This shot, taken yesterday, was sent along to me by GTP commenter pantslesspatdye.
Sigh. Why don’t we just eliminate the middleman and become Alabama fans?
Only the five wealthiest conferences could debate what a day off means for their employees … er, “amateur” athletes. Before the Power Five passed some sensible rules Friday to loosen up athletes’ time a little bit, some amendments were proposed by the adults.
USA Today reported one amendment, which overwhelmingly failed, would have allowed athletes to host a recruit on their day off provided they gave prior consent. Another amendment, which closely passed, allows life-skill activities to be held on athletes’ off days. Some player representatives at the NCAA Convention weren’t buying the amendments, recognizing how the system was trying to control days off for unpaid players who are supposedly students first.
The integrity of the day off? Son, wait ’til you get married and are presented with your first Saturday honey-do list. But I digress.
The NCAA actually posted this quote from a student-athlete on its web site announcing the votes, which tells you the degree of disconnect that still exists. Control, baby!
“It’s about owning your time. Coaches need to understand that student-athletes aren’t on call at all times,” Darlington said. “This is about changing the perception of coaches: Our time is our time.”
Good luck with that. Because… well, you know the because.
What remains untouched: The number of games and when/where they are played. If NCAA members really want to make athletes closer to traditional students, play fewer 9 p.m. games on a Tuesday night a couple hours away from your campus. But that won’t happen because this is pro sports masked as amateur.
“We all know games are the elephant in the room, especially basketball,” said one Power Five athletic director, who asked to remain anonymous.
“I agree it’s an issue,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said. “I think that’s a more complex, sport-by-sport set of discussions we may have in the future. I think in this first round of time demands legislation we’re focusing around the practice schedules.”
“You mean we should be the adults in the room and play fewer games?” quipped another anonymous Power Five AD. “We can try to make amends where we can that helps. But the travel for all the games really is what changes their lives. The games seem to be sacred among the athletes.”
Hey, as long as you’ve got a sense of humor about it, it’s all good, amirite?
And on a similar note, Eleven Warriors argues that if the NCAA is all about student-athlete welfare when it comes to extending the season with a second bye week, giving those young bodies more time to heal during all those weeks of play, why not go further and return to an eleven-game schedule?
As I said, as long as you’ve got a sense of humor about it, it’s all good.
Let’s face it — Ian Boyd asks the question we’re going to have to grapple with at some point.
The question may be obvious, but Boyd breaks the answer into two parts, the right way and the wrong way to beat the Tide.
Here’s what he says you need to do it wrongly:
Urban Meyer perfected the “wrong way” to beat Alabama, Gus Malzahn utilized it as well, this path is basically to beat them at their own game. The Alabama strategy for winning is to be superior in the trenches on both sides of the ball, play elite defense, and run the air out of the football.
The downside of this strategy is that it requires turning the OL and DL into revolving doors of 300+ pound athletes, the most scarce resource in the game, but Alabama’s recruiting machine has regularly pulled it off. The upside of their approach is that if you are consistently great in the trenches then you aren’t dependent on particular skill players.
Alabama nearly just won a title with a true freshman QB at the helm who’s far from a master of their passing attack. When he’s better in that regard, they’ll of course be even more dangerous on offense, but they don’t need great QB play for their formula of elite D and crushing run game to put them in title contention.
That sounds like Kirby Smart’s current blueprint, if we’re honest, and, indeed, Boyd agrees with that: “We can probably expect Saban’s pupil Kirby Smart to at least initially fall into the trap of trying to out-Saban Alabama.” And therein lies the rub. Is it reasonable to expect the pupil to surpass the master, especially when the master is notorious for not resting on his laurels?
The right way, as you can probably guess, was blazed by Clemson, and that is to combine a good defense with a dynamic passing game.
Other than 2013 Auburn, who had a first round LT, All-American FB, and phenomenal runners at QB and RB, or 2015 Ohio State who opened up their run game with a few vertical passes, not even these teams could run the ball particularly well on Bama. The Tide are going to stop the run and look to out-rush you if it kills them. You need to make sure that it does kill them, via the passing game.
No matter how many future NFL DBs or pass-rushers they stockpile in Tuscaloosa, the perfect pass can still beat them and it’s now evident that such a passing attack can be built at the collegiate level.
The hangups with this strategy is that waiting until your QB and passing game are in tip-top shape makes it harder to be in annual contention then the run game+defense strategy which is much more “plug and play.” However, the ceiling is also higher, particularly since it allows you a lane to the title that isn’t already occupied by Alabama.
Note that Boyd doesn’t say a word there about having a quarterback who’s also a running threat. It’s all about having a passing game that can carry the offense, since it’s a given that a Saban defense will shut down the run. (By the way, can we all agree that it was fairly impressive for Todd Gurley to rush for 122 yards in the 2012 SECCG?)
With a Jacob Eason still learning the offense and a receiving corps in the midst of a rebuild, it’s hard to see Georgia having that kind of aerial attack this season. The question, then, is what Georgia will field in that regard come 2018.
Greg Sankey opposes the December early signing period apparently because he believes that the enormous support staffs that are a staple these days of SEC football programs can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.
“College football programs wouldn’t want the NFL draft November 15,” Sankey said. “They just wouldn’t. It would be a huge distraction. So now we’re about to put a signing date in the middle of December when in some states high school football playoffs are taking place. That’s not providing the right level of attention to high school football programs, which provide a basis for college football. We’ve talked about colleges’ needs, but not about the impact on high school football, and I think that has to be a part of the early signing consideration.
“Also, if we sign the third Wednesday in November, there will be 20 FBS conference teams involved in conference championship games. They can’t recruit in the first week of the contact period because of those games. So the 20 achieving programs are removed from really recruiting that week. In addition, we’ve got a set of bowl games that happen in early and mid-December. So now that we’ve placed a group of programs that have to decide ‘Do I recruit,’ or ‘Do I prepare for bowl practices?’ That doesn’t seem wise.”
Yeah, that’s tough. I’d hate to be in the position of the head coach who has to balance a fourteenth practice for an early December bowl game with that in house visit to a top in state recruit. You only visit Shreveport once, you know.
And the sudden concern for high school football programs — you know, the folks who watch their kids get screwed over by college coaches on a regular basis when they don’t manage their commitments correctly — is touching.
Know who’s not mentioned there? Of course you do.
“It’s very good for student-athletes and their families,” Bowlsby said. “On balance, it’s an overall package that appropriately advances recruiting in the footprint of college football.”
When Bob Bowlsby manages to sound more thoughtful than you do on a subject, perhaps it’s time to hone your message. Assuming the coaches will let you, that is.
Just when you think Gawd doesn’t give a rat’s ass about college football, you get this as a confirmation otherwise:
Auburn’s offensive coordinator search, nearing the end of its ninth day, is hinging on a high stakes showdown over power and control between coach Gus Malzahn and those with influence over the program, a source told AL.com.
Malzahn, who enters a pivotal fifth season leading the program, had a short list of candidates to succeed Rhett Lashlee, who left for the same position at UConn on Jan. 11.
That short list included former Baylor offensive coordinator Kendal Briles and Arizona State offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey and North Carolina State offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz, both of who have worked under Malzahn. AuburnSports.com also reported Lindsey and Drinkwitz were among Malzahn’s preferred candidates.
A source indicated those candidates did not receive a favorable reaction from people with influence over the program, who felt Briles, now at Florida Atlantic, lacks experience and Lindsey and Drinkwitz, while familiar with Malzahn’s offense were also too close to him.
A list of preferred candidates was provided to Malzahn by athletic director Jay Jacobs, the source said, which was composed of comparatively more experienced coaches, including the Texas A&M’s Noel Mazzone, who reportedly went from the possible lead candidate to staying in College Station in a matter of hours on Thursday.
Freakin’ awesome. The only thing missing from that story is somebody insisting Gus hire Art Briles, but who knows? There’s still time.
Though with Auburn experiencing offensive struggles in 2015 and a 1-3 finish to 2016, the program’s powerbrokers wanting the new hire to offer a different perspective is not irrational either.
With less than 12 days to national signing day, the critical hire could come down to a test of wills.
They want their offensive genius to hire a coordinator with a different perspective. Please proceed, power brokers. The last time a head coach at Auburn did that, he wound up with Tony Franklin. That ended well.
Now where the hell did I put that bag of popcorn?
UPDATE: And just like that…
Makes you wonder if somebody dropped that leak in order to get somebody else to back off.
All kinds of business being passed…
Hope you enjoyed it, Harbaugh.
What are these kids supposed to do now at five in the morning? Sleep?
Coaches are gonna hate that one Wonder if Saban’s already dreaming up a work around.
Ditto. Find it interesting this proposal passed by the same margin as the first one I mentioned.
Florida high school coaches don’t seem particularly impressed by Jim McElwain’s efforts on the recruiting trail.
“From what I can see, they have to do a better job of identifying the younger studs and kind of lovin’ on those guys really early the way the other big dogs do like Florida State, Alabama, Ohio State,” Ross said. “They identify those young kids pretty early on and do a good job making sure that ‘hey man, we love you, we want you to come here.’ From my experience and how [Florida has] been around us, they tend to wait until that kid has those big-time, Power 5 offers and then they try to sneak in.
Um… that kind of sounds a little familiar.
“Florida will always be a big name, but they just aren’t that premier team yet like some of those other schools right now,” Ross said. “I think once they have a great season, it will kind of snowball with recruiting, but until then, they have to do a better job of jumping on the younger kids and showing them love.”
Once they have a great season? The Gators have won the SEC East two straight years. The message is getting muddied. As a Georgia fan, that’s okay by me.