At the end of the 2016 season, not one team from the state of Texas could be found in the final AP poll, the coaches poll or the final College Football Playoff ranking. That is an embarrassment to the entire state of Texas, according to TCU head coach Gary Patterson.
As he spoke to the media at Big 12 media days from the luxurious training home of the Dallas Cowboys, Patterson dove into why the state of Texas has been lagging behind the competition in college football. While noting the changing recruiting landscape that has developed since Texas A&M’s departure from the Big 12 to the SEC, Patterson said all of the schools in the state of Texas should feel embarrassed about the current situation on the field.
“I think A&M going to the SEC hurt us a little bit because you have that common factor,” Patterson explained after suggesting the internet has had an impact on how recruiting process unfolds now as well. “I think the Big 12’s learning it’s helping us because we’re now leaving the state to be able to get kids to come into the state. But we should be embarrassed we don’t have a team in the top 25. There’s a lot of good football players, even that come to our schools, that can play and play at a high level, and we need to play better. It’s simple as that.”
Patterson is not off on this thought process. Texas A&M leaving the Big 12 for the SEC certainly impacted how recruiting goes down. The doors to the state of Texas had always been open to SEC schools, but now recruits are seeing more and more interest from the SEC as a result of the Aggies moving to a conference in a new region, and one that has been quite successful over the years while the Big 12 as a whole has trended downward. At the same time, it has become increasingly important for schools from Texas to take advantage of the new recruiting opportunities presented to them by Texas A&M opening the doors to the southeast and along the east coast. The success rate just has not been there for those schools to capitalize on it, and more recruits from Texas are opting to going elsewhere. This even happens within the Big 12, where Oklahoma can pluck some top talent out of the state of Texas as well.
The future does look to be an interesting one with new coaches coming in with the intent on taking back some of that in-state swagger. Tom Herman at Texas and Matt Rhule at Baylor have their work cut out for them, but each come to their new programs with some decent experience in handling the projects in front of them from their former gigs. And one should never cast doubt on Patterson, who has been around long enough to understand what it takes to adapt and win.
Helmet sticker to Land Grant Gauntlet for the transcribed quote.
The latest addition to Larry Fedora‘s North Carolina coaching staff has been confirmed.
Following up on reports that surfaced earlier this month. UNC announced Wednesday that Fedora has hired Robert Gillespie. While not confirmed by the football program in the release, it’s expected Gillespie will serve as the Tar Heels running backs coach, a position he’s held for most of his coaching career.
“We are excited to welcome Robert and his family to Chapel Hill,” Fedora said in a statement. “He has a well-earned reputation as a great offensive coach and recruiter, and he has a wealth of experience working with running backs at a very high level. We are happy to have him join our staff as we get into the bulk of spring practice.”
Gillespie fills the hole created by the departure of Gunter Brewer, who left as the Tar Heels’ wide receivers coach for a job with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month. It’s expected that Luke Paschall, currently the running backs coach, will assume Brewer’s role with receivers.
Gillespie, a former Florida running back, spent the past five seasons as the running backs coach at Tennessee. He was originally retained by new UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt before parting ways with the football program shortly after National Signing Day.
In addition to UT, Gillespie has spent time on coaching staffs at South Carolina (2006-08), Oklahoma State (2009-10) and West Virginia (2011-12). He was the running backs coach at each of those stops.
It appears Alabama can breathe a sigh of relief on the injury front.
Tuesday, after the reigning national champions had put the finishing touches on its first practice of the spring, Nick Saban confirmed that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had suffered an unspecified injury to the thumb on his LEFT (throwing) hand. It was expected that the quarterback would travel to Birmingham for further evaluation of the injury.
While there’s been nothing official yet from the football program or head coach, al.com, citing unnamed sources, writes that the injury “is believed to just be a sprain and he should be able to return to practice in at least a limited capacity at some point soon.”
Until then, Jalen Hurts will take the majority of the reps as the Crimson Tide continues its march through their 15 spring practice sessions.
The rising true junior Hurts, who has started every game but one the past two seasons, and the rising true sophomore Tagovailoa, the national championship game hero who replaced Hurts at halftime of the overtime win, are engaged in a competition for the starting job that, barring a post-spring transfer, is expected to extend into summer camp. That said, most observers outside of the UA football program fully expect Tagovailoa, because of his proficiency in the passing game relative to Hurts, to earn the job at some point before the Tide opens the defense of their title against Louisville in Orlando Sept. 1.
One’s a dot, two’s a line and three’s a trend as the old adage go and it appears rat poison for college players is now a burgeoning trend.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday ahead of Kentucky’s NCAA tournament game against Kansas State, Wildcats coach John Calipari took a page straight out of Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin’s playbook by warning his team of drinking the media “poison” the past few days.
“My challenge is making sure these kids don’t drink that poison. That poison being we have an easy road. There are no easy roads in this tournament,” said Calipari. “If they drink that poison, we’ll be done Thursday. If they don’t drink the poison, it’ll be a dog fight Thursday — let’s see what happens. Sometimes you wonder why they’re (the media) trying to paint that picture with my team — probably because they’re young and they know they don’t know better.”
At least the term Calipari is using isn’t out of thin air given that Saban infamously ranted on his team buying into the media’s discussion of being a good team as “rat poison” last season. For the record though, the rant by the basketball coach was prompted by a question that didn’t at all involve Kentucky having an easy path to the Final Four but was rather about team and individual goals.
It’s not often you think of Saban as a trendsetter but it seems he was certainly ahead of the curve when it came to labeling media talk as poison.
Jim Harbaugh is already getting a series on Amazon Prime but now the Michigan head coach is also getting the primetime treatment.
The Wolverines announced on Tuesday that the annual spring game would take place under the lights at Michigan Stadium this year and would be televised live in primetime on the Big Ten Network.
Gates will open to the game two hours prior to kickoff and the maize and blue faithful may try to do their best to get to Ann Arbor early because the school is going to screen an episode of the Amazon series “All or Nothing: The Michigan Wolverines” prior to the game. This will be the second time in three years that the school will go under the lights to play their spring game at night but obviously the first time there’s a documentary series that will be screened prior to the Wolverines taking the field.
The game may be worth tuning in for to see Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson in action with his new team after arriving in the offseason. The NCAA still has not ruled on whether he will be immediately eligible in 2018 but he is expected to go through spring drills with the team either way, starting this week when practices begin on Friday.