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Posted: Friday June 5, 2009 11:24AM; Updated: Friday June 5, 2009 3:55PM
Andy Staples Andy Staples >

Twitter craze catching on among copycat college football coaches

Story Highlights

High profile coaches such as Pete Carroll, Les Miles and Charlie Weis are tweeting

Twitter changes the informational landscape and provides connections to programs

Coaches must be careful, though; The Vols committed a minor violation on Twitter

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USC coach Pete Carroll sparked the Twitter craze sweeping the college football landscape by tweeting on everything from guest appearances to his song of the day.
USC coach Pete Carroll sparked the Twitter craze sweeping the college football landscape by tweeting on everything from guest appearances to his song of the day.
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Football coaches are the ultimate copycats. In the nearly four months since USC coach Pete Carroll joined the ranks of the Twitterers, dozens of Carroll's colleagues have asked their secretaries how to work the Internet and signed up for their own Twitter accounts. Les Miles even told USA Today he may tweet during games. Just imagine ...

LSUCoachMiles: @CharlesScott If you miss that wide-open cutback lane one more time, you'll be washing jock straps for a month.

Now, as tweets provide fans a connection to their teams during the otherwise dead offseason, is the perfect time to examine the Twitter craze sweeping the football complexes at some of the nation's biggest programs. But before we get too serious, let's start by playing a game: Match the tweet with the coach who sent it!

The tweets:
1. The interesting part of this will be how ESPN decides to spin the upcoming season.

2. Rules for Living No. 8 -- Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

3. Having a frickin blast down here at lowers... Just talked with kelly slater, legend of all legends in the surfing world... This is awesome

4. Will announce 2009 captains tomorrow on twitter!! Stay tuned!!

5. Wow, was that a long meeting ... Coach O's recruiting meeting just lasted 6 hours ...

The coaches:
A. Carroll

B. Minnesota coach Tim Brewster

C. Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis

D. Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin

E. West Virginia coach Bill Stewart

The key:
1-C, 2-E, 3-A (C'mon, who else would say "frickin"?), 4-B, 5-D.

OK, I gave you the Lane Kiffin one for free, but only to provide you the sheer joy that comes from imagining Kiffin, his father, Monte, and the rest of Tennessee's staff spending six hours watching assistant head coach/force of nature Ed Orgeron map out the Volunteers' recruiting strategy.

Those are just a handful of examples. While a certain national championship coach who shall remain nameless started his page with tweets that looked suspiciously like the work of a sports information intern who should have been putting together the cross country media guide, the mystery coach's recent tweets seem like original compositions. Glimpses into the minds of millionaire coaches should prove useful for fans and recruits alike. Weis, for example, fired an eight-tweet salute May 11 that provided fascinating insight into ESPN College Football Live's weeklong look at Notre Dame's program. All month, Weis has tipped off fans each time he began studying a new 2009 opponent. And on Mother's Day, LSU's Miles sent this tweet that offered a lesson every man should heed: Whether you make $3.75 million or $37,500, the surest way to score husband points is to treat the wife to ice cream mixed with sprinkles on a frozen hunk of rock. "Mother's day was great -- took Kathy to movie and then for ice cream at Marble Slab," Miles tweeted.


But Twitter isn't an outlet for all musings. There are rules. Coaches shouldn't, for example, send a tweet that violates NCAA regulations. On May 19, however, Tennessee had to report a secondary violation when an unidentified staffer posted the following message to Kiffin's Twitter feed: "It's a beautiful day in Knoxville, Tennessee today. I was so exited to hear that J.C. Copeland committed to play for the Vols today!" Copeland, a ferocious defensive end from LaGrange, Ga., did indeed commit to Tennessee, but NCAA rules forbid coaches from commenting on a prospect until he signs a letter-of-intent. Tennessee officials removed the offending post after 45 minutes, but anyone who searched "lanekiffinUT" on Twitter could still find it for the next seven days. Penn State quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno certainly saw it, because he threw this jab at the Volunteers on his own feed May 20: "Good month recruiting so far....but don't look for any UT/NCAA-violation type Twitters from us."

It's best to avoid using Twitter to hurl insults, too. Minnesota's Brewster learned that after this tweet appeared on April 14: "How would you like to wake up in the morning and look in the mirror...... if your [sic] Fat Pat." The reference to Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse quickly disappeared from Play4brew's Twitter page, but the folks at the sublimely monikered Iowa blog Black Heart Gold Pants had been following Brewster's tweets using an RSS feed, which doesn't retroactively delete posts. Naturally, they posted a screen shot. Brewster's crime wasn't attacking Reusse, a frequent critic. It was settling for such low-hanging fruit. Poking fun at a sportswriter's waistline is about as creative as mocking a football coach's grammar.

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