Sports fans certainly remember the story of Pat Tillman, an NFL safety who retired from the game following September 11th and enlisted in the army. Jon Krakauer, author of Into Thin Air and Into The Wild, brings the story to life in a 2009 release. Check out Andrew Bucholtz’ review of the book.
Two of college football’s most renowned offensive minds are teaming up, and it could make for an explosive combination. Famed former Hawaii and NFL coach June Jones, who’s been the head coach at Southern Methodist University since 2008, has brought the legendary Hal Mumme in as offensive coordinator for this season.
The endless years of NCAA realignment discussion seem to have died down for the moment, and the SEC has come out on top. That’s not surprising. The conference has been the dominant NCAA football power for most of the last decade, winning the last seven BCS championships, and that success arguably carried over to the realignment realm, where they didn’t lose anyone and added two impressive schools in Texas A&M and Missouri. Considering how disastrously realignment went for many, that’s not bad at all.
The news came out late last week that an elite athlete can’t participate in his sport for a year. That’s hardly uncommon: heck, it even happened more than once last week alone, but things tend to get weirder and more unusual when you’re talking about college sports, though, and that’s what makes the case of Everett Golson stand out. It all begs the question of what role academics ought to play in the NCAA.
Titus Young was arrested for a third time in a span of a week recently, a concerning feat that’s had the sports blogosphere quipping ever since. As Andrew Bucholtz explains, however, given the possibility of mental illness – or even traumatic brain injury as Young’s father claims – the case in general is one that the football community is going to have to find a better way of dealing with.
This year’s NFL draft starts on Thursday, and it may begin with a selection that’s more remarkable than it seems. The prevailing consensus amongst draft experts is that the Kansas City Chiefs will take an offensive tackle first overall, either Texas A & M’s Luke Joeckel or Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher. At first, that might appear to be a dull story: many see going for an offensive lineman with the top pick as both a safe move and a reflection of the lack of elite quarterback prospects in this draft. However, taking an offensive lineman first overall is highly unusual in the NFL’s recent history, and that represents an important story in its own right.
Football coaches everywhere should be keeping a close eye on the story of Mike Rice. The former Rutgers men’s basketball coach was fired this week after video evidence of him physically and verbally abusing players surfaced, and the scandal has since engulfed athletic director Tim Pernetti (who resigned) and school president Robert Barchi (who’s still there, for the moment). It’s a story that could go well beyond basketball, though, and there are plenty of implications for football, a sport where many coaches have long been known for being hard on their players.
Running back has long been an important position in the NFL, but as a title, it’s a bit of a misnomer. In reality, the position’s often about much more than just running ability, especially in today’s league where there’s such an emphasis on passing. This year in particular, with a new head coach on board in Chicago, Bears’ RB Matt Forte stands to cash in on the air game.
While the upcoming NFL draft is full of prospects whose potential draft position feels all over the place thanks to off-the-field issues, including infamously-catfished Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and infamously-undisciplined Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree, there’s one player in particular who sparks notably different opinions of him based solely on his on-field performance. That would be West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith.
It’s hard to think of a sports medicine figure as well-known as Dr. James Andrews. In addition to handling some of the trickiest operations on big-name sports stars from Adrian Peterson to Brett Favre to Albert Pujols, Andrews is the official team doctor for the Washington Redskins, the Tampa Bay Rays and both Auburn University and the University of Alabama, possibly the only figure who could survive being associated with both of those fierce rivals at once. Andrew Bucholtz takes a good look at his new book.