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What's the youngest age possible to become an FBS head coach? We have an idea

Minds were blown across the college sports landscape Tuesday when Louisiana Tech announced Tyler Summitt as its new women's basketball coach. Summitt is the son of ultra-legendary Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt. He is 23 years old.

 We're sure Summitt will do a great job. He served as an assistant at Marquette for two years, worked under Cuonzo Martin and Bruce Pearl with the Volunteers' men's team while a student at Tennessee, and, obviously, learned the game under one of the best coaches in the history of women's basketball. 

Still, 23 is just unfathomably young. 

It got us wondering, what's the youngest possible age one could obtain an FBS head coaching job? Is there a set of circumstances that would lead a school to hire a coach in his mid-20's?

We think so. Granted, we'll have to take several broad jumps from reality, but we'll get there.

Andrew Luck is 24 years old. He won't turn 25 until September 12. Let's say Luck suffers a horrific shoulder injury in off-season workouts (trust us, we're knocking an entire national forest's worth of wood here), something not even Dr. James Andrews can fix. His career instantly and tragically finished, Luck decides he wants to get into coaching to stay in the game of football. He decides to return to his alma mater, where Stanford magically has an opening for a quarterbacks coach.

Already a half-decade ahead on the coaching ladder, Luck wows everyone in Palo Alto at how quickly he adapts to coaching. Players believe in him, recruits flock to him, and his fellow coaches trust him. Shaw believes in Luck so completely that, by 2015, Luck takes over Shaw's share of play calling and the Stanford offense immediately improves. 

After Stanford wins the 2015 College Football Playoff, the New England Patriots make David Shaw an offer he simply can't refuse. After a combination of Cardinal assistants following Shaw to the NFL, taking promotions elsewhere in college football and other FBS head coaches receiving golden handcuffs tying them to their current jobs, momentum begins to build to name Luck as head coach. Kirk Herbstreit appears on SportsCenter touting Luck's candidacy . Stanford students and alumni demand to keep the job in the family.

And on January 18, 2016, four months past his 26th birthday, Andrew Luck is named the head coach at Leland Stanford Junior University. "We know he's young, but we also know this is the guy to lead Stanford football to the future," athletics director Bernard Muir says. "He's got the leadership ability and the best football mind I've ever seen."

Admittedly, it's fantasy. But that's the most realistic scenario we could see that would allow the youngest possible candidate an head job in FBS.

Anybody got anything better?




A full recap of today's April Fool's pranks

It was a pretty light year for April Fool's pranks in college sports. Or was it? 

No, it actually was a pretty light day. 

The Northeast Conference started the day with this tweet:

Veteran prankster Tony Levine announced that Houston had added offensive line transfer Ben Dew, a cousin of the legendary baseball player Sidd Finch.  

 

"There are a number of very important reasons that I am choosing to continue my playing career and pursue my graduate degree at the University of Houston," said Dew. "Being so much closer to my family in New Zealand was a major factor, as well as being near my Uncle Scooby who lives in Beaumont with my cousin Montan.

"Since I've been at Hawaii for three years I've grown accustomed to telling people that I go to UH," Dew added. "Continuing to tell people that I attend UH will help make my transition that much smoother."

 

Finally, Oklahoma announced that Blake Bell was moving back to quarterback:

It's not April Fools, but Norwich University assistant Barry Casterlin sent us this prank he recorded back in November: 

In the end, 2014's version of April Fool's Day left us longing for the good old days when LSU was painting Death Valley purple

LSU purple field




College football's toughest 2014 schedules belong to...

There are a number of problems with the NCAA's schedule strength formula. Chiefly, there's not enough of a formula. The NCAA simply calculates your opponents' winning percentage and... voila. The difference between 10-3 LSU and 10-3 Ball State? There is none.

There are also a number of issues in projecting 2013 performance on to the 2014 season, as Auburn and Florida will attest. Still, though, looking ahead to 2014, the NCAA's schedule strength formula can tell us in broad strokes who has a tough road ahead and who's living on easy street. And the NCAA says Arkansas, Virginia and Tennessee - three teams that desperately need good seasons - have their work cut out for them. 

It's far from perfect, but it's real football talk on April 1, so we can't be picky anway.

Fifteen Toughest Schedules
1. Arkansas - 103-54 (.656) opponent 2013 record; 2013 bowl opponents: 10
2. Virginia - 102-54 (.654); 2013 bowl opponents: 10
3. Tennessee - 101-54 (.652); 2013 bowl opponents: 9
4. Notre Dame - 103-56 (.648); 2013 bowl opponents: 10
5. Texas A&M - 100-55 (.641); 2013 bowl opponents: 8
6. Kentucky - 98-55 (.641); 2013 bowl opponents: 8
7. Iowa State - 97-57 (.630); 2013 bowl opponents: 8 (plus North Dakota State)
8. Syracuse - 96-57 (.628); 2013 bowl opponents: 7
9. Rutgers - 97-58 (.626); 2013 bowl opponents: 9 (plus Penn State)
    Wake Forest - 97-58 (.626); 2013 bowl opponents: 7
11. Utah - 98-59 (.624); 2013 bowl opponents: 10
12. West Virginia - 97-59 (.622); 2013 bowl opponents: 8
13. South Carolina - 96-59 (.619); 2013 bowl opponents: 7
14. Miami - 96-60 (.615); 2013 bowl opponents: 10
15. Boston College - 95-61 (.609); 2013 bowl opponents: 8

 Fifteen Easiest Schedules
1. Georgia Southern - 51-95 (.349); 2013 bowl opponents: 2
2. North Texas - 55-92 (.374); 2013 bowl opponents: 2
3. Northern Illinois - 55-91 (.377); 2013 bowl opponents: 3
4. Colorado State - 57-91 (.385); 2013 bowl opponents: 2
5. Middle Tennessee - 58-90 (.392); 2013 bowl opponents: 3
6. Texas State - 57-88 (.393); 2013 bowl opponents: 3
7. Marshall - 59-89 (.399); 2013 bowl opponents: 3
8. Buffalo - 59-88 (.401); 2013 bowl opponents: 3
9. Ball State - 60-89 (.403); 2013 bowl opponents: 3
10. Troy - 60-87 (.408); 2013 bowl opponents: 3
11. Louisiana-Monroe - 61-87 (.412); bowl opponents: 4
12. Utah State - 68-94 (.420); bowl opponents: 4
13. Rice - 64-85 (.430); bowl opponents: 4
14. Arkansas State - 64-84 (.432); 2013 bowl opponents: 3
      Houston - 64-84 (.432); 2013 bowl opponents: 4

(HT FBSchedules.com)




Mic'd up with North Carolina RB coach Larry Porter

Say Larry Porter's name among coaches and the first things that are likely to come to mind are "one of the best recruiters in the country", "former Memphis head coach", and "one of the best running back coaches in the country". Those are among the many reasons that Larry Fedora ultimately felt he was an excellent addition to the Tarheels staff, and there's no doubt that he hired a great coach.

The list of notable running backs that Larry Porter has mentored is both lengthy and impressive. At Oklahoma State he tutored Tatum Bell and Vernand Morency (both drafted in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft), and at LSU his potent backfields included the likes of Joseph Addai, Jacob Hester, Trindon Holliday and Charles Scott. 

His coaching style is demanding of his players, and his attention to detail is second to none. Take a closer look at what makes him so successful with running backs in the mic'd up session below.

Now if someone would just mic him up on the recruiting trail...




Dino Babers cleverly lets everyone in on just how fast 'Falcon fast' is

Every coach that attacks defenses with an up tempo approach talks about going fast, and up until recently, only Arizona has taken to the screen to talk about their "Speed".

At Bowling Green, new head coach Dino Babers has found an interesting way to let the fan base know how fast they plan to go in the fall and it involves hopping in a police cruiser in an effort to hype up their spring game and season ticket sales.

This method definitely beats throwing together a bunch of highlights or simply having the head coach talk into the camera about the spring game, and it looks like coach Babers had a good time with it too. Plus, the Falcon fan base will love this one.




Video: Sometimes the best sounding board for your program is parents of players

Giving recruits a first hand look inside of your program by linking them up with current players, or commits, for a campus tour, overnight visit, or phone call is on page one, paragraph one of the recruiting handbook.

However, we all know that the final decision often times comes down to the parents. At Tennessee, Butch Jones and his staff have preached family since his opening presser, and they realize that showing parents that they are just as much a part of the program as their sons are can pay some big dividends.

Here, Jones and the staff have parents attend a practice, grab some grub, and mingle with players and coaches after a scrimmage during a "Family Day". It's a simple concept, but you can tell the parents absolutely love being involved. Two parents perfectly summed up what the event accomplished from their perspective.

"I'm getting to know the family," one mom said. "So you feel like you're not in this alone, and it's exciting."

One dad in particular didn't mince words when talking about what Jones and his staff have brought to Knoxville, noting that "It's just more family like. It seems...how do I say this? More professional."

Hear more from parents, and see more of the event below. Whether you're at the FBS or NAIA level, all parents are going through the same thing when the send their kid off the college. Doing something like this keeps them involved, makes them feel valued, and you'll find that parents recruiting other parents may be the most effective method out there.




The NFL has an idea to boost attendance, and it involves cheerleaders

The NFL, America's biggest money-making behemoth this side of the Avengers films - doesn't have much trouble making a buck these days.... on television. Not when networks are begging for the opportunity to pay north of $100 million to broadcast a single game. As for getting fans to actually show up and watch the games in person, though, that's where the league is beginning to run into trouble.

The NFL product on television has become almost too good. When a 72-inch, high definition view of the game, with unlimited beer and pizza and fully-serviced phone or laptop ready to deliver fantasy statistics comes at a fraction of the price of actually driving an hour-plus to the game, dropping hundreds of dollars on parking and concessions on top of the ticket cost, and missing out on a day of fantasy scores and other action from around the league, it's an easy choice for most fans. The La-Z-Boy wins every time.

Boosting in stadium Wi-Fi is great, but the live experience has to offer something exclusive to get the average fan off his couch. College football has the band, the student section and a tradition of pageantry, and the NFL has... cheerleaders. 

According to Sports Business Journal, the NFL has partnered with app developer Experience to, you guessed it, enhance the in-stadium experience at games. The Atlanta Falcons used the service last year, offering it to 3,000 season ticket holders. It worked as a link within an official team app, and it offers a set of experiences fans can purchase throughout the stadium. 

“Anything from pregame on-field, to a birthday message, to cheerleader visits, to mascot visits, to the fly-by pass, which is a dedicated lane where you don’t wait to get into the stadium,” Falcons chief marketing officer Jim Smith, the Falcons’ told SBJ. “All the experiential things sold out within the first four hours they were made available.”

The team says they sold an average of 800 experiences per game. 

Experience expects half the league to sign up for the 2014 season. Teams can customize experiences they would like to offer. For instance, the Seattle Seahawks sold the opportunity to attend Pete Carroll's post-game press conference or kick field goals on the field after the game. 




Seventy-two ways to improve your program this spring

We've previously touched on 15 ways to improve your life and your career this spring, and now coaching blogger Chris Fore has offered 72 more ways to make your program better this spring. We've posted his work before - 99 questions to ask before taking your next head coaching position and 10 things to consider before taking a new job - and this is another good reference point for all coaches.

This list is geared toward high school coaches, but there's plenty here for coaches of any level. 

  • Self-scouting last year’s offense
  • Self-scouting last year’s defense
  • Self-scouting last year’s special teams
  • Surveying your players about last season
  • Surveying your coaching staff about last season
  • Surveying the parents and boosters about last season
  • Reviewing the results of the surveys to help you make effective changes in the program
  • Organizing your spring and summer calendars
  • Meeting with college recruiters to promote your kids and your programs
  • Attending clinics
  • Reading 1 book per month to make you a better coach (Building Championship-Caliber Football Programs would be a great place to start!)
  • Going to observe a college practice or three in your area
  • Meeting with a college staff to learn more about a system you want to learn more about
  • Meeting with another staff or three in your area to learn about a system you want to learn more about
  • Sending in your helmets and shoulder pads for reconditioning
  • Ordering new uniforms or at least making upgrades to your current ones
  • Get up to date with the new NFHS Football Rules for the upcoming season
  • Creating your Spring Install calendar
  • Creating your Summer Install calendar
  • Meeting with every player one on one to go over a SWOT analysis with them for next season (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
  • Meeting with every coach one on one to go over a SWOT analysis with them for next season (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
  • Having a golf tournament to raise money for your program
  • Having bi weekly Booster Club meetings, installing new officers, etc.
  • Planning your fundraisers for the calendar year
  • Creating your scouting calendar for the upcoming season
  • Making bus arrangements with your Athletic Director for the upcoming season’s away games
  • Working on using your home games for community events (Teacher Appreciation Night, Youth Football Night, etc)
  • Writing a letter to the incoming 8th grade students already registered for your school
  • Writing a letter to the 8th grade students who are in your feeder system (if rules permit)
  • Having a Football Open House for the 8th graders in your community (if rules permit)
  • Hosting a Coaches Clinic for the youth football coaches in your area
  • Redesigning/updating your handout about the football program with your admissions counselor (if applicable)
  • Hiring new assistant coaches
  • Having a coach retreat 
  • Solidifying your stat girl crew, and training or retraining them
  • Solidifying your equipment management crew, and training or retraining them
  • Solidifying your water boy/girl crew, and training or retraining them
  • Solidifying your video operations crew, and training or retraining them
  • Planning for and executing a Spring game
  • Spending time with your players off the field to develop strong relationships
  • Having a few off the field team bonding activities
  • Ordering new footballs, mouth pieces, etc, etc. (See list of things here)
  • Speaking at the local rotary meeting to help with community involvement
  • Cleaning up your Hudl account (or DVDs if you’re old school)
  • Sending in your headsets for annual cleaning, fixing, etc.
  • Meeting with your athletic trainer to evaluate the injury reports from last year
  • Discussing any new protocols for injuries this upcoming season with your athletic trainer
  • Get any new state or federal coaching requirements up to date (example: concussion management)
  • Renew your CPR/First Aid (if applicable)
  • Stay on top of the GPAs of your players
  • Finalize your Thursday night pregame meal home visit schedule
  • Finalize your Friday pregame restaurant/school cafeteria reservations
  • Develop and meet regularly with your Player Committee
  • Have some lunches with your Athletic Director
  • Have some lunches with your Booster Club President
  • Have some lunches with your Player Committee
  • Have some 1 on 1 lunches with your coaching staff
  • Make and finalize plans for Senior Night
  • Make plans for Bye week – how much practice, etc?
  • Get your charts for the weight room and any speed testing organized, make copies, etc.
  • Develop your spring practice plans – day by day and minute by minute
  • Develop your Training Camp practice plans – day by day and minute by minute
  • Recruit the hallways
  • Go cheer on the baseball team one day!
  • Finalize any contracts for the upcoming season or two seasons
  • Create and finalize your schedule poster for the community
  • Hold an NCAA Clearinghouse meeting for any potential college-bound athletes
  • Hold your kids accountable to being in the weight room
  • Get your kids faster on the field
  • Update your school’s stat record book from last year’s statistics
  • Reserve any field space that you need to for spring and summer
  • Finalize your budget for the fiscal year, or next season, whichever way you do it
  •  Check out Fore's blog here.