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  • How Willie Fritz married past and present to form the nation’s best rushing offense

    A year ago, Georgia Southern ran the ball 626 times for 3,964 yards – 6.3 yards a carry and an average of 360 yards in its 11 games. While the Eagles weren’t eligible for any mythical rushing championships as a transitional member between FCS and FBS, they led all of Division I, 32 yards a game over second-place Auburn, and fifth among all teams in college football.

    That success led head coach Jeff Monken to taking the Army job, to be replaced by Sam Houston State head coach Willie Fritz. And now, with a new staff and a new, more challenging conference, the Eagles’ rushing attack has gotten better.

    Fritz and his staff have proven to be the perfect marriage between Georgia Southern’s triple option foundation and Fritz’s spread option scheme.

    “Forever around here at Georgia Southern — with the exception, I guess, of one or two years, they’ve just been a true man-blocking triple-option scheme,” offensive coordinator Doug Ruse told Nicole Auerbach of USA Today. “We’ve had to transition to a zone, which is probably about 70% of what we do in the running game, all off the inside zone. It all looks different, but that’s the base scheme up front for the O-line. That was the biggest hurdle — we had to teach different footwork, a little bit slower tempo and mentality coming off the ball. …

    “We’re still running the option, which Georgia Southern has done around here for a very long time and has done extremely well. We’re just doing it from a zone scheme with a quarterback in the gun. That’s the biggest difference.”

    “The biggest difference wasn’t for the quarterbacks, running backs or receivers — it was for the offensive line. We’re more of a zone blocking team with our offensive line,” Fritz echoed. “They were more of a fire-off-the-line kind of offensive line. Those guys had the biggest adjustment, that’s been the real secret for us. Well, it’s not a secret — we’ve got a really good offensive line.”

    Every new head coach dreams of stepping into a situation where five of his top six offensive linemen are seniors, which is the gift Monken left behind for the new staff.

    Georgia Southern has taken the Sun Belt by storm, threatening to win the league in their debut season. The Eagles are 6-2, with losses to N.C. State by one and Georgia Tech by four, a play here or there from maybe playing themselves into a College Football Playoff New Year’s Six bowl.

    Everything came to a head Saturday, when the Eagles dropped 69 points and 613 rushing yards on upstate rival Georgia State. Georgia Southern scored 10 touchdowns and punted once.

    Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 9.53.20 AM


    Those 613 yards push the team’s rushing average to 400.38 per game, nearly 50 yards ahead of everyone else in Division I and third in college football. For Fritz, his ground-before-air philosophy is rooted in the most basic of all statistics: winning.

    “In over 22 years as a head coach, we’ve won over 91% of our games when we had one more yard rushing (than our opponent),” he said. “We set our offense up to be able to run the ball effectively, and our defense to stop people from running the ball.”

    Read the full story here.

  • James Franklin has a simple plan for keeping freshman in the program


    In nearly every level of college football, there is a certain level of attrition. A freshman recruiting class of 25 is bound to lose a handful of guys for a variety of reasons that life throws their way.

    James Franklin and his staff spend countless hours on the phone, on the road, and in the living rooms of those same players, so he and his staff have a plan in place to help keep freshman in the program.

    Franklin and his staff start off by meeting with each freshman about once a week throughout the course of the season just to touch base and continue to build rapport with kids going through a very challenging transition.

    “The freshman meetings are important because something that I noticed as an assistant is that you recruit these guys, you love them up, you bring them in, and then 90% of them redshirt and they just kind of get pushed off to the side…and then I would see that you have attrition.”

    “Then you’d have guys leave, guys struggling with the transition. So those meetings are; How are you doing academically? How are you doing socially? Is there anything that we need to know? Anything that we can help you with? Who’s homesick? Is there anything that we can help you with? You know, whatever it may be.”

    “It’s usually a pretty good dialogue both ways, I ask them what they’re learning from a football and academic perspective, we talk about a lot of social issues and problems that we have right now in our society and the importance of making great choices. Just trying to reinforce that over and over again.”

  • #VoteTretola for Heisman – Arkansas has some fun with their fat guy TD pass

    Sebastian Tretola is a name you had probably never heard before last weekend. But following the offensive lineman’s crazy trick play against UAB that went for a rather surprising touchdown, his name was plastered all over places like our site, as well as ESPN and every other sports outlet.

    When the season is over, the play will go down as one of the most memorable plays of the entire season. It was that good.

    Now, Arkansas has released a video having fun with the moment, in a 30 by 30 type short where Tretola, his other teammates involved in the play, and offensive line coach Sam Pittman give him some love as a Heisman dark horse candidate.

    It’s nice to see the Razorbacks having some fun with this one.

    You can’t help but laugh.

  • Video of the Day – All-access with Texas DL coach Chris Rumph

    Thursday October 30, 2014

    Video of the Day

    All-access with Texas DL coach Chris Rumph

  • ESPN takes you on a tour of Les Miles’ office

    What would be more surprising to you: if Les Miles had an owl and a thumb-sized container of grass in his office, or if he didn’t?

    This is Les Miles, after all. Of course he does.

    It was The Hat’s turn in ESPN’s ongoing series of touring coaches’ offices, where we learned that Les makes sure his SID keeps some grass on hand whenever LSU goes on the road.

    This office visit took place during the offseason, so the grass in the box was dead. But when the Tigers are preparing to play at a domed stadium or at a venue with artificial turf, Miles said he entrusts sports information director Michael Bonnette with refilling his grass supply. He keeps the little box in his pocket during games in case he needs to get a quick fix of lush Tiger Stadium Green.

    “It’s used to cut a dry taste in your mouth. I get it in there occasionally,” Miles said. “If I’m in a home field, I obviously don’t bring it. If I’m on an artificial turf, obviously I need to bring it. Sometimes if I’m away and it’s a grass turf, it doesn’t make any difference to me. But I’ve enjoyed it.”

    As for the owl? Apparently a parliament of owls (look it up) had taken nest on the roof of Les’ porch, so LSU’s facilities staff installed an owl decoy to scare off the real ones.


    Miles, who unlike other coaches did not shoot any videos for his tour, has a number of personal memorabilia pieces ranging from the truly heart-felt (a game ball from the game after his father died, the program from Bo Schembechler’s final game) to the the nutty, like an ad for a local chicken joint that the entire Miles clan appeared in…

    Miles canes


    … or a five-foot walking stick an LSU fan gave him. “Somebody put this thing together so that I could have a weapon, I guess,” Miles said. “The Mad Hatter stick with the little [uprights]. It’s kind of cool.”

    Walking stick

    The whole thing is just so positively Les. We encourage you to check it out.