(Updated with Pics & Video) USC's impressive John McKay facility
The $70 million, 110,000 square foot John McKay Center is set to be dedicated today. You can see the architectural renderings here.
The facility will serve as the main hub for USC coaches and players and will house a 32,000 square foot weight room, and 18,000 square foot training room on the basement level. The new weight room will be three times the size of the previous area, while the training room will add about six times the square footage. That's quite an upgrade.
Above the weight room and training room, on the main floor, will be the academic center with access to tutors, study rooms, and computer access. The second floor will house the football coaches offices, team meeting rooms and a video production area.
Kiffin and the staff are already familiar with the building, as they were allowed to start moving in at the end of July.
Athletic director Pat Haden has called the new facility "the finest of it's kind anywhere."
Pictures of the new facility can be seen below.
View of the facility from outside
Statue of John McKay at the entrance to the facility
Video screen that you see upon entering the building
The new basement level practice field
The new locker room facility
A row of new lockers with video screens
The players lounge
Outdoor lounge bearing Coach Carroll's name
Mural with a message in the team meeting room
Beckman: Simple schemes allow us to get our best on the field
In their first year co-coordinating an offense, Chris Beatty and Billy Gonzalez have managed to keep the scheme simple so that players, especially up front, are able to play more than one position.
As Coach Beckman talks about the lack of depth up front for the Illini, he notes that the schemes are simple enough that players can be interchangeable so that they can get their five best offensive lineman on the field. During the season, they plan on playing 7 or 8 guys during game day.
Coach Beckman also touches on the attributes that Chris Beatty retained defensive line coach Keith Gilmore brings to the staff.
Outtakes from DirecTV ads with Eli, Prime and Peyton
Funny stuff there.
Jacksonville to play four games in London
New Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan is reportedly planning on playing numerous games overseas in London in an effort of "increasing their brand globally."
Previously St. Louis had been scheduled to play a home game in London in 2013 and 2014 before pulling out last week. According to ESPN, the Rams cited a need to focus on leasing negotiations as one of the reasons for pulling out of the deal.
After citing the need to develop an international fan base upon being hired, the Jags will now reportedly play a home game overseas each season from 2013 to 2016.
A formal announcement of the plan is expected to take place today.
Where not to stand during a water balloon fight
Down at Emporia State, head coach Garin Higgins thought it would be a nice break from practice to have the coaches sneak up on the players with water balloons.
As you will see in the video, Higgins has the players doing up-downs when all of the sudden a cart drives out and brings Higgins a few balloons to get things going.
Even though the entire thing was a set up, Coach Higgins probably picked the worst place to start the water war because as he throws the first balloon (that ends up going 30 yards without bursting) his assistants ambush the team from behind...the players naturally run from the threat and wind up all running at Higgins (who briefly takes cover behind the cart).
Fun idea for a break from practice; but it looks like the planning & execution could be improved for next season.
Saban: I'll coach the coaches, assistants coach the players
Chase Goodbread of TideSports.com put together an interesting piece on Nick Saban with input from coaches that have worked under him.
Saban's coaching tree is impressive. He has mentored a total of 15 coordinators (at the NFL or college level) and 12 head coaches. But, at the beginning of his coaching career, he was feeling things out just like everyone else.
"In the beginning when you're insecure and you first become a head coach, it's like, 'If I'm not successful, I'll get fired,' so you worry about your success. But as you go through the years, you realize that if the players are successful and the people in your organization are successful, that's the thing that will help you be successful."
Saban also shared his thoughts on the chain of command and letting his assistants coach, while he focuses on coaching the assistants.
"If you're the leader of an organization and you don't let the chain of command develop the respect it needs because you jump in front of them, then the next group of people that should be respecting that guy won't respect him, they'll only respect you. Then you have guys thinking, 'I don't have to do what this guy says, I just have to do what that guy says.' ... There is a defined chain of command, and you can't violate that. If you violate that, you make that particular person ineffective."
Goodbread also has assistant coaches weigh in on how the chain of command works during game day, how to read Saban on the sideline, why you want to be on his team in a pick-up basketball game, and assistants look back on defining moments in their career under Saban.
Highlights from a solid HS strength program
As we noted earlier in the year, the staff down at Guyer HS (TX) have something really special going on, especially within their strength program.
The staff plans to use the video as a pre game highlight film, and features guys throwing around some serious weight with great form. Right away in the video a player squats 565 pounds.
There's no shortage of good material in this clip.
Saban: New kickoff rules won't affect our philosophy
With college football kickoffs moving up from the 30 to the 35 and touchbacks being moved out five yards to the 25, some coaches are rethinking their special teams philosophies.
Nick Saban is not one of those coaches, at least not right away.
“Until you live it, you don't know for sure how it's going to affect the game."
Saban noted that the move up will obviously lead to more touchbacks, but that doesn't mean that the focus on coverage should be minimized.
“I think when you're kicking off and you have a kicker that can do that, then the coverage element that you have to work on is not going to be nearly as necessary. But you still have to work on it because the one he doesn't kick you're going to have to cover it.”
On the flip side of the coin, the Tide's kick returners won't be taking extra risks to take the ball out of the end zone when they're five yards deep.
“I don't necessarily think that's a positive because drive start is the most important thing. If you start 5 or 6 yards deep in the end zone, then the chances of your drive start getting out to the 29 or 30 yard line where you want it to be are not going to be very good because now you have to return it 35 yards or 40 yards to get it there."