AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — The full roster was on hand today for the second day of the ACC spring meetings here at the Ritz Carlton. Football, men's and women's basketball coaches met this morning along with the athletic directors, and then most spent the afternoon playing golf (though some just enjoyed the Florida sunshine). Here's a link to my story from today's PG about the different feeling at this year's meetings, compared to last year's realignment panic-fest. And here are a few notes from the day...
- Pitt coach Paul Chryst said the main topic of discussion today was the new recruiting rules and calendar the NCAA is discussing. The biggest thing, according to Chryst, is staying proactive on what the latest NCAA regulations are, and that education is a big part of what these meetings are about. Problems can arise when coaches aren't completely up to speed with what the NCAA is planning as far as new regulations. We saw that earlier this offseason when the NCAA passed a bevy of recruiting rules that would significantly loosen contact restrictions, only to decide to table them after protest from the coaches.
"The tricky thing on all this is there's some parts of all the legislation that you can see how it got to that, but when it's the final written piece, now what does that really mean?" Chryst said. "I think that was a good example where we were kind of behind it more than ahead of it."
- Chryst also spoke broadly about his discipline philosophy, which we saw enacted last month when he kicked two players, defensive back Eric Williams and tight end Drew Carswell off the team after their involvement in a police drug raid.
The biggest challenge, according to Chryst, is making sure that everyone is on the same page as far as what the standards for the team are. He didn't say whether they were higher than the previous regime (since he wasn't here) but was adamant that he and his staff believe that their standards are necessary for the program to move forward.
"I think on big things, we all want the same thing," Chryst said. "Everyone wants to win. Everyone wants to get your degree. How you go about it, what you believe it, there's a difference. I think it takes time for them to realize [that].
"Time will tell whether our method or philosophy is the way. We haven't done it yet. But we do believe in it. We're telling guys we're recruiting now, we recruited last year, this is what we believe in. The current players didn't have that opportunity."
- The star of the show Tuesday was Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, who held court with reporters for over an hour today. He talked about everything from the league's future to his Seminoles team that will open up the season at Heinz Field next year. Here are a few snippets...
On why younger players like Johnny Manziel are having more success: "The kids feel the pressure. If you're used to being in that atmosphere and environment all the time, your team is going to react more consistently when the big games come.
"Those kids now are playing in high school games in front of 20,000 people, 30,000 people, they're going to the ESPN combine, they're getting video[taped], they're getting talked to, they're having to handle media, the recruiting. I think what's making them have more success is they're making them grow up quicker to deal with all the outside distractions that can come with it that I think used to hinder kids as far as having success early."
On how to keep kids out of trouble: "Do a lot of praying.
"I think constant education, I think constant development of programs around your kids to understand how to act and what environment they're in. ... And then, trying to build the team dynamics to where the good guys are rewarded. You know what I mean? And they're the examples you should follow."
On coming to open at Pitt next season: I grew up in West Virginia. I grew up 100 miles from there. Going to Pittsburgh will be great, I know they'll have a great environment.
"I think [my players] will be [excited]. They're looking forward to any time they're on national TV. It's a different venue, new opponent, I think all those things enter into it."
- Some non-ACC news, but running back Desmond Brown was awarded a scholarship by Pitt this morning. Brown, the younger brother of Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, took great advantage of his opportunities this spring in the wake of Rushel Shell's departure. In Pitt's second scrimmage, the first since Shell left, he ran for 141 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. In Pitt's spring game, Brown had 18 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown. He's still firmly behind Isaac Bennett and Malcolm Crockett on the depth chart, and incoming freshman James Conner will certainly be in the mix come August, but Brown isn't a terrible emergency option for Pitt to have in the event of an injury or some other unforeseen circumstance, so it makes sense to put him on scholarship.