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Back to Basics: Introducing the newest member of USC’s coaching staff

first_imgKnown as “Tailback U,” USC football has boasted a history of developing talented running backs. With players such as Mike Garrett, O. J. Simpson, Charles White and — more recently — Reggie Bush and LenDale White donning the Cardinal and Gold, USC has long been a destination for running backs looking for success in college and beyond.While the Trojans have retained almost the entirety of their coaching staff from the 2016 season, the new face at Howard Jones Field is running backs coach Deland McCullough. After serving as the running backs coach at Indiana University from 2011 to 2016, McCullough now has his turn to shape the next generation of “Tailback U.” McCullough replaces former running backs coach Tommie Robinson, who left USC to take a position under former football interim head coach Ed Orgeron at LSU. Replacing Robinson, a man who had NFL coaching experience, was a tall order for head coach Clay Helton and offensive coordinator Tee Martin. In their search for Robinson’s replacement, the Trojan coaching staff was looking for a handful of traits: a proven track record, character that aligned with the ideals of the program, a savvy Xs and Os guy and an effective recruiter.McCullough fit the bill, and the new coach recalled his pitch to Helton and the Trojan staff before the start of spring football.“I stressed to them the small things, whether it be our linemen, reads on runs, footwork [or] hand placement,” McCullough said. “I’m just a detail freak.”That attention to detail has allowed McCullough to analyze the nuances of his job.“One thing I think is overlooked as a running backs coach is that our job is a big job,” McCullough said. “It isn’t just handing the ball off to the guy that’s doing it. You’ve got to give him reads and angles to take. I try to be a great student of the game, and then I turn around and try to be a great teacher, too.” With no previous connections or ties to USC, McCullough’s hire was relatively out of the blue.“He was recommended to us by a couple people both in the pro ranks and in college that we know,” Helton said. “We started doing our research on him, and you looked at a guy that was a great evaluator of talent. But even more important was how he developed talent. We really thought we had a gem, a diamond in the rough.”Martin echoed Helton’s praise, saying McCullough won over the USC staff in a half-day when he interviewed for the job. And McCullough was more than happy to accept the offer.“[USC] was almost like a place you couldn’t imagine from where I grew up,” McCullough said. “You’d see all these things — the Heisman guys and the prestige of the whole university. Obviously when Coach Helton called I was like, ‘Wow, this is unbelievable.’”McCullough said that the opportunity to join the Trojans coaching staff was unexpected. He was a star player at the University of Miami in Ohio from 1992 to 1995, leading the RedHawks in rushing all four seasons of his college career. Following a professional career that included time with the Cincinnati Bengals, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Chicago Enforcers, McCullough began working in education. He was a teacher, athletic director and head football coach at Harmony Community School in Cincinnati.Since then, McCullough’s coaching career has taken off. He returned to his alma mater in 2010 but left promptly to become the running backs coach at Indiana. His track record at Indiana caught people’s attention at both the professional and college level. McCullough was instrumental in the development of three NFL running backs during his time as a Hoosier: Stephen Houston, Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard each found immense success at Indiana under McCullough’s tutelage. Coleman was instrumental for the Atlanta Falcons in their Super Bowl run this past season, and Howard made the Pro Bowl in his rookie year in 2016. McCullough will likely add another name to that list soon, as Indiana junior Devine Redding declared for the NFL Draft in January.Besides his track record, what has set apart McCullough from the rest of the pack is his background as a teacher. Throughout his career, McCullough said he learned the skills necessary to teach young men how to not only learn the nuances of the game of football but also be a “leader of men.”“I like [McCullough’s] attention to detail, and I can see the guys already progressing from it,” Helton said. “Especially [junior running back] Ronald Jones II — right off the bat, he’s doing things that weren’t showing up last year.”When asked about the differences between Robinson and McCullough, Jones, who is looking to improve his pass blocking and vision in the hole this spring, said the latter “is definitely more of a teacher.”“He played running back at the professional level, so he knows what it takes to get there,” Jones said. “He’s giving us tools and different ideas that I’ve never even thought about.”McCullough has received praise from his colleagues for his attention to detail when it comes to the fundamentals of the game.“One thing I was looking for in the interview process was running backs coaches that had a great history of their backs taking care of the football,” Martin said. “That’s the thing he’s bringing to the table, and you can already see it in our guys.”While Los Angeles is different from Bloomington, Ind., McCullough isn’t planning to deviate from his blue-collar mentality.“I like tough guys who want to be great,” McCullough said. “If they have a great attitude and great effort, we’re going to get it done.”And while USC is undoubtedly a bigger football school than Indiana, McCullough plans to stick to what has worked for him in the past.“I’ve got a formula that really works as far as getting guys’ trust,” McCullough said. “But more important is showing them what I can do to help them advance what they’re trying to do in their life.”last_img read more


Quiet please: A PGA with no fans and the new normal for golf

first_img SUBSCRIBE TO US Written By Last Updated: 7th August, 2020 07:16 IST Quiet Please: A PGA With No Fans And The New Normal For Golf To those overserved boors who insist on screaming “Mashed Potatoes!” every time Dustin Johnson or Brooks Koepka unloads with their driver, we have one simple request for you WATCH US LIVE First Published: 7th August, 2020 07:16 IST Associated Press Television News center_img COMMENT FOLLOW US To those overserved boors who insist on screaming “Mashed Potatoes!” every time Dustin Johnson or Brooks Koepka unloads with their driver, we have one simple request for you.Please come back.For this week at the PGA championship, the same goes for every lunkhead who snapped a photo in the middle of a backswing, every 50-year-old who crowded out a kid in an autograph line, every scampering porta-potty seeker who incurred the wrath of an over-officious caddie.When golf returned eight weeks ago from its coronavirus-inflicted hiatus, we were grateful. Grateful simply to have something new, and live, to watch. Someone to cheer for. Or against. Only problem: There was hardly any cheering. And, as Rory McIlroy put it about midway through a largely silent, largely joyless, very sanitized restart to the 2020 season: “Every tournament has felt the same.“Now the stakes are higher. It’s the PGA. The year’s first major under the pandemic-shuffled schedule. Players are making their way around the grounds of Harding Park in San Francisco in virtual silence. And, true to McIlroy’s word, except for the marine layer, a few more stocking caps, that neck gaiter Tiger Woods is wearing and the live shots of players getting ready for their rounds in the parking lot, this one looks the same as they all have this year: empty, silent, sterile.“You miss the positivity, the energy,” said Martin Kaymer, whose round of 4-under 66 put him within one of the lead after the morning action Thursday. “But you have to create it somehow yourself.”The day began with the usual pomp of the opening-tee introductions. “Now on the tee, please welcome, from Dallas, Texas, Scottie Scheffler.” The starter used a microphone. Why?Some things never change. Woods still draws the biggest crowds. But it was only reporters and cameramen following him around the course, this time. And Koepka, in search of his third straight PGA title, still plays under the radar. Of course, this week, he’s not the only one not being seen.“That’s the way it’s going to be for the foreseeable future, unfortunately,” McIlroy said.The PGA trimmed its roster of volunteers from around 3,500 to fewer than 300 for a tournament that was supposed to take place in May but is now taking place in August. There is no need for crowd control, for shuttle buses, for people taking your credit card at the merchandise tent, which has been converted into what might just be the largest player’s locker room in golf history.“I’ve played in tournaments where there’s nobody around so it’s kind of normal for me,” said Jeff Hart, one of the 20 club pros in the field this week. “But it was odd, and it was just — you didn’t even feel like you were at a major championship.”About halfway through the day, journeyman Bud Cauley made a snaking, 70-foot putt for a birdie that pulled him within one shot of the lead. It was so quiet out there, you could hear the ball hit the bottom of the cup. Adam Hadwin started his afternoon by jarring the ball off the stick and into the hole on No. 1 for an eagle. He received warm applause from the 20-or-so volunteers, staff and scorers surrounding the green.But if you’re inside the gates, you are among the lucky few who have undergone and passed COVID tests and been deemed essential to make this tournament run.“We’re going to celebrate what we’ve got,” PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh said about the week’s eerily silent arrangement.Not all fans were taking ‘no’ for an answer.Jason Day, whose 65 gave him the lead after the morning rounds were complete, spotted fans peering through a hole cut through a blue tarp that walled off the 12th tee box from the outside. That’s as close as they’ll get this week.“I actually miss playing in front of fans because you obviously work off that, especially in a major championship.,” Day said.This week, though, instead of fans surrounding the tee boxes, there are a hand-sanitizer dispensers. And instead of roars echoing through the cypress trees, it’s the quiet congratulations of a fellow playing partner: “Nice shot. Great putt. Good one.”But no “You Da Man.” No “Baba Booey!”. No “Get in the hole!” for a putt that has barely started rolling off a player’s putter.Is that good? Or bad?“It’s just different,” Woods said. “That’s probably the only way to say it. This is what we’re going to have to get used to in the near future, and for probably for a while.”Image credits: AP LIVE TVlast_img read more


’15 Donald Trumps’: World Cup wit, wisdom from England’s Eddie Jones

first_imgTokyo, Japan | AFP | From describing his flankers as “kamikaze kids” to feeling uneasy near Russia, outspoken England coach Eddie Jones hasn’t held back at the Rugby World Cup.Here are 10 of his more memorable quotes from the tournament:– Russia with love –“The stadium was fantastic, what a great thing for rugby, to be up here in Hokkaido, probably closer to Russia than you want to be, and we had 45,000 people here.”– Jones engaging in some international diplomacy after England’s opening win over Tonga on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido.– BBQ nose, anyone? –“I think someone is going to BBQ part of his nose. I think someone found a little bit.”– Jones after captain Owen Farrell lost a chunk of his nose in a tackle against the United States.– ‘Kamikaze kids’ –“The ‘Kamikaze Kids’ rip and tear, with no concern for their bodies, and lead the way in our defensive efforts.”– Jones’ memorable description of back-row forwards Tom Curry and Sam Underhill, which raised some eyebrows in the Japanese media for his choice of words.– ‘Typhoon gods’ –“Someone is smiling on us. The typhoon gods maybe.”– Jones after England’s final pool match against France was cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis, which would go on to kill more than 80 people.– ‘Fans with keyboards’ –“Well, someone has to ask them a question because the NZ media doesn’t. You guys are just fans with a keyboard, someone has to ask them some questions.”– Jones winning friends in the New Zealand media ahead of the semi-final against the All Blacks. – ‘Give me your email’ –“I didn’t drop him, I changed his role, and he was brilliant. Maybe you guys need to start reporting differently. Rugby has changed. Come and join us in modern rugby, give me your email and I’ll send you an invite.”– Jones turns his fire on the English media after he benched George Ford for the quarter-final against Australia.– Keeping up with Mrs. Jones –“I’ve seen all the All Black jerseys around. Even my wife, I have to tell her to stop barracking for them.”– Jones acknowledges the huge support enjoyed by New Zealand.– Maths genius –“I can remember being (at the World Cup draw) in Kyoto two-and-a-half years ago and quickly you could do the mathematics — even an Australian could do the mathematics –- that we were going to play New Zealand in a semi-final.”– Jones engages in advanced calculations at the World Cup draw.– Billy’s beef –“I think he has spent too much time at the Kobe beef bar.”– Jones explains Billy Vunipola’s ankle injury.– Trump card –“It’s going to be like 15 Donald Trumps out there.”– Jones rallies the troops ahead of England’s pool match against the United States.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more