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  • Spurrier: “First of all, I’m not retiring, I’m resigning”

    Steve Spurrier took the podium for on final time as a college football coach at what had been touted as his retirement press conference.

    Spurrier wasted no time in setting the record straight on that “retirement”.

    Before Spurrier stood in front of reporters, athletic director Ray Tanner and president Harris Pastides, who both urged Spurrier to stay through the end of the season.

    Then Spurrier stood in front of reporters for the last time

    Finally, interim head coach Shawn Elliot took questions

    To close things up looking forward, Tanner was the last to field questions.

  • The staff behind the most explosive FCS offense in the country is united by two common threads

    One look through Everett Withers’ offensive staff at James Madison (FCS – VA), and one thing will be abundantly clear – when Withers left Ohio State for his first full-time head coaching job, he wanted to hire a young, hungry, offensive staff, the majority of which he had previous experience working with. The results have been impressive.

    [Note, Withers served as interim head coach at North Carolina for the 2011 season.]

    Withers has his JMU team standing 6-0 with wins over SMU, Lehigh, Towson, Albany, Morehead State and Stony Brook and they are doing it by scoring a whole lot of points, averaging just below 50 points per game.

    A few of the members of the offensive staff worked under Withers at Ohio State where he served as the co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach in Urban Meyer’s first season. The three coaches that have previous experience working with Withers are Zak Kuhr (co-OC / RBs), Parker Fleming (wide receivers / special teams) and Sean Fisher (TEs). Kuhr and Fisher both served in intern roles in Columbus, while Fleming worked with the offense and special teams.

    Interestingly enough, almost the entire offensive staff –  Jamal Powell (OL), Parker Fleming (WR / special teams), Brett Elliott (QBs / co-OC) – as well as Fisher all have various experiences at the small college level at one point or another in their coaching or playing careers.

    That’s four of the five coaches on the offensive side of the ball with D-III experience, leaving only Kuhr on the outside of the bubble. Prior to coming to JMU, Kuhr was a graduate assistant at Old Dominion working with the running backs and special teams.

    It’s also worth noting the youth of the offensive staff, with Powell in the throne as the seasoned veteran as a 2002 graduate before he went on to play in the NFL and CFL. The rest of the offensive staff graduated from college in 2006 or later, and have quickly worked their way to their current positions utilizing a variety of different paths.

    Now, that staff Withers assembled has come together to form one of the most high powered offenses in the country at the FCS level in just their second season on campus.

    Check out the Dukes’ current offensive rankings:

    • 1st in total offense
    • 1st in first downs
    • 2nd in scoring offense
    • 3rd in third down conversions
    • 4th in rushing offense
    • 7th in passing efficiency

    The infographic below illustrates their impressive offensive success through the first five games.

    Withers is building James Madison back into a national FCS power and that success, coupled with this high octane offense, is bound to get him some serious looks as the coaching carousel continues to turn.


  • Initial thoughts regarding candidates at South Carolina


    Before I begin, allow me to say that following in the footsteps of the HBC is not an enviable task for a lot of guys. I’d also like to add the typical disclaimer, this article isn’t telling anyone who Ray Tanner is going to hire. Ray will make that decision at the appropriate time; but having followed the coaching profession quite closely for nearly a decade now, here are my initial thoughts.

    Thanks to Steve Spurrier, fans, alums and donors now expect South Carolina to compete for SEC championships nearly every season. To accomplish that, they should look to hire a proven coach. Exactly what constitutes as “proven” is debatable – but here are my thoughts as to where South Carolina should look with their search.

    First, I expect Ray Tanner to speak with some of the finest coaches in the country to get their perspective and input on the job. I fully expect Tanner to speak with Mark Dantonio, an alum of USC. Dantonio, in my opinion, is unquestionably one of the top coaches in college football and sources in the past have told me that South Carolina remains a special place to Dantonio. Does that mean he’d be a candidate? Having spent time with Dantonio in East Lansing, I believe he’s happy there. This is one of those times where Mark Dantonio knows the call is coming, has to answer it, and will be gracious in providing input and suggestions into the process; but I do not expect Dantonio to leave Michigan State for this opportunity.

    To win at South Carolina a coach has to be able to recruit not only the Carolinas, but also Georgia, Florida and be able to reach into other states as necessary. A coach who has demonstrated that ability, or who has the immediate name recognition that would allow one to do so is what is needed here.

    This might pain some Carolina fans but here me out on this: you guys would be wise to visit with both Chad Morris and Brent Venables during this search. Yes, both coaches have been a large part of archenemy Clemson’s surge over the past decade. Get past that and recognize that not only are these two guys excellent coaches, but they are also excellent leaders of men. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know both coaches over the past few years and can honestly tell you that if your program is lucky enough to hire either of these two, you most certainly won’t regret it.

    Finally, there is the one coach, and perhaps the only one, who could land in Columbia and immediately be as entertaining and whose offense could be equally fun to watch as the Head Ball Coach…and that, my friends, is Rich Rodriguez. Rich, back in South Carolina, knocking elbows with the boys in the SEC and over at Clemson would be tremendous for all involved. Oh, and you would win plenty of games. Plenty. Like, a lot of them.

    With all of this said, there are certainly a lot of other coaches one could consider and I trust that Ray Tanner will oversee a fine search. He’ll speak with the right people and he’ll meet with the right people. And I expect him to wind up hiring one heck of a football coach, because I expect the interest from the coaching side to be significant. This is a job coaches will line up for.

    As always, as the search progresses and as information begins to move, we’ll keep you posted on The Scoop.

    For those looking for some of Steve Spurrier’s best lines. Go here, scroll down and enjoy!


  • Video: Jacksonville State takes you inside their “Championship Mindset”

    For the past decade or so, and the past few seasons in particular, Jacksonville State has one of the top FCS programs in the country. Earlier this season, at his pre game press conference before their home opener, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn noted that the Gamecocks “aren’t your average 1-AA team” – and we all know now that Auburn went on to squeak out a win in overtime, 27-20.

    John Grass took over the program in 2014 after Bill Clark left for the UAB job, and Grass has helped lead the program to new heights, which includes a second round appearance in the FCS playoffs last season.

    Filled with great motivational sound bytes, and sandwiched in between a heavy dose of highlights, this video takes you inside the “Championship Mindset” of the staff and players at Jacksonville State

    A few highlights from the clip:

    “If we’re going to take it to the next step, if we’re going to take it a little bit higher, if we’re going to chase that ring, you’ve got to believe that you can do it. Because I can tell you right now, if you don’t believe it, it’s not going to happen”

    “To be one of the greatest athletes, to take your school’s program to a place it may have never been to, you’re going to have to have a motivation that nobody else has.”

    “People that are hungry are willing to do the things that others wont do, in order to have the things that others wont have. People that are hungry are relentless. People that are hungry are unstoppable. People that are hungry refuse to give up. In order to make this happen, no excuse is acceptable.”

  • Tuesday’s One Minute Warm Up

    To get the blood pumping:

    -I’ve never seen anything like this happen during a preseason game. Damn you preseason!

    -This is so true and worth jotting down to share with your players.

    -Last night, Le’Veon Bell rushed for 80 yards on 11 carries when facing at least eight defenders in the box. How about that for a stat?

    -This is pretty cool

    -Interesting nugget here. Alabama and A&M square off this weekend.

    The best from yesterday:

    -No it wasn’t a bad dream, Steve Spurrier has decided to retire. Relive some of his best stories and quotes here.

    Steve Sarkisian was officially let go at USC yesterday.

    Could a 5-Hour energy cause a failed NCAA drug test?

    -At UCF, George O’Leary to step down as interim AD to “refocus” on duties as head coach

    -What is Pat Haden’s role in the Steve Sarkisian saga?

    Bielema flops to draw a flag against Alabama over the weekend

    -The #Twitter12Pack is loaded – including tearaway jerseys at Kansas State?

    On tap tonight:

    -Arkansas State at South Alabama – 8pm EST – ESPN2