Daily Archives: April 23, 2008

Has Matt watched Matt?

As I’ve mentioned before, TSN’s Matt Hayes has this thing about Matt Stafford that I just don’t get.

Today, mixed in with his praise (“At this point, the ‘Dawgs are the nation’s most complete team.”) in elevating Georgia to #1 on his 2008 preseason list is this comment:

My only reservation with Georgia: What happens to QB Matt Stafford in big road games. (South Carolina, Arizona State, LSU, Auburn; Florida in Jacksonville are all on this year’s road slate)? He was hot and cold last year away from Athens…

What happens to Matt Stafford in big road games? Well, last year he led his team to a 4-0 record in Georgia’s four biggest away games – Alabama, Florida, Georgia Tech and Hawaii.

His stats in those four games?

  • Alabama – 19/35, 224 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
  • Florida – 11/18, 217 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
  • Georgia Tech – 14/29, 214 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 31 yard TD run
  • Hawaii – 14/23, 175 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

In three of those four games, Stafford clearly outperformed the opponent’s starter and in the fourth (Florida), the QB stats were fairly even.  And don’t forget his heroics in the ‘Bama game.  I’m just not seeing “hot and cold” there.

Look, given the man’s conclusion – “He’ll go one of two ways this fall: succumb to the preseason pressure, or develop into the No. 1 overall NFL pick. I’m going with the latter.” – and the fact that Stafford does need to improve his game for Georgia to have a strong chance to excel this season, I don’t want to be too harsh here, but, seriously, has Hayes watched much Georgia football lately?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Mike Leach: pirate, multi-tasker

Hard to beat this story:

Big 12 coaches held their annual spring media conference call Monday. While Leach was on, it became apparent he occasionally was distracted. He cut off one answer to say something to someone.

Leach explained he was watching game film with coaches while on the call. That reminded him of the time he did his 10 minutes on a conference call while waiting at the drive-through of a fast-food place. That little episode has gone down in Big 12 lore.

“One time I got in trouble for ordering lunch on one of these deals,” he said Monday. “I ordered chicken express one time, and that wasn’t a big hit.”

“Can I get fries with that?”

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Filed under Mike Leach. Yar!

Building a wall around the state: more thoughts on Georgia and NFL draft talent

I posted yesterday about how Georgia’s current success on the field wasn’t reflected in the numbers of NFL draft-worthy Dawgs over the past couple of years. Over at USA Today, you can find an article that takes a look at where NFL draft picks have come from over the past 20 NFL drafts (h/t Eleven Warriors). In certain respects, the numbers are a bit surprising.

Look at these two charts:

CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS
Colleges sending most players to NFL
School
Players
Miami (Fla.)
136
Florida State
125
Tennessee
120
Ohio State
116
Notre Dame
115
Nebraska
112
Florida
107
Southern California
99
Penn State
95
Michigan
91
States sending most players to NFL
from high schools
State
Players
California
699
Texas
568
Florida
541
Georgia
281
Ohio
231
Louisiana
225
Pennsylvania
171
Virginia
165
Alabama
164
North Carolina
160

If I’m reading that correctly, the state of Georgia ranks fourth overall among states in producing NFL draft picks over the past 20 years, but the Georgia football program doesn’t rank in the top 10 schools that delivered that talent to the NFL. This despite the facts that Georgia Tech’s recruiting posture has largely been supine over this period of time and that Georgia has been led by three head coaches who all have had the reputation of being first rate recruiters.

Compare those numbers with Tennessee, which ranks third on the list of schools. And note that Miami, FSU and Florida all made the top ten list. (Miami also led all colleges with an incredible 41 first round draft picks over that period.)

That’s not the whole story, though. There’s an interactive map you can play with where you can refine the parameters on where (and when) the talent comes from. If you reset the time period to the Richt era (2001-2007), the state of Georgia still ranks fourth in talent production, behind the same three states, with 93 players drafted. During that period – which obviously includes some kids that Donnan signed and developed to some extent – 43 players from the Georgia program were selected in the NFL draft.

That number ranks fourth among all colleges. Here’s the top ten list for 2001-7:

  • Miami (54)
  • Ohio State (53)
  • Florida State (44)
  • Georgia (43)
  • Tennessee (41)
  • Florida (40)
  • Notre Dame (36)
  • Southern California (35)
  • LSU (34)
  • Virginia Tech (33)

Consider two things about those numbers. One, Georgia has obviously fared much better against its peers this decade in recruiting and developing top talent than it had previously. Two, as Eleven Warriors’ Jason noted, there’s a clear demographic shift in play. Only two schools outside of the Sunbelt (the region, not the conference) appear in the top ten on the more recent list, a significant drop from the composition of the 20 year list where half the schools came from outside the Sunbelt.

Bottom line? Expect carpetbagging to remain alive and well as schools from outside of the South come in to the region to chase top talent as the numbers decline in their home regions. In other words, recruiting won’t get any easier for Richt and Garner.

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Filed under College Football, Georgia Football, Recruiting

Rummaging through them Internets

A few items of note to bring to your attention:

  • Georgia’s upcoming schedule gets another look-see, this time from Quinton over at Georgia Sports Blog.
  • Meanwhile, at Garnet and Black Attack, the reluctant case (and, boy, is he reluctant) is made against Southern Cal and for Georgia as THE TEAM in 2008.
  • Over at the wonderfully named Third Saturday in Blogtober, they’re speculating about who Verne Lundquist’s new love interest will be. Besides Tim Tebow, of course.
  • This is what I mean when I say I never wish an injury on any kid, no matter who he suits up for: the details on UT’s David Holbert’s awful knee injury, over at Rocky Top Talk. I hope for nothing but the best for him on his long road to recovery.
  • And if you’re looking for that final spring practice roundup (which technically can’t happen yet, since Arky hasn’t played its spring game), this summary at the Chattanooga Times Free Press is as good a place to start as any.

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Filed under College Football, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, The Blogosphere

“New Year’s Day” bowl game doesn’t mean what it used to…

not when the Liberty Bowl gets moved to a time slot in front of the Sugar Bowl.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

One hand washes the other.

As you could probably guess, the Zooker is none too happy with the new NCAA rule prohibiting contact between head coaches and recruits during the spring.

But in complaining, he brings up a point that, if true, raises some serious questions about the relationship between some of the recruiting services and certain head coaches.

… Because operator/writers for Internet sites, such as Rivals.com and Scout.com, are the only ones who have unregulated access to recruits when coaches can’t talk to them, it’s an area that’s ripe for corruption.

Some programs have secretly allied themselves with the Web sites that report on their school as another way to communicate with recruits.

In return, the Web sites get better information, more traffic and make more money.

“We’re turning the recruiting over to the so-called recruiting gurus,” Zook said. “Now, all of a sudden, just like you’ve got basketball coaches complaining that it’s turning over to the AAU coaches, now we’re turning it over to these guys that can call them.

“Well, you know what a lot of them are saying. They’re selling their school to these kids, and we’re not able to talk to them. To me, we’re losing this thing, in my opinion.”

If true, that’s pretty sleazy. I’m not sure I’ve heard about Rivals or Scout being particularly close to a particular program or programs… but there’s a certain someone whose name comes to mind with regard to a school that has a head coach with a funny haircut who might fit the profile.

And, yes, I’m aware there’s a certain amount of irony in this whole story.

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Filed under Recruiting, The Adventures of Zook