News, Notes & Quotes - March 17

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday March 17, 2017

- Two schools open spring practice this weekend — while three have their spring game on Saturday.

Tulane opens Friday, and Baylor opens on Saturday. Meanwhile, Colorado, Oregon State and San Diego State will wrap up spring ball with their spring games on Saturday.

Keep track of all spring dates here.

- Justin Wilcox had never worked with Tim DeRuyter before hiring, but was told long ago that he’d like him.

Wilcox talked with ESPN about the process of putting together his staff, and the ties to each. He’d heard of DeRuyter just through coaching circles. Now, he's Cal's defensive coordinator.

"I had never worked with him," Wilcox said. "I had met him. I think we had met briefly. But we had talked on the phone, because sometimes that's how coaching is," Wilcox said. "We were texting each other, I want to say it was last summer, right before fall camp. 'Hey, we've got to get together and talk some football.'

"…I know people that have worked with him and for him, people that I trust. Every time his name (came) up, whether it was coaches or administrations and operations, 'Oh, you'd love this guy. You guys would get along great!'"

- Asked what he hopes his players get out of the first spring practices, Todd Graham had a good line.

“I hope I wake up in the morning, and I hope I go to heaven,” he said. “Other than that, I don’t do a lot of hoping. I pretty much know."

As for the team, Graham said, “We have very definitive goals. We want to come out of spring establishing an identity. Ask our players that. What’s our identity? What’s our plan to win games? It’s discipline.”

- Tom Izzo got perhaps the strangest gift a coach has ever received.

Izzo’s team has relied on four freshmen this year, so he compared the NCAA Tournament to taking diapers off babies. Then…

“Well, I had an interesting thing happen to me earlier in the week,” Izzo said Thursday. “I made a comment that these young guys were just taking off the diapers, and somebody sent me a dozen diapers. And it is time to take them off.

“They're guys now that have been through a lot of wars, and the young guys I think have improved in a lot of ways. We're a better team from the free throw line. We're a better team from the turnover standpoint. I think we're a little bit more consistent, but we still have our things to work on.”

- No Northwestern fan was more fired up about their first NCAA Tournament win than Pat Fitzgerald. Check this out from the locker room:

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