While Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin surely has his hands full during the bye week as his team sits at a disappointing 2-6 record, it doesn’t mean he won’t have time to enjoy the college football slate Saturday afternoon. Tomlin sat down with Nittany Game Week earlier today to talk about how he uses college football as a learning tool, but also regarding improvements he believes would be beneficial to the sport.
Tomlin himself played football at the collegiate level for four seasons at William & Mary, where he was a wide receiver, and a talented one at that. In all, Tomlin finished his career with 101 receptions for 2,054 yards and 20 touchdown catches, while also establishing himself as a first-team All-Yankee Conference selection during his senior year. He also coached for five years at the college level at various different schools as an assistant.
“I watch a lot of college football,” Tomlin said via Nittany Game Week’s YouTube channel. “The calculated risk taking that occurs at that level is always interesting to me…it always turns up in the college game quite frankly before it turns up in our game.”
Tomlin’s son, Dino, was recruited to play football at University of Maryland, also as a receiver, where he played for three years but then transferred to Boston College prior to this season. Due to the first-hand experience and seeing it now as a father, Tomlin believes that football at the collegiate level should be adjusted in terms of the accessibly and restrictions put upon athletes.
“I think there’s a lot of kids that want to work more than what they’re working right now,” explained Tomlin. “I hate turning away young people that have a thirst for knowledge, that have a desire to get better, because of rules and regulations and hours that coaches can help.”
The landscape of college football is ever-changing, so it’d be no surprise if restrictions were loosened for the athletes, especially after such a monumental legislation change regarding the NIL movement. On another note, it’s encouraging to see that Tomlin embraces the uniqueness and progressive approach that college football has embodied, as Pittsburgh could definitely use a fresh outlook on both sides of the ball. The second half of the Steelers’ schedule does appear to offer a slightly easier slate of games, so an inspired run of success should not be ruled out just yet for Pittsburgh.