Monthly Archives: February 2008

Two peas in a pod

Lately, I haven’t had much to say about every Notre Dame fan’s favorite recruiting guru, but I did come across a classic “pot meet kettle” comment in this post-Signing Day chat transcript:

Los Angeles, CA: Notre Dame had the Scout and Rival No. 1 rated team for most of the 2008 recruiting period, but ended up with the No. 9 rated team on ESPN. Do Scout, Rival and ESPN use different player rating systems and can there be that much difference among them? Which is better?

Tom Lemming: ESPN has a different set of rankings. A lot of it is based on favoring players that play in their All-Star Game…

Gosh, it’s not like Lemming wouldn’t know anything about that.

I guess that’s what you’d call professional jealousy – depending on your definition of the word “professional”.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Recruiting, Tom Lemming Is A Feminine Hygene Product

The state of recruiting

Mergz at Saurian Sagacity has a couple of posts up exploring the 2008 recruiting class, one that looks at how much talent was generated on a state by state basis and one that measures how well programs did in keeping their in state talent. Both posts are well researched and worth a read, but I wanted to focus more narrowly on what he wrote about Georgia – both the state and the football program.

For a talent pool, Mergz used the top 300 high school seniors listed at Scout.com. He sorted the players out by state and compared the percentage of players from a state against the talent pool versus the population percentage of the state against the national population.

The state of Georgia comprises a little over 3% of the total population of the US. Based on that percentage, if the high school talent pool matched the overall population, Georgia should have placed nine or ten kids in the Scout 300. The actual number of seniors in the talent pool was 21. On a percentage basis, that was the second highest overproduction of talent in the country (only Alabama was higher).

The good news for Dawg fans is that not only did the state overachieve in the production of top high school talent, but the Georgia program did an excellent job locking down that talent. Of those 21 recruits, 9 committed to Georgia (42.9%). No other school got more than 2 of the players in that pool. Only one of those kids signed with Georgia Tech.

Just to compare that percentage with a few of the other heavy hitters in recruiting, Texas hung on to 25% of its in state talent pool, USC checks in with 25.7% (and was second to UCLA in that regard), Florida signed 14.3% of the state’s top talent and Ohio State signed 30.8%.

There were a couple of schools which did an extremely impressive job of locking down the in state talent. LSU signed six of the top eight players in state and Alabama signed a remarkable eight of the top eleven.

With the numbers down for the class of 2009 (although if tight ends keep walking away, who knows?), it will be difficult for the Georgia program to lock down as much of the best in state talent as it did this year unless the overall numbers also decline. It will be interesting to see which schools take up the slack, if any develops.

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UPDATE: mapgameday.com has produced a handy chart that breaks down the total number of 2008 signees by state, showing how many kids stayed in state and how many signed outside of their home states. Looking at Georgia’s numbers there, you can see why some think there’s room for another D-1 football program in the state.

(h/t The Wizard of Odds)

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, Stats Geek!

“We are discussing the pros and cons of selling beer at the stadium…”

I confess that I did not know this:

… Glick said the Reno campus is in the minority of institutions that sell beer at games, with none of the Big Ten or Pacific 10 serving alcohol in their stadiums, except the University of California, Los Angeles, which plays in a county-owned arena.

“Probably only 10 or 15 percent of schools sell alcohol in their stadiums,” Glick said.

I didn’t realize that beer was sold at any college regular season games.

Anyways, the President of UN-R is concerned about families having a good time in the stadium.

“This is not an issue of whether alcohol is good or bad, but an issue of how do we improve the climate in our stadium, because we don’t have a problem at our basketball games,” Glick said. “We do have problems at our football games, and we want those games to be something families can come and enjoy.”

Hmm. Maybe he should look into one of these babies.

Bonus “WLOCP” reference here.

(h/t The Wizard of Odds

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Filed under College Football

Some spring practice thoughts: baby, mellow my mind.

So the pre-spring depth chart is out. Ching has it here.

The big news – if you want to read more into this stuff than Richt intends – is that Kiante Tripp, now up to a buff 290 pounds, has been penciled in as the starting right tackle. Still, there’s really not much point in getting too worked up about the offensive line depth chart right now.

“The pre-spring depth chart is the toughest one to do,” said Richt, who returns 17 starters from a team that finished ranked No. 2 in the nation. “That lineup is subject to change more than any other time of the year.”

No kidding. Offensive line coach Stacy Searels shuffled the deck on the first day of spring practice last year, making the depth chart virtually moot.

“If we can gel and get something going right now, great,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “If not, it’s a work in progress like it is for every team with guys shuffling around.”

This time around, freshman Ben Jones is in the mix to start at center, which could allow Davis to return to guard. Backup right guard Justin Anderson drew plenty of praise from teammates when he redshirted last season as a freshman.

“If he puts it all together, it’s going to be very difficult to keep him off the field,” Richt said.

Boling could slide over to right tackle if needed.

“It really depends on how things shake out there at the tackle spot,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “We’re not going to pigeonhole ourselves to say Clint Boling’s going to be a guard the rest of his career. He might be first-team guard and second-team right tackle. He might be first-team right tackle and second-team guard. That depends on who comes through this spring.”

Tripp has put on 20 pounds since he made the switch to the offensive line in August. His 6-foot-6 body is now at 290 pounds.

“He runs good, he looks good,” Bobo said. “It’s going to be up to him.”

While I don’t doubt that for most writers the focus on Georgia as it goes into spring practice and the season will be this theme, I’m more struck by how calm the waters are at this point compared to seasons past. Consider the last three preseasons and what Richt faced:

  • 2005 – David Greene, the most successful QB in school history, graduated. David Pollack, a three time all-American and arguably the greatest player the program produced since Herschel Walker, graduated. Brian VanGorder, the best defensive coordinator at Georgia since Erk, succumbs to wanderlust and departs for what he perceives to be (the first of many) greener pastures.
  • 2006 – Georgia goes into spring practice with a quarterback corps sporting the combined experience of one college start.
  • 2007 – No repeat starters on the offensive line, no experienced depth on the offensive line and a new offensive line coach. An offensive coordinator with two games of playcalling under his belt (his squad averaged less than 230 yards of total offense in those two games). Both starting defensive ends gone. Brandon Miller as the key to the defense.

All that angst. And all the program has to show for it is two BCS appearances and a SEC championship.

I’m not trying to be hubristic here. But when the biggest concern going into this year appears to be over Brandon Coutu’s successor, I think you have to feel pretty good about where Georgia is at today.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Snarky BCS/playoff thought of the day

Unlike in college football, there is no NCAA basketball rule demanding at least a .500 record for postseason eligibility.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Maybe we’ll just stay where we’re at.

Barry Tramel in The Oklahoman notes that recently the road of college head coaches going to the NFL has become a rocky one.  After citing the cases of Petrino, Saban, Erickson and Spurrier – all very successful college coaches who bombed in the pros – he writes that

… This is not a trend. This is a landslide. College coaches have been a disaster in the NFL this decade. They either can’t cut it or can’t stand it or both.

NFL owners are shying away from college coaches, who are accustomed to being lords of the realm. Of the 72 NFL coaching changes the last decade, only seven came from the college ranks. None could be labeled a success.

But he notes that that wasn’t always the rule.

… Time was, college coaches fared well in the NFL. Boston College’s Tom Coughlin was an instant winner in Jacksonville and won four playoff games in his eight years.

OU’s Barry Switzer won a Super Bowl and Miami’s Jimmy Johnson won two. Georgia Tech’s Bobby Ross took the Chargers to the Super Bowl. Stanford’s Dennis Green won 101 games in 10 years with the Vikings.

UCLA’s Dick Vermeil took the Eagles to the Super Bowl. OU’s Chuck Fairbanks turned around the Patriots and San Diego State’s Don Coryell breathed life into the Cardinals.

And the 49ers hired away Bill Walsh from Stanford. Seemed to turn out all right.

That was 30 years ago.

All of which begs the question what’s going on here?  What has changed over the last 10 years in either the pro game or the college game that has rendered college coaches worthless at the NFL level?  And is it just a phase, or is it something more long term in nature?

Tramel thinks it’s more of the latter, mainly because the elite college coaches have come to realize what a sweet deal they enjoy these days.

… In the NFL, coaches are hired hands who are expendable. In the NFL, coaches can’t pad their record by scheduling New Mexico State, even in the exhibition season. In the NFL, coaches have to honor contracts.

Southern Cal’s Pete Carroll could return to the NFL most anytime he wants, but he’s like most elite-school coaches. He’s got a much better gig where he is. Big money, great security. The NFL offers big money, little security.

Carroll, Bob Stoops, Urban Meyer, Mack Brown, Mark Richt. Why would they want the landmines of the pro game, when they’ve been granted virtual lifetime eminence amid the ivory towers?

The lessons of Saban and Spurrier still are fresh in the mind.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, Media Punditry/Foibles

Ward to transfer.

So much for that glut of talent at the tight end position:  NaDerris Ward is transferring at the end of the semester.  I hope things work out well for him and his family.

This may change recruiting plans a bit:

Ward’s departure leaves new Georgia tight ends coach John Lilly with three scholarship players at the position for next season — senior Tripp Chander, sophomore Bruce Figgins and freshman Bryce Ros — or four if you include redshirt freshman Aron White, who also plays receiver. Georgia lost commitment Dwayne Allen from North Carolina to Clemson on signing day earlier this month.

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Filed under Georgia Football

High praise, indeed.

It seems like the AJ-C is fixated on which true freshmen will see the field for Georgia this season.  After Chip Towers gave us his impression earlier in the month, Carter Strickland throws his two cents out there.

For the most part their lists overlap, but Strickland does have a pretty good quote from Rodney Garner about Toby Jackson:

… Then all eyes could turn to Toby Jackson as a potential backup on D-line. Just where Jackson would be a backup is another question.

“I don’t know what he is but he is something,” Garner said. “God blessed him more than he blessed some.”

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Filed under Georgia Football

Maybe UT’s just a basketball school now.

It can’t be good when you’re looking at the third major media criticism of your program in a week or so. But that’s where Phil Fulmer is at today.

Matt Hayes doesn’t really shed any new light on the matter, but he does toss this line into the mix:

… Other coaches have used Tennessee’s off-field problems over the years to negatively recruit, and it will only get worse with this recent run of issues.

Gosh, I wonder why anyone would do that.

Captain Renault is shocked, shocked to find that negative recruiting goes on in the SEC. Especially involving Phil Fulmer.

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UPDATE: Coaches Hot Seat Blog piles on weighs in.

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UPDATE #2:  Somebody decides to run with the “UT is a basketball school” theme.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, The Glass is Half Fulmer

Let’s play two.

It’s pretty well known that the Universities of Kentucky and Louisville don’t exactly get along. One area that has seen a good deal of sparring between the two has been over when to schedule their annual football game. The issue was supposedly resolved as the two schools agreed that the home team would get to pick the date. Last year, that worked just fine for UK.

That was last year, though. This year, Louisville wants to accommodate ESPN and schedule the game for a Monday night as part of a Labor Day special. Kentucky, despite the compact, is balking. Why?

Well, as reasons go, this one is teh awesome.

… UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart said Monday that the Wildcats won’t agree to a Labor Day contest, saying it puts them at a disadvantage for its game with Norfolk State the following Saturday.

Just so we’re clear, Norfolk State ain’t exactly Appalachian State. The one game in 2007 NS played against a D-1 team didn’t go so well: Rutgers wiped the floor with Norfolk State by a score of 59-0. It wasn’t even that close. Rutgers led at the half 45-0.

In other words, the ‘Cats could schedule Norfolk State as the back end of a double header and still beat ‘em by 10.

U of L athletics director Tom Jurich couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

More accurately, a comment that could be printed.

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