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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

College Football

Chip Kelly responds to criticism from QB’s father

Chip Kelly

If Chip Kelly was bothered by the criticism he faced from the father of UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, he certainly did not show it.

Kelly was asked on Tuesday about the criticism from DTR’s father and said he had “no response,” while adding that everyone is entitled to an opinion.

“I have no response. I mean, everybody’s entitled to their opinion; that’s what’s the great thing about sports. When you win, people say good things and when you don’t win, people don’t say good things. That’s life, you know?” Kelly said, via the Los Angeles Times’ Ben Bolch.

Kelly was also asked whether the comments put Dorian in a tough spot. He said that was a question for the quarterback to answer, and added that he enjoys coaching the QB.

Kelly is in his first season as UCLA’s head coach, and the season has gone terribly. The team is 0-3 and in danger of experiencing one of the worst seasons in school history. Graduate transfer quarterback Wilton Speight suffered a back injury in the opener against Cincinnati, leading UCLA to go with Thompson-Robinson, a true freshman.

Thompson-Robinson, who was a highly-ranked recruit coming out of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, has served as the Bruins’ quarterback since Speight got hurt, and he has not performed well. He has completed 54.7 percent of his passes for 522 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, while rushing for 21 yards. Thompson-Robinson has struggled with his accuracy and command of the offense and has looked very much like an inexperienced true freshman.

After the Bruins got blasted 38-14 at home by Fresno State, a game in which DTR completed just 10 of 24 passes and was even off the mark on some of the passes he did complete, his father criticized Kelly via Twitter.

Yes, that’s Robinson calling Kelly’s time at Oregon a “fluke,” even though Kelly was 46-7 over four seasons and went to four straight BCS games there. That is consistent top-notch performance and very much the opposite of a fluke. As for the “duped” claim, Thompson-Robinson was recruited by previous Bruins coach Jim Mora, but stood by his commitment to the school even after the change to Kelly.

Robinson should realize how lucky his son is to have an opportunity to start as a true freshman for a major program and to play for such an accomplished coach. The tweets come across as nothing more than the selfish, bitter rantings of a frustrated father who is blaming the coach for everything and not assigning any responsibility to his son, who has not played well.

Robinson is doing himself and his son no favors with his comments. If he’s trying to follow in LaVar Ball’s footsteps, he should rethink his strategy.

Texas fans feel TCU coach slighted QB Sam Ehlinger

Sam Ehlinger

Some Texas fans feel that TCU coach Gary Patterson was slighting Sam Ehlinger with a comment made about the Longhorns quarterback on Tuesday.

Texas and TCU will face off on Saturday, with the Horned Frogs entering the series having won four in a row between them. Texas has won two in a row since dropping their opener against Maryland. Ehlinger has thrown for two touchdowns in each game, and he’s also rushed for a score in each of the last two games.

Talking about Ehlinger, Patterson called the quarterback Texas’ X-factor because he’s like a running back playing quarterback.

Texas has often let Ehlinger run the ball on keepers and RPOs. He even was the team’s leading rusher last year, though that had a lot to do with the team’s inability to find a consistent rushing option (five players had over 250 yards rushing).

The reality is that Ehlinger runs a lot and can run the ball, as Patterson noted. That’s probably not shade from the coach but rather an accurate observation. Of course, most believe a quarterback should be known for his passing first and any other skills second, which is why some Texas fans did not like the comment.

Bryce Love to play against Oregon after missing game with injury

Bryce Love

Bryce Love sat out Stanford’s game against UC-Davis last week with an undisclosed injury, and he was not needed in an easy 30-10 win over the FCS opponent. Fortunately, he will be available in a much tougher matchup against Oregon on Saturday.

Stanford head coach David Shaw confirmed on Tuesday that Love will be ready to face the Ducks.

“Bryce is great,” Shaw said in a conference call with reporters, via ESPN’s Joel Anderson. “He’s ready to go and fired up for this weekend.”

Love originally left in the fourth quarter of Stanford’s 17-3 win over USC on Sept. 8 after taking a big hit, and there has been speculation that he may have suffered a concussion. However, Shaw said after that game that the star running back would have been able to return if he was needed.

It makes sense that Stanford decided to give Love rest against an easy opponent last week, but he must have been dealing with some sort of ailment. The dynamic tailback, who was one of our top 10 Heisman Trophy candidates coming into the season, has rushed for just 165 yards this year after piling up 2,118 yards on the ground and averaging an incredible 8.1 yards per carry a season ago.

Lane Kiffin has very high praise for UCF

Lane Kiffin

Florida Atlantic will face one of its toughest opponents of the season on Friday night, and Lane Kiffin believes it will be as difficult of a task as facing any team in the country.

With his team preparing to take on No. 16-ranked UCF this week, Kiffin seemed to indicate he agrees that the Knights could have been in the College Football Playoff last season. As far as Kiffin is concerned, facing UCF is like matching up against an SEC team.

Coming from a guy who was both a head coach and an offensive coordinator in the SEC, that is a noteworthy compliment.

If you subscribe to what one FAU player said about the Owls prior to the season, Friday night’s game might as well be a showdown between SEC powerhouse teams. UCF may not be quite as strong as a year ago under Scott Frost, but the Knights have not lost a game since 2016. Kiffin’s team was dismantled by Oklahoma to start off the season, and he knows they will have to be much better to hang with UCF.

Report: NCAA considering rule to ban fake fair catch punt return

Keegan Brewer

The NCAA is considering a rule that would ban the fake fair catch punt return, according to a report.

North Texas went viral on Saturday for running a fake fair catch punt return for a touchdown in their win over Arkansas. Though the play was widely celebrated for its execution and seeming ingenuity, we called it out immediately for being an abuse of a rule designed for player safety. The NCAA may see it the same way.

ESPN Arkansas’ Tommy Craft reported Monday that the NCAA football rules committee is considering a rule amendment that would ban fake fair catch punt returns.

Here’s why the play should not be allowed.

Punt returns and kick returns are among the most dangerous plays in football. Players are running at full speed and collisions happen at all angles, which can potentially result in severe injuries. Football rules have evolved to try and make these plays more safe. On punt returns, returners are allowed to signal for a fair catch, which prevents them from advancing the ball, but more importantly, prevents them from being hit.

Players on the punt coverage teams — the gunners — are instructed not to hit a player who has called for a fair catch to avoid being penalized. If there is any doubt about whether a returner called for fair catch, these players are operating on good faith by not hitting the returner. That good faith should not be abused and taken advantage of in the way North Texas did.

If there is ever confusion about whether a fair catch was called, you want players erring on the side of caution and player safety by showing restraint and not hitting a vulnerable punt returner. By allowing teams to toy with this good faith through fakes, you are incentivizing punt coverage teams to hit the punt returner in cases of doubt. This could also lead to retribution hits as well. These types of hits could lead to serious injuries, which is what the sport is trying to eliminate.

This sort of play should never have been conceived, practiced, or used by North Texas, and it shouldn’t be allowed. The referees on the field should not have allowed it. The NCAA needs to step up immediately and ban the play if they care about player safety as much as they claim to.

H/T 247 Sports

8 things the college football polls got wrong after Week 3

Ohio State logo

We’re starting to get an idea of which college football teams are for real and which might be in for a long 2018 season. The polls can be slow to adapt to rises and falls in fortune, so we’re here to take a look at which teams are getting a bit too much credit — or not enough — from both the AP voters and the coaches.

Here are eight issues we have with this week’s college football polls.

No. 4 Ohio State has the more impressive win than Georgia…

The consensus top four is pretty easy right now. Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, and Ohio State all look to be above everyone else at the moment. Alabama has clout as the nation’s best team. After that, it’s a matter of ordering it. Ohio State and Georgia both have top 25 wins this season. Georgia, ranked No. 3 in the Coaches Poll and No. 2 in the AP, beat then-ranked South Carolina on the road. Ohio State handled TCU in a neutral site game, albeit one in Arlington, Texas. That win is more impressive. If that matters, even at this early stage of the season, the Buckeyes could justify a No. 2 ranking.


Urban Meyer denies deleting old text messages

Urban Meyer

One of the interesting findings of Ohio State’s investigation into the conduct of head coach Urban Meyer was that there was evidence that old text messages had been deleted and attempts had been made to adjust his phone settings to make that happen.

Many viewed that finding as evidence that something improper had taken place relating to Meyer’s handling of former assistant Zach Smith, but in his first press conference after the conclusion of his suspension Monday, Meyer denied that he had ever deleted any text messages or changed the settings on his phone.

The text message findings were a key part of the investigation and were cited as evidence of “consciousness of guilt” on Meyer’s part. His denial very much does not line up with that finding.

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