The first week of college football is (for the most part) in the books. New faces shined, like UCLA freshman quarterback Josh Rosen and Texas A&M rookie receiver Christian Kirk. So did the stars we’ve come to expect to dominate, like Nick Chubb, Royce Freeman and Derrick Henry.
But if you were anything like me on Saturday, you may have thought to yourself while watching Alabama or Georgia, hey, I’ve seen that guy before. It’s probably because you have. Some offseason moves, like Jim Harbaugh transitioning from Stanford, going to the NFL and coming back to Michigan, are well documented. Others, like former Virginia QB Greyson Lambert starting under center for Georgia as a graduate transfer, made you squint a little harder yesterday.
So fear not, football fans. You’re not crazy; these gridiron figures aren’t just figments of your imagination. They’re real people, and they just happen to be wearing different uniforms this season than they used to (or polo’s).
Here are some notable old faces that performed in new places in Week 1.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh
Old school: StanfordNew school: Michigan
For an in-depth look at Harbaugh’s first night on the sidelines for his alma mater, check out ‘The night in Harbaugh: Tackling Jim Harbaugh’s night.’ But if you don’t want to, that’s fine Here’s the short version in three GIFs and tweets.
Jim Harbaugh taking pregame snaps, giving handoffs. pic.twitter.com/G6RtVpt4Zy— Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) September 3, 2015
Put in Harbaugh!!! pic.twitter.com/hz7LHoKlt5— Lost Lettermen (@LostLettermen) September 4, 2015
HITCH UP THEM KHAKIS JIMMY pic.twitter.com/bn88TvFh92— SB Nation GIF (@SBNationGIF) September 4, 2015
Harbaugh’s Wolverines lost to Utah 24-17 on the road, a fundamentally sound bunch that stifled Michigan’s rushing attack and manufactured enough of a ground game of their own to clinch a victory. The new head coach’s night was certainly eventful, but unfortunately for the maize and blue, didn’t go quite as successfully as planned.
Quarterback Everett Golson
Old school: Notre Dame
New school: Florida StateGolson’s college career has been a wild ride. He burst onto the scene in 2012 and helped Notre Dame reach the national title game, then missed a year, then looked like a Heisman candidate for the first five weeks of 2014, then lost to Florida State, then regressed. THEN, he transferred to Florida State for the 2015 season. You get all of that?
The dynamic senior won the starting job for the Seminoles in camp, and he did not disappoint in the season opener. Golson completed 19 of his 25 passes for 302 yards and four scores, as Florida State romped Texas State 59-16.
Quarterback Jake Coker
Old school: Florida StateNew school: Alabama
Jake Coker and Derrick Henry lead Alabama to their 31st consecutive win in September (longest streak in FBS) pic.twitter.com/iazgBKOcP7— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 6, 2015
Coker emerged as the most competent option of the five-headed monster Alabama supposedly features at quarterback, and he did exactly what the coaches asked of him in the Tide’s 35-17 win over Wisconsin.
That is -- make the easy throws, don’t turn the ball over and, perhaps most importantly, hand the ball off to Derrick Henry. Coker proved to be excellent in all three of those areas. He went 15-for-21 with 213 passing yards, averaged 10.1 yards per attempt, a wildly efficient number, and had zero turnovers.
And, of course, he got to watch Henry do all of this with the rest of us.
Derrick Henry couldn't be stopped. Let's see this 56-yard stunner from the @AlabamaFTBL back: http://t.co/Kt4kGasGVZ pic.twitter.com/LWGylF2ETu— NCAA Football (@NCAAFootball) September 6, 2015
Head coach Mike Riley
Old school: Oregon StateNew school: Nebraska
Riley’s Cornhusker debut had highs and lows. But when all was said and done, this pretty much summed it up:
HAIL MARY! Trailing by 1, BYU's prayers are answered w/ a 42-yd TD pass on the last play at Nebraska. Wow. WATCH: http://t.co/PgkMuk91Of— ESPN (@espn) September 5, 2015
Even for a guy as consistently cheerful and positive as Riley, that one has to sting.
Quarterback Chad Kelly
Old school: ClemsonNew school: Ole Miss Kelly won the job for Ole Miss out of training camp, and he appears to have a loaded squad around him. Ten different players (!) scored touchdowns in the Rebels’ 76-3 win, and Kelly played great himself, going 9-for-15 with 211 passing yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for another.
And while Kelly didn’t technically throw the pass that sprung stud defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche for a 31-yard touchdown (Kelly was alternating with Ryan Buchanan by that point), it still gives us an excuse to throw this highlight in there:
What can't Robert Nkemdiche do? VIDEO: http://t.co/sdK2g6DgYs— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) September 5, 2015
Large humans that score touchdowns are just the best.
Quarterback Greyson Lambert
Old school: VirginiaNew school: Georgia
#UGA's Greyson Lambert completed 8 of 12 passes for 141 yards & 2 TDs in his debut at QB for #Dawgs in win over #ULM pic.twitter.com/qPXpvxwC5C— Bulldawg Illustrated (@ecdawg_BI) September 5, 2015
Lambert is the third QB on this list to start for an SEC power after transferring from the ACC. The more you know, right?
Georgia wasn’t really tested in its 51-14 throttling of Louisiana Monroe, but Lambert certainly looked the part of solid signal caller in his Bulldog debut, going 8-for-12 with 141 yards and two touchdown passes.
But perhaps more importantly, he sounded the part. It’s as if every Georgia quarterback in recent memory has two first names. Aaron Murray. Hutson Mason. Brice Ramsey.
Bring on Week 2.