News, Notes & Quotes - July 14

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday July 14, 2017

- Lamar Jackson under center? It’s something Bobby Petrino is working on, and another FBS head coach has helped the scouting.

Jackson is the reigning Heisman winner, but it looking to expand his style. Idaho coach Paul Petrino, the brother of Bobby has also stopped by.

“We did work him more underneath the center. We wanted to get him comfortable doing that,” Bobby Petrino said. “In fact, the first week of spring ball we stayed under the center. He can really drop and throw it from under there. He does a good job in the run game.”

The Louisville coach added, “My little brother came in town, who's the head coach of the University of Idaho, so we went back and watched all the video from last year, and it was fun to watch the throws that he made and the plays that he played throwing the football that we didn't even watch the running game, so it was an exciting time for us.”

- Gus Malzahn handed off play-calling last season, and he’s once again staying away after hiring Chip Lindsey.

“This will be my fifth year to be the head coach at Auburn in this league,” he said. “I came up offensive side of the football, offensive coordinator. The first year, just hit the ground running. Then the second and third year, trying to balance that, head coach, offensive, call plays and all that, I learned a lot. I learned a lot the last couple years.

“It just got to the point last year where best for the team, I need somebody else to call plays. And we got on a roll. … So after the season, you kind of step back, and you evaluate things and what is best for our team. And so that's really where I'm at.”

- If Will Muschamp could do things over at Florida, of course he would do things differently.

Asked about lessons from Florida carrying over to South Carolina, Muschamp compared it to being a freshman  and growing up.

“Being a head coach, as far as that’s concerned, has nothing to do with the game. It has to do with all the other stuff,” he said. “The management of the staff, management of the team, the organization, campus, public relations, recruiting, all the different things. You learn and say this is something we did well — and we did a lot of things well — and things you’d like to change, sure.

“To sit here and say, ‘I’d do exactly the same thing again,’ you know what’d happen? You’d get fired again. I hear these coaches say, ‘I’d do the same thing again.’ Well, you’ll probably get canned. I don’t think I do everything the same.”

- Syracuse leads the nation with 20 returning starters, but there’s good and bad to that for Dino Babers.

“One of the things that we noticed last year that we were playing so many freshmen, that when you're playing in the ACC, physically they weren't really ready to play, although they gained a lot of experience,” Babers said.With the experience that they gained and going back in with the strength and conditioning program that we've got going on, they've gotten bigger. Some of the guys have added 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 pounds of muscle, not fat. I mean, these guys are walking around as 19 year olds and they're looking like they're 21 and 22 and that's going to help us.

But when you're in our conference, two of the last four national championships won from people in the ACC Atlantic, two out of the last four Heisman Trophy winners from the ACC. You need to make sure that your elephants grow up, your O-line, D-line, linebackers. Those guys need to be 20 and 22 years of age if you're going to be able to really make an impact in this conference. Right now, our guys are just 19-year-olds.”

- Nick Saban is a bit concerned about possible changes to the transfer rules.

An NCAA working group will look at options like not needing permission to talk with a school, counting a grad transfer as two years worth of scholarship and possibly getting rid of the year required to sit out for undergrad transfers.

“I think it’s a fine line between having a system that provides players flexibility and opportunity, but also crosses the line in terms of competitive balance,” Saban said. “We make a commitment to a player for four years. There is some value in understanding the importance of commitment and making commitments. … if you track most of these circumstances where players move, what players start to do is start to fear their future.

“These guys have tremendous goals and aspirations — ‘I’m going to play in the NFL some day’ — everybody doesn’t play in the NFL. How many guys get drafted? Two hundred fifty or whatever it is. How many guys play college? Thousands. When I was recruited, nobody knew who I was, so now there’s a tremendous expectation that’s created by five-stars, four-stars, this guy will make an impact because of media attention. So they have this expectation, and as soon as it doesn’t come to fruition like they’d like, they start to fear their future. ‘Can I really play here? Am I going to play here? Am I going to be able to play in the NFL some day?’

“Rather than making the changes they need to make themselves, in terms of what would help them — whether it’s work ethic, making better choices in taking care of themselves, what they do off the field, how they create value for themselves. Changing from one school to the other doesn’t really solve that problem, but they think it will.

“They think, ‘My fear will go away if I go someplace else. What ultimately happens is I get a letter from a player saying, ‘This is the worst decision I ever made,’ in terms of leaving. It’s not always the best thing, but it does satisfy fear sometimes, when things aren’t going the way a guy thought they might. But the competition and the grit it takes to grind through that, the perseverance, these are things that are important to being successful, and our No. 1 goal is to help people be successful in life. So allowing them to go someplace else maybe isn’t the best thing, if it’s that easy to do.”

- Here’s Penn State QB Trace McSorley breaking down film with Big Ten Network’s Gerry DiNardo.

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