Monthly Archives: January 2007

If not Meyer, then who (or what)?

While I was pondering HeismanPundit’s shot across the bow last night, I asked myself if there were any coach or scheme in the SEC that’s had the kind of impact on the conference that HP tries to attribute to Urban Meyer. Without casting aspersions on Meyer, who is obviously a fine head coach, I did come up with two things, neither of which involve Florida.

On the coaching front, there is one offensive genius in the SEC and his name is Spurrier. I’m not just saying that because of what he accomplished at Florida, although as far as I’m concerned, what he did there still has a greater impact on how football is played in the conference today than anything else from the past 10-15 years.

But what he’s done at South Carolina in his first two years – with erratic QB play, an offensive line that’s had to be rebuilt from scratch, a false start at defensive coordinator and the crap leftover from the Holtz regime – is nothing short of remarkable. We all knew what he could do with talent, but what he’s done with a team that so far hasn’t measured up to the standards of the powers in the conference is equally impressive. He’s a blocked field goal away from beating Florida twice. He beat Florida and Tennessee in the same season, something Georgia hasn’t done since the Walker era.

His offense, with only one all-conference type player in Sidney Rice, hasn’t missed a beat (third in the SEC, at 395 yards a game). His skill in managing a game is unsurpassed. As Westerdawg points out, if you have to pick a coach for one game, he’s the guy you’d want.

As for scheme, I didn’t see anything out there this past season that got in players’ and coaches’ heads like Arkansas’ mutant, neo-Wing T offense with McFadden at quarterback.

Check out this YouTube video at about the 2:15 mark:

The body language from the Tennessee players after the touchdown pass is something to behold: Deliver us from McFadden. Please. I know it’s a one-off thing that’s perfectly tailored to the Hogs’ current personnel, but it’s devastating to watch that offense break down an opponent. Given Georgia’s difficulties stopping the run earlier this past year, I’m sort of glad the Dawgs didn’t have Arky on the schedule.

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Filed under SEC Football, The Blogosphere

“He gave no credit to anyone.”

The Saban era has begun – that is to say, in Tuscaloosa. Evidently it’s been continuing all along in Baton Rouge, we just didn’t realize it. From the Monroe News Star comes this:

In addition to visiting Curtis star Joe McKnight, Alabama coach Nick Saban has created a stir while visiting LSU commitments Phelon Jones, a cornerback from McGill-Toolen High in Mobile, Ala., and Luther Davis, a defensive end from West Monroe.According to both prospects, Saban took credit for LSU’s recent success as he signed most of the players involved in the Tigers’ 22-4 run since he left.

It doesn’t sound like he made that strong an impression:

“Great guy, but he is a little bit overconfident,” Jones’ father Tony is quoted as saying at Tigerbait.com.

No hard feelings, though:

“I don’t think the LSU coaches are upset with Saban,” according to Mike Scarborough of Tigerbait.com. “It probably just makes them very motivated to out-recruit him. I think they also think it’s unbelievable some of the things he is saying about LSU.”

Good thing they’re not upset. This will be fun to watch, I suspect.

(h/t Rumors and Rants)

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Filed under SEC Football, Whoa, oh, Alabama

It could be worse.

CFN has its Preseason Lookahead for the SEC out.  Currently, Georgia is listed as the fourth best squad in the conference, a projection I can’t really quibble with right now.

What’s of interest is the list of biggest (player) losses each school is looking at on offense and defense.  If you look, you’ll see huge talents like Russell, Leak, Nelson, Olajubutu, Irons, Meachum and Rice gone for next season.

Based on CFN’s list, Georgia’s losses in that light don’t look so daunting.  Here’s who CFN says are the biggest:

Biggest offensive loss: OT Daniel Inman
Biggest defensive loss: SS Tra Battle 

Personally, I think Charles Johnson is a bigger loss than either Inman or Battle.  Nonetheless, you can make a valid argument that several other conference rivals are taking much bigger hits in terms of their elite talent leaving than Georgia is for 2007.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Why am I posting this?

Choose one:

  • It’s a slow news day;
  • I appreciate the originality of Dennis Dodd’s writing (check out the comments section in the linked article);
  • I really wanted to post this moronic quote from Jamie Newberg about the Zooker:

“The kids love him,” he said. “You go back and talk to the kids who just won at Florida, and there was a reason they went to Florida. The brunt of it was Zook. I would imagine he’s telling Illinois prospects the same thing — ‘Look at what we did at Florida, and we can do it at Illinois.’” [Emphasis added.]

  • I just had to post a gratuitous pic of the Zooker;

This is not a picture of an uptight white coach. Really.

(courtesy US Presswire)

  • All of the above.

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Filed under General Idiocy, Media Punditry/Foibles, The Adventures of Zook

Kick me.

Evidently for Buck Belue, recruiting is pretty simple: if you’re a legacy because your dad played football at the school, you should get offered a football scholarship by Mark Richt.

I don’t get the sense of entitlement here. And it’s not like Drew Butler is being handed a bunch of bad choices, either. He can take a full ride at Duke, or he can be a preferred walk on at Georgia – which would seem to be some indication that he is wanted, after all – and compete for a starting job and a scholarship.

Georgia has done quite well with this approach to kickers to date. Andy Bailey, who will probably not get the opportunity to kick a field goal again in college, is the only kicker during Richt’s tenure to be offered a scholly out of high school.

That means Bennett, Kilgo, Ely-Kelso and Coutu went down the same path being offered to Butler now. Does Buck really think anything separates this kid from these players other than his dad? And, if not, why is that enough to justify different treatment?

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UPDATE:  Butler gets his offer from Georgia.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Bang your head against the wall.

In a perverse way, I have to tip my cap to Heisman Pundit. He’s been taken to task in several quarters for his insistence that Florida’s win in the BCS title game is a complete validation of his “Gang of Six” theory (which in essence boils down to offensive scheme matters more in college football than anything else), including this bludgeoning by Michael Elkon that is so devastating in its thoroughness that I was almost embarrassed for HP after I read it. Almost.

Perhaps a lesser man would have slunk away, changed the subject, something. Not HP, though, who’s back with another essay on the subject – “The Spread Spreads” – in which he continues to insist that the reason Florida’s point production in Meyer’s two years in the SEC has been middling is because Meyer has deliberately chosen to hold things back:

… If the spread works, why did it only score 21 points against SEC teams? Well, I think the answer is clear: it didn’t need to score more. How long should a man’s legs be? Answer: Long enough to touch the ground.

… Going into most conference games, Meyer knew that the other team couldn’t score against his defense, so why open things up? He played the percentages.

This all ties back in to HP’s overarching theory about the SEC being a conference (with a couple of exceptions in Meyer and Spurrier) full of offensive coordinators who believe the game should still be played with leather helmets.

But – thank God! – help is on the way for the millions of souls who despair over the current state of SEC football. According to HP, the SEC is going to have no choice but to play catch up with Meyer’s exotic spread offense. Fortunately, the process has already started at LSU, where “… the issue has apparently been settled in Les Miles’ mind.”

Les Miles? Well, count me as convinced.

Never mind that LSU has outscored Florida’s offense (both in SEC and seasonal play) in the two years that Meyer has been the head coach. Or that LSU and Ohio State were both in the NCAA top 10 in scoring in 2006.

Never mind that in ’06, when Meyer had more of his players like Tebow and Harvin to run in his offense, Florida’s point production in the conference actually declined from its ’05 numbers.

Never mind that Meyer saw fit to score 42 and 62 points against the two non-conference teams on Florida’s ’06 schedule that the Gators shut out. So much for “playing the percentages”.

Never mind that HP doesn’t bother to explain why SEC coaches will respond to Meyer’s offense as he suggests, even though they apparently never responded like that to Spurrier’s introduction of the “Fun ‘n Gun” (which was an immediate scoring sensation, by the way) to the SEC seventeen years ago.

“Forget it, he’s rolling.”

 

Urban Meyer is a genius. Resistance is futile.

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Filed under SEC Football, The Blogosphere

Just another day in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Mitch Mustain may be a little radioactive right now.

They’re running newspaper ads asking Broyles and Nutt to resign.

The Wizard of Odds has it all.

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UPDATE:  The New York Times weighs in.

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Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal

Next week, ESPN tackles world peace.

I was going to write something about this lazy, stupid piece Rod Gilmore contributed to ESPN’s five part series about making changes to college football (what do you want to bet that none of the articles in the series have anything to do with ESPN?), but Realist does such a complete dismantling of it that I can save my breath.

However with his installment today, Ivan Maisel completely redeems the World Wide Leader (for one day, anyway) with his thoughts on changing the BCS.

His suggestion? Don’t.

I truly can’t say it any better than this:

… It takes patience to let the season happen. That’s a hard lesson to learn, especially for writers like yours truly who delight in training a spotlight on the imperfections of the system. But the high wattage blinds us to the charm and tension of the regular season. The drama that attended Michigan’s visit to Ohio Stadium in mid-November would have evaporated if college football had a playoff. The game would have produced all the tension and significance of a Big Ten Basketball Tournament championship. That’s the game played on Selection Sunday, and I defy anyone without a blood relative playing for the winner to name the team that won last year’s tournament.

(Iowa, according to Wikipedia.)

With a playoff, UCLA’s dramatic upset of USC would have cost the Trojans a few places in the seeding and nothing more. Ask the Bruins how meaningful that would have been, and whether they would trade it for the mean-spirited delight of denying their biggest rival a chance to play for the national championship.

The thought of a playoff is intoxicating. But the reality of what college football now enjoys is just as powerful. College football fans merely take it for granted.

The entire article is like that – beautiful.

Good on ‘ya, Mr. Maisel. I doubt it’s what your corporate masters were expecting from you, but that makes it even more of a joy to read.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil, Media Punditry/Foibles

Paging Terence Moore

Quick question: why are you writing about the “potential” of a 55 year old coach who’s, as you put it, a “veteran of 17 college seasons and 16 more in the pros”?

That’s not exactly the face of a spring chicken we’re looking at there…

(courtesy Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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Filed under General Idiocy, Georgia Tech Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Vox Populi, and all that

The US House of Representatives, in its infinite wisdom, saw fit to pass a resolution honoring the Florida Gator football team for winning the MNC (hey, it’s at least a couple of minutes where they’re not doing any real harm to the Republic). Normally, this is the kind of stuff that passes unanimously and then the House moves on.

Not in this case, though. They could only muster 414 “aye” votes for the resolution (Boise State did one “aye” better on a similar congratulatory vote). Jack Kingston, a Georgia representative, actually voted “nay” on the Gator resolution, which vote is generating some righteous indignation in certain quarters on the ‘Net.

I’m more intrigued by the three guys that voted “present”. The “yea” vote is innocuous enough, and I can appreciate what Kingston did as a dyed in the wool Dawg fan, but why would someone be in the chamber and not have the stones to vote either way on something as trivial as this? Two voting “present” are from Georgia. I believe that Mr. Stark is from California. What’s up with that? Is he a fan of Southern Cal with a chip on his shoulder?

Enquiring minds want to know.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football, Political Wankery