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  • Jim Harbaugh makes his winners run and losers watch

    Jim Harbaugh mic

    Everything about this is totally backward. A good, solid day of work is to be rewarded with a free conditioning period, and a lackluster effort is to be treated with a full set of wind sprints. An especially bad practice is to be followed with perhaps a full extra round of conditioning.

    Not in Jim Harbaugh’s world. To the surprise of no one, he sees things differently.

    The first official practice of the Harbaugh era in Ann Arbor included a competitive drill between the Wolverines’ offense and defense, which the defense won. At the end of the day’s work Harbaugh gathered the team and told the victors to get on the line for conditioning. The losers were told to stand and watch.

    “It didn’t feel good standing there watching,” wide receiver Amara Darboh told the Detroit Free-Press. “You sort of felt guilty almost. We just lost and we’re just standing there watching.”

    In Harbaugh’s word, conditioning is just another chance to improve yourself, a right that hast to be earned. And those that lost the drill got to contemplate what they’ll do next time to win themselves a chance to improve themselves.

    “If you win, you get the chance to get better,” sophomore offensive lineman Mason Cole says. “And then, you get the chance to help yourself.”

    Read the full story here.

  • ESPN insider blasts Search Firm

    Search firm

    Parker Executive Search is one of the leading coaching search firms in the business (although there are plenty including DHR, Carr Sports, Collegiate Sports Associates, Korn Ferry, etc…). The firm claims more than 1,000 basketball coaches and 2,000 football coaches on its hallowed databases, and scores of coaches wishing their names find their way to Parker’s radar.

    Just how firmly a coach has to be on Parker’s radar is up for debate. Those inside Parker’s walls say they simply serve their clients’ wishes, performing due diligence on candidates whom the school is interested in and offering suggests on others they might not yet know they should be interested in.

    “Athletic directors have changed,” Parker executive vice president and managing director Laurie Wilder told ESPN’s Dana O’Neil in 2013. “They’re lawyers or CPAs or MBAs. The way they run their department is very different. The concept of having that list in your pocket and being able to go one, two, three, four down that list just doesn’t exist anymore.”

    (Ms. Wilder, Bill Moos would disagree.)

    “You don’t have to know us to be in our searches. That’s complete baloney,” Parker vice president Daniel Parker said. “We do original research based on the expectation of what the athletic director is looking for. We have searches all the time where we didn’t know much about a coach until we started the process and got to know him.”

    Some on the other side of the table disagree, seeing Parker and its competitors as kingmakers.

    “They get their guys; they ride their guys,” an anonymous agent told ESPN.

    Added Cincinnati head basketball coach Mick Cronin: “If I was a young guy looking for a job, I’d make sure that the people at Parker knew who I was.”

    Now enter Jeff Goodman, ESPN’s basketball insider and a clearinghouse for information during college basketball’s hiring-and-firing season.

    UC Irvine coach Russell Turner turned down a George Mason offer on Sunday.

    DePaul re-hired former coach Dave Leitao over the weekend.

    Rare to see a national reporter such as Goodman sound off on a search firm to this degree.

    Coaches and agents, we’re interested to hear your thoughts on and experiences with search firms. Let us know at Mail@FootballScoop.com.

  • Penn State is using Spring ball to recreate, and learn from critical 2014 game situations

    JamesFranklinBanner

    For a handful of years now, the insanely popular Madden video game series has had a mode where you can go back to the previous season, or close games in the previous week, and take over a team to try and recreate the outcome with your own unique spin. Sometimes it’s scoring the go ahead touchdown with Peyton Manning with 37 seconds left and 80-yards in front of you, other times it’s stopping Tom Brady in the red zone with the game on the line.

    Take that last play in the Super Bowl for example, instead of calling a pass play on the one yard line Madden allows you to plug yourself into that exact situation; down 24-28 as Pete Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks with the opportunity just turn around and hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch instead for the easy winning touchdown to knock off the Patriots (or you could always throw the ball over the middle…your choice). Changing the outcome effectively gives you the feeling that you’ve somehow changed the course of football history – except you really haven’t at all.

    James Franklin and his  staff are doing something similar with their Spring practices at Penn State, taking critical situations from their 2014 season, and replaying them under controlled conditions to learn from the mistakes that were made.

    The most recent practice example came from their game against Illinois, and they recreated the exact situation down to the yard line, time left, and timeouts remaining. Back in the fall, with under four minutes to go, Penn State just needed to run the ball successfully, and get a few first downs to drain the clock. Instead they ended up punting the ball on fourth-and-one, leaving the door open for Illinois to put together a 54-yard, seven-play drive that ended with the Illini kicking a 36-yard field goal to win the game.

    “We’ve gone back and taken all these game situations from last year, and now we’re going to play them out so we can learn from some of the mistakes that we made last year. Now our offense was able to line up and win both those situations in terms of eating up the clock.”

    “It’s one of those things that you’re trying to make it more valuable,” Franklin added when asked if this was an approach he’s always used. “If I get up there and just say ‘four minute situation, three minutes and ten seconds left, two timeouts,’ or just come up with something, but if I could tell them, ‘this is the situation, and this is exactly where we were at last year against Illinois. Offense, you want to end the game on your terms, controlling your own fate, and controlling your own destiny. Defense, we’re trying to get off the field, and give the ball back to the offense.”

    “So you go through the whole thing, and anytime you can point back to a specific example, it carries more weight. Especially when it was a situation that we weren’t successful in.”

    “We may even take a situation from the Super Bowl,” Franklin explained. “It’s just something that I can call out and say ‘here’s the situation from the Super Bowl, here’s the situation from the AFC Championship, here’s the situation from the Big Ten Championship, or something from ourselves, is probably even more relevant.”

  • Jim McElwain on “the hardest thing you go through as a coach”

    JimMcElwain

    When Jim McElwain emerged as a serious candidate for the vacant Florida job last winter, the talk around FootballScoop’s virtual water cooler was how the Colorado State head coach fit in Gainesville. And not necessarily McElwain himself, the self-described “dog they dropped off at the Humane Society” has coached all over the country, but his staff.

    “Mac has a staff built to recruit Colorado and the surrounding areas and they’re doing an awfully good job at that… but it’s not a staff conducive to go super-recruit Florida,” Scott said in a video in December.

    McElwain built the perfect staff to succeed at Colorado State, which was great for building a contender in the Mountain West and useless in rebuilding at Florida.

    One person acutely aware of that fact: Jim McElwain.

    He brought only one on-the-field assistant with him from Fort Collins to Gainesville, running backs coach Tim Skipper, plus strength coach Mike Kent. That’s an unusually low number for a coach making a mid-major-to-Power-Five jump, but in this case the circumstances demanded it.

    “Getting that part right is huge,” McElwain told Dan Wolken of USA Today. “You only get one chance to get it right. I’m not saying (the Colorado State staff) wouldn’t be successful here. Had it been a job on the West Coast, maybe the staff wouldn’t have changed much. It’s hard. Certain guys took it differently. Some understood. Those guys are great coaches and have landed on their feet.”

    “They were hoping I’d get (the CSU job) for families’ sake,” said Doug Baldwin, named Colorado State’s interim head coach for the New Mexico Bowl and now Oregon State’s offensive coordinator. “I was worried about them because I’d been with them the whole time. There’s a reason why you win: It’s the staff. We had great people on the staff. I think most of them knew that they probably didn’t have the opportunity to go with him. I think some of them hoped they would.”

    Four of McElwain’s assistants received offers to stay on from new head coach Mike Bobo. Two more landed at Central Michigan and New Mexico, respectively. Baldwin and Skipper are already accounted for. That leaves defensive line coach Greg Lupfer, a victim of his own success, as the only McElwain assistant still looking for work.

    “It’s probably the hardest thing you go through as a coach,” McElwain said.

    Read the full story here.

  • FootballScoop has found your official 2015 camp wake up alarm

    PanamaCityHotelWakeup

    Whether you blast it walking through the dorms to wake everyone up for breakfast or a morning run come fall camp, or use it as the opening track on your morning playlist for two-a-days, our staff at FootballScoop has tracked down your official 2015 camp wake up alarm.

    The Holiday Inn Resort in Panama City Beach is blasting the Lion King theme “Circle of Life” song  to wake up all the spring breakers from their Natty Ice induced slumbers. Let’s be brutally honest with each other here for a second; if it works for that purpose, it’s perfect for your camp wake up call.

    Let your grad assistants save their voice for practice, no need for them to pound and shout on each door, just get them a portable speaker to roll through the halls with this blaring.

    No thank you necessary.