Bill Moos keeps a "no bowl ticket" file for nasty emails
Late last season, Washington State hit a rough patch in Mike Leach's first season as a head coach, losing eight of their last nine games before finishing 3-9. That's around the time that athletic director Bill Moos started to get flooded with emails criticizing Leach and his staff, some even calling for his job.
Here's a small piece of what makes Moos one of the most unique athletic directors in the country. Moos read each and every email, responding to even the nastiest messages with a tone of support for Leach and his staff, that they're working on changing the losing culture of the program, and then ended most of the correspondences with hoping that they will continue to support the team.
That's just the tip of the iceberg, according to The News Tribune.
Some of the nastier messages really didn't sit well with Moos, and it was those emails that got forwarded to an assistant athletic director with the acronym "NBT", meaning No Bowl Tickets.
Moos doesn't mess around after a 10 year bowl drought, and with the Cougs at 6-5 and bowl eligible in year two under Leach, his message to fans is clear; support us in the good times, as well as the bad...or else!
“I answer all of those emails, then I send them to the Cougar Athletic Fund to see what their gift history is, and what their ticket purchase history is. Pretty amazing — about 85-90 percent of them are not members of the CAF." Moos told The News Tribune.
"I’ve got a no-bowl ticket file, and I want people on board and believing in what we’re doing, and trusting how we’re going about it. If they don’t want to be on the train, the train’s already pulled out of the station.”
While selling bowl tickets is obviously important, and Moos acknowledges that packing the stands with Crimson and Gray at any bowl venue is paramount, he adds that he may be able to make exceptions for a few on the "NBT" list, but there are some fans that won't be attending the bowl game as long as he has a say in the matter.
“We’ve got to sell bowl tickets, so I may give it a second consideration, but there’s a couple that aren’t going to get them. I can guarantee you that.”
When it comes to administrators, Moos is certainly one of a kind. My hat is off to him for this one.
Belichick's OT gamble came from a lesson learned from Parcells
There are few constants in the coaching profession, but one of those would have to be to never give Peyton Manning the ball when the game is on the line.
Sunday, fighting their way into overtime after being down 24-0 at the half, Bill Belichick sent the New England captains out for the coin toss with specific instructions to take the wind if they won the toss. While that would obviously mean that Manning would have the ball in his hands, it also means that the star quarterback (and Denver's field goal kicker) would have to earn every yard by battling some stiff winds in order to escape with a win.
After the Pats escaped with a 34-31 win in overtime, Belichick looked like a genius, and later explained to the Providence Journal that it was a lesson from Bill Parcells in the 1986 NFC Championship game that reminded him of the importance of the wind during crunch time.
“Coach Parcells against the Redskins took the wind to start the game and we went ahead 17-0, and that was the final score of the game. I really think that that decision was a big decision in that game and a big decision ultimately in that team’s championship." Belichick explained.
“I learned a lot from that. I’m not saying that that’s always the right decision. Clearly each situation is different, but there’s a place for it. I think there’s a time when it’s right. I just thought that last night was the right time for us. But that decision by Bill in that game, it just was a good lesson for me that it’s such a huge factor in the game, if the conditions are what they are, it can be such a big factor in the game that it’s worth making that decision if you feel it’s that significant.
“He did it in, there are not many games bigger than an NFC Championship game, he did it in that game and I think that was probably the difference in the game.”
The wind was such a factor that Belichick believed that there was a solid 20 yard difference between the two sides of the field.
"I felt like there was about a 20-yard difference in field position to just attempt a field goal, let’s put it that way. I’m saying getting to the 25 on one end, to the 45 on the other. You could fudge a yard or two there, but basically that’s what it looked like to me at that time. I felt like that was a big enough advantage to try to keep the wind.”
Sometimes there is no substitute for game experience, especially when it comes from working under a legend like Parcells. Someday in the not too distant future, coaches from Belichick's coaching tree will attribute the same kind of decision to their time working under him.
Greg Byrne: 'Rich Rod starting laying the foundation here in his first team meeting'
According to athletic director Greg Byrne, the moment that Rich Rodriguez arrived on the Arizona campus as the program's head coach, he was building a foundation. There was no acclimation period or feeling things out, Rodriguez jumped in with both feet starting with his first team meeting.
"From the second that coach Rodriguez had gotten here, he's been laying the foundation for long term success." Byrne told Sirius XM Sports Nation.
"I remember sitting in the first team meeting and he went in there, and his very first message to the team was, 'You are MY guys'. You know, sometimes the new coach comes in and the guys who are already on the team, they sometimes wonder if the new coach is just waiting to bring in his own players, and he set that tone right off the bat."
That attitude and mindset allowed them to win 8 games in his first season (and 7 so far this season), and notch a signature win like Saturday's beatdown of Oregon in just his second season.
With it being the time of year that coaches are accepting jobs all over the country, this is an important reminder of how vital it is to set the tone right away in a new environment.
Rodriguez and his Wildcats will face in state rival Arizona State on Saturday (9:30pm EST).
Tuesday TV - Western Michigan at Northern Illinois
The best team in the MAC (and one of the lone undefeated teams left in the country) takes on a struggling Western Michigan program looking for some momentum heading into next season.
Eastern time listed.
Western Michigan at Northern Illinois - 7 - ESPN2
VIDEO: Take an inside look at Arizona's win over Oregon
As you'd expect, Arizona's all-access video of the win over Oregon on Saturday is nothing but smiles and cheers. It's as you'd expect when you hold leads of 14-0, 21-3 and 35-9 en route to a 42-16 blow out of the No. 5 team in the country.
But it's after the game highlights, around the 5:30 mark, that this video really takes off.
Rich Rodriguez thanks his 18 seniors, and then hands the post-game celebration to his players in a nice "Who's got my back?!" routine. It's the kind of scene Rodriguez and his staff will hammer home to every recruit from now to kingdom come, and the type of moment - and game - built toward in his two years (almost to the day, in fact) to the day since taking the Arizona job.
"I don't know how many people gave us a chance," Rodriguez said, "but I know the men in this room gave us a chance."
Twenty stats and trends worth knowing heading into the season's final week
Only one (real) full week of the college football season remains before we hit the tail end of the season featuring Army vs. Navy week (where they'll wear these new unis) and conference championship games begin. Although the best is behind us, there's plenty of crazy finishes and stats to take a look at.
1. Cal's 2013 Sonny Dykes team finished the season scoring 276 points. That's the exact same amount scored under Jeff Tedford's Cal staff in 2012. (H/T @GoldenBlogs). Dykes' team ran 230 more plays than the 2012 Bears did.
2. Florida State has scored 27 touchdowns in their last three games. In state rival Florida has scored 26 all season (H/T @tomdangelo44).
3. Florida will not make a bowl game for the first time since 1990.
4. This is the first time neither spot in the SEC Championship has been clinched entering the final week of the regular season since 2003. (H/T @MattSmithCFB)
5. These ten teams have had the luxury of the best starting field position this season: ECU, Michigan State, Florida State, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Houston, Arizona State, Stanford, Ball State, Tulane. (H/T CoachesBTN)
6. Florida has lost numerous starters to injuries this season, but Georgia Southern (who beat the Gators despite not throwing a complete pass Saturday) entered the game with 19 season ending injuries.
7. With the loss to Oklahoma State Saturday, Baylor has now dropped 37 straight road games to teams ranked in the AP and is 0-10 against Oklahoma State in Stillwater since joining the Big 12. (H/T @BryanDFischer)
8. December 7 will mark the fourth time in five years that Oklahoma State has entered the Bedlam rivalry game with a better record than Oklahoma. (H/T @MattSmithCFB)
9. Last night's win over the New York Giants moved the Dallas Cowboys to 134-133 since 1997, including a perfect .500 finish in the past two seasons. (H/T @AdamSchefter)
10. Florida State has returned five interceptions for touchdowns this season (first nationally). Forty-four teams don't even have a pick six yet this year.
11. Cal went for it on fourth down an astonishing 38 times in 12 games, converting on just 42 percent of those tries. On the flip side, Florida State has gone for it on fourth down just three times (converting on two of them)
12. Kentucky's secondary has just on pick on the season (two total, with the other one coming from a linebacker). We saw a note last week that no team has ever finished with less than two interceptions on the seasons.
13. Vanderbilt has forced an impressive 31 fumbles this season. That's more than East Carolina, South Alabama, and Eastern Michigan combined (25).
14. Georgia Tech and Ohio State are the only two teams to convert over 80 percent of their red zone trips into touchdowns (86% for Georgia Tech and 83% for Ohio State).
15. Of Northwestern's 41 trips to the red zone, only one of them has not been converted to a touchdown or field goal.
16. With only a week left to go in the regular season, only Utah State is allowing negative punt return yardage (-0.6)
17. After rushing for just 695 in their previous ten games, Washington ripped Oregon State for 530 yards rushing Saturday.
18. Boston College's Andre Williams could rush for minus-143 yards over his final two games and still finish with the top rushing total in college football over the past five years.
19. Opponents have converted only one field goal (in six tries) in 11 games against Bowling Green. It's the best field goal defense (if there is such a thing) since at least 2007.
20. San Diego State's last seven games have been decided by seven points or less, and four have gone to overtime. The Aztecs have won six of those seven and seven of their last eight overall, making San Diego State only the eighth team since 1980 (of 488 that quality) to reach a bowl game after an 0-3 start. (H/T @McMurphyESPN)
The Dallas Cowboys' offensive flow chart now looks like a pretzel
In the aftermath of the Dallas Cowboys' 49-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints on November 10, head coach Jason Garrett pledged that his staff would go back to the drawing board and the team's broken offense would look different after its upcoming bye week.
The Cowboys looked different Sunday evening in their 24-21 defeat of the New York Giants, different in a way that no one in the NFL would ever think to duplicate.
That big change the Cowboys braintrust put together over the off week? Garrett now has an expanded role in the offense, and specifically that means offensive coordinator Bill Callahan passes the play call to Garrett, who then relays the play to Tony Romo. Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, who previously relayed plays into the offense, moved up to the press box, and tight ends coach Wes Phillips moved from the press box to the sideline.
“It was more just about mechanics,” Garrett said of the change. “I don’t know that I took a bigger role in the play-calling. One of the things we really try to emphasize is communication during the ballgame.”
Quick backstory: Garrett was hired as the Cowboys' offensive coordinator in 2007, before Jerry Jones hired Wade Phillips as head coach. Garrett continued calling plays after being elevated to head coach during the 2010 season. Following the 2012 season, Dallas' third straight without a playoffs appearance, Callahan added offensive coordinator and play-calling duties to his role as offensive line coach. Though the move was announced shortly after the season, Dallas media didn't get a straight answer on who made the call to shake up offensive responsibilities - Jones or Garrett - until well into the summer.
After ten games as a traditional head coach, Garrett is now signaling - not calling - the Cowboys' offense.
In a franchise with the most convoluted organizational flow chart in American sports, it all makes perfect sense.
“You just want to make sure you’re communicating during the ballgame,” Garrett said. “That’s something that we really emphasize with our players and certainly among coaches and between coaches and players, just to make sure we’re all communicating as to what we’re getting and what we want to get to. That’s just a big part of, I think, calling plays well and calling defenses well and really handling the game well.”
2013 Offensive Coordinator of the Year - Finalists
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards, presented by ProGrass, are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. Finalists were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors and other athletic department personnel. The winner will be chosen by the previous winners of this award and will be announced on Monday December 9th.
The 2013 FootballScoop Coaches of the Year will be recognized and will receive their awards at an event held in their honor at the American Football Coaches Association's annual convention in January.
Previous winners of the Offensive Coordinator of the Year award are Kevin Wilson (Oklahoma, 2008), Bryan Harsin (Boise State, 2009), Gus Malzahn (Auburn, 2010) and Kliff Kingsbury (Houston, 2011 and Texas A&M, 2012).
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