Looks like the NCAA is going to allow college teams to make up for lost spring practice. Sort-of.
Per an article in the Detroit News:
“The NCAA’s football oversight committee expects to finalize a plan Thursday to allow teams to conduct up to 12 unpadded, slow-speed practices, also know as walk-throughs, during the 14 days before the typical preseason begins in August.”
“Teams will be permitted up to 20 hours per week of what the NCAA calls countable athletically related activities during those extra two weeks, leading into a normal 29-day preseason practice schedule. The walk-throughs will be part of those 20 hours per week, along with weight training, conditioning, film study and meetings. Players will not be permitted to wear pads or helmets during walk-throughs, which cannot exceed one hour per day.”
So yes, this helps with the install, but does not really help with player evaluation. Still better than nothing I suppose. The other benefit for us football fans is that we get to start our training camp chatter in mid-July instead of August. Again, sort of. Not sure how much insight is going to be gleaned from interviews after an “unpadded, slow-speed practice”.
Pitt brought it’s players back for “voluntary” activities this week and they are currently under a two week-quarantine. Training activities will be limited to small groups of ten players.
The university will also enforce strict protocols. From Pitt’s press release:
- Substantial education for all coaches and student-athletes on Pitt’s safety protocols and their responsibility for maintaining them
- A testing protocol developed with input from infectious disease experts and other medical professionals
- Significantly enhanced cleaning protocols for all athletic facilities
- Mandatory daily screening questionnaire and temperature check for student-athletes and staff
- Utilization of personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize exposure and potential virus spread
- Social distancing guidelines for meetings and workouts, as well as strategic use of smaller groups for strength and conditioning sessions
- Contact tracing course completion by all athletics training staff members
Meanwhile there have been a small outbreak of COVID-19 within the college football ranks. Per 247 sports here are the teams that have reported cases:
- Alabama 5
- UCF 4
- Auburn 3
- Boise State (multiple; privacy laws)
- Florida State (‘some positive tests’)
- Marshall 2
- Oklahoma State 3
Will be interesting to see if this list grows in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, here is a bone for the anti-Narduzzi crowd (and I know you are out there).
CBS Sports released their annual ranking of ACC coaches yesterday and Pat Narduzzi came in 9th out of 14. That’s just north of the bottom third, and just south of the midpoint. Not exactly stellar if you ask me.
Pat Narduzzi (40 overall): The Panthers have logged three 8-win seasons in Narduzzi’s five-year run, and that doesn’t even include the late-season surge that powered the ACC Coastal Division title in 2018. You can always count on Narduzzi’s teams to be up to the task of competing with the best in the country, but the Panthers have also lost at least five games each season of Narduzzi’s tenure. Last year: 11
Geez, it’s almost like this was written by a Pitt POV poster. Is Pat good? We still aren’t sure. Yea he’s won more than anybody since Wannstedt, but damn he sure has some head-scratching losses, and they seem to be questioning whether or not he’s hit his ceiling. If he’d only pulled out wins versus Miami and BC last year the narrative would surely be different.
With that being said, here are some key coaches ranked ahead of him:
8th – Justin Fuente (37 overall): You won’t see his name on any hot seat lists (nor should you) but you could argue that few coaches in the ACC have more on the line in 2020 than Fuente. The stats tell one story: 33 wins in four years with an ACC Coastal crown in 2016 and two solo runner-up division finishes. But for a program that was a power not just in the division, but the entire ACC for the first six years after it joined the conference, there is a longing to close the gap with the teams at the top. The Hokies were one win away from a return to Charlotte for the title game a year ago, and it would greatly benefit Fuente — who tested the loyalties of those fans with his Baylor flirtations in the offseason — to be in the mix for the conference championship in 2020. Last year: 8
If Pitt beats Tech in Blackburg last year, Duzz probably takes the 8 spot. Feuente has one 8, 9 and 10 win season to his credit though, regardless of how many of his players have hit the transfer portal.
7th – Dave Clawson (32 overall): Every additional season at Wake Forest is actually new ground for Clawson, who prior to his current tenure had never spent more than five seasons as a head coach at any of his previous stops. He got the reputation as a program-builder for his work at Fordham, Richmond and Bowling Green, and now Clawson gets to show what long-term success looks like as he enters Year 7 with the Deacs. Wake Forest has won at least 7 games each year since 2016 and that success has helped generate investment in new facilities to allow the program to keep pace in the ultra-competitive Atlantic division.
Clawson is clearly getting a “doing more with less” award here. He’s got win totals of 8, 7, 8, 7, 3 and 3, but he also has won three of four bowls in the last three years. Wake Forest is as tough a school to win at as there is in the country, but is Clawson really two spots better than the ‘Duz? Comparing their bowl records would indicate yes.
6th – Scott Satterfield (31 overall): Louisville had one of the top single-season turnarounds in the country under Satterfield after he invigorated a locker room that had lost its way in the final year of Bobby Petrino’s second stint with the Cardinals. The ACC media picked Louisville to finish last in the Atlantic Division before the season and they finished in solo secon
One hit wonder (so far) but man what a hit. Nobody and I mean nobody expected the Cardinals to win more than three games last year and Satterfield took a ragtag bunch of Bobby Petrino also-rans and won eight games, including a Music-City Bowl win over SEC middleweight Mississippi State. Wiiiith that being said, Narduzzi took a ragtag bunch of Paul Chryst also-rans and won eight games in his first year. Apparently bowl wins matter.
5th – Mike Norvell (29 overall): Our ballots for the coach rankings were turned in long ago, and I’m honestly curious how the events of the last two weeks might have changed (for better or worse) Norvell’s ranking. As it stands, the success at Memphis made Norvell one of the top Group of Five coaches in the country and his arrival in the Power Five coach rankings reflects optimism for what’s to come in Tallahassee.
Complete and utter horse*** and the only reason he’s fifth is because he’s coaching at Florida State. If he’d taken over at Syracuse he’d be bottom feeding at 11. And the writer has the gall say his ranking would be affected by his inability to manage his players (and his message) during the BLM protests? Professional college football writers are a JOKE. I hope we give the Seminoles an old fashioned Pittsburgh beatdown on Halloween if only to prove this jabroni wrong.
4th – David Cutcliffe (26 overall): Long considered one of the top coaches in the country by our voters, Cutcliffe took a slight step back in the rankings this year after a 5-7 finish in 2019. While the big picture of leading Duke to six bowl games and an ACC Championship Game appearance in eight years anchors his argument as a top-30 coach, the slight dip in the rankings can be attributed to a sub-.500 record in ACC play ever year since 2016.
I’ve got nothing but respect for David Cutcliffe who (like Dave Clawson) has done more with less for a long time at a school that has no business being good at football. But fourth? Cutcliffe has been coaching Duke for 12 years and has just five winning seasons. Sure he won 10 games once and nine games once, and at Duke that’s a lot like winning the National Championship, but his win totals over the last four years are 5, 8, 7 and 4. Pitt is 4-0 against them in that span. So Cutcliffe is really 5 spots better than Narduzzi? I think not.
3rd – Bronco Mendenhall (23 overall): The starting point for Bronco’s high ranking had to be the consistency of his BYU teams, but now he adds to that argument an ACC Coastal Division championship with Virginia. To take the Wahoos from 2-10 in 2016 to playing in the ACC Championship Game in 2019 required a total rebuild in Charlottesville, improving in overall and conference wins every single season before last year’s breakthrough.
Win an ACC Coastal, get a shiny prize. Only if you’re and ACC blue-blood. Still, Mendenahll has shown improvement each of his four years, winning 2, 6, 8 and then 9 games last year. Is he the third best coach in the conference? Well I suppose he’s at least as good as anyone else I’ve listed below him so there is that.
2nd – Mack Brown (20 overall): Our voters had doubts about Brown’s return to Chapel Hill, slating a national championship-winning coach in the middle of the conference. But after watching the Tar Heels exceed expectations in 2019 and noticing the work Brown has done on the recruiting trail, his ranking received a major adjustment.
Oh Mack Brown, ACC Darling. Well they aren’t wrong about his work on the recruiting trail. Although if you know anything about college football you know it’s not Brown doing the work, buuuut since there is no power ranking for ACC bag men I guess Brown gets the credit here. And yes the team did exceed expectations last year, but lets keep this in perspective. It was a seven win season, with a loss to Pitt (and their lowly 9th ranked coach), and a Military bowl win against Temple (who had just lost their head coach to Georgia Tech). So yea, sounds worthy of a 2 ranking to me.
1st – Dabo Swinney (2 overall): Easy decision to make at the top. Not only does Swinney lead one of the two most successful programs of the College Football Playoff era with five straight appearances and two national championships, he gets credit the program-building that occurred throughout the 2010s. Watching Clemson chase down Florida State and then take its place atop the ACC was a preview of the Tigers pursuit and challenge of Alabama as the best program in the entire country.
Probably the only one they got right.