We have officially entered the dead period in college football. Spring games are over. Coaches are out on the road evaluating talent, but the head coaches aren't allowed to make any contact with kids during this period. It's called the "Saban Rule" in honor of the Alabama coach who became notorious for just "bumping" into kids outside their high school football coaches' offices. Now it appears Saban is bumping into recruits online .
Even before the new rule, coaches weren't allowed to have more than brief, inadvertent contact with recruits during the spring, a rule Saban was accused of breaking last year in Miami. He has called the new restrictions against visits to high schools "ridiculous."
When they went into effect, he turned to Plan B: Webcams, which are permitted by the NCAA.
Saban said he speaks to "four or five" recruits a day on the Web when he's in the office. He had previously used the technology with LSU, the NFL's Miami Dolphins and at Alabama for things like giving players a chance to talk to doctors or sports psychiatrists.
In any other situation a forty-some year old guy talking to 17 year old kids online would have NBC Dateline setting up a sting operation faster than you could say "To Catch a Predator".
Did Someone Say Team Brunch? Count Charlie Weis In!
Charlie Weis was also notorious for "bumping" into recruits the last few years. But then he couldn't walk through an airport hangar without bumping into the door. With the new rule in place and nothing to do Charlie is now out talking to the green eyed Irish masses and dissing Michigan.
"I've always been one never to make excuses," Weis told the crowd. "(I feel) you back your words by your performance on the field. I think that's the message our team is going to follow on September 6 with San Diego State. I think the first opportunity we'll have to make a statement is that day.
"Then we'll listen to Michigan have all their excuses as they come running in, saying how they have a new coaching staff (under Rich Rodriguez) and those changes. To hell with Michigan."
At that point, the Notre Dame faithful cheered.
Does anyone else find it disturbing that the head coach at a private Catholic institution would be wishing a rival team of young men "go to hell"?
Joe Paterno was in suburban Philadelphia this weekend speaking to alumni and no doubt collecting a few thousand dollar handshakes. As RUTS points out , he may have tipped his hand on the quarterback competition.
Daryll Clark and Pat Devlin are the candidates, and the two seemed comparable at the Blue-White game. The coach doesn't expect to make a decision until the preseason, and Paterno hasn't ruled out an occasional platoon, but it's looking more likely as if Clark will get the initial nod.
"Obviously, people got him ahead of the pack, and I think it probably ought to be that way," Paterno said. "But Devlin and [probable third-stringer Paul] Cianciola are both good football players."
Of course not all the questions were about x's and o's. Everyone wants to know about Joe's contract status and what he's telling recruits .
"My coaches go in, tell kids what life is all about at Penn State, and whether we have a good opportunity for them," Paterno said. "If one kid asks if coach Paterno is going to be there, they tell them to call me up.
"I tell them exactly what I feel: 'Look, I don't know whether I'm going to be here the three, four, five years you're going to be here.' I say 'I feel great and I'm intending to coach as long as I feel good.'"
Paterno said his advice to the recruits is simple: Take a look at the whole school.
"Look at Penn State," he said. "Look at its history. ... Look at the enthusiasm of the program. Look at the academic support. And, you're going to play on a good football team. and you're going to be coached well.
"Don't put me in the equation beyond what it should be."
I think this is the best we can do right now. Sell kids on the tradition, the academics, the stadium, and the facilities. Those things will always be there. If we only had a successor in place we could almost tell kids things will get better after Joe steps down. But...yeah.