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  • “If your players don’t know the scheme you can’t expect proper intensity, effort, or toughness”

    For Pat Narduzzi and his staff, spending time in the classrooms teaching scheme (and more importantly, making sure that players understand it) may be more important in the big picture of things than the time spent on the practice field.

    The same can probably said for any first year staff installing a new offensive and defensive scheme, so hear me out.

    After the seventh Spring practice under the new staff, Narduzzi was asked about the possible correlation between a lack of execution and a lack of intensity. He then explained that you can’t expect either of them without first having an understanding of the scheme.

    “There are two reasons they don’t execute. They’re either trying not to execute, or they don’t know what they’re doing.” Narduzzi explained after practice.

    “It’s hard to execute when you don’t know what you’re doing. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s hard to be intense about it because you can’t do it in full force, so those go hand in hand.”

    “That’s why we talk about playing with intensity, and effort, and toughness – but you have to have the knowledge because if you don’t have knowledge, you won’t have any of that. That’s why these classrooms are so important.”

    Good point by Narduzzi. So before you jump on your kids for any of those three things – intensity, effort, or toughness – keep that in mind and make sure they have a thorough understanding of the scheme first.

  • Video of the Day – Mic’d up at Linebacker U

    Video of the Day

    Monday March 30, 2015

    Mic’d up at Linebacker U

  • Video: Western Kentucky’s “The Playoffs”

    USA Today

    USA Today

    It was hard to see Western Kentucky’s 2014 season ending the way it eventually did back on Nov. 1. The Hilltoppers were 3-5 and fresh off a 59-10 drubbing at Louisiana Tech.

    That’s when head coach Jeff Brohm essentially wiped the slate clean and stressed the idea that Western Kentucky had entered its own version of the playoffs. To extend its season, the Hilltoppers had to win. And that they did.

    WKU beat UTEP 35-7, then blew out Army and UTSA by a combined 97-31. At 6-5, Western Kentucky closed the season in more exciting fashion than any team outside of Columbus, stunning then-undefeated Marshall 67-66 in overtime and then holding off a furious rally to beat Central Michigan 49-48 in the inaugural Bahamas Bowl. When’s the last time a team ended back-to-back games with a successful two-point conversion and then a thwarted two-point try?

    Riding a five-game winning streak (fifth best in college football) and returning 16 starters, Western Kentucky like where it stands heading into 2015. This video makes it easy to see why.

  • Pat Narduzzi explains the most vital position group to an elite defense

    Pat Narduzzi knows a thing or two about elite defenses. Dating back to 2011, Narduzzi’s Spartan Dawg defense in East Lansing ranked in the top 10 in total defense every season, and it was those on-the-field results that led to him to the head coaching position at Pitt.

    Yesterday, after his sixth spring practice at leading the Panthers, Narduzzi was asked which position group is most important to having an elite defense.

    “I think a strong defensive line is,” Narduzzi explained. “It starts up front. If you can’t win up front with those guys, you’ve got a problem.”

    “You could have a great secondary, and more, but if you don’t have a defensive line that can put some pressure on the quarterback, you’re going to have issues. So it starts up front, both offensively and defensively.”

  • Bobby Johnson to replace Archie Manning on CFB Playoff selection committee

    ESPN

    ESPN

    One year in, the College Football Playoff is already making its second change to the 13-member selection committee. After seeing Oliver Luck vacate his position after taking a position within the NCAA and replacing him with Texas Tech athletics director Kirby Hocutt, the Playoff announced Friday it had replaced Archie Manning with former Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson.

    Manning never actually served on the committee, stepping away last fall due health concerns. He has now decided to step down permanently due to time concerns.

    “I was honored when I was chosen to be on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee,” Manning said. “It’s a great group of people and they did a wonderful job last year.  But as I look ahead to the various commitments I have – to my family, numerous time obligations around the country and to other conflicting demands – I have concluded that I won’t be able to return to the committee.  I particularly want to watch Peyton and Eli play, in person when I can, and it’s hard to do that when weekends are devoted to watching college games.  This is not an easy choice, but it’s the right choice for Olivia and me.”

    The Playoff asks a lot of time of its committee members – two days a week from late October through Selection Sunday – and one has to wonder if that hollows its potential talent pool. With Manning’s resignation it appears the first casualty is one of its own original members.

    Johnson served as head coach at Furman from 1994-01 and then at Vanderbilt from 2002-10, earning an AFCA National Coach of the Year honor in 2001 and an SEC Coach of the Year award in 2008 after guiding the Commodores to their first bowl game in 53 years.

    “I have tremendous respect for the selection committee and I am honored to join the group,” said Johnson. “As a former player and coach, I’m particularly happy about the opportunity to continue to serve the game.”

    Johnson will be the fourth former coach on the 13-member panel, joining Barry Alvarez, Tom Osborne and Tyrone Willingham.