Earlier this month, the Federal Aviation Administration held a drones workshop at the White House. Now, before you go asking “What in the name of Knute Rockne does that have to do with Big 12 football?” read on.
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen saw his son Logan flying a camera-equipped drone from the porch of the coach’s house.
“I looked at it and said, ‘Those things are shooting videos and angles that I’ve never seen before,’ ” he said.
And, the light bulb went off above the head of an innovative football coach. During spring practice, the Mountaineers used drones to film practices and drills from a bird’s eye view.
“Technically speaking, you can’t get any better,” said WVU’s new offensive coordinator Joe Wickline said. “You feel like you’re in the actual picture. “When it’s a receiver blocking a defensive back or a lineman blocking a linebacker in a pass-rush drill or a double-team drill, you can see when they slip off and when you don’t get the right leverage or the right fit.
“I believe because of the fact we have certain uses for it, it’s unbelievable.”
Now before this drones on, here’s where the FAA returns to the story. The proliferation of drones – officially called Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems – have required more government regulation. And it grounded WVU’s one-drone fleet.
“The worst thing I did was publicize it,” a chagrined Holgorsen said at Big 12 media days, referring to an April story. “The FAA shut it down. We’re within five miles of the airport. It’s gonna require a waiver. The story was in the paper, (the FAA) made some phone calls and shut it down.”
West Virginia had followed an FAA regulation that went into effect last December that required all drones be registered. The safety concerns, however, are leading to more study and apparently the FAA was following CYA protocol in the case of the Mountaineers’ drone.
However, once the waiver is obtained, Holgorsen believes the drone technology will return to his practice plans.
“More importantly you can move it where you want it and get different angles,” Holgorsen said. “I think there’s a place for that and more people will consider using them.”
All hat, no sunscreen
For the past two off-seasons, Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury has maintained a low profile. He has kept it muted because he became a viral video hero in the spring and summer of 2014 … and then his second season in Lubbock went splat.
All we can offer up is that Kingsbury is acknowledging that going bare-headed in the West Texas sun is not a smart strategy. Monday he showed up at a post-practice news conference wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat.
“Lots of sun damage,” he said. “Needed to keep the youthful exuberance. Had to protect it (the face). … Needed more protection, for sure.”
One vote against Houston
Kansas State offensive coordinator Dana Dimel spent three seasons as coach at the University of Houston, compiling a record of 8-26. He doesn’t have a vote concerning Big 12 expansion, but if he did he would not vote for UH.
Dimel believes that adding Houston would make it tougher for Big 12 schools to recruit players from that area.
“I think that would be really bad for everybody,” Dimel said at K-State’s football media day. “You can recruit Houston. If they get into the Big 12 they will be tough to beat in recruiting, because of the proximity.
“I can’t believe anybody would want Houston.”
Times have changed
On the topic of expansion and Houston, Texas school officials have voiced their support of UH. That wasn’t exactly the case 15 years ago, as Jim Vertuno of The Associated Press points out.
In Sept. 2001 Texas was scheduled to play the Cougars in Robertson Stadium, the stadium’s former on-campus stadium that seated about 32,000. UT had ticket requests from 10,000 fans so Houston agreed to add 4,000 temporary seats.
But the week of the game, it was determined those seats were unsafe. UT officials had asked that the game be held at a larger stadium – either at Rice University or the Astrodome. UH officials wanted to keep the game on-campus even though they couldn’t meet the contract stipulation that called for Texas to receive 10,000 tickets.
“I am in shock. I am appalled,” DeLoss Dodds, who was the Texas athletic director, said that time. “This whole situation in my mind is just absolutely out of whack. I am sick about it. We are very upset about this.”
Don’t mix politics and rivalries
Democratic vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine grew up in the Kansas City area and attended the University of Missouri. Despite being a Mizzou grad, he claims to be a KU basketball fan. There have been several social media posts that Kaine rooting for the Jayhawks will cost him the Missouri vote.
Perhaps to counter his KU connections in the Show Me state, Kaine is offering (tongue in cheek, we assume) to give Tigers fans something they want.
Yes, this Kansas-raised, Mizzou-educated VP candidate will broker a deal to reinstate the Border War! https://t.co/Wd0fpMFbro
— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) August 9, 2016
Missouri’s departure from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference put an end to the football and basketball games between the schools. Tigers fans are much more willing to get another chance to beat the Jayhawks, particularly in basketball.
But Kansas athletic director Shane Zenger and basketball coach Bill Self have made it clear their interest is none, zero, nada. Their stance has been that Missouri ended the rivalry by leaving the Big 12. Period. End of story. And, frankly, even a non-conference football game in Kansas City between the schools would not create a buzz that would be heard beyond the two states.