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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.

Addazio explains the Urban Meyer coaching tree

A number of assistant coaches that have worked under Urban Meyer have landed head coaching jobs.

The list includes Dan McCarney, Steve Addazio, Charlie Strong, Dan Mullen, Kyle Whittingham, Gregg Brandon, Mike Sanford, and Tim Beckman.

What’s the secret?

According to Temple head coach Steve Addazio, "Let me put it like this: The coaches who become head coaches, who came from Florida - you bought a franchise."

Addazio told Mike Jenson of the Philadelphia Inquirer that it’s important to know who you are and what you are.

He explained, "You've got to be sure of who you are and what you are. Let me put it in perspective here. In 100 and something years of football at Florida, there were three national championships. I was there for two of them.”

“Does this mean that they had 97 years of misery? That if you don't win a national title it's all misery? Come on. As a coach, you've got to learn how to handle that, right?"

Temple will play their spring game this Saturday.  Addazio’s first game as head coach will be against Villanova.  The next three are at Akron, Penn State, and at Maryland.

Clancy Pendergast set to dial blitzes in AT&T Park

Cal opens the season with 5 games at 5 different sites due to the renovation of Memorial Stadium in Berkley.

The season starts with Fresno State (Candlestick Park), at Colorado, Presbyterian (AT&T Park), at Washington, and at Oregon.  In total, the Bears will play 5 games at AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants.

Unfortunately, Jeff Tedford will start a quarterback without much experience, if any.

All the way from FootballScoop Headquarters, we can hear Tedford hollering down the hall, “Clancy, we’re gonna need the defense to be stout early on.”

So have the players been more comfortable in their second spring in Clancy Pendergast’s defensive scheme?

Pendergast told ESPN’s Ted Miller, “No question.  We are able to move on to more specific details and really focusing on our technique.  Our defense is not only predicated on communication but playing fast, and when you know what you are doing, you’re able to play fast.”

“As you look at our tape, game by game as the season went on last year, I felt like we were playing faster and faster.  We are way ahead at this point as opposed to last year.  Guys are picking it up and there is a lot of chatter on the field.”

In the meantime, check out Cal’s promo video that encourages fans to support the Bears during their home games at AT&T Park.


Brandon Doman: We're going to return to our roots

Brandon Doman once won his first 14 starts as the BYU quarterback.

Now, as the Cougars’ offensive coordinator, Doman says the offense will have a different feel next season.

As BYU nears the finish of spring practice, Doman said, “We’re going to return to our roots.”

“I want BYU fans to feel like we are attacking, and through the air. I want them to feel like this is the BYU offense of old, and that we are going to throw the football a lot, like we used to do.”

Luckily for Doman, he’ll have talented sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps under center when the Cougars open on the road at Ole Miss.

Doman is part of a revamped staff that include new wide receivers coach Ben Cahoun and former Navy assistant Joe DuPaix.  DuPaix is coaching the running backs and serving as the recruiting coordinator.

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall likes the chemistry of the new staff and told the Salt Lake Tribune, “I have had more fun this past two months, or however long it has been, than in the last six years.”

Those are some interesting comments, but not the most interesting involving BYU today.

During an morning interview on ESPN Radio, former BYU quarterback Jim McMahon was asked  his thoughts on Brandon Davies’ suspension from the BYU basketball team for reportedly violating the school’s honor code of not having premarital sex.

McMahon said he had a simple solution back in the day.

“You had to find girls who kept their mouths shut.”

Petrino and Willy Robinson thinking Atlanta, could be another wild Saturday

Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson and head coach Bobby Petrino believe it’s time for Arkansas to take the next step.

Under Petrino, the Razorbacks have finished 5-7, 8-5, and 10-3.

Robinson told ESPN’s Chris Low, “Our first spring here, my wife, who had grown up in Pennsylvania and knew a lot about football, sat down there and said, ‘You guys look like a high school football team. That doesn’t look like a college team. I don’t know how you’re going to compete in the SEC because I’ve seen those people, too.’ ” 

“Without a doubt, we feel like we can be playing for our conference championship in Atlanta. We feel that in all of our hearts. We’ve taken a step every year, and our kids are really driven to do that. We had so many freshmen playing for us our first year on defense. That was scary, but it helped us on down the line.”

Petrino echoed Robinson’s comments.  He said, “Everybody in our program understands now how we’re going to work and how we’re going to go about our business. We’re not fighting attitudes or guys saying that we never did it this way or that way before. Just the continuity of the program … it’s all in order.”

Following Saturday’s scrimmage, Petrino said, "Defensively, we keep getting better. We're playing our gap control. I really think we have a chance to be a very, very good defensive front that will really rush the passer."

Saturday should be a lot of fun on campus in Fayetteville.  The spring game kick-offs at 4 PM EST.  Later on that night, coming off a sweep of LSU, the Razorbacks will host Mississippi State in baseball.

This past Saturday night, the Hogs hit a 3-run walk-off homer in the 9th to beat LSU.  If the scene this weekend is anything like this past Saturday...well, there's going to be plenty of cold beverage drinking and good times in the outfield stands.

Watch this celebration after the walk-off homer.