News, Notes & Quotes - April 13

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday April 13, 2017


- Ken Niumatalolo canceled spring ball early, deciding they’d done enough and finishing one practice short of the 15 allowed.

It’s not the first time Niumatalolo has done this. In 2015, he canceled practice a week early. In a time when most coaches tried to get every minute out of their team, Niumatalolo sees it differently.

“Just because the NCAA gives you 15 (spring) practices, I don’t know if you need them all,” Niumatalolo told CoachingSearch in 2015. “Everybody’s different. … Sometimes, in the rat race of coaching, if your opponent is doing this often, you have to do it often. If somebody’s working to midnight in the coaching world, you’ve got to work to 1 o’clock. How productive it is, I don’t know. Are you getting anything done? That’s always been my thought process. I was going to do what I thought was right for our team. Just because other people do it doesn’t mean it’s right.”

- Mike Gundy is considering having a rules expert staff member during games to make sure the Central Michigan Hail Mary doesn’t happen again.

If you recall, CMU was incorrectly given an untimed down after Oklahoma State purposely committed intentional grounding on 4th down as time expired. CMU won the game on a Hail Mary. It still irks Gundy, who has gone back and forth between anger and acceptance.

“We’ve thought about trying to find somebody that is an expert on the rules and have them with us during games for that reason,” Gundy said. “What’s funny is that, as proven during the Central Michigan game, a lot of times the officials don’t even know the rules because there are so many of them.”

At the time, Gundy thought he knew the rule. Now, he’d make sure everyone did.

“I should have taken my shirt off and laid on the field and said we’re not playing anymore until we know for sure, but I thought I already had enough issues with things I have done in the past so I was going to be a nice guy. It cost me a game. I don’t know if I’ll ever know all of the rules. I would like to sit here and say I would.”

- It was Ed Orgeron who wanted Leonard Fournette to sit out the Citrus Bowl, and Fournette only recently appreciated it.

Fournette and Christian McCaffrey skipping their bowl games to prepare for the draft became a hot topic in December. But Fournette said it was the coach’s call, even if the running back didn’t like it at the time.

“I’m kinda happy he made the decision for me because I wasn’t helping the team,” Fournette told Sports Illustrated. “I cried about it, but some people were made to tell you what’s right and wrong.”

- The old-fashioned “dead snap” has made its way back into college football.

ESPN.com has a good story on the revival, as coaches cross-train offensive linemen. It’s a safer snap and easier to teach.

"Coach Harbaugh thought it was great," Michigan offensive coordinator Tim Drevno told ESPN. "Bad snaps can take points off the board and wins out of your hand."

Drevno added: "I can teach a 5-year-old. That's how easy it is."

- Division II and Division III are getting rid of two-a-days.

It’s a move that already happened in the NFL and is moving to college. As a result, fall camp can open earlier. Bronco Mendenhall recently talked about this coming option in FBS. The Division III presidents will vote to make it official at their level later this month.

“It is a difficult decision to make when tradition and coaching experiences call for us to have multiple practice sessions in any one given day, but our primary mission of providing for the safety and security for all scholar-athletes must be put at the forefront,” said Brit Katz, Management Council chair and vice president of student-life and dean of students at Millsaps. “Data suggests that a disproportionate number of injuries occur during the preseason and practice sessions, so we should then consider other means of providing skill development and team development absent those types of contact practices that lead to injury.”

In addition, the NCAA said, “To account for the practice time lost due to the elimination of two-a-day practices, the Management Council also recommended a one-time blanket waiver that would remove the prohibition on athletically related activity during the two days before the first permissible practice date for football in 2017. The Presidents Council will act on the recommendation later this month.”

- Defensive backs are Nick Saban’s specialty. Here’s video of him working them in practice:

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.