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Jumbo Package: The NFL’s proposed kickoff rule is perfect for college

If we’re going to reform kickoffs, keep field position strategy alive

<p zoompage-fontsize="15">CFP National Championship - Alabama v Clemson

Clemson wouldn’t have caught him under the NFL proposal either.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The NFL has an interesting proposal to change its kickoff rule to have that play more closely resemble a punt return. It is far superior to the NCAA’s new rule change, which half-solves one problem while stripping field position strategy out of the game.

It is part 7-on-7, part kickoff, mostly punt return:

The proposal being formulated Wednesday bans players on the kicking team from getting a running start on their way downfield. It eliminates all forms of “wedge” blocking by the receiving team. It requires eight of the 11 members of the receiving team to line up within 15 yards of the spot of the kickoff and bars hitting within those 15 yards. It keeps players on the kicking team from going in motion pre-kick.

I am here for this, NFL. Let’s hope it works in the pros and then can be adopted for the college game:

Matt Zenitz at the PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING ALABAMA DOT COM (no, I’ll never get over that) breaks down the post-spring depth chart and predicts the two-deep:

Defensive end - Junior Raekwon Davis, redshirt senior Johnny Dwight

Nose tackle - Redshirt sophomore Quinnen Williams, redshirt freshman Phidarian Mathis

Defensive end - Senior Isaiah Buggs, sophomore LaBryan Ray

All I would say to Isaiah Buggs, a very fine player in his own right, is to keep one eye behind me. LaBryan Ray is hungry and ready to break out. And do not forget Eyabi Anoma coming in this fall. It’s going to be very hard to keep him off the field.

Charlie Potter at 247 projects who will fill the vacant roles of the 12 NFL draftees — C’mon, Charlie, you shoulda’ done all 17 who left.

Slacker, SMH.

Good news!

The Administration has heard your pleas to stop scheduling Sun Belt and C-USA feeder programs. Instead, they’re dipping back into the Mountain.

That’s fine. There are lots of respectable programs there. Is it Fresno? Boise? CSU? San Diego State?

No. It’s Utah State.

But, hey, at least ticket prices are already among the highest in the nation!

The NCAA, when not ignoring pace of play, CTE, rampant corruption in squeaky hoops, and trying to half-ass kickoff reforms has finally tackled the pressing issues of the day. CFB uniform regulations.

Too much sexy, sexy knee was showing, apparently...these guidelines are ridiculous.

Pete Thamel has done an excellent 10-part series embedded with an NFL scout in the season leading up to the NFL draft. Part 9 released last night focuses on Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick and he stole the show by studying film right before game. The greater point to be made in this installment is that Alabama players have so much success in the draft because the program is so accommodating to pro scouts (and that, in turn) fuels signing day success.

The entire thing is worth your time, but start with Part 9:

There’s a reason behind Alabama breaking a school and SEC record with 12 players drafted last weekend. (An additional five members of the Tide agreed to free-agent deals.) While it’s obvious that Alabama coach Nick Saban recruits, trains and develops top-tier talent each year, it’s well known in NFL circles that Alabama is the most accommodating college program for NFL scouts.

Not only does Alabama have rare talent and play in a scheme that mirrors what players will do in the NFL. The Tide also are open virtually 24/7 for scouts, as there’s no restrictions or paranoia. To Saban, restricting access and information for scouts would be like a business school limiting recruiters from Apple, Google and Amazon.

Good thing yesterday was Gump Day, because I’m about to hit y’all with some #BadGump.

First, a followup on the departure of Dallas Warmack. This seems a mutually beneficial move for all: Dallas did everything that could have possibly been asked of him, earned his degree, and now grad transfers with everyone’s blessings and no hard feelings. He wants to play, and he just couldn’t move up on the depth chart.

But, did you know that he is now the tenth player from the No. 1 2015 NSD class to transfer or leave the program? That number includes eight blue-chippers (with two 5-stars). There were some academic casualties like Desherrius Flowers, the homesick (Shawn Burgess-Becker), an inveterate criminal who should have never been signed , those with bad advice from a terrible, overbearing dad (Kendall Sheffield), and those fast-tracking to bust-city, like Blake Barnett (bust-city is not to be confused with Bust City, which everyone knows is Las Vegas.)

Still, ten is...not an insignificant number.

That is one of the downsides with a program that brings in and develops as much high-end talent as Alabama does: everyone has skills, but it’s the people who put in the work and keep their head on straight who are most likely to thrive. Others, well, they move on.

The second piece of anti-Gump news: No. 17 Alabama softball enters its final home series against No. 9 Texas A&M needing a sweep just to get to .500 in conference play. It’s not been the best year owing to an anemic offense, injuries, too many close losses, and what feels like program stagnation. The rest of the SEC has gotten significantly better (all 13 teams are ranked or RV), and the Crimson Tide seems to be running in place. I’d love to have the answers here for the softball malaise. Murphy has had a down year or two before, but this one feels different. An offensive revamp and serious recruiting for women who can plate runs seems to be at least the first step.