Fast & real: Friday news & notes
Posted by: Pete Roussel on August 10, 2012
On Wednesday, Dan Mullen was gracious to allow me to watch practice and tour the ongoing construction of the new multi-purpose football facility set to open in January at Mississippi State.
Mullen is very happy at Mississippi State. Along with his entire coaching staff, Mullen will have a brand new office overlooking the practice fields after the Bulldogs return from another bowl game.
After watching practice, it's only a matter of which bowl game the Bulldogs will play in. Mullen and his staff have a firm grasp on this team. The coaches didn't have to spend a minute "managing personalities." Rather, they spent two hours "teaching and developing" players. It's a testament to the coaches for who they chose to recruit, to the coaches for setting the standard and molding the team, and to the players.
Many coaches have to ask for effort and encourage players to "finish the drill." What stood out to me was that the Mississippi State players clearly understand the expectations. You didn't hear the coaches reminding players "let's go" or "run through the line." As a head coach, that's what you want heading into your fourth season, but it's not what every fourth-year head coach actually gets. Mullen has it.
I sensed a team, not individuals. And they were investing two hours, drill by drill, at getting better.
Mullen always puts a premium on the first SEC game of the season. This year, Mississippi State hosts Auburn in week #2. If the Bulldogs beat the Tigers and quarterback Tyler Russell stays healthy throughout the season, don't be surprised is Mississippi State upsets Alabama, LSU, or Arkansas.
Of course, the Bulldogs end the regular season at Ole Miss. To give you an idea of the mindset around Starkville, as I was leaving athletic director Scott Stricklin's office, two administrative assistants were leaving for lunch. One lady went to grab her red & blue umbrella; the other said with a deep Southern accent, "Come on. That's the enemy's colors."
Mullen won't say "Ole Miss" and apparently the Rebels are referred to as "the enemy" by other athletic department personnel. Beautiful.
Chip Kelly is the owner of two unbelievable stats:
1. Kelly is the only head coach in the country who enters this season with the same 9 assistant coaches as he did entering the 2009 season.
2. According to the Register-Guard, every single recruit that has signed with the Ducks in Kelly's tenure has ultimately enrolled in the University of Oregon. 64 players have signed a national letter of intent and 64 have become Ducks.
It wouldn't surprise me if there are 2-3 coaches in their current head coaching position that have signed 64 players who have never enrolled in school under that particular college.
So many coaches evaluate the energy level on the practice field, but Dana Holgorsen says that his staff actually coaches it. Holgorsen has been pleasantly pleased with a recent infusion of energy from his team on the practice fields.
Holgorsen explained, "We coach it. That's what they pay us to do. If it's something we believe in, we coach it. We've talked a lot about body language, we've talked a lot about confidence, we've talked about effort, energy, excitement. I truly believe you can coach that stuff like you can coach where to line up on a specific play."
Temple head coach Steve Adazzio isn't a big fan of 2-a-days.
Following Wednesday's practice, Adazzio admitted, "As I get older, I don't love 2-a-days. They're alright. You get something done. I'm more interested in just the execution level of each practice. We don't have many 2-a-days, probably have three of 'em. Pretty short by nature. I think what you get out of 2-a-days now is the passing in the afternoon. You get a little more of that done. You can focus on that a little more, so I guess that's a positive of it. Sometimes receivers are so gassed when you get to it, they're hams are so sore that it's not as productive as you'd like it to be. From a 2-a-day standpoint, the heavy installation allows you to get your stuff in, but physically I think it kind of buries you a little bit."
Tulane mic'd up offensive coordinator Eric Price. In case you missed it, I believe Price is 1 of 4 play-callers that may go 'up top' on the first play of the season.
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