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Dabo Swinney the latest to tell people how and when to protest the national anthem

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OK, let’s get this out of the way. Anything related to national anthem protests is going to be a hot button issue, and that is perfectly OK. It is open discussion that helps promote actual change on any number of subjects. When San Francisco 49ers and former Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines and turned heads by choosing to protest the national anthem for what he suggested were social inequalities, he got praised and roasted for it depending on what side o the line you stand. In the recent weeks the discussion has at times trickled into the college football world, and it did once again on Tuesday when Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was asked if he would punish any player for sitting during the playing of the national anthem before a game.

Of course, keep in mind, it is not typical for most college football players to even be on the field at the time the national anthem is performed, as most generally are in the locker room while the marching band is on the field for the pregame routine. Alas, Swinney responded and then used the opportunity to expand on his thoughts, perhaps a little too long for his own good.

“The only thing I’m going to discipline my player for is things within this team and the team rules, holding everybody accountable to the standard,” Swinney said, according to The Post and Courier. “Guys want to be part of things, I just think they should do it on their own time, and outside of the team framework. That’s just my opinion.”

It was also Swinney’s opinion that those who do sit during the national anthem are being a distraction to the team. Swinney went on to suggest there is a time and a place to voice your opinions, which may not be received very well by some. A rich white man telling others how and when to protest is how it comes off, and that pretty much supports the reasoning behind such a protest movement in the first place.

“I don’t think it’s good to be a distraction to your team,” Swinney said. “I don’t think it’s good to use the team as the platform. I totally disagree with that. Nobody’s really asked me about Kaepernick or whatever. I totally disagree with that. Not his protest, but I just think there’s a right way to do things and I don’t think two wrongs make a right. Never have, never will. And I think that it just creates more divisiveness, more division.”

Swinney may be right about that to an extent, as the dividing lines have certainly been drawn on this particular subject, even if some people are stepping foot on one side of the line for reasons beyond the actual purpose for the national anthem protest. Swinney then used his role as head coach of Clemson to recite a couple of lessons from the Bible to support his case, and .used Martin Luther King Jr’s mission and cited President Barack Obama winning two elections and black quarterbacks and coaches in football to continue padding his case. It’s at this point Swinney probably went on a little too long to try and drive home a point. These examples in our society do nothing to suggest the black population in this country is on equal footing in our societies, and citing these examples ends up coming off disingenuous to those who may support the national anthem protests.

Swinney seems like a good man, and by all accounts he is. This does not change that in any way, because it is clear Swinney is using his voice to promote an open discussion and shares his sentiments about what is going on in this world. But don’t tell people how and when to protest, and don’t use black quarterbacks as a means for suggesting there is a level ground in the social justice world in which we live.

All Swinney had to do was say he would not discipline any player. Sometimes less is more.

Chris Ash plucks new Rutgers assistant from Indiana

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In filling a hole on his Rutgers coaching staff, Chris Ash turned to a fellow Big Ten school to do it.

RU confirmed Thursday morning that Ash has added Noah Joseph as one of his 10 Scarlet Knight assistants.  Joseph has been named as the football program’s co-defensive coordinator and will also serve as safeties coach.

Joseph had spent the past four seasons coaching safeties at Indiana.  He was also that program’s defensive recruiting coordinator.

“I’d like to welcome Noah and his family to our football program,” said Ash in a statement. “His extensive experience coaching defensive backs in the Big Ten will be a tremendous asset for our players. He is a great teacher and outstanding recruiter.”

Prior to his time in Bloomington, his first on-field job at the FBS level was at North Texas as safeties coach from 2012-13.

Marshall’s Larry Aaron, paralyzed in New Year’s Eve shooting, dies

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Sadly, what was already a tragic situation at Marshall has taken an even more heartbreaking turn.

The Thundering Herd confirmed Thursday afternoon that rising redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Larry Aaron died earlier in the day at a Maryland hospital.  Aaron was paralyzed from the waist down after being struck by a stray bullet during a New Year’s Eve party, and passed away as a result of complications connected to those injuries he sustained in the shooting.

According to reports at the time, Aaron had stepped in front of his girlfriend to shield her from the bullets.

“Marshall University lost a very special young man today and it has shocked and saddened us all,” a statement from Marshall head coach Doc Holliday began. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all of Larry Aaron’s family and friends, many of whom were his fellow Thundering Herd teammates. His loss will be felt in every corner of our program and his spirit will never be forgotten.”

After redshirting as a true freshman, Aaron played in eight games this past season.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to those impacted by Aaron’s senseless death.

Alabama confirms handful of staff changes, including addition of Miami’s DL coach

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An offseason of upheaval on Nick Saban‘s Alabama coaching staff has apparently come to an official end.

Early Thursday afternoon, the Crimson Tide announced the additions of two new assistant coaches as well as the promotions/new responsibilities for others on the staff last season.  As previously reported HERE and HERE, the new hires are Dan Enos as quarterbacks coach and Craig Kuligowski as defensive line coach.  Both coaches, who come to Tuscaloosa from Michigan and Miami, respectively, will also carry the titles of associate head coach.

“We are pleased and happy to have Dan Enos joining our coaching staff at The University of Alabama,” Saban said in a statement. “He brings a wealth of knowledge with five years of head coaching experience and numerous stops as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Dan is a bright football mind and an outstanding recruiter who will strengthen our coaching staff and give our players the best chance to be successful.”

In addition to those hirings, Saban also confirmed that Mike Locksley (HERE) has been promoted to offensive coordinator and Tosh Lupoi (HERE) has been promoted to defensive coordinator.  Locksley replaces Brian Daboll, who left after one season in Tuscaloosa for the same job with the Buffalo Bills last month, while Lupoi takes over for Jeremy Pruitt, who left after Alabama’s win in the national championship game to take over as the head coach at Tennessee.

As had previously been announced, Jeff Banks will serve as special teams coordinator while also being in charge of the Tide’s tight ends.  Josh Gattis, who was confirmed as the new wide receivers coach late last month, will also carry the title of co-offensive coordinator, while Pete Golding, in addition to his duties as inside linebackers coach, has been given the title of co-defensive coordinator.

And, finally, Burton Burns will step away from his longtime role as running backs coach and take on an unspecified off-field position.  Replacing Burns in his on-field role is Joe Pannunzio, who had been in charge of tight ends.

NCAA grants Houston LB Austin Robinson another season of eligibility

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As it turns out, Houston will have the services of Austin Robinson a little while longer than originally expected.

The football program announced Wednesday that the NCAA has granted Robinson a sixth season of eligibility. While the school wrote in its release that the linebacker “received a legislative relief waiver” from The Association, the specific reasoning behind the waiver being granted is unclear.

With the NCAA’s decision, Robinson will now have eligibility he can use in both 2018 and 2019.

Robinson began his collegiate career at UT-San Antonio in 2014, playing in eight games as a true freshman before transferring to UH and sitting out the 2015 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. He then played in 11 games in 2016 and 12 this past season, starting four contests in 2017.

This past campaign, Robinson was credited with 33 tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack. He also had a pair of quarterback hurries on his statistical resume.