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Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Internal affairs: News from around the non-BCS and Independents


Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson

1. Few football coaches will tell you what they actually think when their teams go through a losing streak. They'll use buzzwords and clichés and usually sugarcoat what's really going on behind the scenes. UAB's Neil Callaway is not that coach. Callaway admitted this week that his team was fragile after starting the season 1-6 and especially after last week's loss against Houston. The Cougars scored 42 second-half points to erase a 20-3 UAB lead. The Blazers face Marshall this weekend and Callaway said he doesn't know what to expect. It's not that the Blazers haven't shown improvement, Callaway said he's seen steady improvement on the field. But it's hard to pitch that to a team that doesn't have the notches in the win column to prove it.

2. North Texas coach Todd Dodge isn't worried about his job despite his team's 0-6 start. In fact, he's using it as a teaching tool for his son, Riley, who is a freshman quarterback on the team. Dodge said he told his son to watch how he handles the ups and downs of this season because soon he'd need the same poise and fortitude as a Division I quarterback. It's ironic that Dodge is teaching these lessons to his quarterbacking son because that's exactly where he learned them -- as the starting quarterback for Texas.

3. Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour will play in this weekend's pivotal Mid-American Conference game between the Chippewas and Western Michigan. LeFevour was injured during last week's 24-14 win over Temple. LeFevour, the reigning MAC Offensive Player of the Year, left in the second quarter with an ankle injury after completing 10 of 11 passes for 106 yards and two touchdown passes. Coach Butch Jones said after the game that the injury wasn't serious and that LeFevour could have returned. He was held out as a precaution.

4. UTEP coach Mike Price is calling Saturday's game against Tulsa the biggest game of the year for his team, but he admits that he doesn't know how to stop the Golden Hurricane "basketball team." Tulsa ranks first in total offense and first in scoring offense. UTEP has won its last three and is 3-0 in conference play, tied with Tulsa.

"It's the chance of a lifetime, it really is," Price said. "They're the cream of the crop in our conference. No question about that. They're really, really good... I think we've just got to take the approach that it's a great opportunity, a super challenge. No one expects us to win but us, and we've just got to keep believing in ourselves."

5. Northern Illinois will start its third quarterback in as many games this week as redshirt freshman Chandler Harnish will be under center against Toledo, his first start since spraining his foot during the first quarter of a 29-26 loss to Western Michigan on Sept. 26. In his absence, senior Dan Nicholson and freshman DeMarcus Grady have played well. However, Nicholson has had nagging shoulder soreness and Grady is still a little green. Harnish was the team's starter from the beginning of the season. Northern Illinois has won three of its last four and is 2-1 in conference play.