The Man Baylor Needs

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


While you can read about what is happening at Baylor at ESPN, Fox Sports, Deadspin, etc, I like to look to the next step, who Baylor should hire next. That person is a former Baylor All-American linebacker, Mike Singletary.

Fox Sports Bruce Feldman brought up this point on the latest edition of ‘The Audible’.

Singletary is the guy for right now. Not only is he the straightest shooter you’ll probably ever meet but he has also taken the time to learn more about the job of being a head coach. He’s been learning everything he can about the X’s and O’s since he left his head coaching job.

He’s a man of faith and family and this is his alma mater. How ill the allegations may make you feel, it’s even worse if that is your school and this is his school so one can only image how painful this is for him. 

Can he adjust to the collegiate game is the big question. The NCAA rules and regulations, recruiting, etc. It would be an adjustment for him for sure but if he got the right staff around him then one could only hope that he would run a good, clean program. 

Baylor needs Mike Singletary and needs him now.

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QB Quandary In Quebec

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Believe it or not but football is almost upon us. Canadian Football that is. Training camp opens in a couple of days and a lot of eyes are on the Montreal Alouettes. The main reason is because they traded for the rights for Vernon Adams to add to the other seven that are currently on the roster. That’s a quarterback competition if there ever was one.

Let’s make no mistake, Vernon Adams is tailor made for the CFL. It’s a wide open game but it takes some getting use to. Unlimited motion, three downs, 12 men a side and the field is significantly bigger. Some QB’s that should transition well fail miserably. So it is not a given that Adams will walk in and be anointed the starter. He better hope to just make team.

The Al’s have had QB issues ever since future Hall of Famer Anthony Calvillo retired. Calvillo is now the offensive coordinator and Head Coach/General Manager Jim Popp appears to be grooming him to be the Al’s headman down the line.

Al's QB

Calvillo will have to devote time to seven other QB’s besides Adams. From former Tennessee signal caller Jonathan Crompton, Marshall’s Rakeem Cato, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and under-appreciated CFL vet Kevin Glenn among others. While CFL teams are known for having to use least two QB’s during a season, eight QB’s on a roster is lot no matter what league you are in.

Kevin Glenn MontrealIt would appear that Glenn would be the opening day starter. He is seventh all time in passing which puts him in front of Hall of Famer’s Doug Flutie, Matt Dunigan and Tracy Ham. Glenn also has 255 career TD’s which puts him 10th on the all time list.

Adams has the tools to be a very successful CFL quarterback but he has his work cut out for him. He would have been better served staying in Vancouver and signing with the BC Lions or even getting shipped off to the Toronto Argonauts because both teams have seen their veteran QB’s fail to stay healthy. Either way let’s see what Adams can do in his third offensive system in as many years.

From Sports To Tech

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


I came across an uplifting article on Mashable this week about former San Francisco 49ers Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis. Willis retired from the sport a year ago and now works for storage company in Silicon Valley. Not exactly what you were expecting from the former linebacker was it? Funny thing, he won’t be the only former athlete in tech.

Patrick Willis LinkedIN

Sam Laird’s article touched on how Willis went from gridiron to boardroom and it’s really refreshing to see. There are so many stories about players having health and financial issues after their playing days are done. To see a man go from the poorest of the poor in the deep south to first round draft pick and now Executive Vice President of a tech company. Pretty impressive stuff.

Willis isn’t going to be the exception. Golden State Warriors forward and 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala signed with Warriors a few years ago in part because of the tech industry. He works closely with Andreessen Horowitz, invests heavily in tech and it’s pretty clear that he will join the industry after his playing days are over.

Willis and Iguodala are showing other athletes how it can be done especially if you live in the Bay Area. You don’t have to be a megastar to be able to pivot and find success in another industry. While you will always hear the story about the athlete who lost it all, you will also be hearing, I hope, more stories like the one about Willis and Igoudala.

That Didn’t Last Long

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Jaryyd Hayne’s venture into the NFL didn’t last long. In fact it lasted only one full season. Hayne ‘retired’ this past week to return to the world of rugby. Specifically he is playing with Fiji Rugby Sevens team in the Olympics this summer. Does this effect future non-football athletes from getting a shot in the NFL?

When Hayne left the Parramatta Eels he said, ‘I’m always telling people to chase their dreams and follow their hearts, if I don’t live by that I’m not being honest with myself.’ Now instead of sticking to that dream he is giving up on it to pursue another one.

While his circumstances have changed with the San Francisco 49ers as they changed out head coaches this off-season (Jim Tomsula is out and Chip Kelly is in). Kelly said that he was ‘surprised’ by Hayne’s decision but that he understood it. This leads one to believe that Hayne did have a shot at the 49ers roster with the new coach and that continuing his dream of playing the NFL was still a viable option.

It was less than a week a go that the 49ers were talking about how they expected Hayne to make a ‘major impact’ with the team in 2016.

Hayne could have been a solid NFL player. A great player? Maybe but the percentages of that were probably low and maybe that was a deciding factor is his decision to leave and pursue yet another dream. The fact is is that only Hayne knows for sure. What we do know is that Hayne had a legitimate shot at becoming a solid NFL player and I wish him the best of luck in the Olympics.

Worth The Risk?

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Every now and then you have to scratch your head and wonder what a particular athlete was thinking. The latest is Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford. Bradford signed a new deal ( two-years at $36 million with $22 million guaranteed) and then asked to be traded because the Eagles traded up in the NFL Draft and selected a quarterback (Carson Wentz). Then Bradford doesn’t show up to voluntary workouts only to then show up and rescind his trade request. This from a quarterback who cannot stay healthy and has never made the playoffs.

Sam BradfordWe forget that Bradford was once the number one overall pick by the then St Louis Rams in 2010. A draft that saw the next six picks all became Pro Bowlers. He was supposed to be the first franchise quarterback they had since hall of famer Kurt Warner.

Then he got hurt.

He had not one but several season ending injuries with one causing him to miss an entire season. He was then traded to Philly before last season in exchange for Nick Foles where he was injured again but this time he only missed two games.

Now for the crazy numbers.

Bradford is 25-37-1 as a starter and has never led a team to the playoffs. Yet after his two-year deal he will have made some $114 million and still be under 30 years old.

I get he wanted to be traded. He’s a competitive guy and believes that he can do the job and get the Eagles, or some other team, to the Super Bowl. He probably doesn’t fell like he should have to compete for the quarterback job but facts are facts; Bradford hasn’t played a full season since 2012 who just singed a relatively big money deal. Not exactly awesome trade material.

BradfordWhat did he think when the Eagles signed veteran backup Chase Daniels? Why not “demand” a trade then? So the Eagles traded up to get their quarterback of the future in Wentz. Did Bradford think that the Eagles were just going to hand him the job and not hedge their bets?

Hopefully Bradford fulfills the promise that made him the top overall pick of the draft and Offensive Rookie of the Year. It would be nice to see him prove the doubters wrong and lead the Eagles to the playoffs. But he has to prove it and while history is not indicative of future success, even Bradford himself must understand that the Eagles have to manage their risk.

The Sunday: Hooks & History

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


The KO

So Saul “Canelo” Alvarez knocked Amir Khan out cold on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Finally a boxing match with an actual finish!

 

Big Fly

NY Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon is 42 years old (and that could be debatable). He hit his first ever home run on Saturday night in San Diego. Yes, it is as amazing as it sounds and it nearly broke twitter.

Not to be outdone, Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh homered off a tee. Then dropped the bat and dabbed.

 

The Hook

An nothing may have been more impressive than Sporting KC’s Brad Davis’ goal against his former club last weekend.

 

FIRED UP

How fired up does Diego Simone of Atletico Madrid get during a Champions League match? So much so that he hit his assistant.

 

They Did It

Leicester City did it. They won the Premier League title when Tottenham drew with Chelsea on Monday. The best City had ever finished with second back in 1929. The biggest winners? The people who put money down on City to win the Premier League Title at 5,000-1 odds.

 

The Youngster

Speaking of history, the Arizona Coyotes made it this week by hiring the youngest GM in major sports history. John Chayka is just 26 years old and he is now in charge of leading the Coyotes to the promised land. So yes, this officially makes the Coyotes the NHL’s version of the Oakland A’s.

More Steps Forward

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


The Big Sky Conference (that’s FBS for those of you playing at home) recently announced that Andrea Williams will become it’s new commissioner. She will be the 10th female commissioner at the Division 1 level and while that may seem like a lot it isn’t but it’s a start.

As “open minded” as college’s like to claim they are, they are some of the oldest institutions in America and some old habits die hard. While Williams has never set foot in Ogden, Greeley, Bozeman or Grand Forks she is incredibly qualified for the role of commissioner. She served as associate commissioner for the Big Ten conference for the last decade so her hiring makes sense on a lot of levels but it does beg the question, why are their not more female commissioners or athletic directors across the country?

MacLeodIt was only last year where a female was given the reins of a non-power five school (Judy MacLeod at Conference USA) and there are zero in charge of a power five conference. MacLeod is the only female commissioner at a conference where football brings in major dollars (although the Big Sky is nothing to shake a stick at). It took until 2015 for this to happen? Really?

The major football conferences (SEC, Big Ten, ACC, Big 12, PAC-12) may never have a female commissioner. In fact it would be a major coup for them to have an African-American as a commissioner. We’re not talking associate or assistant commissioners here, we’re talking about the big cheese who is in charge of the whole shebang.

Why?

These are some old school organizations and football is king. It is, let’s face it, a good ole boys club. With all due respect, this may be fine most of the time but it can also be a hinderance and lead to a lack of perspective.

Look at the overall picture of current issues facing athletic conferences. There is the issue of concussions in football which is the sport that brings in most of the revenue and paying of players. Wouldn’t a different perspective on these issues lead to solutions that we could all agree on?

Williams is a great choice for the role of commissioner of the underrated Big Sky Conference. She represents another step in getting more diverse leadership at the top of collegiate conferences.

Winners of the Draft

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


The 2016 NFL Draft is finally over and the Cleveland Browns came out on top. No I am not kidding. The Browns traded out of the second slot in the first round, accumulated draft picks and then snagged former PAC-12 Defensive Player of the Year Scooby Wright III with the 250th pick in the seventh round. Yes, they won but they were not the only winners.

The Browns need a lot of help on the field and while there seems to finally be some direction in the front office, only time will tell if they got the help they needed. The front office did send all of the right signals by moving out of the number two slot in the first and ending up with 14 picks overall.

Their first round pick, Corey Coleman, may be the best wide receiver in the draft while third round pick Carl Nassib was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and has a lot of room to grow. Throw in former USC quarterback Cody Kessler, Colorado State wide receiver Rashard Higgins and the aforementioned Wright and that is a heck of a draft.

The Browns were not the only winners. Many feel that the Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos all had outstanding drafts.

The Jags walk away with arguably two top 10 picks with cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Myles Jack. Jack fell into the second round due to health concerns but even with those concerns, he’s still one of the better athletes in the draft.

The Rams traded up to get Cal quarterback Jared Goff with the first overall pick but then took South Carolina wideout Pharoh Cooper in the fourth round and signed all time PAC-12 receptions leader Nelson Spruce as a free agent. Talk about surrounding your new QB with weapons.

Eddie YarbroughDenver traded up to get their QB of the future in Paxton Lynch. Add in former Utah running back Devontae Booker along with free agents wide receiver Bralon Addison of Oregon and defensive end Eddie Yarbrough of Wyoming. The defending Super Bowl champs proved to be shrewd and calculated.

We won’t really know what teams did well and what teams didn’t do well for a few years. At first glance the Browns, Jags, Rams and Broncos seem to be headed in the right direction. He chose well, filled needs and didn’t over stretch. Now let’s see if it pans out.