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  • Illinois has fired head coach Tim Beckman

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    FootballScoop has learned that Illinois has fired head coach Tim Beckman. We are told offensive coordinator Bill Cubit will serve as interim head coach.

    The school has announced the change, saying the preliminary results into a review of Beckman’s program following allegations of mistreatment from former players were convincing enough that the school needed to move on from its head coach just a week before opening kickoff.

    “The preliminary information external reviewers shared with me does not reflect our values or our commitment to the welfare of our student-athletes, and I’ve chosen to act accordingly,” AD MikeThomas said in a statement. “During the review, we have asked people not to rush to judgment, but I now have enough information to make this decision in assessing the status and direction of the football program.”

    From the press release:

    During a preliminary briefing from the external reviewers, Thomas said he learned of efforts to deter injury reporting and influence medical decisions that pressured players to avoid or postpone medical treatment and continue playing despite injuries. He also said in some instances student-athletes were treated inappropriately with respect to whether they could remain on scholarship during the spring semester of their senior year if they weren’t on the team.

    Beckman has been dismissed with cause, meaning he will not receive the $3.1 million remaining on his contract or his $743,000 buyout.

    Beckman posted a 12-25 mark in three seasons at the school, peaking with a 6-7 2014 campaign that ended in a Heart of Dallas Bowl loss to Louisiana Tech. Beckman came to Illinois after a 21-16 stint at Toledo, leading the Fighting Illini to two wins in his 2012 debut and then adding two victories per season.

    Illinois opens the 2015 season against Kent State next Saturday.

    Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest in all coaching news.

  • Minnesota has released a “Frogger” style game for you to play

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    The name of the game for athletic departments in the modern age of college football is to find a way to connect with your fan base, and there are an infinite amount of ways to do that.

    Earlier today, Minnesota released an interesting game called Go Gopher Go inspired by everyone’s favorite 1981 video game – Frogger. In it, you control Goldy the Gopher, and have to navigate your way through a sea of TCU defenders, and then onto Goldy’s slide and push-up planks to get to the top of the screen.

    Something tells me Big Ten fans are going to waste a good portion of their work day trying to beat their previous high score on this. Give it a try yourself via this link.

    If we’re being honest, I’ve already spent 15 minutes on it…and I’m not very good.

    Minnesota opens up with TCU at home on Thursday, September 3rd (less than a week away) at 8pm EST.

     

  • Ben Herbert has a great illustration every strength coach can borrow

     

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    Pete Thamel has a long, up-close profile of Bret Bielema’s Arkansas and how much – and how successfully – it differs from Bobby Petrino’s Arkansas up at Campus Rush. It’s a great read. At the heart of the change is a little trick strength coach Ben Herbert brought with him from Wisconsin.

    Prior to Wisconsin’s 2009 season, strength coach Ben Herbert bought two oversized houseplants from the Home Depot and stationed them in the weight room. One plant’s nametag read: “I’m The Governor. I take pride in how I care about myself. I focus on nutrition, hydration and meal frequency.” The other’s tag read: “I’m The Deacon. What’s going on? I’ve heard all these things about feeding the body well and hydrating, but I’ve got this far doing it my own way.”

    Over the next four weeks Herbert fed The Governor heavy doses of Miracle Grow and water. He fed The Deacon cheap whisky, Miller High Life and crumbled bits of Oreos and Doritos. “The Governor shot up and looked beautiful,” Herbert said. “And The Deacon looked and smelled so bad that guys were begging me to get it out of the weight room.” Herbert’s plant parable resonated to such a degree that a few weeks ago a Central Michigan transfer who debuted for Wisconsin in 2009 shot Herbert a message. “I’m in Governor mode,” J.J. Watt, the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, texted after a strenuous workout.

    House plants go for as little as $5.99 a piece at HomeDepot.com and a pound and a half of Miracle Gro goes for the same price. Herbert taught his players a lesson his words could never accomplish for the price of one Andrew Jackson. Brilliant.

    Herbert also created a culture where players strived to become the best workout warriors on the team, and the reward was a harder workout.

    Herbert also instilled a unique incentive to the weight room, as the program’s top four performers—Williams, junior linebacker Brooks Ellis, junior defensive end Jamichael Winston and senior receiver Keon Hatcher—earned invitations into a special Black Room workout. Throughout the summer, only those four were allowed to enter the converted closet where they endured separate, more rigorous workouts than the rest of their teammates. The Black Room serves as motivation for the best workers on the roster, and it features a photograph of Mike Tyson. The accompanying quote doubles as a mantra for the Hogs: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

    Read the full piece here.

  • Photos: Take a look at Louisville’s planned stadium expansion

    Louisville will announce a “major athletics project” at 11 a.m. on Friday, but thanks to the Louisville Courier-Journal and some tweet-happy Cardinals boosters, we already know what Tom Jurich and company have in store.

    Louisville will pursue a $55 million expansion to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium intended to “close the bowl” at the 55,000 seat stadium. The expansion – which will include new seats, 1,000 club seats, 65 loge boxes and 10 field-level suites, will bring capacity to “approximately” 65,000, trailing only Florida State, Clemson and Virginia Tech among on-campus ACC stadiums.

    While they’re at it, Louisville will also significantly upgrade the Howard Schnellenberger Football Complex, doubling the weight room’s size and enhancing the team’s meeting spaces, players’ lounge, coaches’ offices and locker room.

    “We are extremely excited to launch this project and I know our fans are thrilled as well,” Jurich said in a statement. “We worked extremely hard on this one to assure the timing was right before we moved forward. We feel that we have a plan in place that will excite our fans and continue to advance our program, which has truly gained a national stage with our university’s move to the ACC.”

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    Photos courtesy Louisville athletics. See more here.

  • Video: “One Team, One Heartbeat”

    Friday night lights are back on fields of green across this country. This is a beautiful thing.

    Indiana TV station WANE runs a weekly feature throughout football season highlighting one high school coach per week, and last week it was New Haven’s Jim Rowland. As you’ll see, his locker room speech game is strong, and so is his coaching ability. New Haven would go on to defeat Heritage, 42-0.

    Check it out.