Daily Archives: February 12, 2007

Some of his best friends are fast.

Anybody care to guess what Big Ten commish Jim Delany meant when he wrote this gem?

I love speed and the SEC has great speed, especially on the defensive line, but there are appropriate balances when mixing academics and athletics. Each school, as well as each conference, simply must do what fits their mission regardless of what a recruiting service recommends. I wish we had six teams among the top 10 recruiting classes every year, but winning our way requires some discipline and restraint with the recruitment process. Not every athlete fits athletically, academically or socially at every university. Fortunately, we have been able to balance our athletic and academic mission so that we can compete successfully and keep faith with our academic standards.

Is there something about “fast” people that make them particularly inappropriate for college academics?

(h/t DawgsOnline)

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Filed under Big Ten Football, General Idiocy, SEC Football

Recruiting and demographics

From StateFans Nation:

Here’s the breakdown of how many Division I-A signees the traditional ACC states produce on an annual basis, relative to the number of I-A programs in the state:

Georgia 75 (150 signees, two teams) prospects per school,
Florida 50 (350/7),
Virginia 25 (50/2),
Maryland 20 (40/2),
South Carolina 20 (40/2),
North Carolina 12 (60/5).

Here’s the breakdown when you limit the same numbers to only BCS-conference teams:

Florida 87 (350/4) per school,
Georgia 75 (150/2),
Maryland 40 (40/1),
Virginia 25 (50/2),
South Carolina 20 (40/2),
North Carolina 15 (60/4).

Given that, here are some questions to ponder:

  • How much has Florida’s recruiting benefited from the recent slides of the FSU and Miami programs?
  • If the coaching changes at Miami and FSU (swapping Bowden for Fisher is, at worst, the functional equivalent of trading in a Yugo for a Camry) result in positive momentum for each program, how much will that affect Florida’s recruiting in the next few years?
  • As South Carolina garnered more recruits in its 2007 class from North Carolina (8) and Florida (11) than it did from in state (5), how much impact will Butch Davis, the new assistants at FSU and Randy Shannon have on future Gamecock recruiting classes?

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Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

New priorities at Notre Dame

The Notre Dame spring practice schedule has allegedly been changed to take this into account.

Tom Lemming was not available for comment.

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Filed under Charlie Weis Is A Big Fat...

To redshirt, or not to redshirt, that is the question.

In reflecting on Mergz’ post linked below, I’ve become intrigued by the different approaches Urban Meyer and Mark Richt have taken as to redshirting incoming freshman.

Here’s a quote from Coach Meyer about that subject:

“We’ve taken a new attitude. Every freshman, in my opinion, will play next year. Obviously, that won’t happen, but we’re taking that approach. It used to be more, ‘We’d like to save this guy.’ I’ve learned my lesson, and that’s over. Everybody’s playing. We’re going to let you go play and we’ll worry about your fourth year down the road. If it’s in the best interest of the young player, we’ll hold him and redshirt him, but we’re going to play him.”

Compare that with something Richt said last year:

… Georgia coach Mark Richt says redshirting the players has preserved the team’s future. “The assistant coaches were wanting to let some of these guys play and allow them to work on special teams and get reps and that kind of thing,” Richt said. “I tried to look at the big picture and see if we could hold off from doing it. There are certainly guys that could be helping us right now, there is no doubt.”

Obviously, neither of these guys is an absolutist about this. But it’s clear they don’t share the same sense of priorities about redshirting, either. It will be interesting to see how that plays out over the next few years.

Richt redshirted eighteen members of perhaps his best recruiting class last year, by the way…

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

“What’s wrong with Georgia?”

That’s the question asked at Saurian Sagacity by Mergz in this post, based on his study of class recruiting ratings and final ranking in the coaches’ poll:

In compiling our listing of the top recruiting classes for the 2004-2007 period, and in looking at the past 2 studies on the relationship of recruiting to success, one team in particular seems to have become a chronic underachiever – the University of Georgia Bulldogs.

When the dust settles, here’s what he concludes:

This year Georgia had one of its poorer more recent recruiting efforts, coming in 17th on Scout.com. Their trailing 4 year average however remains strong at 5th.

This past year was painful for Georgia, with losses to Kentucky and Vanderbilt. With Tennessee apparently getting back on track, Florida showing no signs of weakening, and South Carolina rising, the challenge for Georgia will get worse, if anything.

And one wonders how long the Bulldog faithful will continue to support a coach who is 1-5 against their archrival.

Well! It’s all over now, baby blue.

In response let me point out that Georgia sports the best record of the top four teams in the SEC East over the past five years.

It’s also the only school of the four that hasn’t lost five or more games in a season during that period. Georgia’s worst season is better than South Carolina’s best season in that time. (And, unlike Meyer or Fulmer, Richt hasn’t lost to Spurrier the Gamecock.) Tennessee finished with an identical record to Georgia in 2006, after going 5-6 in 2005.

Florida’s just concluded season bears an eerie resemblance to Georgia’s 2002 season (one loss SEC championship teams under second year coaches) – and we don’t really know how well Meyer can coach his own players, now, do we? It’s a question that’s never been answered at any school at which he’s been the head coach, because he’s never been at any school long enough to generate four years of his own recruiting classes.

Given the records on the field, I assume that when Mergz writes about “getting back on track”, “no signs of weakening” and “rising”, he’s really talking about the ’07 recruiting classes Georgia’s rivals brought in. Make no mistake, they’re impressive (UF’s may be one for the ages, as a matter of fact). But that’s still a matter of potential. It will take some time before we know if what Mergz asserts is true.

I’ve posted before that I’m not as convinced as Mergz seems to be of the reliability of the science of recruiting. Here’s something else to consider. Look at the rankings given Georgia’s 2007 class – Scout puts the Dawgs at #17; Rivals ranked the Dawgs in its top 10. According to Scott Kennedy of Scout, his service discounts JUCO players’ ratings because they have (potentially at least) less years of eligibility at the college they commit to play. Rivals evidently doesn’t factor that into its ratings. Which approach is more valid? Beats me. But it’s a significant issue when you rate Georgia’s ‘07 class, with the large (for Georgia, anyway) number of junior college commitments.

So to answer the question, I suspect that what’s been wrong more than anything else is the offensive line – which makes all this angst about the Dawg ’07 class, with its heavy emphasis on shoring up that obvious weakness, somewhat ironic. If you’re a Georgia fan, you have to hope that the talent coming in, combined with Searels’ coaching ability (he’s the most important coaching hire for Georgia since Van Gorder, IMO) will stabilize quickly. If not, ’07 could be as long a year as ’06 was.

Down the road, who knows? There are too many variables to consider. One thing I don’t think we have to worry about is the continued quality of the talent pipeline flowing into Athens. Georgia already has six commitments for the class of 2008, including three on Rivals.com top 100 juniors list.

Rodney Garner is on the mother.

(photo courtesy Rivals.com)

So I’m not slitting my wrists just yet. Check back with me in a couple of years. If the Gators have won two more MNCs, and Georgia’s coming off two straight fourth place finishes in the SEC East, maybe I’ll be singing a different tune.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, The Blogosphere