All Coaching Aside

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Being a head coach in college football is not just about coaching. While actually coaching football is the cornerstone of the job, the majority of the job now consists of selling, raising money and riling up the fan base. Sounds more like a politician than being a football coach.

There was once a time when Nebraska was the 800lbs gorilla in College Football. That changed in recent years and now they have the ‘nicest guy in the coaching’ Mike Riley heading up their program. Riley, like a lot of other coaches, is out shaking hands, making appearances, and selling the program to future recruits.

Nebraska’s recent video reflects the importance of quality PR when you are trying to put a program back on track. It captures some of the beliefs that Riley has and plans to instill and is actually pretty damn cool.

Yes, coaching on the collegiate level is more than just coaching, especially when you have to get a program back on track. Just look at Tennessee. Lane Kiffin was terrible at PR and Derek Dooley wasn’t much better. Butch Jones on the other hand has embraced the role like seasoned politician. He has riled up the fan base, taken pictures, shaken hands and has done a little bit of that coaching part too. He was gotten Tennessee on the road back to prominence or at the very least, raised expectations.

Former Texas head coach Mack Brown may have been the best at this. He had to constantly win people over in probably the most demanding job in all of college football (and probably in all of Texas.) Pat Forde wrote a great series about Brown a few years ago called Constant Eyes Of Texas or CEO of TexasIt seems that a lot of coaches now are pulling pages out of Brown’s book on how to run a successful modern day college football program. They are being part football coach and part politician.

Being a head coach in major college football is a very tough job. You are the face of the program and the only constant it has. With that comes great monetary reward but also great scrutiny, just like any high profile politician. In order to be successful in this day and age, the PR part is almost as important as the coaching part.

The Other Takeaway

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

While the sports landscape is being dominated by Donald Sterling and Michael Sam one interesting detail flew below the headlines this past weekend. The University of Texas did not have a player drafted in the NFL Draft for the first time since 1937.

Texas Longhorns

The players that were eligible for the 2014 draft were part of the 2009 recruiting class (more or less). The 2009 recruiting class at Texas ranked #3 according to ESPN and #5 according to Rivals respectively. Not one of the them was drafted by an NFL team. In fact, that class had a 31-20 record at Texas.

This should be a clear indicator as to why former Texas Head Coach Mack Brown is out of a job. It should also point to why the new Head Coach is Charlie Strong was hired on.

Coach Strong’s previous team, Louisville, had three players taken in the first round of this years draft and four overall. According to Rivals.com,  the 2009 recruiting class at Louisville ranked 77th.

That brings us to the other major take away, recruiting rankings mean nothing at the end of the day. NOTHING.

 

How The Mighty Have Fallen

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Texas, Nebraska and Tennessee have over 2,500 wins in their history. They have some 27 National Championships between them and they lost Saturday by a combined score of 144-58. The most telling stat of all is that the three teams gave up a combined 128 unanswered points.

THE FALL

These three universities have at one point or another been the program in college football at some point over the last 20 years. All three have big donors, the best facilities and a massive fan base. All that didn’t help them on Saturday as they were all embarrassed.

While all three loses were hard they were not all equal. Texas my have been the worse. With high hopes coming into the season they are now 1-2, fired their Defensive Coordinator a week ago and have given up 1,128 total yards in the last two weeks.

They’re in trouble and their Head Coach Mack Brown is firmly on the hot seat.

Nebraska was hoping for better results as well. They have a four year starting QB in Taylor Martinez but their legendary “Blackshirt” defense has been torched this season giving up almost 30 points a game on average. Yesterday was a complete meltdown in the 2nd half as they gave up 38 unanswered points to UCLA.

There may be some hope in Lincoln because they can score a lot of points with Martinez but their vaunted defense hasn’t struck fear into opponents since Ndaukong Suh was their.

Tennessee has been a beaten down program over the last 5 years. They haven’t beaten a Top 25 team since Halloween 2009 and Saturday saw the worse lost in Tennessee history. A program that knew it was in the rebuilding process were harshly reminded of it on Saturday afternoon.

Tennessee will be happy to be bowl eligable this season.

The great thing about College Football is, as Lou Holtz says, ‘You have a different team every week.’ These teams will march on the question is, will it be to victory?