College Football Notes & Quotes: Week 2

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A Sampling From Big Ten Coaches

Mark Dantonio

On how Greg Jones compares with past greats he’s coached:

“Greg is one of those guys where…every time you line up for practice, they’re going to go hard. They play in practice like they play in a game, and they do that because of the focus and because of the intangibles they bring to the table. We’ve had guys like that before, Trevor Anderson reminds me of that type of guy…it’s an exception, not the rule usually…that’s one of the things that makes Greg Jones so special.”

On how the Offensive Line play measures up right now relative to where he’d like it to be:

“We got good play out of the right side of our line (versus WMU), which is our inexperienced part…the left side of our line and our center were consistent with what they’d done last year, which was pretty good. We’ve got to eliminate the false starts, we had a couple, and one “hands to the face mask,” but other than that, anytime you run the ball for 300 yards or so, you’re doing something very well up there.”

On the importance of having the opportunity and support to build a program the right way:

“It’s extremely crucial that you have the support of your Administration, your Board of Trustees, your President, and your Athletic Director…In every program, success starts at the top. You have to be able to receive the support financially, and then emotionally as well…When things aren’t going to go as well, you have to have someone that’s going to say “hey, okay…we’re going to move through this.” Our Administration has done that here, top to bottom, and I’m deeply appreciative of that…You don’t get there by yourself. This isn’t a one man show, this starts at the top and permeates through the entire program.”

“If you’re going to build it right, you have to build it with a foundation, and it’s not something that’s going to be done in a short time…nor do you want it to be something that happens one time and then floats want it to be there for the long haul.”

Jim Tressel

On the concept of “scripting” Offensive plays to start a game or half:

“I think we all get a list of things that we feel have looked the best during the week’s preparation, and if the team you’re playing stays true to form conceptually with what they’ve been doing, that can be something. Quite often, we find that people don’t come out and do exactly what they’ve been doing…so we’ve really never tied ourselves to holding to a script…But we’ve certainly do have a ready list, and unless what they’re doing is dramatically different, we stick close to our ready list.”

On the recruiting challenge of evaluating and projecting a young man’s character:

“You try to assess that through getting to know people. Quite honestly, because it’s (recruiting) been so accelerated, you find some moments where you maybe don’t know a guy as long as you’d like…the flip side of that is, because kids at times are doing some early committing, then you do get to know them because they’ve got their sorting out of the way and now they’re just stopping by your games and coming to your campus maybe more frequently than if he were still in the decision making process…But the bottom line in any relationship building is the time spent together.”

Kirk Ferentz

On the importance of Defensive Coordinator (and past Spartan) Norm Parker to Iowa Football:

“His contribution has been invaluable. It’s interesting because a couple years ago, a lot of people were thinking maybe the game’s passed Norm by and he was too old to be coaching, which is the nature of sports I guess…He’s done a tremendous job, not just as a Defensive Coordinator, but what he brings to our staff in terms of his experience, his stability, and life experiences.”

On dealing with the off-field (Reggie Bush and USC type) issues in College Football today:

“The world’s changed and there’s probably more things out there for kids to get distracted by than at any time…One thing I remember from reading the Vince Lombardi Book “When Pride Still Mattered”, they found out later on that players on his (Fordham) team were playing Saturdays for Fordham, and then they were going over to New Jersey and making like $50 a game to play “sand lot” ball on Sunday, and it caught up to them…I remember reading that and just thinking the same challenges are still around. People do dumb things all the time…all you can do is try to be proactive and hope people are making good decisions.”

Rich Rodriguez

On the unique challenge of going up against Coach in his first year with that program:

“With a new staff, there’s always a little bit more that you’re not going to be prepared for, from a scheme standpoint. You can study what they did in the past, and study what they did in the first game…but they can maybe have some things in the second game that they did not show in the first game that you have to try to prepare for, and that’s the hardest thing early in the season, particularly against a new staff.”

On the value of starting Center David Molk (out injured for most of ‘09) to their development:

“David is one of our better players up front…he knows our offense very, very well, and he’s at the Center position where everybody’s going to communicate with him. It hurt us last year when he was out, though we thought his replacement did a fantastic job, but David Molk’s a very good player…we’re different when he’s in there.”

Bill Lynch

On dealing with the off-field (Reggie Bush and USC type) issues in College Football today:

“As the years have gone on, the money involved in professional sports has increased to the point where our kids think about it, there isn’t any question about it...But there are people in their ears talking about the money that can be involved, and not always having their best interests at heart…and that’s where you get concerned.”

On whether something good for College Football might come out of the Reggie Bush fiasco:

“I think it’s (dealing with off field improprieties) going to get better because there’s so much attention put to it, and the right people are involved…I think anytime we’ve had major issues in athletics and we address it, we’ll certainly get a better handle on it.”

Joe Paterno

On the emergence of True Freshmen Robert Bolden (OLSM ‘09) as the Lions starting QB:

“He’s very poised, he’s all business…he’s a very likable kid, he’s coachable, he’s a hard worker he’s everything you’re looking for.”

“He’s unusual in the kind of responsibility he’s been asked to handle…Being a Quarterback in the situation he’s in, without a lot of experienced people on the team…it’s been surprising, how good he’s been.”

P.A.T. (Perhaps Another Thought…)

  1. Featuring College Football on Labor Day weekend (for five straight days before the NFL regular season begins) provides a big jump start for the sport. Such a boost would not exist, however, if there weren’t enough compelling and competitive matchups for fans to enjoy. Credit College Football for putting together a handful of intriguing games for the weekend, but hopefully they'll work to guarantee at least one “must see” game for each day of the featured weekend.
  2. The SEC took a firm credibility hit this weekend as Vanderbilt was beaten at home by Northwestern, LSU barely hung on to beat about two-thirds of the North Carolina Tar Heels, and Ole Miss came all the way from 18 points ahead to lose to Division 1-AA Jacksonville St., at home.  The Four Letter Network (ESPN) has yet to really comment.
  3. The Heisman Trophy is the most overrated award in sports. Have you ever encountered anyone outside of the media who actually wants to talk about the race? The only people really “talking Heisman” anymore are the media, amongst themselves. I understand there was a time when the trophy was quite relevant, but there was also a time when the NBA was great, car phones were soooo money, and dial-up internet was king. It’s time for those over at the Four Letter, and the relatively few others who live to keep the Heisman in the conversation, to accept that the award’s time and relevance has long past…just like two of its recent winners out of Southern Cal.