Nick Saban

2013 spring practice dates

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The curtain on the 2012 season fell just a little over a month ago, but teams are already in the process of gearing up for the 2013 season with the annual college football rite of spring.

As was the case last year, Army will be the first to both open its allotted set of 15 spring practice sessions in mid-February and hold its annual spring game in early March.  While a handful of schools will also open the spring in either February or April, most of the rest will do so in March.

This year, just one program — Georgia State — will be conducting its final spring practice at the FCS level before jumping up to the FBS.  The Panthers will move to the Sun Belt Conference in the first year after the retirement of head coach Bill Curry.

There are, however, more than a dozen teams that will be holding one last spring practice as “members” of one conference before officially moving to a new one July 1:

— Pittsburgh and Syracuse (from the Big East to the ACC)
— UCF, Houston, Memphis and SMU (from Conference USA to the Big East)
— Louisiana Tech and UT-San Antonio (from the WAC to Conference USA)
— FAU, FIU, Middle Tennessee State and North Texas (from the Sun Belt to Conference USA)
— Utah State and San Jose State (from the WAC to Mountain West)
— Texas State (from the WAC to the Sun Belt)
— Idaho and New Mexico State (from the WAC to football independents)

Below the jump is a list of the start dates for each individual school plus the date of its spring game, separated by conferences.  Some programs have yet to announce their spring dates, so we will add them to this list as they become available:

ACC

Boston College: first practice — Feb. 28; spring game — April 13
Clemson: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 13
Duke: first practice — March 4; spring game — April 13
Florida State: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 13
Georgia Tech: first practice — March 25; spring game — April 19
Maryland: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 12
Miami: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 13
North Carolina: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 13
North Carolina State: first practice — March 24; spring game — April 20
Virginia: first practice — March 16; spring game — April 2
Virginia Tech: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 20
Wake Forest: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20

BIG EAST

Cincinnati: first practice — March 5; final practice — April 13 (no spring game)
Louisville: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 13
Pittsburgh: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 12
Rutgers: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 27
Syracuse: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20
Temple: first practice — March 22; spring game — April 20
UConn: first practice — March 11; spring game — April 20
USF: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 13

BIG TEN

Illinois: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 12
Indiana: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 13
Iowa: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 27
Michigan: first practice — March 16; spring game — April 13
Michigan State: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20
Minnesota: first practice — March 27; spring practice — April 27
Nebraska: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 6
Northwestern: first practice — Feb. 27; spring game — April 13
Ohio State: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 13
Penn State: first practice — March 18; spring game — April 20
Purdue: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 13
Wisconsin: first practice — March 9; spring game — April 20

BIG 12

Baylor: first practice — March 1; spring game — April 6
Iowa State: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 20
Kansas: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 13
Kansas State: first practice — April 3; spring game — April 27
Oklahoma: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 13
Oklahoma State: first practice — March 11; spring game — April 20
TCU: first practice — March 1; spring game — April 6
Texas: first practice — Feb. 21; spring game — March 31
Texas Tech: first practice – March 24; spring game — April 20
West Virginia: first practice — March 10; spring game — April 20

CONFERENCE USA

East Carolina: first practice — March 18; spring game — April 20
Houston: first practice — March 4; spring game — April 12
Marshall: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 27
Memphis: first practice — Feb. 28; spring game — April 6
Rice: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 5
SMU: first practice — March 25; final practice — April 20 (no spring game)
Southern Miss: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20
Tulane: first practice — Feb. 13; spring game — March 9
Tulsa: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 6
UAB: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 27
UCF: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 13
UTEP: first practice — March 4; spring game — April 10

INDEPENDENTS

Army: first practice — Feb. 12; spring game — March 8
BYU: first practice — March 4; spring game — April 5
Navy: first practice — March 18; spring game — April 12
Notre Dame: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 20

MAC

Akron: first practice — April 2; spring game — April 27
Ball State: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 20
Bowling Green: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 12
Buffalo: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 20
Central Michigan: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 13
Eastern Michigan: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 14
Kent State: first practice — April 2; spring game — April 27
Miami: first practice — March 25; final practice — April 26 (no spring game)
Northern Illinois: spring practice — March 20; spring game — April 13
Ohio: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 13
Toledo: first practice — March 14; spring game — April 12
UMass: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 20
Western Michigan: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20

MOUNTAIN WEST

Air Force: first practice — Feb. 26; final practice — March 20 (no spring game)
Boise State: first practice — March 11; spring game — April 13
Colorado State: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 20
Fresno State: first practice — Feb. 25; spring game — March 23
Hawaii: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 27
Nevada: first practice — March 28; spring game — April 20
New Mexico: first practice — March 26; final practice — April 27 (no spring game)
San Diego State: first practice — Feb. 25; spring game — March 23
UNLV: first practice — March 4; spring game — April 12
Wyoming: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 27

PAC-12

Arizona: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 13
Arizona State: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 13
Cal: first practice — Feb. 25; spring game — March 23
Colorado: first practice — March 7; spring game — April 13
Oregon: first practice — April 7; spring game — April 27
Oregon State: first practice — April 1; spring game — April 26
Stanford: first practice — Feb. 25; spring game — April 13
UCLA: first practice — April 2; spring game — April 27
USC: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 13
Utah: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20
Washington: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 20
Washington State: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 20

SEC

Alabama: first practice — March 16; spring game — April 20
Arkansas: first practice — March 10; spring game — April 20
Auburn: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 20
Florida: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 6
Georgia: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 6
Kentucky: first practice — March 18; spring game — April 13
LSU: first practice — March 14; spring game — April 20
Mississippi State: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 20
Missouri: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 20
Ole Miss: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 13
South Carolina: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 13
Tennessee: first practice — March 8; spring game — April 20
Texas A&M: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 13
Vanderbilt: first practice — March 15; spring game — April 13

SUN BELT

Arkansas State: first practice — March 11; spring game — April 13
FAU: first practice — March 18; spring game — April 20
FIU: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20
Louisiana-Lafayette: first practice — March 11; spring game — April 20
Louisiana-Monroe: first practice — Feb. 25; spring game — March 23
Middle Tennessee State: first practice — March 23; spring practice — April 20
North Texas: first practice — March 20; spring game – April 13
South Alabama: first practice — Feb. 28; spring game — April 6
Troy: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 20
Western Kentucky: first practice — March 22; spring game — April 20

WAC

Idaho: first practice — March 22; spring game — April 9
Louisiana Tech: first practice — March 15; spring game — April 13
New Mexico State: first practice: April 1; spring game — May 4
San Jose State: first practice — Feb. 19; spring game — March 23
Texas State: first practice — March 1; spring game — April 6
UT-San Antonio: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 14
Utah State: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20

Stanford plucks Oklahoma defensive line coach Diron Reynolds

MIAMI - 2007:  Diron Reynolds of the Miami Dolphins poses for his 2007 NFL headshot at photo day in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Getty Images)
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On Tuesday, Stanford defensive line coach Randy Hart announced his retirement. On Wednesday, the Cardinal found his replacement.

Stanford hired one of its own according to reports from Sports Illustrated and FootballScoop (where I am also a writer), pulling former assistant Diron Reynolds away from Oklahoma after one season with the Sooners.

While Stanford has not formally announced Reynolds’ hiring, Oklahoma has already confirmed his departure.

“Diron did an excellent job for us here at OU,” head coach Bob Stoops said in a statement. “This move is going to allow him to reunite with his wife and children. We appreciate the work he did and wish him the best.”

Reynolds was Stanford’s assistant defensive line coach in 2014, and prior to that spent five years in the same capacity with the Minnesota Vikings. He inherits a defense that ranked in the top 30 nationally in rushing defense and sacks.

For Oklahoma, 2016 marks the second straight season the Sooners will be on the hunt for a defensive line coach after Signing Day. OU’s hiring of Reynolds last year was necessitated when defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery left for the Green Bay Packers.

D-line coach Mark Hagen leaving A&M for Indiana

BLOOMINGTON, IN - NOVEMBER 14:  Nate Sudfeld #7 of the Indiana Hoosiers runs with the ball against the  Michigan Wolverines at Memorial Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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There are two types of coaching moves: the ones coaches want to make and the ones they’re told to make.

It’s with that in mind we review the news that Indiana has hired Texas A&M defensive line coach Mark Hagen to coach the same position, the Hoosiers announced Wednesday. Hagen is a former Hooiser that coached at his alma mater in 2011-12 before leaving for College Station in 2013. And Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin coached with Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson for five years at Oklahoma. If you wanted to find a landing spot for an assistant you were looking to replace, this is the type of job you would look for.

Texas A&M insider Billy Liucci, as much an insider as one can be, certainly presented this move as the second type of coaching change.

When a head coach is feeling heat, it’s often his assistants that pay the price, and especially when a high-profile coordinator is brought in, as was the case with the hiring of John Chavis.

“It’s exciting to be able to come back home again,” Hagen said in a statement. “These last three years have been fun. It’s something I felt like I had to do a few years back, but being a part of Coach Wilson’s program again and getting on board on the front end with Coach Allen is something I could not pass up. I’m looking forward to the challenge of coaching the entire defensive line and building a championship defense.”

Hagen coached one of the nation’s top pass-rushing duos in College Station in the form of Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall.

Rick Neuheisel is offended Jim Mora called his UCLA teams ‘soft’

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 26:  Head coach Rick Neuheisel of the UCLA Bruins gestures in the game against the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  USC won 50-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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After posting back-to-back 10-win, top-20 seasons, UCLA backslid to an unranked, 8-5 finish this season. Perhaps for that reason Bruins head coach Jim Mora decided to bring up the supposed state of the program he inherited during an appearance on Colin Cowherd’s show Tuesday.

“In our first interview, (UCLA AD Dan Guerrero) asked me, ‘When you think of UCLA? What do you think?’” Mora said, via the Los Angeles Times. “I’m thinking, what do I say here? Do I tell him the truth or something like it’s a great school and we can be great? I said, ‘I think you’re soft. I think the football team is soft.’

“Dan said, ‘That’s what I think, and we need to toughen it up.’”

Speaking on his own SiriusXM radio show Wednesday, Mora’s predecessor Rick Neuheisel took serious exception to that comment.

“All he did is go and paint the walls black and wear black on the sideline and think that that’s tough,” Neuheisel said. “I’ve been in the locker room. There’s all sorts of stuff about Sun Tzu and ‘The Art of War’ and pain and all that kind of stuff. He takes the team to Navy SEAL training. Congratulations, I’m glad you had the money to do it. But don’t talk about toughness with my football team.”

We’re not here to pick sides. In fact, our stance in the media is that we love all coaching wars of words — especially in the middle of February. But here are some facts to bring to the situation: since winning the Pac-12 South in his first season, largely with Neuheisel’s players, Mora has finished tied for second, tied for second and third in their own division. And against Stanford, the roughest, meanest team on UCLA’s schedule, Mora’s teams are 0-5, losing by an average of 35-19 — including a 31-10 blowout with a trip to the Pac-12 Championship on the line in 2014.

Nevertheless, it appears Neuheisel took the most umbrage with Guerrero’s supposed agreement with Mora’s assessment.

“We were 21-29, and I’m man enough to own that record. That’s the facts. That’s what we were, and I own it,” Neuheisel explained, via CBS Sports. “Jim Mora has done a nice job at UCLA, but to hear Dan Guerrero say that we were soft? That makes me bristle, because Dan Guerrero never came to practice. He never came to my office in four years. Not one time did he ever come and be a part of what was going on out there.

“I was told in my final year, ‘You make it to a bowl game, we’re fine.’ He knew we were bankrupt. He told me over and over, ‘Listen, we’ve got to lock arm and not make excuses. You make it through this, and we’re going to be fine.’ We knew what Brett Hundley was going to do. He ended up doing it. He just did it for Jim Mora. We go 6-6 and get to a bowl game, and I’m still let go. That’s business. No tears here. I understand the business. But the guy who was running the store knows for a fact we had nothing, and we were given nothing to get it done.”

Reports: Jake Spavital headed to Cal as offensive coordinator

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 09:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies chats with his quarterback coach Jake Spavital before the game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Kyle Field on November 9, 2013 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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It appears Jake Spavital won’t be out of a job for long.

A month and some change after “mutually parting ways” with Texas A&M, Spavital has reportedly found a new home out west. FootballScoop (where I also work) and Fox Sports reported Friday Spavital had found a new home at California, and on Wednesday Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman added that Spavital will receive a two-year deal in Berkeley.

Cal head coach Sonny Dykes and his new offensive coordinator have never worked together previously, but each hails from the same school of thought. Dykes rose the ranks while working under Mike Leach at both Kentucky and Texas Tech and under Mike Stoops at Arizona, while Spavital spent the past few years working for former Leach assistant Dana Holgorsen at Houston, Oklahoma State and West Virginia and with former Bob Stoops assistant Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M.

Spavital earned just north of $486,000 in 2015 according to the USA Today salary database while the man he replaces, new Middle Tennessee offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, made $510,000.

Cal finished the 2015 season ranked seventh nationally in yards per play and 17th in scoring, but Spavital will be tasked with re-tooling the attack without future 1st-round pick Jared Goff at quarterback.