<
>
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
Get ESPN+

'There's a new day': How coaches deal with redshirts and transfers

play
Timing of Clemson QB change beneficial for Bryant (0:31)

Trevor Matich explains how the timing of Dabo Swinney's decision to change quarterbacks worked in Kelly Bryant's favor. (0:31)

When making the media-day rounds in July, I had a tough time finding a coach who didn't love the redshirt rule. Not simply like it. Love it. Like, couldn't stop gushing about it -- how he couldn't wait to apply it to his roster this fall.

A month into the rule's application, coaches remain bullish about their new personnel luxury. But they're not the only ones with some control over who plays and when. Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant, Oklahoma State receiver Jalen McCleskey and several other players (but not Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts) recently capitalized on the rule, which allows players who appear in four games or fewer to retain the year of eligibility. They declared their independence, announcing they would transfer.

A two-word phrase quickly spread through the sport.

Alabama coach Nick Saban: "This is sort of an unintended consequence."

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley: "That's probably one of the unintended consequences."

Nebraska coach Scott Frost: "Any rule you pass always has unintended consequences."

Louisville coach Bobby Petrino: "It's one of those things that [had] unintended consequences and nobody really understood that things like that were going to happen."

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby: "It's obvious there are now some unintended consequences that have to be dealt with."

Although some anticipated the consequences, the transfers took many by surprise. Everyone is buzzing about the new redshirt rule, and I surveyed many coaches and other key figures about their reaction to the transfers, how the rule is being viewed now and where things could go from here.

How surprised are coaches by the transfers?

On the morning of Jan. 10, FBS coaches held their annual meeting at the Charlotte Convention Center. They talked about the redshirt rule and, according to American Football Coaches Association executive director Todd Berry, the possibility of some older players using it to transfer four or five weeks into the season. The support for the rule remained "unanimous," Berry said after the convention.