Texas Tech players held a halftime dunk contest last night
Texas Tech is not the first football team to provide halftime basketball entertainment with a dunk contest, but they are the first I've seen to capture the festivities on a GoPro camera.
In front of 12,667 fans, five Red Raiders put on a show the NBA should be envious of, capped by one player leaping over the oversized mascot head of Raider Red to slam one home.
Sadly, the football team's efforts were not enough to spur their basketball counterparts on to victory, as No. 8 Kansas squeaked by Texas Tech, 64-63.
'I hope there's enough scientific evidence to make sure we don't overreact'
Last week we detailed how Bret Bielema's coordinated string pulling was a driving force behind the NCAA's proposed 10-second rule. An outspoken proponent of slowing the game down (and someone with a vested competitive interest in doing so), Bielema was one of two non-voting members of the rules committee in last week's meeting in Indianapolis.
The other? Nick Saban.
With that in mind, hat tip of the day goes to Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News for unearthing this quote. "I think football is a great team game, probably the greatest team game there is. But I certainly would not want to do anything as coaches or teachers to affect somebody's future ability to function in a normal manner. But at the same time I hope the things that are out there right now (about suggested rule changes), there's enough scientific evidence to make sure we're not creating something that maybe we don't overreact to, even though I don't want to do anything that would hurt any player."
That quote was authored by none other than Nick Saban, at SEC Media Days in 2012 when asked about the impact of Junior Seau's suicide.
By that October, Saban had begun campaigning against hurry up offenses with the now-infamous "is this what we want football to be?" quote. At that time, Alabama was 5-0. The Tide has gone 19-3 since, losing to the no-huddle attacks of Texas A&M, Auburn and Oklahoma, plus the 49-42 tilt-a-whirl win over the Aggies in September.
Now Saban is throwing his weight behind this new piece of legislation despite the NCAA having no hard data to support it, the very thing he advised against less than 24 months ago.
What do we make of this political hardball? It's self-serving and opportunistic, sure. But in the dog-eat-dog world of the SEC, Saban (and Bielema) have reached a level of ruthless pragmatism that should be admired.
Video: Players and coaches sell the John Grass era at Jacksonville State
Shortly after we learned that Bill Clark would be leaving Jacksonville State for UAB back on January 21st, word started to circulate that offensive coordinator John Grass would be promoted to replace him. The choice was obvious for those close to the program.
Grass led one of the most exciting FCS offenses in the country (#25 in total offense), and nearly everyone that has played, or worked with him easily recognizes that he posses the traits that make up a quality head coach.
Here, in this video from the Gamecocks, 2013 highlights are mixed intermittently with players and coaches talk about Grass' character and how he genuinely cares for every person involved in the program.
There's no doubt that this is being shown to recruits considering Jacksonville State. The only people that may like it more than the recruits, are their parents.
Video: 'This is about a lot more than football'
Colorado State got more than a head coach when it plucked Jim McElwain away from Alabama in 2012. Also making the trip from Tuscaloosa to Fort Collins was a green-and-gold replica of Alabama's Fourth Quarter program, Ram U.
"This is about more than football," McElwain said. "The lessons learned and the endurance required in the Ram U program will not only help them in playing the game of football, but will carry with them the rest of their lives, with their families and in their careers."
In practical purposes, that means a one-hour lift four days a week and then a one-hour afternoon session focusing on agility and conditioning. "It's still tough. Every year you have to come out ready and you have to come out prepared," said senior tight end Kivon Cartwright. "You know you physically can get through the program since you've done it before, it's just mentally telling yourself that and pushing yourself to the limit."
From year one to year two at Ram U, Colorado State improved its record from 4-8 in McElwain's debut season of 2012 to an 8-6 mark with a 48-45 win over Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl to close the year.
'The biggest muscle we're trying to train is between the ears'
Wyoming's new strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval arrived on campus and realized that he had his work cut out for him if he was going to help Craig Bohl turn around the Cowboy program.
"Watching the film, a lot of our guys didn't pass the eye test. We had a lot of fat and not enough muscle. We've had to transform their bodies." Duval explained.
But before any of that could change, Duval took the time to develop a relationship and trust with every single player on the roster, according to The Republic. He dug in with each individual wanting to learn about their family history, training habits, academics, and how they like to spend their free time. That was important to Duval because he wanted the players to know that he cares about them as much off the field, as he does on the field.
When Duval took the job initially, he had a plan in mind, but after seeing where players were physically, he scrapped it, Instead, he came up with a new plan designed to increase lean muscle mass, as well as increase growth hormone and testosterone naturally in the body. To do that, he installed an intense training circuit with very little rest between sets that would tax players strength wise, and test their conditioning.
One player described the approach as "do-or-die." Either you get in and do it, or you fail in front of everyone. Needless to say, players are coming into the weight room with a much different mindset than they did in past years.
The intensity of the workouts has helped 16 players add 12 pounds of lean muscle, with many players shedding between 2% and 3% of body fat. The minimal rest time is also having quite the effect on the guys, who get pushed to the limit of their conditioning. Needless to say, garbage cans can be easily located throughout the weight room facility.
The new approach has proven very effective, but Duval hopes that the biggest advantage is a little harder to measure than lean pounds added or a percentage of body fat.
"We'll get a lot faster transformations than a lot of other people. The biggest muscle we're trying to train is between the ears."
Why is James Franklin wearing a wig?
James Franklin, a few assistant coaches (including Charles Huff and Sean Spence), and a handful of players went down to a hair salon to get their heads shaved for charity yesterday.
I know what you're thinking...James Franklin has as much hair as Michael Jordan did in his prime, but that didn't stop him from having some fun and contributing to the event.
After initially walking through the door, and shaking some hands, Franklin disappeared to the bathroom and came out wearing an afro wig. As you can see, he pulls off the look quite well actually.
Huff was the only coach who actually had any hair to shave off, and while the clippers were just getting started he stated "I feel like I'm getting ugly already."
It was all part of a "No Hair, Don't Care" cancer awareness event where students came in and donated $10 to the charity to have their heads shaved. The event raised $2,600 and 215 heads were shaved according to Penn Live.
The power of one tweet
UAB's Friday morning off-season workout was just like any other, until it wasn't.
First, the backstory. Timothy Alexander was a very talented high school football player until a 2006 car accident robbed him of his football career and his ability to walk. A few years later, Alexander enrolled at UAB and as we understand it reached out to then-head coach Garrick McGee to see if he could become a part of the football program. Now bound mostly to a wheelchair, Alexander has his own locker and participates with the team as much as he can, including doing upper-body workouts with the team.
One thing he can't do, is run the Legion Field bleachers. Friday morning the team was running the stadium stairs. Everyone was on their way up when strength and conditioning coach Zac Woodfin looked down and realized that Alexander was left on the field by himself.
@DrewChamplin I didn't know what was going on. I was about to go stand up on the fence and coach says. "You wanna go to the TOP" Yes Sir!!— Timothy Alexander (@1stN2ndTimothy) February 15, 2014
Director of football operations Tyler Cook snapped this photo.
Then the rest of the team joined in.
There's a lot of things happening at once here. Woodfin and the rest of the team provided a moment Alexander will remember for the rest of his life but that moment also helped galvanize the team. Following the workout, Alexander broke it down with "One team, One goal!"
Moments like this don't often happen; and usually when they do they are remembered by only those there at the time. This time, Cook realized the moment and was able to capture the moment in a great picture from his phone. Cook told head coach Bill Clark that he wanted to share this moment with the football community. They decided to tweet the photo and tag @FootballScoop in the tweet. We retweeted the photo and it caught life of its own.
To date the tweet has been retweeted 459 times and received 304 favorites. It inspired articles in UAB's hometown Birmingham News, and was picked up by other websites across the country. Social media is a powerful tool when used correctly.
Coach Woodfin's selfless act brought his team together and undoubtedly was a moment Timothy will never forget. Coach Cook capturing and sharing the moment helped us all recognize the power of teamwork and determination.
We spoke with Coach Cook today and he said Timothy is a very determined young man who continues to make great strides in his recovery. We hope this moment gives him further encouragement to keep working towards all of his goals.
Are you ready to see college football's largest scoreboard?
They say everything's bigger in Texas, and no one says that more often than Texans. I still remember as a high school freshman touring Baylor's student recreational center when they made sure to note that their indoor climbing wall was two feet taller than Texas A&M's.
With that in mind, of course Texas A&M's new scoreboard is going to be the largest of its kind in college football. Measuring in at 47 feet tall and 163 feet wall, the Aggies' scoreboard will span a total of 7,661 square feet, just surpassing the current placeholder for college football's largest scoreboard... the 7,370-square foot so-called Godzillatron belonging to the University of Texas.
The new Aggietron is expected to be open for business by Texas A&M's home-opener against Lamar on Sept. 6.