Quick Hits: Neuheisel, Les Miles, Spurrier, and Dave Brandon
Rick Neuheisel will be more involved in the offense: "During my assessment of our program, I felt it was necessary for me to be more involved in the day-to-day operation of the offense. I decided that going forward, I will coach the quarterbacks and will be more hands-on in the area of play calling with a new coordinator.”
Les Miles talks about Gary Crowton and Steve Kragthorpe: “ We're going to miss him. We feel like the opportunity always is to get better. I told my team this, I said, 'Had I left (to Michigan), there'd be a better football coach standing in front of you today than me.' And the reason is because it's LSU. It's not because there's another opportunity, but that in fact LSU is a great place.”
"Steve is a very strong fundamentals coach. He'll improve our ability to throw. The main criteria for me in this hire was No. 1, a fundamental football coach to be able to affect our quarterbacks' abilities to throw the football better and more accurately. No. 2, experience in the throwing game. We'll want to come out and throw the football, and we want to throw it more efficiently and we want to throw it more times. I needed to have a guy who could show me not only that he would pass it, but that he could teach that passing in a very logical, very fast, efficient manner to our guys. And then therefore, I could expect that the passing would be better. And certainly an experienced play caller."
Steve Spurrier talks to the crowd at halftime of the South Carolina vs. Kentucky basketball game: “Six years ago, I stood right here and said, ‘Why not us? Why can’t we win some championships?’?”
“Obviously, we had hoped to win 10 games, hoped to win the bowl game, but we didn’t do it. There are still some firsts out there for some of these recruits. If we can add two or three players to this team and coach a little better, we have a chance to do some good things.”
Michigan AD Dave Brandon defends that Michigan will pony up the money: “Fact: we went after Greg Mattison and we convinced him to leave a highly successful NFL football franchise. An important part of making it happen involved us being prepared to pay for the talent and experience we needed. Fact: I understand the dynamics of the marketplace and we have and will pay for top talent to keep our programs successful."
A grown ass man & coach on the field
According to Baltimore Ravens linebackers coach Dean Pees, linebacker Ray Lewis took a grand total of 5 plays off this season.
Yes, you read that correctly. Lewis played 1,111 of 1,116 defensive snaps for the Ravens this season.
Ravens new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano added, "And we chewed him out when he came out for that, for missing five plays.”
Pagano said, "You stay in this league and you play at the level that he's played at for 15 years, because of your due diligence in the weight room in the offseason, watching tape and taking care of yourself. He's taken great care of his body, and he understands that his body is his earning power and what's made him. There is not a more passionate guy. He's a great one."
In other words, Ray Lewis is a grown ass man.
James Franklin makes soft guarantee during halftime speech
At halftime of the Vanderbilt basketball game on Wednesday evening, new head coach James Franklin addressed the crowd.
Franklin said, “We have a plan. We have a vision for what this program can be. But we can’t do it alone. We need everybody’s support. We need this community, this campus, to come together and be united more than it ever has before.”
“Thank you so much. I can guarantee you that there are bright days ahead. We have a very specific plan. Failure is not an option. Go Dores!”
We were bracing for an explosive and bold statement such as, "I am hear to tell you that we will own this state and have no plans to lose to Derek Dooley ever." Unfortunately, Franklin didn't say that, opting for a much more conservative approach.
Franklin did explain to the television audience shortly thereafter, “It starts first with the administration. We’re willing to do whatever it takes to win. We have a very clear vision with what we’re trying to get done.”
“The important thing to me is that we are aggressive. We have to take advantage of our strengths. We have to hide our weaknesses. We’re not going to be afraid to make mistakes.”
Franklin will coach his first game when Vandy hosts Elon University in early September. Other non-conference games include UCONN, Army, and at Wake Forest.
Al Borges: I'm on the Brady Hoke page
As Michigan’s new offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach, Al Borges says, “I’m on the Brady Hoke page.”
Borges, who led the Auburn offense during their undefeated season in 2004, couldn’t wait to follow Brady Hoke from San Diego State to Michigan.
Borges says, “It doesn’t get much better than this. This place is the best. To be here is a little surreal.”
“I’m on the Brady Hoke page. Toughness is critical. There are a lot of people coming off the ball. You start with toughness and great effort. Offensively, there has to be a premium on execution.”
“I was once told a great coach make the kids do what he wants them to do. And that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to hard coach them, love ‘em up and we’re going to make it hard on them sometimes.”
During his career, Borges has served as the offensive coordinator at Portland State, Boise State, Oregon, UCLA, Cal, Indiana, Auburn, and San Diego State. In his four years at Auburn, the Tigers were 41-9.
Quick Hits: Mattison, Pasqualoni, Minter, Morris, Spurrier
Greg Mattison explains decision to leave Baltimore for Michigan: “The biggest reason is Brady. I know he's going to win. Michigan is a special place. The longer you're away from it, even when you're in the NFL, it's still Michigan. Every Saturday when we're in our rooms relaxing before the Sunday games, I always watched Michigan. That doesn't leave you."
"When Brady got the job (at Michigan last Tuesday), I said to myself, 'If I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this with Brady. I wouldn't have gone to any other college team. I wouldn't have changed what I was doing for anybody but Brady.
UCONN head coach Paul Pasqualoni explains his offensive philosophy: “The philosophy will be to score, kick or punt the ball over the opponent's 25-yard line every time we have it.”
“It's a complementary game. So I want the offense complementing the defense and I want the defense getting the ball and putting it on a short field for the offense. If you pay attention to those things, you have a chance to have great success. And we'll pay attention to those things and especially turnovers and ball security, because those are big factors in determining winning and losing at any level.”
Rick Minter remembers when Rex Ryan served as his defensive coordinator at the University of Cincinnati: "It's really his bravado that you remember most about Rex. He had our players believing nobody could score on them. There's a fine line between confidence and arrogance, but Rex really doesn't care what other people think. It's just an honest trait, and he has that confidence. He can also laugh at himself."
Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Raheem Morris says Rich Bisaccia left to help him become a head coach: "That shouldn’t surprise anybody. Rich has been one of those fence guys for the last five years. I’m leaving, I’m leaving, I’m leaving, okay, I’m staying.”
"I don’t know that he wants a change of scenery, he wants to be a head coach. In order to do that, he thinks he’s got to go and meet other people, get involved with different organizations. There’s nothing else, I guess, he can do from Tampa. I think it’s a really good move for him.”
Spurrier doesn’t believe his team deserves “much preseason ranking” : “Our guys are not good at handling a lot of success, that’s for sure. I don't think that (USC) coaches will tell them they’re that good. I hope they don't believe it after the last game, and the way we played the last two games, we don't deserve much preseason ranking, I don't think.”
Is Dabo saying Clemson may win the national championship?
Early in the 2010 season, Dabo Swinney witnessed first-hand the problems of defending Gus Malzahn’s offensive scheme.
After finishing the season with a 6-7 record, Swinney went out and hired perhaps the offensive coordinator who most closely resembles Malzahn’s scheme.
With the hire of Tulsa offensive coordinator Chad Morris, Swinney is hoping his Tigers can replicate the recent success of Auburn.
Dabo explained, “I’ve talked to Gus several times at length about Chad. I think it’s important to note Auburn won seven regular season games last year. We won six. They were 3-5 in conference play last year, we were 4-4. This year, they won a national championship for the first time since 1957.”
Morris told The Post and Courrier, "Gus and I go way back. I'm very honored that he lent a helping hand when I was kind of down. Coaches borrow. My philosophy is a lot of what Gus has believed in."
Clemson hosts Troy and Auburn to start of the 2011 season. The Tigers will host Florida State and UNC, but do travel to Virginia Tech.
Jedd Fisch lands coordinator job without knowing Al Golden
When Miami (FL) head coach Al Golden contacted Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch about the Hurricanes’ offensive coordinator position, Golden had never previously talked with Fisch.
Fisch, who is highly regarded amongst the NFL circles, told the Miami Herald, "I never met Coach Golden prior to our phone conversations, and I couldn't be more impressed. Obviously, it's not an easy decision to make when you're in the middle of a playoff run."
Si.com writer Peter King explained, “Jedd really is a highly regarded NFL assistant. I think he is good. I was really surprised that he left, even to be an offensive coordinator at Miami because I think his star was on the rise in the NFL. I think it is a very good hire by Miami. I think if he had stayed at Seattle, he was going to be an offensive coordinator in the NFL soon, so I am scratching my head a little bit, but I think it is a good hire for Miami.”
In his first year in Seattle as the quarterbacks coach under Pete Carroll, Fisch previously worked in his career with Spurrier, Mike Shanahan, and Brian Billick. So who is Jedd Fisch?
The Hurricanes’ 2011 schedule includes non-conference games against Ohio State, Kansas State, Bethune-Cookman, and at South Florida. The conference road schedule is tough with games at North Carolina, at Florida State, at Maryland, and at Virginia Tech.
Quick Hits: Kevin Wilson, Larry Fedora, and Vandy assistants
Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson says he will start out in charge of the offense: “I’ll be a little bit more involved with offense initially just making sure the logistics and communications. Someone’s going to be in charge, and offensively starting out it’s going to be me. We’ll delegate who’s going to be a play caller if it’s me or someone else or who’s got final say.”
Larry Fedora compliments his defensive coordinator Todd Bradford, who accepted the linebackers job at Maryland: "First of all, I'm torn. I'm happy for Todd. He feels like this is a move he needs to make. I'm just thankful for the job he did while he was here. He worked extremely hard, he was very loyal and he did a heck of a job. I'm sorry to see him go. If he feels like this is the best opportunity for him, I wish him the best and we'll move on from here."
(on his search for a new defensive coordinator) "It's more about the right coach. We were multiple. We were based out of a 4-3, but we dropped into the 3-4. Just about everybody runs a 4-3 and has a way to slide into another scheme. That part of it is not so much important as it is finding the right coach."
Vanderbilt offensive line coach Herb Hand says the program is not far off: "If you go through and look at what happened last year in our season, there were seven games where things could have went either way. That's something James and I have talked about, that we're not that far off. We're not that far away. It's not like we're just starting a brand new program.”
Vanderbilt quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne says QB recruit is top priority: "(Recruiting a top quarterback) is critical. It's evaluation. No one thought Jay Cutler was Jay Cutler before he got here. No one thought Josh Freeman was Josh Freeman before he got there (to Kansas State). Nebraska was recruiting Josh Freeman to play tight end. It's evaluation. You go get something you want. One man's diamond is another man's coal."