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NCAA approves new roughing the passer penalty for shots below the knee

In what has become a busy news week for the NCAA, the organization's Rules Oversight Panel approved a new rule today offering additional protection for quarterbacks.

The new rule states that a defender rushing unabated at a quarterback may not forcibly strike a quarterback in the act of throwing at or below the knee. Essentially, it's the Tom Brady Rule, which the NFL adopted after Brady's 2008 season was ended in Week 1 after a shot below his knee tore his ACL and MCL. 

There are exceptions to the rule, like:

1) When the passer becomes a runner, either inside or outside the pocket
2) The defender wraps up the thrower in an attempt to make a tackle
3) The defender is not rushing unabated, or he is blocked into the thrower

Essentially, a defender with a free shot at a quarterback in the act of throwing had better aim for the chest, waist or thigh or his team will be hit with a 15-yard personal foul penalty.

Love it or hate it, the powers that be are moving to legislate enough protection for quarterbacks as the rule book will allow. 

The Football Rules Committee passed the rule by a unanimous vote, and the NCAA notes that "surveys of college football coaches indicate support of the new rule among head coaches."

You might never see a play like this again in your lifetime

In the world of football, the one-point safety is the equivalent of Big Foot, the chupacabra and Captain Ahab's white whale all rolled into one. It's talked about, but rarely seen. 

It most recently occurred in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl, when Oregon notched the ultra-rare scoring play in its 35-17 defeat of Kansas State. Before that, Texas registered a one-point safety in a 26-13 win over Texas A&M in 2004. Beyond that, no one can pinpoint any other examples.

We had another one this season, this time in Division III, and we now have video of the play. And it's crazier than the other two examples combined.

Division III Bluffton (Ohio) utilized a one-point safety to engineer a 24-17 upset of then-No. 9 Franklin (Ind.), snapping the Grizzlies' 31-game conference winning streak. Franklin had to go well out of its way to make it happen, advancing the ball nearly to the 15-yard line before an ill-advised lateral saw the ball tumbled all the way back to the end zone.

Statistically speaking, we could see American football continue unchanged for the next 150 years and never see a play like this repeated.

What a 40-year-old IT guy can teach football coaches about Twitter

It seems like it's every week now a news story hits the wire about coaches warning against the ills of social media and all negative light a Twitter account can shine on a player.

If you haven't seen a tweet like this one below yourself, you certainly no someone who has: 

This isn't to single out Herb Hand or to say football staffs are wrong for railing against the downside of social media. But there are two sides to every coin, and just as Twitter can ruin a career, it can also build one completely out of nowhere.

Case in point: Bryan Donaldson.

Donaldson was a 40-year-old IT professional in Peoria, Illinois, living the type of life you'd expect a 40-year-old IT professional to live. He opened a Twitter account in 2011 and started tweeting jokes he couldn't say at work or at home. People started taking notice. Lots of them, in fact. His account (@TheNardvark) has more than 40,000 followers, and among them was Late Night with Seth Meyers head writer and producer Alex Blaze. In looking to hire a writing staff for the new NBC late-night talk show, Blaze kept a list of his 20 favorite tweeters. Donaldson eventually rose to No. 3, so Blaze showed Donaldson's account to Meyers and fellow producer Mike Shoemaker. 

Donaldson had no writing resume and zero experience in show business, but had proved himself day after day in the meritocracy of the Twitter comedy world. “If I go to somebody’s Twitter, I can see what he’s been doing the last two years — you get a much more complete sense of how he writes," Blaze told Vulture. "It’s like you get to flip through somebody’s comedy notebook.”

Donaldson's complete lack of experience was irrelevant to Meyers. Funny is funny, whether or not it has a New York agent. “We never stopped to wonder where he was from or what he was doing,” Meyers said. “He just made us laugh.”

Donaldson got the job, and now works as a full-time writer for a major New York comedy show. 

What's a football coach to learn from this? A lot, actually.

- Established coaches love to tell both recruits and younger coaches that every tweet is a job interview, but that's just as true for them. It's true for all of us, actually. You never know who's reading your tweets. 

- We've said this before, but if you aren't showing off your personality in your tweets, you are wasting your time. It's tough to prove your Xs and Os knowledge 140 characters at a time, but coaches time and again say schematic knowledge is secondary to personality in the first place. People want to hire people they'll get along with, that fit in and that gel with the existing group, and that's true in all walks of life. That should be your goal with every tweet. 

- Looking at it from the opposite end of the table, Donaldson didn't have the credentials to work on a late-night talk show, but it didn't matter. In fact, his outsider status to the New York-Los Angeles showbiz bubble actually worked in his favor. He was the right fit because he was the right fit. That's all that mattered. 

Twitter is a powerful tool, for ill, yes, but just as powerful for good. Showcase your personality, and the possibilities are limitless. Remember that the next time you're watching late-night comedy. 

Syracuse shows off their new unis, and Twitter provides instant feedback

Thanks to Twitter, Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer was able to get his new uniforms out to the masses. However Shafer and the program also got some unsolicited feedback from social media uniform experts.

Maybe it's just me, or maybe it's the angle, but the bottom part of those numbers seem a bit long.

Like it or not, Twitter is going to provide immediate feedback.  



Those last few pretty much confirm that it's not the angle that makes the numbers look that way, it was actually the style they were going for.

I will continue to update as more pictures become available.

The Pac-12 Network is taking a page from Gruden and ESPN

Everyone that enjoys football, and especially coaches, love what ESPN has done with Jon Gruden the past few seasons. Leading up to the NFL draft, Gruden (the president of the FFCA) sits down with draft eligible quarterbacks to break down their game and get on the white board.

While out to eat the other night, I caught a bit of the NFL Network doing something similar with on the field demonstrations with former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner working with quarterbacks, and Michael Irvin working with the receivers. Now the Pac-12 Network will be doing their own version with Rick Neuheisel called "Under Center".

The first episode airs tonight at 8pm Pacific time with decorated Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion, one of the top quarterbacks in the conference and one of the most efficient and prolific passers in the country. The series will continue every Wednesday night with Neuheisel sitting down with UCLA's Brent Hundley (April 30th) and Arizona State's Taylor Kelly (April 23rd) in the next few weeks.

The sneak peak looks similar to Gruden's QB camp, and I'm fine with that. I'm sure 99% of coaches will agree that we'll take as much of this kind of content as we can get...as long as Neuheisel leaves the guitar at home

How many routes/concepts do you recognize from this pro day play sheet?

Below is a list of 54 pass plays that Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray ran through earlier today during his pro day.

Since there essentially is nothing original in the coaching world in this day and age, after looking over this list a few times I couldn't help but wonder how many routes / concepts I recognized, and am sure that most coaches that give this sheet a look will share that same thought.

Now there are quite a few repeats on here, but there is some universal coaching jargon on here such as; naked, slant, corner, out, cross, vertical, dig @12, and swing and comeback. But then there are also some buzz words that would better suited with a diagram like; dart, bang 8, and Vandy. Regardless of what they're all called, chances are we've seen all these routes and concepts, but the vocabulary depends on who you've learned them under.

Maybe you look at the list and find a new buzz word to use, or maybe it just helps you close your eyes and imagine football season...either way it's interesting.


(H/T Coy Wire)

Video: Russell Wilson speaks to the N.C. State football team

Russell Wilson's official Seattle Seahawks bio lists Wisconsin as his college of origin, but the folks in Raleigh are quick to remind any who dare bring that up that the Richmond, Va., product was a Wolfpack quarterback first. Wilson graduated from N.C. State in three years, played football and baseball, and threw for 8,545 yards with 76 touchdowns in his three seasons. On Saturday, he returned to his alma mater to speak to the 2014 N.C. State football team before their spring game. 

"It was a mindset," Wilson said of what drove the Seahawks to their Super Bowl victory in February. "Every day that we stepped into the locker room, every day that we stepped onto the field for practice, every day that we stepped on to the field for a game, we mentally believed that we were going to be better than everybody else and we were going to prepare that way."

The three minutes and 27 seconds in which Wilson speaks really give an insight into two things. First, how much he echoes each of Pete Carroll's coaching points. And second, how much love he has for N.C. State. "It's an honor to be here," Wilson said. "It's just a special thing to go to this school. I graduated here in three years. I'm proud to be a part of N.C. State... I love this school to death."

NCAA announces tightened restrictions for recruiting mid-year enrollees

On Wednesday, the NCAA announced severely tightened restrictions for recruiting mid-year enrollees in football and basketball. 

Previously, prospects could sign financial aid agreements with multiple schools, which then gives schools more freedom to recruit a player that has signed with their school. For example, a recruit could sign a scholarship agreement with Tennessee, Auburn and Ole Miss, and each school could recruit the mid-year enrollee as a signed prospect without knowledge of agreements with other schools.

Moving forward, schools can now recruit players that have signed multiple financial aid agreements - at the risk of violating recruiting rules if they do not ultimately land the player.

Essentially, mid-year enrollees will now be treated equally to recruits signing NLIs in February.

In the NCAA's words:

The change created an unintended scenario in which prospects (most often mid-year enrollees) signed multiple offers of financial aid and coaches were incentivized to recruit prospects to sign so they could recruit without restrictions. The act of signing the agreements then lifted recruiting restrictions for that prospect with more than one school and created what some termed an unhealthy recruiting environment surrounding mid-year enrollees.

The official interpretation said that only the first school to sign a prospect to a financial aid agreement was allowed the unlimited recruiting access, but many schools indicated a concern about inadvertent violations. Schools often aren’t aware when prospects sign financial aid agreements with multiple schools and in what order. The interpretation was rescinded as part of the council’s action.

Read the full announcement here.