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  • Video: Northwestern chronicles spring ball with “The Foundation”

    Quarterback derbys at the most intriguing subplot to any football team’s pre-season preparations. It’s a game within a game, a decision that shapes a team and the players involved jockeying to lead that team.

    This spring, Zack Oliver, Matt Alviti and Clayton Thorson will vie this off-season to replace Trevor Siemian and, as part of its new series “The Foundation”, Northwestern will chronicle that battle. This week’s episode focuses on offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mick McCall and his philosophy toward handling the three-man race, which he says is the first he’s had in now eight seasons in Evanston. “They all believe that they’re the guy, which is great,” McCall says, “because if they don’t they’re not even in the competition. They’re not even in the conversation.”

    “The Foundation” will run throughout the spring, centering on McCall and defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz.

  • Defensive coordinators “have to find a way to survive” in football today


    If you had to guess which defensive coordinator led a unit to a top ten ranking in turnovers the past two consecutive seasons, names like Pat Narduzzi or Jeremy Pruitt would likely come to mind.

    You’d be wrong.

    While leading the defense at Houston, David Gibbs is the only coach who can say his units ranked in the top ten in turnovers in both 2013 (when they led the country with 43) and 2014 (30 total turnovers). His coaching journey has afforded him the opportunity to learn under some quality head coaches, from Herm Edwards to Mike Shanahan and Gary Kubiak, and Gibbs took something from each of them.

    Now in charge of the defense at Texas Tech, Gibbs sat down with Lubbock Online to talk about his defensive system and coaching philosophy.

    “I have a system. We have a system in place. We have a scheme and I’m a big believer in, if you just coach your kids to do what they’re supposed to do, that seven out of 10 times they’re going to be fine. No matter how good the other team is, you’re going to be OK.” Gibbs explained.

    “The problem is, you try to force things … You cannot dictate, in my mind, on defense anymore, unless you’re better than the offense.”

    That’s a big part of why Gibbs has decided to put so much emphasis on turnovers.

    “Therefore you better learn how to survive and you better learn how to take the ball away. The old bend-but-don’t-break philosophy, it’s more alive now in college football than ever, but when I watch defensive schemes, I don’t see that mindset. I see them being aggressive and I see them playing bump man all the time even though there’s no way in the world in college football now the corners are as good as the wide receivers.”

    He also provides some advice for defensive coaches in today’s landscape of explosive offenses by saying simply, “you better find a way to survive” regardless of how your football IQ stacks up, or the talent you have on the field.

    “Whether or not you’ve got good enough players, whether or not you’re as smart a defensive guy as they are an offensive guy, you better find a way to survive.”

    “You’ve got to change up your looks. You’ve got to change up your fronts. And it’s easy to say, but when you talk about doing it, going from a 3-4 to a 4-3, that all sounds good sitting in here, but you’ve got to teach these 18-year-olds to understand it and to do it.”

    Read the full Q&A, complete with some really good coaching content, here.

  • Photo: Oregon State has new helmets for Spring practice

    Back in March of 2013, Oregon State rolled out some brand new uniforms to the delight of fans, complete with their upgraded, meaner looking Beaver logo and some bold new color schemes.

    Now, with Gary Andersen leading the program, some more changes are likely on the way, and it looks like that’s getting started with a fresh new throwback look to start spring practices today.


    The logo is similar to the one that the program used from 1979-1996, and was actually brought back as part of the re-branding of the logos back in 2013.

    No word yet on if these will make it to game days in the fall, but if it were up to me, I’d stick to these options as the primary lids. I have a feeling current players and recruits will agree with me.



  • Video of the Day – BYU opens spring practice

    Tuesday March 3, 2015

    Video of the Day

    BYU opens spring practice

  • Mountain West releases 2015 schedule

    Mountain West

    Following separate releases by the MAC and Sun Belt on Friday, the Mountain West unrolled its 2015 slate on Monday, thereby completing the entire FBS schedule for this fall, save for television adjustments here and there.

    Hold your applause, please.

    Like every one of its FBS peers save for the Big 12 and Sun Belt, the Mountain West (save for one exception) will play 12 games over 13 weeks with a conference championship game slated for Dec. 5. That exception? Hawaii. The Warriors will play 13 straight weeks; it appears the cash-strapped Hawaii athletics department chose a seventh home game and/or visits to both Ohio State and Wisconsin over an off week.

    Hawaii isn’t the only MW program with a tough slate, though. Boise State opens its season with Washington on Friday, Sept. 4, and then faces BYU, Virginia, Hawaii, Colorado State and Utah State over the first seven weeks of the season.

    A few more notes:

    – Power Five teams visiting MW campuses: Colorado (at Hawaii, Sept. 3), Washington (at Boise State, Sept. 4), Minnesota (at Colorado State, Sept. 12), Arizona (at Nevada, Sept. 12), UCLA (at UNLV, Sept. 12) and Utah (at Fresno State, Sept. 19). That’s tied with Conference USA for the most among Group of Five conferences.

    – Power Five teams hosting MW programs: Ole Miss (vs. Fresno State, Sept. 12), Ohio State (vs. Hawaii, Sept. 12), California (vs. San Diego State, Sept. 12), Utah (vs. Utah State, Sept. 12), Arizona State (vs. New Mexico, Sept. 18), Michigan State (vs. Air Force, Sept. 19), Texas A&M (vs. Nevada, Sept. 19), Oregon State (vs. San Jose State, Sept. 19), Michigan (vs. UNLV, Sept. 19), Washington (vs. Utah State, Sept. 19), Washington State (vs. Wyoming, Sept. 19), Virginia (vs. Boise State, Sept. 25), Wisconsin (vs. Hawaii, Sept. 26), Penn State (vs. San Diego State, Sept. 26) and Auburn (vs. San Jose State, Oct. 3).

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    See the full schedule here.