Category Archives: The NFL Is Your Friend.

The spread and “gets you ready for the NFL”

This many years in to the spread era in college ball, and we’re still hearing stuff like this on the recruiting trail:

Coaches who run so-called pro-style offenses can use this to their advantage, telling quarterbacks that, by playing in a system with elements similar to the NFL standard, they can enhance their chances of becoming (and succeeding as) a pro. At Nebraska, for example, Langsdorf oversees a pro-style system, and earlier this year he helped the Huskers secure a commitment from one of the top pro-style quarterbacks in the class of 2017, Calabasas (Calif.) High’s Tristan Gebbia. “I think the kids look at what they’re going to be doing, what they’re going to be asked to do in an offense, and so I think there’s an advantage to having some similarities to what they would do in college and in the NFL, and I think that is a selling point for us for sure,” Langsdorf says.

By contrast, coaches who run spread offenses often must combat the perception that their systems, no matter how successful against college defenses, will be an impediment to quarterbacks with dreams of playing in the NFL. Multiple spread practitioners spoke to Campus Rush about system classification being used as a means of negative recruiting. The idea—reinforced seemingly every year by NFL analysts, scouts and coaches—is that quarterbacks who come from spread offenses face a greater burden of proof in the pre-draft process than signal-callers with track records of operating pro-style systems.

Says Arizona co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Rod Smith, “We’ve heard that: You don’t run a pro-style system. You don’t run a pro-style system, you’re more of a spread, you’re more this. How is that going to get you ready for the pros?” While conceding that it was “more three to four years ago than it was right now,” Clemson co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Jeff Scott, who helped lead the Tigers to the national title game last season, says he has heard a similar line trotted out. “Just guys that say, ‘You don’t want to go play in that offense because it’s a spread, gimmick offense, and it’s not going to prepare you for the NFL.'”

You recruit negatively because it works, I suppose.  The problem is that more and more these days the NFL is holding its nose and taking quarterbacks coming out of spread offenses – from Cam Newton to Jared Goff to (likely) Deshaun Watson – as high first round draft picks.  At some point in time, it’s going to dawn on NFL scouts and high school quarterbacks that the distinction has lost its meaning.  Unless, of course, you really believe the NFL is prepared to spend its money on a developmental league.  Yeah, right.

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Filed under Recruiting, Strategery And Mechanics, The NFL Is Your Friend.

The satellite camp mess, getting messier

There is so much packed into this article (h/t) that I hardly know where to start.  When in doubt, bring in the bullet points.

  • “The NCAA is considering banning satellite football camps and replacing them next spring with camps it would sponsor at NFL training centers and high schools.”
  • “If the NCAA doesn’t ban the current camps, documents indicate it is likely to set a 10-day window for coaches to attend camps. The current window is 30 days.”
  • “The NCAA would mandate counseling on recruiting and academics at its satellite camps, and is considering compensating low-income athletes for the cost of traveling to the camps.”
  • “The NCAA Council banned satellite camps earlier this spring. But just weeks later, the ban was overturned by the NCAA Board, composed largely of college presidents. The short-lived ban drew the attention of the Justice Department, which was preparing to investigate because it was concerned the ban might discriminate against players from low-income families who could not afford to travel to camps on campus sites far from their homes.
  • “Sources said the Justice Department has been involved in discussions with the NCAA.”

That all comes from a bunch of potential football rules changes discussed at the recent Conference USA spring meetings. (Copies of the proposals were obtained from ODU by The Virginian-Pilot under the Freedom of Information Act.)

The NFL on one side and Uncle Sam on the other.  Nice can of worms you opened there, Jim Harbaugh.

And that’s just on the satellite camp front.  Check out some of the other topics up for discussion:

High school football players who are rising seniors might be able to sign binding letters of intent after July 31. This would eliminate the early February signing day. If this rule takes effect, there is a proposed provision allowing players who have signed with a school to be released without penalty if the head coach leaves.

… The practice of enrolling high school players in January, before their scheduled high school graduations, might be banned or limited. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has questioned the practice of enrolling players early.

Schools might be held responsible for all players they sign, not just those who qualify academically. College football programs don’t lose a scholarship or get penalized under NCAA academic ratings when a high school player they’ve signed fails to qualify academically. Forcing schools to count all signees against their scholarship limit of 85 would discourage them from signing players they know are unlikely to qualify. That would give those athletes an earlier chance to sign with a Division II school.

They ought to call that last one the Houston Nutt rule.  Taken together, those would radically restructure the recruiting process.  Which is why I can’t imagine most P5 coaches would be in favor of them.

If other mid-major conferences get behind this, it could get interesting.

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Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Recruiting, The NCAA, The NFL Is Your Friend.

The NFL doesn’t like the spread of the spread.

Pity the poor oligarchs.

Even if a spring league did nothing more than expedite the development of a handful of quarterbacks, helping them go from marginal prospects to winning NFL passers, that alone would be a boon. There are simply not enough reps to go around, not enough opportunities to actually get them on the field in anything approximating a game situation, and with fewer and fewer college programs running traditional pro-style offenses, the problem appears to be growing.

Oh, noes!

“I don’t know why it hasn’t happened to this point. I think the league wants to do it. There must be something blocking it. There must be some factors that are keeping it from going in that direction, because I’ve never heard anybody say they don’t want to do it. So I think you’d have to ask the higher-ups in the league really what’s holding it up.”

Dude, shit like that costs money.  Money the league has never had to spend before because the college game’s been so accommodating.  Now that it’s not so much, NFL teams are having to spend money and resources in different ways.

As for the players, the state of offensive line play has been driving coaches bonkers, with all the spread formations being used in college sending many of these youngsters to the pros without the fundamentals once taken for granted, and coaches believe a league like this could greatly hasten that learning curve.

And this offseason proved more than ever how scarce quarterbacks are, with ineffective starters like Sam Bradford getting $18 million a season and a bidding war erupting over Brock Osweiler, who played middling football this season in his first seven career starts, lost his job before the playoffs to a decaying Peyton Manning and then still received $38 million guaranteed.

Damn, that’s gotta suck.

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Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, The NFL Is Your Friend.

“It shouldn’t be a rigged game.”

This is revolting.  But not surprising.

At least a half-dozen top NFL health officials waged an improper, behind-the-scenes campaign last year to influence a major U.S. government research study on football and brain disease, congressional investigators have concluded in a new report.

The 91-page report describes how the NFL pressured the National Institutes of Health to strip the $16 million project from a prominent Boston University researcher and tried to redirect the money to members of the league’s committee on brain injuries. The study was to have been funded out of a $30 million “unrestricted gift” the NFL gave the NIH in 2012.

After the NIH rebuffed the NFL’s campaign to remove Robert Stern, an expert in neurodegenerative disease who has criticized the league, the NFL backed out of a signed agreement to pay for the study, the report shows. Taxpayers ended up bearing the cost instead.

The NFL’s actions violated policies that prohibit private donors from interfering in the NIH peer-review process, the report concludes, and were part of a “long-standing pattern of attempts” by the league to shape concussion research for its own purposes.

I’m sure those purposes were humanitarian.  Totally.

The NFL strenuously objects, of course.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy on Monday said: “The NFL rejects the allegations laid out … There is no dispute that there were concerns raised about both the nature of the study in question and possible conflicts of interest. These concerns were raised for review and consideration through the appropriate channels. … It is deeply disappointing the authors of the Staff Report would make allegations directed at doctors affiliated with the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee without ever speaking to them.”

But I notice it’s not stepping up to relieve the taxpayers of that $16 million dollar bill we’ve been presented with.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said on SportsCenter on Monday that the union decided, years ago, to split from the NFL on such matters because of the league’s conflicted history around brain research. He said the league has no commitment to the health and safety of its players.

“It’s one of the most troubling and disturbing reports I’ve seen,” Smith said of the Outside the Lines story Monday, adding he wasn’t surprised, however. “It reaffirms the fact that the league has its own view about how they care about players in the NFL.”

Pallone said he hopes the report will push the league to make changes.

“The history with the league is, if you catch them, then they start to listen,” Pallone said.

And you wonder why the people in charge keep getting sued for crap like this.

“Lots of history here. But our process was not tainted and all above board. … Trouble is of course that the [Stern] group is led by people who first broke the science open, and NFL owners and leadership think of them as the creators of the problem.”

Well, actually, you don’t.

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Filed under The Body Is A Temple, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Tuesday morning buffet

A little of this, a little of that…

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Filed under Big Ten Football, ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, Recruiting, SEC Football, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Thursday morning buffet

Haven’t had one of these in a little while.  Dig in.

  • Florida hasn’t lost to Tennessee in over a decade, but that’s not stopping Jim McElwain from playing the lowered expectations card for all it’s worth.
  • Speaking of Tennessee, if you’re a player in need of legal advice, the school would be happy to point you in the right direction.
  • Judging from this fiasco, it looks like coaches can behave as moronically on social media as teenagers do.  Go figure.
  • Kirby Smart likes the idea of beginning a season against a top opponent in a neutral site venue.
  • Mark Richt thinks satellite camps constitute “illegal recruiting”.
  • And while we on the subject of satellite camps, it sounds like a lot of SEC coaches are preparing to stay and see Georgia.
  • Here’s a list of eleven characteristics of “outstanding high school and college offensive coordinators”.
  • If you’re a receiver on the short side, it might pay to ask your coaches to let you switch to the other side of the ball.
  • Pete Fiutak’s got his Georgia preview posted here.  Related pieces here and here.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Recruiting, See You In Court, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground, Strategery And Mechanics, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Sometimes, it’s not the NCAA’s fault.

I always look for a good rant or two after draft day, and here comes Kevin Scarbinsky’s stay in school, kids! piece about how early entrants should be allowed to return to school if they’re not drafted to fill the bill.

You could argue that this could impact scholarship numbers because players declare in January and schools sign recruits in February knowing how many openings they have. If a school has a full complement of 85 players on scholarship, an undrafted underclassmen who wanted to return would put that school over the limit.

Truth is, few schools actually have 85 players on scholarship, and the NCAA could grant waivers for underdrafted underclassmen if they did.

Isn’t the NCAA all about athletes being students as well? Shouldn’t the NCAA want to give players every opportunity to continue their education? And why would the NFL care either way? NFL teams might get a more polished and mature prospect to consider the next year.

If you care about the players, as the NCAA and the NFL should, it just makes sense to give them a chance to continue their formal and football educations.

Uh, you done there?  Good.  Allow Jim Weber to retort.

First, let me give you a little bit of background information with an assist from John Infante of the Bylaw Blog. Contrary to popular belief, a player who declares early for the NFL draft and goes unpicked can return to school within 72 hours of the draft’s conclusion if he hasn’t signed with an agent. In college hockey and baseball, players can even return to school after being drafted (which happens after high school or their junior year) because they don’t declare early; all players except freshmen and sophomores are eligible to be drafted.

The loophole that college baseball and hockey players have used in order to maintain their eligibility and keep the option of returning to school open is using agents only as “advisors” who they pay at their going rates for their services as opposed to signing a contract. Case in point: Baseball super agent Scott Boras is an “advisor” to many high school and college baseball players with the idea he will become their agent once they turn pro.

Because football players who get selected in the NFL draft must leave school, a market has never really developed for college football “advisors.” But with around 30% of early entries going undrafted the last two years, it’s clear those with late-round grades would be wise to choose this route instead.

Weber’s post is from 2013.  The NCAA provision he links to has been on the books in one form or fashion since 2002.  Really.

In football, an enrolled student-athlete (as opposed to a prospective student-athlete) may enter the National Football League draft one time during his collegiate career without jeopardizing eligibility in that sport, provided the student-athlete is not drafted by any team in that league and the student-athlete declares his intention to resume intercollegiate participation within 72 hours following the National Football League draft declaration date.  The student-athlete’s declaration of intent shall be in writing to the institution’s director of athletics.  (Adopted: 10/31/02, Revised: 4/14/03, 12/15/06)

How many kids take advantage of that rule?  Hell, how many of ’em know about the rule?  Weber suggests one reason few, if any, do is because undergrads sign with agents before the draft, instead of merely seeking advisory assistance, and I have no doubt that’s just how agents like it.

But what’s the schools’ excuse?  What about Scarbinsky’s noble sentiment?  Someone more cynical than me might suggest the current format makes it easier for coaches to scare student-athletes into staying by painting a decision to leave early as an one-way ticket with no return, whereas if college players chose to follow the guidelines the NCAA laid down and preserve a right to return, then they would have a much safer means of testing the waters.  Which might very well make it tempting for more kids to test the waters than we already see doing so.  Again, that would be something coming from someone more cynical than me.  Me?  I’m just sayin’.

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Filed under College Football, The NCAA, The NFL Is Your Friend.