Daily Archives: December 19, 2006

That didn’t take long.

Per David Ching, Richt has just named Mike Bobo offensive coordinator.

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UPDATE: Ching has Bobo’s initial comments to the media about the appointment here.

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UPDATE:  Ching also reports that Richt has decided that Bobo will call the plays next year from the booth.  I tell you what, when the man gets comfortable with a decision, he doesn’t waste a lot of time on it…

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Filed under Georgia Football

Why isn’t Georgia better?

That’s the question Keltic Gator asks at Orange and Blue Hue today. He looks at the resources available to the school – money, facilities, in-state talent – and wonders why Georgia isn’t a consistent top three power in football and basketball.

It’s not a totally unreasonable question to ask. Even for a Gator fan. (I can’t help it, whenever I think of Gator fans and sports talk, my mind wanders to this.)

Seriously, though, some of this is a little closer than you might think at first glance. Meyer’s having the year in ’06 that Richt had in ’02; the only difference is that Georgia had the unfortunate reality of two unbeatens in front of it that year instead of one. And as for basketball, how much difference is there between the two programs historically, other than Donovan (admittedly, not a small point as of late)?

That being said, I think there are a few reasons you can point to in response to the question, at least from a historical perspective.

Men’s basketball has been the bastard stepchild of Georgia sports for as long as I can remember. Sure, there are rare periods where it grabs the public’s attention – Dominique Wilkins, a couple of moments of glory under Durham, Tubby ball – but those are brief times in an otherwise humdrum existence.

If we’re lucky. If we’re not, we get things like the wreckage from the Harrick debacle.

And, as for facilities, as nice as Sanford is, Stegeman’s a … well, it’s a livestock facility masquerading as a basketball arena. Really. And as much lipstick you can try to put on a pig, at the end of the day, you’re still stuck with the pig.

Then, there’s the coach. Felton looks like he may be turning the corner (and he had one helluva mess to dig out from under), but many Georgia fans look at him and wonder if he turns out to be The Guy, how long does he stay until a higher profile program comes calling, a la UK and Tubby? That’s a hard factor to deal with in terms of building a program.

I hope that Damon Evans, the AD, has a game plan in mind to build the program to a place of sustained prominence. If I had to guess, he’d like to see Felton get Georgia back to the NCAAs on a consistent basis and then springboard the positive momentum that should generate into building a new arena (we’ve already got a new state of the art $30 million practice facility coming on line soon).

Is that in the works? Who knows. The program has had so many slips and misses in the past that it’s hard to be optimistic. That being said, I’ve been impressed with Evans so far, so I’m willing to wait and see.

Talking about my expectations for Evans brings me to my bigger point in response to KG’s question, a point that’s probably going to PO some Georgia fans.

Vince Dooley.

Don’t get me wrong – he’s done a lot of great things for the school, both as the head coach and as AD. But his record has its weak points, too, primarily with his hiring and firing decisions of head coaches for the two programs.

Things began sliding when he was allowed to become the AD while still head coach. There was no higher up at Georgia to evaluate the performance of the program under VD, and (after Erk Russell left for Georgia Southern) in the ’80s when it became apparent that things started going downhill as recruiting suffered and the quality of the coaching staff diminished there was no one to hold VD accountable.

The hole in management became glaringly apparent when Dooley resigned both positions in the late ’80s to consider a run in politics. There was no one prepared to deal with the vacuum resulting from Dooley’s departure and, in the end, after a series of missteps made by a hiring committee, the school wound up with Ray Goff.

Dooley abandoned his interest in politics and came back to UGA and resumed his AD duties. His tenure in the ’90s was marked by a series of hiring and firing decisions that were inconsistent at best. In basketball, Durham gave way to Tubby Smith (excellent) who begat Ron Jirsa (silly and stupid) who in turn led to Jim Harrick (horrible). Sounds kinda biblical, doesn’t it?

In football, Dooley dithered over Goff, finally let him go after letting him twist in the wind at least one year too long, hired Glen Mason for a day and wound up with Jim Donnan. Donnan incurred the wrath of Michael Adams and was unceremoniously dumped leading to Dooley’s best hire of his AD career: Mark Richt.

Because the Richt decision turned out well, and because many folks at Georgia don’t like Michael Adams (me, for example) and took Dooley’s side in his power struggle with Adams, he’s seen more warmly now than he was, say, in the mid ’90s when all we saw was a series of poor hiring decisions. There was a lot of unrest among the fan base then.

Down the road, I think VD’s stint as the AD will be largely judged by his last two hires, Harrick and Richt. I don’t think that’s unfair. And in my mind it bears directly on KG’s question.

In the end, it’s hard to criticize a guy who’s winning at an 80% clip and is making regular appearances in the SECCG. But there are other college coaches with terrific winning percentages who never got over the final hump. I hope Richt is more of a Jim Tressel than John Cooper. Certainly, he’s going to be given every chance to do so.

Basketball is the mystery. It may very well turn out to be Evans’ big legacy as Georgia AD. I just can’t tell right now.

That’s probably more than KG wanted to hear… any other thoughts would be welcome.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Mixed message at Arkansas

Boy, that Frank Broyles is something. One day he’s meeting with disgruntled parents behind his head coach’s back – because it was the polite thing to do! – the next, he’s giving the Nuttster a contract extension.

I don’t know if there’s a vote for most bizarre SEC athletic director of the year, but if there were, Broyles and Moore would be in a dogfight for it, wouldn’t they?

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Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal

Dienhart reveals a source!

TSN’s Tom “what I’ve heard” Dienhart lets slip in his most recent column who’s been givin’ him the goods on the college coaching search front lately: mama.

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Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

College football junkies, your fix is in.

Don’t forget, bowl season begins tonight!

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Filed under College Football

When stats kill

One of my favorite blogs, Sunday Morning Quarterback, has done what I thought was impossible – taken a sensible look at college football statistics to find a correlation between certain of them and winning.

He draws a number of interesting conclusions with his analysis:

  • Penalty yardage, over the course of an entire season, had no discernible effects on winning and losing.
  • What’s more interesting is that offensive categories in general come out looking far more important in the relative measure…
  • More than any other number, very good fourth down percentage equated to a very good team (though not necessarily vice versa).
  • Extrapolating: want to be good? Play good defense. Want to be very good? Convert fourth downs. Want to not completely suck? Move the ball and convert a few third downs. Penalties? In the end, irrelevant.

Applying some of this to Georgia, SEC stats show the Dawgs this year are (1) third in fourth down conversion rate, at 61.5% (Auburn and LSU led and were both over the 70% mark); (2) seventh in third down conversion rate, at 40.7% (LSU and UT are the leaders); and (3) tenth in total offense, at 321.1 yards per game (LSU leads, at 400+ yards per game).

SMQ’s analysis tells me two things here: why Georgia’s record is somewhat mediocre this year and why Jimbo Fisher is in demand right now.

And as for his point on penalties, Daniel Inman, all is forgiven, dude. Well, maybe not all.

Anyway, one other thing I looked at was a national match-up between Georgia and Virginia Tech in these categories. What I find is that Georgia has a marked advantage in fourth down conversion percentage (61.5% vs. 22.2%; VT ranks 115th nationally, a whopping 89 spots lower than Georgia), an advantage in third down conversion percentage (40.7% vs. 36.9%; VT is 29 spots lower than UGA nationally) and an advantage in total offense, as well (321.08 yards vs. 304 yards, a difference of 18 places nationally) . And the Dawgs did this against a tougher schedule.

What that could mean in the CFA Bowl is that with both teams playing tough defense, Georgia may have a marginal advantage in stringing together a drive to control the clock and score. (Of course, turnovers and special teams play would have an effect on this admittedly superficial analysis of mine as well.)

It’s certainly food for thought, though. SMQ promises a further look at this stuff. I look forward to reading it.

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Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, The Blogosphere