Report: NFL considering radical rule change for kickoffs

For its upcoming issue featuring NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on the cover, Time Magazine has reported that Goodell has spoken with Rich McKay, who heads the league's competition committee, about a radical change to the way the NFL approaches kickoffs.

Former Rutgers head coach and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano has long championed a re-imagining of the way the NFL approaches kickoffs, but accounts from the interview brought his idea further into the national focus.

According to the report, a kickoff would become a 4th-and-15 situation from the offense's 30-yard line. The team possessing the ball would have the choice of punting or running an offensive play with one attempt at achieving a first down, essentially trading one high-risk, high-reward play, the onside kick, for similarly low-probability, but safer, option.

"It's different and makes you think differently. It did me," Goodell said.

Should the rule be adopted by the NCAA in its current form, and thus far there has been no indication it will be, it would represent a radical change to the game. In FBS, the 62nd-best net punting unit (representing the exact middle of FBS membership), averages 36.7 yards per punt. That number translates to an average starting field position of the 33-yard line.

The NCAA tweaked its kickoff rule before the 2012 season, bringing touchbacks out five yards further to the 25-yard line. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the rule had prompted an increase in touchbacks from 16.5 to 38 percent but, through five weeks of the season, the average starting field position had moved only from the 28-yard line to the 27. 

ESPN reports that fired coaches are due to collect $31 million

ESPN came out with an interesting piece today highlighting the cost of firing a coach before his contract runs its course.

Not surprisingly, Gene Chizik had the biggest buyout at $7.5 million when he was let go at Auburn. Cal's Jeff Tedford's $6.9 million payday wasn't a "buyout", but Cal will have to pay him the remainder of what he was due in his contract.

According to the ESPN article, Ellis Johnson's $2.1 million buyout adds up to 11% of what Southern Miss' entire athletic department generated all of last year.

Newly hired Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has a hefty buyout of $12.8 million if he's fired within his first three seasons. If he chooses to leave on his own, he'll owe $3 million in the first year, and that number will reduce by a half a million dollars each year.

Of course, some of the buyouts are contingent on upon whether the coach gets another coaching job (or in some cases broadcasting), and can be offset, or in some cases terminated, based on the coaches next gig. For example, Gene Chizik's buyout will be offset based on any future coaching or broadcasting jobs, while Robb Akey's will be terminated upon his hiring by another university.

This goes to show that once the decision has been made to head in a new direction, as long as the right boosters come forward to financially back the decision, or the program has the proper resources, there is almost no "buyout" that is too big. For coaches that have invested so much time, love, and energy into a program, that's never good news.

Here's a full look at what athletic departments have commited to their former head coaches.

Gene Chizik (Auburn)- $7.5 million

Frank Spaziani (Boston College) - Unknown

Jeff Tedford (Cal) - $6.9 million

Jon Embree (Colorado) - $1.6 million

Mario Cristobal (FIU) - $900,000

Robb Akey (Idaho) - $330,000

Joker Phillips (Kentucky) - $2.55 million

Tom O'Brien (NC State) - $1.2 million

Danny Hope (Purdue) - $600,000

Skip Holtz (South Florida) - $2.5 million

Ellis Johnson (Southern Miss - $2.1 Million

Derek Dooley (Tennessee) - $5 million

Bill Cubit (Western Michigan) - $145,000


A personal note about Bruce Feldman's article

Yesterday Bruce Feldman put out an article about the "feud" between my younger brother and me. The article received widespread media distribution. Unfortunately, many seemed to characterize the "feud" as funny. The truth is that it actually is very sad for our family and is something that my family and I hope comes to an end soon. 

Pete is the godfather to one of my children, stood in my wedding and has always been one of my best friends. For each of the last ten years Pete would come stay at our house frequently and my wife, kids and I would visit him in Oxford. My children make him Christmas cards and miss him terribly. 

My family and I have offered unending moral and financial support to Pete. We want nothing more than for him to be successful in life. 

The ongoing attempts that he makes to smear FootballScoop and me personally aren't coming from the person that we knew for the last 30 years. We hope to have him back in our lives one day soon. 

I am extremely proud of FootballScoop and all that we do to help coaches. Our viewership has grown nearly 50% this year alone and every month this year we have easily set a record for viewership. This isn't about me. We do this to help coaches and their appreciation is what we value most. 

We thank everyone for their continued viewership of FootballScoop. 

Wide receiver blocking done right: Texas A&M

The Texas A&M coaching staff is proud of how their wide receivers preformed this season. Very proud, in fact. So proud they created an 11 minute highlight video featuring their receivers...blocking! 

Led by position coach David Beaty, a finalist for the FootballScoop Wide Receivers Coach of the Year award, the Texas A&M receivers did have an outstanding season. In Mike Evans and Ryan Swope, the Aggies were the only team to produce two of the SEC's top six pass catchers. Every receiver in Texas A&M's six-player rotation produced at least 250 receiving yards and one touchdown grab.

But what Beaty, offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury and head coach Kevin Sumlin are most proud of is how physical the Aggies' receivers played. In fact, the first half of the video is nothing but blocks. The Texas A&M coaching staff credited its receiving corps with 92 knockdowns, 90 score blocks and 861 body blows this season. Johnny Manziel's rushing totals are the best evidence of the effort Texas A&M's receivers put into blocking. A quarterback can't run for 1,181 yards and 19 touchdowns without help from his receivers.

Jimbo Fisher offers Rod Carey some humorous Orange Bowl advice

At the conclusion of the Orange Bowl press conference, Jimbo Fisher (who has obviously brought his team to Miami before) offered some advice to Northern Illinois' Rod Carey, who is coaching in his first bowl game as a head coach.

Keeping a bunch of college kids focused while in Miami is a handful by itself, so on the topic of curfews, Jimbo's advice to Carey was "Just know where they're at."

Carey laughed and thanked him for the advice before Fisher added, "Hey, I'm going to have the same problem. My problem is they know where to go."


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