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Rutgers hires new senior director of digital media

In February, Rutgers athletics director Julie Hermann told a class of Rutgers journalism students "it would be great" if the Newark Star-Ledger went under. The paper recently had to lay off 167 (mostly underpaid) employees. When the comments came to light last week, Hermann was rightly taken to task by both the New Jersey and national media.

Today, Rutgers announced the hiring of a new senior director of digital media... and it's Tom Luicci, a longtime Rutgers beat writer from the Newark Star-Ledger.

Luicci started writing in 1974, and worked for the Star-Ledger from 1979 until leaving the paper one week ago. 

Seemingly every major college athletics program these days has a senior director of digital media. It's become a necessary position to employ as more and more Americans spend life with their mobile device glued to their eyeballs. But most, if not all, of them are nothing like Liucci. 

For starters, most have only seen a typewriter in museums. Liucci owns one. 

The typical digital media director is skilled in storytelling through video, photos, graphics and other creative web functions, and toggles between social media platforms with ease. Luicci's battle with today's technology has been a running joke on his Twitter feed for years.

This isn't meant to be a slight on Luicci. He's a talented and incredibly accomplished writer, much more so than I'll ever be, but he seems to be a curious match to lead the online efforts for a Power Five athletics program headstrong in an ongoing attempt to capture the nation's largest media market. 

It's just the latest head-scratching move for an athletics director that's made a habit of them. 




Dan Mullen crashes a frat party

 

Programs everywhere are getting creative to draw more fans to their spring game. Dan Mullen is the latest promoter, and he's offering to do dinner with the Mississippi State fraternity that comes to the Spring Game with the "most presence and spirit" on Saturday.

Well, the more we think about it, maybe a sorority will win and Dan will be doing dinner with the ladies instead.




A trailer every high school coach should see: 'Rise Up, West'

Almost a year ago to this day, West Fertilizer Company in West, Texas, erupted in an ammonium nitrate explosion that ultimately claimed the lives of 15 people. The town's rebuilding effort began at the 50-yard line of the West High School football field - literally and figuratively. It's that recovery that inspired "Rise Up, West", a 60-minute documentary produced by Dallas-based TV station WFAA. 

In the moments following the explosion, the Trojans' field served as a triage staging area for the wounded. By fall, it was the Trojans' football season that pulled the town back together and returned a sense of normalcy to the people of West. The Trojans went 1-9 on the season, but they were unequivocally the most successful 1-9 team in America.

The film centers on head coach David Woodard, who urged his team to move forward one play, one series and one day at a time, and then did the same in his personal life as he went home to a rental property shared with his in-laws. 

The film debuts Saturday night at 6 p.m. CT and, unfortunately, the film is only available to those in the Dallas area at this time. We'll update this page if the station makes the entire film available online.




This advice will help every player you have that's currently in a position battle

The spring and early fall is a time when depth charts start to sort themselves out for staffs everywhere, and for players it's a grueling period of proving that you belong on the top of those depth charts.

At Michigan State, longtime sports psychologist Lonny Rosen recently lent his ear to backup quarterback Tyler O'Connor and provided him with some advice that completely changed the way he looked at his spring position battle. The lesson is one that your players would definitely benefit from.

O'Connor told the Detroit Free Press that he grabbed an open session with Rosen to ask how he should approach the quarterback competition between him, starter Connor Cook, and Damion Terry (who is battling with O'Connor for the #2 spot). Rosen's response? There's no such thing as a competition between the three of them.

"He opened my eyes. It’s not a competition between the quarterbacks. It’s a competition between each quarterback and the defense." O'Connor explained

"I can’t handle with Connor does. I can’t handle what Damion does. I’m going out and I’m not trying to be better than them. I’m trying to go out and do what my skills allow me to do.”

That change in his thought process has completely transformed his thinking. Now, after watching a good play from one of the other quarterbacks instead of thinking, "I have to go out there and top that" and putting an enormous amount of pressure on himself, he now understands that the position battle is a process and that it's a culmination of his entire body of work against the defense, not the other guys in his position group.

How many players on your roster would benefit from that kind of change in approach when it comes to position battles?




Mic'd up with Texas running backs coach Tommie Robinson

If you're shooting a football movie and looking for a prototypical football coach, here's a suggestion that you consider Texas running backs coach Tommie Robinson. In a nearly three-decade career that has taken him to Troy, Arkansas, TCU, the Dallas Cowboys, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Miami, the Arizona Cardinals and USC, Robinson joined Charlie Strong's staff in Austin this January. 




Huge coaching secret revealed

For the past ten years, perhaps no receivers coach in the country has landed (and subsequently developed) more tier 1 talent than Gunter Brewer. Everybody knows the G-Brew coached Dez Bryant and Justin Blackmon; but honestly there are about 10 other ballers in the league who Gunter has coached as well...ever heard of a guy named Randy Moss? Yeah...

Well, coaches across the country have been asking for years how does G-Brew land and then develop all this talent. For years the word has always been that he is just incredibly passionate about his profession and has devoted his life to improving the lives of these young men. He truly gives everything he has to these players. 

Having known Gunter for several years now, and his father before that, I can attest that he truly is one of the good guys in the profession.  OK, with all that said, there still was some belief in the back of some coaches minds that Brewer had a secret up his sleeve that helped all these players become so enamored with coach Brew. Today that secret has been revealed...

Roll the tape and prepare to laugh yourself silly at Gunter Brewer's dancing ability!

On behalf of the entire coaching community, we'd like to thank the North Carolina video staff for not immediately burning this video once it hit the servers.




Video: 'Fear is not real. Fear is a choice'

You might want to bookmark this Boise State video if you have a game this upcoming season where you're a big underdog, or if your roster is full of inexperienced players.

While the obvious intention was to promote their spring game, the narration throughout the clip is much more profound. In a nutshell it explains that fear is not real, but rather a choice that we make.

"Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that are not present, and may not ever exist."

"That is near insanity."

"Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real, but fear is a choice. We are all telling ourselves a story."

"Fear is a choice."




Take a video tour of Boise State's new football facility

Boise State opened its new football facility (generally speaking, it opened last summer) to the media on Wednesday and, judging by the video below, it does not disappoint. Named in honor of the Broncos' long-time athletics director and program architect Gene Bleymaier (now at San Jose State), the $22 million facility checks in at 70,000 square feet and houses everything you'd expect a state-of-the-art football facility to house. 

"I love the steel locker room. That expresses that Bleed Blue mentality that we talk about. … The players lounge, a majority of our guys spend time there each and every day. That’s exactly what you want — you hope they’re staying in the building," head coach Bryan Harsin told the Idaho Statesman. "The way it is set up functionally is as good as any place I’ve seen.”

Basically, it's everything you'd expect a program that boasts a 165-29 record over the past 15 seasons to have.