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Frank Thoughts for January

Revised on: 01.26.2017 at 01:06 p.m.

Posted on: 01.9.2017 at 01:32 p.m.

I am amazed that in the year 2017, with all the available technology, we still determine first downs with two sticks and a chain. The only “improvement” I have seen is the SEC’s use of a LED down marker. I could go to McArthur Hardware and buy everything needed to make my own version that would be just as effective.

This how the officials know where to place the chain on the yard line (30, 35, 40 etc.) when a measurement is called for.

Have you noticed that it is rare for the chains to be brought in to measure for a first down? I’m talking about all levels of football, not just the pro ranks. A high school official told me this season that whenever possible he marked the ball on a hash mark to make it simple to see if the line-to-gain had been obtained.

Football is a game of inches. Just ask Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh after losing to Ohio State after a controversial fourth down conversion. What guarantee is there when the chains are brought in from the sideline they are set up exactly parallel to the sideline? Actually, I just did the math on this. The officials would need to be off by 27 inches to shorten the chain to 358.986 inches instead of 360 inches (10 yards)

So, it appears a few inches difference from placing the markers parallel to the sideline should not make any difference. A difference of six inches would reduce the distance slightly less than one-sixteenth of an inch. If your team loses tonight or next weekend or the next by a fraction of an inch don’t blame the chain crew. OK, with that settled, let’s go on to the correct marking of forward progress. No, let’s not. Replay has already interrupted the flow of the game tremendously. We don’t need anything else to slow down the action in any sport.

My feelings about the use of replay waffle. My feelings about players sitting out bowl games to prepare for the draft have waffled as well. Being old school, I originally felt it was a pusillanimous thing to do. After further review, I have softened my feelings. If the head coach can leave the program for greener pastures prior to the bowl game while under contract, why not the player? Coaches typically have buyout clauses that supposedly help keep them from leaving, but rarely do. Require the player that chooses to not complete the season, but is determined healthy enough to do so, to repay the university the cost of his or her scholarship for that semester. Make it a contract so it is enforceable.

I don’t know if UNC’s Elijah Hood was capable of playing in the Tar Heels bowl game. He not only did not play, he did not attend. Afterwards, he announced his decision to forgo his remaining eligibility. Maybe it was a ploy to avoid the negative attention some other high profile running backs received. My perception of Hood is somewhat slanted since he posted a video during high school, tearing up his scholarship offer from Alabama and flushing it down the toilet. He originally committed to Notre Dame before flipping to UNC. Hood, Marvin Austin and Ronald Curry head my list of ballyhooed UNC football recruits that did not live up to the hype.

Arkansas TE Jeremy Sprinkle found a different way to avoid playing in his team’s bowl, the Belk Bowl in Charlotte. The sixth-ranked tight end in the class of 2017, Sprinkle was accused of shoplifting during his team’s shopping spree at a Charlotte Belk store. Unfortunate on many levels, but ironic because Belk had provided each player with a $450 gift card to shop with.

Finally, I know you are glad and hoping for something of substance, but this is “Frank Thoughts” so don’t hold your breath too long. What is it with the players with Jr., II and III added to their names on their jerseys? Dan Biser says some are honoring fathers that played before them. Steve Smith Sr. added the Sr. in 2014 to differentiate him from Torrey Smith, another Baltimore receiver. Wouldn’t S. Smith and T. Smith have worked? It has been suggested Smith also did it to honor his son, Steve Smith Jr.

Did you know there is no law governing whether you are a Jr. or II? It is up to the “namer”. Name etiquette states that junior is used if the son’s name is the same as the father, II is used if the same as some other relative. The law allows you to do whichever you prefer. Interesting that very few women have ever been named Jr. or II, royalty not included! One exception is Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Jr. (referred to NY Supreme Court documents as II), the only daughter of President Franklin Roosevelt and Anna Eleanor Roosevelt. A more recent exception is Nancy Sinatra Jr. Apparently it takes a female child of unusual stature to receive the suffix.

That’s it for this time. Catch you later.

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