Ask any good running back what the most unheralded skill is at the position and the odds may be pretty good the answer will be pass protection. What truly separates the great running backs from the good running backs is a will to commit to pass protection when not being handed the football. It is something some players take great pride in once they work on the skill, and that is something Michigan running back Derrick Green is soaking in with preparation for the 2014 season.
“They know we can run the ball,” Green said last week during a summer episode of “Inside Michigan Football,” according to MLive.com. “But you’ve got to be able to block first, and run second. Protecting the quarterback is the main thing for us. Running the ball is secondary, pass protection is first.”
That is a good mindset for the Wolverines after allowing 36 sacks last season. Credit must be given to new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who is bringing a bit of a new attitude and philosophy to Michigan after serving as an assistant at Alabama the past two seasons. One of the big differences between Alabama and most of its opponents the last few years has been the ability of the offense to protect the quarterback. It is a philosophy that must be bought from all positions, not just the offensive linemen up front.
Michigan has a talented running back group with loads of potential, but for the Wolverines to truly take the next step as an offensive unit, the running backs must improve the pass blocking this fall.
Earlier this month, Randy Edsall lost one of his assistant coaches to the NFL. This week, he’s turned to one from the FCS ranks as a replacement.
UConn announced Monday the hiring of Eddie Allen as the Huskies’ new special teams coordinator. Allen comes to Storrs after spending the past three seasons in the same role at Delaware.
The hire fills a hole a created by the departure of Chris White, who has been named as the tight ends coach for the Detroit Lions.
“Eddie’s aggressive approach to special teams was exactly what I was looking for in our special teams coordinator,” a statement from the head coach began. “His teams have shown the ability to block kicks and be very fundamentally sound in the core four units involving special teams. He has delivered very good results as a special teams coordinator in all the places he has worked.”
Prior to Delaware, Allen spent six seasons as the special teams coordinator at Rhode Island. He was a football staffer for Greg Schiano at Rutgers (2005-07) before that.
This will mark Allen’s first on-field job at the FBS level.
“I am extremely excited to join Coach Edsall’s staff,” the New Jersey native said in his statement. “Being from the Northeast, I have followed the program closely through the years and I am looking forward to getting around our players and doing my part in the future of success of the program.”
And now we know a little bit more of the rest of the story.
Just a short time ago, Miami announced that defensive line Craig Kuligowski was leaving the football program after two years to pursue unspecified opportunities elsewhere. Subsequent to that announcement, Bruce Feldman of SI.com tweeted that Nick Saban and Tuscaloosa could be the assistant’s ultimate destination.
Kuligowski and Saban have a previous connection as the former played defensive line under the latter at Toledo in 1990. Saban is searching for a replacement to Karl Dunbar, the Crimson Tide’s defensive line coach who left for a job with the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this month.
Other names floated as possibilities have included former FAU head coach Charlie Partridge and former UA assistant and current South Carolina line coach Lance Thompson.
At one point it appeared that Mark Richt had dodged a coaching-departure bullet. In the end, however, his Miami staff has been hit.
Reports surfaced earlier in the day Monday the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had interviewed UM defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski for the same job. Not long after the initial speculation first appeared, the NFL club confirmed that it had hired someone other than Kuligowski for the position.
Tonight, however, the Hurricanes announced in a press release that Kuligowski “is leaving the program to pursue other opportunities.” What and where specifically that opportunity is wasn’t divulged by the football program.
Kuligowski had spent the past two seasons with the Hurricanes and is widely considered one of the top line coaches in the country.
Are you ready for some good news? Kansas and Washington State are (finally, FINALLY!) going to meet on the gridiron.
Are you ready for some bad news? You’re going to have to wait nearly a decade to see it.
The Jayhawks and Cougars have agreed to a home-and-home series in 2027-28, according to documents obtained by FBSchedules. Washington State is set to host the first game on Sept. 11, 2027, with Kansas returning the favor on Sept. 9, 2028. The programs have met 10 times previously, but not since 1977. Kansas holds a 7-2 all-time advantage.
Washington State is also set to visit Boise State in 2027, but does not have any other games lined up for ’28. Kansas does not have any other agreements for either season.
Interestingly, Wazzu’s Kansas home-and-home is sandwiched around a home-and-home with Kansas State in 2026 and ’29. Washington State has not faced a Big 12 opponent since a 65-17 loss at Oklahoma State to open the 2010 season.
Kansas, who also has future games with Rutgers, Boston College, Duke and Illinois on the docket, has not squared off with a Pac-12 foe — not counting former Big 12 bunk mate Colorado — since a 41-17 loss to UCLA on Sept. 8, 2001.