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Ex-Arkansas DE Tank Wright the new defensive line coach at Army

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Army football has added an assistant Jeff Monken‘s coaching staff. And, appropriately enough, he’s a tank. Or, at least his nickname is.

This week, Army football announced that Tenarius “Tank” Wright has been hired by Monken. Wright will serve as the Black Knights’ defensive line coach.

Wright spent the past two seasons at Michigan as the associate director of football strength & conditioning. New defensive coordinator Nate Woody was a defensive analyst at Michigan this past season.

“Coach Woody worked closely with Tank Michigan and has raved about his energy and passion for teaching and coaching,” the Army football head coach said in a statement. “His experience working with one of the top programs in the country will excite our players and bring a new approach to the development of our defensive line.”

Wright played his college football at Arkansas, spending the 2008-12 seasons as a defensive end for the Razorbacks. He began his coaching career at his alma mater in a similar role he had at Michigan.

Army is coming off its first bowl-less football season since 2015. They also lost to rival Navy in November after winning three in a row.  In the previous three years under Monken, though, the Black Knights went 29-10.

Anonymous FBS athletic director: ‘If there’s no season, we will be f*****’

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If you didn’t realize how important college football is to an athletic department’s bottom line, this should highlight it.

In the midst of the spreading coronavirus pandemic, some connected to the game of college football are decidedly pessimistic that the upcoming season will be played. Others are expressing cautious optimism. For now, at least.

Brett McMurphy of The Stadium conducted a survey of 130 athletic directors with FBS programs, with 112 of them participating. According to McMurphy, the ADs “were asked to rank their optimism on the upcoming season being played from ‘1’ (will not be played) to ’10’ (definitely will be played).”

Not a single AD gave less than a “5” in response, meaning everyone who responded, at least at this time, feels there’s at least a 50-50 chance the season will go off as planned. A slight majority of respondents (51%) assigned either the numbers seven or eight in McMurphy’s survey. One-quarter of them were decidedly optimistic with either a nine or 10 as a response. Most of that optimism was on the part of Group of Five programs that, already financially reeling from the distilled NCAA’s revenue distribution last month, desperately need a college football season to be played.

If the college football season is to start on time — the first games are scheduled for Aug. 29 — what would be the absolute latest teams could start reconvening and prepping for the 2020 campaign? The answer you get depends on the individual you ask. Some would say early June at the absolute latest. Others have said the middle of July.

So, what if the season is canceled? Completely?

“If there’s no season, we will be f*****,” an anonymous AD told McMurphy.

A tweet from Ross Dellenger of SI.com very plainly illustrates how reliant athletic departments are on revenue from college football.

Suffice to say, if the 2020 college football season is completely wiped out, non-revenue sports will be cut. Lots of them will be shuttered, more than likely.

The good news, such as it is, is that the powers-that-be in the sport will go to great lengths to save the 2020 college football season. In fact, one report earlier today suggested that the season could start as late as January of next year. How that would work with players who are eligible for the 2021 NFL Draft would have to be worked out, as would myriad other issues.

While it’s way too early to form a concrete opinion, there’s little doubt that all connected to the sport will exhaust every option to save the 2020 college football season. And, if the season is canceled? It’ll mean we all have a helluva lot more to worry about than sports.

Kirk Herbstreit would be ‘shocked’ if college football is played this fall

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No college football this fall?  The drumbeat for such a possibility grows louder by the day.

In the midst of the growing coronavirus pandemic, Mack Brown earlier this week expressed concern about whether or not the college football season would be played as scheduled.  Whether it would be a partial season.  Or no season at all.

“There is a fear of ‘would we have a season?’ ‘Would we have a partial season?’ ‘What does a partial season mean,’” North Carolina head coach said. “There is a great concern because of the remedy that comes in with football.

“The biggest problem is you’re not sure when it ends, and we can’t get those answers at this point.”

Compared to one prominent college football personality, Brown is downright optimistic.

During a radio interview Thursday night, Kirk Herbstreit was asked about the prospects of teams taking the fall this season.  According to the ESPN television personality, he would be “shocked” if it happened.

“I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football. I’ll be so surprised if that happens,” Herbstreit stated, by way of TMZ.com.

“Just because from what I understand, people that I listen to, you’re 12 to 18 months from a [coronavirus] vaccine. I don’t know how you let these guys go into locker rooms and let stadiums be filled up and how you can play ball. I just don’t know how you can do it with the optics of it.”

Because of the cancellation of March Madness, schools saw their revenue distribution from the NCAA drastically diminished.  That is expected to take a heavy toll on non-FBS schools.  If the college football season were to be canceled?  That would severely impact FBS schools, especially those in the Group of Five.

Army taps NFL veteran, West Point alum as new director of recruiting

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Army has reached into the pro ranks to find their next director of recruiting for football.

The school announced on Thursday that 1989 West Point grad Mike Sullivan was returning to upstate New York to take the vital off-field position for the academy.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mike Sullivan back home to the banks of the Hudson and the Army football brotherhood,” head coach Jeff Monken said in a school release. “His wealth of knowledge of the academy and his wealth of experience in the NFL make him a premier addition to our team. He will be a great source of knowledge for our staff and players and will help us continue to raise the bar in our recruiting efforts and development of our players.”

Sullivan has had a diverse coaching career that most recently included a stint as QB coach for the Denver Broncos under Vance Joseph. He also spent two seasons as offensive coordinator for the New York Giants and three more in the same role with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Perhaps the highlight of Sullivan’s career came with an earlier run with the Giants from 2004-2011, coaching both wide receivers and quarterbacks. While with the franchise he won a pair of Super Bowl rings as well. 

“I’m thrilled to come back to my alma mater,” said Sullivan. “The Academy has always been a very special place to me, and I’m both excited and grateful to rejoin Army football.”

The lengthy resume certainly is an interesting match at Army even with the obvious alumni connections. Obviously the Black Knights are an option-based offensive team to start with. Add in the fact that they also operate in a unique space in FBS when it comes to recruiting and it’s a bit of an unexpected move.

Still, it’s hard to pass up somebody who knows the academy quite like a successful alum who has Super Bowl rings to plop on the table. Perhaps the bigger question is actually more along the lines of when Sullivan can actually start his new gig given recruiting restrictions across the country in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Either way, the former infantry officer has quite the task ahead of him. 

New CDC recommendation effectively ends any chance of spring practice for college football teams starting back up

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Thanks to the coronavirus, a new reality has slammed headfirst into college football.  Again.

Because of the spread of COVID-19 in this country, Power Five conferences such as the Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 had canceled all spring sports, which included spring football.  The other two college Power Fives, the ACC and SEC, had suspended spring football until at least April 15 for the latter and until further notice for the former.  On top of that, the NCAA has halted all face-to-face recruiting, either on-campus or off, until mid-April.

Sunday evening, however, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ratcheted up the stakes as the agency issued a statement in which it recommended that all gatherings of 50 or more people be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks.  Such a timeline would take us through the middle of May.  At the earliest.

Boiling it down, any flicker of hope that spring practice in college football will resume has been extinguished.

Below is the full update from the CDC:

Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.

Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.

Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.

This recommendation does not apply to the day to day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses. This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus. This recommendation is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.

Coming out of this crisis, whenever it is, certainly begs the question as to what the NCAA will allow college football teams to do to prepare for the start of the 2020 season.  Summer practices on top of workouts ahead of the start of summer camp?  An extended summer camp?

Or, looking at the glass half-empty, will the 2020 college football season even start on time?

Myriad questions but, at this point, no answers.  Of course, college football being played is the least of worries for a growing number of individuals in this country of ours.

Stay safe, all y’all.