You know who would’ve been a fascinating person to spend your Sunday with? The ever-charismatic Kirk Ferentz.
Iowa’s head coach got the news that the College Football Playoff selection committee had dissed Ohio State in favor of Alabama, mostly because of the Buckeyes’ 31-point loss at Kinnick Stadium. As the pundits put it,Just after 11:30 a.m., giving up 55 at Iowa is a scarlet letter on your season. Ferentz must have had a good laugh.
Just after 2 p.m., Ferentz heard the official announcement that he was spending Christmas in New York City — Iowa faces a very beatable Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 27. Ferentz must have had a nice smile.
a less expected nugget surely popped up on his phone. A quote from 300 miles west,But in between, at the opening press conference of new Nebraska coach Scott Frost.
When asked how he will modify his system for the Big Ten, the 42-year-old whippersnapper got cute:
“I’m hoping the Big Ten has to modify their system for us,” Frost said.
62-year-old Kirk must have gotten a kick out of that. The past three years, he’s rocked and socked Nebraska like the skinny kid on the playground by reminding the Cornhuskers that Big Ten football is won with big bellies,Oh, not with fast feet.
I imagine Ferentz saw the Frost quote — perhaps on his flip phone — scribbled it on a sheet of spiral notebook paper and tacked it to his bulletin board next to his Andy Griffith calendar. To be used appropriately in 50 weeks.
rather ironically,There’s a culture war coming to the Big Ten West and the progressive voice — the status quo’s biggest threat — isn’t Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck or Purdue’s Jeff Brohm. It is, the former option wizard at Nebraska.
where a second brutish bully, Wisconsin,Scott Frost took Chip Kelly’s track-and-field attack and transformed UCF from 0-12 to 12-0. Now he thinks he can do it again in college football’s most orthodox division, rules the schoolyard.
I asked him to expand on his ideas. You’ve seen Wisconsin and Iowa, I said. Do you have to do it differently,After Frost dropped his best sound bite Sunday, especially on defense? Frost didn’t hesitate.
“No, we don’t. We gotta get speed in here. I think we already have some of it. We gotta lift harder and get stronger. We should have great guys in the trenches. We gotta get some people that fit our scheme and that’s gonna take awhile. But I’ve seen it happen in a couple places and I have no doubt that we can do that here.
“If we get the right pieces in place, I know what this offense can do and I think that’s proven.”
I have little doubt that Nebraska is going to score. The bigger question is what happens on defense.
UCF’s defense allowed 753 yards to Memphis,Saturday in Orlando,Womens Tress Way Jersey, one week after South Florida put up 653 on the Knights. Kevin Cosgrove never gave up more than 610 in a game. The most Bob Diaco yielded was 633.
But events in the spread-crazed American Athletic Conference are less relevant than what happened from 2009-15 in the Pac-12 North. That’s the last time we saw a multi-year culture war involving Scott Frost.
It was speed vs. power; no-huddle shotgun vs. ball-control under center; caramel sundaes vs. vanilla ice cream cones. It was one riveting football game after another.
when top-ranked Oregon was averaging 55 points per game until Stanford came into Autzen Stadium in mid-November and held the Ducks to 14, winning in overtime. Or 2013,Take 2012, when No. 6 Stanford upset second-ranked Oregon,Authentic Earl Thomas III Jersey, 26-20.
Frost’s last year at Oregon. The Ducks returned the favor,Or 2015, upsetting No. 7 Stanford after the Cardinal failed a game-tying two-point conversion with 10 seconds left. Stanford held a 24-minute edge in time of possession advantage and still lost.
Oregon went 4-3 against Stanford. That’s the kind of back-and-forth fight we should anticipate in the Big Ten West once Frost gets up and running in Lincoln. But don’t ignore the risk of his up-tempo offensive system,Womens Earl Thomas III Jersey,In those seven years, which exposes the Blackshirts.
the night of Nebraska’s 1997 championship reunion,Womens Doug Baldwin Jersey, I asked Frost’s old fullback about his potential return. Joel Makovicka fully endorsed the idea,Back on Oct. 7, with one caveat.
” Makovicka said. “If he believes it can,Authentic Jimmy Graham Jersey, then I absolutely want him back. … And if not,“I think the fundamental question Scott has to decide is can his offense work here, does he have to change a little bit? Tweak a little bit for that to work here?”
Why tweak the best offense in college football? The answer had little to do with scoring.
you don’t necessarily have a physical defense,“Sometimes when you run those spread offenses,Authentic Kam Chancellor Jersey,” Makovicka said.
That’s a common belief in coaching circles. It’s hard for a defense to prepare for Wisconsin or Iowa when it never sees a power play in practice.
Can Frost run his offense on 20-degree days in November when receivers are wearing mittens? Yes. Can he do it while protecting the Blackshirts against those 350-pound offensive tackles in Madison and Iowa City? We’ll see.
surprise won’t be the reason. Frost battled Stanford all those years. His defensive coordinator, Erik Chinander,But this much is certain: If the Huskers lose this culture war, was at Oregon most of those years. too.
And where did Chinander play college football? Iowa.
He was a freshman offensive lineman when Kirk Ferentz arrived in 1999. As a senior in 2002, he earned the offensive team leader award after Iowa’s breakout Orange Bowl season.
16 years later in a strange twist of fate,Now, Chinander’s defense will succeed or fail largely based on stopping rugged running games.
Of course, Chinander doesn’t have to stop Wisconsin and Iowa. He just needs to get the ball back so his quarterback can outscore them.
uncertain about his NFL future, was put on the reserve-left team list,The Redskins appeared to be in disarray at the safety position after Su'a Cravens, ending his season just before Week 1. The 2016 second-round pick had been set in stone as the team's starter at strong safety for the entire offseason and there were high hopes that he and free agent signee D.J. Swearinger could stabilize a position that has been a problem area for years.
the Redskins had a backup plan. Fourth-round rookie Montae Nicholson, 215) helped him get drafted. When he finally got on the field, who didn't participate in OTAs and part of training camp due to a pre-existing injury from college,Fortunately, started in Week 2. His size (6-2, he impressed with his speed and physical play. Pro Football Focus has him graded as the Redskins' best safety.
the Redskins have not been able to get much production out of him lately. He missed two games with a shoulder injury, returned for the game in New Orleans,However, and left that one early with a concussion. Nicholson has been out the two games since then.
having passed the concussion protocol to be able to participate. The Redskins hope that he can stay on the field, gain some more experience,The good news is that he was on the practice field on Monday, and help them win some games.
" said Jay Gruden. "Any time you have that size, speed,"It'll be good to get a great look at him the last four weeks if he is healthy enough to play, that range that he has, it's a great luxury to have when he's available."
Another benefit of getting Nicholson back on the field is the opportunity to evaluate him. His NFL.com draft scouting report read in part:
Nicholson's lack of playmaking production combined with his unsure tackling make him a traits-only prospect who could have a hard time sticking in the league unless he finds more confidence and aggression.
He seems to have turned around the confidence and aggression issues-just ask Raiders, who missed a game after Nicholson popped him in the chest in Week 3-but the organization would like to have more evaluation time to see if he can become a mainstay at the position.
if he is going to be a foundational member of the defense he needs to be available. Sometimes players learn to stay on the field after a season or two of learning how to take care of their bodies. Chris Thompson is an example of this, the broken fibula he suffered this season notwithstanding. There are also are players like Jordan Reed,Of course,Authentic Dustin Hopkins Jersey, who just can't seem to stay healthy no matter what they try.
If Nicholson ends up being more like Thompson, the Redskins could finally have solved the longstanding safety problem.
the Dallas Cowboys are doing a lot of soul-searching to determine where their biggest on-the-field liabilities exist. One of those markers fall heavily onto the shoulder pads of Jones, who's played more snaps this year than any other defensive player on the team -- yet has only four pass deflections and one interception,Now 12 games into their rollercoaster 2017 season and facing playoff elimination before January can even arrive,Womens Dustin Hopkins Jersey,Womens Michael Bennett Jersey, the latter being more of a "right-place-right-time" kind of deal.
His inconsistency and lack of overall playmaking saw him effectively benched to begin the second half in the team's second battle with the Washington Redskins, spelled by second-year safety Kavon Frazier who put immediately rubber stamped his name all over the must-win game.
Frazier's six tackles (including one for a loss) was the second-highest tally on the team behind only linebacker Anthony Hitchens. He'd contribute another 18 snaps to special teams, where he's been an ace all season,Womens Jimmy Graham Jersey,In only 21 total defensive snaps, so when he wasn't jarring loose the amalgam fillings of his opponents -- he was helping ensure the Cowboys had fantastic field position.
Executive Vice President Stephen Jones believes he knows what the root of the issue is with Jones, which is also an inherent admission to the team remaining noncommittal regarding where exactly they want to play him.
"Byron to some degree is a victim of his many skills," said S. Jones in an interview with the Ben and Skin Show on 105.3FM The Fan. "We believe he can be a press corner. We believe he can be a free safety. Obviously his strong point is not playing down.
Jeff Heath is more of a deep safety in terms of what complements his skill set. ...I don't think Byron's best spot is down in the box with the tackling,Authentic Doug Baldwin Jersey,"At the same time, I think Kavon does that better than anyone on the team."
And while that's certainly complimentary to both Heath and Frazier, it leaves Jones out in the cold as the team works to figure out if he's a better safety or cornerback.
A thrilling Week 13 is now in the books and playoff races around the league are heating up for the stretch run.
Week 14 should be just as exciting, Authentic Michael Bennett Jersey,as we'll be treated to multiple games between teams in the thick of the playoff race.
and as injury news trickles in throughout the week some projections may change, but here's an early look at predictions for each of the Week 14 matchups,It's still early, followed by a breakdown of three games with the biggest playoff implications. The projected winners are highlighted in bold.
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