News, Notes & Quotes - Oct. 20

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday October 20, 2016

- How does Nick Saban plan to defend Texas A&M’s tall receivers? He’s knows something he can’t do.

“What do you recommend? Do we take get-taller pills?” Saban said Wednesday. “I mean, I don’t understand what we can do. You always want guys to play the ball at the highest point. You’re always emphasizing that.”

It’s worth noting the Tide had three pick-sixes against the Aggies last year.

“They do have big receivers and they’re very talented guys. You have to use good fundamental coverage technique on them. You have to do a good job of trying to be aggressive in how you play the ball, whether it’s swat and hook, tackle or get up there and be able to try and play with the size. It’s no different than basketball when it comes to playing against a little bigger guy. We’ve got some bigger guys that we practice against and I think that’s probably a little bit helpful to us.”

- Mark Richt has been in coaching for decades, but this week’s game against Virginia Tech is his first-ever Thursday game, and it’s been an adjustment.

“It's kind of a first for me as a head coach anyway,” Richt said. “I can't remember ever having a Thursday night game after a Saturday, even as an assistant coach at Florida State.”

The Canes have lost two straight after a 4-0 start, and Virginia Tech is coming off a loss to Syracuse, making this game big in the ACC Coastal standings.

“I haven't had a five-day turnover as a head coach. At Georgia, we never had a Thursday night game, period. That was just policy coming down from the president,” Richt said. “I mean, it's different, but again, I think we've got a very good plan. I think we're carrying it out. I feel like we'll be prepared, and certainly Virginia Tech is going through the very same thing. We’ve got time to get everything done we needed to get done, we just didn't have as much downtime in between."

- James Conner lined up at defensive end late in Pitt’s game last week, and Pat Narduzzi said you might see it more.

“He's such a great athlete. He's a football player and he's got great football intelligence,” Narduzzi said. “We put him in pass rush last week and let him go down against (our offensive line) just to see how he'd do it, and in his first rush it looked exactly like what you saw on Saturday out of his first rush, and he's got that type of knack of just getting to the football and making plays.

"Ultimately it's our job as football coaches to put guys in position to make plays, and James is one of those guys that we'll put him in position, get him lined up, and he has the ability to make plays.”

- What can Dave Doeren do to boost the confidence of kicker Kyle Bambard after his miss against Clemson last week?

“Just put an arm around him and treat him like you'd treat your own son in a situation like that,” Doeren said. “I mean, like I said, it wasn't an intentional miss. He went out there with the intention of winning the game, and it's a kick that he made in practice. He had made a kick earlier in the game, and the one that was blocked was a good kick coming off his foot. It had good height. Kyle was confident, and our team was confident in him, and you just go back to working through it. There's nothing magical that you can do other than being supportive and not pointing fingers at people.”

- Jim Mora says Washington State’s accusation of UCLA calling out the snap count is wrong.

The Cougars committed two false starts and two snap infractions, and Mike Leach and WSU players said UCLA players were calling the snap count.

“We don’t even make calls on defense. No,” Mora said. “That’s not part of our repertoire. That’s not anything we’ve done. If he’s saying that, he’s misinformed.”

- Watch Hugh Freeze’s locker room speech after their loss to Arkansas last week.

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