If you missed my brief post yesterday afternoon on the NFL draft prospects of a few former Hokies this April, you can get to it here. Now for a few more miscellaneous links of interest …
– Former Virginia Tech quarterback/safety/linebacker Nick Sorensen has a new job: he’s a coaching assistant/special teams coach for the Seattle Seahawks. Sorensen played 10 — ten! — seasons in the NFL as a safety/special teams maven for the Rams, Jaguars and Browns. He spent last year as a volunteer defensive quality control coach at Youngstown State.
– This was in our paper the other day, but Martinsville High School hired Orion Martin as its head football coach Monday. The former Hokies defensive end spent last season as an assistant at Franklin County after being a grad assistant at Tech for two years.
– I tweeted this the other day, but here’s the link to a story on Arizona Cardinals running back Ryan Williams on the comeback trail from yet another injury. Former Hokies quarterback Bruce Arians is the new head coach in Arizona. Here’s what he said about Williams: “I know Ryan can flat run the football — I’m a Hokie. I know all about Ryan, and I love him.”
– Want to hear former Virginia Tech and current Houston Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown sing that Gotye song live for a radio show? Of course you do. Fox Sports has you covered. (And Deadspin, naturally, picked it up.) Spoiler: he’s a better blocker than singer.
– The NCAA football rules committee has some suggestions for next year. Most notable is the group’s proposal to eject players who target and contact defenseless players above the shoulders. Obviously, player safety continues to be a big concern. This might be excessive. It had better be egregious to warrant an ejection. A lot of times the game moves fast and hits that aren’t intentional happen. You’re basically putting every safety in the country on notice with this rule.
Scroll to the bottom of that link for the full list of proposals, which need to be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel to go into effect. One requires three seconds to be on the clock in order for a team to spike the ball. This seems arbitrary, but I guess they’re trying to avoid a hometown clock operator from giving teams an edge. It’s kind of like the basketball rule that require a certain amount of time to be on the clock to get a full shot off. I’m not sure if I like it.
Another is a rule that requires teams to have either their jerseys or pants contrast in color to the playing field. For goodness sake, can we just let Boise State wear its all-blue jerseys already? Is it really hurting anybody? (Also, I would assume then that teams like Michigan State can’t wear all green anymore.)
– Lastly, Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel answered a mailbag question about Frank Beamer on Wednesday. I’ll excerpt it, but click here to read the whole mailbag (which is a good way to get through the offseason):
While Frank Beamer has done more with less at Virginia Tech than Nick Saban at Alabama or Urban Meyer at Florida or Ohio State, it seems like he’ll get no respect until he wins a national championship. Is it tougher to win a national championship at a school with a great history and a great recruiting footprint, or is it more difficult to build a program that has very little history up from nothing, even if you don’t win the national title? – Rob, Richmond, Va.
Mandel: I’ve discussed this topic in very similar fashion with Bill Snyder, arguing that what he’s accomplished at Kansas State ranks among the all-time great coaching careers regardless of whether the Wildcats ever climb that last elusive hurdle and play for the national title. You can probably say many of the same things about Beamer. It’s incredibly difficult to reach 20 straight bowl games at any school, but certainly more so at Virginia Tech than Alabama or Florida. It’s a testament to what he built that last year’s 7-6 season was considered so abnormal following eight straight double-digit win seasons; in fact, neither Alabama nor Florida has ever produced an equivalent streak. So while Beamer no longer rates among the “hot” coaches of the day, there’s absolutely no question he’s had a Hall of Fame career.
That said, national championships will always be the defining measure of coaching greatness. That’s what everybody plays for, and the guys who win titles — especially multiple times — will always be viewed more favorably. They’re hard to capture, even at Alabama or Florida. Ask Mike Shula or Ron Zook. And what Saban is doing right now — building a program that contends annually for the crystal football — requires every bit the effort, if not more, as it does to carry a program up from the bottom.
But you can also win a national championship without an accompanying legacy. Would anyone reasonably suggest Gene Chizik was a better coach than Frank Beamer? Larry Coker? Heck, Dennis Erickson (who has two)? I doubt it. History will ultimately view Beamer very favorably, but it’s hard to imagine he’ll be celebrated as much as coaches who consistently dominate and win trophies at blueblood programs.
I’ll throw this last part to the blog crowd for discussion. Thoughts?