Monthly Archives: June 2009

Opening up an entirely new front

So this is what they invented the interwebs for.

Can’t afford to send your kiddies to camp this summer? Are they always on the computer?

Well … drum roll, please … South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier has the answer for you.

Allow me to introduce Steve Spurrier, virtual football camp counselor and Mr. Rogers wannabe. The Ol’ Ball Coach has started his own online football camp for kids at www.campspurrier.com.

Spurrier also promises parents that he’ll teach kids about the importance of living a “healthy, active lifestyle.”

It’s produced by Play Action Online Kids Camps, Inc.,the same company that designed an online football camp for Southern Cal football coach Pete Carroll.

That means kids can create cartoon characters of themselves and explore a virtual world full of games and life lessons from the legendary former Florida coach.

In his first “pep talk” video to promote the camp, Spurrier tells the wee ones, “I’m not only a football coach. I’m a football fan, too, and I love watching football and telling people about it.”

No word on when Junior will have his competing site up, but you’ve got to figure it’s a natural for a guy who started a Twitter feed only because Mark Richt did.  Plus, it’s another key way for the Laner to connect with an important recruiting demographic.

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Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Recruiting, The Blogosphere, The Evil Genius

Oh where, oh where did the quarterbacks go? – a follow up

One thing I really like about college football blogging is the feedback.  I tossed out a post yesterday about what appears to me to be a recent dearth of quality quarterbacking in the SEC and that in turn generated this response of Matt Hinton’s at his Dr. Saturday blog.

His basic premise is that, sure, there’s not a lot of depth at the position in the conference right now, but that’s not any different than what we see in every other BCS conference right now, except for the Big XII.  Here’s his breakdown:

I think his point is entirely valid when it comes to his top category (you can see his allocation of quarterbacks to his categories here), but I’m not so convinced about it as you go down the chart.  Even by Matt’s tally, the SEC has more truly bad (“not viable”, in his vernacular) projected starters than the remaining BCS conferences put together.  He seems to acknowledge this when he writes

… If the SEC is at any disadvantage, it’s in the fact that three of last year’s most obviously inept quarterbacks, Jonathan Crompton (Tennessee), Kodi Burns (Auburn) and Mike Hartline (Kentucky), are all scheduled to be back under center this fall. It’s not that other conferences didn’t have their share of terrible quarterbacks, but at least UCLA and Michigan, for example, are going out of their way to get rid of the problem.

But then he tries to soften the blow by adding this:

… It is fair to say that SEC quarterbacks were unusually bad last year — eight regular quarterbacks from four different schools finished with pass efficiency ratings that wouldn’t have qualified for the top-100 nationally — but it’s argue (sic) that’s going to continue in a league that’s sent eight different starters to the NFL since 2005. LSU and Arkansas have made apparent upgrades; Alabama shouldn’t suffer much of a drop off from John Parker Wilson to Greg McElroy; and Vanderbilt is at least trying to move on from last year’s disaster by moving bowl game starter Larry Smith to No. 1, ahead of beleaguered veteran Mackenzi Adams. Even in the cases of Crompton and Burns, who somehow haven’t been supplanted, maybe the new regimes at Tennessee and Auburn will bring some reversal of fate; if nothing else, they can’t possibly be worse.

That’s nice, but who’s to say this isn’t a more accurate assessment of the QB situation at Tennessee?

Position Grades
QB: F / Just horrible.

It’s certainly more succinct.  (By the way, that’s the only failing grade the author of that piece gives to any unit – not just quarterbacks – in the conference.)

Maybe I’ll be more convinced of his argument if some kids step forward in SEC play this season.  Right now, though, it looks like the conference is mired in a slump at that position.

And while we’re on the subject of feedback and the blogosphere, one thing I’m curious about is Matt’s statement that the SEC has sent eight quarterbacks to the NFL since 2005.  I don’t doubt that number, but I do wonder about the context of it in comparison with the other BCS conferences, both in terms of the absolute numbers and also in terms of how many of those players turned into starters.  Anybody care to dig up and share that data?

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UPDATE: Orson jumps in the time machine, sets the dial to 1995 and adds some thoughts here.

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UPDATE #2: Another day, another list.  It’s not the details of the list that are worth mentioning – it’s still the same Tebow-and-Snead-plus-ten arrangement everyone else sees – but rather the analogy used in referring to the great unwashed.

After that, the quality of established signal-callers in the SEC drops off the kind of cliff that Wile E. Coyote made famous.

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Filed under SEC Football, The Blogosphere

Eric Crouch, poster boy for Big XII superiority

Here we go:

Fifteen years after its creation, the Big 12 stands on the brink of fulfilling all the great expectations predicted at its birth.
Back in February 1994, the combination of the Big Eight and many of the top programs from the Southwest Conference seemed like solid football synergy.

Texas. Oklahoma. Nebraska. Texas A&M. Colorado. While the conference has been more than competitive since its inception – producing three outright or shared national champions since it began play in 1996 – its best may be directly ahead.

There’s just one obstacle: the Southeastern Conference.

Doom doom doom doom.

Mack Brown explains why.

“The difference is that the entire league is better,” Brown said. “Everybody talks about the SEC. You can actually lose to anybody in this league. That wasn’t the case 12 years or probably not even four years ago.”

*** Cough *** Iowa State *** cough ***.  Does Chizik’s departure swing the balance that much?

Just kidding.  Here’s the real skinny.

• Three teams – Oklahoma, Texas and Oklahoma State – will probably open next season in the top 10. And excellence hasn’t been limited to a few. Since the conference’s formation, eight of the 12 teams have been ranked in the Associated Press poll’s top five during November.

• The conference featured four of the five vote-getters for the 2008 Heisman Trophy, including winner Sam Bradford of Oklahoma and runner-up Colt McCoy. Both return this season.

“The offensive firepower and the quarterback capability in the last three years have been tremendous,” Osborne said. “It seemed like every team had a great quarterback and really moved the ball.”

• Seven Big 12 players were selected in the first round of this year’s NFL draft, a high-water mark. That total might just be the beginning.

There are more graphs and charts allegedly supporting this at the article’s end.

Of course, it would make for a stronger argument if Big XII schools would actually, you know, beat SEC schools in head’s up play.

Florida’s 24-14 win gave a factual basis to the perception that the Big 12 wasn’t ready to leapfrog the SEC. Ole Miss’ 47-34 win over Texas Tech in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic also didn’t help the Big 12′s case.

And it’s a shame this pesky little fact gets in the way.

For now, the SEC holds the bragging rights with wins in the last three BCS title games…

But there is Baylor… and Eric Crouch’s 2001 Heisman Trophy.

Look for a lot more of this kind of deep thinking amidst all the hype leading up to Georgia’s opener with Oklahoma State.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, SEC Football

Tuesday morning buffet

Grab a plate and dig in.

  • Finebaum makes a good point about the toothlessness of the Saban contract extension.
  • Urban Meyer Janoris Jenkins can rest easier today, per state attorney Bill Cervone.  Go Gators!
  • Doc Saturday looks at the hype surrounding Georgia’s first opponent this season, Oklahoma State, and throws out a juicy factoid:  “Mike Gundy’s teams are still 1-11 against opponents that finished in the top-20 since 2005, and 0-8 against Oklahoma and Texas.”
  • If you’re looking for a quick preseason preview of the SEC, this one’s not bad at all.  (h/t Saurian Sagacity)
  • Outgoing Pac-10 commish Tom Hansen does a little Q&A with the Sporting News, and has this to say about the playoff debate:

We get playoff proposals around the calendar, with many more coming in the late fall. There just isn’t anything that would be good in our opinion. We would have to go to 16 teams. The political pressure for participation would be even more intense than in the BCS. You’d have to play the games until the championship on campuses, so you’d be playing games at Michigan and Ohio State, weather-wise, in late December or January. Most of the TV time periods that are attractive then are taken by the NFL. There are some (sic) many factors that people never consider.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big 12 Football, Crime and Punishment, Gators, Gators..., Nick Saban Rules, SEC Football, The Blogosphere

Where did all the QBs go?

As I’m reading Year2′s initial post on the 2009 Gamecocks, I come across this quote from a Columbia radio show host -

Spurrier’s still as good a playcaller as he ever was, and his system still works. There were plenty of times last year where receivers were open and the quarterback either didn’t make the read, made a bad throw, or was getting sacked. No Spurrier offense can work correctly without a QB. In four years in Columbia, he hasn’t one worth a darn yet.

… and I think to myself, what the hell is the deal with quarterbacks in this conference?

Look at lists like this one and this one.  You may quibble a little about the order, but is there any real doubt right now that there are two legitimate starting SEC QBs and then a bunch of question marks (or worse)?  And that’s just the starters – check out Chris Low’s list of what the backup situation looks like.

If Spurrier, with his coaching talent and track record, can’t find a decent quarterback to run the show in four years, what does that say about what’s going on in the SEC these days?

And it’s not like ’09 is an outlier.  2008 saw eight SEC starting QBs in the top 100 nationally in passing efficiency, but five of those ranked between 66 and 100.  And as we sit here in June, five of those guys are gone.

So what’s happening here?  Bad recruiting?  Bad coaching?  Poor talent base in the Southeast?  Not enough high schools that have quality passing attacks?  Are SEC defenses that good?

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Filed under SEC Football

They’re smart and they want respect.

I’m starting to get dizzy:

To recap: last January, the JCCW posited that Tennessee’s and Auburn’s commitment to spending far more money on their assistant coaches than at any point in their program’s history while simultaneously spending less (far less in Auburn’s case) on their new head coaches than their predecessors might represent “perhaps a new way of financial thinking in the SEC.” Blutarsky responded with skepticism. The JCCW responded with silly pictures. Earlier this week, Rocky Top Talk made a similar argument regarding Kiffin. Blutarsky responded, again with skepticism. The JCCW responded to that response.

That brings us to this new post from Blutarsky in response to that response…

We’ve spilled a lot of bandwidth on this, so I don’t want to go on very long here, but I do think there’s something that bears repeating.

Jerry thinks that there’s big changes afoot, and that even if they don’t rise to a level worthy of being categorized as a new model, they’re significant enough to bear watching.

Me?  I can’t see it as any more than the logical extension of what’s been coming for a while now, namely, the steady rise in coaching salaries.  The only difference between what UT and Auburn have done and what Oklahoma and Alabama are doing is that the latter two are blowing the big money on the marquee head coaches and the former aren’t.

Not by choice, though.  If the right big name had been there, each would have been happy to toss the bucks at him.  In the SEC these days, money’s no object if you’ve got a target.  Auburn and Tennessee, coming off of disappointing seasons and watching rival schools hit home runs with their most recent hires, didn’t want to waste their ammo, so they simply shifted their sights to what was available – big name assistant coaches.  Inevitable, given the players involved.

That’s fine, but it isn’t the same thing as a planned strategy worth crowing about or emulating.  The continuing insistence that there’s more going on here than meets the eye risks sounding positively Fredo-esque.

The likely long term impact from all this is that there a lot of assistant coaches – particularly the great recruiters – who are going to need to put Mike Hamilton and Jay Jacobs on their Christmas card lists.  Now that’s a plan Jimmy Sexton can believe in.

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Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Gene Chizik Is The Chiznit, It's Just Bidness, The Blogosphere

Monday morning buffet

It’s a short week, so let’s get it off to a good start.

  • The Quad looks at its #65 team, Vanderbilt.  From the easier-said-than-done department:  “If the team can locate depth at running back and have two of its young, talented receivers step up, the Commodores will do better than the 19.2 points and 256.2 yards of total offense it averaged per game a season ago.”
  • Nick Saban Fights The Power – with contract extension news.  It’s a win-win for everybody!  (Including Les Miles.)
  • Rex Robinson hooks up with Brandon Bogotay.
  • CFR cites this great quote from Steele:  “There is no way that you could find a single #7 team in the country the last 12 years that had a legitimate claim to being in the national title game.” B-b-b-but Cinderellas, fellas!
  • It’s all good in Knoxville – except for that pesky quarterback thing, you know.
  • Matt Hayes counts up all of the non-conference games, and finds that the BCS conference schools left a little too much on the table:  “In the six BCS leagues, there are 57 games against I-AA teams and 111 against non-BCS, Division I teams. That’s 168 chances where teams from BCS leagues could’ve played.” And check out his worst game of the season.
  • Promises, promises from Michael Adams “I don’t think we’re going to see the 30-year tenures in ADs anymore than we are in college presidents these days…” Anybody got a calendar?

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Michael Adams Wants To Rule The World, Nick Saban Rules, SEC Football

Programs! Get ‘yer programs!

The Anti-Orange Page has posted a gallery of Georgia football program covers from the 1940′s.  Take a minute or two and wade through ‘em.  It’s an enjoyable collection.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Kiffin watch: Lane, you ignorant slut.

Mike Hamilton looks upon Junior’s rash of flashy secondary violations and declares it to be so much piffle.

Hamilton does not believe Kiffin’s calculated actions have included intentional acts of committing secondary violations.

“Where I would become concerned is if we have a consistent pattern of secondary violations, or if we get to a place where I believe we have intentionally violated the rules,” he said. “But I think we are talking about mistakes that have been made along the way. I don’t think in any situation there was an intentional violation of a rule.”

The Laner’s defense is that shit happens, sometimes.  Or that quantity matters more than quality.  Or something else, if you’ll give him a moment to ponder some more ways to spin.  But, there’s nothing er, um, planned, if you will.

… Kiffin admits he has made some mistakes, but he does not believe the number to be over the top.

“We’ve had some secondary violations, but I don’t believe it’s an inordinate amount,” he said. “They aren’t deliberate, but unfortunately they happen.”

Rich Brooks thinks that’s a bunch of BS.

Kentucky head football coach Rich Brooks doesn’t believe that self-reported, secondary violations are always inadvertent missteps.

He believes there may be more afoot as some programs try to get an upper hand in recruiting.

Brooks called for changes in enforcement, saying that will keep the amount of secondary violations from growing.

“The only way that will change is the conference office or the NCAA may have to take more stringent action on those that are having – quote – secondary violations because everybody that is a head coach or a recruiting coordinator in this league understands what the rules are,” Brooks said. “Something really should change.”

When you’re putting the term in scare quotes, that’s a pretty good indication of scorn.  SEC Media Days are gonna be a blast this year.

Plus, you have to wonder what’s getting said about UT’s recruiting practices in private these days.  And if Junior’s talk about everything he’s done being part of a purposeful strategy to raise the school’s profile will come back to haunt him.

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Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, The NCAA

Saturday morning buffet

Rise and shine, campers.

  • The SEC – it’s not your father’s three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust conference anymore.
  • You’ve gotta love the hypocrisy of Spurrier and Hyman in this article.  Truly craptastic.
  • And Spurrier gets a bonus now if his team just manages to show up, academically speaking.  Thus continues the inexorable march towards excellence in Columbia.
  • Now the NCAA will track APR by coach.  And some coaches want to know if the data can be tracked by presidents.  Heh.
  • So, Florida International is dumping its cheerleaders and band.  It’s a good thing that Fox is getting out of the college football broadcasting business – if that became a trend, God knows what the Fox producers would have left to train their cameras on.
  • Is something getting ready to happen at Dawgbone?

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Filed under 'Cock Envy, Academics? Academics., It's Just Bidness, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, The Blogosphere, The NCAA