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#pounditTuesday, December 7, 2021


Watch: Bill Belichick delivered epic quote in locker room after beating Bills

Bill Belichick smiles in the locker room

Bill Belichick led the New England Patriots to what was clearly one of the proudest wins of his career on Monday night, and the coach delivered the perfect quote in the locker room after the game.

The Patriots were all high-fives and hugs following their 14-10 win over the Buffalo Bills. The game was played in freezing temperatures with winds that gusted up to 50 mph, and Belichick’s team looked better prepared than the opposition. Belichick summed that up with a simple declaration: “That’s why we practice in this s—!”

Belichick has always stressed the importance of practicing outside. He feels that is the only way to prepare his team for any type of weather they might have to face on game day. He spoke about practicing in all of the elements days before the Bills game.

The Patriots threw the ball just three times on Monday night. Bills head coach Sean McDermott may have been in no mood to talk about the tremendous coaching job Belichick did, but New England’s gameplan was a masterclass in adapting to the elements and executing. You can understand why the 69-year-old coach seemed so proud.

Brian Kelly has interesting comment on Notre Dame’s playoff credentials

Brian Kelly in a suit

Brian Kelly is weighing in on whether his departure should factor into Notre Dame’s case for inclusion in the College Football Playoff.

Kelly appeared on ESPN’s “College GameDay” on Saturday, and one of the questions he was asked was about whether his exit should impact Notre Dame’s playoff chances. The Fighting Irish are 11-1 and have a real shot at inclusion. Kelly’s response indicated that he clearly feels the team should be considered based on their record, and that he shouldn’t factor into it.

It’s worth noting that this is actually a key part of any debate on Notre Dame’s playoff credentials. CFP selection committee chairman Gary Barta indicated that the status of the team’s coach would be a factor when the committee debates which four teams should be included in the field. In other words, it’s plausible that Kelly’s decision to leave for LSU negatively impacts Notre Dame’s playoff chances.

Kelly is very much on the outs among Notre Dame faithful over the manner of his departure. However, he could certainly see a Notre Dame playoff bid as a way of burnishing his reputation and preserving whatever legacy he has left in South Bend. There’s no reason he wouldn’t want it to happen at this point.

Photo: Sep 28, 2019; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly waves to fans as he enters Notre Dame Stadium before the game against the Virginia Cavaliers. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban shares why he was surprisingly grateful for media’s ‘rat poison’

Nick Saban on the sidelines

There are few things Nick Saban hates more than “rat poison” from the media. But this week, he actually appreciated the rat poison.

Why? Because it finally worked in Alabama’s favor.

Alabama entered Saturday’s SEC Championship Game as a 6 or 7-point underdog against Georgia. The Crimson Tide’s offense struggled the week before against Auburn in the Iron Bowl, while Georgia’s defense has looked invincible.

All the talk that Bama was inferior to Georgia worked in Saban’s favor because it helped motivate his team. Saban said the rat poison from the media was “yummy.”

Is Saban saying things couldn’t have worked out better for his team? Maybe so.

The Tide will not necessarily be the favorites in the College Football Playoff either, which should work in Saban’s favor. Maybe the underdog status was all Saban needed.

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Brent Venables expected to be named Oklahoma head coach

Brent Venables in a Clemson hat

Oklahoma was dealt a major blow last week when Lincoln Riley left to take the head coaching job at USC, but they are replacing Riley with one of the most respected assistant coaches in college football.

Oklahoma is expected to name Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables their next head coach, ESPN’s Chris Low reports. The two sides are in the process of working out a deal and hope to have it finalized by Sunday.

Venables has spent the last 10 years as defensive coordinator under Dabo Swinney. He had associate head coach added to his title in 2018. The 50-year-old has been given a ton of credit for Clemson’s dominant run in recent years.

Venables also has deep ties to Oklahoma. He was an assistant coach there from 1999-2011 under former head coach Bob Stoops. Venables was co-defensive coordinator on the 2000 Sooners team that won the BCS National Championship.

Former Oklahoma players strongly endorsed Venables for the job this week. While the biggest rumor about the Sooners job involved a current NFL coach, Venables was viewed by many as the obvious choice.

Photo: Oct 2, 2021; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive coordinator Brent Venables prior to the game against the Boston College Eagles at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Texans have now achieved embarrassing Triple Crown of futility

David Culley

Congratulations are in order for the Houston Texans for achieving a level of atrociousness that few in the sports world ever have.

The Texans were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday with a blowout 31-0 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at home. It was an ugly showing all around, especially from the offense. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor got benched in the third quarter, Brandin Cooks was the only Houston wide receiver with a catch (recording a whopping three of them), and the team averaged a dismal 2.8 yards per play overall.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle shared that the Texans now found themselves ranked 32nd in the league in rushing, 32nd in passing, and 32nd in total offense after the game. The reverse Triple Crown!

The Texans entered the week already ranked 32nd in both rushing and total offense. They were holding strong though at 31st in passing over the Chicago Bears. But the Bears produced 229 yards through the air on Sunday to overtake the Texans, who managed just 94 in their game.

It has been the season from hell for Houston. At 2-10, the Texans are now just barely ahead of the 1-10-1 Detroit Lions for the worst record in the NFL. On the bright side though, head coach David Culley probably doesn’t care about any of their embarrassing statistics.

Photo: Sep 12, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans head coach David Culley waves while walking off the field after the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Kenyan Drake has message for NFL after suffering broken ankle

Kenyan Drake tackled

Kenyan Drake sent a message to the NFL on Sunday night after suffering a season-ending broken ankle earlier in the day.

Drake had one rush and one catch in the Raiders’ 17-15 loss to Washington in Week 13. Early in the second quarter, he rushed on a 2nd-and-5 play near midfield. Three Washington players converged on him, including Daniel Wise, who then dragged Drake backwards, breaking the running back’s ankle.

Drake exited the game and did not return. The injury knocked him out for the rest of the season and left him understandably upset.

The veteran running back sent a message to the NFL over Twitter, urging the league to ban the style of tackle that injured him.

“The #NFL needs to look at this specific style of tackling. They are throwing flags for taunting and protecting qbs from getting touched but this is my 2nd straight season being injured by a guy pulling me back and using his body weight to roll up my legs,” Drake wrote. “If the emphasis is to protect the players this should be an illegal form of tackling like a horse collar. We lose players weekly to high ankle sprains and broken bones but the league would rather flag players for erroneous taunting penalties. Let’s get the priorities together.”

The NFL forced defensive players to change their tackling style against quarterbacks to avoid using their bodyweight on hits. If they are able to do that, they can probably police against this type of tackle too.

One of the consequences of all these changes and rules is that offensive players have more and more advantages they never used to have. Drake and other offensive players probably would think that is great.

Manny Diaz fired by Miami, paving way for Mario Cristobal

Manny Diaz adjusts his headset

The University of Miami got one step closer to hiring Mario Cristobal as head football coach on Monday, as Manny Diaz has been fired.

Diaz has been informed by Miami that he is being let go, according to multiple reports.

The move was widely expected, as Miami has been working to hire Cristobal away from Oregon. The Hurricanes have reportedly offered Cristobal a sizable contract, and there was talk that they had given the coach a deadline of midday on Monday to make his decision.

Diaz finishes with a record of 25-15 at Miami. The 7-5 Hurricanes got off to a slow start this season before winning five of their last six regular-season games. They have been invited to the Sun Bowl, where they will play Washington State on New Year’s Eve.

Cristobal is a Miami native and was an all-conference player at Miami from 1989-1992. The 51-year-old was a graduate assistant there from 1998-2000 and an offensive position coach from 2004-2006. He has been viewed by many as a perfect fit, so the latest development with Diaz is hardly a surprise.

Photo: Oct 30, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz puts his headset on against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mario Cristobal informs Oregon he has accepted Miami job

Mario Cristobal in an Oregon shirt

Mario Cristobal is headed home to Miami.

Cristobal will be introduced as the next head football coach at the University of Miami in the very near future. After days of negotiating with Cristobal, Miami fired head coach Manny Diaz on Monday morning. Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reports that Cristobal held a players-only meeting at around the same time to inform his Oregon team he is leaving. Several of Cristobal’s staff members were on the road and learned of the official decision shortly thereafter.

The news is hardly a surprise. Cristobal has deep ties to Miami and has been viewed as almost too perfect of a fit. He a Miami native and was an all-conference player for the Hurricanes from 1989-1992. The 51-year-old was a graduate assistant at Miami from 1998-2000 and an offensive position coach from 2004-2006.

Cristobal will reportedly be getting a significant raise with Miami, though it’s unclear if he gave Oregon a chance to match the offer. He may have simply been set on coaching at his alma mater in the city where he grew up.

Oregon will now have to find a replacement for Cristobal, and one report claims they could reach out to someone very familiar.

Photo: Nov 23, 2019; Tempe, AZ, USA; Oregon Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Eye-popping amount has been spent on college football coach buyouts

Ed Orgeron during a game

Several head coaches have been fired by top college football programs this season, and many of those dismissals have been quite costly. For the sport as a whole, the collective buyout amount is pushing toward a whopping nine figures.

Manny Diaz was officially fired by Miami on Monday, paving the way for the Hurricanes to hire Mario Cristobal away from Oregon. As Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated notes, Diaz’s buyout with Miami was valued at an estimated $4 million. You can add that amount to a nationwide total that is closing in on $100 million.

That’s an eye-popping figure, but it proves how deep the pockets are that are backing some of these programs. Coaches are under more pressure than ever to produce results quickly. Buyouts are supposed to discourage schools from firing coaches too quickly, but many programs have shown a willingness to eat the money in order to make a big change if things don’t work out in a few years or less.

Take LSU and USC, for example. Ed Orgeron’s buyout at LSU was $17 million. USC had to pay Clay Helton $10 million. The schools then shelled out roughly $100 million each when they hired Brian Kelly and Lincoln Riley, respectively. Money is basically no object, which shows you how much top schools are making from their football programs.

Photo: Sep 11, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron looks on during the first half against McNeese State Cowboys at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

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Bills’ Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer incensed with reporter over postgame question

Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde at a press conference

Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer were incensed with a question asked by a Buffalo Bills reporter after the team lost 14-10 to the New England Patriots on “Monday Night Football.”

The Patriots went old-school football and ran the ball 46 times against the Bills, choosing to pass just three times due to the heavy winds. New England ran the ball successfully too, piling up 222 yards on the ground.

After the game, Bills defensive players Hyde and Jordan Poyer answered questions from the media. WIVB’s Jerry Sullivan asked the players whether they were embarrassed by the Patriots beating them while throwing so few passes.

Both Hyde and Poyer were offended by the question.

“What kind of question is that?” Poyer asked rhetorically.

“What are we doing, bro?” Hyde chimed in.

Then after their press conference ended, Hyde sent a message to Sullivan.

“Don’t do that, don’t do that,” he told Sullivan as he walked out.

The players had a right to be upset with the question, but it’s not like it wasn’t a fair question. New England’s three pass attempts were the fewest by a team in an NFL game since 1974. And the Pats won!

The media’s job isn’t to coddle the players, but to ask them tough ones when it’s called for. Essentially asking them why they didn’t defend the run better despite knowing it was coming was a fair question.