The NCAA takes another step toward common sense (really)
Let's give one helmet sticker to the NCAA's rules oversight panel this week.
A day after nixing the 10-second rule before it even came to a vote, the NCAA's rules oversight panel has amended the silliest rule in the rulebook.
Rule passes: teams won't be penalized 15 yards when officials overturn targeting penalty sources told ESPN— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) March 6, 2014
A refresher: beginning in 2013, a targeting penalty was coupled with an automatic ejection for the offending player. The ejection could be overturned by video review, but the 15-yard penalty stuck around regardless.
Now, when video review overturns a targeting ejection, the 15-yard penalty goes out the window as well. Common sense prevails.
To be clear, there will still be plenty of instances where a player is a player is allowed back in the game but the 15-yarder stays. For instance, an overturned targeting flag could still be a late hit. I would estimate that more than 50 percent of overturned ejections don't in turn remove the 50-yard flag, and the offending bench and fans flip out in protest.
Expect to spend less time with your players in the near future
The College Athletes Protection Association (CAPA) has yet to win a battle in mediation, but the union fronted by former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter has already pushed the NCAA to change the way it does business.
In its quest to prove that student-athletes are employees, CAPA lawyers have parsed threw a plethora of press conferences, pulling out quotes of coaches saying that playing a college sport is really a full-time job. A moment of bragging now turned into an attempt at damning evidence.
The NCAA isn't about to admit that, yes, student-athletes are employees, but it is talking about backing off the hours required of its players, especially out of season.
"One of the things that's being very actively discussed right now is the creation — it would have to be sport-by-sport, of course — for serious dead periods," NCAA president Mark Emmert told the Baltimore Sun. He continued: "But we know, of course, that doesn't count all the informal activity that goes on," Emmert said. "When you survey student-athletes, they're putting in more like between 30 and 40 hours. We need something stronger than that [20-hour rule], and these blocked-out time periods may be the solution. So the members are debating that right now."
Emmert's definition of a dead period means players would be forbidden from the weight room, practice or any sort of informal team activities.
"We need to look at the practice time, what's voluntary, what's not voluntary and be realistic and come up with something that's satisfying everybody," Maryland athletics director Kevin Anderson told the paper. "We walk on a fine line right now, and we definitely need to address that and look at it differently than what we're doing now. As we go on, you'll definitely see a change in how student athletes' time is spent pertaining to football or basketball — or whatever sport they're playing — and academics."
While no dates were thrown out for a supposed football dead period, my speculation is that there would be one dead period in January following bowl season (when team activity is dead anyway) and another around finals week in May.
While it wouldn't be much of a departure from the way most teams do business, any sort of official barrier between players and coaches would be hotly debated. Many believe that time away from the watchful eye of the coaching staff is when trouble happens to find most players, while Stanford head coach David Shaw has gone on record stating that players and coaches need a vacation period away from each other.
Now, whether the NCAA is talking dead periods as a real solution to the wear-and-tear in college athletics or as a defense tactic in court? That's another debate for another day. This is the NCAA, after all.
Six FBS coaches named to College Football Hall of Fame ballot
The National Football Foundation released its ballot for the 2014 College Football Hall of Fame class on Thursday, and six former FBS coaches made the list.
Two (or possibly three, but most likely two) coaches will be chosen to the Hall of Fame class, which will be announced in May. The Hall of Fame class will be voted on by the NFF's Honors Court and by the NFF's nation-wide membership. The 2014 class will be a special one in Hall of Fame lore, as it will be the first class enshrined into the sparkling new Hall of Fame in Atlanta set to open this fall.
The finalists are...
Mike Bellotti - Chico State (Calif.) (1984-88) and Oregon (1995-08) - The winningest coach in Oregon history, Bellotti kickstarted the once-doormat program into the national powerhouse it is today. He led the Ducks to the first four 10-win seasons in school history, two Pac-10 titles, a dozen bowl games, including an 11-1 campaign in 2001 capped by a Fiesta Bowl win and a No. 2 final ranking.
Jim Carlen - West Virginia (1966-69), Texas Tech (1970-74) and South Carolina (1975-81) - The 1973 National Coach of the Year, Carlen took three programs to eight bowls and 13 winning campaigns in his 16 seasons as a head coach. He was a three-time winner of the Southwest Conference's Coach of the Year honor.
Pete Cawthon, Sr. - Texas Tech (1930-40) - Now more than 70 years gone from the South Plains, Cawthon's .693 winning percentage is still the best in Texas Tech history. He guided the Red Raiders to four Border Conference championships in his 11 years at the helm, including the school's first Cotton Bowl appearance and a 10-0 campaign in 1938.
Danny Ford - Clemson (1978-89) and Arkansas (1993-97) - The top coach in the modern era of Clemson football, he led the Tigers to the 1981 national championship, five ACC championships, four of the five winningest seasons in school history and a school-record 41 consecutive weeks inside the AP Top 20. At Arkansas, he shepherded the Razorbacks from the Southwest Conference to the SEC and helped the Hogs claim the 1995 SEC West championship.
Billy Jack Murphy - Memphis (1958-71) - The winningest coach in Memphis history and the 15th-winningest coach in college football history at the time of his retirement, Murphy pushed the Tigers to 11 winning seasons in his 15 years at the school. Murphy is already a member of the University of Memphis and Mississippi State halls of fame.
Darryl Rogers - Cal State-Hayward (1965), Fresno State (1966-72), San Jose State (1973-75), Michigan State (1976-79), Arizona State (1980-84) - A success across the nation, Rogers took Fresno State to two bowl games, managed to push San Jose State into the national polls, led Michigan State to a Big Ten title and was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1977 and the Sporting News National Coach of the Year a year later.
Additionally, 27 coaches were named to the Divisional Hall of Fame ballot...
Bill Bowes - New Hampshire (1972-98)
Paul Durham - Linfield (Ore.) (1948-67)
Jim Feix - Western Kentucky (1968-83)
Howard Fletcher - Northern Illinois (1956-68)
Ross Fortier - Minnesota-Moorhead (1970-92)
Morley Fraser - Albion (Mich.) (1954-68)
Frank Girardi - Lycoming (Pa.) (1972-2007)
Rudy Hubbard - Florida A&M (1974-85)
Art Keller - Cartage (Wisc.) (1952-82)
Glenn Killinger - Dickinson (Pa.) (1922), Rensselaer (N.Y.) (1927-32), Moravian (Pa.) (1933) and West Chester (Pa.) (1934-41, 1945-59)
Larry Korver - Northwestern College (Iowa) (1967-94)
Dick Lowry - Wayne State (Mich.) (1974-79) and Hillsdale (Mich.) (1980-96)
James Malosky - Minnesota Duluth (1958-97)
Don Tiller - Trinity (Conn.) (1967-98)
Jerry Moore - North Texas (1979-80), Texas Tech (1981-85) and Appalachian State (1989-2012)
Charles Murphy - Middle Tennessee (1947-68)
Jim Ostendarp - Amherst (Mass.) (1959-91)
Forrest Perkins - Wisconsin-Whitewater (1956-84)
Bill Rasmeyer - Wilmington (Ohio) (1972-90) and Virginia's College at Wise (1991-2001)
Dwight Reed - Lincoln (Mo.) (1949-71)
Pete Schmidt - Albion (Mich.) (1983-96)
Clyde "Buck" Starbeck - Northern Iowa (1936-42, 1945-57)
Jim Tressel - Youngstown State (1986-2000) and Ohio State (2001-10)
John Whitehead - Lehigh (1976-86)
Alex Yunevich - Alfred (N.Y.) (1937-41, 1946-76)
Allen Zikmund - Nebraska-Kearney (1955-71)
'Winning in the run game starts with understanding that life is a competition'
Fresno State had one of the most prolific passing offenses in the country last season, and while they ran the ball well at times (nearly 5 yards per carry on the season), they struggled to run the ball in obvious run situations.
As offensive line coach Cameron Norcross explained to The Fresno Bee, those situations come down to a competitive drive, and who wants it more. That mindset is something that Norcross is focusing on starting with spring practices.
"You have to continue to talk it, continue to push it. Demand it. You have to make sure that they don't accept being beat, not accept letting someone go in front of you and in my opinion it starts when you walk in the front door of the weight room or you go with your buddies to lunch."
"It's a way of life, being the first one in the door and everything you do, you're competing. Everything in life is a competition, whether you realize it or not, it is. Everything in life is that way."
"You just try to get these guys to understand that -- academics is a competition, the weight room is a competition, study hall is a competition, our Red Dawn workouts is a competition. Everything we do, you have to be competing. That's what I've tried to instill in the whole group since the day I got here."
"There's no time that we're not competing with someone, whether you're competing with yourself or you're competing with a teammate or you're competing with someone else in the conference, there's always someone doing something to try to be better than you."
If Norcross' mission succeeds during spring ball, and the Fresno State offensive unit can somehow duplicate the production that they had last year (while replacing some key players), and start to win the battle in the trenches during obvious run situations, they're going to be a very dangerous team come fall.
Mumme uses eight words to respond to 10-second rule and Saban's cigarette comment
Air Raid legend, and up tempo innovator, Hal Mumme sat relatively quiet in the background as controversy swirled around the ten second rule, and yesterday, Nick Saban's comparison of the nuddle to smoking drew quite a bit of attention of it's own.
In response to all the hoopla, Hal Mumme sent one clear, well timed, and hilarious tweet late last night that needed just eight words to get the point across.
Just to be clear... Football doesn't cause cancer. #tensecondrule— Hal Mumme (@HalMumme) March 6, 2014
Well said coach Mumme. Glad we cleared that up.
Video: Louisville 'rings the bell' on testing day
One of the many vital roles of being a strength coach is finding ways to motivate the team.
At Louisville, they've instituted a "ring the bell" approach, which was used during testing day (bench and 20 yard shuttle) for those who reached a new personal record.
While you definitely don't want to be the guy getting out from underneath the bar as failure in front of your teammates, it's amazing to me how a simple act like ringing a bell after reaching a new personal best provides so much energy and enthusiasm, but somehow it does.
Why 15 different teams can say they're among college football's five best programs
Numbers never lie, but they do tell a convenient truth.
Yesterday we took one look at the hottest team in college football, and now we've tackled that same question from another angle. We wanted to know college football's five best teams over different timeframes, and then monitor how that changed over time. We started with the last five games, then went back to 10, then 15, all the way back to the last 50 games.
The result? A total of 15 different programs can lay a legitimate claim to be listed among college football's five hottest programs. And they're all right. It all depends on how you slide the scale.
The NCAA's 10-second rule proposal has failed
The NCAA was supposed to put the 10-second rule proposition to a vote on Thursday, but it appears that's not going to happen. Citing anonymous sources, ESPN's Chris Low Brett McMurphy and USA Today's George Schroeder reported Wednesday afternoon that the NCAA rules committee has withdrawn the proposal and will not be put to a vote. The rule has died before it could come to a vote.
The rule was vocally and vehemently decried by a number of high-profile coaches, among them Mike Leach, Art Briles, Gus Malzahn, Kliff Kingsbury, Kevin Sumlin, Steve Spurrier and, most notably and hilariously, Rich Rodriguez. An ESPN survey of all 128 FBS head coaches reported that nearly 75 percent were against the rule.
In an off year for the rules committee, only rules related to player safety were able to be considered. While the 10-second rule, which would have assessed a five-yard delay of game penalty for any offense snapping the ball within the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock in the first 28 minutes of each half, will not be adopted, another significant rule change has been forwarded to the rule oversight panel. A tweak to the targeting rule - which would no longer automatically attach a 15-yard penalty if a targeting flag is overturned by video review - will be put to a vote.
While the first attempt has failed, the slow-down committee championed by Saban and Bielema has pushed their talking point into the national narrative (even if most of the resulting talk was weeks of negativity). Expect this rule to be thrown back into discussion again in 2015.