From the days of Pop Warner, you go your entire football career thinking the head coach is the boss. Whatever that man says goes, and there is no debating the fact from any of the players.
Well, down in Arkansas, it appears that running back Knile Davis, who suffered a season-ending injury last year, has a little more power over his head coach than John L. Smith would like. The plan was for Davis to sit out all full-contact drills, but according to Matt Jones of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Davis had vetoed those plans and will get a few reps in during the last week of full camp.
Now, no player should ever be bigger than the team, of course, but are there players who deserve a little more leeway when it comes to coaches? Should players be allowed to challenge coaches at times when they have have a valid point?
If there is such a rule, here are 10 players who should be granted these special privileges.
I'm not sure there is anything to veto when it comes to the Wisconsin Badgers, but whatever Montee Ball does not like, he should have the power to speak up. We are talking about a guy who had over 2,000 total yards and scored 39 total touchdowns.
With the Badgers looking for offensive consistency, Ball will likely once again be the workhorse in Madison and will be key to another Big Ten title run.
If he does not like the breakfast being served, the plays being run or the temperature in the air, somebody better change things to his liking. Yes, when you are that productive on the football field, even Mother Nature better play nice.
Sammy Watkins emerged as one of the top playmakers in the country last year as a freshman. He caught 82 passes for 1,219 yards and scored 13 total touchdowns. But due to an offseason arrest, head coach Dabo Swinney decided to suspend his star receiver for the first two games of the season.
Now, this would be perfectly fine if the Tigers were playing South Alabama or San Jose State; but Clemson opens up the year with a big matchup against Auburn. In case Swinney forgot, Watkins hauled in 155 receiving yards and two touchdowns in last year’s victory over Auburn—a game Clemson doesn't win without him.
Could Clemson still win the season opener without him? Of course. But this suspension could come back to haunt the head coach.
Throughout the offseason, I keep hearing that Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges is working on quarterback Denard Robinson's mechanics and trying to make him a better passer. That's all well and good, but some guys just aren't your traditional quarterback and will never be a consistent passer or high completion guys. (Have you seen Tim Tebow lately?)
Robinson is one of those guys who is best on the move and making plays with his legs. From what we have seen the past couple of seasons, there are no signs of him being comfortable in the pocket, fixing that awkward throwing motion or completing passes to his receivers consistently.
Robinson plays the game of football like many of us play in the backyard: just go, and we will figure something out as the play develops. It works for the senior quarterback, and that likely isn't going to change in one offseason of work.
There is probably not a quicker defensive end in the country than defensive end Barkevious Mingo. He gets off the ball with incredible quickness, which is a big reason why he led the LSU Tigers with 15 tackles for loss a year ago.
The problem is that he only started four games last year, as many don't consider him an every down player.
"Yeah, I think that's inaccurate," said Mingo, flashing his 100 megawatt grin (via Jim Kleinpeter of Nola.com). "I consider myself an every-down defensive end. I'm not an outside linebacker or speed rushing end -- I'm a defensive end. It gets annoying, but it drives me to want to play my best."
Besides an injury, if Mingo isn't a starting defensive end every game this year, the junior has a right to veto head coach Les Miles' decision.
Much like Knile Davis, South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore is also coming off a serious injury suffered in 2011. He is recovering from an ACL injury that happened in the middle of the season, but says he is perfectly fine with the season set to begin.
"I love carrying the ball," Lattimore said (via Willie T. Smith of The Greenville News). "When I'm in the zone and it's third and three or four, I don't even think about how many carries I've got. I'm just going as hard as I can."
Lattimore is one of those ridiculous running backs who can carry the ball an awful lot. In just one-and-a-half seasons, he has 412 carries and has proven himself to be one of the best backs in the country. If he has been cleared by the doctors to play and says he wants to continue to be the workhorse, it is up to Steve Spurrier to feed the bread-winner the football.
I'm all for disciplining players when they break rules, but sometimes, there are things that you must sweep under the rug. The Tennessee Volunteers have not won a bowl game since 2007 and didn't even reach a bowl last season.
Wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers is not only arguably the best player on the team, but he is one of the best at his position in the country. He was recently suspended indefinitely by the team, and nobody expects him to play at all this season.
Um, Derek Dooley, in case you didn't know, you have a combined 11-14 record at Tennessee. Fans in Knoxville are calling for your head, and this is probably your last chance to turn things around. If only Rogers could veto this decision to help both of them out.
What's that coach?
Oh, you want me to run the ball from the 2-yard line, with no timeouts left and only 33 seconds left on the clock?
What a brilliant play-call. That is why you get paid the big bucks!
Look, we all love Les Miles for many different reasons, but there is no question that he makes some boneheaded decisions on the sidelines as a head coach. Zach Mettenberger will be a first-year starter at quarterback for the Tigers this season, but somebody has to be allowed to take some sense into the “Mad Hatter” when he begins to get a little crazy.
According to reports, Knile Davis has already exercised his rights to veto what his head coach said. Sure, he missed all of the 2011 season, but in 2010, he rushed for over 1,300 yards and scored 14 touchdowns.
Arkansas has one of the top offenses in the country, led by quarterback Tyler Wilson, but the running game was ranked 81st in the country, which was a huge reason the Razorbacks lost to both Alabama and LSU. With Davis now in the mix, Arkansas has a balanced offense and should be more complete to compete for an SEC title.
And if that is not a good enough reason, are you really going to argue with somebody who squats 570 pounds?
Chip Kelly has to be one of the most respected head coaches in the country. But I think I speak for the entire college football community when I say we want De'Anthony Thomas to touch the football a lot more.
I mean a lot more.
Last season, on the offensive side of the ball, Thomas only had the ball 101 times. When you add special teams, the Black Mamba carried the ball 140 times. That is simply not enough!
I know his size isn't ideal for an every-down back, but who can actually catch this kid on a consistent basis?
He only had 140 touches, but scored 18 touchdowns.
With Thomas' speed, he should have at least 200 total touches on offense. If he isn't receiving more love his sophomore year, he should have a right to veto the offensive playbook.
USC head coach Lane Kiffin seems to have his ballclub under control and all, but is there a bigger athlete in college football than Matt Barkley? He is nominated for nearly every college football award in the country, seems to be the overwhelming favorite for the Heisman Trophy and is majority of the reason many have the Trojans winning the national championship this year.
If there is anyone who deserves special perks, it is certainly Barkley.
Not only is he the face of the Trojans for the 2012 season, but remember, he did not have to come back for his senior season. How would USC look heading into the year if he had decided to take his talents to last year's NFL draft?