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Freeze describes awkward situation in taking over at Arkansas State

In the off-season, Hugh Freeze replaced Steve Roberts as the head coach at Arkansas State.  Freeze served one year as the Red Wolves offensive coordinator before being elevated to head coach after Roberts was dismissed from the head coaching position.

Freeze described the transition today during the Sun Belt conference call.

Freeze stated, “It wasn’t a little awkward. It was very awkward.  Awkward from the standpoint of you coached a year with a lot of guys that ultimately you were responsible for them looking elsewhere for jobs and had nothing to do with them not being quality coaches or quality men, it’s just when you get your one chance, you want to make the most of it.”

“It was very awkward from a standpoint that Steve Roberts, who maybe the guy that I respect the most in this business after coaching with him for a year because of the type of man he is and the type of program he runs and the influence and impact he had on the kids in the program.”

“To see him (Roberts) hurt and then find out that I’m going to get to accomplish a dream, at his expense so to speak, was very difficult.  The way he handled it all, and the relationship we continue to have, I’ve learned so much from watching him go through this difficult time.”

“When I first realized that I was a person of interest here, I asked if I could visit with him. I told him what I thought was going on.  Being the man he is, he said this is the way our business is.  I would rather have those young men with someone I trust and know has their best interest at heart than someone I don’t know.”

“He was very honest like he always is.  It was nothing personal with us, and wished me the best in getting it.  He thought I should go after it if that’s what my dream was.  I just have great respect for him and am very thankful for him.”

Freeze and Arkansas State open the season at Illinois.  After hosting Memphis in the second week of the season, Arkansas State will travel to Virginia Tech.


WKU predicted 7th, but Taggart votes 1st in Sun Belt poll

The Sun Belt Conference pre-season coaches’ poll it out.  Mario Cristobal’s FIU program is the favorite to win the conference.

The coaches predict Western Kentucky to seventh in the conference, but the Hilltoppers surprisingly received one first-place vote.

So who voted the Hilltoppers to win the conference title?

None other than WKU head coach Willie Taggart.

Taggart explained, “We were in a lot of football games last year. That’s our expectation around here. We’re not going to expect anything less. Our goal is to win multiple Sun Belt championships. That’s what we’re going to do, and we have it in our guys to do it.”

“Our football team got better every single game after that Kentucky game. We’re a lot better from a depth standpoint. Our guys are more comfortable with our schemes. We’ll be a lot better when we play Kentucky. We’re going into that game to win.”

You hear me, Joker.  You write that down, too.  And post that $%^T in the locker room! 

The poll shapes up like this:

  1. FIU
  2. Troy
  3. ULM
  4. MTSU
  5. Arkansas State
  6. North Texas
  7. Western Kentucky
  8. ULL
  9. FAU

Jimbo fired up this morning: It's utterly ridiculous. I call it the lazy man's rule.

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher talked about a number of topics this morning on the Joe Rose Radio Show.

In light of the Willie Lyles situation, Fisher believes that all recruiting services should be mandated to charge the same price for each college.

Jimbo explained, “My thing is if you’re registered with the NCAA and it’s the same amount for everybody out there, (then it’s ok).  There has got to be some sort of regulation on those guys. You have to regulate those guys.  They are solely there to provide tape and information.”

Why do people use guys like Willie Lyles?

“There are not enough days and not enough people to cover your ground.”

Fisher is very displeased with the fact that Nike can fly a family of four to Eugene, Oregon for camp that takes place on the Oregon campus.

He explained, “It’s has to be at a neutral site.  I don’t blame Oregon.  Oregon is taking advantage of the situation.  It’s not their fault. They (Nike) can fly the family members out there to spend four days on a camp, but I can’t fly ‘em here for an official visit.  Think about that.” (Colleges are only allowed to pay the airfare of a prospect, not his family members, during an official visit.)

Jimbo believes everyone would benefit if high school coaches were compensated to run 7 on 7 teams in the summer.

“The high school coaches should be in charge.”  (Not these mentors, agents, jacklegs that don’t have the best interests of the prospects at heart)

In terms of the summer 7 on 7 teams, here’s where it goes bad:

“When they (prospects) get involved with a bunch of different guys on a bunch of different teams, then they get coached differently and then they get a bunch of different people in their life that stick to them and affect the way their getting coached in high school and affect their recruiting because they now become mentors and agents.  That’s the part you have to regulate.”

So what about head coaches not being allowed to go on the road to recruit during the spring?

Fisher said, “That’s my biggest pet peeve.  I am responsible for players.  I am responsible for picking guys.  And not only that, but what about promoting football in the state of Florida?  What’s a greater thing for a high school than when a head coach at a major university walks in your school?”

“To me, that is utterly ridiculous.  I call it the lazy man’s rule.  It’s utterly ridiculous for head coaches to not want to go out.”

What else is ridiculous?  To Fisher, it’s the fact the NCAA is thinking about decreasing the overall size of football staffs.

Fisher said, “I think you need more people to monitor your kids.  Why would you want to police more and take less people to do it? The problems that kids face today is tenfold what we faced when we were in school because of the facebook world, the twitter world, all those things that go on with a kid’s life.”

“We have to be able to have enough people to be able to monitor what we’re responsible for.”

Stoops, Oklahoma start recruiting the class of 2022

It’s seems like recruiting is starting earlier and earlier.  It’s not yet August and almost half of the top 100 players in the country are already pledged a verbal commitment for next year.

In fact, just last summer, Lane Kiffin received a verbal commitment from a 13-year old.

But one thing that you don’t see all that often these days is a high school prospect committing to the home-state university that he’s dreamed about playing for his entire life.

It still happens, but not like in the old days.

Oklahoma University, however, has started a campaign that could pay off next decade.  Oklahoma has started the Sooner Jr. youth education initiative with the theme of, “I’m gonna be a Sooner Someday.”

The same producers of The Lion King and Curious George have created a new video that could make Bob Stoops’ recruiting efforts a little easier next decade.

Check it out.

Nick Holt: For the first time, I can say that our front...

It’s taken three years, but Washington defensive coordinator Nick Holt is beginning to feel comfortable with the Huskies’ defensive personnel.

During a radio interview this morning, Holt said, “First time I can really say that our front looks like a Pac-10, Pac-12 defense, starting to. That's our biggest progress is our front, our defensive line, just watching our guys walk around campus, we are starting to look like the real deal finally, just bigger and real athletic.''

Holt added, “Our conference offensively is just so good that day-in and day-out, week-in and week-out, it's a hard conference. But hopefully we are getting to a point defensively where our players know our stuff and we've got good players that that won't happen, and we have to make it not happen, and hopefully that's the case. Athletically we're getting to that point. We're nowhere near where we need to be but we're a lot better than we were three years ago, that's for sure.''

In his first season as defensive coordinator, the Huskies allowed 26 points per game.  Last season, that number rose to 29 points per game, but the Washington defense limited to Nebraska to only 7 points in the 19-7 Holiday Bowl victory.

This season, Washington opens against Eastern Washington.  After hosting Hawaii in week #2, the Huskies will travel to Nebraska.

Your town, Your team, Your gameday

Please football season get here.  Yes, we are going with a LA Tech schedule report on Monday afternoon.

LA Tech head coach Sonny Dykes is one of twelve head coaches entering his second overall season as a head coach.

Unfortunately for Dykes, the Bulldogs will host only five home games this season.  The Bulldogs will host Central Arkansas, Houston, Hawaii, San Jose State, and New Mexico State.

The road schedule includes Southern Miss, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss. 

Beginning with an October 8th game at Idaho, the Bulldogs will travel five out the next six weeks.  It’s at Idaho, at Utah State, San Jose State, at Fresno State, at Ole Miss, at Nevada.  Boy, don't those long plane rides sound exciting.

Surprisingly, Phil Steele ranked the LA Tech schedule only 78th toughest in the country.

On the same day that Steele released his “toughest schedule” rankings, LA Tech released their 2011 marketing slogan.

We like the little kid on the lower left side with the face paint.  How fired up is he to be on the LA Tech schedule poster?  He gets a great photo, but Sonny gets nothing.

"Your town, Your team, Your gameday"


12 coaches preparing for year #2 as head coaches

In a couple of weeks, twelve coaches will enter their second overall season as head coaches.  

That list includes Joker Phillips, Rob Ianello, Jeff Quinn, Dan Enos, Ruffin McNeill, Jimbo Fisher, Sonny Dykes, Charlie Strong, Doc Holliday, Larry Porter, Mike MacIntyre, and Willie Taggart.

Of that list, only four head coaches led their teams to bowl games...Fisher, Strong, Phillips, and McNeill.

After leading Kentucky to a 6-7 record in 2010, Joker Phillips admitted this week, “Everybody says if you're a coordinator, it prepares you to be a head coach, but that's not true. There's so many little things that you have to take care of."

He added, "There's nothing that really prepares you for all of the things that come up during the season."

In 2011, Kentucky will be rockin' new uniforms. That’s not the only thing new, either.  Rick Minter is now coordinating the defense, while Steve Perdue joined the staff as the new running backs coach. 

There will also be a brand new HD video board and sound system  at Commonwealth Stadium.

Kentucky opens the season against Western Kentucky in Nashville, TN.  


Who will deliberately enrage Nick Saban on Friday morning?

It's sort of a slow Monday morning, but things are certain to pick up throughout the week.  SEC Media Days begin on Wednesday from Birmingham, AL.

Wednesday's schedule includes Petrino, Spurrier, Muschamp, and Mullen.

Thursday's schedule includes Joker, Richt, Chizik, and Dooley.

Friday's schedule includes Saban, James Franklin, Nutt, and Les.

This morning, our favorite tweet came from EDSBS, who wrote, "SEC Media Days are this week. Commence annual straw-drawing to pick reporter who will ask question to deliberately enrage Nick Saban."

In case anyone needs suggestions, we've gathered some questions that would likely agitate Coach Saban.

1. Coach, can you please give me the day & time when you will let us know who your starting quarterback will be?

2.  Coach, can you give us an in-depth injury report?

3.  Coach, you finished 4th in the SEC West last season, but your overall success at Bama has been terrific.  You seem to enjoy being back in college football.  Are you dead set on staying in college football?

4.  Coach, how many of those “Never Forget, 28-27” signs are still up inside your facility?

5.  Coach, you seemed rather juiced during your youth camper speech in June.  Could you enlighten us as to which player may have been arrested the night before?

6.  Coach, can you tell us about your relationship with Will Muschamp and how you think he will do at Florida?

7.  Coach, what did you think of Gene Chizik’s new book?

8.  Coach, again, for the record, how many games do you think Auburn would have won last year without Cam Newton?


Do you have a good question for Coach Saban?  Let us know in our newly added conversation section down below.