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Ready for year #4, Pelini explains his philosophy

Bo Pelini is entering his fourth season as the head coach of the winning-est college football program in the last fifty years, both in number of wins and percentage wise.  Under Pelini, the Nebraska has finished 9-4, 10-4, and 10-4.

ESPN’s College Football LIVE has the Huskers ranked #13 in their pre-season poll.

Recently, Pelini talked about his philosophy with Randy York.

Pelini explained, “Part of my philosophy is, I think, you gotta be black-and-white all the time. You gotta be honest. You gotta be the same all the time. I hear people say that some guys are players' coaches, but at the end of the day, your kids have to believe in and trust in you having their best interests at heart - on the field and off the field - in everything you do.”

“Being a players' coach doesn't mean telling a player what he wants to hear all the time. You have to be honest with them, hard on them, push them and try to get the best out of them in a lot of different ways, but at the same time, players have to understand that what you are asking them to do is in their own best interests.”

Although the Huskers have lost some outstanding players the last two years to the NFL, Pelini sees more than one advantage.

“You're looking now at 90 to 95 percent of this team being guys you've recruited. I've gone into their homes, and I haven't made any promises to anybody. All I've told them is we will give them an opportunity, and it's up to them what they do with that opportunity. I've always felt it's important to set the stage for that right up front, so they know what kind of coach and what kind of system they're getting themselves into. There are no surprises. When that happens, you're all on the same page from the start. They're not coming in here with any false sense of reality about what they're being asked to do on a daily and weekly basis.”


Pelini explained, “I don't know if we've had a guy make a bad decision or the same mistake twice because they all know the standards. Slowly but surely, that becomes the culture and the expectations in the locker room. It gets to a point where you don't have to police them because they police themselves. That's when you get really strong.”

Nebraska opens with three consecutive home games against Chattanooga, Fresno State, and Washington.

Skip Holtz: Big East should consider expanding to 12, adding ECU

When TCU joins the Big East in 2012, the league will have nine programs competing in football.  Villanova is a possibility for number ten.

But South Florida head coach Skip Holtz believes the Big East should look at going to twelve teams.  The former East Carolina head coach from 2005-2009, Skip Holtz believes that East Carolina is a perfect fit.

During an interview with Pirate Radio 1250, Holtz explained, “I think we need to look hard at going to 12. Is that where we're going? Are we going to 12? And if we're going to 12 and we're going to add three, then I would love to see East Carolina as one of the additions in this league.”

“I have fond memories of East Carolina and my time here in Greenville. I look at their fanbase and their following and the support they have here, and being located here in the Carolinas, I think East Carolina can pick up and really grow into the program Virginia Tech has become, with the opportunity to be in a (league) like the Big East.”

“It's one of the things I'd love to see happen. It's going to be really interesting to see how this is going to play out here over the next couple of months, but I think it's definitely something the Big East needs to look at and consider."

ESPN’s Brian Bennett writes, “The Pirates have a dedicated fan base and a program that has been pretty consistently solid. It's not in a big market but could bring some attention in the Carolinas. On the flip side, have you ever tried to get to Greenville, N.C.?”

UCF and Houston are other realistic candidates.

Rich Rod: The experience has made me hungrier for my next job

We are six months away from the job hunting season.  Undoubtedly, there will be a number coaching changes after the 2011 college football season.

One coach certainly hoping to get back in the profession is Rich Rodriguez.

Rich Rod told the Register Herald, “I hope I still have 10 or 15 years of coaching in me. The whole experience at Michigan has just made me hungrier for my next job.”

The athletic director that makes the decision to hire Rodriguez will be getting a coach that has led a program to four Big East championships and twice was honored as the Big East Coach of the Year.

He has also handled his departure from Michigan in a first-class manner.

Reflecting back on his Michigan experience, Rodriguez said, “The fans were really great. Even people I’ve talked to since January. There were some that were a little more impatient than others, but overall, the Michigan fans were terrific. But the administration wanted to go in a different direction. When athletic directors change, a lot of them want to bring in their own guys. That was probably the case with this one.”

Although Rich and his family are still living in Michigan, he says they may stay the summer in Naples, Florida, but admitted that West Virginia will always be home.

“My happiness usually is related to winning football games. So my first year was miserable. Things were a little better the second year. But it wasn’t like it was at West Virginia. West Virginia is my home. It always will be my home.”

Athletic departments getting creative to increase ticket sales

It’s an interesting idea and one that we haven’t seen before.  In early June, the University of Buffalo athletic department will host a 4 on 4 flag football tournament that will cost $150 (youth team) or $200 (adult team).

All participates will receive 2 tickets to a Buffalo home football game this season.  Although the weather is not always ideal in Buffalo, the Bulls’ averaged just 12,981 per home game last season.

The good thing is that the event will give the athletic department a chance to interact with fans, students, and the local weekend warrior.  There is even a co-ed division for the tournament, which will take place at the Buffalo football practice fields and inside UB Stadium.

The whole idea made us wonder how much money some of the larger schools in the country could raise by hosting a similar event. 

Could you imagine how many people would pay to play flag football inside Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, or even on the LSU practice fields? What about places like Ohio State, Wisconsin, or Texas?

Plenty of colleges now host Fantasy Camps for boosters and "Football 101" for women, but the 4 on 4 flag football tournament is a new idea.

Props to the Buffalo athletic department.  We hope the event turns out well.


Like everyone, USC is trying to sell tickets.  Check out the Trojans' strategy. 


Muschamp glad he answered call from an unknown number

Certain people love to say, “I don’t pick up my cell if it’s a number that I don’t recognize.”

Well, Will Muschamp is glad he did.

In December, while in Austin, Texas, Muschamp got a call that he’ll certainly remember for the rest of his life.

Muschamp explained to CBS reporter Brett McMurphy, "I got a phone call on my cell phone from a 352 area code. When I lived in Gainesville [as a kid] it was 904. So as I look at the cell phone and -- as a football coach you never turn down a call you get coming in because it might be the next great player -- I said, 'Hello.' He said, 'I'm looking for Will Muschamp. This is Jeremy Foley, athletic director at the University of Florida.”

"Well I've got a lot of buddies that like playing jokes, so I, of course, said 'What do you want?' He said, 'Maybe this isn't a good time. I can call you back.' I said, 'No, no, no. What do you want?' Thank goodness I didn't say what I would normally say -- or I may not be standing here right now. As I continued talking to him, I thought, ‘You know what? This sounds like Jeremy Foley.' So I said, 'Yes, sir, what do you need?'"

Muschamp’s first summer as the Gators head coach will be a busy one.  Florida will host a 4-day quarterbacks / individual camp, a 4-day OL / DL / individual camp, a 3-day kicking camp, and a 3-day youth camp.

Muschamp will personally coach the kickers, all day long, during the 3-day kicking camp.**

Something tells us that he’ll likely wind up in Omaha, about 9 rows up on the third base line doing an interview with Erin Andrews, assuming the #6 ranked Gators continue to mash.  Remember, this is the first year the College World Series won't be held at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium.  The classic gives way to TD Ameritrade Park.

** If you believe that, please seek help.  Immediately.


Sark and U-Dub take All-Access to a new level

Washington has taken All-Access to a new level.  Today, the Huskies released the helmet cam video, coupled with the audio, of quarterback Keith Price during the UW spring game.

You can listen to huddle calls like “Gun Flip Right Over, R Right, 50 quick on 1.”  You can also hear the quarterback cadence. (Something tells us Eastern Washington defensive line coach Ryan Sawyer will show this video to his players.) (Though, something tells us that it won’t give Eastern Washington any type of advantage in the season-opener).

Steve Sarkisian named Price his starting quarterback following spring ball.  Sark says, “Keith is to me very reminiscent of a Charlie Ward type player.  He plays the game as a point guard, distributes the ball very well.  Very accurate, throws a beautiful ball. He’s had a really good camp and has really come a long way for a redshirt sophomore.”

We just noticed that Price, as a first-year starter, faces a brutal road schedule that includes at Nebraska, at Utah, at Stanford, at USC, and at Oregon State.  No easy wins, there.


Brian Kelly: Notre Dame will be taken serious when...

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly was in Huntsville, AL today to speak to a Notre Dame alumni chapter when he dropped a line that will undoubtedly stick with his program.

Kelly made the statement, "Notre Dame will be taken serious when they beat an SEC team."

Asked when the Fighting Irish will win another championship, Kelly responded, “I don't think I have much time. I don't mind listening about the past. I think that's great and I don't mind being reminded about it. I don't like to mortgage my future. I like to live in the present. And in the present, we need to win at Notre Dame.”

"We need to win right now."

Notre Dame claims 11 national championships, the last of which came in 1988 under Lou Holtz.

It should be noted that while in Alabama, Kelly has donated $5,000 to the tornado relief efforts.

Notre Dame hosts South Florida to begin the 2011 season.  The cheapest seats in the house are going for $154 right now on StubHub.  Seats around the 50-yard line will run you at least $425 per ticket.


Mack Brown talks tailback problem, says Mike Leach is part of reason

Texas has been criticized over the last several years for not consistently lining up with one of the premier tailbacks in the country.  A lot of people look at Mack Brown and wonder how in the world can Texas, with all of their facilities and tradition, not have a stallion toting the rock.

Jamaal Charles was the last back to go over 1,000 yards when he went for 1,400 in 2007.  Before Charles, the biggest workhorse was Rickey Williams in 1998.  

Today, Mack Brown addressed the problem on Sirius/XM College Football Playbook with Mike Leach and Jack Arute.

Brown, in fun, said, “He (Leach) is part of the problem is a positive way.  So many people got so good in the league throwing the football.  It became a spread league.  Mike did a whole lot to start it.”

He added, “You get away from guys knocking people off the ball.  That’s why we hired Bryan Harsin.  We feel we need to go back and get some lineman in a 3-point stance.”

In February, Texas signed a 5-star tailback named Malcolm Brown from Steele HS (TX).  Longhorn fans are hoping he is the daddy, the tailback the program has been missing.

Texas opens against Rice, BYU, and then travels to UCLA.  


Related story: Texas, LSU, Auburn, and USC combine for only 5 players on Gil Brandt's Top 100 draft eligibles