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Photos: A new helmet at East Carolina and a new uniform at Old Dominion

Spring game weekend is a great time to unveil new uniforms. We've already seen a new set at Florida State, and Miami has new uniforms on the way at some point this weekend. Not to be left out of the fun, East Carolina has unveiled a new helmet, and Old Dominion displayed a new road uniform.

First, the Pirates' new helmet. 

ECU helmet

Uniform nerds will note this is just a slight tweak from East Carolina's previous look, but it's an improvement.

For a larger departure, let's check out Old Dominion. The Monarchs, who join Conference USA this fall, have made a definite improvement - even if it does involve significant inspiration from Navy's alternate helmets.

AA ODU




Florida State is testing an interesting technology at its spring game

Without a doubt the No. 1 complaint fans have about attending games in 2014 is the lack of connectivity a live event requires. Cell phone WiFi, which doubles as an external pacemaker for many people, becomes a highly-priced paperweight inside a stadium. Every sports league in America has tried various fixes, but Florida State is trying an idea we've yet to see for its Garnet and Gold game on Saturday.

Instead of relying on the video board for replays, or just missing them altogether, fans can not only see the replays they want, but they can be their own television director and choose which angle they see. 

The school is using the technology on a trial basis, so it'll be interesting to see the reports out of Tallahassee on Saturday.




Get your blood pumping with this 3-on-3 drill at Texas

If you ask me, this is how football was meant to be played. Back in my own playing days, I found our 3-on-3 tackling drills more fun than the actual games.

Seems like Charlie Strong and his staff agree with me. 




Photos: Florida State unveils new uniforms

In the aesthetic universe of college football, there are classics, Alabama, Michigan, Penn State, and the like, and there are new classics. Florida State was in that second group. Rarely do "classic" uniforms change, but that's what happened today when the 'Noles unveiled new uniforms.

I originally assumed these would fall closer to "tweak" than an all out change, and I was wrong. This is a noticeable departure from their previous set.

11 FSU black

11 FSU gold

11 FSU black red

View the full set here.




Video: Experience a practice through the eyes of a safety

A couple weeks ago we posted a video of a two-minute drill through the eyes of Miami quarterback Ryan Williams. Outside of being a neat experience for fans, it's a great coaching tool. Coaches don't have to wonder what a player saw during a play, he can see for himself. 

Now the 'Canes have done the same thing, only this time it's through the eyes of safety Dallas Crawford. Thanks to the Schutt Vision helmet, I think we could possibly see players outfitted with in-helmet cameras during a game, for use by TV, the coaching staff, or both.




How Derek Mason will teach defense at Vanderbilt

For a moment, let's go back to 2007. The stock market hasn't crashed yet, you've never heard of Twitter or Facebook and, best of all, Justin Bieber is still some unknown adolescent in Canada. Times are good.

Now imagine how hilarious this sentence would sound to you then: To keep its vibrant football program churning, Vanderbilt has hired Stanford's defensive coordinator as head coach in hopes of slowing down all the hot-as-lava SEC offenses it faces week after week.

Seven years later, here we are.

Fox Sports' Coy Wire traveled to Nashville to pick the brain of Derek Mason, the new top Commodore, to study how Mason's brand of defense will allow them to withstand the offensive onslaught of Missouri, Kentucky, Auburn, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and the like. 

We're not going to spoil the whole thing (which is an excellent read), but here are some gems that help explain Mason's defensive philosophy.

On repping against no-huddle opponents - which Mason refers to as NASCAR - every week no matter the opponent: “Even if you’re playing Alabama – who does not run an up-tempo scheme – you have to have a period of practice that subjects the players to a fast pace. Over a period of time, you’ll create habits and muscle memory that will help you find success when you do face an up-tempo team.”

On preparing for no-huddle offenses in practice by throwing two separate offenses at the defense: “When we first started doing it, it looked like a cluster, but the more the players did it the more their mental capabilities grew. It started to become second nature to operate that fast. Eventually they could stay focused when they were tired and handle more responsibilities at a faster pace. Once each week, we would run 30 different plays at them in under 10 minutes, let them rest and then do it again.”

On getting your defenders exhausted - on purpose: “We push our players to the limit. We physically exhaust them, but then we train them to still be able to think and communicate after they have reached exhaustion.”

Read the full piece here.




Todd Hoffner, a Minnesota arbitrator and one very awkward situation

Remember back in August of 2012 when Todd Hoffner, the head coach at Minnesota State-Mankato (D-II) was suspended based on photos of his children that were misinterpreted? Hoffner was later cleared of all charges, and he landed the head coaching job at Minot State (D-II - ND) this off-season. 

To make matters even more interesting, an arbitrator handed down a ruling yesterday in favor of coach Hoffner, stating that he's not only due back pay, but he can also have his old job back if he wants it.

Wait, what? Go ahead and read that again.

Has anything like this ever happened before in the coaching profession? A coach has the opportunity to leave his current head coaching position for his old stomping grounds, no questions asked? 

Most people would probably assume that coach Hoffner would never go back to Mankato, call it bad blood or being unjustly accused, most people wouldn't want to go back to that kind of environment after the ordeal him and his family went through. 

However, the bottom line is that Mankato is a heck of a job, a great place to live, his family wouldn't have to uproot and move, and his wife wouldn't have to start a new job hunt in an unfamiliar town. Plus, Hoffner helped build the MSU-Mankato program to national relevance during his time there by going 34-13 in his four seasons, and winning multiple conference titles. Oh, and his wife stated yesterday that a return to Mankato is something that they're currently considering. This has the potential to be unprecedentedly awkward. 

If Hoffner does decide to come back to MSU-Mankato, what happens to current head coach Aaron Keen and the staff currently in place? They've done an outstanding job, going 24-2 over the past two seasons, including a trip to the D-II national semifinals in 2012, which qualifies as the best season in school history.

Too often in life, someone's entire life is unjustly broken and those responsible for breaking that life simply can't or won't put the pieces back together. Credit the arbitrator in this instance for trying to right this wrong. But no one, not the arbitrator and not Coach Hoffner, can stop the passage of time, and the simple fact that dozens of lives on each coaching staff will be affected by the decision Hoffner now faces. 

We'll keep you updated on how this one plays out. Either way, Hoffner is the one in the driver's seat, and that's the way that it should be when you consider what him and his family have gone through over the past two years.

Read more on yesterday's ruling here.




Here it is: Video of Texas Tech's dance-off featuring Kliff Kingsbury

The title is pretty much self-explanatory.

You should really watch the whole thing, but Kliff starts dancing around the 1:45 mark.