Spring training is over. The NFL Draft is over.
College football is heading into its offseason, which once meant exactly that, but not anymore.
Sunday was the deadline to enter the transfer portal and still be eligible for this upcoming season. Over 2,000 players entered the portal in the 2021-22 school year, and not all of them have (or will find) new homes. There will be a lot of roster rotation by September, including other big names.
Before moving on, let’s evaluate what we have just seen. New coaches like LSU’s Brian Kelly, Notre Dame’s Marcus Freeman, Oklahoma’s Brent Venables and USC’s Lincoln Riley were in the spotlight this spring, and all will face high expectations this fall.
Here is a batch of overreactions to this spring.
Georgia lost too much talent to return to CFP
Georgia ended a 41-year drought without a national championship last season, and if you watched the NFL Draft last week, it’s easy to see why.
The Bulldogs had 15 players selected in the draft, the most per team during the current seven-round format, which began in 1994. Georgia set another record by having five defensive players selected in the first round, including pick No. 1. Travon Walker.
So with so many players leaving for the NFL, the Bulldogs have to back up pretty far, right? Probably not. Although they will have to reload much of the top seven on defense, the Bulldogs have plenty of talent to win the SEC East again.
Strategist Stetson Bennett IV should be better after getting a full offseason and preseason camp as the No. 1 quarterback. He had limited reps in practice before replacing JT Daniels last season. There are areas for improvement, even for a 24-year-old heading into his fifth season at Georgia.
“Make better decisions,” Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said of his QB this spring. “We were late in the middle a few times with balls and at the end of the season. He would be the first to tell you that he didn’t play perfectly. He made some really good plays for us with his feet, with his legs, with his decision-making, but you just want to eliminate some of the bonehead throws, some of the bonehead mistakes he’s made from time to time.
“It’s easy for him to say he didn’t get a chance to correct those mistakes because the guy was taking [third-team reps] at this time last year. He wasn’t getting a lot of reps, he got a lot of work fast and we still feel like he’s still improving.”
Georgia to bring back All-American tight end Brock Bowers and added former LSU transfer Arik Gilbert, who looked good in spring action at receiver. Offensive tackle broderick jones could be a potential first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
“They could have three or four NFL players on defense next season, instead of five or six,” an SEC head coach said. “They still have more than almost everyone.”
The Bulldogs might not be as dominant as they were in 2021, when they went undefeated in the regular season and beat Alabama 33-18 in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T. But they don’t play Alabama or Texas A&M in the regular season; road games in South Carolina, Mississippi State and Kentucky might be their biggest challenges.
It would be a big surprise if Georgia weren’t back in the SEC Championship game.
What Lincoln Riley is doing at USC is wrong
Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi reportedly unhappy with this star receiver Jordan Addison could be directed to USC through the transfer portal. According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Pitt’s officials suspect a tampering may have occurred. Addison and the Trojans quarterback Caleb Williamsformerly in Oklahoma, are both from Washington, D.C.
It’s easy to see why Narduzzi is crazy. He took a player who wasn’t even ranked in the ESPN 300 in 2020 (Addison was ranked No. 12 prospect in Maryland by ESPN Recruiting) and helped him become Pitt’s top receiver since. Larry Fitzgerald. Last season, Addison won the Biletnikoff Award after catching 93 passes for 1,479 yards with 17 touchdowns.
Now, thanks to a potentially lucrative NIL deal, Addison could leave for USC or another college football blueblood. With existing transfer and NIL rules, Addison won’t be the only previously overlooked star player leaving for greener pastures.
But Riley isn’t doing anything wrong. He was lured from Oklahoma to turn the Trojans into the national powerhouse they were under Pete Carroll. USC’s roster needed a massive rebuild, and Riley has already added 15 players through the transfer portal, including the Arizona State linebacker. Eric Gentry and Ohio State Security Bryson Shaw just last week.
In December, when Riley was asked on the transfer portal, he replied: “I would say we are open for business on all accounts.”
Riley is simply playing by the rules, or at least what’s left of them in the NIL era.
“It’s NFL free agency with no rules,” a Power 5 coach said. “It’s crazy.”
Texas will be able to compete in the SEC
While last week’s NFL Draft could have been a celebration for Georgia, it was an indictment for Texas, which will soon be competing against the SEC Bulldogs.
For the first time since 2014, the Longhorns did not have a single player selected in the draft. Chattanooga, Fayetteville State, Fordham, Jackson State, Lenoir-Rhyne, Ouachita Baptist and Southern Utah had at least one player selected. Montana State, North Dakota State, and South Dakota State had two.
Worse still: there were 32 drafted players attending high schools in Texas. None of them played for the Longhorns.
As Texas comes off a 5-7 campaign, in which it lost six straight games in coach Steve Sarkisian’s first season, the NFL Draft shutout is more of an indictment of the coach he replaced, Tom Herman. Most of the players in this year’s draft class were in the 2018 and 2019 draft classes during Herman’s tenure.
Unfortunately, this is nothing new for the Longhorns. Whether it’s because they’re running out of recruiting reviews or failing to develop players, their once-stable pipeline to the NFL has dried up. They haven’t had a first-round pick since 2015 (defensive tackle Malcolm Brown to the Patriots). Strategist Vince Young was the last offensive player taken in the first round – in 2006.
Last month, Sarkissian told reporters that the fifth-year defensive lineman Moro Ojomo wouldn’t speak to the media “for a while” after his critical comments about team culture.
Among other things, Ojomo said his teammates were “18-22 year olds who want to chase women, want to chase money, want to chase booze, and they don’t see the future.”
“They get distracted by what’s in front of them,” Ojomo said. “It’s such a hard thing, especially guys who haven’t been in a winning culture. They’re always talking about coming here and changing things. It’s like rooted. You’re rooting, what? Ten years of s — this has just been discontinued.”
Maybe Sarkisian should make Ojomo a team captain.
Nebraska is in good hands
It might be hard to decipher which is worse: Nebraska being penalized for using too many coaches in a 3-5 campaign in 2020, or the NCAA actually penalizing the Cornhuskers for having an analyst coaching players during games. workouts and movie sessions with everything else. in college athletics.
Nonetheless, Nebraska coach Scott Frost was hit with a one-year show cause order and a five-day suspension on Monday. He will have to serve him during the “championship segment” of the coming season. I’ll wait for you to stop laughing.
It’s not what you might think. A championship segment, as defined by NCAA rules, is “when competition is conducted in which results are counted for postseason selection”. So essentially Frost will have to take five days off at some point in the upcoming season.
Frost’s mistake was to hire a senior graduate analyst, Jonathan Rutledge, to coach special teams, instead of having a full-time assistant or a group of assistants working with the specialists. In 2020, the Cornhuskers ranked 95th in the FBS in punt average, 105th in punt coverage, 94th in kickoff returns, and 87th in kickoff coverage.
Frost, who is 15-29 as a coach at his alma mater, is working with a restructured contract in 2022. He will earn $4 million this season, down from the previous $5 million, and his buyout has been reduced from $15 million to $7.5. million. If the Cornhuskers improve this season, his salary would be $5 million if the team “reaches mutually agreed metrics.”