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Clemson: "We're the total package"
Photos: Washington's new unis
D-II version of "Evolution of Dance"

A briefcase arrives at Lane Kiffin's office

Everyone is trying to sell season tickets.

Of course, there are different ways to market your program and the season ticket package.  At this time of year, the key is to get the attention of your fans.  Get them to start thinking about renewals.

USC has certainly created a unique and simple way to get your attention about season tickets.   The athletic department is running with the theme that Lane Kiffin likes his visor.

Les has his white “LSU” hat.  Saban has no hat.  Trooper rocks a backwards hat.  Tressel is going with “The Vest,” while Al Golden wears a tie.

At SC, Lane chooses to go with the SC visor.

Check out the 30 second season ticket promo, released today by USC.

Baxter talks about building the USC special teams

When John Baxter took over as the USC special teams coordinator a year ago, the Trojans made significant improvements on special teams.

Baxter joined Lane Kiffin’s staff after a 13-year run at Fresno State.  Since arriving in Los Angeles, Baxter has immersed himself in to making USC one of the nation’s best special teams units.

How much so?

Baxter explained, “On July 29th, I drove my truck down here and parked it in the parking lot. The next time I got gas the next time on December 23rd.  I’d say to say that I’ve learned this campus would be putting it mildly.”

Following yesterday’s practice, Baxter said, “You get what you emphasis. Our staff is just a bunch of overgrown gym rats. We come out every day to train and to build ourselves from a technique standpoint.”

So what’s different about what you do?

“We use the best body for the job that is required.  The thing that maybe different from our special teams is the way we use our big guys.  We put our offensive lineman in on defense.  We put our offensive linemen in on kick-off return.  We have offensive linemen and defensive linemen on the punt team.  A lot of teams don’t use those guys.”

“As long as a guy plays hard, we’ll find a job for you.  Football is a great game because it’s a game for everyBODY and every body type.”

Here is the video interview:


Bud Foster: Last season tested my poise and my patience

Bud Foster said today, “You’re going to have a rebuilding year at some point.”

Despite playing in the Orange Bowl, Foster knows the Hokies defensive didn’t live up to their tradition a year ago.

Foster explained to the Virginian-Pilot, “You go back and look at those incredible years and that was a heckuva run, man. There’s not many people in college football who can do that. You’re going to have a rebuilding year at some point. And I told you guys that in that first meeting (last August). They were picking us to win the ACC, but that was because we had a dynamic quarterback; it wasn’t because of who we returned on defense. And it was because of our reputation and tradition as a program and as coaches, that we’re going to get these guys ready to play.”

Foster admitted 2010 was a tough season, personally.

“Last year for me was very trying. It tested my poise and my patience.”

“Maybe I even got to a point myself where you’ve built certain expectations for how good you should be, but there’s also reality. Our expectations are that we’re going to be good every year. Now, are we always going to reach that? Probably not. But we’re always going to demand that they doing things right and play with great effort and great passion. That’s half the battle. You can make up for a lot of mistakes by playing your guts out every snap, laying it on the line for your brother.”

Looking back on 40-12 loss to Stanford, Foster admitted, “That game pissed me off.”

The Hokies allowed 534 yards in just 54 plays to the Cardinal.

Foster said, “I don’t know. There were a lot of busted assignments in that game. And it was guys that you wouldn’t expect to bust them. That’s the thing to me that was disappointing. We’d been playing so much better down the stretch. I thought we had really good bowl practices, and then we gave up too many big plays. And all those big plays came down to a couple guys. Maybe that goes back to us as coaches. Maybe our game plan was too complicated. With all (Stanford’s) motions and shifts and all that, we put our kids in a tough situation. But we just didn’t play very well. It was a game of big plays. We had some chances. Jayron dropped a pick-six when it was still a close game ... and the wind went out of our sail. Then we busted three big plays, and it was all veteran guys. That game pissed me off. But we’ll be better. We will be better.”

When the Hokies begin Spring practice, Cornell Brown will be coaching the whips.  Brown's title is outside linebackers / assistant defensive line coach.  He replaces Jim Cavanaugh, who moved to director of recruiting and high school relations.

Virginia Tech opens with four consecutive non-conference games.  The Hokies play Appalachian State, at East Carolina, Arkansas State, and at Marshall.

Auburn releases "Auburn Family, All In" video

Auburn wide receivers / assistant head coach Trooper Taylor has lost three important wide receivers from last season’s national championship team.  Terrell Zachary, Kodi Burns, and Darvin Adams are all gone.

So what is Trooper’s message to his group this Spring practice?

“I tell them, ‘Players graduate, but tradition never graduates.’  For us, we are going to play with a hard edge.  That means we are going to catch the football, block the perimeter, and play fast.”

Trooper also thinks the younger players learned a great deal from the veteran group from last season.

“It’s hard to do something great if you’ve never seen great, but to see the guys win all their games last year, and to see the tempo and work habits these guys had, it’s been a positive influence on the guys.”

Auburn will start their second week of Spring practice this week.  Gene Chizik wants to continue to stress physical football.

Chizik said on Saturday, "The emphasis on today's practice was the physicality, being the first day in pads, and running the ball, stopping the run, being physical at the point of attack on both sides of the ball. We did enough to at least get some initial evaluations on some of these young guys."

In the meantime, Auburn has released a great new video today marketing their "Auburn Family, All In" mantra.

Gruden draws huge laugh at Muschamp's coaches clinic

Jon Gruden spoke this weekend in Gainesville at the Will Muschamp Coaches Clinic.  Over 250 high school coaches were in attendance to the event, which was sponsored by IMG Academies.

As the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Gruden once coached against current Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis in the famous 2002 AFC divisional playoff game in New England.  The game will forever be known as the “tuck rule game.”

So Friday, Weis wanted to get Gruden a little rattled and asked a few coaches in the audience to bring up the NFL “tuck rule.”

Gruden (aka Chucky) responded, “If you go back and watch that game, that’s the worst call in NFL history. They all know it’s a fumble. You see coach (Bill) Belichick and Coach Weis and their fans leaving the stadium. They knew that game was over.”

“Coach Belichick used his last timeout because Tom Brady and Weis were in the locker room packing their crap to go home.”

As for the future of the Gators under Will Muschamp, Gruden thinks the Florida players ought to be chomping at the bit to get to position meetings. 

“I think it would be a tremendous charge to come to a meeting room where you have this type of background. All the guys want to be in the NFL. Let’s not kid ourselves.”

“That’s why they play this game, that’s why they came to this school. They want to play in the National Football League. I think it would be a tremendous motivator for these going. They’re going to get treated and coached like an NFL player, and that’s important to some of these guys.”

Florida will conclude Spring practice on April 16th.

Video: Behind-the-scenes at Jerry Kill's first practice in Minnesota

GopherAthletics uploaded the behind-the-scenes from Jerry Kill’s first practice as the head coach at Minnesota.

We received an email from a Gophers’ diehard that explained, “We now have a coach.  We have a real coach.  Mason was a CEO.  The last guy was a used car saleman.  People are excited up here.”

Kill told his team early on, “All I want you to do today is get better.  Listen to your coaches.  Give me your best.”

Our favorite part of the video is around the 3:15 mark when Coach Kill goes on an all-out sprint to talk ball security with a wide receiver.

We also like his demonstration of the cut-block at the 4:40 mark.  Beautiful!

“We definitely have a vision and know how to do it, but one person can’t do it.  It’s got to be a group of people,” says Kill.

The ending is pretty good with Kill sharing some thoughts on his overall outlook on life.

“Every day is a good day for me.  I’m a cancer survivor.  I got a second chance in life.  Every since that happened, I haven’t had many bad days.”

“A lot of people say, ‘Boy there’s pressure.’  You’re worried about not succeeding.  Hey, I’m not worried about it.  I live every day the best I can and don’t look back.”


Enos to rely on Morris Watts' 48 years of experience

When Morris Watts accepted the quarterbacks / passing game coordinator job at Central Michigan, it marked the 15th different coaching job for Watts.

Watts served as the offensive coordinator at Miami (OH) last season and was expected to join Mike Haywood’s staff at Pitt, but then briefly found himself out of a job when Haywood was dismissed.

Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos said, "When we had a chance to hire him, I was really excited about it from a personal and a professional level. He is a great resource for us with his 48 years of coaching that reaches out to more than just offense or quarterbacks, it reaches out to everything about the program. He has coached at every level and knows what it takes to be successful."

Watts will be in his 48th season of coaching this year.

Enos said, "Morris is the ultimate professional and he even calls me 'coach' now. That is kind of strange for me because I am used to him calling me 'Dan' or 'Danny.' He has been mentoring me for years now and helping me become a football coach. We have respect for each other and he isn't afraid to offer his opinion and isn't afraid to hear other's opinions."

Watts has now coached at Drake, Louisville, Indiana, Kansas, LSU, Birmingham Stallions, Michigan State, Tampa Bay Bucs, Michigan State, LSU, Mississippi State, Broken Arrow HS, Miami (OH), and Central Michigan.

Butch Jones believes coaching staff continuity is critical

Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones says four assistant coaches were offered jobs at other BCS programs this off-season and all four decided to stay at Cincinnati.

Jones told ESPN, “You win with continuity. At Central Michigan, we were very fortunate to keep our coaching staff intact. This year was extremely challenging, because we had four staff members be offered other BCS, high-caliber, high-profile jobs. And all four stayed. I think that speaks volumes about how they feel about the direction of our program and our players, loyalty, all that stuff. You look at what our defensive players have gone through, with three defensive coordinators in three years, and I'm just a firm believer you win with continuity. Everyone knows what's expected. That's been a huge benefit this offseason.”

“Everybody is saying they've got to get tougher. Everyone says to win you've got to be able to stop the run and be able to run the football, which is true. We're exactly the same. We've just got to live physicality every day.”

In his second year, Jones is still concentrating of laying the strong foundation, so the program can experience long-term success.

“In today's society, everyone is so results-oriented that a lot of times we don't care how you get results as long as you get them. Now when you don't worry about it is when it's short lived. So we're just making sure we're continuing to build from the ground up.”

One reason Jones is excited about this season is the return of quarterback Zach Collaros.

“In just one year, he (Collaros) can walk into a room, and he can teach the offense. We can go out and practice tomorrow, and he can call the whole offense and the plays, the right protections. He understands the philosophy and what we want.”

The theme of Spring ball is "Be a champion."  Jones wants a bunch of individuals working together.  

Cincinnati opens the season with five consecutive non-conference game against Austin Peay, at Tennessee, Akron, NC State, and at Miami (OH).