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Rutgers Coach Proposes Alternative to Kickoff


Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano

After watching Junior Defensive End Eric Legrand lay helplessly on the field after a head collision last October, Head Coach Greg Schiano begin thinking of a way to make the game of football safer that help prevent an injury from happening in the future for all levels. It is no secret that Kickoffs are one, if not, the most dangerous part of the game of football. For this reason the NFL recently moved the Kickoff to the 35 yard line to lessen the chance of injury. Coach Schiano proposed a Kickoff Alternative that would be safer for all players while not drastically changing the game.

Schiano Plan:

“Replace all kickoffs with a punting situation, including after the opening coin toss and to start the second half. So, as an example, when Team A scores a touchdown, it immediately gets the ball back on a fourth and 15 from its own 30-yard line. It can punt it back to Team B — the most likely outcome and a safer play since the bigger collisions usually happen on kickoffs. Or it can line up and go for the first down, essentially replacing an onside kick with an offensive play that would require more skill than luck.”

I personally think this has potential to considered at the Collegiate and Professional level. It keeps returns in the game and also provides an opportunity for a team to retain possession. Punting from the 30 would result in a similar outcome as an average kickoff. In the 2010 season the smallest average for a starting punter in the National Football League was 40.1 yards. With the average punt return near ten yards players would fall short of the 40 yard line. This is a double edge issue as teams with elite punt returners such as the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, or San Francisco 49ers, will have a strong advantage and could potentially start a majority of their drives on their opponents side of the field. Another issue would be the 4th and 15 option instead of punting. While one would think being on their own 30 would be enough of a risk to influence coaches to punt, many teams have players who average 15 yards. In 2010 21 WR/TE averaged 15.0 yards  per catch or more, with several more averaging 14.0 yards per catch or more. Not saying that coaches would choose to go for it after every score, but it would be well in their grasp. I believe making the 4th and 15 a 4th and 20 would be a slighty more difficult and would reflect the difficulty of an onside kick  more accurately.

Schiano was also questioned whether the receiving team would be allowed to attempt a block of the initial punt. When asked Schiano said “I don’t think that’s what you’re looking to do with this. Maybe that’s not an option – maybe you can’t block the punt because that’s not what you’re looking to accomplish here. Maybe it’s one of those deals like in an All-Star Game where you can’t block the punt, that it would have to be all return game.” One scenario I thought about when I read the details of this rule is the possibility of a team dominating the time of possession. Think of all the shoot out games where teams trade punches for the entire game. The entire game is filled with big plays and at the end it is the team who has the ball last that wins. In a game where there is little defense a team could potentially score, be successful on a 4th and 15, and repeat. The opposing team could have a hand full of possessions the entire game. Yes it is a long shot, but in certain games where it is all offense for both teams it could happen.

I personally love Kickoffs. I don’t believe the hype before a Kickoff would be the same if it was a Punt. That being said you cannot put a price on how safe the game could be and with the recent emphasis on players safety in the NFL I believe this idea is at the very least worth considering.

What do you think?

Tressels Resignation Warning to All NCAA Coaches

June 1, 2011 1 comment

As a Michigan alumni part of me could only be happy to see the Ohio State Buckeyes face such penalties.  After leaving Ann Arbor without a victory over Ohio State my dislike only grew. At the same time I could only feel slightly sorry for the Buckeyes considering what they will lose in the two to three years pending they lose some of their top players.

Over the years we’ve heard of several players being paid at several universities. Weather it be Chris Webber at the University of Michigan, O.J. Mayo at USC, or Joe McKnight at USC we’ve heard it a million times. Each time the NCAA issues a punishment and the regret the institution feels is temporary. So when Tressel finally resigned I begin to think, since I’m all but certain more universities are paying players, what are these players thinking at this time? As much as it hurts me to say it, Jim Tressel has been a very successful coach. One National Championship with several other visits to the big game in addition to a handful of Big Ten Championships. Tressel has helped Ohio State consistently be considered a National Contender. But even with this impressive resume he has fallen. So as a coach who has had ANY involvement in a student-athlete being paid any form compensation other than their scholarship how do you react? The NCAA will eventually find you out, they always do. These stories always reach the surface at one point in time whether it be while the player in question is playing or the player has moved on to a professional career. If I were in that situation I’d be shaking in my shoes at this point. Penalties will only get worse. I wouldnt be surprised if a program gets the “Death Penalty” in the future for similar penalties.

Tressel Takes a Slap on The Wrist


Every year in sports we hear of some sort of crime or violation. Within College sports is where we see the more punishable acts as these punishments usually lead to life altering results instead of a modest fines.

Tressel answering questions at his initial Press Conference

This year’s crime spotlight was on THE Ohio State University and their star players selling their personal items. Over time the focus left star players including star Quarterback Terrelle Pryor, and focused on Head Coach Jim Tressel. It was said he knew about the entire situation and even received e-mails about the situation. All else aside the biggest thing is that Tressel lied about this when being questioned by the NCAA. Lying to the NCAA…. Where have we heard this before? Dez Bryant, lied to the NCAA and lost his promising senior season. Chris Webber the top recruit for the University of Michigan lied to the NCAA about taking money  from an outside booster and is not allowed to return to the University of Michigan campus until 2013 .

Dez Bryant had his promising college career cut short after not releasing information about interacting with Deion Sanders

In addition to this the two “Final Four” banners he helped earn have been taken down from Crisler Arena. Both of these examples are student-athletes, not coaches. It is my understanding, or at least my belief, that Coaches, specifically Head Coaches should be held to a higher standard than the athletes they recruit, coach, or other wise teach. Shouldn’t every coach who is guilty lying to the NCAA be punished at least to the extent players in the past have? In the two examples I gave in Dez Bryant and Chris Webber, both players were punished to very harshly.

Dez Bryant was Oklahoma St leading Wide Receiver as well as a Heisman Candidate. He was forced to leave for the NFL early instead of potentially leading his team to a great season and potentially a Heismn trophy. Chris Webber and the legendary “Fab Five” weere and still are trend setters in the game of basketball, let alone their talent on the court. Yet, when you walk into Crisler Arena on the University of Michigan campus you don’t see the two banners from their two Final Four appearances, one being the heart breaking lost to North Carolina.

The Fab Five is one of the most well known starting five in the history of College Basketball. Yet, the University of Michigan has vacated all wins and other achievements accomplished by this team. Including the back to back Final Four appearances.

Tressel is guilty of the same crime, but will only miss five games, not even practices. One could make the argument that missing a game is not very relevant. Tressel will be at practice preparing his team all week and will only be missed when the team calls plays. Which I’m certain Offensive Coordinator Jim Bollman can handle for five games. In addition to this the only threatening opponents in their first five games is Nebraska, Miami (Fl), and Michigan St possibly. One should ask the question how much of an impact will this have on the Ohio State football teams current season and future seasons? Oklahoma St season was definitely altered when they lost their star Wide Receiver.  The University of Michigan lost their Head Coach in Steve Fisher, which as  result harms recruiting. Can anyone honestly say that losing Tressel for five games will harm the Buckeyes current season let alone future seasons? I think not!

Michigan’s Brady Brings “Hope”

January 20, 2011 1 comment

After a lengthy, difficult, coaching search, Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon finally announced the 19th Head Coach of the University of Michigan, Brady Hoke. While Hoke was not the first choice of coach, in fact he wasn’t even the second, he is very fitting for the position.

 

Brady Hoke during his introductory Press Conference

 

His resume includes a 12-1 season with Ball State, back to back winning seasons with San Diego State, and he was on the Michigan staff under Loyd Carr for several years. In addition taking several coaching staff along with him, Hoke announced he would be adding Greg Mattison, former Defensive Coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens to his staff. Between Hoke

Mattison during a Ravens practice with All-Pro Ray Lewis

and Mattison, Michigan has gone from three recruits within the top ESPN Top 250, to having an additional six interested in Michigan which is pretty good since they Hoke has barely been on campus and Mattison probably hasn’t packed his bags out of Baltimore yet. It seems things are looking up for the old Maize and Blue, but I’m still concerned for the Wolverines immediate future. While the coaching staff is talented, I believe there is something to say about the transition of a higher level of competition for Brady Hoke and the transition back to college football for Greg Mattison, while both have been successful in Ann Arbor in previous season things have changed, Michigan has changed.

 

Hoke has commented on how excited he is to work with Denard Robinson

 

A Denard Robinson would never play Quarterback under Loyd Carr, a Wolverine Defense has never given up this many points to any opponent. Hoke turned two programs around in Ball State and San Diego St, but he also started 4-8 in his initial season with both programs. I experienced the no bowl game season at Michigan in 2008 and it was not pleasant. Hoke will have to hit the ground running, to do this he will have to figure a way to run this offense with Robinson at control, while Mattison will have to find a way to build a top defense with mediocre talent. Personally I have all the faith a guy could have for a new coach, but my worry comes in  with the high expectations of the Michigan community, let alone their need for instant gratification. Michigan fans want Wins and they want them NOW! Hoke won’t have time to figure out how to work the offense and defense.  While the community will give him more of a benefit of the doubt being as he has been on the coaching staff before, they will still not tolerate not participating in  post-season game. Hoke has his work cut out for him, but in my opinion he is more than capable of building a great Michigan team. The only question is will the Michigan community continue to support him when and if his initial seasons ends in November.