BARNEStorming: Some Thoughts Around the College Football World
Ole Miss has been known for producing great wide receivers. Laquon Treadwell, A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, Donte Moncrief and Cody Core all shined in Oxford. The Rebels have also churned out some excellent tight ends like Evan Engram and Dawson Knox.
Now it is tight end Kenny Yeboah’s turn.
In just two games, the Allentown, Pa., native is averaging 21.75 yards per catch and is second on the squad in receiving. He has also caught a touchdown in each game. Not only is he averaging 87 yards a game receiving, but his blocking ability has also been vital to aid the Ole Miss rushing attack.
Next fall, Engram and Knox will have some company in the NFL.
Come on COVID, Give Us a Break
The COVID-19 virus has robbed college football of many things this season. It has cost some players and teams and conferences entire seasons. But what really stinks is the sudden cancellations or postponements of games days before they were scheduled.
This week, the big loss was in the Sun Belt Conference. Saturday was supposed to be the league’s best vs. best. Louisiana was set to travel to Appalachian State.
The Ragin’ Cajuns are undefeated including a thumping of then-ranked Iowa State. Appalachian State has been the dominant team in the league in the past few years. This one would have been fun.
But have no fear, if things work out, the two teams can still meet. If Louisiana wins the West and the Mountaineers the East, they will play in the Sun Belt title game in December.
A Good Coach, A Better Man
West Virginia outlasted Baylor Saturday, taking a 27-21 win in overtime. The Mountaineers are now 2-1 and 1-1 in the Big 12. Get used to WVU winning, its coach usually brings them with him.
Neal Brown is in his second season at Morgantown after a successful stint in his first head coaching job at Troy. While leading the Trojans, Troy was a regular bowl game participant, and his teams were known to go on the road and knock off the big boys like LSU and Nebraska.
Now, Brown is with the big boys himself. It will not be long until West Virginia is a national force again.
But better than his coaching is his humanity. Brown is more than a coach; he is an ambassador for the programs he represents. He was recognized for that recently. Brown was named the honorary coach of the Allstate Good Works team for his contributions off the field.
The best thing about Brown is as his finishes addressing his team, he ends with the phrase, “I love you and I appreciate you.”
Your players feel the same about you coach.
A Probable Completed Pass
Coastal Carolina has a dynamic duo in its receiving corps this season. Jaivon Heigley leads the Chanticleers with 12 catches for 219 yards. Second on the team is Isaiah Likely, who has amassed 215 yards and averages 30.7 yards per catch. Each has scored three touchdowns.
The duo is a steady pair and seem to be always targeted. But with their production, one could say when the ball comes their way, a completion is ‘Heigly Likeley.’ Thank you, please tip your waitresses.
One other thing about Coastal: this season the offense is 14-of-14 scoring in the red zone. Thirteen of those scores have been touchdowns.
The Review Rule Needs to Be Reviewed
Many people have seen how the replay rule has not gone well (Does anyone remember the end of the Ole Miss-Cal game last year?). Saturday, it went to the other extreme.
A Tennessee receiver caught a short pass, but before he could make a “football move,” the ball came loose. A Missouri defender picked up the ball and began to run. He was eventually tackled after a lengthy return, but it did not matter. The play was wiped out by a defensive penalty.
Still, there was a delay in the action and announcer Dave Neal explained the officials were looking at the replay.
There was a defensive penalty! The play never happened. There was no pass attempt, no catch, no fumble, no return and no tackle. It theoretically never occurred.
Maybe the refs just wanted a little practice.
Pretty, Shiny Things
In this age, it seems every team has several uniform combinations and a variety of helmets. This week, there were some cool ones on display.
North Carolina State featured the school logo of a wolf’s head wearing an NCSU hat. That looked like a helmet the team needs to stay with.
The back of the Vanderbilt helmets had a silhouette of the Nashville skyline, something that has probably not been done before by a college football team.
The coolest may have been Georgia State. One side of the helmet featured the traditional Panther logo, but the other was even cooler. The word, “Panthers” was emblazoned in blue block letters. Just offset and underneath was the player’s number in red. That is unique. Keep that one Georgia State.
Kudos to Air Force and Charlotte on their choices as well.
Playoffs? You’re Talking About Playoffs?
Jim Mora, Sr., uttered those words in a postgame press conference when he was coaching the New Orleans Saints. He could have been talking about the Big 12 this season.
To be kind, the league has not measured up to expectations. Saturday, the conference’s highest-ranked team, Texas, lost to TCU 33-31. Also, Oklahoma fell to Iowa State 37-30. That kind of puts a damper on the Red River Shootout, even though it can be looked at as a playoff game as the loser is out of the running for a playoff spot.
Oklahoma State is the only unbeaten team in the Big 12. Yet the Cowboys still have Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa State still left on the schedule.
It is possible the conference champion could have two losses. If that happens, it is unlikely the conference will get a team in the playoffs this season.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.