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January 24, 2014

Assorted Football Things For the Weekend

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 3:03 pm

Okay, so Aaron Donald continued to dominate the Senior Bowl practices. Hey, another honor:

Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald has been selected as the Most Outstanding Overall Player during Reese’s Senior Bowl practices, the top honor in the Alabama Power Practice Awards.

“Donald is a very explosive defensive tackle,” said Mike Smith, the coach of the Atlanta Falcons who is guiding the North team this week. “I’ve been very impressed with him. He’s short in stature by NFL standards and doesn’t maybe have all the measurables, but he’s one of the more explosive guys we have on the North squad. He’s done a very nice job both in the running and the pass game.”

Last year, Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher was selected by NFL scouts as the Most Outstanding Overall Player during practices for the Senior Bowl, and he went on to be the first player selected in the 2013 NFL Draft.

As I have said, Donald will take a hit on his draft status at the NFL Combine as teams get hung up on measurables, but I believe he won’t get past the second round.

VT blog, The Key Play has a great post detailing the money race in college athletics. As the post notes, the numbers for Pitt are based on the Big East days, so Pitt should see a nice bounce in their numbers, but it also puts a really good perspective on how far behind Pitt is from a lot of other programs with the money. Something that is very much institutional. Also worth a look is their discussion in the comments about just how much should be on the backs of students via fees that are essentially a subsidy for the athletic department.

At Pitt, I’m not sure what sort of subsidy — if any — comes from student fees. There is apparently no line item for athletic fees in Pitt’s tuition bill. I have trouble believing the athletic department doesn’t get some money from student fees, but it may be rolled right into the general tuition costs. Got to love the insanely loophole filled disclosure requirements in the Commonwealth for public universities.

Speaking of arms races, this article from the end of the summer on Temple dreaming of  their own on-campus football stadium would be a funny, distorted mirror of delusions.

“Every university wants an on-campus stadium,” [Temple President Neil] Theobald said in a recent interview in his office. “That’s five years out. We probably won’t make a decision for a year or two. If we had a stadium now, we couldn’t use it, because we’ve got five years left with the Eagles.”

But Theobald uses the words “certainly under consideration.”

In this present climate where state and city funding aren’t going to build a stadium, is this at all realistic?

Theobald put it this way: “Several million dollars a year in TV revenue generates a bonding capability. I think if we were going to move forward – and, again, this is way out there – it would need to have a community aspect. We would love to have the high schools play there. It would certainly have an academic piece.”

He talked of the possibility of classrooms inside the stadium.

“This wouldn’t just be a football stadium that gets used six times a year and just sits there the rest of the time,” the president said.

That if it wasn’t so tragically sad when juxtaposed with what Temple did to their athletic programs barely 3 months later:

The petitions are starting – the gymnastics community out of the gate first, trying to resurrect a sport that’s been on Temple’s campus since 1926 – with more outrage arriving from places you would expect, and can respect.

The Schuylkill Navy, in charge of rowing on the river, distributed an open letter expressing how it was “shocked and saddened” Temple had gone from trying to build a new boathouse to dropping the sport completely, and how it supports all efforts to get the school to reconsider.

Temple’s administration prepared for all that with military precision before it rolled out its announcement Friday that seven sports would be cut.

Men’s track and field, gymnastics, men’s and women’s rowing, baseball, and softball all got the axe. Temple runs an annual deficit in their athletic department. Their recent attempts to return to better football levels have only deepened the mess as the athletic department apparently loses $7 million annually.

Finally my very belated #HotSprotsTake on Penn State hiring a new football coach. It was a good hire. James Franklin was probably the best guy out there, and they got him. I give them kudos for going out and getting the best guy they could  — even if he leaves for a NFL job in 2-3 years — rather than overreacting and going for the safe pick of someone “who wants to be there” or is a “Penn State guy.”

As for its impact on Pitt and recruiting. I’m not convinced it will have too much of an impact. Yes, Franklin paid lip service to owning Pennsylvania, but the real emphasis for PSU has and will be more in Maryland and New Jersey. Now the Terrapins and Rutgers, should be stressed. Not only with Franklin coming back to haunt them. But also with Larry Johnson leaving PSU for Ohio State. There should be some fireworks.





Here is a soemwhat scathing article that many of you may enjoy; apparently PSU still may be suffering from ‘a lack of institutional control

link to thepostgame.com

Comment by wbb 01.24.14 @ 3:17 pm

This may be old news to some. From Sam Werner…

We know that running back Malcolm Crockett will be transferring, and defensive back Cullen Christian has been granted his release as well. I would also expect Brandon Felder, Brandon Ifill and Shane Johnson to not be with the team next year, but those are less set-in-stone.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.24.14 @ 3:41 pm

This is video of the temple announcements to the athletes it’s heartbreaking.
link to crossingbroad.com

Comment by Dacs 01.24.14 @ 3:52 pm

Whatever NFL team is in need of a DL player and is lucky enough to still have Aaron Donald on the table when their draft pick comes around are going to be as happy as a six year old opening the Christmas gift that he has been asking Santa for since Thanksgiving. Make room on the Heinz Field ramparts for another retired Pitt number in a few years.

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.24.14 @ 4:36 pm

@@@@@

On campus stadium at Temple….will never
happen. Temple should drop FB and join
the BE for hoops.

PSU recruiting will ramp up a bit as always
recruiting is based on need and numbers.
The competition will make everyone better.

Let’s beat the Terps!

Comment by JR 01.24.14 @ 4:53 pm

You do have to wonder if some team will not take a chance on AD late in the first round. He looks like a guy that a team like the Patriots snaps up. I mean how many awards does he have to win or how many reports like the one in this post do we have to read before we can say AD is better than the Jernigan or Nix – two guys that shall we say have very significant “measurables”, like their waist lines!

Comment by HbgFrank 01.24.14 @ 4:58 pm

wbb, thanks for the link. Franklin may be a good hire, but the dude is just a bit fishy to me. Just shows that despite it all, football still driving the bus in Unhappy Valley. Not that they are unique in that.

Comment by Iron Duke 01.24.14 @ 6:48 pm

@wbb nice article and very insightful. Just shows that the key finding that fundamentally the culture at PSU needed to change and this is not happening.

Thanks Chas for a good post. Franklin may have been the best hire possible but what real other offers did he get? 4.5 million? That is a big jump even on obrien. He didn’t just give lip service to PA recruiting… he repeated multiple times his ‘dominate’ statement.. just sounds off key…

I am with Iron Duke something is just a bit off with this guy, and Johnson’s departure straight to OSU is another indicator.

Temple is an example of athletics gone wrong in college life… it’s suppose to be about academics first?? kids racking up college debt… and part of that because their payments subsidized athletics??? that is just wrong.

It does make me feel better about Pitt, and sure more $ for FB/athletics is nice… Pitt does have things in proper perspective to the cost of students getting an education.

Hey, Steelers need a DE! Wow, could Ad be our 2nd round pick????

Comment by Pittscript 01.24.14 @ 9:26 pm

Aaron Donald will make the team of who ever drafts him what round wont make a difference .
but i think he goes in round 2 around pick 41 or 43
i wonder if he could play LB in a three four D you know he is the same size as ex steelers LB harrison both are just 6 foot

Comment by Frankcan 01.24.14 @ 11:14 pm

Anyone else kinda surprised to see Wisconsin at number two on that list? Don’t think I would have guessed that

Comment by usd121 01.25.14 @ 1:56 am

Bill Cosby is gonna be upset…

Comment by Jbizz 01.25.14 @ 10:17 am

Lots of WTF numbers on that list of revenues produced by University athletic Depts…How does RU or Northwestern generate more revenue than we do? We do not make more than the lowest revenue BIG 10 school…If RU made $71m in the BE/AAC, what will they make when they start seeing a full BIG 10 payday (which some say may hit near $40m per school in the future)? This number needs to be a significant measure of the AD’S performance eval and $57m is not acceptable for a University with the history of success that Pitt has in revenue producing sports.

Comment by HbgFrank 01.25.14 @ 10:30 am

The Linc in Philadelphia actually is a better venue than Heinz… and that’s not saying much.

Still, there’s a lot of truth to Theobald’s comment “Every university wants an on-campus stadium.”

Amazing, that Pitt actually had an ON-CAMPUS STADIUM… but tore it down.

Obviously, the SMART MOVE and the RIGHT THING to DO would have been to build a NEW PITT STADIUM in the same footprint and build the PETE in one of the other possible locations.

But NOOOOO.

Comment by PittofDreams 01.25.14 @ 11:06 am

Olb’s are not 288 lbs. Donald is an interior lineman in a 4-3. No team that uses a 3-4 will draft him, the Steelers included. There was an article in the Pgh post gazette yesterday saying that AD doesn’t fit the Steelers scheme.

Comment by Nick 01.25.14 @ 11:24 am

As for the here and now…

Donald is a NATURAL Athlete. This has become apparent to those watching him up close one-on-one with the other Linemen at the Senior Bowl.

On top of being MORE ATHLETIC… he is showing himself to be stronger, more skilled in terms of technique… and SMARTER, like a FOX… than the Future NFL Draft Picks lining up across from him… almost to a man.

It’ll be interesting to see if Donald can show the same kind of dominance in the game this afternoon.

A BIG BIG showing, like Duke, Notre Dame or Syracuse… could very well land him in the late 1st Round.

Comment by PittofDreams 01.25.14 @ 12:02 pm

This is the arch typical issue of “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog”! Aaron will do just fine in the NFL irrespective of when he’s drafted. The only ding that he might take is the initial dollar signs that he sees in his first contract.

My advice, if I was his agent, keep that first contract length as short as possible so he is able to renegotiate as soon as his true worth is proven by his on field production. This kid is a winner at any level.

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.25.14 @ 12:46 pm

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