Category Archives: The NFL Is Your Friend.

Take it from the top.

Talk about your change of direction — the Big Ten is reportedly replacing Jim Delany, famous for subtle racial shading and threats to take his conference’s football home to DIII with the African-American chief operating officer of the Minnesota Vikings.  Is that a subtle hint that the conference is bracing itself for the upcoming days of NFL-style commercialism and player professionalism?




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Filed under Big Ten Football, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Wednesday morning buffet

Grab you some news:


Filed under Agent Muschamp Goes Boom, Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, The NCAA, The NFL Is Your Friend., Transfers Are For Coaches., What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

Gus, you had one job to do.

So, you may have seen this scathing criticism of the quarterback whisperer.

“Jarrett Stidham, the kid from Auburn. Here’s this kid, he was a five-star, four-star kid at Baylor with Art Briles, okay? They have the absolute fiasco that happens there and then he decides to leave Baylor and goes to Auburn,” Lombardi says on the podcast. “Really if the kid was smart, he would have stayed at Baylor with Matt Rhule. Because if he plays with Matt Rhule at Baylor, he’s probably going to throw. He probably would have been a first or second-round pick. He’s easily better than Daniel Jones if he plays in an offense that would have highlighted what he can do.”

… To continue that thought, Lombardi then really went all in on Auburn’s offense, which he says could be the worst offense in all of football.

“That offense at Auburn, I’m not sure what the hell it is,” Lombardi said. “They run power, they run unbalanced… But anyway, that offense, seriously, might be one of the worst offenses in football, so you can’t evaluate a quarterback in it or they can’t train a quarterback, that’s the other thing. (Gus Malzahn) can’t train them.”

Tell us what you really think, man.

To be fair about it, I totally agree with this Jerry Hinnen rebuttal.

Ultimately, that is spot on.  Gus is being paid a lot of money, not to make the NFL love his quarterbacks, but to win Auburn football games.  (See, for example, Nick Marshall.)

But — and you knew there’d be a but — you can’t tell me Gus isn’t selling himself as some sort of QB guru on the recruiting trail.  And, yes, that includes Stidham.

Interesting point there.  Yes, Stidham led the conference in completion percentage in 2017.  However, his passer rating was only good for fourth best in the SEC.  Here’s the thing, though:  Stidham’s passer rating and completion percentage both declined last season.  Think that might have had any impact on Stidham’s thought process about returning for another year at Auburn?

Contrary to Lombardi, Malzahn’s offense is just fine, at least when he’s calling the plays.  (I expect the Tigers to rebound from what they accomplished under Lindsey last season.)  But there do appear to be some cracks in Gus’ quarterbacks coaching game, which, I admit, is a little weird, because after I saw what he did with Chris Todd a few years ago, I thought he really was something of a guru.

Gee, I wonder if there’s anything said about that on the recruiting trail these days.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Strategery And Mechanics, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Come back, baby, come back.

After another NFL draft that saw plenty of kids who left school early go undrafted, there have been plenty of questions about why there isn’t a path for them to return to college.  I mean, no harm, no foul, right?  Plus, if you hammer constantly that you’re all about helping student-athletes succeed academically…

Okay, let’s not get carried away here.  And I digress.

Anyway, Andy Staples explains why that’s more difficult than it seems at first glance.

This year, 49 of 144 early entries to the NFL draft went unselected. I’d love to see a change that would allow those players to make more informed decisions and have an avenue to return to college. But it would require either a separate rule change independent of the draft rule and/or the willingness of college football coaches to manage their recruiting so that they leave roster spots open for players potentially returning to school.

On that last point,

For reasons both altruistic and selfish, college coaches don’t want their players to leave early and not get drafted. Most coaches want the best for their players, and most coaches would prefer to get a veteran starter back rather than break in a new player at that position.

But coaches also need to know what their scholarship count will be come August, and if they have players hanging out there in March—after both football signing days—unsure about whether they’ll return, then they could get caught in a crunch. The NCAA allows 85 scholarship players on an FBS team, and programs must be at or below the limit when practice begins. So a coach would have to leave scholarships open while signing his recruiting class with the idea that a spot or two could be filled by a player who removes his name from the draft.

I’m not unsympathetic to the numbers crunch there, although, as Staples notes, there are ways to minimize that risk by providing a brief period for kids to get better real-world feedback on their draft chances while not leaving coaches out on a limb for very long with potential roster management dilemmas.

Of course, if they really want to avoid the problem, there’s always coming up with more player compensation so that some of the kids don’t feel the need to leave early in the first place.  I know, I know…


Filed under College Football, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Blame it on the weed.

Chip Towers is just sayin’, y’all.

Elijah Holyfield, Jonathan Ledbetter, Natrez Patrick and Jayson Stanley all had to deal with marijuana and/or impaired driving charges while at Georgia. All of them ended up as undrafted free agents. Maybe it’s a coincidence. Maybe they’d have been undrafted anyway. There’s simply no way to know for sure.

Maybe is doing a shitload of work there, but Chip Towers is just sayin’, y’all.

Again, there were plenty of NFL draftees that had been arrested for something during college — or before — and still heard their name called during the draft. But I’d suggest that it still affected their stock.

Mississippi State defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons is the first that pops to mind. He was arrested for the awful offense of punching a woman in a fight when he was still a recruit. Yet, Simmons was drafted with the 19th pick by the Tennessee Titans. Without that significant blemish, though, his talent surely would have seen him be one of the first to go off the board this past Thursday.

Likewise, LSU’s Devin White went with the fifth pick despite a couple of arrests before he’d signed with the Tigers. One of his purported offenses was complicated beyond my comfort with even discussing it here and ultimately was expunged from his record, anyway. But White has the size of Georgia’s Patrick and ran a blistering 40.

Imagine how much higher in the draft White might have gone!  Chip Towers is just sayin’, y’all.

Chip Towers is just sayin’, y’all.


Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, The NFL Is Your Friend.

On the up and up

In the wake of Dabo Swinney signing that ginormous contract extension at Clemson, I’ve seen a fair number of takes like this, suggesting his argument that player compensation is another form of entitlement that college athletics can do without no longer has any place in the discussion.

With all due respect, that completely misses the point.  Of course Swinney’s perspective continues to matter, and matter greatly.  Not because it occupies some moral high ground, but because, unlike some, Dabo ain’t stupid.  He can do the math, and the math here is pretty dang simple.

For now, there is no reason to think the top of the college football coaching marketplace is going anywhere but up. Rapidly.

Every year, more money pours into college athletics departments. There is no legal way for schools to cap coaches’ compensation. And for the time being, at least, there is a legal way to cap athletes’ compensation.

So a market that’s governed by the usual economic factors, plus the wild card of emotion, is almost assured of going higher than it did Friday.

All that money’s gotta go somewhere, and if it’s not going to the players directly, well… like I said, Dabo ain’t stupid.  There’s a good reason college sports are the only major commercialized venue where coaches make more than star players.

What I wonder about is what happens should the time come when the NCAA and the schools go all out for an antitrust exemption.  Will college coaches realize what that will likely mean for them, too?  And, if so, what would they do about it?


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Come a long way, with a long way to go

Outside of being happy for those kids who get to chase their dreams further, the NFL draft holds little interest to me, other than what it has to say about the state of the Georgia program.  In that light, here’s an interesting note.

In Smart’s first year at UGA, Isaiah McKenzie was the only player drafted and he was taken in the fifth round. The next year, UGA had six players were taken overall and four inside the top 35 picks. A year later, seven Bulldogs heard their name called and two more key position players, Elijah Holyfield and Jonathan Ledbetter, signed free-agent deals soon after it was over.

Of the 14 players drafted since Smart has become Georgia’s head coach, only four of them are guys he signed. Mecole Hardman Jr. went the highest of those players, as he was taken No. 56 overall by Kansas City this year. Riley Ridley is next and was a fourth-round selection. Javon Wims and Isaac Nauta were seventh-round selections and Holyfield went undrafted.

That makes 10 players recruited and signed by the previous staff that were developed into NFL Draft picks and four of them were first-rounders — Roquan Smith, Isaiah Wynn, Sony Michel, and Deandre Baker. Wynn, Baker, and Smith blossomed under the new staff. Michel and Nick Chubb, who was selected No. 35 overall in 2018, were known commodities but bought into Smart’s vision for the program and hung around an extra year, dramatically improving their draft stock. It’s safe to say that all 14, especially the ones drafted highest, benefited greatly from learning under the UGA staff.

Richt recruited well, just not as well as Smart has.  But there’s definitely an argument to be made that Smart’s doing a better job with player development, too.  Both make for a terrific sales pitch on the recruiting trail, and it would seem to be a message that resonates with high level recruits.

That being said, context is important.  This is the mountain Georgia still has to climb.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, The NFL Is Your Friend.