Has the bar been set too high for college football coaches?

William Ricks | Contributing Writer

Being a head coach for any sport is a tough job, especially in college football. Many coaches are learning that this season, as a number of them are being fired from their college football teams.

A lot of them have led their teams to above-average records and have brought success to their program, but are still being let go.

Now, people have begun asking this question: Has the bar been set too high for college coaches?

Coaches have been fired throughout the season, with most of the firings coming in the recent weeks. Some of these names are big ones, including Texas A&M firing Kevin Sumlin, UCLA letting go of Jim Mora, Arizona State sending Todd Graham home and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen resigning to go to Florida.

As of Nov. 28, a total of 14 college football coaches had either resigned, been fired or mutually parted ways with their team. Out of the 14, seven had a record of .500 or better during their tenure.

In college football, winning at least six games makes a team eligible for a bowl game, and many of these coaches have brought many bowl victories to their schools.

Even though they are bringing back bowl trophies and getting national recognition, they are still being let go, simply because the athletic directors set the bar so high for their programs.

Lots of athletic directors see the amount of success that Alabama’s Nick Saban, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney have with their programs. The three coaches have a combined total of 400-plus wins, 28 bowl wins and nine national championships while coaching at their schools. When athletic directors see this amount of success, they want their programs to achieve the same level.

These prosperous programs have set the standard for other schools, and anything less than that is a failure in the eyes of the fans, boosters and athletic directors.

In this day in sports, coaches are constantly on the hot seat, no matter how long they’ve been with their program. The shelf life of the head coaching job has diminished because the demand for success is so high. With fans and booster clubs having so much impact on their coach’s future, if they are not satisfied with the team’s success, they will push for them to be removed.

Many football programs want immediate success, but fail to realize that building a championship program takes time.

If athletic directors make the head coaching job a revolving door for their schools, will they ever be able to achieve the success of schools like Ohio State, Clemson or Alabama?

It is hard for coaches to turn around a program with the athletic directors, boosters and fans wanting immediate results. Making a championship team in only one season almost never happens. It takes time to build a winning culture. Maybe the new culture of instant success isn’t fair to the coaches who take on these new programs.

The bar is set very high in college football, as it is one of the most popular college sports in America. So, should college football programs re-evaluate how they measure success? Is it fair for university officials to have expectations to be the next Alabama immediately after hiring a coach?

College football is a win-now league, and many universities are adopting this new culture.

Have the Colts wasted all their luck in Andrew Luck’s career?

William Ricks | Contributing Writer

Mark Zalesky | Associated Press

The Indianapolis Colts have had their share of QB drama this season.

Andrew Luck hasn’t played a down and the Colts have felt the impact of his absence, having a 3-6 record at this point in the season.

Luck’s rehab from offseason shoulder surgery has taken longer than the Colts would’ve hoped.

He was shut down from throwing a few weeks ago and received a cortisone shot.

This week, Luck was placed on IR by the Colts, ending his season before it even started.

Has the former Stanford quarterback’s career been mismanaged?

The Colts had early success with Luck. He lead them to three straight 11-5 seasons, and even an AFC championship game.

He was so good in fact, that he was able to disguise the Colts’ issues. The biggest problem was the offensive line. Brutal hits have plagued the rising star throughout his career. He has never had a stable o-line around him, which led to defenses being able to get immediate pressure on him.

In the 2015 season, Luck missed nine games due to the same shoulder injury he has currently.

Instead of sitting him out during last year’s season, his team gave him painkillers. This allowed Luck to be a tackling dummy, as he stood in the pocket behind a poor excuse of an offensive line.

It was no surprise that Luck needed shoulder surgery after playing through that kind of injury for two years.

The Colts’ lack of managing Luck’s injury better has caused them to throw away the 2017 season.

The organization had time to put pieces around Luck, as he was on a rookie contract until he signed a six-year $140 million contract in 2016.

Unfortunately for them, they didn’t take any steps to signing any impact players on the o-line or defense.

Now the Colts lack the cap space to sign any high-quality players.

This could be blamed on their former general manager Ryan Grigson, who made many questionable decisions during his time in Indianapolis.

Luck is 28 years old, so he still has many prime years left as a quarterback.

When he is healthy, he can tear apart a defense, throwing 132 touchdowns in his first five seasons.

The Colts haven’t wasted Luck’s career yet. The problems the Colts have on the offensive line, as well as the defensive side of the ball are so big, even Luck can’t cover them up like he did his first three seasons.

If the Colts don’t want to waste Andrew Luck’s career, they need to take this upcoming offseason to sign impact players on defense and solidify their offensive line.

Luck should be ready for the start of the 2018 season, and if he has the necessary pieces around him, his career will be reignited.

Hampton volleyball looking to dig deep for playoff push

William Ricks | Contributing Writer

Nelson Cheeseman

The Hampton University volleyball team is looking to return to familiar territory at the end of the regular season.
The Lady Pirates are sitting at the No. 3 seed in the MEAC Northern Division and are looking to make a run in the MEAC Volleyball Tournament. The team has had a recent string of success, but can they keep it going and possibly move up to the one seed in the division?
Hampton has managed to turn its season around after stumbling out of the gates. The Lady Pirates started 2-11 but have turned their season around, winning six of their past eight matches. The team is hitting their stride at the right time, as the season is entering the home stretch.
The Lady Pirates have dominated their conference schedule, beating Coppin State, Delaware State, Morgan State, North Carolina A&T, South Carolina State and Savannah State. Conference wins are very important, simply because these are the teams who you are competing with for a tournament spot the entire season.
Rival Howard is the biggest threat to the team’s chances at moving up in the standings, as they have the same overall record as Hampton (8-13). However, Howard’s conference record is better than Hampton’s at 5-1, which puts them ahead of Hampton in the standings. The teams play again November 5 which gives the Lady Pirates a chance to leapfrog their rival.
The Lady Pirates have been solid on the offensive end with multiple players tallying over 100 kills during the season. Reeana Richardson is the team leader in kills with 199, as she has been able to put points on the board for Hampton. Lena Reed-Petracek has dished out 370 assists all season, ultimately leading the team. Mallory Beard is another player with a ton of assists–220 in total. With the offense coming from more than one player, Hampton has the ability to beat teams in many different ways.
The defense has been strong as well. Maja Petronijevic has been the defensive anchor for the team with 225 digs on the season. Petronijevic’s ability to keep the ball from hitting the floor allows her teammates to get the ball back to the other side quickly. Lena Washington has also played a critical part on defense, sitting in the top five in digs (151) and blocks (38) for the team.
Making a move to the No. 1 seed is a tall task for the Lady Pirates as the University of Maryland Eastern Shore is 18-6 with a conference record of 5-0. Earlier in the season, the Lady Pirates lost to the Hawks. The two teams played again Thursday, but the match took place after this issue’s deadline.
Making the MEAC Tournament would be a huge accomplishment for the Lady Pirates, who have not been in the tourney since winning it in 2014.