Louisiana football
Louisiana athletics

Louisiana OL coach D.J. Looney, 31, dies after suffering heart attack during Ragin’ Cajuns workout

2 Comments

An utter tragedy has left the Louisiana football program reeling.

Saturday, Louisiana confirmed that football assistant coach D.J. Looney died suddenly at the age of 31.  Looney suffered a heart attack during a Ragin’ Cajuns workout this morning.

Below is a statement from the athletic department:

The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Department of Athletics mourns the sudden loss of Louisiana Football assistant coach D.J. Looney, who passed away Saturday morning following a heart attack during a team workout at Cajun Field.

At this time, the Department of Athletics asks that fans, friends and acquaintances of Coach Looney keep his family and the football program in their thoughts and prayers.

Looney was entering his third season as the offensive line coach for head coach Billy Napier.

In 2017, Looney served as the tight ends coach at Mississippi State.  He also began his coaching career at MSU as a graduate assistant in 2011.  Looney played his college football for the Bulldogs from 2007-10 as an offensive lineman.  In 2010, he earned a bachelor’s degree in arts & sciences from the university.

“The entire Mississippi State Family is deeply saddened and heartbroken by the loss of one of our very own in D.J. Looney,” MSU athletic director John Cohen said in a statement. “D.J. was an outstanding student-athlete and coach and an even better person. He had such a positive personality, attitude and always a smile on his face. D.J. will be remembered and missed by all who knew and loved him. Our thoughts and prayers are with D.J., his family, his friends, his former teammates, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Mississippi State.”

In addition to MSU and Louisiana, Looney also spent time on football coaching staffs at Georgia (2016, graduate assistant), Central Arkansas (2014-15, tackles/tight ends coach) and East Mississippi Community College (2012-13, recruiting coordinator).

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all those impacted by Looney’s passing.

Manning Award releases its 30-player preseason watch list, including North Dakota State’s Trey Lance

Manning Award
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Count the Manning Award among the latest to release its preseason grouping of players to watch this season.  Provided there is a season, of course.

Thursday, the Manning Award, named in honor of the quarterbacking Mannings — ArchiePeyton and Eli — and sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, announced its 30-player preseason watch list.  The Manning, incidentally, goes to the nation’s top quarterback and is the only major trophy to take into account postseason performance.

Five of last year’s Manning Award finalists are included on this year’s watch list: Justin Fields (Ohio State), Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Tanner Morgan (Minnesota), Kyle Trask (Florida) and Brady White (Memphis).

From the award’s release:

This year’s Watch List includes players from all 10 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences. The AAC, Big 12 and Big Ten lead the way with four selections, while the ACC, C-USA, the Pac-12 and the SEC each have three selections. There are 13 seniors on the list while the junior class is represented by 11 quarterbacks and the sophomore class has six.

Also included in the list is Trey Lance of FCS North Dakota State.

“It sure has been a unique offseason, but we’re still looking forward to the prospect of seeing a great group of quarterbacks compete this year,” Archie Manning said in a statement. “Our Watch List is once again an exceptional group of candidates, but every year is a new year and we’ll be watching closely to add the best newcomers to the list after we get things rolling. I’d also like to thank the Allstate Sugar Bowl for sponsoring this award; it means a lot to the entire Manning family that they include our name in recognizing the best quarterbacks in the country.”

Last year’s winner of the award was LSU’s Joe Burrow.

Below is the complete preseason watch list for this year’s Manning Award.

NCAA announces it will allow players to wear social justice messages on their uniforms

NCAA
Getty Images
29 Comments

The ever-evolving NCAA is set to allow football players and others to do a social justice version of “He Hate Me” on their uniforms.

Thursday, the NCAA announced that its Playing Rules Oversight Panel has approved a measure that will expand opportunities for players to place social justice statements on their uniforms this season.  Additionally, to help mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19, the team areas on sidelines will be expanded from between the 25-yard lines to between the 15-yard lines.  On top of that, the pregame coin toss will be limited to two officials and one captain from each team.

Below is the full NCAA release on the developments:

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved rules to allow student-athletes in all sports to wear patches on their uniforms for commemorative and memorial purposes, as well as to support social justice issues.

Current rules in some sports do not allow patches, while the rules books for several other sports do not address the topic.

Panel members, who met by videoconference last week, reaffirmed and expanded existing rules, which will now allow student-athletes two places on the uniform, one on the front and one on the back, to express support and voice their opinions.

The patch on the front, which most sports already allowed, as authorized by the school or conference, may be a commemorative/memorial patch (names, mascots, nicknames, logos and marks) intended to celebrate or memorialize people, events or other causes.

The patch must not exceed 2¼ square inches and must be placed on the front or sleeve of the uniform. While not all team members are required to wear the patch, they must be identical for those who choose to wear them.

The second location is on the back of the uniform where the player name is traditionally located and, as authorized by the school or conference, will allow names/words intended to celebrate or memorialize people, events or other causes. The names or words may vary by team member.

Fall playing rule waivers

Due to challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the panel approved changing or waiving playing rules for the 2020-21 year that may help to mitigate risk of contamination and enhance a safer return to play for all participants without affecting competitive equity.

In football, team areas will be expanded to the 15-yard lines. Under the current rule, the team area was between the 25-yard lines.

Also, the coin toss participants will be limited to two officials and one captain from each team. The current rule allowed up to four game captains and additional people such as media members or ceremonial captains to be in proximity of the coin toss.

In men’s and women’s soccer, players ejected for spitting at an opponent will have to serve a two-game penalty. The current rule called for an ejection and a one-game suspension.

In women’s volleyball, the teams will remain on the same bench during the entire match rather than switch benches after each set.

Additional details will be sent to the membership this week.

Mark Emmert apparently doesn’t know how the FCS playoffs work

Mark Emmert
Getty Images
11 Comments

This is not a good look, Mark Emmert.  This is not a good look at all.

The NCAA president has come under fire for his stance on the name-image-likeness issue.  In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, he was lampooned for his organization’s handling of the situation.  In general, Emmert’s stewardship, such as it is, has led to renewed calls for a commissioner to oversee college football.

And now this.

In an interview with ESPN.com, Emmert expressed a great deal of concern about the ability of fall sports to go off as scheduled.  Rightly so, the NCAA head thinks that a delayed start to fall sports, including football, as well as a shortened schedule would be optimal.

At one point, though, the conversation with the Worldwide Leader turned to the FCS playoff.  And Mark Emmert stepped in it.  And tripped over it.  Basically, impressively Three Stooging his response as a solo act.

An individual contest — a football game, a basketball game — that’s quite different. In the case of a bowl game or the CFP, you’re talking about a championship game. Can you create a bubble with enough lead time to have two teams play each other safely? The answer to that may be yes. The FCS is a round-robin championship with 20 teams participating and a full-on championship event. That’s a very different and much more challenging environment than adding one or two more games to a season with a lot of space in between.

Two things.  One, the Football Championship Series utilizes a single-elimination playoff.  Not a round-robin championship.  Two, there are 24 teams participating (10 automatic bids, 14 at-large).  Not 20.  And it’s been two dozen since 2013.

Actually, a third as well: I’m assuming that Heather Dinich transcribed Emmert’s own words very, very accurately.

Fortunately for all involved, the NCAA in general and Emmert specifically has no control over the FBS postseason.  None at all.  You know, that 10-team Bowl Championship Series that decides the national champion of major college football…

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Michigan AD proclaiming Brady Hoke wasn’t on the hot seat less than five months before Hoke was fired

college football
Getty Images
1 Comment

The sports world, including college football, had essentially screeched to a halt in the spring as countries around the world battled the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there was a dearth of college football news as the sport went into a COVID-induced hibernation.  Slowly, though, the game is coming back to life.  Hopefully.

That being said, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on July 28, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football down-time, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: No longer enrolled at Alabama, could Eyabi Anoma be in play for Maryland?
THE SYNOPSIS: In the end, the answer was no.  The five-star 2018 linebacker ultimately transferred to Houston.  In February of this year, however, Anoma was dismissed by UH for violating unspecified team rules. Last month, he announced he was transferring to FCS Tennessee-Martin.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Coastal Carolina head coach Joe Moglia will miss 2017 season to recover from health issues
THE SYNOPSIS: In January of 2019, Moglia stepped down as head coach.  He still, though, maintains “executive authority” over the Chanticleers football program.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Ex-Alabama LB Christian Bell announces transfer to Wisconsin
THE SYNOPSIS: Nearly four years later, Bell moved on from Wisconsin to Illinois.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Frank Beamer wants Hokies to stay in-house for a successor
THE SYNOPSIS: That would’ve likely meant long-time defensive coordinator Bud Foster.  Or even Beamer’s then-assistant — and son  — Shane Beamer.  In the end, it was Justin Fuente who replaced Beamer after he retired following the 2015 season.   Foster stayed on for another four seasons before his own retirement.  Shane Beamer, meanwhile, joined the Georgia coaching staff for the 2016 season.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Michigan AD says Brady Hoke isn’t on hot seat
THE SYNOPSIS: Hoke was fired less than five months later.  In four seasons with the Wolverines, Hoke went 31-20 overall and 18-14 in Big Ten play.  After winning 11 games his first season in Ann Arbor, Hoke won nine, seven and five games the last three.  In January, he was named as the head coach at San Diego State.  For the second time.

2010

THE HEADLINE: 1986 Miami Hurricanes top most-hated list
THE SYNOPSIS: This is for all of sports.  Not just college football, mind you.  Another Miami squad, the 1990 version, came in at No. 11 of the SI.com Top 25.  Others from college football included USC’s 2005 team (15th) and Notre Dame’s 1993 squad (17th).

2009

THE HEADLINE: Another ‘Nippany’ Lion popped for DUI
THE SYNOPSIS: Get it?  See what we did there?