Fayetteville, Ark. football
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Fayetteville, Ark. football News
NewsOK articles about Fayetteville, Ark. football, or articles mentioning current or former Fayetteville, Ark. football players.
Fayetteville, Ark. High School Varsity Boys Football
Aug 28, 2014
Louisiana Tech comes to Norman for a Saturday night game at Owen Field, and the Bulldogs are coached by a familiar name. Skip Holtz. Yep, the son of Lou. And the people of Ruston, La., are no strangers to being coached by the son of a famous coach. Here are Louisiana Tech’s last four coaches: […]
La Tech's Skip Holtz has seen the Sooners before
Berry Tramel | Aug 28, 2014[img url=https://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2014/08/skip-holtz.jpg]3371180[/img] Louisiana Tech comes to Norman for a Saturday night game at Owen Field, and the Bulldogs are coached by a familiar name. Skip Holtz. Yep, the son of Lou. And the people of Ruston, La., are no strangers to being coached by the son of a famous coach. Here are Louisiana Tech’s last four coaches: Skip Holtz, son of Lou. Sonny Dykes, son of Spike. Derek Dooley, son of Vince. Jack Bicknell, son of, well, I guess you can figure that out. Lou Holtz is a Hall of Fame coach who was splendid at Arkansas and Notre Dame. Spike Dykes was a 13-year icon at Texas Tech. Vince Dooley was a 25-year legend coaching Georgia. And Jack Bicknell Sr. was Doug Flutie’s coach at Boston College. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This must mean that Louisiana Tech’s next coach will be Lane Kiffin, son of Monte. I talked with Skip Holtz a year ago during Conference USA Media Day. “Hiring the sons of coaches, they’ve had some success with it,” Holtz said of Louisiana Tech. “I’m sure that was part of it. I’m sure as a school, they probably looked at it and said, here are coaches that have grown up around this game their whole life. This has been a way of life for them. They’ve had success with it and they’ve hung with it, and I’m excited that they have.” We published a Collected Wisdom with Skip Holtz, which ran last September and which you can read here. Skip Holtz has come across Oklahoma football before. He was 13 years old and living in Fayetteville, Ark., when his father’s Razorbacks stunned OU 31-6 in the Orange Bowl after the 1977 season. Skip Holtz graduated from Fayetteville High School, went to Holy Cross College across the street from Notre Dame, transferred to Notre Dame after two years and joined the football team for his senior year, 1986, when a certain coach from Arkansas was hired. Now Skip Holtz is 50 and has had a long career in football. He worked on staffs at Florida State, Colorado and Notre Dame before becoming head coach at Connecticut in 1994. Here are Skip Holtz’s head-coaching stops: UConn, 34-23, 1994-98 East Carolina, 38-27, 2005-09 South Florida, 16-21, 2010-12 Louisiana Tech, 2013, 4-8 That’s a head coaching record of 92-79. Skip Holtz also spent 1999-2004 working on his dad’s staff at South Carolina.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — The misfortunes of Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen's truck continue.Police found his truck on fire early Monday and were investigating the incident as a potential case of arson.Sgt. Craig Stout of the Fayetteville Police Department said Allen's truck was one of three involved in a pair of car fires, though he said it was too early to say if the fire was related to...
Arkansas QB Allen's truck involved in car fire
KURT VOIGT, Associated Press | Aug 25, 2014FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — The misfortunes of Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen's truck continue. Police found his truck on fire early Monday and were investigating the incident as a potential case of arson. Sgt. Craig Stout of the Fayetteville Police Department said Allen's truck was one of three involved in a pair of car fires, though he said it was too early to say if the fire was related to Allen's position on the football team. "We don't know that yet," Stout said. Allen's truck was egged following a loss to Mississippi State last season, after which coach Bret Bielema said college football "is a little bit ugly at times." Stout said the police and fire departments responded to a call at 3:59 a.m. and discovered Allen's Chevy Avalanche — which is registered to his father and former Arkansas assistant coach Bobby Allen — on fire. Stout said the car fire was the second of the morning in Fayetteville, following a call approximately two hours earlier a few miles away from Allen's truck. The first fire also jumped to a neighboring parked car, and Stout said investigators are working to determine the cause of both fires. Bielema said Allen called him at approximately 4:15 a.m. while the fire was ongoing. "Your breath kind of stops for a moment when (I) saw it was (Allen) calling me," Bielema said. "I was hoping it was my alarm, but it was half hour before I was planning on getting up." Bielema said Allen was "completely safe," and that he plans to put the junior quarterback and younger brother Austin Allen — the team's backup quarterback — off limits for interviews this week leading up to Arkansas' season opener at Auburn. Bielema said Allen was calm when the two talked Monday morning, and that he doesn't expect the incident to impact the quarterback's play against the defending Southeastern Conference champion Tigers. He also said he's hopeful the fire wasn't related to Allen's position on the team, and that he continues to believe Fayetteville is a top destination for high school recruits. "One of the things people talk about is they can be here the whole weekend and never see a siren, never see a police officer with squad lights on," Bielema said. "I think that's still one of the best-selling points to Arkansas." Allen's teammates showed their support for the quarterback through social media. "The whole team has (your) back and we all know you're the guy to take us to the promise land," senior tight end AJ Derby tweeted.
Aug 21, 2014
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema proudly posted a message on Twitter last spring that featured the Razorbacks' new helmets — a futuristic design by Riddell called the SpeedFlex that is supposed to be the latest in head protection.A vocal proponent of player safety, Bielema is happy to be a part of the cutting edge. But it's a bit of a leap of faith. He has no proof that the SpeedFlex — or any other...
Teams test out a new helmet, but does it work?
DAVID BRANDT, Associated Press | Aug 21, 2014Arkansas coach Bret Bielema proudly posted a message on Twitter last spring that featured the Razorbacks' new helmets — a futuristic design by Riddell called the SpeedFlex that is supposed to be the latest in head protection. A vocal proponent of player safety, Bielema is happy to be a part of the cutting edge. But it's a bit of a leap of faith. He has no proof that the SpeedFlex — or any other helmet — can reduce the risk of a devastating head injury. "It's just like everything else — everything advances and you get better at it," Bielema said at a recent Arkansas practice. "I think our kids really like the way (the helmets) feel. They feel snug. They feel fit. So I think that's a step in the right direction." With lawsuits and concern regarding concussions hanging over every level of football, the race to develop safer helmets and other equipment has never been more intense. Even so, experts say it remains to be seen if new technology has made a dent in reducing concussions on the football field. "It's very admirable that they're trying to get better," said Dr. Robert Cantu, a Boston-based neurosurgeon who specializes in sports concussions. "But with regards to concussions, it's a very complex issue ... There really isn't any helmet that has clearly been shown on the football field to be superior to other helmets." The NCAA recently reached a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit by agreeing to toughen return-to-play rules for players who receive head blows and create a $70 million fund to pay for thousands of current and former athletes to undergo testing to determine whether they suffered brain trauma while playing football and other contact sports. Concussions occur when the brain moves inside the skull from an impact or a whiplash effect, but it's still an injury that doctors are learning about. There's also debate about the best way to test for concussion factors or how to even identify when concussions occur. The SpeedFlex's new design features a five-sided indentation on the crown of the helmet and a faceguard that both have some flexibility, which is supposed to allow some force to be absorbed and dispersed instead of going directly to the head. There's also a revamped ratchet chinstrap system for faster adjustments and a quick release for the faceguard that could benefit medical staff seeking access to the face in the event of an emergency. Thad Ide, Riddell's senior vice president for research and product development, said his company isn't claiming that the SpeedFlex can help reduce concussions. But like Bielema, he believes progress is being made in regards to lessening head impacts. "We'll let the medical researchers weigh in on the medical data around concussions, because that's kind of a moving target right now because of all the things that are being learned," Ide said. "But what we can do is try to reduce the forces of impact to the player's head. I think reducing those forces is unequivocally a good thing." Cantu said current football helmet certification tests by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) measure only linear impacts, which are direct blows. But new standards proposed over the summer would also mandate tests for rotational forces — or non-direct blows that could better reflect what actually happens on a football field. NOCSAE's new standards are expected to go into effect sometime next year. Mike Oliver, the executive director of NOCSAE, said helmet technology is improving but there are no simple answers. "I think the helmet manufactures are doing everything they can do to address these issues," Oliver said. "But they labor under the same restrictions that we do, which is until we understand more about the specifics of what causes a particular concussion, it's a little difficult." Riddell spokeswoman Erin Griffin said more than half of NCAA Division I programs are using the SpeedFlex. She said some programs — like Arkansas — have taken an aggressive approach to using the helmets while others have more of a wait-and-see attitude. Mississippi State equipment manager Phil Silva, who is in his 31st year at the school, said he had the opportunity to order the SpeedFlex but declined. He said the technology looked fine, but he wanted to make sure there was demand among players. "Most of our players like to use the brand of helmet they used in high school," Silva said. "We want to make sure guys are going to use them before we order." Dr. Stefan Duma, the department head of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, has been a pioneer in releasing independent ratings for the safety football helmets provide. He says Riddell's newest modifications for the SpeedFlex are "promising," though he has not tested the helmet because it's not yet available to the public. His team tests helmets by purchasing three and then performing 40 tests on each helmet that measure front, top, side and back impacts. They then aggregate the scores from all impacts and assign each helmet a 1-5 star rating, with a 5-star label being the highest. "It's one of the first really new concepts in helmet technology — having the flexible outer shell," Duma said of the SpeedFlex. Riddell provides helmets to every level of football — all the way from the pros to Pop Warner. Designing a helmet that successfully tests as a 'safer' model would be a boon for the manufacturer. The company was previously the official helmet of the NFL, but that partnership ended after last season. A league spokesman said that in 2013, about 60 percent of the league's players used Riddell helmets. For now, experts say the best way to make football safer is through rule changes. Dr. Julian Bailes, who has advised the NFLPA and NCAA about concussions and is the medical director for Pop Warner, says rules that outlaw targeting the head and limits on how often teams can have full-contact practices are vital advancements. "Every level of play is addressing this issue," Bailes said. "Do you really need to be exposed to that many blows to the head?" _____ Online: www.Riddell.com/SpeedFlex _____ AP Sports Writers Kurt Voigt in Fayetteville, Ark., and Howard Fendrich in Washington, D.C., contributed to this story.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — University of Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema has announced the signing of an offensive lineman from Texas.Bielema says Zach Rogers of Hebron High School signed Thursday and is set to enroll in the spring 2015 semester that begins in January.Rogers is rated by various scouting services as one of the top centers in the nation. He chose Arkansas over offers that...
Arkansas signs offensive lineman from Texas
Associated Press | Aug 8, 2014FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — University of Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema has announced the signing of an offensive lineman from Texas. Bielema says Zach Rogers of Hebron High School signed Thursday and is set to enroll in the spring 2015 semester that begins in January. Rogers is rated by various scouting services as one of the top centers in the nation. He chose Arkansas over offers that included Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Baylor and UCLA.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — University of Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema says Charleston High School quarterback Ty Storey has signed with the Razorbacks and is scheduled to enroll in January.Storey led Charleston High School to a perfect 15-0 mark and the Arkansas 3A state championship as a junior. He has passed for 8,701 yards and 101 touchdowns in his career and rushed for 511 yards and...
High school quarterback signs with Arkansas
Associated Press | Aug 3, 2014FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — University of Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema says Charleston High School quarterback Ty Storey has signed with the Razorbacks and is scheduled to enroll in January. Storey led Charleston High School to a perfect 15-0 mark and the Arkansas 3A state championship as a junior. He has passed for 8,701 yards and 101 touchdowns in his career and rushed for 511 yards and 13 touchdowns. He threw for 4,241 yards and 52 touchdowns and ran for 180 yards and six TDs in 2013. Storey chose Arkansas over other offers — including Alabama and Auburn.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — University of Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema has awarded scholarships to two in-state football players.Bielema said Thursday that defensive end Jake Hall and fullback Tyler Colquitt have been placed on scholarship beginning in the second summer session.Hall is a native of Springdale and helped Har-Ber High School to the quarterfinals of the 7A state playoffs in...
Bielema awards scholarships to 2 in-state players
Associated Press | Jun 26, 2014FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — University of Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema has awarded scholarships to two in-state football players. Bielema said Thursday that defensive end Jake Hall and fullback Tyler Colquitt have been placed on scholarship beginning in the second summer session. Hall is a native of Springdale and helped Har-Ber High School to the quarterfinals of the 7A state playoffs in 2013. Colquitt played linebacker and running back at Pulaski Academy where he averaged nearly 9.5 yards per carry and scored seven touchdowns in 2013.
Apr 23, 2014
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — AJ Derby was admittedly stubborn about giving the quarterback position every chance he could.That is, until the Arkansas senior realized his final season of college football was approaching — with the very real possibility he might not see the field.With his playing time in jeopardy — and with some gentle encouragement from coach Bret Bielema — Derby switched from...
Arkansas' Derby making most of move to tight end
KURT VOIGT, Associated Press | Apr 23, 2014FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — AJ Derby was admittedly stubborn about giving the quarterback position every chance he could. That is, until the Arkansas senior realized his final season of college football was approaching — with the very real possibility he might not see the field. With his playing time in jeopardy — and with some gentle encouragement from coach Bret Bielema — Derby switched from quarterback to tight end prior to the start of spring practice. It's a move that has paid immediate dividends for both Arkansas and its former Iowa transfer, who has been the surprise of the spring for the recovering Razorbacks. In fact, the position switch has been so successful that Bielema and Derby's teammates now aren't so sure his career will end in college. "I feel like AJ Derby is going to be one of those stories where you say, 'He was just a backup quarterback, and now he's been in the (NFL) at tight end for 10 years,'" running back Jonathan Williams said. "I mean, he's made that such of a quick jump. It's so natural to him." Derby originally signed with his home-state Iowa to begin his career, but he was quickly met with talk of a possible position change after playing in nine games as a redshirt freshman with the Hawkeyes. Rather than switch to tight end or linebacker, Derby eventually transferred to Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College for the 2012 season. He finally had his chance as a starting quarterback, but the 6-foot-5, 264-pound Derby struggled with his accuracy and turnovers in junior college — completing 46.4 percent (149 of 321) of his passes while throwing 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Derby arrived at Arkansas prior to last year's spring practice, and his experience earned him the backup quarterback position last season. And when Brandon Allen was injured early last year, Derby stepped in and led the Razorbacks to a win over Southern Mississippi. He finished the season 19-of-36 passing (52.8 percent) for 178 yards, but Allen's return and added quarterback depth — along with a lack of established playmakers at wide receiver — led Bielema to once again broach the subject of a position switch. This time, coming off a disappointing 3-9 season that saw Arkansas go winless in the Southeastern Conference and lose its final nine games, Derby was ready to listen. "I was all-in at quarterback," Derby said. "... But I want to be a leader on the team, and I think the best way for me to be a leader is to be on the field, so I'm all-in on this and I want to help this team win." Derby's move hasn't been without its share of pitfalls, most notably a wide-open dropped pass during an early Razorbacks scrimmage. The drop aside, Bielema said the move has been timely for a passing offense that was worst in the SEC last season with only 148.5 yards per game through the air. In fact, Derby had several highlight-worthy catches during Arkansas' practice over the weekend — the most notable a diving one-handed touchdown snare that led to cheers across the practice field. He looked every bit like a bona-fide tight end on the play and nothing like a player catching passes for the first time since his sophomore year in high school. "He's very legit, that's for sure," Allen said. "He came right out of the quarterback room, so there's no learning curve for him getting out there ... There's not much not to like with him out there at tight end." The Razorbacks already return one of the top tight ends in the league in sophomore Hunter Henry, who was second-team All-SEC last year as a freshman, but Bielema is excited about the prospect of having two threats at the position. He's even gone as far during the spring to compare Derby's emergence to that of former Iowa and NFL standout Dallas Clark, who switched from linebacker to tight end while in college. "I'm not saying he's going to be all that, but the transition has been as seamless as I can imagine," Bielema said. "Not just catching it ... But what he does in the running game. He changes our offense literally overnight."
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Bret Bielema hasn't exactly taken time off from the spotlight following his winless debut in the Southeastern Conference.The Arkansas coach, never one to avoid a healthy debate, has spent much of the offseason in the news for his comments about whether to slow the offenses in college football. He returns to the field Sunday when the Razorbacks open spring practice — a...
Arkansas' Bielema to turn focus back on the field
KURT VOIGT, Associated Press | Mar 15, 2014FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Bret Bielema hasn't exactly taken time off from the spotlight following his winless debut in the Southeastern Conference. The Arkansas coach, never one to avoid a healthy debate, has spent much of the offseason in the news for his comments about whether to slow the offenses in college football. He returns to the field Sunday when the Razorbacks open spring practice — a welcome reprieve for the second-year coach who suffered though a 3-9 season in his first season after leaving Wisconsin. "I can't wait," Bielema said. "I think our kids have been chomping at the bit." The Razorbacks lost their final nine games last season, including all eight SEC games. It was their first winless conference season since entering the league in 1992. They were leading LSU in the final game until a touchdown late in the fourth-quarter by the Tigers mercifully brought Arkansas' season to a close — the second straight year the school missed out on a bowl game in the wake of the scandal that led the former coach Bobby Petrino's firing. Bielema has had plenty of time to think about that loss and a season that saw the Razorbacks finish 12th in the SEC with an average of 20.7 points per game. Bielema has since taken the approach that the final dagger in the miserable year might have been the best thing in the long term for Arkansas. "Just knowing the mentality and some of the guys, I really think they would have thought they had arrived if they beat LSU there at the end," Bielema said. "I'm almost in the belief that maybe, although it's nothing I wanted to live through, that maybe that might have been a blessing in disguise, to show that we had made progress but we're not quite where we need to be." Much of the attention surrounding Bielema's offseason has been focused on the much-scrutinized proposal that would have penalized offenses for snapping the ball before 10 seconds had run off the play clock. Bielema supported the proposal and drew attention for calling the issue a "matter of safety, life and death." The proposal was tabled by the NCAA football rules committee, meaning the age of the up-tempo offense will continue this season. Bielema still hasn't commented publicly on the decision, though his primary concern is improving the SEC's worst passing offense. Arkansas was last in the league last season with an average of 148.5 yards passing per game, leaving much of the attention this spring centered on the progress of incumbent starting quarterback Brandon Allen and his host of challengers — including younger brother, Austin. Brandon Allen battled injuries for much of last season in his first year as the full-time starter, completing just 128 of 258 passes (49.6 percent) while throwing 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The Razorbacks brought in one quarterback, Missouri prep standout Rafe Peavey, during the offseason, and last season's backup, AJ Derby, is back along with freshman Damon Mitchell. It's Austin Allen, however, who is widely expected to be the primary challenger for his older brother's job — possibly opening the door for a tricky brother vs. brother situation for Bielema. The brothers were teammates at nearby Fayetteville in high school, but the younger Allen spent much of his sophomore season on the bench backing up his brother. Austin Allen then took over as the starter after his older brother left for college, winning two prep state championships before redshirting at Arkansas last season. "Both are great, but both are unique in what they are," Bielema said. "I think (Brandon Allen), with just that full year of playing, that gives you such an advantage as a college football player, but especially at the quarterback position. That is so hard to put a price tag on, and that's what probably separates them right now."
Jan 2, 2014
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — It's the spread, or smashmouth. It's about big passing numbers, or off-the-charts run stats.All those descriptions can be fairly accurate for the hurry-up, no-huddle offense designed by Auburn coach Gus Malzahn back in his Arkansas high school days. They can each be totally off-base, too."All he's ever said is, 'We're a hurry-up, no-huddle team that takes advantage...
Malzahn's flexible offense tough to pigeonhole
JOHN ZENOR, Associated Press | Jan 2, 2014NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — It's the spread, or smashmouth. It's about big passing numbers, or off-the-charts run stats. All those descriptions can be fairly accurate for the hurry-up, no-huddle offense designed by Auburn coach Gus Malzahn back in his Arkansas high school days. They can each be totally off-base, too. "All he's ever said is, 'We're a hurry-up, no-huddle team that takes advantage and is going to play physical football,'" said Chris Wood, Malzahn's former offensive coordinator at Shiloh Christian and Springdale High. "He didn't say we were going to throw it or run it. He lets his personnel define the team and define the offense. "I guarantee you he loved running the ball in the SEC. That's how he is; he just wants to win." Malzahn has won at every stop of the way with an offense he adapts to fit the personnel instead of the other way around. The No. 2 Tigers (12-1) effectively switched styles four games into this season, and rode Nick Marshall and the running game all the way to Monday's BCS national championship game against No. 1 Florida State (13-0). The zone read, where Marshall can either run or hand off based on what he sees from the defense, became the staple of Auburn's offense after a loss to LSU. The offense then took flight, or more appropriately was grounded. The result is the nation's top rushing team at 335.7 yards per game, an average just a few yards shy of the two games before the metamorphosis combined. The offense that used to give Arkansas prep foes fits bedeviled the mighty Alabama defense and roughed up Missouri for 545 yards rushing and 52 points in the Southeastern Conference championship game. Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, whose defense yields the nation's fewest points, said the Tigers are just "doing a better job of executing than everybody else." Part of Malzahn's philosophy is being willing to do what his quarterback does best. Marshall has run for 1,023 yards to complement Heisman Trophy finalist Tre Mason (1,621 yards), Corey Grant (650 yards) and Cameron Artis-Payne (609). Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee was an eighth-grade quarterback in Springdale, Ark., when Malzahn started running this no-huddle offense, and ran it for two years in junior high before taking over the reins at Shiloh Christian. He believes Malzahn "is the best play caller in the country." Adaptability based on the personnel of the moment also sets Malzahn apart. "I think so many times in our game you may see people that try to make a square peg fit in a round hole and make guys do things they want them to do but maybe they're not best at, and we just try to take the opposite approach with that," Lashlee said on Thursday. This season is a perfect example. The Tigers have run on 70.7 percent of their plays, counting sacks as passes, far more than any offense in Malzahn's eight seasons as a college offensive coordinator or head coach. The next highest was the Cam Newton-led Auburn team that won the national championship in 2010 (66.4 percent), according to STATS Inc. The 2010 team posted easily the highest percentage of run plays by a national champion since the 1997 Nebraska option offense ran 80 percent of the time. Newton and Marshall are his only college quarterbacks to rush for 450 yards or more, though every one of his college teams has had at least one 1,000-yard rusher. Malzahn's first Tulsa offense in 2007 ran just 47 percent of the time, and quarterback Paul Smith set an NCAA record with 14 consecutive 300-yard passing games. The Golden Hurricane led the nation in total offense in both of Malzahn's seasons as coordinator. Current Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship said the running game was a key part of those offenses, too, whatever the perception. "I think there's an illusion that it's always been pass," said Blankenship, also a member of that staff and like Malzahn highly successful in the high school ranks. He and Malzahn attribute that flexibility to the necessity of building around the available playmakers in high school. Blankenship and Malzahn became acquainted when both were in the prep ranks. Then Blankenship got more familiar with Malzahn's offense and its misdirection plays, sweeps and reverses at Tulsa's football camps. "It was this creative kind of mad scientist look," Blankenship recalled. "When you get to know what's going on in the inside, there's a lot more systemic approach than what you realize. "It's not just a collection of plays. It's really a pretty good system that he's developed over time, and he has answers and he builds on top of a play and on top of a play on top of a play." ___ Voigt contributed to this report from Fayetteville, Ark.
Nov 1, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Gus Malzahn returning to Arkansas always seems to bring with it a certain degree of reminiscing, often about less-than-serene times with the Razorbacks.Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, however, managed to bring Malzahn's current position as the head coach at Auburn to the front and center of the discussion this week.The No. 8 Tigers (7-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) hope...
Malzahn's looks for triumphant return to Arkansas
KURT VOIGT, Associated Press | Nov 1, 2013FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Gus Malzahn returning to Arkansas always seems to bring with it a certain degree of reminiscing, often about less-than-serene times with the Razorbacks. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, however, managed to bring Malzahn's current position as the head coach at Auburn to the front and center of the discussion this week. The No. 8 Tigers (7-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) hope to continue their season of re-emergence under Malzahn on Saturday when they travel to face the reeling Razorbacks — losers of five straight in their first season under Bielema. The game already had more than its share of intrigue, given Malzahn's return to his native state — where he began coaching in high school — and his former position as the offensive coordinator at Arkansas (3-5, 0-4). Bielema, though, added to the subplots on Monday when he accused the Tigers of being less-than forthcoming in the video exchange between the two schools. It was the third run-in for Bielema with members of the Auburn coaching staff since July, dating back to a bit of back-and-forth between the former Wisconsin coach and Malzahn at SEC media days over player-injury concerns in a hurry-up offense. "I'll let the SEC offices handle it," Bielema said. "I'm sure it will be handled in the right way." Malzhan promised to get to the bottom of the video issue, but the latest banter between him and Bielema has only added interest in a game already expected to be full of emotion — even if only for the Arkansas fans who still remember Malzahn's brief stint with the Razorbacks. The 2006 season was Malzahn's only one with Arkansas as an assistant coach, but it was one that won't be forgotten inside the state anytime soon. From rumors of strife over play-calling with then-coach Houston Nutt to his former high school players Damian Williams and Mitch Mustain transferring away from the Razorbacks after he left, it was a season unlike any other in Arkansas history. The reserved Malzahn has never talked directly about the behind-the-scenes happenings of that season, but it will be on the minds of many fans on Saturday — just as the importance of his return to his native state will be on the minds of the Auburn players. "As players, we're going to try our hardest to give everything we have for this game," Auburn tight end C.J. Uzomah said. "We know how much it means to him to be back in his home state and to get a win there. We're going to prepare harder than we've ever prepared and try to get this victory." Five things to watch for as Auburn looks to make Malzahn a winner in his home state: ARKANSAS FLAVOR: Malzahn is one of many members of the Auburn coaching staff with ties to Arkansas. Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee played for Malzahn in high school in Arkansas, while running backs coach Tim Horton played for the Razorbacks and coached at the school. Also, a pair of former Arkansas prep standouts — Johnny Brewer and Kodi Burns — are graduate assistants for the Tigers, and Malzahn's brother-in-law Jamie Croley, a native of Fort Smith, Ark., is the school's director of football operations. DESPERATION MODE: While Auburn is enjoying a rebirth after last year's 3-9 disaster in its first season under Malzahn, who was the Tigers' offensive coordinator during their 2010 national championship season, Arkansas is experiencing the exact opposite under Bielema. The Razorbacks, who were 4-8 last season under interim coach John L. Smith, are 7-13 in their last 19 games — and their current losing streak is the longest of Bielema's career. Bielema said last week that personnel changes could be in store for Arkansas moving forward, something to watch on Saturday. MARSHALL'S RETURN: Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has accounted for 1,690 yards of total offense in his first season with the Tigers. The junior, however, injured his shoulder early in last week's 45-10 win over Florida Atlanta, and Malzahn said he could be a game-time decision. RUNNING WILD: Led by four players — Tre Mason, Cameron Artis-Payne, Marshall and Corey Grant — averaging more than 50 yards rushing per game, Auburn leads the SEC in rushing this season, averaging 315.4 yards per game. Arkansas, meanwhile, has allowed an average of 251.5 yards rushing in its four SEC games. MORE MALZAHN: Saturday will mark Malzahn's fourth trip back to Razorback Stadium for an opposing team, though his first three trips were as an assistant at Tulsa in 2007 and with Auburn in 2009 and 2011. Malzahn's teams lost each of those visits, and he's 1-3 overall against the Razorbacks as an assistant —with his lone win coming in 2010 at Auburn.
Oct 30, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Gus Malzahn and his no-huddle offense have faced more than their fair share of doubters and critics over the years, dating back to his days as a high school coach in Arkansas.That debate has followed Malzahn all the way to the Southeastern Conference, once thought of as the place creative offenses went to die.No more.Led by an influx of new, offensive-minded coaches —...
Up-tempo Spread making waves across the SEC
KURT VOIGT, Associated Press | Oct 30, 2013FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Gus Malzahn and his no-huddle offense have faced more than their fair share of doubters and critics over the years, dating back to his days as a high school coach in Arkansas. That debate has followed Malzahn all the way to the Southeastern Conference, once thought of as the place creative offenses went to die. No more. Led by an influx of new, offensive-minded coaches — including Malzahn, now the head coach at Auburn — the SEC has joined the rest of college football by embracing the age of the lightning-fast spread. It's a trend highlighted by the success of schools like Auburn, Texas A&M, Missouri and Ole Miss, though not all of the league — led by defending national champion Alabama — has let go of its running and defensive roots. The differences in style and tempo have played out beyond the field. They've led to debate about player safety among coaches and increased salesmanship in recruiting battles — largely focused on the spread's appeal to skill players eager to reach the NFL. "The greatest thing that can help us in our recruiting department is the more failure the Philadelphia Eagles have," Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said, noting the struggles of the up-tempo offense run by former Oregon coach Chip Kelly during his first season in the NFL. Bielema's answer came after a question about the perception that the spread might be more fun than his more traditional, balanced approach to offense. The former Wisconsin coach, who led the Badgers to three Rose Bowl berths in seven seasons there, said recruits find his style enjoyable. He also said the Arkansas offense is what "the NFL is running." "Every kid that plays offense and defense and special teams' football in college wants to play in the NFL," Bielema said. "He wants to play in a system that's going to benefit his ability to play at the next level. I really believe that over the course of time, the pro-style offense is going to win out for that exact reason." Bielema has been at the forefront of a debate about up-tempo offenses in the college game. He contends that more plays and less time for substitutions leads to more injuries. It's a point the usually reserved Malzahn reacted to at SEC media days in July, saying he thought it was "a joke." Early in Malzahn's career, while coaching in the smallest high school classification in Arkansas, his Shiloh Christian team famously won a playoff game 70-64. It was an offensive shootout that caused one coach in the state's largest classification — one who ran the traditional wing offense — to react by saying "that will never work in big-time" high school football. The doubts about the spread were also there in the SEC. At least, they were before Malzahn — then the Tigers offensive coordinator — and quarterback Cam Newton helped lead Auburn to a national championship during the 2010 season while using the spread. It was the start of a wave of up-tempo coaches entering the league, including Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin, Ole Miss' Hugh Freeze and Missouri's Gary Pinkel. Entering this weekend's games, Texas A&M, Auburn and Missouri lead the SEC in total offense, and they have a combined 20-4 record behind their fast-break offenses. "I think the thing that helps most with recruiting is winning and doing well on offense," Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Henson said. "But I think that stigma, 'Well, spread offenses can't win in the SEC; you can't move the ball,' I think some of those things are going away from a recruiting standpoint." Freeze, who has also run an up-tempo offense dating to his days as a high school coach, admitted that running a spread offense might not hold much appeal to running back and offensive linemen recruits. Still, the emergence of the spread at the high school level has made it a popular choice in college with some players. "This is the offense I grew up in as a kid, even in high school we had a no-huddle offense, so I love it, I love the offense," Auburn tight end C.J. Uzamah said. "We're getting after it, we wear the defense down and pound it in." Alabama coach Nick Saban, long a believer in a pro-style offense, echoed Bielema's comments about that approach better preparing players for the NFL — though it's worth noting that his recruiting battles are less difficult the most after winning three national championships in four years. "We want guys that fit what we do and can see that they can have success doing the things that they'll do here," Saban said. "And our program reflects a pro-style type of attack, which should be appealing to most players." The NFL-ready point is one Bielema reinforced earlier this week when he tweeted a link to an article with the headline, "Spread offense not fitting into NFL." The question for now is whether it's here to stay in the SEC. ___ AP Sports Writers John Zenor and David Brandt contributed to this report.
Sep 21, 2013
Skip Holtz is the head coach at Louisiana Tech. He's also been head coach at Connecticut, East Carolina and South Florida.
Collected Wisdom: Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech head coach and son of ESPN analyst Lou Holtz
Interviewed by BERRY TRAMEL email@example.com | Sep 21, 2013Skip Holtz, the son of longtime coach and ESPN analyst Lou Holtz, is the head coach at Louisiana Tech. It's not Skip Holtz's first tough job — he's also been head coach at Connecticut, East Carolina and South Florida. Skip Holtz has a career record of 89-74. He's the fourth straight Louisiana Tech football coach to be the son of a major-college head coach, following Jack Bicknell Jr., Derek Dooley and Sonny Dykes. Hiring the sons of coaches, they've had some success with it. I'm sure that was part of it. I'm sure as a school, they probably looked at it and said, here are coaches that have grown up around this game their whole life. This has been a way of life for them. They've had success with it and they've hung with it, and I'm excited that they have. The blessings of being a coach's son are a lot of the opportunities that we have, growing up around this great game. Having somebody that's close to us that can give us the 30,000-foot view that has the experience that my father does or Coach (Vince) Dooley did or Coach (Sonny) Dykes did. All those are huge advantages. Probably the negative are expectations. When you get into a profession, especially that your father's in, sometimes it's hard to get out of that shadow. I think if you asked every one of us, we're not trying to be the next Coach Dooley or Coach Dykes or Coach Holtz as much as we're trying to be the best coaches that we can all be. I think right now it's an exciting time for Louisiana Tech. Especially getting into a new conference. We have had rivals that have been across the country, traveling two time zones to go play football games. Makes it really hard. Going into Conference USA, there's great tradition, great history, the talent base of recruiting. I think it's got an opportunity to be a great job because of the recruiting ties and the high school coaching in Louisiana. We've talked about in some ways, the finances with the conferences are getting further and further away from each other. But on the field, it's getting closer and closer. From a competitive standpoint, when we were at a school like East Carolina, we had some success against Virginia Tech and North Carolina or N.C. State. When you look at Louisiana Tech and some of their wins, against Illinois and against Ole Miss, and they played A&M down to the wire. The play on the field is getting closer and closer. So I don't think that there's that big of a difference coaching at an East Carolina or coaching at an Louisiana Tech or one of the holier than holy places. There's some challenges. Every job has its warts. But every coach, no matter where you are, you've got to find a way to highlight your strengths and hide your weaknesses. That's the biggest challenge we have. I don't care whether you're in Ruston, La., Greenville, N.C., Storrs, Conn., or in South Bend. There's warts in every job you've got to be able to overcome to be able to win. When you talk a little bit about some of the rules in place that allow the hurryup offense to do what they do, take advantage of a lot of the personnel situations, it's a lot easier to recruit the skill player than it is the offensive line. The tradition of the Big Ten, which was known as three yards and a cloud of dust with Woody Hayes and Earle Bruce and Bo Schembechler, if you can run the ball and control the ball and protect your defense, it's a lot easier to win football games. But with the development of the passing game and the spread offenses and the up-tempo with some of the new rules in place where the official doesn't stand over the ball, it gives you the opportunity to get an advantage on the defense. The 330-pound defensive lineman, it's harder for them to keep up for 12 plays and it's harder and harder for them to substitute. There are a lot of advantages to playing the high up-tempo offenses. But I still think when you can recruit the offensive linemen to run the ball and control the ball up front, still probably the best way to win the football game is to be able to run the ball. There have been teams winning national championships running it. There have been teams that won national championships throwing it. The SEC is one of the more powerful and dominant conferences with the national champion coming out that league. They're being able to line up and run the ball, play old-style power football in a lot of respects, but they've still got some great athletes to get the ball to in space. I think it's easier for schools across the board to win to recruit the skill athlete than it is to find all those bigger, cornfed big boys that dominate the line of scrimmage. Fayetteville (Ark.) is where I went to high school. I kind of moved around all over. The hard part for me was once I left to go to college in South Bend, my family moved from there. I don't have a lot of family in Fayetteville to say that would be home. That's not where we went back for Christmas. But it's definitely where I grew up. It's funny. Now that I live in Ruston, a lot of people have tried to make a big deal of moving from Tampa to Ruston and kind of the culture shock you go in from moving from the big city to a town like Ruston. I grew up in a town like Ruston. Fayetteville was a town of about 25,000 when I was there. School was about 14-15,000 students. You can't talk about Ruston without talking about Louisiana Tech. The two are intertwined. It's a great college town, great atmosphere. It's a small town, but it's got everything you need to raise a family and have a great experience in college.
Sep 18, 2013
The Oklahoman's Scott Wright predicts the score of the Week 3 games.
Oklahoma high school football picks: Week 3
BY SCOTT WRIGHT | Sep 18, 2013Every week, The Oklahoman's Scott Wright will predict the score of every game in the state. Last week's record: 125-55 (69.4 pct.) Overall record: 254-106 (70.6 pct.) Thursday City Area BRIDGE CREEK 45, Anadarko JV 6 PUTNAM CITY 42, Choctaw 35 JOHN MARSHALL 30, Crooked Oak 27 St. Mary 28, NORTHEAST 14 Class 4A Poteau 28, Tulsa Webster 7 Class A CADDO 34, Durant JV 16 TALIHINA 36, Sallisaw JV 12 Class C BLUEJACKET 50, Cookson Hills 8 Friday City Area Apache 42, CROSSINGS CHR. 30 MADILL 20, Bethel 16 Capitol Hill 28, TULSA ROGERS 12 Cashion 42, LUTHER 38 Centennial 22, U.S. GRANT 14 Chandler 35, HARRAH 28 Chr. Heritage 34, LINCOLN CHR. 17 DESTINY CHR. 48, Community Chr. 28 REJOICE CHR. 44, Coyle 36 CASADY 28, Dallas Episcopal 24 WETUMKA 50, Davenport 44 Davis 29, HERITAGE HALL 28 Dibble 44, EMPIRE 40 CARL ALBERT 21, Duncan 14 DEER CREEK 35, Edmond Memorial 34 Edmond Santa 28, EDMOND NORTH 13 Guthrie 31, ENID 21 KINGFISHER 35, Hennessey 28 PURCELL 30, Lexington 16 Lindsay 27, PAULS VALLEY 23 CENTRAL MARLOW 56, Macomb 12 SEMINOLE 49, McLoud 42 Meeker 34, WAYNE 28 Midwest City 28, DEL CITY 27 Millwood 40, ADAIR 22 Minco 42, MAYSVILLE 12 Mustang 48, STILLWATER 42 BLANCHARD 35, Newcastle 24 Noble 28, EL RENO 21 Norman 27, YUKON 24 WOODWARD 28, Northwest 21 OKC Legion 32, TULSA HALE 20 OKC Patriots 26, SUNRISE CHR., KAN. 22 ALLEN 38, Okla. Christian Aca. 34 Oklahoma Christian 27, JONES 21 SHAWNEE 35, Ponca City 20 PUTNAM NORTH 48, Putnam West 20 SANTA FE SOUTH 35, SeeWorth Aca. 12 CLINTON 49, Southeast 21 Southmoore 34, MOORE 21 DOUGLASS 28, Star Spencer 14 Tecumseh 28, LITTLE AXE 24 Tuttle 46, ELGIN 16 PERKINS 30, Verdigris 22 Washington 21, BETHANY 20 WINDSOR HILLS 42, Watts 22 McGUINNESS 28, Weatherford 21 CRESCENT 48, Wellston 14 PIEDMONT 35, Western Heights 22 Westmoore 37, NORMAN NORTH 34 Wright Christian 40, LIFE CHRISTIAN 38 Class 6A Bixby 28, SPRINGDALE, ARK. 21 Fayetteville, Ark. 45, MUSKOGEE 20 Lawton 49, ALTUS 14 LAWTON MAC 35, Lawton Eisenhower 28 JENKS 38, Owasso 24 SAND SPRINGS 28, Sapulpa 17 BARTLESVILLE 31, Skiatook 12 TULSA WASHINGTON 35, Tulsa East Central 21 Tulsa Edison 34, ELK CITY 20 BROKEN ARROW 44, Tulsa Union 38 Class 5A Ada 21, DURANT 14 GAINESVILLE, TEXAS 28, Ardmore 21 Chickasha 21, CACHE 20 McALESTER 42, Claremore 35 OOLOGAH 28, Collinsville 24 TULSA KELLEY 31, Coweta 21 WAGONER 28, Grove 14 Hugoton, Kan. 28, GUYMON 21 Pryor 27, MIAMI 12 SALLISAW 24, Tahlequah 18 TULSA McLAIN 34, Tulsa Central 20 Tulsa Memorial 27, TULSA NOAH 17 Class 4A Anadarko 48, PERRY 8 FORT GIBSON 35, Catoosa 31 CUSHING 28, Cleveland 15 VINITA 23, Dewey 14 Glenpool 33, SPERRY 20 Locust Grove 38, STILWELL 22 Mannford 21, BRISTOW 7 BROKEN BOW 21, Metro Christian 20 VIAN 32, Muldrow 20 Class 3A ANTLERS 14, Atoka 7 Berryhill 42, KELLYVILLE 22 Chisholm 42, BLACKWELL 8 Dickson 28, TISHOMINGO 14 LONE GROVE 31, Frederick 12 Hartshorne 33, STIGLER 28 Haskell 28, SPIRO 21 Heavener 22, GORE 20 CHECOTAH 28, Henryetta 21 BEGGS 45, Hilldale 28 HUGO 37, Idabel 20 Jay 28, McDONALD COUNTY 24 Keys (Park Hill) 21, EUFAULA 20 Okemah 28, MORRIS 21 Plainview 31, VALLIANT 7 Roland 22, OKMULGEE 12 Seq. Claremore 34, INOLA 22 VICTORY CHRISTIAN 55, Seq. Tahlequah 48 Stroud 28, PRAGUE 12 MARLOW 42, Sulphur 21 KANSAS 28, Westville 8 Class 2A Chouteau 35, PORTER 14 Coalgate 28, HOLDENVILLE 14 Colcord 35, CENTRAL SALLISAW 20 Comanche 26, WALTERS 20 Hinton 44, SAYRE 16 ALVA 38, Hobart 28 KIEFER 33, Hulbert 12 FAIRLAND 22, Ketchum 12 CORDELL 20, Mangum 14 YALE 28, Mounds 20 NOWATA 30, Newkirk 14 Oklahoma Union 26, FOYIL 18 COMMERCE 35, Oswego, Kan. 14 Pawhuska 21, HOMINY 20 BARNSDALL 24, Pawnee 16 QUINTON 26, Pocola 20 AFTON 28, Quapaw 22 Ringling 34, MARIETTA 14 BRAY-DOYLE 34, Duke 24 Salina 30, CHELSEA 12 Tonkawa 18, FAIRVIEW 12 PANAMA 28, Warner 18 KONAWA 32, Wewoka 24 SAVANNA 36, Wilburton 20 KINGSTON 40, Wilson 12 Wyandotte 22, CANEY VALLEY 14 Class A Depew 28, CANADIAN 14 Hartford, Ark. 28, HAILEYVILLE 6 WYNNEWOOD 34, Healdton 22 Hollis 34, BEAVER 14 Liberty 14, DRUMRIGHT 8 Mooreland 21, BURNS FLAT-DILL CITY 6 Okeene 48, PIONEER 20 MORRISON 28, Oklahoma Bible 27 HOOKER 30, San Jacinto Chr., Texas, 12 WATONGA 34, Snyder 14 RUSH SPRINGS 14, Stratford 7 Summit Christian 44, REGENT PREP 34 BOOKER, TEXAS 31, Texhoma 28 Thomas 48, CARNEGIE 14 Velma-Alma 32, ELMORE CITY 26 Class B SOUTH COFFEYVILLE 28, Agra 22 GANS 54, Bowlegs 20 Cave Springs 42, KEOTA 38 WOODLAND 36, Copan 12 Fox 58, ALEX 50 Garber 42, CANTON 30 Laverne 54, COVINGTON-DOUGLAS 28 Merritt 34, WAUKOMIS 20 Paoli 44, CYRIL 12 Pond Creek-Hunter 50, RINGWOOD 42 WELEETKA 42, Porum 22 Seiling 28, MEDFORD 18 DEWAR 60, Strother 54 Waurika 34, GEARY 20 Welch 44, OAKS 42 Class C MAUD 48, Arkoma 20 BALKO 56, Boise City 48 Buffalo 36 WAYNOKA 22 SW COVENANT 40, Claremore Chr. 20 DC-Lamont 54, TIMBERLAKE 34 Grandfield 44, CORN BIBLE 40 Midway 34, WEBBERS FALLS 28 Mount View-Gotebo 54, GRACEMONT 12 Rolla, Kan. 40, GOODWELL 14 Sasakwa 48, BOKOSHE 8 Shattuck 38, SOUTH BARBER, KAN. 30 Tipton 60, TEMPLE 20 SHARON-MUTUAL 52, Tyrone 28 Wesleyan Chr. 48, KREMLIN-HILLSDALE 24 Independent HOLLAND HALL 28, Arlington Oakridge 21 Cornerstone Chr. 42, BOULEVARD CHR. 30 Saturday, Sept 21 Independent OSD 48, Louisiana Deaf 28 Note: Home team in CAPS