College football coaches who should have stayed in school

Posted 2 days ago  |  By Sam Robinson

Urban Meyer is attempting to carry his college mastery to the NFL. Several have tried to accomplish this, only to come up short. This group of coaches, which includes a host of national championship winners, serves as a reminder how difficult this jump can be.

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Lisle Blackbourn

Lisle Blackbourn
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

A Wisconsin lifer, Blackbourn only coached in The Badger State. He took the Packers’ reins in 1954, after four seasons at Marquette. Several Hall of Famers — from Bart Starr to halfback Paul Hornung to tackle Forrest Gregg to center Jim Ringo — arrived during Blackbourn’s four-year tenure. However, no winning seasons ensued, with Green Bay’s resurrection not occurring until Vince Lombardi’s 1959 arrival. While Blackbourn went just 17-31, Lombardi rehired the longtime high school coach as a scout years later. 

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Rich Brooks

Rich Brooks
Albert Dickson/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images

A handful of Pac-8/Pac-10/Pac-12 coaches have fallen short of NFL success. Brooks spent time as a Rams assistant in the early 1970s but entrenched himself at Oregon for most of the next 25 years, coaching the Ducks for 18 seasons. After their 1994 Rose Bowl bid, Brooks accepted an offer to return to the Rams as their first St. Louis-era head coach. Brooks’ tenure started off well, with the Rams upsetting the Brett Favre-led Packers and going 4-0 in 1995. But he finished with two losing seasons, with 1996’s Jerome Bettis trade and the selection of troubled running back Lawrence Phillips sixth overall aging poorly. 

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Dan Devine

Dan Devine
Albert Dickson/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images

Millennials surely know Devine better as the coach who steadfastly refused to play Rudy Ruettiger, but Devine only arrived at Notre Dame — as the 1993 film also notes — after a stint with the Packers. Devine became a head coach at 30, being tabbed to lead Arizona State, and spent 13 seasons at Missouri. He joined the Packers in 1971, inheriting some of Lombardi’s former stalwarts. Despite Starr’s retirement, Devine led the 1972 Packers to an NFC Central title. QB play, however, keyed Green Bay’s ensuing downfall. 1974’s disastrous trade for John Hadl preceded Devine’s exit and a lengthy Packers swoon. 

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Significant Black firsts in sports history

Posted 1 day ago  |  By Matt Whitener

The impact of Black athletes across the history of sports is an undeniable one, but also one that has not always been accomplished on equal footing. Of the many highs that have been accomplished, there have been just as many –if not more— that have also had to overcome the rules of the times they were accomplished in. This is a look back at many significant firsts, highlights, and noteworthy moments accomplished by Black athletes across the sporting spectrum, as well as the conditions that secured their significance.

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1884: First African-American MLB player (all-time): Moses Fleetwood Walker

1884: First African-American MLB player (all-time): Moses Fleetwood Walker

Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images

Technically, William Edward White was the first Black man to play professional baseball in 1879, but he did so while passing as white. However, it was Walker who did so outright as an African-American, playing catcher for the Toledo Blue Stockings in 1884. He faced the intense racial scrutiny of the time and lasted only one season, becoming the last African-American to appear in the MLB for 63 years.

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1889: First Black Professional Soccer Player: Arthur Wharton

1889: First Black Professional Soccer Player: Arthur Wharton

Born in Jamestown of the Gold Coast (in modern-day Ghana), Wharton became the first Black professional soccer player in the English Professional League. Wharton was a goalie and occasional winger, who made 54 overall appearances across four professional seasons. In 2003, he was elected to the English Football Hall of Fame as a pioneer.

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1908: First Black Heavyweight Boxing Champion: Jack Johnson

1908: First Black Heavyweight Boxing Champion: Jack Johnson
Photo by Philipp Kester/ullstein bild via Getty Images

At the peak of the Jim Crow era in America, Johnson emerged as one of the nation’s biggest stars. In 1908, the Galveston, Texas, native beat Tommy Burns to claim the lineal world heavyweight title, via a stoppage in the 14 th round, to become the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion, a title he would carry for the next eight years.

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1908: First Black Olympic Gold Medalist: John Taylor

1908: First Black Olympic Gold Medalist: John Taylor
Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Although George Poage was the first African-American Olympian, when he captured two bronze medals in St. Louis four years prior, it was Taylor in 1908 who first reached the top of the podium. Hailing from Washington D.C. and the son of two former slaves, Taylor captured the gold running the third leg of the medley relays, covering 400 meters. In the same year, he would complete his degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Pennsylvania.

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NFL first-round mock draft: Post Super Bowl edition

Posted 9 hours ago  |  By Seth Trachtman

With Super Bowl LV in the books, NFL teams now have their sights set on the offseason, including the NFL draft. Here’s our latest 2021 NFL mock draft, as of February 9, 2021.1 of 32

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Derick E. Hingle / USA Today Sports Images

Lawrence might already be getting fitted for his new uniform by the Jaguars. The Clemson star could be the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck, with every physical quality scouts like and the track record to back up the pure talent. He will also get time to develop under new Jags head coach Urban Meyer. He finished 2020 completing more than 69% of his passes for 3,153 yards and 24 touchdowns in 10 games, and he also contributed eight rushing scores.2 of 32

2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

George Frey / USA Today Sports Images

The Jets haven’t closed the door on keeping former first-round pick Sam Darnold, but a new start for both team and player might be for the best. Wilson is a potential replacement, coming off a brilliant season in which he completed 73.5% of his passes for 3,692 yards and 33 touchdowns. He also shows above-average mobility.

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NFL first-round mock draft: Post Super Bowl edition

Posted 31 minutes ago  |  By Seth Trachtman

With Super Bowl LV in the books, NFL teams now have their sights set on the offseason, including the NFL draft. Here’s our latest 2021 NFL mock draft, as of February 9, 2021.1 of 32

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Derick E. Hingle / USA Today Sports Images

Lawrence might already be getting fitted for his new uniform by the Jaguars. The Clemson star could be the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck, with every physical quality scouts like and the track record to back up the pure talent. He will also get time to develop under new Jags head coach Urban Meyer. He finished 2020 completing more than 69% of his passes for 3,153 yards and 24 touchdowns in 10 games, and he also contributed eight rushing scores.2 of 32

2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

George Frey / USA Today Sports Images

The Jets haven’t closed the door on keeping former first-round pick Sam Darnold, but a new start for both team and player might be for the best. Wilson is a potential replacement, coming off a brilliant season in which he completed 73.5% of his passes for 3,692 yards and 33 touchdowns. He also shows above-average mobility.

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DeVonta Smith shares important message after winning Heisman Trophy

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports | By Larry Brown | Last updated 1/5/21

DeVonta Smith on Tuesday won the Heisman Trophy, becoming the first wide receiver since Desmond Howard in 1991 to win the award.

The Alabama wide receiver gave a speech after winning the trophy and shared an important message.

“To all the young kids out there that are not the biggest, not the strongest — just keep pushing, ’cause I’m not the biggest. I’ve been doubted a lot just because of my size. It just comes down to, if put your mind to it, you can do it. No job is too big. If you put your mind to it, you can do it,” Smith said.

Smith arrived at Alabama weighing around 160 pounds and is currently listed at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds. On the surface, he doesn’t look like an intimidating presence like some other receivers. But Smith has proven that his size doesn’t matter, because he can get the job done like few others.

Smith racked up 105 catches for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns this season in only 12 games for the unbeaten Crimson Tide.

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Watch: Mississippi State, Tulsa get into brawl after Armed Forces Bowl

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports By Steve DelVecchio | Last updated 12/31/20

Mississippi State and Tulsa treated fans to a hard-fought game in the Armed Forces Bowl on Thursday, but things quickly turned ugly after the final whistle blew.

A wild brawl broke out in the moments following Mississippi State’s 28-26 win. Players from both sides appeared to throw swings as coaches stood in the middle and tried to separate them. Things then quickly got out of hand. You can see the video below.

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Ohio State RB Trey Sermon sets Big Ten record in win over Northwestern

By Erin Walsh | Last updated 12/19/20

The Ohio State Buckeyes won their fourth straight Big Ten championship on Saturday after defeating the Northwestern Wildcats 22-10. It was an exciting game thanks to Big Ten championship MVP Trey Sermon.

The running back set an Ohio State single-game record and Big Ten championship record with 331 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries, per ESPN.

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NCAA reportedly looking for alternate sites to host Rose Bowl

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports | By Grey Papke | Last updated 12/11/20

One of college football’s most venerable traditions is poised to look much different in 2021 — and it might not even happen where it’s supposed to.

According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, NCAA officials are putting together contingency plans to potentially play the annual Rose Bowl game outside of Pasadena. AT&T Stadium in Dallas has been viewed as a potential alternative site.

The same thinking is in place surrounding the scheduled College Football Playoff semifinal in Pasadena, which could move to a different city in an effort to allow the Rose Bowl to stage a more traditional game.

The main point of concern is COVID-19 cases in Southern California. The state’s stay-at-home order is expected to last through Christmas, and three other bowl games scheduled to be played in California have been canceled. The Rose Bowl has asked for a special exception to allow families of players to attend the game, but thus far, they have been denied.

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President Donald Trump to attend Army-Navy football game

By Zac Wassink | Last updated 12/7/20

The Army Black Knights will welcome more than just the Navy Midshipmen for the annual game featuring the programs that will be held at West Point. 

Per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), President Donald Trump is scheduled to attend the contest set to get underway at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday. 

“The president’s going to make it,” Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk confirmed on Monday. 

Back in October, the programs agreed to move the game from Lincoln Financial Field, home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, to West Point due to local coronavirus-related restrictions regarding mass gatherings. Students from the schools are permitted to attend the contest held at Michie Stadium, but other paying fans will be shut out this time around. 

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BYU, Coastal Carolina fight after cheap shots on Cougars’ Zach Wilson

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports | By Larry Brown | Last updated 12/5/20

BYU and Coastal Carolina got into a fight right before halftime of their game on Saturday.

BYU was leading 14-13 and attempted a deep bomb before halftime. Zach Wilson’s pass was intercepted, and the Chanticleers used that as an opportunity to beat up on the quarterback. Look at the blocking they did on Wilson:

BYU did not appreciate its quarterback getting beat up like that, and a bit of a fight between the teams broke out.

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