TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — They are the coaches behind the coaches, pouring over hours of video and logging plays. They spot trends and make suggestions. Their work produces the building blocks of a game plan.
They have duties similar to graduate assistants, but without having to juggle all that school work. They have titles such as quality control coach, administrative assistant and analyst. Analyst was Steve Sarkisian’s job at Alabama until a week before the biggest game of the season when he was promoted to offensive coordinator .
The former Southern California coach will be calling plays for the Crimson Tide, replacing Lane Kiffin when No. 1 Alabama (14-0) faces Clemson (13-1) on Monday in the College Football Playoff national championship game.
“We’d still watch a lot of tape, still try to game plan, then offer up as much advice as I could to the game plan, then to the coaches,” Sarkisian said Saturday. “Then it was more sit back and analyze how we were performing.”
The NCAA allows just nine coaches to directly instruct players on the field during practice and games. Four graduate assistant coaches are also permitted. Those spots are generally held by aspiring coaches and they must be working on a graduate degree. They are allowed to work with players at practice and be on the field during games, but the bulk of their work is in the film room.
At powerhouse schools such as Alabama and Clemson support staffs have grown in recent years to include coaches who don’t carry whistles. Sarkisian, who was fired by USC during the 2015 season, was hired by Alabama coach Nick Saban as an analyst earlier this year.
Former New Mexico coach Mike Locksley, who was most recently the offensive coordinator at Maryland, is also an offensive analyst for Alabama. As is Charlie Weis Jr., the son of the former Notre Dame and Kansas coach, and former Crimson Tide offensive lineman William Vlachos. Dean Altobelli, a former Michigan attorney who played for Saban at Michigan State, has been a defensive analyst at Alabama since 2010.
They generally make about $45,000 per year, at least at the start. Clemson’s senior analysts make up to $90,000.
“You want to talk about the lifeblood of the operational football part, the X and Os part?” Alabama offensive line coach Mario Cristobal said. “They are essential and critical.”
Alabama has nine analysts on staff. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has five analysts, including senior offensive analyst Mickey Conn and defensive analyst Kyle Richardson.
Derrick Ansley was a graduate assistant for Saban in 2010 and ’11 and rejoined the staff this season as defensive backs coach. He said many of the duties of a graduate assistant are similar to what analysts do. The analysts just have more time to do them.
“When I was a GA I had to break down the entire offensive opponent,” Ansley said. “The details that we put into it is kind of what separates us a little bit.”
What does an opponent run on third-and-4 or more? Against a four-man front? Against a three-man front? How about on third-and-3 or less? In the red zone? In their own end? All that type of information is gathered and given to position coaches, coordinators and the head coach.
“He’s watching it all, but you come in and give him a little something he may have missed because you’re studying that,” Ansley said.
Alabama wide receiver Gehrig Dieter is a graduate transfer from Bowling Green. After spending two seasons at the Mid-American Conference school and one at SMU before that, Dieter could see the benefit of all the additional input.
“There’s so many people on our staff any time you have a question it kind of gets answered,” Dieter said. “Not that it doesn’t at Bowling Green, but you just have so many eyes on you at all times so you kind of get the most accurate answers possible.”
The other benefit comes when it is time to hit the recruiting trail. Only the nine full-time assistants can recruit.
“We get done playing Florida in the SEC championship game, immediately we’re on the road recruiting,” Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt said. “Well, somebody’s got to be breaking down Washington, Ohio State, Clemson. Those guys do a job from a breakdown standpoint so when you walk in they can hand it to it you and say, ‘Hey, this is kind of what these guys do.'”
Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said the Tigers’ analysts are as involved in the game plans as any staffer and their input during games can be vital.
“The great thing about it is they’re just an extension of your eyes,” Elliott said. “They understand what the game plan is. They understand what the adjustments are. They understand the things that cause us problems.”
Ultimately, all these extra staffers give programs such as Alabama and Clemson more people to do more tasks more efficiently.
“Manpower,” Ansley said.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP
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CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on the beating of a white man in Chicago that was broadcast live on Facebook (all times local):
An online effort to raise money for a mentally disabled man whose beating was broadcast live on Facebook in Chicago has brought in nearly $100,000.
The GoFundMe campaign called “Let’s show the Chicago victim love” had a goal of $10,000. As of Saturday the account has reached over $92,000.
Four black suspects are facing charges of battery, kidnapping and hate crimes in connection with the attack on the 18-year-old victim. The suspects — two men and two women — are black and the victim is white.
Authorities say the victim was tied up for several hours. Video footage shows the assailants taunting him with profanities against white people and President-elect Donald Trump.
A GoFundMe spokesman confirmed the victim’s family is working with the company on the campaign.
The family, through a spokesman, has declined to comment on the attack.
A Chicago judge has refused to allow four black people recorded by a cellphone taunting and beating a mentally disabled white youth to leave jail, saying they are accused of such “terrible actions” that they are a danger to society.
Cook County Circuit Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil rebuked them during a Friday court appearance, asking: “Where was your sense of decency?”
The beating of an 18-year-old youth was captured on video by one of the assailants and has since been viewed millions of times on social media. The footage shows the suspects taunting the victim with profanities against white people and President-elect Donald Trump.
They are charged with two counts of committing a hate crime — one because of the victim’s race and the other because of his mental disabilities.
CLEVELAND (AP) — An upscale suburban Cleveland shopping mall where police broke up a post-Christmas melee with pepper spray joined other shopping complexes in Ohio and the U.S. on Friday in restricting children 17 and under from entering during certain weekend hours.
Beachwood Place announced new rules this week that juveniles must be accompanied by a parent or an adult 21 years or older after 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
The new rules were put in place less than two weeks after police and security officials in Beachwood and at malls in other states were confronted by large groups of people fighting and causing disturbances on Dec. 26. Hundreds of people were reportedly involved in the Beachwood Place melee.
Beachwood police arrested one juvenile that night and this week arrested a 14-year-old girl and a 41-year-old woman after viewing an online video of a fight in the mall’s food court. Police said the woman was encouraging juveniles to fight.
Law enforcement authorities have said the disturbances may have been spurred by social media. Problems also were reported the same day, usually a busy shopping day, at malls in Colorado, Connecticut, Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas and Pennsylvania. No evidence has emerged that the disturbances were coordinated nationally.
None of the other malls where problems occurred have invoked restrictions thus far, said a spokeswoman for the industry trade group, International Council of Shopping Centers.
Chicago-based General Growth Properties, the owner of Beachwood Place, has similar restrictions at some of its malls outside Ohio. Beachwood Place management and a spokeswoman could not be reached for comment Saturday about whether any problems were reported Friday night. The new rules call for mall security guards to be stationed at entrances to ask teens and their adult supervisors to show identification. Unaccompanied children must leave the mall at 5 p.m.
The Beachwood Place senior general manager Neisha Vitello issued a statement earlier this week that said the mall’s “Parental Guidance Required” policy would be “strictly and uniformly enforced.” The statement said the policy is intended to “enhance the shopping experience in ways the entire community will appreciate.”
Stephanie Cegielski, the trade group spokeswoman, provided a list of just over 100 malls and shopping complexes in the U.S. with weekend restrictions. There are more than 1,200 shopping malls in the U.S. Restrictions have been in place at some malls and shopping complexes for more than a decade.
Cegielski said the trade group organized a conference call for mall owners and managers after the Dec. 26 incidents to discuss what happened, how security responded and how malls can prevent disturbances from occurring in the future.
“This year, because it was a long holiday weekend, some anticipated they could have problems,” Cegielski said.
Privately owned shopping malls have the right to enforce such restrictions on juveniles, said Gary Daniels, of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio. Legal problems would surface only if a mall discriminates in how the rules are enforced, he said.
“If the way this shakes out that they’re only going to hassle the black kids and never ask the white kids, that would present a problem,” Daniels said.
This story has been corrected to show that the restrictions at Beachwood Place are for children 17 and under, not under 17.
BAGHDAD (AP) — Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim commenced a two-day visit to Iraq Saturday, the first since the two governments quarreled over the presence of unauthorized Turkish troops in northern Iraq, straining relations between the two neighbors fighting the Islamic State group.
Meanwhile, Iraqi government troops made fresh progress in their push against IS inside the northern city of Mosul, dislodging militants from new areas and for the first time reaching the nearest point to Tigris river that divides the city since the operation began in mid-October.
The presence of some 500 Turkish troops in the Bashiqa region, northeast of the IS-held city of Mosul, has stirred tension with Baghdad since late last year. Iraq has demanded their withdrawal, saying they are there without permission and are in “blatant violation” of Iraqi sovereignty. Turkey says the troops were invited by local Iraqi authorities and has ignored the calls.
Shortly after Yildirim arrival, the Turkish Ambassador to Baghdad, Faruk Kaymakci, said on his Twitter accounts that “We hope that his visit will open a new chapter in Turkey-Iraq relations.”
But emerging from an hours-long meeting in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone area, both sides seemed still far from resolving that issue.
Iraqi Prime Minister Hiader al-Abadi said in a joint press conference the Turkish delegation “stressed that this issue will be resolved in a proper way within the (coming) short period.”
For his part, Yildirim said the presence of the Turkish troops “wasn’t born out of pleasure but rather out of need.”
“Iraq’s sovereignty is very important for us, we will not allow or be involved in any attempt or move to hurt its sovereignty,” Yildirim added.
Both sides also said they had discussed the fight against IS, and the Kurdish Turkish separatist group known as the PKK, which has used Iraqi territory to launch attacks inside Turkey and target water supplies to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
The issue has led to a war of words between the two nations’ leaders as Iraqi government troops launched a massive military operation to recapture Mosul on Oct. 17. Ankara has insisted that its forces should take part in retaking the city, but Baghdad has refused.
The issue of the Turkish forces in Bashiqa grew into a rare and bitter public feud last year between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
At one point, Erdogan gave a speech telling al-Abadi to “know his place,” and adding, “you are not at my level, you are not my equivalent, you are not of the same quality as me.”
Al-Abadi responded by mocking Erdogan’s use of a video messaging app during Turkey’s failed coup last year.
An Iraqi court later issued an arrest warrant against the former governor of Ninevah province, of which Mosul is the capital, Atheel al-Nujaifi, accusing him of facilitating the entry of the Turkish forces. The troops have trained Sunni fighters loyal to al-Nujaifi and Kurdish forces loyal to Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani — who both have sought greater power away from the Shiite-led central government in Baghdad.
Turkey has also deepened its involvement in the war in neighboring Syria, where its forces and allied Syrian opposition fighters are battling both IS extremists and U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces. Last month, Russia, which backs the Syrian government, and Turkey, a strong supporter of Syria’s moderate opposition, brokered the current shaky cease-fire, which came into effect on Dec. 30.
Also Saturday, Iraqi troops pushed deeper into eastern Mosul, entering four neighborhoods, according to the operation’s commander Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Rasheed Yar Allah. He said in a statement that the troops had “liberated” the neighborhoods of Rifaq, Atibaa 1st and Atibaa 2nd, as well as Ghufran along the Tigris river, but didn’t elaborate on whether pockets of resistance still remained.
Yar Allah also announced the capture of the Salam and Shafaa hospitals in the Wahda neighborhood as well as a 186-building residential complex in the northern Hadbaa neighborhood.
Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul fell to IS in the summer of 2014 as the militants swept over much of the country’s north and central areas. If successful, the retaking of the city would be the biggest blow yet to IS. Mosul is the largest remaining city in the self-declared IS “caliphate” spanning Iraq and Syria.
Elsewhere, Turkish fighter jets struck 11 Kurdish militant targets around Qandil in northern Iraq Friday, according to Turkey’s military.
F-16s and F-4s pounded rebel positions, shelters and ammunition depots belonging to the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the military said in a written statement.
The PKK, which has been fighting an insurgency since 1984, resumed attacks in Turkey after a fragile peace process with the government collapsed in 2015. The group is considered a terror organization by Turkey and its western allies.
Associated Press writers Zeynep Bilginsoy and Michael Corder in Istanbul and Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey contributed to this report.
CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago judge refused to allow four black people caught on cellphone footage taunting and beating a mentally disabled white man to post bail and leave jail, saying they are accused of such “terrible actions” that they are a danger to society.
“Where was your sense of decency?” Cook County Circuit Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil asked them on Friday during their first court appearance, sounding baffled that the suspects could be charged with such cruelty toward the 18-year-old victim.
The beating was captured on cellphone video by one of the assailants and has since been viewed millions of times on social media. The graphic footage shows the suspects taunting the victim with profanities against white people and President-elect Donald Trump.
Prosecutors offered new details of the assault, explaining that one of the suspects demanded $300 from the mother of the victim, who is schizophrenic and has attention-deficit disorder. They also said the beating started in a van when the same attacker became angry that the mother had contacted him asking that her son be allowed to come home.
A prosecutor told the judge that the suspects forced the victim to drink toilet water, kiss the floor and then allegedly stuffed a sock into his mouth and taped it shut as they bound his hands with a belt.
The four are charged with two counts of committing a hate crime — one because of the victim’s race and the other because of his mental disabilities.
On the video, the male suspects use knives to cut the victim’s hair and his sweatshirt. One of the females can be seen laughing. A female also laughs as she punches the victim.
One of the men pulls the cord from the victim’s sweatshirt around the victim’s neck and holds him up while the victim groans in pain, according to a document read in court. The victim can be heard screaming when one of the men walks up to him with a knife and asks if he should “shank” him.
At one point, the prosecutor said, someone on the video can be heard saying that he did not care if the victim was schizophrenic.
The four suspects were identified as Brittany Covington and Tesfaye Cooper, both of Chicago, and Jordan Hill, of suburban Carpentersville. All are 18. A fourth suspect was identified as Covington’s 24-year-old sister, Tanishia Covington, also of Chicago.
They stood quietly as the prosecutor read the allegations. Some of their relatives also listened, including a woman who wiped tears from her eyes.
Defense attorneys portrayed the suspects as hardworking, responsible and religious. Cooper, for example, takes care of his twin brother, who is in a wheelchair. Tanishia Covington has two small children. Her sister attends college and has a job. Hill, the judge was told, goes to church with his grandmother.
All four have experienced brushes with the law, some for serious and violent crimes.
Hill, for example, was arrested as a juvenile in 2015 on allegations of armed robbery, possession of a stolen vehicle and residential burglary. Chicago police said they did not know the disposition of those arrests by suburban officers.
Tanishia Covington was arrested in 2007 on attempted armed robbery and aggravated battery charges. Police records do not show any convictions as a juvenile. As an adult, she was arrested on charges of battery and aggravated assault, but those charges were dropped.
The uproar over the beating intensified the glare on Chicago after a bloody year of violent crime and protests against Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a police department that has been accused of using excessive force and hushing-up wrongdoing. The department has also been the subject of a long civil-rights investigation by the Justice Department, which is expected to report its findings soon.
The incident also stirred emotions still raw after a presidential campaign that split the nation. Some conservatives suggested it was linked to the Black Lives Matter movement. Police said there was no indication of any connection.
The incident began New Year’s Eve, when the victim and alleged assailant Jordan Hill met at a suburban McDonald’s, and then called his parents later to say he was staying with Hill for a sleepover.
Instead, Hill drove the victim around in a stolen van for a couple of days, ending up at a home in Chicago, where two of the other suspects lived, police said.
The victim’s parents reported him missing Monday evening, two days after last hearing from him. The victim eventually escaped and a police officer spotted him wandering down a street, bloodied and disoriented.
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — The snow-covered construction site is thousands of miles and more than a few degrees removed from Monday night’s national-title game.
In six months, though, the hard hats will be gone, and in their place will be a completed $220 million stadium and football headquarters, complete with luxury suites, a 50-by-84-foot videoboard and a 9,100-square-foot weight room, all of which can only lead to one conclusion: Colorado State is aiming for the big-time.
CSU is one of a handful of schools that have recently committed major resources to either improving or building new football facilities on campus. The projects are part of a complicated dance in which universities utilize sports to increase their public profile. They undertake the expansions with the hope that someday there might be a spot waiting for them in one of the nation’s biggest — and richest — conferences.
“We have all the ingredients to be successful within our current peer group,” said Rams athletic director Joe Parker, whose program now resides in the Mountain West, one of the “Group of Five” conferences that are mostly outside looking in when it comes to the season’s biggest bowl games. “We can be as successful as any program within the Group of Five and, who knows, the way things go, maybe you can take yourself beyond that.”
This time of year, of course, belongs to the biggest of the big.
On Monday, Alabama and Clemson will square off in Tampa, Florida for the national title for the second straight year. The four-team playoff and the major bowl games — Orange, Rose, Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta — are almost exclusively the domain of the Power 5, the Southeastern, Big Ten, Pac-12, Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conferences. Only one slot in those games is guaranteed for schools in CSU’s category.
But with stadiums the likes of which are going up on campus in Fort Collins, a burgeoning city of 160,000 about 80 minutes north of both Denver and Boulder, where Pac-12 member University of Colorado resides, schools like Colorado State are trying to make themselves harder for the big boys to ignore.
Last year, the Big 12 spoke with 11 Group of Five schools, including Colorado State and Tulane — which recently opened its own on-campus stadium — about a possible expansion. In the end, the conference took none of the candidates , and stuck with 10 teams. But the continuing bursts of realignment that have reshaped college sports over the past two decades suggest that the status-quo won’t last forever.
“I think it was a healthy exercise,” Parker said. “It was one that helped us understand who we are at this moment in time. For us, we want to continue to be well-positioned for any future conversations that take place with the Big 12 or anyone who wants to visit about what the future … should look like.”
Put more bluntly: “The whole country is going into reactionary mode,” Florida Atlantic athletic director Pat Chun told the Palm Beach Post this summer.
Anticipating the reaction, FAU recently hired Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin to coach its growing program in the Group of Five’s Conference USA. FAU also opened a new stadium in 2011.
And if FAU, CSU, Tulane or some other school moves up, then a program like Coastal Carolina has positioned itself to fill that void.
The South Carolina school pulled a stunner last year by winning the College World Series ; it already boasts a basketball team that makes semi-regular appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
Last year, Coastal Carolina announced plans to move from the Big South to the Sun Belt Conference — a member of the Group of Five — which brings with it a move from what had been known as Division I-AA and into big-time football. That transition will include a $32 million stadium expansion to bring attendance to 20,000.
“We’re in an area that’s growing,” athletic director Matt Hogue said. “It really makes sense to align what we’re doing with our athletic program and that growth.”
While Hogue, Parker and most like them are fine working within the system, Group of Five AD Sean Frazier sees a need for something else. Frazier, of Northern Illinois, told ESPN it might be time to consider a Group of Five playoff. No school outside the Power 5 has won a national title since BYU in 1984, and Frazier said the idea that another can break through is “a flat-out lie.”
Parker said he wasn’t on board with what he called a “football-centric” idea.
“For me, it’s, let’s continue to step to the plate (in the current system) and take swings,'” he said.
The new football complex figures to only bolster CSU’s standing — among recruits, to say nothing of possible conference partners down the road.
Set for completion this summer, it is situated across the street from Newsom and Aylesworth residence halls, built on land that was long used for research gardens — a hallmark of the land-grant university that started in the 1800s as an agricultural college.
The stadium’s 23 luxury suites sold out quickly , along with the rest of the nearly 2,000-seat inventory of loge boxes and club seating.
It will have about 36,500 seats with room for 5,000 more standing-room fans in a wide-open concourse that wraps around three-quarters of the stadium.
And, for those wondering, the stadium could be expanded, with possibilities for an upper deck on the south and east sides.
“Obviously, those things come at a cost,” Parker said.
A big piece of that cost could be covered from a move in conferences. Currently, the biggest conferences get about $55 million each from the playoff system, for an average of around $5 million per school. But bowl money is only one sliver of the pie. For instance, the Southeastern Conference brings in around $350 million a year in TV money, while Group of Five TV contracts generally produce annual revenue in the low eight figures.
That conversation is for the future — though the hope is that future may not be far down the road.
“I’ve been on a lot of Power Five campuses,” Parker said. “And I’d put this one up against any of them as far as the feel of the place and the quality of the people.”
AP Sports Writer Pat Graham contributed to this report.