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Thursday Morning Brews (10/9/14)

Ezra Shaw

Harbaugh-isms

Football coaches tend to be interesting people - some of the meanest, most likeable men you will find. Press conferences, therefore, can sometimes be headline events, especially for hardcore fans who know how to read between the lines of their favorite coach's euphomisms. And, as it turns out, Jim Harbaugh is pretty entertaining in front of the mic.

Of course, anything would be preferable to the shell that Brady Hoke has retreated even further into lately. When asked about Kyle Kalis starting at right guard over Erik Magnuson, Brady Hoke had this to say: "I think they're two really good football players. We're glad they're on our team." He wouldn't discuss whether Mags was injured or anything else of more depth than the fact that both are, in fact, on the team, and he's happy of it. Ultimately, whoever does take over the next Michigan job has to show an accountability with the fans and the media. There has to be a level of transparency - even it does come in the form of olive analogies.

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On 49ers assistant Tim Drevno becoming the offensive line coach at USC: "I am confident the entire Drevno family will attack this endeavor with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind."

After a 34-24 win in 2013 over 4-11 Atlanta: "I was and still am happier than a pig in slop."

About 49er LaMichael James, who contributed to Harbaugh's final defeat as a college coach: "I have a memory like an elephant. ... I never forget."

On his altercation with Jim Schwartz: "I shook his hand too hard. I mean I really went in and it was strong and kind of a slap-grab-handshake. ... So, that was on me."

After being asked what it was like in the locker room at Candlestick Park when the decrepit lights kept going out: "It was dark."

On his use of inspirational quotes in locker room speeches: "Maybe there'll be a coffee-table book some day."

On vacations: "I don't take vacations. I don't get sick. I don't observe major holidays. I'm a jack hammer."

On the first day of training camp: "It's such a positive happening, that first day. Imagine you're kind of in the comfort of the off-season, like being in the comfort of the womb. You get plenty to eat in there, it's warm, very cozy. And then you're born, into somewhat of the unknown. A lot of people looking at you, lot of faces looking at you, lot of excitement. It's light, it's bright, it's noisy, it's the crazy world of football. Again, it's a real happening. Wish everybody could experience it."

When asked one too many questions about Aldon Smith and his availability: "You can take bamboo shoots and stick them under my fingernails, and there still wouldn't be any more I could add further to this discussion."

On olives and turnovers: "We've been kind of down on getting turnovers and sometimes things just kind of start breaking right for you. Kind of like the olive jar. Everybody's familiar with the olive jar."

[Reporter: I'm not.]

"Well, you open it up and a brand new can of olives and turn it over and no olives come out. They're packed in there so darn tight, but if you just get one to come out, just pluck one out of there and then they want to come out, they're just flying out of the jar. So, hopefully that's the case for us defensively. You just wonder, are you ever going to get a turnover, or interception or fumble and how can we get one. Then you get one and then you get, then they start flying your way. So, hopefully that's where we're at."

Hitting the Links Has Unfinished Business

Ohio State Defense Coming Alive, Pt. II

Chris Ash is adding more wrinkles to their coverage and letting the athleticism they have in the secondary go to work.

SI Recruiting Roundup

Michigan is the feature article, and there are also updates on other commits and enrollees like Alabama's Bo Scarbrough.

Big Picture: Heisman Picture, More

Apparently Mississippi State's best offensive lineman was suspended for the Texas A&M game, but that didn't slow them up much. Mississippi State put up similar numbers as Arkansas the week before and much better than South Carolina did in Week 1.

Big 12 Power Rankings

The Big 12 has turned out to be one of the more interesting conferences, and there are still upcoming matchups between Baylor-TCU (October 11th), Oklahoma-Kansas State (October 18th), Kansas State-Texas (October 25th), Baylor-Oklahoma (November 8th), and Baylor-Kansas State (December 6th). That's a way to get in the news.

Jimbo Fisher Building A Resume

Fisher is knocking down a lot of personal milestones in his candidacy for inclusion in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Highlights of Utah-UCLA

For those who missed it, this game featured some really nice plays, including 10 sacks for the Utes against that offensive line and an ankle-breaking play by Kendal Thompson that's worthy of Allen Iverson.

FOX's All-Freaks Team

FOX picks out the greatest athletic marvels at each position in college football. A Purdue man makes the list.

Top 20 Freaks

If that was interesting for you, you'll like this as well, with a well-deserved Big Ten entry at #2 and a surprising omission of Joey Bosa.

Dowell Twins Commit to Kentucky

I am very bitter about this. For those who don't remember, both are four-star recruits previously pledged to Northwestern.

Western Michigan Gets Four-Star Commit

Lovely.

Northwestern Will Boast Gothic 'Forms Against Nebraska

The back of the black helmet has a cool-looking golden arch emblazened with the words, Northwestern University. While we're on the subject of branding, it may help to use a little more creativity and expression with word play to solidify a team's identity. It would be something unique and identifying that recruits (in Illinois, in Texas, in California....) could latch on to.

That was Todd Gurley on that throw, by the way.

Eagles Do Their Thing

This may be wrong, but Chip Kelly seems like a better fit for the NFL than for college, just because of the overall structure and operation of the two leagues. He'll certainly be leaving an impression with his different way of doing things.

Big Ten Improving Its Scholarship Packages

This gives student-athletes more flexibility and control, and is a good step for the conference.

Brad Craddock, The Best Kicker in the Country

On a side note, Stefon Diggs was hailed as the Big Ten's best receiver when Maryland entered the Big Ten, but in a spot of general good news for the conference, it's getting much harder to assign that designation. Six receivers are on pace for 1,000-yard totals, and three for 1,300 (Michigan State's Tony Lippett, and Penn State's Geno Lewis and DaeSean Hamilton). Diggs is on pace for just under 1,000 so far.

Problems for Illinois

Illinois hasn't been highlighted very often in the Brews, but this piece asks a lot of questions about the state of the program and how the Illini can get the ship moving.

For one, Illinois is a solid state to recruit in. There are plenty of three-star commits and even a four-star that almost always gets snapped up by an out-of-state school. But there is talent in Illinois. For another, Illinois should have money to retain talented coaches and have good facilities. The most important thing is having a vision and finding good people and coaches.

Diagnosing Nebraska's Problems

Here, Mitch Sherman talks about Nebraska getting up for its competition. I've shouted for a while about the importance of competition - notice how the Pac-12 and SEC have gotten deeper lately? - and in my perhaps tinted view this is a dimension of that. Difficult matchups instill mental toughness and calibration for meeting and surpassing steep challenges. It's something that prepares a conference well for bowl games and maximizing opportunities.

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Stat of the week: Half of the teams in the Big 12 are 4-1 or better.