Seven reasons North Dakota State-Montana should be appointment viewing on Saturday
College football is just around the corner. Take a step or two, turn your head to the left and it’s right there, ready to take you captive until the middle of January. The commonly accepted opening day is a week from today, Sept. 3. Most casual fans won’t view their first game until Saturday, Sept. 5. Both are technically wrong. In fact, some college teams are already staging intersquad matches against each other.
But the season really begins, in a “make a plate of nachos, grab your favorite beverage, plop yourself on the couch on a Saturday afternoon, flip to ESPN and settle in” way, this Saturday with a doozy of a matchup: North Dakota State at Montana, 3:30 Eastern on ESPN. There’s a lot to love about this game. Let’s dive right in.
1. It’s big-time college football, live, on your television. This feels obvious.
2. If you’ve never watched a game played at Washington-Grizzly Stadium, here’s your chance. Washington-Grizzly Stadium backs right into Clark Fork River and the peaks of Jacobs Island Park, creating one of the most picturesque settings in college football.
The 25,000-plus screaming Grizzlies fans can often sound like four times that amount, with measurements topping 110 decibels.
3. It’s Bob Stitt’s debut at Montana. Stitt leaped into the national consciousness thanks to a game he never even coached. After West Virginia used an innovative toss play to eviscerate Clemson in the 2012 Orange Bowl 70-33, Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen credited Stitt with the play. “Every time they ran it, I told my wife, ‘Yeah, that’s the play that I showed Dana,'” Stitt said in 2012.
Since then, he’s been something of a cult figure to some in college football.
— Brian Floyd (@BrianMFloyd) October 8, 2013
The Legend continues… A photo posted by Kevin Sumlin (@coachsumlin) on
Stitt went 108-62 in 15 years at Colorado School of the Mines (106-54 if you exclude a rebuilding 2-8 debut season), an academically-minded engineering school. His teams often ranked among the Division II leaders in scoring and passing; Mines quarterback Justin Dvorak led the nation with 4,287 yards a year ago. Now he gets the keys to one of the biggest programs in FCS.
The Grizzlies finished last season at 9-5, tying for second in the Big Sky and reaching the second round of the FCS playoffs. They enter Stitt’s debut season ranked 13th nationally.
4. North Dakota State begins its march for a fifth – FIFTH! – straight national championship. A year ago, the Bison watched head coach Craig Bohl leave for Wyoming and kept right on winning national titles, going 15-1 and edging Illinois State 29-27 for a fourth straight national crown. North Dakota State, who enters 2015 a solid No. 1, is a staggering 58-3 during its remarkable four-year run, including a perfect 29-0 outside the Missouri Valley Football Conference. In fact, the last time North Dakota State lost a non-conference game came at a Big Sky venue, falling 38-31 at Eastern Washington in the 2010 FCS quarterfinals. They haven’t been back to the Great Northwest since.
5. Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer are calling the game for ESPN. Musburger spends his offseason in Montana, which makes him the perfect choice to call this game. The further Brent gets away from the spotlight, the more relaxed he gets. There’s a decent chance he wears a hat on camera, and a near 100 percent chance he refers to Stitt as “ole Bobby Stitt” at least four times on Saturday.
6. If you haven’t been convinced already, let these hype videos work their magic.
7. It’s live college football on your television. Not sure we covered this already.
Mark Helfrich explains how the Oregon staff grades game film before sharing with the team
The morning after a game, you can find coaches with the lights off in their office (or man cave) thoroughly reviewing game film that their video staff / graduate assistants spent hours inputting the night before.
Every staff handles film review differently, but the staff at Oregon is a big believer in grading the film, meeting as a staff, and then sharing the highlighted feedback with players. After practice today, Mark Helfrich explained how long that takes depends on the coach. For example, offensive line coach Steve Greatwood will probably spend a few hours grading his five offensive lineman, while running backs coach Gary Campbell will have just a running back (or two) to watch on most plays.
Helfrich noted that after all the coaches grade their positions individually, they’ll come together as a staff to share notes and make sure everyone is on the same page.
“It ends up being one very thorough viewing individually, and then one we just hit the highlights as a staff.”
Asked if he handles any grading of positions personally, Helfrich added that the position coaches handle all of that, and they divvy up special teams grading among the coaches responsible for different units.
As far as how long the staff deliberates on film together, Helfrich seemed to pull a random number out of thin air, noting they usually spend “about 3 hours and 7 minutes” together.
Whether that’s accurate or not is irrelevant, Oregon is one of the best coached teams from top to bottom, and their ability to coach from the film is a big part of that.
Video: Sark discusses alcohol treatment with Pac-12 Network
Following the most-watched USC press conference in years, Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian sat down with Pac-12 Networks to discuss the alcohol treatment Sarkisian has agreed to undergo.
Sarkisian didn’t go into specifics, saying it will be handled within the university, and then later using his incident and subsequent treatment as a recruiting pitch. “I think the biggest thing is, I’m at the greatest university in the world,” he says.
“I think it sends a great message to our team that I’m willing to step forward and want the treatment,” he continued. “Our team has been awesome about it. They can’t wait for me to stand up in front of them in every team meeting, they can’t wait for me to get out (with them) on the field. All in all, I don’t know if it’s a total blessing or a total positive because there are repercussions that come from it, but I’m fortunate that I’m at the university that I’m at, and that this university is offering the support that they’re offering me. That’s why you choose to come to a place like USC.”
The clip ends with the crew laughing at Sarkisian’s team-mandated up-downs.
Louisville going all black vs. Clemson
Louisville has already gone “wacky” once this year, with the “Uncaged” helmets the Cardinals will wear next Saturday – next Saturday! – against Auburn.
But that’s not enough, apparently. The Cardinals will go all black for their Thursday night tilt against Clemson on Oct. 17. The Cards went all gray for their Thursday night near-upset of Florida State last year.
Alternate uniforms usually have a bit of uniqueness about them. That’s the entire point, right – to live outside the box once or twice a year. Only, there’s nothing unique at all about these uniforms. Louisville’s had a blackout game before, along with nearly every other program in football and basketball. Nothing original there. It’s especially unoriginal when you consider fellow Adidas properties UCLA and Texas A&M are already doing the same.
But wait! That number font looks kinda funky. That has to be new, right? Actually, no. Adidas already used that another alternate Louisville uniform this season. But putting an exploded logo on a pant leg has to be new, right? Maybe? Again, no.
Anyway, here are the not-new new Louisville uniforms.
Video: HS coaches put on sumo suits and hold their own Oklahoma drill
There’s an old saying in coaching along the lines of “don’t ask your players to do something that you’re unwilling to do.”
Every year, players line up in a test of wills for the Oklahoma drill, while coaches sit in the background with watchful eyes, and whistles in their mouth wishing they could still take part.
Well at Southern California powerhouse Corona Del Mar HS (CA), the coaching staff decided to have some fun and stage an all coaches Oklahoma drill. Four of the coaches (two on offense and two on defense) put on some funny looking sumo suits, a coached lined up in the backfield as a ball carrier, and one coach grabbed a few hand-shields.
Take a look at how the drill unfolded below. Seems to me the coach with the hand-shields gave up that touchdown awful easy…
It’s good to see the players and coaches having some fun with this.
Coaches Oklahoma drill pic.twitter.com/sytO2cgJHo
— CDM Football (@CDMFOOTBALL) August 21, 2015