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College Football Players Talk State of the Game

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USA TODAY

 

It's standard during the regular season for reporters to get weekly access to a few coaches and players, typically the coach and the team's best players. That made media days at the Orange and Cotton Bowls an opportunity to pepper the entire roster and coaching staff from the four College Football Playoff teams -- Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma -- with a series of questions related about the status of the sport. Their responses:

WHAT'S ONE RULE YOU WOULD CHANGE IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL?

"It's football but also making sure player safety is important. I do think they could do a little bit better with the targeting calls. They could be a little more loose with those calls, but other than that everything is fine." -- Alabama defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs

"I mean, we definitely want to get paid." -- Alabama linebacker Anfernee Jennings

"Dress we have to wear, the uniform stuff. Everything they say we can't do I feel like we should be able to do. From the shirt being out to the knees being out, I don't get the reasoning behind it at all. Whatever, man." -- Notre Dame linebacker Jonathan Jones

"I'd probably say the transfer rule. I mean, a lot of people think it's unfair that coaches can leave and do whatever they want, but if a player wants to leave he has to go through this, sit out or appeal the NCAA decision." -- Oklahoma defensive lineman Ronnie Perkins

"Targeting stuff has been controversial but I think the concept behind it is good. The game needs some of it, but some instances it's been a little hazy. We've had some this year called where I was like I don't know if that's targeting; some that weren't called. I think it's a good rule; the game needs it. Maybe it just needs time, only been in place for a few years. Needs time to develop." -- Clemson tight end Garrett Williams

HOW MANY TEAMS SHOULD BE IN THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF?

"Everyone makes it, 129. FCS starts in the spring and once they win, they get in. Winner of FCS and FBS play each other. Oooh, other rule change: We could do what the Premier League does in soccer where we relegate teams. North Dakota State's up with us now and we send someone else down." -- anonymous

"I see pros with the eight-team playoff. I think it honestly gives you a better chance to see what team is truly the best. But at the same time, that's a lot of games. It takes a toll on the players. ... But if you're looking to find the best, the eight-team playoff is the way to go." -- Oklahoma tight end Grant Calcaterra

"As a fan I'd like to see it expand but as a player, we're already playing up to 15 games and I think it'd really deteriorate from the actual playoff if it expands because a lot of people don't play in these bowl games since they're trying to get drafted, don't want to get hurt. ... I think four's fine." -- Tanner Muse, Clemson safety

"I like the eight-team. I think four just makes more people talk, and eight might just shut everybody up." -- Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith

WHAT'S THE STRANGEST THING YOU WERE TOLD DURING YOUR RECRUITMENT?

"Oh lord, I'll keep it PG. The strangest thing? ... I guess with all the baseball thing I had, I've had a lot of stuff said to me about what I could do. A couple people said I could pitch, a couple said I could come out and hit every once in a while for football and baseball. That I could pitch if I wanted to -- I'm like I don't know, are you trying to sell me some crap?" -- anonymous

"Everyone always brought up, 'The girls here love football players.' And not that it was weird. ... I mean, it definitely excited me, but I'm kind of like, I'm 17, I'm sitting with my mom. She doesn't necessarily want to hear that." -- Alabama tight end Hale Hentges

"I was told by one school that when I came on my official visit, I would have a host who was a football player but most of the time I'd be accompanied by a female athlete, also. For the whole weekend. A female. He said he'd put us in contact with a beautiful female athlete to accompany us for the whole weekend." -- Perkins

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU BEEN DRUG-TESTED THIS SEASON?

Among the more than 15 players asked, responses mostly ranged from 0 to 4 with an even disbursement.

OTHER THAN YOUR HOME FIELD, WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE STADIUM TO PLAY IN?

"I would say the Cotton Bowl." -- Calcaterra

"Definitely Kyle Field, at Texas A&M. That's so fun to play there. My fiancee, all of her family went to Texas A&M, so this past year it got a bit more significant for me. But I love playing there. It's so loud." -- Hentges

"The most fun I've had in was Boston College this year. I made a tackle on their side, tackle for loss, and then I had a beer thrown at me. I didn't know you could sell beer in a college stadium until it was thrown at me there." -- Muse

SHOULD KYLER MURRAY PLAY FOOTBALL OR BASEBALL?

"Baseball: More money, longer time, more endorsements, more face time, more guaranteed money. I don't love baseball but if he loves it, that's the practical choice." -- Notre Dame safety Devon Studstill

"I feel like he should go like that man Bo Jackson and do both. Go crazy. He pretty cold at both. If he were to do just one, I'd say baseball -- not knocking him because he's a bad quarterback. He's going to be great whatever he does, but if I personally was in that situation, I'd go baseball." -- Jones

"From what I've heard, he's a really good baseball player. Obviously he's a really good football player. Being drafted in the first round of baseball speaks for itself. I don't know what to tell him. I'd say baseball if he got drafted that early." -- Clemson punter Will Spires

WHAT ADVICE DID YOU GET ON THE NFL?

"Stay true to yourself, make your circle smaller and going out, knowing what you want. Never lose love for the game, always try to do your best." -- Notre Dame running back Dexter Williams

"Take it serious. Be all in with it and take it serious." -- Clemson defensive back Trayvon Mullen

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January 2, 2019
 
 
 

 

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