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Sunday, August 20, 2017

College Football

Duke’s David Cutcliffe critical of Josh Rosen comments

Duke football coach David Cutcliffe has become the latest figure to criticize UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen’s recent comments about balancing football and academics.

After Rosen said trying to play college football at a major program and excelling at academics “is like trying to do two full-time jobs,” he was criticized by many who oversimplified or misinterpreted his comments. Cutcliffe became the latest to do so on Friday.

Rosen’s comments were widely interpreted as saying that school wasn’t important for football players, including by other former student-athletes. In reality, he said anything but, and made several good points about the struggles of balancing a full academic schedule with being a top collegiate athlete. Cutcliffe and the others criticizing him would be smart to look at his full comments in context and explain what, exactly, is so objectionable about them.

Hugh Freeze threatened to have reporter at his door arrested

Hugh Freeze

Hugh Freeze has maintained a low profile ever since resigning as Ole Miss’ football coach. And he apparently has no desire to speak with reporters.

The Washington Post’s Will Hobson published a lengthy piece Thursday about the Ole Miss situation with the NCAA. Most of his article centered around Barney Farrar, a former Ole Miss athletic department worker who was accused of multiple NCAA violations. Hobson’s article paints a picture of Farrar being a fall guy for the Rebels’ program.

One interesting tidbit from the story was about Freeze reportedly threatening to have an inquisitive reporter arrested. From Hobson’s story:

Freeze, who answered the door of his Oxford home last week, declined to answer questions about Farrar and threatened to have a reporter arrested.

Maybe Freeze didn’t like being bothered at home.

Freeze, 47, became the Ole Miss head coach ahead of the 2012 season. He helped turn the Rebels around and back into a winner as they had been early in Houston Nutt’s tenure. Under Freeze, Ole Miss twice achieved the No. 3 ranking in the AP poll, which was their highest AP ranking since 1964. He resigned as head coach in July amid a controversy over phone calls he reportedly made to an escort service.

Nick Saban: Schools should not be limited in amount of staff they can hire

Nick Saban

With the NCAA looking at possible limits on college football staff sizes, Alabama coach Nick Saban is unsurprisingly against that idea.

Saban, whose Crimson Tide have one of the largest staffs in the NCAA, believes that staffs are investments in players — and schools who see it as a competitive advantage are free to do it too.

Saban has a big group of assistants that he can sometimes be quite critical of. He knows, of course, that not every school has the budget to hire a boatload of coaches, and left unregulated, it could certainly present an advantage for certain teams.

Wisconsin’s Jack Cichy will miss 2017 season after suffering torn ACL

Jack Cichy sacks

The Wisconsin Badgers were forced to overcome a series of injuries last season and may have to face a similar fate in 2017.

It was announced on Thursday that star linebacker Jack Cichy, who has worked with the No. 1 unit all camp, will miss the entire 2017 season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee.

“You hate it for Jack,” head coach Paul Chryst said in a press release via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “You only get so many chances to play this game and you never want to see a guy miss any of those opportunities.

“He’s one of the leaders of our team and I know he’ll be a big part of what we do moving forward this season.”

Wisconsin officials say Cichy suffered the injury on Tuesday, but was able to practice with it on Wednesday. He’s now scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery on Friday.

Cichy also missed the team’s final seven games last season after suffering a torn pectoral muscle, but still earned an All-Big Ten honorable mention.

Les Miles says he will be joining media, working in TV

Les Miles

Les Miles was unable to secure a return to head coaching for the upcoming season, so he’s decided to do the next best thing: join the media.

Miles told The Advocate’s Ross Dellenger that he will be joining the media in multiple roles, including TV this fall.

“I’m going to be in media and in a number of different places,” Miles told Dellenger. “and I’m going to have a blast.”

Miles was fired mid-season by LSU last year and pursued multiple jobs. His name came up for the Houston, Minnesota and Western Michigan jobs, but nothing developed. With time running out, a TV/media position seemed like a possibility for Miles.

The 63-year-old tried out for FOX recently but said he wasn’t ready to try TV yet. Apparently he has changed his mind. It remains to be seen which network he joins.

Jim Mora had ‘productive conversation’ with Josh Rosen

Jim Mora UCLA

Jim Mora spent part of his day on Tuesday speaking with Josh Rosen after the star quarterback’s comments about football and academics made headlines.

Mora, who is entering his sixth season as UCLA’s head coach, joined “The Dan Patrick Show” on Wednesday and spent much of the time discussing Rosen’s comments. At first he tried to deflect things before acknowledging he had a “very productive conversation” with the junior QB.

“We’re right in the middle of camp, pretty focused, our days are pretty full,” Mora told Patrick. “It’s pretty much all about ball. I did have a conversation with one particular player — a very, very productive conversation. We’re moving forward and we’re getting ready for the season.”

Mora then attempted to explain where Rosen was coming from when he discussed how football and school are incompatible.

“I think it’s important to know this about Josh Rosen: He’s very, very, very well respected by his coaches and his teammates because we see on a daily basis his commitment, his work ethic, his attitude, his passion for football. We also know he’s an incredibly intelligent young man that does have opinions. Oftentimes, those opinions are conveyed to others because he is trying to bring attention to some that are less fortunate or have less than he does, and at times he feels are being taken advantage of,” Mora told Patrick.

“The message to Josh is: It’s OK to have opinions. And as a 20-year-old you’re going to have opinions now that maybe you don’t have when you’re 22, 23, 30, 50, 60 that are maybe different from when you were 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. But when you express those opinions, you create perceptions, you create controversy, and you have to be willing to live with the consequences.”

Mora was asked about Rosen saying playing major college football and trying to keep up with a rigorous academic load is like having two full-time jobs. The QB also said that schools are more interested in just keeping their players eligible rather than actually seeing them do what’s best.

“Do I know for a fact whether or not his opinions are valid? No. I do know this: Forbes did an article comparing academic and athletic excellence, and UCLA ranked second behind Stanford,” Mora said. “We spend millions of dollars on academic support. We’re not just trying to keep them eligible; we’re trying to graduate them. Our graduation success rate is the second-highest in the Pac-12 to Stanford. So I’m very comfortable with all of our sports programs.”

Mora acknowledged that being a college student is “incredibly demanding,” so he recognizes it is not easy to do both. His message to his QB was: be careful about what you say.

“My job as an educator — as a coach at UCLA — is to help these young men understand how to move through life in a positive, respectful way, where the reflections people have of them are going to be positive.

“There’s a thing called freedom of speech in the United States of America. Part of the learning process is sometimes saying things that come back to bite you a little bit. That doesn’t mean you can’t have opinions and that doesn’t mean that you can’t work behind the scenes to try and make things better for everyone. The things that we say … we have to own. So we have to be careful what we say. That doesn’t mean we can’t have opinion. And if we have an opinion, let’s try to also offer solution.”

Mora described Rosen as empathetic and painted Rosen as someone who says things in a way to try and stand up for less fortunate players.

It was only two weeks ago that Mora expressed delight over Rosen keeping a lower profile. So you know that he’s not exactly thrilled Rosen was all over the national conversation this week.

You can listen to the entire interview below:

Steve Spurrier zings LSU with recruiting line

Steve Spurrier

The Head Ball Coach can still bring the heat as well as ever.

Steve Spurrier was speaking at the Independence Bowl’s Kickoff Luncheon on Wednesday and was talking about recruiting when he zinged LSU with a great line. Here’s what Spurrier said to the crowd, according to the Shreveport Times’ Roy Lang III.

LSU knows all about that because they recently fired Les Miles for not meeting expectations despite seemingly having top recruits.

Spurrier has never missed a chance to jab his opponents. For more of his awesomeness, take a look at our compilation of his best quotes ever.

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