A glimpse behind the scenes of major college football

Scott Halleran

A rare look behind the curtain of a major college football program.

This morning post is usually WSU-centric, but I'm going away from that theme today. Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports spent a week at Texas A&M leading up to the Aggies game against Alabama and the window behind the scenes is fantastic.

Here's a brief example:

The mood of the team gets cranked into a frenzy at something A&M calls its "Mental Check" where the team packs into the Hagner Auditorium. Sumlin begins the meeting, briefly talking about the Aggies' opportunity today, but it's the players who provide all the juice. One by one, each position coach steps forward and calls out one of their players. They ask what that player's responsibility is in a given situation and each proceeds to deliver the right answer. Back at Houston, there was a time when a player was stumped. That was awkward. That probably won't happen again. The language at "Mental Check" is not PG.

If the energy level, on a scale of 1-10 is an 11, by the time McKinney, the first assistant to speak, calls out "Running backs, on your feet. Tell the team what the (expletive) you gon' do today to help this team win," it goes up to a 50 by the time Ben Malena, Tra Carson and Brandon Williams sit down.

The level shoots up to a 100 after sophomore center Mike Matthews, the son of NFL great Bruce Matthews, yells with so much ferocity you wonder if he might bust a blood vessel in his head.

Not many reporters are given that kind of access, by any team. If you really want a WSU tie, remember Kevin Sumlin was one of the candidates to replace Bill Doba. The Aggies staff also has some ties to Mike Leach. Either way, it's a really entertaining article and worth a read.

Now for WSU related things ...

Football:

WSU special teams coach Russell remembers Idaho fondly - Spokesman.com - Sept. 18, 2013
PULLMAN – Tales of how he broke into this profession aside, Eric Russell stops and circles back to the message coach Mike Leach tries to drill into his players each week.

WSU-Idaho TV situation - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Sept. 18, 2013
If you live in Washington or Oregon, this doesn't apply to you. If you live anywhere else, you're going to want to read the following information from the Pac-12 about how to watch the WSU-Idaho game on Saturday.

Cougars practice, McGuire talks OL - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Sept. 18, 2013
The warm(ish) weather returned to the Palouse this afternoon, and Washington State's football team returned to a much dryer practice field. We have notes, along with a few comments from offensive line coach Clay McGuire.

Former UI coach Robb Akey happy now just being dad - Spokesman.com - Sept. 18, 2013
He was a gregarious personality on the Washington State and Idaho sidelines, leaping, hugging and chest-bumping with his players for 14 seasons on the Palouse. But now, looking across the field at high school kids, Robb Akey keeps to himself.

Idaho (0-3) at Washington State (2-1) (ET) | College Football | Bradenton Herald
FACTS & STATS: Site: Martin Stadium (32,248) -- Pullman, Washington. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Idaho 0-1, WSU 1-0. Away Record: Idaho 0-2, WSU 1-1. Neutral Record: Idaho 0-0, WSU 0-0. Conference Record: Idaho 0-0, WSU 1-0. Series Record: Washington State leads, 70-17-3.

Pac-12 power rankings Week 3
7. Washington State (2-1, 1-0): Cougars didn’t have a letdown after big win at USC last week, cruising past Southern Utah 48-10 at home. With Idaho up next, Cougars a good bet to be 3-1.

Soccer:

Cougars Head to Golden State - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Washington State soccer (5-0-2) makes its first of two road trips to Southern California this season for matches at Cal State Fullerton (3-2-2) and UC Irvine (4-3-0, plays Friday).

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