News, Notes & Quotes - March 14

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday March 14, 2017

- Six schools open spring practice today: Ball State, UL-Monroe, Miami (OH), West Virginia, Western Michigan and Wisconsin.

WMU has a new staff led by Tim Lester, West Virginia has a new offensive coordinator in Jake Spavital, Wisconsin has a new defensive coordinator in Jim Leonhard (in his second year as a coach), and Ball State has a new defensive coordinator in David Elson.

Keep track of every spring practice start date here.

- Why have the Baltimore Ravens been one of the most consistent teams in the NFL? Because of their consistent leadership.

John Harbaugh has one losing season in nine years since taking over in 2008. General manager Ozzie Newsome has been with the Browns/Ravens since 1991. And Steve Biscotti has owned the team since 2000.

“Most of it has to do with the fact that it’s a team effort,” Harbaugh said on The MMQB’s podcast. “You have a bunch of good people because you know all those people. When you have an organization like that and people like that, a leader like Steve Biscotti at the top who sets the tone for all of us, value-wise, relationship-wise, family-wise, he’s a relational leader. He believes in relationships and having each others’ backs and building for the long term. He’s a confident guy, but a humble guy.

“We’ve got a unique thing going with Oz. The fault line in the NFL so often is the personnel-coaching fault line. It’s such a tough business. It’s hard to win games. What New England has done is incredible, especially in today’s era. It’s Coach Belichick, it’s Tom Brady, but it’s those two guys leading the way with an incredible organization and a great owner and all those things. That’s the template for us. The last four years, we haven’t been at that elite level. We’ve been fighting to stay even. But maybe you go through that and weather. I credit guys like (assistant GM Eric DeCosta with the team since 1996), amazing coaches, a great quarterback in Joe Flacco. Ozzie and Steve are the key.”

- Central Michigan has filled its offensive coaching staff as they plan some changes for 2017.

CoachingSearch first reported that former Northern Michigan head coach Chris Ostrowsky is CMU’s new offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach, and Indiana State running backs coach Jayden Everett is the new running backs coach. Ostrowsky spent the last five years leading NMU.

The Chippewas are looking to pick up the offensive tempo in John Bonamego’s third season, following the retirement of veteran OC Morris Watts. They need a new QB (Michigan's Shane Morris will reportedly transfer in), but they return the entire offensive line and starting receiving corps, so they’re looking for more explosiveness. Bonamego has reached two bowl games in two seasons. CMU opens spring practice on March 26.

- Mark Hudspeth challenged assistant strength coach Dylan Cintula to a bench-lifting challenge. Who won? Who do you think?

- The most difficult position to evaluate in the NFL? You probably wouldn’t guess kicker.

Sports Illustrated took a deep dive in all the challenges that come with the position, and how important the mental aspect is. You can never really know, but former NFL kicker and current trainer John Carney says the best kickers have the most consistent motion, in all situations.

SI writer Chris Bishop wrote, “(Carney) watches to see if kickers follow through the same way after each attempt, if they keep their heads down, if they have any quirks — and how they explain them. He watches how they respond to misses, even in practice. He pays particular attention to their game film from pressure situations—how they kicked at the end of halves or games, how they performed in important contests, how they reacted to shanked kicks and, most importantly, how they performed immediately after them."

“There’s a lot to it,” Carney said. “But there’s so much more they don’t look at. Some scouts and coaches just look at the results on that day. He made eight out of 10 field goals. I like him! That’s one of the issues.”

- As part of a 20-year athletics master plan, Penn State’s Beaver Stadium will get an upgrade.

Capacity will reduce from 107,000 to 103,000, sideline seating will split into three tiers, and the outside will get a long-awaited façade. There is no timetable yet, but it’s not expected to start for at least five years. This is only the beginning of the process, but the rendering look since.

- Steve Addazio says Boston College’s bowl performance was a small sign of things to come for the offense.

The Eagles, who scored just 20.4 points per game on the year, had 29 points in the first half against Maryland, thanks to an up-tempo adjustment. They only scored 7 in the second half, but Addazzio said they got tired. That won’t happen next season.

“I think you're going to see a lot more of what you saw in the first half in the further development of that, the proficiency,” Addazio said. “We ran 64, 65 plays in that first half. One of the problems we had in the second half, believe it or not, fatigue. The experience of knowing what we were doing, we got that done during bowl prep. There's a learning curve in there for everybody, and a conditioning curve, which is uniquely different.

“But I thought you saw glimpses of where we can go. I can only tell you this, without saying too much, that you're going to see a lot more.”

- North Carolina took a fun jab at Florida State in this video with former kicker Nick Weiler, who kicked the winning field goal to beat the Noles last year.

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