoughts on guns, and you get exactly what you’d expect when it comes to Leach. The Seattle Times detailed his response:

    I think there’s an incredible number of people who don’t know how guns work to begin with. We need a way to enforce the gun laws that exist now.

    Whether it’s a car or boat or motorcycle, it’s a dangerous item, so you have to show a level of competence and get a license before you’re allowed to operate something that’s dangerous. Guns are dangerous but you don’t have to get a license to operate guns. I think in order to operate a gun, you should have a license that means ‘I know the difference between a pistol and a revolver, a shotgun and rifle, I can load and unload one and shoot it with some level of competency at what I’m aiming at.’ And until you can do that, you’re not allowed to operate a gun.

    I’ve had players and stuff, they see some video on TV and they go to Walmart and buy a gun. Well they don’t know how to load it, they shoot it sideways. That’s absurd. That’s insane. So because of this failure to teach and educate, there’s accidental shootings.”

    Naturally (somehow) that led to Leach explaining that he keeps a Viking axe by his bed, which beyond just being a weapon to protect your home, or a fancy tool to cut wood, can also serve as a grappling device.

    I keep my guns on one part of the house totally locked up, and I keep the ammunition in another part of the house. Because if you think about it carefully, statistically, you’re more likely to shoot yourself, a loved one or a relative. There’s this (absurd) notion of ‘if you come in my house I’ll shoot ya.’ I do have a Viking axe by the bed if I need to whack someone. … My wife bought me a Viking axe – the axe side curls down so you can grab the adversary around the neck and you can use it to climb walls, as a grappling hook.’

    Of course, yesterday after practice, Leach was asked to elaborate more on that Viking axe, to which he explains in the clip below that he “likes to piddle with it in front of the TV, particularly when the TV show Vikings comes back on.”

    You really can’t make this kind of stuff up folks…

  • Report: Texas trying to settle the Joe Wickline lawsuit

    Dallas Morning News

    Dallas Morning News

    Joe Wickline was never the offensive coordinator at Texas. You knew, I knew it and Oklahoma State most certainly knew it; but Texas officials maintained the ruse for far too long.

    Well, if the report out of Austin is correct, it appears new interim athletic director Mike Perrin seemed to have known it too… or at least has the smarts to recommend they seek to settle the case.

    For quick background, Oklahoma State’s contract with Wickline (to be their offensive line coach) included language stating that Wickline would owe a substantial fee (nearly $600,000) to Oklahoma State should he leave for anything other than a head coaching position or an offensive coordinator role “with play calling duties”. Texas hired Wickline to be their offensive live coach; but gave him the “offensive coordinator” title while simultaneously giving Shawn Watson (the play caller) some other title such as assistant head coach of offense or something ridiculous like that. Yes, this was nothing more than a structured deal meant to help Wickline avoid paying the damages to Oklahoma State; but nearly everyone outside of Austin saw right through it.

    As we’ve said from day one, this one is obvious. Oklahoma State is rightfully due their money and will get paid. The only question at this point is how much they will accept to avoid this going to court. Our guess is they will largely stick to their guns (no reason not to at this point). Texas (or Wickline…but presumably Texas will at the very least front the money) will have to pay darn near the full amount is our educated guess; although Chip Brown’s report says that Texas expects to settle in the range of about $300,000.

    The benefit to Texas settling is quite simple to stop the pain and move on. Texas needs to put all of the distractions behind themselves and simply focus on football. Allowing this to linger, having the quarterback, other offensive players and the coaching staff deposed, etc…is just not something you want.  In my opinion, this is a no brainer. The facts are clear. The money is owed to Oklahoma State. Work your best possible settlement, pay it and move on.

  • The next arms race in major college sports is all about food


    Everyone knew once the NCAA lifted their limits on meals and snacks for Division I athletes, the flood gates would open at certain universities, while other programs would have to dig into the books to find the money in order to compete with other schools, and that’s exactly what’s happening.

    According to a piece in the New York Times, a survey released by the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association found that average spending at about 24 programs (all within the Power 5 conferences) increased a whopping 145%  since August of 2014. Schools that were once spending just over $500,000 for food and snacks for their athletes now spend about $1.3 million, all in the course of a calendar year.

    Under the previous rules, programs could supply athletes with bananas and recovery shakes, and now, programs like Ohio State, have multiple “fuel zones” stocked with freshly made sandwiches, fruit, chips, yogurt, and hummus.

    It’s also important to note that the money that’s being talked about is going to far more than just the actual food and drinks being supplied. In Columbus, they have a sports dietitian with four registered dietitians working under her, along with a handful of interns and the same can be said for most Power 5 conference programs.

    On top of the personnel and food it’s taking to get programs up to speed, many universities are also updating, or building, state of the art kitchens and hiring chefs to work hand in hand with those dietitians in order to prepare the best meals possible for the players to ensure they’re fueling their body with the right foods. For example, Auburn broke ground in the fall of 2013 on a $6.6 million wellness kitchen right across the street from a residence hall.

    In short, the New York Times points out that what we’ve seen Oregon and Texas A&M do with their new facilities is now being done to kitchens and food staffs around the country as part of the latest arms race in college football, so brace yourselves.

    Read the full piece here.

  • “The key for a successful two-minute drill is to stick to a menu”


    Every Wednesday in Stillwater, Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State work their two-minute drill to wrap up practice under a variety of different situations with the field position and timeouts available always changing week to week. Chances are good that you probably do something similar during your weekly game prep.

    However, as the Times Record points out, while the situation may get tweaked week to week, one thing always stays the same for offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, and it’s the key to a successful two-minute drill.

    The key for two-minute drill is to try and stick to somewhat of a menu. To go to those plays so your players understand and can anticipate what the calls are going to be.” Yurcich explained.

    Players, including running back Raymond Taylor explain in the piece how that approach helps them in the heat of the moment, because running those plays becomes muscle-memory – meaning that they don’t have to think and process a lot of information, they can just got out there and execute it.

    “When we hear them, it’s not even a thought process that happens,” Taylor noted. “It’s just something that we go to.”

    Yurcich goes on to explain in the piece how they come up with their menu each week.

    “You’ve got to find time to look at the two-minute drill and what coverages they lean on. What are their calls on third down? Usually if you find a defense on third down in a two-minute drill, that’s going to be the most critical part of the half.”

    This past weekend that approach really came in handy as Yurcich deployed the Cowboy’s two minute approach at the end of the game, down 33-34 to Kansas State with just over three minutes left in the game. Starting quarterback Mason Rudolph engineered a 45-yard drive over ten plays (including a 19-yard strike on fourth-and-eight to keep the drive alive) that ended with a 37-yard game winning field goal.

    As you and your staff continue to prep for your game this week, you might want to consider adopting the menu approach to your two-minute drill.

    Read the full piece here.