CU Receiver Daniel Arias Staying Prepared Despite Uncertainty Surrounding CFB Season

Colorado Buffaloes Football: Three Keys To Obtaining National Relevance

Colorado Buffaloes wide receiver Daniel Arias has been learning to adjust to life away from his teammates.

There is rampant speculation around whether the 2020 college football season will be played due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Players cannot train with their teams, and coaches have to rely on video calls to be able to communicate with their teams. Players are used to having a routine associated with getting prepared for the season.

“Being away from my brothers feels weird. It’s just different, not having to play football,” Arias said.

Daniel Arias Has Been Working Out With K.D. Nixon Despite Pac-12 Suspending Organized Team Activities

The Pac-12 has suspended all organized team activities across all sports until May 31. Virtual group activities are limited to two hours a week, per the Pac-12 Pandemic Policy.

However, Daniel Arias has been working out with fellow wide receiver K.D. Nixon in the morning. These workouts are not team-sanctioned, so they are not subject to Pac-12 policy.

“We’re just out there just putting in work every single day, not letting (the absence of team workouts) stop us, but just being safe at the same time.”

Colorado Buffaloes Coaches Have Done a Good Job Providing Playbook and Film

When players are communicating, they are still holding each other accountable. Arias said that teammates are making sure they are staying in shape and learning the playbook. With having a new coach in Karl Dorrell, one may assume that learning the playbook would be more difficult.

However, Darrin Chiaverini has been a staple with Colorado football over the past few seasons. He has reclaimed his old post as offensive coordinator, so the playbook is similar to the one Daniel Arias had in 2018, his freshman year. Arias believes that this playbook will be easier for him to learn because of this familiarity.

Arias said he appreciated how the coaches have made access to the playbook and film easy for the team. Because of this, the players and coaches still operate as a cohesive unit.

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“The coaches have done a really good job being flexible and having all of us together on the same page.”

The team’s plan is to meet three times a week via Zoom video calls. Although the team may be falling behind in some aspects, Arias hopes that the summer will help the team prepare for the season.

“When summer comes around, hopefully we can come back together, catch up, and start working again.”

However, Arias emphasized how players need to hold themselves accountable for learning the playbook now. He stressed the need for his teammates to make sure they are pulling their weight both on and off the field. If each player does this, Arias believes it will lead to team success.

Daniel Arias Stayed In Boulder to Keep Up With Education

Some players on the team also stayed in Boulder, while others left for home. The majority of students at CU Boulder have left the Boulder area because of the pandemic. However, Arias decided to stay in Boulder, as he believes it presents the best for his education.

“I just wanted to stay on campus and just finish this semester strong and do what I needed to do in order to be successful this semester before going home.”

Arias has been able to keep with his routine because of school. Even though there is no football practice, he still feels a sense of normalcy.

“For me, it’s like a normal day of school,” Arias said.

He added that he does not have much free time because of how he is keeping with his routine of training in the morning. In the afternoon, he will attend virtual classes and does his homework. However, he still prefers being in the classroom to having virtual classes.

“I would prefer physically going to class instead of doing the zoom (virtual classes),” Arias said. “You could be in bed listening to the lecture and it’s just different from being in class physically.”

Daniel Arias and Colorado Buffaloes Will Still Work Hard Despite Uncertainty

Safety is paramount in these times, as the COVID-19 Pandemic has swept across the United States. Some are speculating that the 2020 college football season may not take place until the spring of 2021. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the college football season, Arias’ main focus is on becoming a better football player.

“We all have the same goal of winning the championship,” Arias said. “We’re going to keep working hard.”

Arias stated that the experience would be “different” playing in front of fans. For now, he wants to focus on what he can control: becoming a better football player.

Colorado Buffaloes Football: Three Keys To Obtaining National Relevance

Colorado Buffaloes Football has had a tough time shining in the national spotlight this past decade. However, the new decade brings a fresh start for the Buffaloes. Karl Dorrell, who is “in for the long haul”, will try to put a stamp on what Colorado Buffaloes football is.

There may not be any more “Relentless” hashtags. Dorrell brings a calming presence to a Colorado Buffaloes Football program that has had more vocal coaches with Mike MacIntyre and Mel Tucker in the past. However, Dorrell was able to keep familiar faces around. He was given a great recruiting class in his first year. Also, he has a team with battle-tested players, as the Buffaloes were in seven one-score games last season.

There is a foundation that could lead to success for the Buffaloes. Now, the job is to keep building and contributing to the culture at CU.

Maintaining Continuity at the Coordinator Position First Key to Success for Colorado Buffaloes Football

Having Darrin Chiaverini returning as offensive coordinator will help keep some continuity for the Buffaloes. Even though Laviska Shenault declared for the draft, the Buffaloes have leadership on offense starting with wide receiver K.D. Nixon. Nixon decided to return for his senior season after initially declaring for the NFL Draft.

On defense, the Buffaloes still will be led by Tyson Summers. Their front seven will be led by Mustafa Johnson and Nate Landman. They also return Derrion Rakestraw in the secondary. The defense has the veteran leadership. They could see more improvement in 2020 after making strides in 2019.

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Building Upon the Recruiting Class Could Be Biggest Indicator of Buffaloes’ National Relevance

Colorado is currently ranked 36th in 247 Sports’ 2020 Football Team Rankings. They are 7th in the Pac-12. Many credit the job Mel Tucker was able to do with recruiting in his one year in Boulder. However, many things have changed since Karl Dorrell took over. Antonio Alfano was suspended indefinitely by the program after violating team rules. Alfano, who transferred from Alabama, was looked at as one of the major victories that Mel Tucker had in recruiting.

Darrin Chiaverini is regarded as the Buffaloes’ best recruiter. He is the recruiting coordinator, and helped to bring in a wide receiver class this year. Brenden Rice, the son of Jerry Rice, was a major victory for the Buffaloes in recruiting. The Buffaloes need to get a top-40 recruiting class in 2021. Achieving this would be great for the long-term hope of Colorado football returning to national relevance.

Keeping Games Close Important for Immediate Success of Colorado Buffaloes Football

Colorado was in seven one-score games in 2019. Their record in those games was 4-3. However, the Buffaloes were rarely the team blowing out their opponents, as they lost three games on the road by 30-plus points, and had a 17-point loss to UCLA. To become more nationally relevant, the Buffaloes will have to prove they can compete against the conference’s best.

However, some of the Buffaloes’ one score wins were impressive in 2019. They beat an up-and-coming Arizona State team in Tempe last season. Arizona State is one of the favorites in the Pac-12 South to start the 2020 season. The Buffaloes proved they are capable of playing up to their competition at home, as they had a close loss at home to USC last season. However, this competitiveness the Buffaloes displayed did not transfer on the road. Their losses were ugly, including against Oregon.

The Ducks will be coming to Boulder when the Buffaloes open up Pac-12 play on September 26. This game will be one of the “litmus tests” for the Buffaloes this season. Will this be the game where the Buffaloes showcase their improvement under Karl Dorrell, or will it be more of the same?

Fans are hoping for improvement, but many times their early season hopes have been erased rather quickly. The Buffaloes have a tough schedule in many regards this season. However, making a bowl game is an attainable goal for the Buffaloes. They have experienced close games, have the continuity to build upon success, and have been making inroads on the recruiting circuit.

Did NCAA Really Agree to Allow College Athlete NIL Compensation? Nope

NCAA Name Image Likeness NIL Pay college athletes

On Tuesday, the NCAA’s working group released its decision on the college athlete name, image, and likeness (NIL) compensation issue. Or did they? All of the headlines immediately read that the NCAA allows college athlete NIL compensation. At first glance, the NCAA’s statement would lead one to believe that they did just that. The statement read that “the NCAA’s top governing board voted unanimously to permit students participating in athletics the opportunity to benefit from the use of their name, image, and likeness.” However, when looking a bit closer it becomes very apparent that the NCAA never used the word compensation in the context of allowing NIL payments. The NCAA danced around the compensation issue without ever calling it compensation.

In fact, the NCAA was not clear at all about how they plan to address the college athlete NIL compensation issue. They essentially addressed the issue without truly addressing the issue. Their statement is riddled with unclear ambiguous language that essentially renders the NCAA’s true stance on the issue unclear. The NCAA’s lack of clarity should come as no surprise. After all the NCAA is only addressing NIL compensation after being forced to do so.

The NCAA was Strong-Armed into Addressing College Athlete NIL Compensation

2019 has been a volatile year for the NCAA. State and federal lawmakers have become increasingly vocal about the injustices that plague the college athletics system. Several lawmakers introduced legislation to remedy those injustices. In January, Washington State Senator, Drew Stokesbary, introduced legislation to allow college athletes in Washington state to profit from their NIL. Soon after, Congressman Mark Walker introduced the Student-Athlete Equity Act. Under the Student-Athlete Equity Act, the NCAA would lose its tax-exempt status if it does not allow college athlete NIL compensation. While these bills were being introduced, lawmakers in California were debating the Fair Pay to Play Act. All of this led the NCAA to create a working group to address the NIL compensation issues.

However, the working group did not work fast enough for California. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law. Under the law, college athletes in California will be allowed to profit from their name, image, and likeness and sign with agents starting in 2023. In spite of the NCAA’s efforts to thwart the Fair Pay to Play Act, it still became law. As a result, the NCAA’s working group had no choice but to acknowledge the need to “modernize” their rules in favor of college athlete NIL compensation. The NCAA was forced to either move towards NIL compensation or to at the very least appear to be moving towards NIL compensation. It seems as though the NCAA has chosen to appear to be moving forward with college athlete NIL compensation.

The NCAA Has Chosen to Give the Appearance of Moving Towards College Athlete NIL Compensation Instead of Truly Moving Towards it

While the NCAA has everyone saying that they have decided to allow college athlete NIL compensation, that is not exactly true. In fact, the NCAA never used the word compensation in that context. The NCAA voted to allow college athletes to “benefit” from the use of their name, image, and likeness, not to be compensated. It is not clear what “benefit” actually means. What kind of “benefit” will the NCAA allow? How are NIL benefits different from NIL compensation? However, what the NCAA did make clear is that the “benefit” will be done “in a manner consistent with the current collegiate model.” In true NCAA fashion, the NCAA spared no expense in making it clear that they are dedicated to preserving as much of the current collegiate model as possible. In fact, the NCAA set out a list of guidelines that are dedicated to doing just that.

The NCAA’s Rule Modernization Guidelines

As a part of its effort to allow college athletes to “benefit” from their NIL, the NCAA has urged each division to consider modernization of its bylaws and policies. To help each division with doing that, the working group created a set of guidelines for each division to consider. However, those principles and guidelines seem to be more about ensuring that the divisions create bylaws that maintain the NCAA’s commitment to amateurism.

For example, the NCAA has urged its divisions to amend their rules so that athletes receive similar treatment as other students. However, the guidelines provide a caveat that will allow athletes to be treated differently when there is a compelling reason for doing so. However, in true NCAA fashion, there is no clarity on what is a permissible compelling reason for different treatment. Additionally, the guidelines require that the amended bylaws maintain a “clear distinction between collegiate and professional opportunities.” This is clear amateurism perservation language.

The NCAA also urged that the bylaws be amended so that it is clear that “compensation for athletic performance or participation is impermissible.” In fact, that is the only context in which the NCAA made reference to compensation. They mentioned it to reiterate that compensation related to athletic performance is not permissible. Furthermore, the NCAA instructed that the bylaws be amended with the caveat that “student-athletes are students first and not employees of the university.” Again, their true focus is on preserving amateurism.

The NCAA’s Statement is not the Earth Shattering Development it was Made out to be

While the NCAA’s statement is noteworthy, it is not the groundbreaking development it was made out to be. It is noteworthy because the NCAA finally acknowledged that college athletes should be allowed to “benefit” from their NIL. However, it is not groundbreaking because the NCAA is still committed to preserving the farce of amateurism. After all, the NCAA is only addressing this issue after realizing that they had no choice. The NCAA was very careful not to say that college athletes are allowed to receive compensation. They strategically used the word “benefit” and neglected to define what a “benefit” would be.

While some of the guidelines addressed the betterment of college athletes, there was a heavy focus on protecting amateurism. The guidelines also created more questions than answers. It is for these reasons that the NCAA’s statement feels like a half measure that was intended to slow down the momentum of related legislation. Furthermore, the statement does not address college athletes’ ability to sign with agents. The NCAA addressed this issue during the summer for elite men’s basketball players. The NCAA needs to address this in the broader context as the Fair Pay to Play Act and other proposed legislation seeks to allow college athletes to sign with agents. The most useful finding that comes out of this statement is the fact that the NCAA has acknowledged the need for change. However, what form the NCAA will allow that change to take is still very unclear.

Colorado Football: Navigating Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

colorado buffaloes recruiting

Every college football team, including the Colorado Buffaloes, will have to navigate unforeseen waters as the COVID-19 Pandemic rages on. The Buffaloes are in a unique situation, as players have not had time to get used to how new head coach Karl Dorrell manages the program. It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming weeks as the world finds out more about how to deal with the pandemic.

Lucky for Buffaloes, Offensive and Defensive Schemes Should Be Similar

When one looks at the Colorado Buffaloes football program, they will notice how the team is on their third head coach in three years. However, the offensive and defensive coordinators, Darrin Chiaverini and Tyson Summers have been with the program multiple years.

The defense improved under Tyson Summers last season, as the Buffaloes had late-season home wins against Stanford and Washington. In those two games, the Buffaloes gave up 13 and 14 points, respectively. The 2020 season will be Summers’ second season as the defensive coordinator. Making a huge leap in year one to year two in Summers’ scheme may be key to the Buffaloes making their first bowl game since 2016.

For the offense, Darrin Chiaverini reclaimed the role he had with the team from 2016-18. In this role, Chiaverini was able to help his quarterbacks be threats both in the air and on the ground. Both Steven Montez and Sefo Liufau had 300-yard passing and 100-yard rushing games in 2016 under Chiaverini.

Brendon Lewis could win the Buffaloes’ starting job as a true freshman. However, the possibility of not going through the typical spring practice routine may hinder his chances. Chiaverini may not be able to see live reps from Lewis as he would usually be able to.

All of the new players in the new recruiting class that Mel Tucker was instrumental in may have trouble adjusting to the playbook. The Buffaloes may have to rely on upperclassmen to help freshmen like Brendon Lewis learn the playbook.

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Buffaloes Are Not the Only Team in Their Situation

While these problems are unique to Colorado football, every college football team is going to deal with a myriad of problems because of COVID-19. For the Buffaloes to have a successful season, they will have to study the playbook. If players are forced to stay home, it will be harder for them to hold each other accountable for knowing the playbook. With a new coach, the sooner the team practices, they will be better off.

Right now, there are meetings scheduled for the football team starting on March 29. The University of Colorado is on spring break this week, so it will be interesting to see how the situation develops in the coming days.

Will Fans Be At Colorado Football’s Home Opener On September 12?

At this point, the whole sports world is in flux. Right now there should be talk about the upcoming Sweet 16 games in the NCAA Tournament. Because of how the COVID-19 situation is developing, it may be hard for fans to realistically think college stadiums will be full in September. While there has not been too much doubt regarding the 2020 College Football Season being played, it is reasonable to think that the Buffaloes’ home opener against Fresno State on September 12 could be played in front of zero fans.

While this issue is pure speculation, it will be interesting to see how fans would react. Fans that would potentially attend games and buy season tickets may want assurances about their safety.  Athletes also may need assurances that they will be playing in a safe environment.

As the uncertainty regarding the future continues to be on everyone’s mind, it is important to keep the safety of the student-athletes in mind. Colorado Football will need to find a way to effectively prepare themselves for the 2020 season. With a first-year head coach, how the Buffaloes emerge from their situation in the coming weeks or months will be telling in how they end up performing in 2020.

Colorado Buffaloes Make Karl Dorrell 3rd-Highest Paid Coach In Pac-12

Karl Dorrell Colorado Head Football Coach

The Colorado Buffaloes’ 2020 coaching search has ended. Karl Dorrell will be the new head coach of the Buffs. Dorrell signed a five-year, $18 million contract to be CU’s coach.

Dorrell has roots in the Pac-12. He played wide receiver at UCLA from 1983-86 and was UCLA’s head coach from 2003-07. He has had two previous coaching stints at Colorado, from 1991-92 and 1995-98, while CU was a member of the Big Eight and Big 12 Conferences. Between 1995-98, Dorrell was the Buffaloes’ offensive coordinator. They went 33-14 in that span and won three bowl games, most notably the Cotton Bowl to end the 1995 season.

Dorrell’s Contract and Assistant Coaching Pool Exceeds Amount Mel Tucker Had

Dorrell’s contract will include a $3.8 million pool for him to hire his assistant coaches, an increase from the $3.155 Mel Tucker had for his assistants.

“My salary pool is tremendous,” Dorrell said Monday at his introductory press conference. “I am very flattered to work with (the $3.8 million) pool.”

Having every extra dollar will help Dorrell. The Pac-12 distributes $33 million to its schools for media rights. This figure is $11 million less than the SEC and $22 million less than the Big Ten. On the national scale, it looks like Dorrell may have an uphill battle on recruiting. The financial difference between the Pac-12 and other conferences creates an imperfect scenario for Dorrell.

“There’s no perfect scenario where you are going to have every resource you need to get the job done,” Dorrell said.

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Dorrell 3rd-Highest Paid Head Coach In Pac-12 In Spite of Colorado Athletics Losing Money In 2019

Colorado athletics as a whole lost over three million dollars in 2019 according to the University of Colorado Athletics NCAA Financial Report. Consequently, the results of this report contribute to questions of if Colorado Buffaloes football can get back to relevance.

The Pac-12 has athletic programs that struggle financially, and it is due to the lack of support for the institutions themselves. Colorado is stepping in the right direction by providing Karl Dorrell with more resources. However, the Pac-12 as a whole still has a lot of ground to cover to match the resources available to the other Power 5 conferences in college football.

Dorrell Gets Paid, In “For the Long Haul” As Head Coach of Colorado Buffaloes

Karl Dorrell’s contract exceeds the likes of Chip Kelly and Mario Cristobal. Dorrell said the coaching the Buffaloes is a “dream job” and that “what (the Buffaloes) do on Saturdays will be a sight to be seen.”

Dorrell stated in his press conference that he was “in for the long haul”, which fans will rally around because of the way Mel Tucker left the program. Because of his Colorado ties, Dorrell wants to see the program become relevant again. He stated that he has a responsibility to “bring the (Colorado football) program to greatness”.

Karl Dorrell Hiring Has Positive Reaction From Colorado Football Greats

The UCLA Bruins made a bowl game in every season (2003-2007) Karl Dorrell was their head coach. Dorrell compiled a 35-27 record at UCLA. The Buffaloes got an experienced head coach, but 2020 will be the first season in 13 years where Dorrell is the head coach of a football team. With the increased pool to hire assistant coaches, Dorrell will have to utilize his resources effectively. He received praise from many Colorado football greats, including Broncos legends Ed McCaffrey and Mike Shanahan. Legendary Buffaloes receiver Michael Westbrook also weighed in on the Dorrell hiring:

Fans Should Feel Positive About Colorado Making a Good, Not Splashy Hire

There has been a generally positive reaction from fans, even though there are always those detractors out there. While Dorrell was not the splashiest hire, he has a track record of winning games as a college football head coach. However, UCLA fans desired more from his tenure. He was able to get his team to bowl games every season, which Colorado would gladly take. The Buffaloes have only one bowl appearance in the past 12 seasons. Fans want to see a winning football team in Boulder, and Dorrell will have a great opportunity to produce.

Fans may have wanted a bigger name, such as Steve Sarkisian, Bret Bielema, or Jim McElwain. However, grand success did not happen for them at USC, Arkansas, and Florida, respectively. Some fans were on the Darrin Chiaverini hype train, but hiring Chev seemed like it would have been too easy to do. With Dorrell, the Buffaloes got a commitment, which is exactly what the Buffaloes need at this point. Dorrell has been successful in both the college and professional game but has learned from the hardships he has had in his coaching career thus far. The Buffaloes wanted to make a good hire, not a splashy hire. They hired Karl Dorrell, who is committed to making the Buffaloes better for the long haul.

The NFL’s Rooney Rule Needs to be Revamped, But How?

Anthony Lynn Mike Tomlin Black coaches NFL Rooney Rule

When the Cleveland Browns selected Kevin Stefanski to be their new head coach, it eliminated any possibility that the NFL would increase its number of minority head coaches for the 2020-2021 season. 32 teams make up the NFL. Of those teams, only four have a minority head coach. There are three African-American head coaches – Anthony Lynn with the Los Angeles Chargers, Brian Flores with the Miami Dolphins, and Mike Tomlin with the Pittsburgh Steelers. This hiring season, the Washington Redskins re-hired the only Latino head coach in the league, Ron Rivera. Rivera was fired by the North Carolina Panthers shortly before being hired by Washington. The NFL had five opportunities to increase its number of minority head coaches and failed to do so. The NFL’s failure to select an African-American head coach has re-ignited the debate regarding the Rooney Rule and its effectiveness.

The Rooney Rule is named for former Pittsburgh Steelers owner, Dan Rooney who spearheaded the league’s adoption of the rule. It was adopted in 2003 to require NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for all head coach openings. In 2009, the rule was expanded to include general manager positions and other equivalent front-office positions. The rule was later expanded to include women for executive openings in the commissioner’s office. Due to the NFL’s recent hiring practices, many are questioning the effectiveness of the Rooney Rule. Last year, the NFL had eight head coach openings. Only one was filled by a minority candidate. This year the only minority candidate hired was Rivera. The NFL’s failure to give any new black coaches a shot at being a head coach for the upcoming season has critics rightfully questioning the effectiveness of the Rooney Rule.

The Creation and Adoption of the Rooney Rule

Before the effectiveness of the Rooney Rule can be adequately addressed, it is important to briefly address what led to the adoption of the rule. In the twelve seasons before the Rooney Rule was adopted, the NFL had only 6 minority head coaches. In 2002, lawyers Johnnie Cochran and Cyrus Mehri threatened to sue the NFL due to their hiring practices after a shocking report was published. The report found that over a period of fifteen years, black coaches were statistically more successful than white coaches. However, the NFL’s hiring practices did not support that finding. During that time, Tony Dungy and Herm Edwards were the only black coaches in the league. The next year in 2003 the league adopted the Rooney Rule requiring each team to interview at least one minority candidate for every head coach opening.

Has the Rooney Rule been Effective?

Four years after the Rooney Rule was adopted, the Steelers hired Mike Tomlin. His hiring was a sign of progress for black coaches in the NFL. It made the rule appear to be effective. In 2011, the NFL employed its most minority head coaches with a total of 8 head coaches of color. The NFL also promoted Mel Tucker to interim head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars when Jack Del Rio was fired during the week twelve of the 2011 season. This briefly bought the number of minority head coaches up to nine. Initially, it appeared that the Rooney Rule was garnering its desired effect. However, fast-forward to 2020 and there are only four minority NFL head coaches. What happened? How can the NFL fix this problem?

Why Does the Initial Progress Appear to be Going Backwards?

It appears that the NFL is going backward in regard to hiring African-American head coaches. Even when the NFL hired its most minority heard coaches, those coaches only made up 25% of the coaches while the players were 68% African-American. Today, approximately 70% of the NFL’s players are African-American. However, African-Americans presence is almost non-existent amongst head coaches. The Rooney Rule initially led to the hiring of a substantial number of minority head coaches. However, as of late, the rule does not appear to be very effective. In fact, it only seems to be a box that NFL owners have check during the interview process.

Teams Only Interview Minorities to Check off a Box

Many critics argue that the rule is not effective because NFL owners only interview minority candidates to simply say that they did. They further argue that NFL owners only interview minority candidates to “comply” with the rule knowing they have no intention of giving the candidate serious consideration. They argue that such interviews are used to circumvent the rule.

Perhaps some teams are only interviewing minority candidates to comply with the rule with no intention of giving the candidate real consideration. Given the NFL’s recent hiring there is a strong argument to be made in support of that. Over the last two seasons, the NFL has had 13 head coach openings. Only two minorities filled those positions. After the NFL only hired one minority out of 8 openings, the league recommended that teams interview at least two minority candidates. Of those hiring, the Cowboys were the only team to still interview only one minority candidate. Even for the teams that complied with the recommendation, only one hired a minority. Clearly that recommendation is ineffective as well.

There are not Enough Minorities in the Pipeline to Become an NFL Head Coach

Other critics of rule, argue that there simply are not enough minorities in the pipeline to become an NFL head coach. Typically, people who are in the pipeline to become a head coach in the NFL have first served as an offensive coordinator. Being an effective offensive coordinator is the best way to garner serious consideration for being hired as a head coach. The only problem is not many African-Americans are given the opportunity to serve in those positions. Since 2009, nearly 40% of newly hired head coaches were former offensive coordinators. Of those offensive coordinators hired each season, nearly 70% of them were white.

In 2010, 2011, and 2016, every newly hired offensive coordinator was white. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Byron Leftwhich and Kansas City Chiefs Eric Bieniemy are the most recent minority offensive coordinator hires. Without the opportunity to serve as an offensive coordinator, it becomes increasingly less likely that there will be a substantial increase in minority head coaches. These bleak opportunities have led many African American football personnel to seek opportunities in college football. They hope to do well enough in college sports to garner the attention of hiring officials in the NFL. However, the pastures there are not much greener.

The Lack of Diversity Amongst College Football Coaches

While there are more opportunities in college football because there are more teams, those opportunities are not going to African-Americans. At the beginning of the 2019 college football season, there were only 14 black head coaches out of 130 Division I Football Bowl Subdivision teams. Due to college football’s lack of a substantial number of African American head coaches, some scholars have advocated for the adoption of the Eddie Robison Rule. The Eddie Robison Rule, like the Rooney Rule, would require colleges to interview at least one minority candidate for each head coach position.

In 2009, the state Oregon legislature enacted a law requiring its public universities to interview minority candidates for all head coaching and athletic director positions. The law has been effective. The University of Oregon’s last two football coaches have been black. The law made a difference for minority candidates in Oregon. Immediately after Oregon passed the law it seemed that other states would follow suit. However, other states have not. Due to other states not passing a similar law, college football management continues to lack diversity. Due to that, college football is not necessarily a strong pipeline for black coaches hoping to make it up the ranks of the NFL. Other states should follow suit and enact similar legislation. If they did it would increase the number of minorities in the pipeline for NFL jobs in the long run.

How to Improve the Effectiveness of the Rooney Rule

There are many suggestions for ways to strengthen the Rooney Rule. Perhaps the most direct option is to apply the rule to offensive coordinator positions. Perhaps requiring teams to interview a minority for offensive coordinator positions would get more minorities hired on the road to an NFL head coaching job. Some argue that telling a coach who he has to interview for his staff could create bad blood. There is a possibility that would happen. However, as professionals, those feelings should dissipate in the interest of getting the job done.

Another way to strengthen the rule would be to make the recommendation of interviewing at least two candidates a part of the rule. It would put more minorities in front of the hiring committees. The NFL must also create a system to hold teams accountable and to ensure that they are giving the candidates serious consideration. Most, importantly the league and NFL owners have to truly want to fix the problem. The rule can be re-vised 10 times. However, if there is not a genuine want to increase diversity no revision will matter.

Pac-12 Football Review: USC NSD Fail, Donte Williams, NFL Combine Invites

Pac-12 Football Review: USC NSD Fail, Donte Williams, NFL Combine Invites

USC’s Poor National Signing Day Highlights it’s Pac-12 Football Recruiting

Last Wednesday, National Signing Day came and left. While there wasn’t much Pac-12 football activity, Colorado kept its guy. That is to say, Ashaad Clayton signed with Colorado.

And all Buffaloes sighed.

Certainly, the four-star running back out of New Orleans is a great addition. With that signing, Colorado made a big move. It showed its school is doing the work.

However, the program that needed to make the biggest leap failed miserably.

So many Pac-12 football programs brought it this offseason. Utah and Arizona State made huge strides. Meanwhile, USC fell. Firstly, USC boasts (if that word can be used) just 13 three-five star recruits for 2020.

  • Two four-star recruits
  • 11 three-star recruits

In short, their 2020 recruiting is dismal.

When compared to Pac-12 football programs, USC’s 2020 class ranks 10th. Just above Washington State and Arizona. Overall, USC’s distressing 2020 class is outside of the top-50 in college football. Their 55th-ranked class is completely pitiful. Especially considering their 2019 feats:

  • 8 wins, 5 losses
  • 32.5 points per game
  • Holiday Bowl berth
  • Breakout true-freshman Kedon Slovis

This was a huge alarm for the Trojans. But thankfully, USC stole Donte Williams away from Oregon.

Pac-12 Top-Recruiter Donte Williams Heads to USC

Unfortunately, cornerbacks coach Donte Williams’ move to USC was not because of football. As seen from his Tweet, it’s a move to his “father’s aging/failing health”. Family first. Respect.

Though is move to USC is family-driven, Williams is still a gift for their program. Prior to this news, USC recruiting was in free-fall. They were 10th in the Pac-12. Barely ahead of Washington State. That’s not acceptable for their program. So, they need to treat Williams as best as they can. During his short time with Oregon, he’s ranked:

  • 5th-best recruiter in Pac-12 in 2019 class
    • 62nd-best in nation
  • Best recruiter in Pac-12 in 2020 class
    • 7th-best in nation

Understanding that, this move is incredible for USC. They needed him bad. With his recruiting, he’ll become instrumental in their success. Certainly, Williams will be missed in Oregon. But for USC, he’s their savior.

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2020 NFL Combine Pac-12 Football Participants

On Friday, the NFL released its full list of 2020 NFL Scouting Combine invites. Of the 337 prospects invited, here are the Pac-12 football players:

Arizona (1 invite)

  • J.J. Taylor, Running Back

Arizona State (4 invites)

  • Brandon Aiyuk, Wide Receiver
  • Eno Benjamin, Running Back
  • Cohl Cabral, Offensive Line
  • Michael Turk, Punter

Cal (3 invites)

  • Ashtyn Davis, Defensive Back
  • Jaylinn Hawkins, Defensive Back
  • Evan Weaver, Line Backer

Colorado (4 invites)

  • Tony Brown, Wide Receiver
  • Steven Montez, Quarterback
  • Laviska Shenault Jr., Wide Receiver
  • Davion Taylor, Line Backer

Oregon (7 invites)

  • Jacob Breeland, Tight End
  • Troy Dye, Line Backer
  • Jake Hanson, Offensive Line
  • Justin Herbert, Quarterback
  • Juwan Johnson, Wide Receiver
  • Shane Lemieux, Offensive Line
  • Calvin Throckmorton, Offensive Line

Oregon State (2 invites)

  • Isaiah Hodgins, Wide Receiver
  • Jake Luton, Quarterback

Stanford (2 invites)

  • Colby Parkinson, Tight End
  • Casey Toohill, Line Backer

UCLA (4 invites)

  • Devin Asiasi, Tight End
  • Darney Holmes, Defensive Back
  • Joshua Kelley, Running Back
  • JJ Molson, Kicker

USC (2 invites)

  • Austin Jackson, Offensive Line
  • Michael Pittman, Wide Receiver

Utah (9 invites)

  • Bradlee Anae, Defensive Line
  • Francis Bernard, Line Backer
  • Julian Blackmon, Defensive Back
  • Terrell Burgess, Defensive Back
  • Leki Fotu, Defensive Line
  • Javelin K. Guidry, Defensive Back
  • Jaylon Johnson, Defensive Back
  • Zack Moss, Running Back
  • John Penisini, Defensive Line

Washington (7 invites)

  • Trey Adams, Offensive Line
  • Salvon Ahmed, Running Back
  • Hunter Bryant, Tight End
  • Myles Bryant, Defensive Back
  • Jacob Eason, Quarterback
  • Aaron Fuller, Wide Receiver
  • Nick Harris, Offensive Line

Washington State (2 invites)

  • Anthony Gordon, Quarterback
  • Dezmon Patmon, Wide Receiver

Somehow, Utah leads the way in combine invites for Pac-12 football programs. As a result, their school gained instant respect. Their school-record nine combine invites is great for their program’s recruiting. But, it’s a tough task to replace.

“It is not hard to figure out why we were formidable on defense this past year and why we had statistically one of the best defenses we have ever had at Utah,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “It is going to be a big challenge replacing those guys.”

Deseret News

Apart from a lackluster finish, Utah played well in 2019. As a result, they nearly made the College Football Playoffs. Or, at least they were in the discussion. These nine combine invites were a large part of their winning. In other words, it’s a big loss to the program.

Nevertheless, Utah is upping their recruiting game by leading the Pac-12 in combine invites.

Colorado’s Mel Tucker Calms Anxious Fans

Last Tuesday, Mark Dantonio retired after 13 seasons as Michigan State’s head coach. It was reported that Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell and Colorado’s Mel Tucker were those interviewing.

Although it was Tucker’s first season ever as a head coach, no program wants to lose their H.C. Furthermore, no program wants to lose their coach after the coaching carousel already hired the most qualified candidates. Consequently, it’s not the best time to hire.

But, Tucker made sure to raise the spirits of the Colorado program, its players and its fans.

Arizona State Close to Adding Robert Rodriguez as D-Line Coach

Reportedly, the Arizona State Sundevils are reportedly close to signing Robert Rodriguez as defensive line coach. Because of Jamar Cain’s departure, Rodriguez is a big hire.

Rodriguez just completed his fifth year with the Vikings. During that time, he worked closely with Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson. They utilized aggressive schemes for playmakers Daniel Hunter and Everson Griffen. As a result of his NFL experience, Rodriguez is a sound hire. Above all, Rodriguez will be paid to bring defensive pressure.

Unfortunately, Cain left behind more than defensive coaching. Jamar Cain is considered one of the best recruiting coaches. Losing him hurt. But, Rodriguez coached for UTEP from 2008 to 2014. So, at least he does understand how collegiate coaching and recruiting works. Both as a player and a coach.

Aaron Hernandez Documentary: Has Weaknesses, But Spotlights Concerns

Aaron Hernandez

Criticisms of Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez

Not Enough Focus

At times, the docu-series felt extremely sporadic. Yes, it was still compelling as they “uncovered” the secrets in Hernandez’ life. Nonetheless, each episode lacked focus. It bounced around too often and didn’t allocate time well. If “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” stuck to its focal points better in each installment, the documentary would improve.

Too Much Speculation and Not Enough Facts

Even though the documentary spanned 200 minutes, many aspects of “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” were shallow. It left viewers wanting more. Again, this was most likely due to the editing and story-line choices. With a better episode-by-episode focus, his story would unfold.

Additionally, Netflix’ access to speakers on the subject were likely very limited. This story involved high school, collegiate and professional football suspicions. Those are accusations against the giants of sports. Because of football’s power, it’s probable that many remained silent. With an underrepresented sources, the story can’t be completely told. For that reason, the docu-series hurt.

Dennis Sansoucie “Star Quarterback”

Speaking of sources, Dennis Sansoucie earned heavy criticism. He’s been called a liar, fake, greedy or just another looking for the spotlight. Coming from Dennis Sansoucie himself, Aaron Hernandez and him were both friends and young lovers. At one point, Sansoucie delcared that he and Hernandez were the two best players on the field. Quarterback and tight end. That point received the most condemnation.

Dennis Sansoucie’s Actual Stats

In his four years of high school, Sansoucie only managed four starts at quarterback. But, each of those starts came at the start of the 2005 season. He was their starting quarterback for four games. In those, he threw 11 touchdowns, nine of which went to Aaron Hernandez. On his short resume, Sansoucie also posted one start with nearly 300 yards (297) and five touchdowns.

Sep. 16, 2005New Britain Golden HurricanesL 23-53   
Sansoucie CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INTHernandez ReceptionsReceiving YardsTouchdowns
Sep. 23, 2005Bloomfield WarhawksW 28-7   
Sansoucie CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INTHernandez ReceptionsReceiving YardsTouchdowns
Sep. 30, 2005South Windor BobcatsW 9-12   
Sansoucie CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INTHernandez ReceptionsReceiving YardsTouchdowns
Oct. 7th, 2005Hartford Public OwlsL 13-39   
Sansoucie CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INTHernandez ReceptionsReceiving YardsTouchdowns
Oct. 16th, 2005Maloney SpartansW 40-13   
Sansoucie CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INTHernandez ReceptionsReceiving YardsTouchdowns
Matt Coyne CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INT   

Moreover, additional speculation came out surrounding Sansoucie’s junior season.

This would explain why Dennis Sansoucie felt that he was a star of the team, yet lacked a full season as quarterback. Whether or not this story is true, it gives light into Sansoucie’s reasoning. There are certainly many adults that look back into their high school days with glory. If Sansoucie lost his starting job because of an off-field issue, he would still think of himself as the star.

Strengths of Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez

After its January 15th release, “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” immediately gained popularity and intrigue. The three-part Netflix true crime documentary explores court cases and circumstances that could lead to those.

Overall, it was well received. “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” boasts:

You Can’t Turn it Off

On first watch, “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” is highly entertaining. It’s certainly binge-worthy and captures your attention immediately. We all want to know the whole story. Aaron Hernandez’ psyche is a an enthralling reason. There’s no watching just one episode. Instead, it compels every viewer to watch all three episodes in a row. For that, the Netflix documentary succeeds.

Access to Prison Phone Calls

Without a doubt, the highlight of “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” is hearing the phone calls from prison. Those phone calls give us a greater insight into Hernandez’ character. They’re personal, private, unfiltered. Viewers hear him talk to his fiance, daughter, mother, agent. It added a layer of realism to the story.

Most Importantly, Aaron Hernandez’ Story Raises Questions and Concerns

Homophobia in Football Culture

In the series, Dennis Sansoucie and Ryan O’Callaghan both discussed the plight of growing up as closeted gay men. Sansoucie talked about his and Hernandez’ fathers as men that would beat the gay out of a kid. And although the documentary speculated that Aaron Hernandez was “gay” instead of acknowledging other sexual orientations like bi-sexuality, it was still an important subject. Mental health is a massive issue in our society. Denying your own identity out of fear would derail anyone.


It’s the NFL’s biggest Boogie Man: CTE. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. The disease continues to appear in professional football. In a 2017 study published in the medical journal JAMA, the results were shocking. Of the 111 post-mortem brains of former NFL players, 110 had CTE. CTE plagues the well beings of current and former players. It’s symptoms include:

  • Memory Loss
  • Confusion
  • Impaired Judgment
  • Impulse Control Problems
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Parkisonism
  • Progressive Dementia
  • Suicidality

Do any of those symptoms sound like Aaron Hernandez? Completely. Does CTE excuse his actions? Of course not. However, would he be a murder if he didn’t have CTE? That is the million-dollar question. And that’s important not only for the lives of football players, but to the victims of criminal acts by those players.

Yes, the NFL says it’s doing its best to get ahead of this issue. But, as pointed out in this documentary, it starts long before the NFL. Additionally, how often has the league ignored player health and safety?

College and NFL Teams Make Injured Players Play

“My body is so fucked up… They banned that shit from the league saying you can only get that if you have a serious injury,” he said. “Guess who they gave that shit to every fucking game? Me.”

Aaron Hernandez, prison call with his fiance

Fill them up with pills or injections and put them out on the field. It’s a part of the game. Organizations want wins. Players want money. No player wants to be labeled as injury prone or soft. Adding to that, the next man up could always be the replacement. Injured players need to heal. Instead, due to a lack of integrity by teams, they are pushed onto the field to play sports most brutal game.

Football wrecks bodies. It’s a gladiator’s sport. Understanding it’s brutality, coaches and team medical staff need to support players. Player health and safety should be a top concern. But, wins secure jobs for coaches and staff. As a result, players need to play. Irregardless of injury. Why else would teams constantly refer to injuries as a “pain-tolerance” issue?

It becomes an especially-jarring concern when Aaron Hernandez stated that the Patriots gave him Toradol every single game. Again, the case of Aaron Hernandez showed why NFL players deserve better advocates. Whether it is mentoring mental, emotional or physical health, these athletes need help. They shouldn’t have to ask. And they certainly should have to commit suicide before football anwers.

Pac-12 Football Review: Oregon leads 2020 recruiting, BYU Games, KJ Costello

Pac-12 Football Review: Oregon leads 2020 recruiting, BYU Games, KJ Costello

Oregon Ducks Holding onto Pac-12 Football Recruiting Dominance

247Sports Composite Pac-12 Football Team Rankings

With just one day away from National Signing Day, the Oregon Ducks remain at the top of Pac-12 football. Their 2020 class is highlighted by three five-star recruits:

  • Justin Flowe, ILB
  • Noah Sewell, ILB
  • Dontae Manning, CB

With a 247 Composite score of 256.52, Oregon’s recruiting also ranks 12th in the nation. The Ducks are riding high in their ability to gain quality commits. Oregon is a force and consistently competes. Their staff does an excellent job at scouting, recruiting and developing players.

Not too far behind, Washington’s nine four-star recruits raise them to near-Oregon status. Although they don’t have the five-star recruits the Ducks have, they certainly bolstered their team with an impressive amount of talent.

USC Needs to Make Moves

But, we already know that Washington and Oregon are currently the programs to beat in recruiting power. The big surprise is USC. After ranking 3rd in Pac-12 football and 20th in the nation, they fell hard in 2020. Currently, USC ranks 10th in the Pac-12 Conference and 52nd nationally. If they want to build a team around Sophomore Kedon Slovis, they need to gain 2020 commits.

Stanford Adds Four Games to their BYU Football Series
  • November 28th, 2026
  • November 25th, 2028
  • August 30th, 2031
  • September 1st, 2035

In the 2020’s, Stanford faces off against BYU six times. Surprisingly, they only have five games against Utah in the same decade. Yes, Utah is in-conference. However, this BYU series is extremely important to Stanford and the Pac-12.

With regard to the Pac-12 football conference, BYU adds a lot of value. Because they are an independent school, programs like Stanford can fill in gaps in the late season with a solid competitor. In the past 15 years, BYU has 13 winning seasons and only one losing season. Additionally, they ranked in the AP-25 polls 8 times, twice in the top-10. It’s a solid football program.

Because Pac-12 football routinely earns little respect from other conferences, regular matchups (and wins) against BYU will help this. Our conference desperately needs appreciation.

Stanford Graduate K.J. Costello Transfers Joins Mike Leach at Mississippi State

Even though Mike Leach departed the Pac-12, he managed to bring grad-transfer, K.J. Costello, with him. In three seasons and 29 games, Costello compiled:

  • 6,151 Passing Yards
  • 49 Touchdowns
  • 18 Interceptions
  • 143.8 Quarterback Rating
  • 62.6-Percent Completion Percentage

It’s a known quantity that Mike Leach’s Air Raid Offense is extremely quarterback friendly. Nabbing a veteran quarterback like Costello is an excellent transfer for Mississippi State’s depth.

Arizona State’s Defensive Line Coach Jamar Cain Departs for Oklahoma

Losing Jamar Cain is a big one for Arizona State. Cain, in just one season with Arizona State, improved them drastically. Most notably, Cain’s recruiting lifted the program higher. He is responsible for recruiting Daniyel Ngata, Elijhah Badger, and Omarr Norman-Lott.

Because of his abilities, he was considered the fifth-best recruiter in the Pac-12. Thankfully for ASU, they at least got one year out of him. But, Arizona State is going to miss him. Great signing for Oklahoma. Big loss for the Sun Devils.

Pac-12 Football Review: Three Pac-12 Teams Send Offers to Clay Millen

Pac-12 Football Review: Senior Bowl, Clay Millen Offers, Todd Orlando

Pac-12 Football Players Light up the Senior Bowl

First off, before any other news is commented on, first look at Eric Bean’s 2020 Senior Bowl Review. In it, he goes into great detail on each Pac-12 football player and how they performed. Spoiler alert: they shined!

Multiple Pac-12 Football Programs Vie for Clay Millen

After Oregon State’s latest offer, Clay Millen now holds offers from Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, UNLV. After sitting his freshman and sophomore year, Millen produced a fantastic junior season.

  • 256 completions on 360 attempts
  • 3,145 passing yards
  • 34 passing touchdowns
  • 1 interception

Because of this promising junior season, the 6-foot-3 quarterback out of Snoqualmie earned 4-star ranks in recruiting.

To Pac-12 football fans, the name Millen might sound familiar. That’s because his older brother Cale Millen plays as a backup quarterback for the Oregon Ducks. Additionally, his father Hugh Millen played for the Washington Huskies and in the NFL for eight years. Because of his size, family ties and breakout junior season, Clay Millen got noticed.

With another year to strut his stuff for Mount Si, Millen is certain to earn more than just Pac-12 football interest. However, we desperately want him to stay in the Pac-12.

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Gerald Alexander Leaves Cal, Golden Bears Sign Marcel Yates

Losing Gerald Alexander is a huge loss for the Cal Golden Bears. In three seasons as Cal’s defensive backs coach, he was pivotal in their defensive success. Alexander’s defensive backs rose to elite with his excellent coaching and leadership. Per, Cal’s 2018 defense was top-ten in the nation in:

  • Interceptions
  • Defensive touchdowns
  • Turnovers gained
  • Passing yards allowed.

Among those stats, Alexander’s defensive backs accounted for:

  • 17 of 21 interceptions
  • 3 of 5 defensive touchdowns
  • 3 of 7 fumbles recovered

Thankfully, Cal hired Marcel Yates (recently fired Arizona Wildcats defensive coordinator) as defensive backs coach. Somehow, they talked Marcel Yates to be okay with a defensive assistance coach position. Now, the Bears have four coaches with defensive coordinator experience. Justin Wilcox, Tim DeRuyter, Peter Sirmon and Marcel Yates have a combined 41 years of D.C. experience. Well done Cal.

USC hires Todd Orlando as Defensive Coordinator

Recall that last week we mentioned that USC eyed Todd Orlando as their 2020 defensive coordinator. Well, now they made it official. However, Trojans need to temper expectations. Orlando is still a very speculative add. His 2019 Longhorns ranked 54th in Football Outsider’s DFEI rankings, almost matching USC’s 57th ranking. His middling 2019 defense got him fired from Texas, but his experience still got him hired for USC.

With 15 years as defensive coordinator, Orlando is known as an aggressive coach with positive influences. Hopefully, 2019 was just a blip on his career and due to the Longhorns defensive injuries. If that’s the case, USC did exceptionally well.

Keep in mind, the Trojans somehow kept Graham Harrell at Offensive Coordinator. With Kedon Slovis and Graham Harrell at the offensive helm, USC football will certainly put up points. Because of this, Orlando’s defense can afford to be risky and aggressive. It could be the perfect fit for a USC team on the rise. Be ready for a surge up the ranks as USC. Pac-12 football’s 2020 champion could very well be USC.

UCLA Athletics Rack up an 18.9-Million Dollar Deficit

As if UCLA wasn’t already at a low point in Pac-12 football, now they’re running a nearly 20-million dollar deficit. Yikes. Although they generated 108.4-million dollars in revenue, the UCLA Athletics Department ran up 127.3-million dollars in expenses. Because of this, the deficit was covered by an interest-bearing loan from central campus.

For the budget nerds out there, we’d highly recommend you read this work by Jon Wilner of Mercury News. In it, he breaks down the Bruins debt in detail, along with any solutions. The biggest solution seems to be clear for most. UCLA needs to win games.