News, Notes & Quotes - Jan. 30

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday January 30, 2017

- Today is the start of a start dead period, through Thursday.

Signing Day is Wednesday, but there are always a flurry of changes from now until then. Coaches are off the road, but we’re in the final stretch. 

- The NCAA is recommending ending two-a-day practices.

A 17-page document on player safety was delivered to NCAA members at the NCAA convention last week. Among the recommendations from 16 medical organizations and 5 football organizations include ending two-a-days, and CBS Sports reports legislation could extend fall camp by one week to accommodate a change. The recommendations would be similar to NFL practices. Many schools no longer do two-a-days anyway.

“Two-a-day practices should not occur,” the document reads. “A second session of activity can include walk-throughs or meetings. Recovery is multi-dimensional, and proper recovery not only decreases the risk of exceptional heat illness and overuse injuries, but also plays an important role in decreasing the risk of exertion after repetitive head impact exposure or possible concussion.

“In this regard, football is different from other sports where an initial practice does not involve potential repetitive head impact or concussion. Thus, the benefit of improved conditioning and technique mastery from two-a-day practices must be mitigated by the increased risk of catastrophic injury and concussion. Importantly, walk-throughs or meetings do not include any conditioning activities.”

- John Lynch becoming 49ers GM was a complete surprise, and for good reason.

As Adam Schefter wrote, “The idea to hire Lynch was his own. He personally called (Kyle) Shanahan and volunteered for the job about a week ago.” Lynch also wanted it to be a secret.

Lynch, who doesn’t have any front office experience, is expected to hire an experienced personnel staff. The 49ers have been a mess for years, ever since they essentially ran Jim Harbaugh out. The hire of Lynch is another eyebrow-raising move.

- New Notre Dame defensive coordinator Mike Elko says the environment is always vital when looking at your next job, but he also knows Notre Dame is Notre Dame.

“When you go through the process as a coordinator of potentially looking at a job you might take, the shared vision is a big part of it,” he said. “What does the head coach want and does it align with what I want? Here’s what I’m trying to get accomplished and is he going to give me the latitude to get it accomplished in his program?

“That plays a big role and it was real important to me because I had been with Coach (Dave) Clawson for eight consecutive years. As you make that branch-off jump you want to be in an environment where you can continue to have that success.

The Notre Dame defense was a mess at times last year, but Elko says he’s got the right guys.

“It comes back to this—do you think there’s enough talent to be successful? Yes,” he said. “Do you feel like you’ve got a group of kids that will take to what you’re coaching? Yes. Do you have kids that are willing to work at it? Yes. So then let’s go. Point me in the right direction.

“When you take over a program and get scared is when kids aren’t coming up to talk to you – they don’t want to meet you and don’t want to spend time with you and there’s not that sense of energy. I’ve had kids texting me since the day I got hired.”

- Duke currently has its second-ever top-50 recruiting class, despite coming off a 4-8 season.

Cornerbacks coach Derek Jones told 247Sports that many people didn’t realize Duke didn’t reach a bowl and had just assumed they did, as the program’s reputation under David Cutcliffe has changed.

“I haven’t encountered one situation where we run into kids or even high school coaches who were sour or had a negative view of our season last year,” he said. “I think the fact that everyone is watching us, everybody knew exactly what happened with us. I think its rare at any level of football, whether its professional or college to have that many injuries to key impact players as we had. …  I think people are aware that Duke is a program now and not just an overnight team. We’re very encouraged by the season last year.

“…The blueprint has been there for a long time. Schools like Stanford and Notre Dame have gotten top tier kids who were academically oriented whereas we didn’t get those kind of kids in the past and we’re just starting to get those guys now.”

- Jon Gruden made a point to send a message of support to high school coaches at the USA Football conference this weekend.

“I gave kids a ride to practice, took some kids home, I taught the fundamentals, I sweat my ass off out there. I didn’t get paid a dime. I know what you’re going through,” Gruden told the group. “Every year, the parents are getting tougher to deal with, you’re getting paid less, the expectations are getting higher, and you’re asking yourself, ‘Why am I doing this?’

“You’re doing it because you’re a football coach. Don’t forget that. It’s an honorable profession that very few people can do. You need to be complemented and celebrated for your efforts. Give yourselves a hand."

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