News, Notes & Quotes - March 9

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday March 09, 2017

- Three schools open spring practice today: Georgia Southern, Mississippi State and Utah.

Georgia Southern has a new offensive coordinator in Bryan Cook from Georgia Tech, Mississippi State has a new defensive coordinator in Todd Grantham, and Utah has two new coordinators in Troy Taylor from Eastern Washington on offense and promoted Morgan Scalley on defense.

Keep track of key spring practice dates here.

- Marcus Spears brought up an overlooked factor about Pro Days.

On SEC Network for Alabama’s Pro Day, Spears noted how important the evaluation around the building is.

“Elements matter. When you get back home, the comfort that you have. But it’s also an opportunity for these scouts and general managers to see you around your guys and see you around the facility,” Spears said. “They do a lot of their homework on your campus.

“When they see you in those elements, all of the things we don’t see matter. How guys conduct themselves, if your teammates look at you as a leader, what’s the enthusiastic appeal you have to the guys around you? Team matters in these Pro Days on campus.”

- Houston star defensive lineman Ed Oliver made an interesting comment about spring practice under Major Applewhite.

"A lot less yelling, and a lot more coaching,” he said, per the Houston Chronicle.

Applewhite essentially has a brand new staff, with most of the previous staff following Tom Herman to Texas. Of course, Herman and defensive coordinator Todd Orlando won 22 games in two years, so it worked. Herman also made a comment earlier this week that irked some Houston people.

"I know we've got four defensive coaches that are as good as there are in the country. …  I've seen Todd Orlando make chicken salad out of some lesser parts,” Herman said,  “so I have a lot of confidence in that staff and what they're able to do with whatever talent that we've inherited."

- Kentucky got over the hump last year, but one big problem Mark Stoops needs to fix is 3rd down defense.

The Wildcats were No. 106 in 3rd down defense, allowing opponents to convert 44.4 percent. But he says it’s because of other downs. They were No. 95 in yards per play allowed.

“We had too many 3rd-and-shorts last year, too many 3rd and mediums, too many 3rd and shorts, and too many 1st downs,” Stoops said.

“Now, it's easy to address 3rd down defense, but why are they converting 3rd downs? Because they're 3rd-and-short or 3rd-and-medium. It's a little different. We were pretty good at 3rd-and-long. We need to get them in 3rd and long a little bit more, so that's part of what we're talking about.”

- Check out Buffalo’s first spring practice of 2017.

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