Houston Nutt: It's hard for us to say 'next'
Houston Nutt and new offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach David Lee aren’t exactly where you want to be with just a couple of practices remaining in spring ball.
The Rebels have not had a quarterback separate himself and a couple of positions (wide receiver and cornerback) lack depth.
On Tuesday, the Rebels found out that linebacker D.T. Shackelford would be lost for the season with a torn ACL.
Following practice, Houston Nutt stated, “The thing about this game is there’s always an opportunity. You’re a play away. You’re always a play away. Sometimes players don’t believe that but you’re a play away.”
“And we’re at a point with our program where it’s hard for us to say ‘next’. We knew these next couple of years, starting with last year, when you lose that many seniors, the ‘Dexters’ group, it’s a building process. And you want to get to where you can always say ‘next’ and we’re not quite there yet. That’s why we’ll have to depend on some freshmen coming in that will have to play. You’d love to redshirt them but they’re going to have to play.”
Ole Miss will play their spring game on Saturday. The Rebels open with BYU. The next three are against Southern Illinois, at Vanderbilt, and Georgia.
Arizona State ain't messing around with these new uniforms
Arizona State has some “fire” new uniforms. Unveiled today, let’s just say that some was thinking outside the box.
Athletic director Lisa Love said today, "When I arrived at ASU six years ago I noticed we were an athletics program which featured different shades of maroon and gold, different logos, multiple fonts and uniforms.”
"There was a lack of real consistency with regard to our brand. This partnership with Nike, which began nearly a decade ago for uniforms, will springboard us to a new level of branding, giving us a coordinated university-wide focus that will support our aspirations as a high-performance athletic organization."
According to the press release, “The return of black to the Sun Devil attitude is a nod to the football teams of the 50's that wore black helmets. That combined with the strength, power and attitude black exudes made it an obvious choice for a third primary color. Additionally, Sun Devil Athletics has long embraced the majesty of the Arizona landscape, making copper, one of the states most recognized resources, a natural choice as an accent color.”
Unless you are watching Gruden breakdown Andy Dalton or you’re watching Year of the QB – Tom Brady, you have got to see this video. Yes, you will see the uniforms.
"Black & Yellow, Black & Yellow, Black & Yellow."
Jim Leavitt now $2.75 million richer and coaching P-Willie
San Francisco 49ers linebackers coach Jim Leavitt is relishing his opportunity to coach again.
After losing his job as the head coach at South Florida, Leavitt sat out the 2010 season. Just one week before Jim Harbaugh offered Leavitt the job, Leavitt reached a settlement in his wrongful termination lawsuit.
He settled for $2.75 million.
Reflecting back, Leavitt told Matt Maiocco of Comcast Bay Area, "The school doesn't pay you almost $3 million if they didn't do something wrong. You just don't do that, especially in South Florida, where we had trailers (as offices) and $90,000 for a budget for coaches.”
"So in my heart, I knew I didn't do anything wrong. That was a way to get through all of it. It was hard because that's where I grew up and I started the program."
Overall, Leavitt finished with a 94-57 record and 25-26 in conference play. Surprisingly, in Big East play, the Bulls finished third (twice), fourth (twice), and sixth during his tenure.
Now, Leavitt is $2.75 million richer, living in the Bay Area, and coaching the game's best linebacker, Patrick Willis. Sounds like an alright life to us.
Mike London holds off on naming a starting QB
Virginia head coach Mike London will head enter August camp without naming a starting quarterback.
London was pleased with the progress the quarterbacks made under offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor during spring practice, but one guy did not separate himself at the position.
London told ESPN’s Heather Dinich, “Coming out of spring, I would have liked to have selected a starting quarterback and backup, but part of the evaluation is who the quarterback is throwing to. We had a rash of injuries with starting wide receivers that limited the ability to do that.”
“It’s all predicated on timing. This year, for whatever, it was the wide receiver position (with a number of injuries.)
“It’s not discouraging. They have all raised their level. They all understand technically what Coach Lazor wants, where to go with the ball, and how to throw it. It’s just going to come down to performance.”
London previously stated, “I’m looking for a guy who has command of the huddle, to have a presence about him.”
Overall, entering his second season as the UVA head coach, London is pleased.
“We are light years ahead of where we were when we started out.”
Virginia will host William & Mary to begin the season. The Cavaliers then face Indiana and North Carolina, both on the road.
Niumatalolo wants Navy to exceed all other teams at...
Harp on a singular theme for long enough, the players will usually buy in.
That’s exactly what Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo has been doing in recent weeks.
Niumatalolo wants his team to exude a level of mental toughness that exceeds any other team in the country.
Early on in spring practice, Niumatalolo said, "We're trying to create a culture of greatness, to make our guys understand the culture of Navy football. We have some young guys who have the size we always wanted and all the athletic tools, but we're trying to create the atmosphere that helps them learn the culture of how we want them to play. It's a mindset of toughness."
"Spring is more about developing a mentality than X's and O's?”
Before Saturday’s scrimmage, Niumatalolo continued to preach mental toughness.
He told the team, “I’m looking for the mental toughness that you do what’s right when you’re tired, when your finger is crooked, when your legs are a little bit hurt.”
Dang. “Crooked fingers?” Sounds like Coach Ken is serious.
Here are the neat sights & sounds from Saturday’s scrimmage in Annapolis:
Wisky DC Chris Ash talks about his new role
At Wisconsin, Chris Ash has taken over as defensive coordinator for the departed Dave Doeren, who accepted the head coaching job at Northern Illinois.
Ash spent ten years on the staff at Iowa State before joining Bret Bielema’s staff in 2010 as defensive backs coach.
In his first four games as defensive coordinator, the Badgers will face UNLV, Oregon State, at Northern Illinois, and South Dakota State. Nebraska visits Madison the following week.
Ash, who coaches the defensive backs, told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg that being in charge for the first time is a little different.
Ash explained, “In the meeting room, the biggest change is just having the final say. Everybody's got great ideas, we all come from similar backgrounds and we see things the same, but we also see things differently. And when we see things differently, somebody's got to have the final say. And that responsibility's mine right now. To make those decisions has been different.”
Last season, Wisconsin won the Big Ten and competed in the Rose Bowl against TCU. For Ash however, the Badgers don’t need to look back.
“We're not trying to compare any individual to another individual or ourselves to any other team. We're trying to get better every day as individuals and if we do that, collectively our defense will get better. Our guys are really buying into that so far.”
“The biggest thing is, are our guys satisfied or are they hungry? I think we've got guys that are hungry.”
The Badgers got over 120 snaps in Saturday’s scrimmage. Bielema seemed really pleased.
Here's a clip of Wisky defensive line coach Charlie Partridge talking about the challenge of replacing defensive end JJ Watt, who will be selected in the first-round of the NFL draft:
Mike Gundy is $166,667 lighter in the wallet
Oklahoma State has announced the gift of $166,667 from head coach Mike Gundy and his wife Kristen to an endowed quarterback scholarship at the university.
The Gundy’s gift qualifies for the Pickens Legacy Scholarship Match, which matches donations over $50,000 in a 2:1 ratio. With the match, Gundy's donation balloons to $500,000, and will provide $25,000 each year for tuition, fees, books and living expenses for OSU quarterbacks.
In a statement, Gundy said, "Kristen and I are pleased to support the Branding Success campaign for OSU. This university means a great deal to our family. We received a wonderful education here, and today we both count it a big honor for me to coach at OSU and for our family to live in Stillwater.”
“As I said the day I was appointed head coach at OSU, ‘This is my New York Yankees job.' Yes, athletics are indeed important to every major university; but academics are truly most important. This endowed scholarship is one way we can say thank you to OSU for our education and underscore our belief that our players are athletes second and students first."
Brian Kelly pumped up about the Irish defense
On Monday, Notre Dame practiced outside for just the third time this spring.
Offensive coordinator Charley Molnar believes thing are drastically different than a year ago.
Molnar said, “It’s so much better. Just about every position. We really have developed some depth. The quarterback position really exemplifies that.”
Meanwhile, head coach Brian Kelly told ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, “I think the biggest reason to be excited is we’re going to be able to play some defense. I’ve learned in 22 years of coaching that if you’re good on defense and solid in special teams, you can muck it up on offense enough to find a way to win games.”
“That’s been our job since we were hired -- to fix the defense."
“It’s all about momentum,” explained Kelly. “It’s about beating USC for the first time in 8 years and beating Miami handily. Clearly, momentum is huge and gives you something in the offseason and in recruiting. But we’ve got to win more games. Eight is not enough.”
The Irish will practice on Wednesday, Friday, and then play the spring game at 3 PM EST on Saturday. The game will air LIVE on the Versus Network.