Howard Schnellenberger doesn't understand why coaches close practices; U of L defensive ends chase a sack record.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Here is a security/paranoia exclusive WDRB College Football Notebook reminder on the state of major college football today:
It is easier to get inside the White House than it is to get inside a full-scale pre-season scrimmage at a FBS level program.
Ask former Louisville coach Howard Schnellenberger. He made it inside The White House last week when the Miami Dolphins were finally honored 40 years after they delivered their historic 17-0 season. He was an assistant coach with that team. Schnellenberger knows better than trying to view a major-college practice. Practices are closed.
"Isn't that amazing?" Schnellenberger said. "There is absolutely nothing to worry about."
Actually, the word I would use is silly. Paranoid. Backwards.
True story: When Schnellenberger worked at U of L, he called me one morning before the season started. He wanted to know why I had missed practice the previous afternoon. I thought I was going to have to run the steps at old Cardinal Stadium.
"The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Chicago Tribune and St. Petersburg Times were all at practice yesterday," Schnellenberger said. "Why weren't you here?"
I didn't have a good answer. It was probably too hot. Or there was too much traffic at the Kentucky State Fair in the days when the Cardinals practiced at the Fairgrounds.
Today coaches treat practice with the secrecy of nuclear codes. They're petrified that somebody will see something they will share on the Internet and cost their team a game. Of course, that makes me wonder if they're trying to steal stuff from other teams so they can get an edge.
Did I say that was silly? All you have to do is bar cameras and video recorders. Most reporters have zero ability to diagram plays in ways that would be valuable to other teams. And they know if they did it one time their access would be eliminated.
What's the problem?
"You were out there enough to stay for an hour and watch every play that we ran," Schnellenberger said. "We didn't do anything when you were there that we didn't do when you weren't there. But the point is that the thing you don't allow is cameras and video equipment.
"But even with that, I wouldn't care because they get every film that's been recorded for the last 20 years if they want it. They can put it up there and scrutinize it, strip it down and study it.
"It's just ridiculous."
You can say that again. And unlike most coaches who lock down every practice, Schnellenberger actually has a national championship and a 6-0 bowl record to prove that he knows what he's talking about.
*Schnellenberger does plan to attend a Louisville game this season. He said he's been invited to the Cards' game against Central Florida Oct. 18. That game is Homecoming as well as the 20-year reunion weekend for the U of L team that went 9-3 and defeated Michigan State in the Liberty Bowl.
Two other programs also plan to honor Schnellenberger, who is 79. On Friday night in Miami he will participate in the coin toss for the game between the Miami Hurricanes and Florida Atlantic. He coached both of those teams.
CHASING ELVIS DUMERVIL
University of Louisville defensive ends Deiontrez Mount and Lorenzo Mauldin intend to chase more than quarterbacks for the Cardinals' defense this season. They are also chasing former Cardinal Elvis Dumervil.
Both Mount and Mauldin met Dumervil during one of his visits from Denver back to the U of L football complex. They are aware that in 2005 Dumervil established the school record with 20 1/2 sacks in one season.
In the seven seasons since Dumervil has been gone the highest sack total delivered by any U of L player has been nine by Malik Jackson in 2006 and Rodney Gnat in 2010. The team leader last season was Mauldin with 4 ½. Mount finished with 2 ½.
Now they're going to get at least 21?
"I want to get 26, which is two sacks per game," Mauldin said. "It's realistic because I believe that I can get two sacks per game."
"I'm going to tell Lo this right now: I'm going to beat him to that," Mount said. "As my counterpart, he's on the other side, and we try to do a good job of keeping each other accountable and getting to the spot … I'm going to beat him to the record."
"That's all we do is compete," Mauldin said. "I tell him every time we line up that I'll meet you back there."
And what does the man whose opinion truly matters think about this?
"If they're going to talk like that, we're going to make sure they play like that," U of L coach Charlie Strong said. "A lot of times they talk, but they're going to have to play. A lot of times those records are sitting there but they're going to have to play hard to go get that record."
WHITLOW OR SMITH? STOOPS OR BROWN?
Who is going to take the first snap for the University of Kentucky against Western Kentucky in Nashville next Saturday?
How is the play-calling going to work for the first-year UK coaching staff?
Excellent questions. They're questions that UK coach Mark Stoops tried to answer Saturday after the Wildcats practiced, according to this information from the UK media relations department.
Starting quarterback? Stay tuned.
"I don't see the reason to (name a starter), really," Stoops said. "I think both guys are working extremely hard, and there's probably no reason for me to name a starter."
How about the play calling? Stoops did tackle that one. Offensive coordinator Neal Brown will call the plays, although Stoops retains veto power. Brown will work from the sidelines. The major analysis from the press box will be handled by Tommy Mainord, wide receivers coach for the Wildcats.
"He'll call all the plays, but obviously I'll make all the decisions, whether it's four-down territory or when to take a shot and have some input and things like that," Stoops said. "But he'll call the plays. But I'll just be there to manage it, and like I said make the decisions on four down or punting and going for it and just, you know, here or there."
Why does Brown prefer to work the sidelines? Many offensive coordinators prefer the booth. It's a better angle to watch plays develop – and it's also an easier spot to take a solid look at replays.
"I think you've got a little bit better feel when to use tempo, when to not," Brown said. "I like seeing the quarterback when they come off. If they did something well or they did something poorly, I like to be able to immediately talk to them and discuss it."
INDIANA'S 749-YARD, 12-TD BACKUP
The chatter around the Indiana University football program isn't much different than it is around most schools. Everybody wants to know who's going to play quarterback.
At Indiana, it's not a two-man race, it's a three-man race. There is Tre Roberson, who started the first two games last season before suffering a broken leg. There is Cam Coffman, who threw for more than 2,700 yards. There is Nate Sudfeld, who had seven touchdowns and only one interception while attempting 82 passes as a true freshman.
Stay tuned. When Indiana released a depth chart at the end of camp Friday, all three guys were still listed as possible first teamers.
Not so at running back.
Stephen Houston has led the Hoosiers in rushing in back-to-back seasons, but he still cannot climb to the top of the depth chart. He is listed with the second team behind sophomore Tevin Coleman.
Interesting? You bet. Houston led IU in rushing going for 749 yards with a dozen touchdowns last season. He averaged better than 4.7 yards per carry, and at Indiana he's not playing behind the Alabama offensive line.
Coleman started fast last season. But he finished the year with 225 yards, averaging 4.4 yards per carry. He scored one touchdown.
Many wonder if the coaching staff is trying to motivate Houston. That's happened before.
"Right now (Coleman) would be the first one that would go out," IU coach Kevin Wilson said. "He's a very good player and he's done as well if not better and has consistently from the spring and Stephen has not done poorly.
"He's a very good player and when those pro scouts come in, they go, ‘That's a good looking guy.' And I said, ‘That other dude ain't too bad either.' It's just a very healthy competitive situation."
STRONG POLL RESULTS
I asked for your help last week. I know that Nick Saban of Alabama is the consensus choice as the best coach in college football and that Urban Meyer of Ohio State is a solid pick at number two.
But who's number three?
That was my poll question. And nearly 1,250 of you responded. Nobody responded as vigorously as Louisville fans. Here are the results.
Charlie Strong, Louisville, 37.5 percent.
Chris Petersen, Boise State, 24.7 percent
Bobby Petrino, Western Kentucky, 11.6 percent
Steve Spurrier, South Carolina, 8.1 percent
Les Miles, LSU, 5.2 percent
Bill Snyder, Kansas State, 3.4 percent
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame, 3.3 percent
Other, 2.7 percent
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma, 2.4 percent
David Shaw, Stanford, 1.1 percent
THE EARLY LINE ON OPENING WEEK
How do the point spreads look for this week's games?
Here is an early look:
Kentucky at Western Kentucky: The Wildcats opened as 3-point favorites. The number has grown to 4 ½.
Ohio University at Louisville: The Cards opened as 16-point favorites. The number is now 20 ½.
Indiana State at Indiana: No number. The Sycamores are an FCS program.
Mississippi at Vanderbilt: The Commodores were favored by 1 ½. They four of their players were arrested. Now the Rebels are favored by 3.
Purdue at Cincinnati: Another major move in the number. The Boilermakers were two-touchdown underdogs. The number has closed to 10 ½.
Penn State at Syracuse: The Nittany Lions are favored by 7 ½ after starting as 5-point favorites.
Louisiana State vs. TCU: This should be the best game of the weekend. The Tigers are favored by 4, one less than the opening number.
WHO DOES ESPN LOVE? YOU'D BE SURPRISED
The folks at FootballScoop.com had a great question: Since ESPN began televising live football games in 1984, which programs have earned the most appearances?
ESPN, led by Mike Humes of the publicity department, was happy to supply the answers. Frankly, I'm surprised by the winner – Auburn, with 75 appearances, two more than the Miami Hurricanes.
I thought the winner would be Alabama, Ohio State or perhaps Southern California.
I assume that Alabama finished 15th, with 54 appearances, because so many of their games are carried by CBS instead of ESPN. And Ohio State is likely to show up on ABC or the Big Ten Network.