Daily Archives: May 27, 2008

“We had the chance to do something special.”

This just floors me:

… Of Rivals.com’s top 20 prospects in the ’05 class, five bypassed their senior seasons and were selected last month in the NFL draft. Two of the five, Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart and Miami safety Kenny Phillips, were first-round selections.

Yet 11 of the 20 have been arrested. [Emphasis added.]

By the way, it’s not all little stuff, either. One sample:

4. DE Melvin Alaeze Randallstown, Md. Maryland

After failing to meet academic requirements to play for the Terrapins, Alaeze was arrested in February 2006 on five marijuana-related offenses. He wound up with Ron Zook at Illinois later that year but was quickly suspended for missing classes and left for what he cited as personal reasons. He was arrested that December in Randallstown for his involvement in a robbery and shooting and was sentenced this past November to eight years in prison.

Meyer and Fulmer sound the alarm bells.

… Speaking to Florida boosters recently in Miami, Meyer said the NCAA is pulling coaches away from the recruiting process and making it more difficult to judge character.

“I’m not allowed to go out anymore,” Meyer said. “I’m not allowed to text-message. I’m trying to find out as best I can. You just keep re-evaluating.

“If you just look around and see some of the things that are going on, it’s amazing. It’s concerning. It’s alarming.”

Fulmer agreed, admitting he doesn’t know as much about today’s prospects.

“I think it’s the whole environment that’s been created,” he said. “You don’t know as much about them, and it’s hard sometimes to find out information about them because people aren’t completely honest with you about them. That’s a concern.

“There are issues with some young people trying to go so fast in their athletic career because they’re not looking as much for an education as they are the NFL, so they’re going to school for the wrong reasons, and that in itself is very, very dangerous.”

I think blaming a text message ban for causing evaluation problems is beyond silly, but it’s obvious that coaches are having a hard time judging character, or, perhaps more accurately, their ability to manage character.

Is that because the system doesn’t build in sufficient accountability for recruiting players like these? Will the APR have any effect? Hard to say, although it’s fairly certain that winning big cures lots of faults.

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UPDATE: More thoughts on this from Tyrone Willingham:

COACH WILLINGHAM: I would say, also, that the statement that Mark made about the information and the source of the information is critical because there are very few communities that you go into that someone wants to be known as the person that denied Johnny a scholarship. There are not going to be many of those in most of the communities you go into. So even for the assistant coach to get the information is very difficult.

Hopefully that’s where the experience of the staff comes in, when the coach says he’s all right, you understand that there’s something in that statement, he’s all right. And that’s very difficult.

So the gaining of the information I think is probably the most difficult thing in the process, which allows you to gauge and really understand the character. I think we can assess the academic information; I think that’s pretty straightforward. But the character issues I think you have to reach deeper. And if you were to have a young man that at a youthful age did have a problem, anything on him is probably sealed, so how do you get that information? Even with a service working for you, it’s very difficult to get to the heart of what all the problems were.

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Filed under College Football, Crime and Punishment, Recruiting

Georgia’s ten most memorable plays of 2007, #7

Georgia vs. Auburn, November 10:

Georgia at 6:47 AUB GA
1st and 10 at GA 32 Knowshon Moreno rush for a loss of 3 yards to the Geo 29. 20 17
2nd and 13 at GA 29 Georgia penalty 0 yard ineligible downfield on pass off-setting accepted, Auburn penalty 0 yard personal foul off-setting, NO PLAY. accepted, no play.
2nd and 13 at GA 29 Matthew Stafford pass complete to Sean Bailey for 45 yards to the Aub 26 for a 1ST down.

Hard to believe, but there was a point in the Blackout game when things weren’t going so swimmingly for the home team. In the middle of the third quarter, Auburn capped off a 17 point run against the Dawgs with a Wes Byrum field goal to take a 20-17 lead. During that stretch, Georgia didn’t have any answers for Will Muschamp’s defense, particularly Antonio Coleman’s one man wrecking crew performance.

But it turned out that it only took one play to unleash the hounds.

Start at the 5:50 mark on the clip. What you’ll see is Stafford stepping back and throwing a beautiful strike to Sean Bailey down the right sideline that Bailey makes a slight adjustment on. With that play, the momentum shifted for the last time, as Georgia went on to score 28 straight points to rout Auburn 45-20.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“The SEC is supposed to be tough.”

I honestly don’t understand those people who feel the need to suck the joy out of college football in the name of fairness. Here’s a new super terrific idea from John Adams of The Knoxville News Sentinel: get rid of rivalries.

The SEC spring meetings, which begin this week, always bring out the constructive critic in me.

Today’s target: the SEC football schedule.

The SEC could improve its method of determining division champions.

That would mean putting an end to non-divisional rivalries on an annual basis.

Yep – he wants to do away with Alabama and Tennessee playing each year. And he doesn’t need to see Georgia and Auburn, the originators of the oldest football rivalry in the South, play annually, either.

Essentially, he’s bothered by the fact that in certain years one contending team faces a tougher conference slate than a competitor (he uses this year’s Georgia-Florida schedules as examples). But here’s the thing: you never really know what you’re going to get in a specific year in the SEC. There are years when a good team flops; there are years when a bad team proves competitive. Plus, over time this stuff tends to balance out.

What’s most irritating about his article is that it ignores history.

Traditionalists might cringe at the thought. But the SEC shoved tradition aside a long time ago when it went to divisional play.

Nice shot – except the SEC didn’t have balanced schedules before divisional play. So there have always been years where one conference team had a easier slate than another.  It’s a tradition, you might say.

Bad idea.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football