News, Notes & Quotes - Sept. 2

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday September 02, 2016

- One takeaway from the first night of college football? Special teams blunders.

Tennessee muffed a punt that led to an Appalachian State touchdown, Jalen Reeves-Maybin was ejected for targeting on a punt coverage, and a 57-yard Tennessee punt outkicked the coverage into a 45-yard return.

App State, for its part, missed an extra point in a game that went to OT. They also missed a 42-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

South Carolina nearly committed a safety on the opening kickoff, then muffed a punt of their own. Minnesota also muffed a punt away, leading to an Oregon State TD.

- Minnesota did something the card definitely doesn’t tell you to do: They went for two while leading by 7.

A TD put Minnesota up 30-23 on Oregon State late in the fourth quarter. The two-point try failed, but Minnesota got a defensive stop and kneeled out the clock.

Normally, you kick and force the opponent to make a 2 if they score a TD. But because Minnesota’s 2-point try failed, Oregon State could have had a chance to win the game, had they scored and gone for 2.

“I believe you go for two and you’re up two scores if you make it," Claeys told BTN. "If you don’t, the other team will kick most of the time."

- It wasn’t pretty, but the Will Muschamp era at South Carolina opened with an upset SEC road win.

Vanderbilt was a 5-point favorite. As mentioned, the Gamecocks nearly committed an opening safety. Then the first drive included three offensive line penalties and a sack, and there was a red zone fumble later. Vandy led 10-0 at halftime.

But the Gamecocks tied it up and kicked a 55-yard field goal in the final minute for the comeback. Offense was Muschamp’s problem at Florida. South Carolina only averaged 4.9 yards per play against a good Vandy D, but there’s also not much to work with right now. Perry Orth finished 11-for-19 for 152 yards.

- As Wisconsin and LSU get ready to kickoff in Green Bay, Barry Alvarez still has an unanswered question about their 2014 meeting in Houston.

Wisconsin led 24-7 early in the third quarter, but Melvin Gordon didn’t get another carry, and LSU came back for a 28-24 win.

“That game was close to being a blowout. Never did get an answer why Melvin Gordon didn’t play anymore after the first carry of the second half,” Alvarez told The Advocate. “There never was an answer. I saw him the next day and asked him if he was hurt and he said, ‘No.’ I still haven’t gotten an answer why.

“And we misplay a fake … And they’ve been notorious for fake kicks. They don’t make that fake kick, we get the ball at midfield and that’s going to be a laugher.”

- Urban Meyer takes a photo of his first Bowling Green team with him every time he moves.

As the Buckeyes prepare for Bowling Green, Meyer recounted on his radio show how he turned the culture at the program back in 2001. The Falcons went 8-3 under Meyer after a 2-9 season.

“When you walk in the locker room, there are signs and all that. We took out everything, and I just put up a big sign of ‘Trust,’” Meyer said. “I said this is going to be the most miserable nonsense you’ve ever been through in your life. You’re going to want to quit.

“Eighteen kids quit in the first week, and they should have quit. They didn’t belong there. It’s Division I football. You don’t act like that and play Division I football. I said to just trust it. You’ll ask, ‘Why are we doing this?’ The crucible of training and learning, make it so hard you melt off the impurities. That’s what we did. What was left was about 57-60 guys. They got on a plane to Missouri and won.”

- While talking about the “Row The Bow” motto at Western Michigan, P.J. Fleck dropped a blunt line.

Fleck explained that the oar represents energy, the boat represents sacrifice, and the compass represents the direction set by the leader and the people around him.

“If you surround yourself with turds, you’re going to become a turd. If you surround yourself with elite people, you are going to become an elite person,” he said on ESPN Radio Chicago. “The compass is so important who you surround yourself with. Not only in college, but the rest of your life.”

- Mark Dantonio makes sure every Michigan State player knows everyone’s number, hometown and high school.

The latest episode of BTN’s Green & White Days showed how Dantonio does it. On the practice field, Dantonio calls up a player and asks him to name all three about a random player. If you get it right, the team runs a liner. If you get it wrong, the team runs intervals.

- Penn State opens with Kent State, but people only want to ask James Franklin about Pitt next week. How does he handle that?

“By not answering this question,” Franklin told reporters. "Not talking about Week 2, as much as I get asked. All summer, taking my daughters to the mall, someone asks me about it. Downtown, at today’s quarterback club luncheon. We’re going to have a quarterback club luncheon next week and they can’t wait. By focusing on the game we have.”

- Mark Richt will call plays at Miami, but it will still come down to Brad Kaaya putting the offense in the best position.

“The days of just calling a play and it being the best possible play is kind of gone,” Richt said on WQAM. “You can call a play you know would be better if you’d run to the left rather than the right. There will be a lot of options he has at the line of scrimmage to get us in the best play.”

- Take a behind-the-scenes look at Ole Miss’ training camp with the first episode of The Season.

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