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  • Will Les Miles let the Marine play?


    Anniston Star

    LSU closes its regular season on Thanksgiving night at Texas A&M, and with that the unique career of Luke Boyd will come one step closer to ending.

    Boyd played wide receiver for one season at Division III Farleigh-Dickinson, then moved to Baton Rouge to be with his high school sweetheart, Tina, who ran track at LSU. Boyd couldn’t afford tuition at LSU, so he worked a myriad of jobs around town and eventually joined the Marines. In the years since he’s married Tina – the two have a child and another on the way – completed a tour of duty in Afghanistan, enrolled at LSU and walked on the football team. It’s amazing that Boyd finds the time to play football as an active duty Marine, a full-time engineering student, a father and husband while also, as he describes in his Twitter account, self-renovating his home.

    Promoted to staff sergeant over the summer, Boyd is a wide receiver and has practiced with the second unit on the kickoff and punt teams, but he has not played yet this season. As a senior, he’s running out of chances.

    “Everyone wants a chance to get on the field, knock some heads,” he told the Baton Rouge Advocate over the summer.

    And now David LaCerte, secretary for Louisiana’s Department of Veteran Affairs, has petitioned Les Miles to give Boyd his “Rudy” moment.

    Boyd re-tweeted the letter, adding a “#humbled.” It’ll be interesting to see if Les can find a snap for Boyd on Thanksgiving night.

    Luke Boyd

  • How much does tonight’s game at Duke mean for Larry Fedora and North Carolina?

    Larry Fedora

    If you’re North Carolina’s head coach, it’s generally not a good idea to lose to Duke.

    For two full decades, Tar Heels coaches managed to avoid that lowly fate. The Blue Devils beat UNC just once from 1990-2011, and that was a 30-22 decision in which Duke held on for dear life to beat a 2-10 North Carolina team. Larry Fedora, though, hasn’t enjoyed that same success. Facing no doubt a much different Blue Devils program than his Carolina predecessors, Fedora is 0-2 against Duke.

    In 2012 North Carolina dropped a 33-30 game, allowing Duke to register a game-winning touchdown pass with 13 seconds to go. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Tar Heels, and sent Duke to its first bowl game since (seemingly) the Mesozoic era. Last year, the Heels dropped another heartbreaker, 27-25, after Marquise Williams was intercepted with under 20 seconds to go while driving at midfield for a potential game-winning field goal. The loss slunk North Carolina to 6-6 and lifted Duke into the ACC title game.

    And now we get to tonight, where not much has changed since last season. Duke is again the class of the ACC Coastal, needing wins tonight and next week against Wake Forest to clinch a rematch with Florida State for the conference championship, and North Carolina is once again sitting right on the nose of mediocrity. Fedora’s bunch started the season ranked 23rd by the AP and Coaches’ polls, and enter tonight at 5-5 – and 15-13 since that first loss to Duke in 2012. The Heels are six-point underdogs tonight in Durham, and a loss sends them into a toss-up game with N.C. State for bowl eligibility.

    The 2014 North Carolina defense might as well call themselves the Achilles Heels, because they haven’t stopped much of anyone this season. After ranking 39th in yards per play and 43rd in scoring defense a year ago, North Carolina places 125th – fourth from the bottom – in scoring defense and 121st in yards per play allowed. East Carolina dropped 70 on this group on Sept. 20, and Clemson hit half a hundred a week later. Half of North Carolina’s 10 opponents have scored at least 40 points and all of them, even FCS Liberty, have scored at least 27 points.

    Fedora’s teams can always score, though, and this one is no different. The Tar Heels rank 20 spots ahead of Duke in scoring average, and a shootout figures to favor North Carolina and its gun slinger Marquise Williams over Duke and Anthony Boone.

    North Carolina has not lost to Duke three years in a row since Steve Spurrier patrolled the opposite sideline in Durham, and before that it hadn’t happened since the 1950’s. It would befit Fedora to avoid repeating history tonight.

    As this video from last week’s win over Pittsburgh shows, Fedora started moving on to tonight’s game nearly immediately after the win over the Panthers was secure.

  • Video: Harvard pranks Yale students into protesting their own football program

    The Harvard-Yale game is this Saturday, and it’s the biggest edition of The Game in a long, long time. Harvard is 9-0, Yale is 8-1, the Ivy League title is on the line, and College GameDay will be there to rile everyone up.

    For the second year in a row, Harvard students have pranked Yale leading into The Game, and this one is pretty brilliant. The Crimson have won seven in a row and 12 of the past 13 in the series, so a group of Harvard students posed as Yale students forming the Yale Society of Undergraduate College Kids Standing Against Sports Spending (get it?), protesting that since Yale can’t beat Harvard in football, the program should be shut down entirely and use the millions of dollars spent on the football program toward academics.

    I’m assuming the prank was so successful because this is absolutely the type of protest Yale students would organize.

    (HT @SBNationCFB)

  • Have we reached an era where coaching methods matter as much as the results?


    I think that we can all agree that the days of the old school, in-your-face-nearly-anything-goes coaching tactics are done with, or at the very least, coming to an end. Our players, the times, parents, and coaching methods, are all changing.

    Last night I was reading an article on a women’s basketball program (Memorial University) up in Canada and their head coach Doug Partridge when I came across a statement that made me stop and think. However, before we get to that particular quote, we have to touch on Partridge’s coaching style.

    During a game over the weekend, Partridge grabbed one of his players by the chin, looked her in the eye and let his temper get the best of him as he attempted to coach her up. The approach made the player upset, as well as his administration, who decided to suspend him for a game.

    Asked about his conduct during the game, Partridge responded by explaining that he was not ashamed of his actions, but he was embarrassed.

    “It is a different era. It is a different time. And I can continue to be the way I am but, within a period of time, the end of my career would no longer be my choice. At some point in time, someone would say, ‘We’ve had enough.’ I am going to need to adapt.”

    “One of my best friends always says, ‘You can’t stand over a flower and yell at it, ‘Grow.’ Well, I think it is time for me to stop yelling at the flower.”

    That’s a great analogy.

    Now, back to that sentence that got me thinking. Following Partridge’s statement on needing to adapt to the way that today’s players respond to coaching, author Joe O’Conner wrote in his piece on the National Post:

    “He is going need to stop yelling, and grabbing chins, and get with the modern times — where the methods seem to matter as much as the results.”

    I had to immediately stop reading and ask myself: Is he right? Are our methods as coaches just as important as the results?

    I’ll start by saying this: regardless of your success, the days of an administration or community putting up with a coach grabbing a player’s face mask to get his point across on the sideline are dwindling…and in a hurry. Right, wrong, or indifferent, society has changed. Blame it on social media, or people/players/parents getting “soft,” but that’s the new way of the world.

    Personally, I would argue that our methods in the coaching profession are more important than the results. I’ve had the opportunity to coach on some teams that really struggled, as well as teams that were a step away from a state title or a national playoff berth. Through those experiences I really subscribe to the belief that the lessons we instilled as a coaching staff were far more important than our successes, or failures, as a team.

    But we live in a results based world, so finding an athletic director that shares that same vision may prove difficult.

    In short: Methods>Results, in my opinion.

    I know not everyone shares that viewpoint though, so I’m really interested to hear varying opinions on this one from our audience. Do you feel that we’ve reached an era in coaching where the methods are just as important as the results?

    Leave your opinions in the comments, or you can reach me on Twitter (@CoachSamz) or at doug@footballscoop.

  • The #HailState highlight from the Alabama game carries a powerful message

    “We just ran out of time, men. We just ran out of time.” Dan Mullen told his team emphatically after losing to Alabama last weekend.

    Mississippi State’s weekly highlight recap includes plays from the game, as well as Mullen’s post game message to the team and the two combine to make a pretty powerful video.

    “There is a lot of football left to be played. Every goal that you have is still ahead of you. EVERY GOAL!” Mullen says.

    “Everyone should feel that hope in front of you, because nothing has been taken from you yet.”

    The Bulldogs get Vandy at home this week before hitting the road for the Egg Bowl rivalry against Ole Miss next weekend.