COACH SPEAK : WEEK 4
By Leo Haggerty
This week’s question that was put to the college head coaches deals with the inclement weather issues that have plagued college football specifically over the past two season. The query is :
In your opinion, with weather-related issues causing the cancellation of numerous games, does the NCAA need to move the start of the season forward for a week and make the weekend before Championship Saturday a national make-up date?
Got a chance to ask coaches who have been directed affect by this situation and other who have not. As you will see below, a lot of very interesting and thought-proving responses.
But first, Tampa Bay HC Dirk Koetter graces us with his commentary on the Buccaneers victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles. Also, Washington HC Chris Petersen chimes in on former Husky DL Vita Vea who was the Pewter Pirates first-round draft selection. Enjoy.
LH : Have you ever coach or witnessed a quarterback have a two-game performance like Ryan Fitzpatrick?
DK : No, all those record that are being set bear that out. It’s just a pretty amazing start.
LH : With the heat and intensity of the game, were you afraid the second half would turn into a war of attrition?
DK : Yes, I was, and I think to some degree it did. I think we’re very fortunate that we had two days off – be it that we have Monday Night Football. That was brutal. I think I mentioned that to you on Monday. We had eight players on defense play over 70 plays, we had five or six players on offense play right at 60 plays. That’s too many for whatever that heat index was. I don’t really know what it was, but it was a lot. That’s too many plays. Chance of injury definitely goes up.
LH : With only six incompleted passes last week, does it matter who catches the football?
DK : Somebody hopefully in a Bucs jersey.
LH : Have you had a chance to talk to Vita lately about the calf injury?
Washington HC Chris Petersen : I haven’t talked to him, and I’m surprised he’s not playing by now. There’s no question he needs to get out there and the Bucs are interested in getting him out there too. I hope it’s soon.
Tulsa HC Philip Montgomery : Really, I haven’t even thought of that to be completely honest. The hardest thing about starting a week early is when are you going to allow fall camp to start. If you bump everything back a week so you can start everything earlier, now you’re getting into July. Then you have summer school and a lot of other things that’s going on. I think there’s a lot of factors that play into that question. Obviously, I want to do what’s best for football in general. Now, the last couple of years have been pretty tough from a scheduling standpoint with some of the weather issues that we have had. I don’t know what the right answer is but that is an interesting way to look at it.
Cincinnati HC Luke Fickell : I don’t know. I don’t know if I’ve spent a whole lot of time thinking about that. I know last year we had some scheduling issues. We haven’t been effected this year but there’s a lot of people out there who have been effected. I don’t know if it’s good to have everybody moving games. If that’s the case, there’s going to be a lot of people that will have another bye in there. Then there’s the match up problem. I tell you that I won’t spend a whole lot of time on it. Need to give the schedule-makers in the conference offices to think about that one. If they come and ask the coaches, we wouldn’t be down on starting a week early because we can get in more football. Any time you have to shuffle teams around you’re going to have a backlog. I rather see us have another bye but that will never match up. It’s a very tough situation and, right now, nature just has to take its course. You have to do what you have to do.
Iowa State HC Matt Campbell : Man, that’s a great question. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think I ever thought of that. We were certainly affected by that. I think something like that would be worth consideration. It’s a challenge for everyone involved and it happened again this weekend. I think it should be considered due to all the weather issues that have occurred early on in the first couple weeks of this football season.
TCU HC Gary Patterson : That’s a real possibility. One of the biggest problems you would run into is summer school. If you push it back any farther, you have young men trying to do summer school and then two-a-days. He’s try to make the team and go to school and football all day with fall practices and meetings and all the things you need to do. Obviously, that would be an idea but, if you put academics first, it would be hard to do. The beginning of fall camp is right on the line now. We would start camp the end of July and start the season the end of August.
Nebraska HC Scott Frost : I think that would be assuming a lot. You have your bye week but it is something to talk about though. We’re in an era, and rightfully so, where player safety has become the most important factor. I kind of scratch my head when I think that we are so interested in player safety and our team has to play 12 weeks in a row. There’s something to be said about what you suggest. I don’t know if it’s the right solution. We are putting guys through an awful lot. Even in the NFL, you don’t play 12 weeks in a row without having a little bit of time off to recover. I don’t know if going a week early is good or bad. Now, you’re taking another week from them during the summer but I certainly don’t like the situation we’ve been put in.
Michigan State HC Mark Dantonio : You know, I really haven’t thought about that. It’s really the NCAA’s decision. I do know our players come to camp pretty early right now. To move it up earlier would lengthen the season by another two weeks. At least, that’s what it would seem like.
California HC Justin Wilcox : I haven’t put much thought into that so, to give you a better answer, I would have to weigh all the positives and negatives. That seems like a pretty complicated question. You’re bringing people in early now starting the season the first week in September. I really don’t have an opinion on that right now.
Washington HC Chris Petersen : Wow, good question. Fortunately, back here we don’t deal with those cancellations. We don’t get the hurricanes and tornadoes and all those type of things. I haven’t given it that much though but its not a bad idea.
Wake Forest HC Dave Clawson : Well, I think it would be nice, but you really have to look at how much football kids are playing and how long the season is. This year they canceled four practices so kids wouldn’t have to start camp in July. And then, if you create that bye week at the end of the year for cancellation games, you’re just completely undoing the reason that you pushed practice back. I just think we get to the point here in college football that however many years ago the season was 10 games, then it became 11, and now it becomes 12, and then there’s a conference championship game, and then there’s potentially a bowl game or a playoff game and the National Championship game, and we don’t have as many scholarships as they had 30 years ago when there were 10 games.
Virginia Tech HC Justin Fuente : Well, I’m not sure that’s the solution. I do think, and I know it’s been talked about a little bit with all of the cancellations, that it may get moved up to the forefront this season especially talking about adding another bye week to the season. I was asked about that last week and I would be for all those conversations. I would just like them to lay out the calendar and tell us when we would start fall camp and how that would effect summer school and the start of school. There’s just a lot of moving pieces. I don’t mind moving the calendar around and I definitely think there’s nothing wrong with having these conversations.