Monthly Archives: February 2007

Born under a bad sign

I don’t know how I missed this touching recruiting story:

Donald Stephenson wakes early in the cold morning, takes a shower and grabs his new Oklahoma hat with tags still attached. He’s ready for his big moment.

It’s national signing day, when high school boys and girls celebrate their athletic achievements, and the Sooners need Stephenson’s letter of intent faxed in immediately.

Stephenson and his mother, Ethel, walk silently to his car. A radio station in Oklahoma calls his cell phone for an interview. He doesn’t wear a white dress shirt, necktie or slacks. Stephenson’s clothed in a Scarface hoodie and jeans. There’s no special ceremony set up at Blue Springs High School. And Stephenson can’t walk inside there anyway, so he’s heading to Office Depot.

On Wednesday, national signing day, Stephenson, the Central transfer whose injury-depleted senior season at Blue Springs helped him earn a Division I scholarship, was serving a 10-day suspension. A few weeks back, Stephenson went to a school dance, and, as he describes, ran into some “bad luck.” As for Stephenson’s actions that night, Blue Springs athletic director Tim Crone says it led to a “discipline situation that we’re handling at school.”

So when television stations called Blue Springs to stage a signing-day shoot with its biggest recruit, Wildcats coach Kelly Donohoe asked them to come another day…

And there’s more:

The day after Christmas, Stephenson went to a movie with two friends. The show was sold out, and, instead of sitting inside a darkened theater, Stephenson spent that night in a Leawood jail cell. Stephenson was arrested and charged with multiple counts of burglary of a motor vehicle, theft and criminal damage.

“I just had bad luck, that’s about it,” Stephenson says. “I’d rather not talk about that. I’ve never went through anything like this, and it’s all just piling on me my senior year.”

A Texas blogger has a couple more observations.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Recruiting

Even more SEC stats

Mergz, at Saurian Sagacity, puts his recruiting/results analysis on the line with this prediction for the upcoming SEC season:

His initial projection showed Florida with 14 wins, Tennessee and LSU with 12 wins, Georgia with 11 wins and Auburn with 10 wins. He recognizes that it’s unlikely that scenario would play out in reality, so the chart above is his “modified predictor” for the SEC regular season. What he doesn’t state in his post is what formula he used to make those modifications.

Meanwhile, over at Statistically Speaking, there’s a post up that takes a look at the 2006 SEC season from the perspective of teams points scored and allowed relative to the league average and standard deviation. Taking into consideration that his formula does not adjust for schedule strength for conferences where each team does not play each other and also ignores special teams, there’s still a lot of interesting information to glean from his post.

Here’s a few things I noticed:

  • As expected, LSU squandered a significant statistical advantage over the rest of the SEC. On paper, this was the team that should have emerged from the conference to play for the MNC.
  • As almost anyone with a pair of eyes could have confirmed, Florida wound up in the MNC because of its fantastic defense and because Meyer was a good enough coach to get his team through a series of squeakers.
  • Turnover margin made a huge difference for Kentucky last year.
  • We knew Georgia’s schedule was favorable last year. I just didn’t realize it would come out being as weak as it appears here.

He concludes with a look at SEC teams likely to improve (‘Bama and South Carolina) or decline (Kentucky, Arkansas and LSU). I agree with him on Kentucky (unlikely that the superb turnover margin for ’06 will be repeated), Arky (I think the offseason distractions will be a problem throughout the year, although with that schedule, wins won’t fall too much from last year’s 10) and Alabama (good talent base, weak schedule and better offensive playcalling should equal a win or two more). However, SC’s schedule is a killer and LSU has way too much talent for a falloff, even with Miles’ track record there for losing a game or two he shouldn’t.

Also, take a look at the two posts he links to near the end of his post. He suggests that having to replace a starting quarterback is more likely to be a negative for a team than a returning quarterback is a positive. If that’s the case, things at Florida and LSU could be interesting…

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Filed under SEC Football, Stats Geek!, The Blogosphere

Thumbnail sketch: SEC spring football

Like I’ve said, every once in a while, TSN’s Tom Dienhart does a passable job.

He’s got a column up today that takes a look at each SEC school’s offensive and defensive priorities entering spring practice. It’s a decent summary, even if it’s a bit obvious in some cases.

Here’s what he notes about Georgia:

Spring practice starts/game: March 5/April 7

OFFENSE

1. The line needs to be stabilized with only two starters and four lettermen back. Keep an eye on two redshirt freshmen and two JUCOs.
2. The job of whipping the line into shape belongs to new coach Stacey Searels, who arrives from LSU. Is he up for the job?
3. Keep an eye on WR Sean Bailey, who’s trying to come back from a knee injury.

DEFENSE

1. The unit must break in three new starting linebackers.
2. The staff will search for two new ends with Quentin Moses and Charles Johnson gone.
3. Depth along the interior line must be developed.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football

Shaken, not stirred.

By now, I’m sure that most followers of the Georgia program have heard the unfortunate news about Akeem Hebron’s arrest for underage drinking… and all the usual jokes.

The only reason I bring this up is because David Ching (as usual) has come up with the little extra detail I crave with stories like this – the name of the bonding company that Hebron used is James Bond Bonding Company.

“No, old chap, it’s a license to kill, not swill.”

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

A bargain at twice the price

Care to guess what regular season college football game in 2007 sports the highest ticket price?

Try this one. You read that right. 90 dollars.

Even more outrageous:

Iowa State sports information director Tom Kroeschell said the price compares to other 2007 premium games in the Big 12, including Texas at Texas A&M ($90), Nebraska at Texas ($85) and Texas at Oklahoma State ($85).

Texas at Oklahoma State is a “premium” game?

To paraphrase something baseball owner Bill Veeck once said, “It isn’t the high price of marquee games that is expensive, it’s the high price of mediocrity.”

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Spring Football Media Guide

The 2007 Georgia Spring Football Media Guide is out.

It’s the perfect study aid for anyone staring down a steely faced Alex Trebek while trying to come up with the correct questions for a “Georgia Football” category on Jeopardy.

Sorry… the question we were looking for is “Who is Cory Phillips?”

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Filed under Georgia Football

Yes to no-huddle?

From The Macon Telegraph, June 3, 2004:

Notebook: UGA’s Richt rebuffed in no-huddle bid

Georgia football coach Mark Richt continued the two-year fight for his no-huddle offense this week at the SEC Meetings.

“He and I talked about it for the last three hours,” Bobby Gaston, the league’s director of officials, said Friday afternoon on the second day of the meetings at the Sandestin Hilton.

Since coming to Georgia, Richt has all but ditched the fast break offense he made famous at Florida State because, he says, the league’s officials don’t allow him to go fast enough to make it worthwhile. SEC officials are required to pause for 12-14 seconds between each play, and that’s not going to change despite Richt’s arguments, Gaston said.

“He doesn’t agree with it, but he knows what we’re doing,” Gaston said.

The mandatory pause is to allow the officiating crew to get in position, Gaston said. Richt argued that the officials should put the ball in play as soon as they are set, regardless of how much time has elapsed, but Gaston said that would provide the offense an unfair advantage.

“Mark Richt would eat their lunch,” he said. “He would go straight to the ball and snap it. He’d get in 100 plays. We have about half the coaches who think we go too fast and about half who think we go too slow so we must be in about the right spot.”

From the Associated Press, today:

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Starting spring practice several weeks earlier than usual, Tennessee rolled out a new wrinkle for its offense Thursday.

Coach Phillip Fulmer said the Vols will experiment with a no-huddle offense this spring, hoping to take advantage of the experience of quarterback Erik Ainge, who will be a senior in the fall…

“It’s an attempt to see where we are with it, and it would be basically how we would manage the offense,” Fulmer said. “We’re going to take our shots at seeing what we can do with it as an offense…”

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 15, 2007:

The rules committee also announced that starting in 2008, college football will go to a 40-second play clock like that now used in the NFL. The 40-second clock will start at the end of every play. College football currently uses a 25-second clock that doesn’t start until the ball is put in position and declared ready for play. [Emphasis added.]

Is Richt about to get the chance to run the no-huddle the way he’s wanted to? (No cracks about first having to have receivers that can catch, please.)

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Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football