Category Archives: Life After Football

Keep your chin up, kid.

University of Alabama Chancellor Robert Witt says that even though mistakes were made, embattled UAB President Ray Watts still has his undying support.

“There is no doubt that our governing structure and the synergies of UA, UAB and UAH are a point of tremendous pride for Alabama and a model for the nation.  It is extremely unfortunate that a vocal few would choose to disagree.”

And after reading the complete PR memo that laid out the plans to shut down UAB’s football program, I can see why Witt has his back.  After all, if college is about preparing students to deal with the real world, how much more of an education could UAB’s student-athletes get than this touching send off?

Make History, Show Your Heart: This will be a difficult transition, but it will demonstrate your ability to deal with hard times and show heart, work ethic, loyalty, and dedication. These are traits to be proud of and this is a story you will be able to share and benefit from in every job interview for the rest of your life. Take this opportunity to prove your ability to deal with a difficult situation and to help others through the same — something employers look for.

Yeah, making sure that somebody you interview for a job hire has the experience of suffering through a layoff in the form of a D-1 college football program being closed is the kind of thing 21st-century employers are seeking out in droves.  Especially in Alabama.

A model for the nation, indeed.

14 Comments

Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, Life After Football

Tuesday morning buffet

Including a real food related item today…

22 Comments

Filed under 'Cock Envy, Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Life After Football, Recruiting, See You In Court, Stats Geek!

Sunday morning buffet

A tidbit here, a tidbit there…

  • Something to keep an eye on with this season’s Kentucky football team:  “From that highly touted 2014 signing class, ranked No. 17 in the nation, UK was able to redshirt 16 players…”  That includes redshirting every offensive linemen the current staff has signed.
  • Bill Connelly ponders what the future of football analytics will bring.
  • Marc Weiszer Fletcher Page  has a nice piece on this year’s Paul Oliver Network gathering.
  • Les Miles thinks Matt Womack signing with Alabama is enough of a punishment for his program.
  • So Andy Schwarz is being hired to produce the new report evaluating the report that led to the shutdown of the UAB football program?  That’s beyond interesting, both for what he’ll have to say about UAB’s decision as well as shining a light on college athletic departments’ bookkeeping practices.
  • Here’s another roundup of questions as SEC spring practices get underway.
  • She may be a little girl, but she manages to hit on the essence of being a Georgia Tech fan in one sentence.
  • Speaking of Tech, the computer hacker has been sentenced, but “The district attorney said he believes Pickren entered a guilty plea, meaning failure to complete the program would bring the student back to court for further sentencing.”  So you’re saying there’s a chance?

14 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness, Life After Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, The NCAA, Wit And Wisdom From The Hat

“I’d been playing since I was six or seven. Football’s all I know.”

I dare you to read former North Carolina player Ryan Hoffman’s heartbreaking story

“Look, I’m still in tiptop physical shape and can probably run a marathon,” Hoffman said, the words tumbling out of a mouth missing a tooth that was knocked out in a street fight. “It’s my brain that keeps me from being a productive member of society. I’m physically very strong, but I’m mentally so weak. Something is wrong with me. I don’t know what it is, but I used to be normal, you know?

“I’m confident — well, I’m pretty sure — that football had something to do with it.”

Football’s toll on its participants is well established. We know about dozens of former N.F.L. players who were left with severe brain damage from repeated blows to the head. Their stories often contain disturbingly similar details — depression, substance abuse, memory loss, dementia — and their brain damage was always revealed posthumously.

But there are many more former players out there wondering if they are football’s next casualties. Most of those players are not famous. Most never made a dime off the game. They are relatively anonymous men who played the sport in college and only later, for some reason or another, have found themselves struggling in life.

Just like their N.F.L. counterparts, Hoffman and those former college players have been left to wonder: Did football do this? Are the hits to the head I took the reason for my decline? Or would I be in this condition even if I’d never played a down?

They might never know the answer, because a definitive answer might not exist.

Hoffman blames football for scrambling his brain, but at this point it is impossible to disentangle what could be football-related brain injuries from his subsequent drug use and possibly genetic mental illness. He simply cannot be sure. No one can.

… and not see Mark Richt’s Paul Oliver Network in a different, less cynical way.  I know I can’t.

21 Comments

Filed under Life After Football

Advice from Georgia’s new player relations coordinator for offense

“If your former coach comes to you with a sure-fire pitch to invest more than a half-million of your hard-earned dollars in something of his, just trust me… RUN!”

10 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Life After Football

Wednesday morning buffet

You can never have enough buffet.

  • Here’s the complete list of players invited to the NFL combine.  Almost twice as many invitees come from Louisville as from Georgia, for what that’s worth.
  • Here’s a weird suggestion for a solution to the coaches leaving after signing day problem:  The only solution might be for the NCAA to require each team’s staff to be set before signing day…”  Aside from the almost absurd logistics involved in setting the framework for that, wouldn’t it violate antitrust law?
  • A couple of thoughtful posts at Football Study Hall about how to improve the metrics of football recruiting rankings:  one from Ian Boyd and another from Bill Connelly.
  • “I never really wanted to play in the NFL.”
  • Reactions to the Tony Ball to LSU rumors.  A little hasty?  Perhaps.
  • Who said this“I do think as I go around the league and look at some other places, we probably need to do some more in our locker room. I also said I don’t think that’s the reason that we’re not where we need to be.”
  • An ESPN SEC roundtable about coaches under pressure after signing day with no mention of Mark Richt?  Well, then.
  • Here’s a big surprise.

67 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Life After Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground, Stats Geek!, You Can't Put A Price Tag On Joe Paterno's Legacy

Capturing the Zeitgeist

If you haven’t read Seth Emerson’s piece on Mark Richt’s Paul Oliver Network, take a minute to do so now.  It’s a terrific take on how Georgia’s head coach is wired and how he’s lucky enough to be in a position to do something about a matter that concerns him.

But that’s not why you should read it.  This is:

Richt sat in a private room at his office this summer. His voice lowered.

“Paul, somewhere along the way, lost hope,” he said.

Oliver never called Richt looking for help. Richt doesn’t want to presume that the inability to find work was the reason for his depression. But Richt sensed that any man with a wife and kids would feel pressure to provide.

“It’s one of the things that I believe God has ordained us to do, is to provide and protect for our families,” Richt said. “When you’re not able to do that, your ego takes a beating, or however you want to say it.”

The coach took a deep breath.

“I don’t want any one of our guys to feel like, ‘I don’t know where to go, I don’t know where to turn,’ ” he said.

There will be cynics who argue that this will help Richt with recruiting, that it can help his good-guy image and encourage players to go to Georgia.

Richt himself brought up that side of it.

“I can promise you it doesn’t have anything to do with recruiting,” he said. “I’m sure it could help recruiting. But I can assure you I’m doing this because I really care about these guys.”

After fourteen years in Athens, it’s amazing that he still thinks there’s a need to reassure some part of the fan base about his motives.  And that’s not meant as a reflection on him.  But it’s obvious that he does.

This season will be Richt’s 14th as Georgia’s head coach. He’s only 54, and yet there is always speculation that he could walk away to pursue non-football measures.

But the Paul Oliver Network is just that, and Richt feels he can do more good by staying as the head coach at Georgia. It empowers him, because this is a major way he can make a difference on the job.

“It fires me up,” Richt said. “I’ve always had a greater purpose in coaching than trying to get a raise or trying to win a championship or coach a Heisman Trophy winner. I mean I’ve been blessed to win championships, coach Heisman winners, All-Americans, national championships, ACC championships. I know we didn’t do that at Georgia as a national champion. But you know, I experienced all that. And if that’s all there is at the end it’s empty, unless you help these guys.

“And that’s what people misunderstand sometimes. I’m highly motivated to win the national championship. But just because I care about them beyond football they think, ‘Oh he’s more worried about that than he is winning.’ No that’s not true at all. Not true at all. I want to win, and we’re gonna do the best we can to try to win. But I feel like we truly are educators, and we truly have a responsibility to help these guys.”

And, sadly, he’s right about that.

52 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Life After Football