25 Best Motivators in College Football
Getting a team ready for a big game may seem like an easy task, but sometimes motivating a team is something easier said than done.
College football is filled with many talented motivators. While most of them are head coaches, there are also some assistants and a few players who know how to get their teams pumped up.
When two college football teams are evenly matched, the key to victory can sometimes be motivation. These guys have a lot of it to offer.
Here are the top 25 motivators in college football right now.
Here are a few names who just missed the list, but still some excellent motivators.
Will Muschamp, Florida: Few coaches are more intense on the college football field than the Gators head coach.
Frank Solich, Ohio: The former Nebraska head coach has been running the Ohio Bobcats program for nearly nine years now and always gets the most out of his talent.
Bob Diaco, Notre Dame: The Notre Dame defensive coordinator has been one of the top assistant coaches in the country over the past few years and does it with motivation.
Marcus Mariota, Oregon: Very few players in the country get into his players more than Mariota does during an Oregon Ducks game.
Trey Millard, Oklahoma: Millard is the heart and soul of the Oklahoma Sooners and means as much to the team as any player on the roster.
No. 25 Kyle Flood-Rutgers
Kyle Flood had an excellent first season as a head coach of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
He found a way to motivate a defense that turned out to be one of the best in the country.
Flood had never been a head coach at the collegiate level and had no problem transitioning into the job last season.
He proved just how good of a motivator he was, leading Rutgers to a 9-4 season.
No. 24 Jadeveon Clowney-South Carolina
South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney might fit better into the intimidation category than motivation, but his play on the field certainly motivates the other Gamecocks players to play as hard as possible.
Clowney has made more than his fair share of excellent plays and has proved himself as the most physically gifted player in college football.
His play speaks volumes and it shows every Saturday on the field.
No. 23 Brian Kelly-Notre Dame
Brian Kelly motivates in a much different way than a lot of other coaches. He is one of the most in-your- face coaches in college football.
There are few coaches who put the scare factor in players more than Kelly, and he does it with brash language and an intensity that is unmatched.
Judging by the results he gets on the field, Kelly have proven himself as one of the best motivators in all of college football.
No. 22 Kirby Smart-Alabama
There might not be a more sought-after defensive coordinator in the country than Kirby Smart of Alabama.
While he seemingly always has plenty of talent to work with, Smart never fails to put together a defense that is one of the best in the country.
With so much talent on the roster, Smart does an excellent job of motivating the starters to play to the best of their potential by pushing the players behind them on the depth chart.
Sometimes the toughest competition these players face is during the week on the practice field.
No. 21 Chris Petersen-Boise State
Boise State head coach Chris Petersen has to be doing something right judging by the success of the Boise State program during his seven years as the head coach.
He has put together an 84-8 record, including two undefeated seasons.
Petersen might not be as intense on the field as Brian Kelly at Notre Dame, but he does it in a much different manner.
Few coaches can motivate quite like Petersen, and it has shown on the field.
No. 20 Mike Stoops-Oklahoma
Mike Stoops has had a lot of success both as a head coach and as a defensive coordinator.
During his time as the head coach at Arizona, and now as the defensive coordinator for his brother at Oklahoma, Stoops continues to be one of the most intense coaches in the game.
Even though it did not end quite the way he would have liked with the Wildcats, Stoops continues to be a big-time motivator for the Sooners defense.
No. 19 Mike Riley-Oregon State
Mike Riley certainly used his motivational skills to his advantage this past season, as he entered the year on the hot seat for Oregon State.
He led the Beavers to a 9-4 season and might have saved his job in the process.
He has had plenty of success running the Oregon State program, and even though he does not get top-level talent, he gets the most out of his players with the motivation.
No. 18 Frank Beamer-Virginia Tech
There is little doubt that few coaches in the country are looking forward to the start of the 2013 season more than Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech.
The Hokies had won 10 or more games in eight consecutive seasons before suffering through a 7-6 campaign in 2012.
Beamer has had a lot of success over the years, posting a 216-104-2 record during his 26 years as the head coach of Virginia Tech.
No. 17 A.J. McCarron-Alabama
A.J. McCarron is not only one of the top quarterbacks in college football, but he is also not afraid to get into the face of his teammates, as was evidenced by his outburst on center Barrett Jones in the national championship game victory over Notre Dame.
He is about as experienced as any quarterback in college football and knows not only how to get the most of himself, but the most out of his teammates as well.
Look for a huge senior season from McCarron and an even bigger year from the Crimson Tide in 2013.
No. 16 Butch Jones-Tennessee
Butch Jones will not have any trouble getting his players to play for him at Tennessee, as he takes over a program that has struggled mightily in recent years.
Jones has no problem getting his players to play for him and gets as much out of his talent as almost any coach in college football.
Whether or not he gets things turned around in Knoxville remains to be seen, but it will not be for lack of motivation from his players.
No. 15 Jim Mora Jr.-UCLA
If anybody questions the motivation of Jim Mora Jr, just look at his first season as the head coach of UCLA.
He took over a team that lost eight games the season before and completely turned it around, finishing the year 9-5 with almost the same personnel.
The man knows how to coach, and he proved that during his first season at the collegiate level with UCLA.
There is a good chance he will sustain that success for many years to come.
No. 14 Dabo Swinney-Clemson
Dabo Swinney has certainly turned it around over the past two years, after his 6-7 season in 2010 left him on the hot seat.
He is not afraid to talk a little trash, including a war of words with Steve Spurrier. While it is unknown what might have been his reasoning for something like that, there is little doubt that motivation was at the bottom of it.
Swinney can get very emotional at times and is one of those coaches whose players will play their hearts out for him.
No. 13 Randy Edsall-Maryland
Randy Edsall is one of the most self-motivated coaches in college football.
It has shown over the years through his hard work and has rubbed off on his players.
When he took over the Connecticut program in 1999, the Huskies were a 1-AA independent team, and just about a decade later, he had them in the Fiesta Bowl.
While his numbers are not the best, he gets the most out of his talent that he possibly can.
No. 12 Pat Fitzgerald-Northwestern
Pat Fitzgerald is as intense as they come and has brought Northwestern to relevance in the Big Ten.
He will run up and down the sideline, screaming and yelling at the top of his lungs throughout the game.
Everything he does is for a reason, and his Wildcats have seemingly improved every season he has been running the program.
Look for that to continue, and as he gets better recruits, this team could be a factor down the line in the Big Ten.
No. 11 Paul Rhoads-Iowa State
When it comes to motivational locker room speeches, Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads might be the king.
He has put together some of the best the college football world has seen in recent years, and that has gone a long way toward the success of the Cyclones program.
Rhoads is also not afraid to go crazy on the sideline, whether it be arguing a call or trying to get his players pumped up.
No. 10 Johnny Manziel-Texas A&M
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is not only one of the best players in college football, but he is also one of the top motivators.
Even though he was only a freshman in 2012, Manziel had everything when it came to talent and charisma.
That was on full display during the Cotton Bowl victory against Oklahoma, as Manziel got his team back on track after they struggled during the beginning of the game.
He was on the bench getting the crowd pumped up after a touchdown, and also in the face of his teammates when he needed to be.
No. 9 David Shaw-Stanford
David Shaw might fall more into the lines of quiet motivator. He has done just that at Stanford, leading the Cardinal to a 23-4 record during his two seasons as the head coach.
He may not be as loud and boisterous as many other coaches on the list, but he gets his point across and does it in convincing fashion.
Look for the success to continue at Stanford as long as Shaw is running the program.
No. 8 Charlie Strong-Louisville
Charlie Strong has quickly made Louisville the top team in the Big East and one of the best in the entire country.
He is a hard-working head coach who loves to get in the face of his players.
Strong might have learned some of his motivational tactics from Urban Meyer when he coached under him at Florida.
There are few coaches in the country who are more intense than Strong, and he never lets up no matter what the circumstance.
No. 7 Kerry Coombs-Ohio State
Many people may not know too much about Ohio State special teams coordinator Kerry Combs, but watch the video, as it tells a lot.
He spent his first five seasons coaching at the collegiate level with Cincinnati, before joining Urban Meyer's staff at Ohio State.
One way to describe the guy is relentless. The man never stops and is constantly chattering, trying to find a way to motivate his players.
He goes 100 percent every day and also seems to have an affection for country music.
No. 6 Kevin Sumlin-Texas A&M
Kevin Sumlin has had success at both of his stops as a head coach, including Houston and now Texas A&M.
He has a determination and a will to win that motivates his players in ways a lot of other coaches can't.
It did not take him long to get quarterback Johnny Manziel on board, as he has rubbed off on the Heisman trophy winner already.
Look for Texas A&M to continue to be at the top of the SEC for years to come with Sumlin around.
No. 5 Bill O'Brien-Penn State
It is hard to question the motivational tactics of Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien, judging by how much he got out of his Penn State team in 2012.
The Nittany Lions finished the season 8-4 and 6-2 in Big Ten play. Nobody expected them to have anywhere near the success they had as they exceeded everyone's expectations.
Whether or not they can continue that next season is still up in the air, but there will be no lack of motivation from O'Brien.
No. 4 Bill Snyder-Kansas State
When it comes to quiet motivation, nobody does it better than Kansas State head coach, Bill Snyder.
Snyder has had two separate stints as head coach at Kansas State, and that span of years has been the only consistent success the program has ever seen.
He seems more like a father figure than anything else, and players love to play for him.
It is hard to tell exactly what he does to get the most out of his players, but there is no question that he is doing something right and has been for quite some time.
No. 3 Nick Saban-Alabama
Even though Nick Saban recruits the top talent in the country, talent is not the only thing that wins football games.
It takes somebody to motivate that talent and to put the people in the right spot to be successful.
Saban does just that, as he has found a way to dominate the college football landscape over the past few years.
There is no doubt that he has plenty of talent, but he gets just about everything out of that talent.
No. 2 Urban Meyer-Ohio State
Urban Meyer is the ultimate motivator. His practices are run to perfection, and that is what he expects out of his players every single day.
Meyer has had success everywhere he has gone, and a lot of that has to do with how much effort he puts into it.
He is what many people would call a perfectionist, and there is no doubt that the Ohio State program is in very good hands with Meyer in charge.
No. 1 James Franklin-Vanderbilt
James Franklin has made the Vanderbilt program relevant, and there is not a more intense motivator in the country than he is.
He is not afraid to go after anybody, whether it be a player or referee. Franklin led the Commodores to just their second bowl game since 1955 this past season and also their first nine-win season since 1915.
Similar to some other coaches on the list, like Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern, Franklin does it with a little less talent on his roster than some of the other coaches in the SEC.
What he does do it with is motivation and hard work. Two traits that are unmatched by any other coach in the country.