News, Notes & Quotes - April 14

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday April 14, 2017

- This is the last day of a quiet period. Saturday is the beginning of spring recruiting evaluation.

This year marks nine years since the NCAA banned head coaches from going on the road in spring, the so-called “Saban rule.” The potential to allow official visits in April could change that value, but Nick Saban is still not happy about it, and Jimbo Fisher isn’t either.

A year ago, Fisher said of the Saban Rule: “I think that’s ridiculous. I really do. It ain’t Coach Saban’s fault. It’s guys who didn’t want to work. That’s what I truly believe. Guys went out there, hustled, promoted football and did a good job. That’s the same thing I believe in, too.”

Fisher also said, “You have to be able to go see. You want me to recruit these kids, you want me to judge them, you want me to keep them, know about them, but I can’t even go watch them practice or play as a head coach?” Fisher said. “Unless a guy comes to your camp, you don’t really get to see them play.”

- James Franklin wants his defensive backs just as active on the jugs machine as receivers.

Last year, the Nittany Lions were No. 53 in turnovers gained (21) and No. 68 in interceptions (10).

“The receivers, and the tight ends, wherever I’ve been, spend so much time in the offseason in front of the jugs machine, catching balls. Wherever I’ve been, not just at Penn State, the defensive players haven’t approached it the same way,” Franklin said this week.

“So we’ve talked a lot about, if we really want to improve in turnovers, which is an area that I think we can improve, then we’ve got to invest in it. I think the more confident that our defensive players are in catching the ball, the more willing they’re going to be to go for the pick, then the PBU.

“If we can increase our turnover ratio, and do a better job with picks and things like that — and I’m not talking about making unbelievable catches, just makes the ones you’re supposed to — then that is going to really help us. I think you can take a good defense and become great, or a great defense and become elite. If we did nothing different but increased our turnovers next year, it would have a dramatic impact on our defense, and obviously on our offense as well.”

- What does production mean for a wide receiver? New Iowa receivers coach Kelton Copeland says it’s a lot more than the box score.

“The easiest thing from a fan standpoint is to say production. OK, we want to see touchdowns," Copeland said. "That's the easiest thing at the receiver position. Everybody wants to see how much touchdowns, how much catches, how many yards after catch, that type of thing.

“It's about the play-to-play execution that I'm talking about production. If I'm asking to go dig out a safety and you get that done, that's a productive play, so you're being productive. Also, catching the hitch. If you can run a good route, be efficient in and out of your stance and get into that route, catch the ball and do something after the catch, that's being productive.

"It's not all about the end result of a touchdown or a big play or big spring block. It's day-to-day, getting better at being productive, being efficient of what we're asking you to do within the system, within the scheme of play. That's what I call being productive.”

- Paul Finebaum blasted Bob Stoops over player discipline following the arrest of two players over the weekend.

Finebaum said on SportsCenter that Stoops was a “total failure” in discipline. A former player who was dismissed in January for an armed robbery arrest was also arrested for a second time Thursday.

"Bob Stoops had a chance to set an example a couple of years ago during the Joe Mixon case," Finebaum said. "Instead he looked around and tried to find an equitable way out that was going to be good for him and very bad for the university’s reputation.

“When Bob Stoops talks, I don’t really listen, because I think he’s disingenuous when it comes to discipline.”

- Check out Miami tight ends coach / special teams coordinator Todd Hartley mic’d up in spring ball.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 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