Daily Archives: January 10, 2008

It’s only hypocritical if we say it is.

From the saga of Notre Dame and Omar Hunter’s withdrawn verbal commitment:

… The loss of Hunter is no doubt a huge blow to Notre Dame’s and the whole saga which has been unraveling over the last couple weeks has tested Weis’s policy of “If they’re looking, we’re looking,” that he instituted last year after the defections of Justin Trattou, Greg Little, and Chris Little all in January. According to Jeff Carroll of the South Bend Tribune, citing two different sources including Tom Lemming, Notre Dame informed Hunter that his Notre Dame offer would be off the table if he visited elsewhere.

According to an Internet report earlier this week by Rivals.com’s Mike Farrell, the Notre Dame coaching staff had informed Hunter that if he chose to take other official visits like he was talking about, then the Notre Dame offer would be withdrawn.

“That’s a fact,” competing recruiting analyst Tom Lemming confirmed Tuesday from the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. “You can print that.”

Many will debate whether or not this was the best course of action over the month and it will be very interesting to see what Weis has to say on the matter at his Signing Day press conference next month.

Regardless, the only silver lining in this mess is that it happened in the beginning of the month and not the middle to end of January as last year’s defections did. The most likely replacement for Hunter in this class seems like it may be current Michigan commit Mike Martin according to NBCSports.com.

With committed nose tackle Omar Hunter now looking at Florida and USC, one name to keep in mind for the Irish is Novi (Mich.) Catholic Central’s Michael Martin. The 6-2, 290-pound Martin committed to Michigan but could be open to switching because of the coaching changes in Ann Arbor.

Martin is a four star DT from both Rivals and Scout and ranked as the #12 DT by both. ESPN has Martin as the #9 DT in the country. Look for Martin to visit Notre Dame sometime this month and decide whether or not he is sticking with Michigan or joining the Irish.

Martin would be much, much more than just a plan B type recruit should he land at Notre Dame . Martin likely would have been very heavily pursued by the Irish staff all along had Hunter not committed to the Irish so early which in essence ended Notre Dame’s recruiting at the position.

So to summarize:

  1. If you’re a recruit who’s committed to Notre Dame and you want to look around to make sure you’ve made the most informed decision about where to spend the next four years of your life, you’re dead to Charlie Weis.
  2. If you’re a recruit who’s committed to another school and you want to look around to make sure you’ve made the most informed decision about where to spend the next four years of your life and one of the places you want to explore is Notre Dame, Charlie Weis would be happy to talk with you.
  3. If you walk away from your verbal commitment to Notre Dame, you probably weren’t that great in the first place.
  4. If you walk away from your verbal commitment to another school to commit to Notre Dame, you’re an elite prospect.
  5. “That’s a fact.  You can print that.”?  Why don’t they just end this fiction, officially put Tom Lemming on the Notre Dame payroll and be done with it?  He’d be thrilled.
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Filed under Charlie Weis Is A Big Fat..., Tom Lemming Is A Feminine Hygene Product

More on Mikey and the playoffs

A couple of new things on the Michael Adams’ playoff front:

  • Have you wondered why you haven’t heard much from UF’s Bernie Machen about Michael Adams’ playoff proposal? After all, he’s the guy who first broached the subject with the SEC presidents last year (and got no public support from Adams at the time, by the way). Maybe it’s because he has real work challenging him.
  • Remember that Adams said there’s significant support amongst the college presidents for his plan? Well, the AJ-C is trying to gauge the reaction from college presidents about it and the early results aren’t too encouraging. Four of his SEC cohorts are lined up in the nay column, including Arky president John White, who had this to say: “I’m very disappointed Dr. Adams has taken this position.”

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UPDATE: Make it three. One day after Adams is quoted as saying this…

“I find it interesting that our most high-profile sport is the only place where we as presidents have turned the end game over to another group,” Adams said. “There has been a concentration of power among the conference and bowl commissioners. I believe it is time to take the ultimate power out of their hands.[Emphasis added.]

… he tells a non-questioning admirer, William Rhoden of the New York Times, this:

“I don’t view this as taking on the networks and the conference commissioners,” he said during a conference call. “I hope that at the end of the day we could come to a solution and convince people that there is a system better than the current system.”

Uh huh. I don’t know about you, but my BS Detect-O-Meter is squawking like a Geiger counter at Chernobyl. What I don’t understand is why such is not the same at an esteemed bastion of journalism like the NYT. After all, it’s commonly known that the Times’ writers set the standard for journalistic credibility.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Michael Adams Wants To Rule The World

Taking stock

All talk about getting shortchanged by the BCS aside, this past season turned out about as well as any Georgia fan could have expected when things got underway last summer (and considerably better than what we were thinking at halftime of the Vandy game). An 11-2 final record, a lofty end of season ranking and a seven game winning streak to close out the year should be the cause for much rejoicing.

But it’s been more satisfying than that. This was the year that we finally saw the program not back down in Jacksonville. This was the year when we saw Stafford grow into being someone who had his “Hobnail Boot” moment and lead his team to a big road win in crunch time. This was the year that we saw some linebackers step up and stabilize a position that had all sorts of question marks coming in. This was the year that we realized that our defensive line coaches could take a bunch of relatively unheralded players and mold them into a group that led the SEC in sacks.

This was the year that Georgia found another elite running back in Knowshon Moreno.

This was the year that Stacy Searels proved that Herbstreit gets things right now and then (he told Buck and Kincaid on 680 The Fan before the season started that Georgia had just hired the best offensive line coach in the country).

Most importantly, this is the year we found out that Mark Richt knows how to build a program for the long haul. I’m not sure this was his best coaching job in terms of milking the talent on the field as far as it could go – what he accomplished in ’03 with no offensive line, no big time running back and tons of injuries still amazes me – but as far as lifting Georgia to the next level on the national stage, I believe we’ll look back at 2007 down the road and say this is where he made it happen.

Here are a few reasons why I think that’s the case. You’ll note that most of these interrelate.

  1. Reloading, not rebuilding. There’s been a dramatic overhaul of players in the last two seasons, and that trend actually accelerated going into this season which kicked off with one of the least experienced teams Georgia ever put on the field. Still, the Dawgs went 20-6 in that time period.
  2. Recruiting. Always a strength under Richt, it looks headed to a higher level. Last year we saw Georgia Tech make some inroads in the state; that turned out to be a mere blip. Georgia has dominated in state recruiting this year in a remarkable fashion and still continues to get a few out of state blue chippers to fill in its needs.
  3. Buzz. Don’t laugh. You can be colorless and do quite well in the SEC, but if you want serious national prominence, there has to be something about your program that gets the media and the public to pay attention. Moreno’s style, the blackout against Auburn and, of course, The Celebration all raised the public awareness of Richt and the Dawgs. It’s not a coincidence this season that Georgia received its highest finish in the polls under Richt, or that so many national pundits rate Georgia’s chances so highly in 2008.
  4. Identity. For a variety of reasons, this team didn’t really coalesce and develop a personality until the middle of the season. Early on, it appeared that the coaching staff knew where it wanted to go, but it took some time to figure out how to best deploy the talent. By season’s end though, there was little doubt about what kind of team Georgia is (as Mr. Tebow informed Mr. Brennan).

This is all just a start, of course. At some point in time Georgia needs to make an appearance in a BCS title game to cement these gains. Whether 2008 is the year that happens is hard to say. On the plus side, Georgia returns 17 starters on both sides of the ball. On the flip side, they’ll have to do it playing this schedule.

One good thing about that schedule is that it’s tough enough to provide some margin for error, especially given the lofty ranking we anticipate the Dawgs will start the ’08 season with. It’s likely that they could lose a game (except for the SECCG) and still remain in the hunt for the BCS title game.

Think about the hype which should surround this string of games:

  • October 11: LSU at Florida
  • October 25: Georgia at LSU
  • November 1: Florida vs. Georgia

We may wind up with the biggest WLOCP ever. In other words, Georgia has a real opportunity to raise its profile to an unprecedented level. For the coaches, players and fans, that’s all you could ask for in ’08.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be Tigers, er, Plainsmen… War Eagle… whatever.

This is a picture in serious need of a caption:

(via The Wizard of Odds)

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Filed under Name That Caption

Matt Hayes: when factoids kill

I love it when media pundits throw out some piece of data which they wield to imply something significant, when upon closer inspection the whole exercise shows that they’re simply talking out of their derrieres.

Today’s example comes from TSN’s Matt Hayes, who in giving us a list of eight MNC contenders for next season, tries to temper the enthusiasm for Georgia by writing that

Everyone’s excited about the Dawgs, but their seven straight wins came against teams (Vanderbilt, Florida, Troy, Auburn, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Hawaii) with 31 total losses.

Bummer, man. It’s probably not even worth noting that five of those seven teams wound up in bowls, so gloomy sounding is Hayes. I mean, 31 losses… that sounds like a lot of wins over bad or mediocre teams… Georgia’s schedule must not be as strong as I thought…

Hey, wait a minute. There’s only one other team on Hayes’ list that even has at least a current seven game winning streak – BYU. And BYU’s last seven opponents lost a combined 48 games.

And just for yuks, here’s a comparison for you, Matt: even though Southern Cal and LSU didn’t win their last seven games in a row, each school’s last seven opponents lost a total of 37 games.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

“I’m all about having a fresh start but that’s Tennessee…”

For those of you who believe that USC transfer RB Emmanuel Moody is poised to remake the Florida offense into a balanced monster that will allow Tim Tebow to flourish at an even more exalted level than this past season… well, not so fast, my friends.

Gator running backs coach Stan Drayton has left Gainesville to ply his trade in the land of the Orange and White. It doesn’t sound like the most amicable of partings, but the intriguing part is why Drayton says he was open to a change of scenery.

… Drayton also noted that one of the factors in his decision to leave Florida dealt with the limited role of the running back in Meyer’s spread option offense.

“If you’re going to be a running backs coach, you want to be part of a system that involves the running back,” Drayton said.

To paraphrase a former president, that depends upon what your definition of “running back” is.

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UPDATE:  It looks like Drayton may not be the only guy fleeing Gator Country.  If the report is true, that’s two of Meyer’s best recruiters out the door.  (h/t MGoBlog)

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Filed under Gators, Gators...