Wednesday Playcard

What Does Ed Oliver have to prove?

Ed Oliver declared for the 2019 NFL draft this week. Perhaps the earliest public declaration in early entry history. Good for Ed Oliver. He's one of the most dominant defensive linemen in college football, and he has been since he arrived on campus two years ago. 

Oliver is the extreme case where another season of college football is just risking his draft status. Another year of college linemen diving at his legs and holding him won't help his stock. If Oliver is injured in 2018, he could lose millions, and while he's too much of a competitor to do it, if he sat out 2018, you really couldn't fault him. 

It's the same argument Jadaveon Clowney had a few years back, he was the best defensive line prospect on the board and beating on Vandy and Florida weren't adding to his projections. If anything, the scrutiny on the players is more heightened. 

Remember Matt Barkley, he was considered the best quarterback in his draft class as a junior but returned for his senior year, and critics picked him apart. The Heisman front-runner quarterbacking the preseason #1 team in the country, Barkley's senior season didn't live up to expectations, and he slipped to the fourth found. 

Oliver could have a very productive junior season, but evaluators were expecting a superhuman effort could ding him. Brett Hundley, the former UCLA quarterback, was lauded as the top quarterback in the 2014 draft, but after concerns voiced by scouts, he returned for his junior season. A year later he fell to the fifth round. 

Here's hoping Ed Oliver stays healthy and continues to do unworldly things on the field and that scouts don't start nitpicking his junior year. 

A&M Picks Up Grad Transfer TE

Who knew Kevin Sumlin's offense and his failure to utilize the tight end would finally benefit Texas A&M? Arizona tight end Trevor Wood announced via Twitter that he was leaving the desert and new head coach Kevin Sumlin and heading to the waiting arms of Jimbo Fisher. 

In his three years with the Wildcats, the 6-foot-6, 265-pounder caught nine passes for 63 yards and the one score.

The New Kickoff Rule

You know it's a bad sign when NCAA football is trying to limit opportunities to play football. The NCAA is now proposing that any kickoff, fair caught between the 25 and the end line will be placed at the 25. The incentive is to eliminate some of the contact in the game and one of the most violent plays in football. 

Greg Schiano, (yes the guy who Tennessee's former AD wanted to hire but after posturing backlash from an overly zealous fan base Tennessee backed out on the deal) proposed punting rather than kicking off to limit the unbridled sprint into contact that kickoffs have become. Punting would allow blockers to shadow defenders down the field. Punts would be from the 35-yard line. 

As for onside kicks, the team would get to run an untimed down from the 35, and if they gained fifteen yards, they could retain the ball. 

All this is a reaction to the dangers of the game, and more precisely the litigation that is sweeping the country as former players sue conferences, universities, and school officials due to concussion-related health conditions. It's also a chance to try and reassure parents that the NCAA is serious about mitigating concussion-related plays. 

UTEP's Quarterback Race is On!

One of the major storylines from around Texas are the quarterback battles going on at UTEP, UTSA, Rice, Texas State, TCU, and Texas Tech. 

UTEP is in the early phases of its spring drills, and the five-man race for quarterback is wide open.  Based on the first two days of practice, it's a two horse race between Ryan Metz, who had not of the first team reps, and JC transfer Kai Locksley. Sophomore Mark Torrez, redshirt freshman Alex Fernandes, and true freshman Calvin Brownholtz. Torrez played a bit last year, and Fernandez is an intriguing athlete out of the Austin area. 

New coach Dana Dimel isn't close to creating a depth chart, and he's trying to give everyone significant reps. The idea is to weed out the competition and get down to two or three competitors for fall camp, knowing that chances are at least two of players will play. Dimel has fifteen practices to make the assessment. 

The Roundup...