While Georgia head coach Mark Richt appears to be cautious about the possibility of an early signing period in college football, Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson wonders why we do not already have one in place.
“I don’t know why they (the NCAA) don’t do it (an early signing period), honestly,” Johnson said to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “You’ll have guys from smaller schools, and then some guys from bigger schools both say in favor of an (early signing period) to speed up the process or kids don’t have enough and the whole nine yards. My answer is that, if you don’t have enough time (as a recruit), don’t sign early. Take your time. Make sure you’ve got what you want. If you’re good enough, the colleges will wait on you.”
The College Commissioners Association will meet in June with the concept of an early signing period in football to be discussed on the agenda. There are a number of details to be ironed out before presenting the idea to the rest of the college football world, but there are clearly some mixed opinions on the topic. An early signing period has its pros and cons, and whether or not college football needs it could be the biggest question to answer. Johnson feels confident it could just be a matter of time before it becomes a reality, and he is ready to stump for it.
“You’re going to see an early signing period here at some time,” Johnson said. “There needs to be an early signing period, just from a financial standpoint and from everything else. So that the kids who know where they want to go can get it done, and get it over with and save a bunch of money and a bunch of time.”
The number of student athletes who would take advantage of an early signing period may be minimal, but Johnson suggests there would be enough interest from recruits to take advantage of an early signing period that it could prove to be beneficial for football programs and coaches as well. Johnson says it actually is more beneficial to the recruit and there would be ways a recruit could have an early commitment voided if a coach were to leave a program. It sounds so simple when you hear Johnson lay it out, but it is not without critics. As we saw yesterday, Richt suggested an early signing period could be a pain for coaches who could have to divide their attention from game planning to make important recruiting pitches.
The political battle over the 10-second rule is going to continue to wage on. This early signing period could be another debate ready to divide the college football world.
You can read more from what Johnson had to say about the early signing period via The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Earlier today we had the report that Cal, they of the normally bowl-eligible six wins on the season, were not actually bowl eligible. The hang up was due to some NCAA red tape on how many scholarships Grambling, a 73-14 victim to the Bears on opening Saturday, had actually awarded this year.
Why the number of scholarships awarded by an opponent of a 6-5 team could determine what glorified exhibition said 6-5 could or could not play is a matter for another time, but the fact is it mattered.
But according to a report from Kevin Gemmell of ESPN.com, the Bears received approval to count the win toward their total, meaning Sonny Dykes and company will go bowling for the first time since 2011.
“We have conferred with both Grambling and the NCAA,” Cal spokesman Wes Mallette told ESPN. “As anticipated, Grambling has confirmed their football program has met the 90 percent financial aid requirement over the rolling two-year average. Therefore, Cal football’s win over Grambling counts toward bowl eligibility. Cal football is bowl eligible.”
The Bears have a chance to become bowl eligible the old fashioned way with a win over Arizona State Saturday in Berkeley.
The end of the college football regular season brings with it bowl bids, conference championship entries and rivalry games. Along the way, though, come end-of-season firings. So many end of-season firings.
According to a report from Dan Wolken of USA Today Wednesday night, the first one is already on the books. Or at least close to it.
Wolken reports Tulane is set to part ways with head coach Curtis Johnson following the Green Wave’s Friday finale against Tulsa “barring a last-minute change of direction.”
Johnson is 15-33 in nearly four complete seasons at Tulane, reaching a high point of a 7-6 mark wtih a New Orleans Bowl appearance in 2013 but winning two, three and three games in his other three campaigns.
If and when the move becomes official, Tulane will become the 15th FBS school to change head coaches this season, matching the total number of changes during the 2014-15 cycle.
Wolken reports Tulane will hire a new athletics director within the next week, and once that hiring is complete the school will then embark on hiring Johnson’s replacement.
Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin has emerged a “strong candidate” for the Maryland job, according to reports from Yahoo‘s Pat Forde and Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman Wednesday.
“Durkin, 37, met recently with Maryland officials, sources said,” Forde wrote. “No job offer was made, but the interview went well, sources said.”
Durkin is in his first season as Michigan’s defensive coordinator, helping the 9-2 Wolverines jump from 14th to third nationally in yards per play allowed (4.77 to 4.15) and 27th to sixth in scoring defense (22.4 to 14.9).
Prior to working on Jim Harbaugh‘s staff, Durkin served as Will Muschamp‘s defensive coordinator at Florida for two years, and as his special teams coordinator for two years before that. He previously worked at Stanford, Bowling Green (his alma mater) and Notre Dame.
Should he be offered and accept the job, Durkin would immediately become Big Ten East rivals with his mentor Harbaugh.
“This week is so important to our guys, my 100% focus is on this game and our players — that’s what this profession is all about. You’ve got to make sure you’re taking care of the job you have week in and week out. It’s a tough task, especially with this team we have this week,” Durkin told the Detroit Free Press when asked about the reports.
“My goal is to get the best game plan possible together for Ohio State and have our guys go play well. To answer rumors or speculation right now and put something to it, my total focus is 100% on Ohio State and nothing else.”
Illinois will decide whether or not to retain interim head coach Bill Cubit for the full-time job by Sunday, interim AD Paul Kowalczyk told WSKJ-FM Wednesday.
“We need to make that call and figure out which way we’re going for everyone’s sake,” Kowalczyk said, via the Chicago Tribune. “For me, it’s posthaste.”
Illinois closes its regular season Saturday against No. 16 Northwestern in Champaign. The Illini are 5-6 on the year and, for what it’s worth, Cubit desperately wants the job.
Also worth noting: the athletics department is operating under a total state of dysfunction in the wake of AD Mike Thomas‘s firing.
From 670 The Score in Chicago on Wednesday:
Sources tell 670 The Score that as overwhelmed university officials are dithering and providing little guidance, the group of trustees, boosters and alums left to run things can’t yet agree on much. Some want to hire a search firm with a spotty recent track record, others want to form their own search committee, while another faction thinks they need to act faster by using their own contacts to target specific AD and coaching candidates right now and just get moving.
Any support for retaining Bill Cubit is getting strong push-back from those who don’t believe he wasn’t aware of Tim Beckman’s aberrant behavior, and from some who feel strongly about making a more dynamic hire.
For those keeping score at home: Illinois is dealing with a power vacuum of trustees, boosters and alums battling for control while an interim chancellor and interim athletics director work to reach a resolution on an interim football coach.
And the coaching carousel starts spinning in full four days from now.