Daily Archives: July 21, 2009

More grist for the recruiting mill

What to make of this?

Carver of Columbus coach Dell McGee has banned the University of Georgia from recruiting his players because quarterback Devin Burns had his scholarship offer pulled on a visit last weekend, just as he was about to make a commitment.

“To protect our kids and my program, Georgia won’t be welcome on my campus,” McGee told GHSF Daily late Monday evening. “They’re not going to recruit anybody.”

I understand the coach being peeved.  I even understand (although I don’t approve because it’s counterproductive to his kids) his ban.  What I don’t get is why elevate this into a public spat – especially when he’s  gotten what he seems to accept as a sincere apology from Coach Richt?

“I told him how I felt, and he said he supported my decision and said he didn’t blame me,” McGee said. “He apologized. He admitted that they screwed up and didn’t handle the situation correctly.”

“I respect Coach Richt; I know he’s a Christian guy,” McGee said. “He’s a model coach and father. It’s just a big breakdown in their communication within the coaching staff at Georgia, and that’s kind of sad. I’m sure they’ll get it corrected.”

Again, if Richt apologized, I can only assume somebody on the staff erred in communicating to the kid.  But what’s gained by airing the dirty laundry here?

I imagine there’s more to come out on this.

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UPDATE: On the other hand, things could be worse.

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UPDATE #2: Groo adds a few point on this, including one I think is particularly cogent.

… McGee for his part did a bit of overreaching in his assessment of Georgia’s recruiting. He assumes that “Georgia still has scholarships left. It isn’t like they ran out of scholarships. That wasn’t the case.” While we’ve all done the math and figured out that Georgia still has a few slots left without public commitments in the 2010 class, it’s also reasonable at this stage that Georgia knows exactly whom they’d like to take those remaining scholarships, and those few know who they are. Georgia wouldn’t rescind a scholarship if it didn’t have a firm grasp on the numbers and how the last few commitments will go. “They ran out of scholarships” is exactly what’s going on, and at least Georgia is dealing with the cleanup now instead of oversigning and cutting the kid down the road.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

An equal opportunity pot stirrer

Paul Finebaum tries to take Mark Richt down a couple of notches.

I say “tries”, because it’s hard to take anyone seriously who prints this:

There are threats from other places as well. Certainly, Tennessee is already more formidable on the recruiting trail under Lane Kiffin. And it’s possible that Auburn — under Gene Chizik — could be a tougher recruiting foe as well.

No doubt they’ve been quaking in their boots in Athens ever since Junior and Chizik showed up on the scene. That’s why recruiting’s in the crapper this year.

Take a minute to read it, if you’re in need of a quick chuckle.

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UPDATE: For some reason, MrSEC.com’s John Pennington thinks it’s important to remind us that he was all over the “if I throw out enough hypotheticals, Mark Richt could be on the hot seat” meme first.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Stopping the spread: another necessity is the mother of invention tale.

Mark Schlabach’s piece yesterday tracing the evolution of the spread attack is a good read (it even gets the Smart Football seal of approval here), even if it doesn’t break a lot of new ground, as Heisman Pundit is happy to remind us.

It’s the last part that resonates in particular.

…  Spread offenses also have changed the ways teams are playing defense. Bigger safeties have become linebackers, and linebackers have become defensive ends. Defensive coordinators are trying to get as much speed on the field to slow down spread attacks.

“They’re putting five or six athletes out in space, and it’s forcing you to put athletes out in space,” Foster said. “Back when they played two tailbacks, you could put eight or nine guys in the box. Now they’re making it tougher to do that because of where they place their people.”

And until defenses catch up with spread offenses, college football teams will continue to light up their scoreboards.

“I think defenses will catch up with them,” Foster said. “We’re going to always try to devise ways to attack it. The spread just makes you defend the whole field, sideline to sideline and end zone to end zone.”

If you’re a Georgia fan, it’s interesting that Schlabach cites the ’05 West Virginia team and Colt Brennan’s season TD passing mark as two notable moments in the spread’s development, seeing as the Dawgs help cement Rodriguez’ reputation as an offensive genius in the earlier Sugar Bowl and exposed Hawaii’s offense as a paper tiger in the later one.

And along those lines, this David Hale article about Richt and Martinez looking at ways to generate a consistent pass rush with a defense that is lacking in its traditional strength at defensive end is definitely worth a read.

Essentially, they’ve decided to go the mad scientist route where they find the numbers.

… At linebacker, however, there is a wealth of riches, and playing time has become increasingly difficult to find. With so many teams adopting some form of the spread offense around college football, the nickel defense has become a standard alignment for defensive coaches. With the extra defensive back on the field, the strongside linebacker is reduced to bench duty, and in Georgia’s case, a normally productive player is rendered useless.

The solution was simple: cross training.

“The more that people spread, the less that you’re going to play the Sam linebacker, and we’ve got to get those Sam linebackers working,” head coach Mark Richt said.

The immediate short term benefit is increased competition for playing time, something that’s always the best motivator.

But I think there’s also a potential plus with this move on the recruiting front.

… The changes come late in the careers for Washington and Dewberry, but there’s a benefit to that, too, Dewberry said.

“I think it definitely will look good to the people at the next level,” Dewberry said. “If you’re going somewhere that runs like a 3-4, playing linebacker or D-end is like the same thing. It’s just good to know both, and it looks good to be able to say that you’ve played both.”

Now, if it just works.

Another place where it looks like Martinez is not adverse to experimentation is at the safety position, where he’s trying to figure out the best way to get Nick Williams (“He’s kind of a little bit of a jackal for us.”) on the field.

Mixing and matching personnel and coverages – you’ve got to do everything in your power as a defensive coordinator to shorten the decision making time the spread QB has to make a play.  It’s a small window that you have to try to close even further – just ask Tim Tebow (h/t Smart Football).

It’s all cyclical, right?  Somebody is going to build that better mousetrap eventually.  It might as well be in Athens, Georgia.

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UPDATE: More necessity thoughts in this blog post of David’s.

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UPDATE #2: Michael Elkon punctures HP’s self-congratulatory back patting.

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UPDATE #3: South Carolina’s Ellis Johnson shares some thoughts about defending the spread.  I particularly like this quote:

Ellis Johnson: If the quarterback doesn’t run much and it’s never more than the quarterback and the running back in the backfield at the same time, it doesn’t present as many problems unless they’ve just got so many great athletes that you can’t match up. But you’ve got problems with any offense that has that many great athletes[Emphasis added.]

That’s one reason why I think Urban Meyer is shrewd.  He’s got an offensive system that he’s comfortable and successful running, but he’s running it in a tough defensive conference.  A scheme’s not enough and he knows better than to rest on his laurels as an offensive guru.  You’ve got to have those Jimmies and Joes to be a consistent powerhouse – a lesson which I expect Mullen and Malzahn to get some painful exposure to this season.

4 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

All sports are (hyper)local.

I’m not sure how interested any of you are in the whole new-media-vs.-old-media discussion that gets raised (mainly in the Blogosphere), but if it’s even a slight interest, you’ll find this Dan Shanoff post fascinating.  I don’t know if I’ve read anything lately sports-related that’s been more thought provoking.  Make sure you read the New York Times article he links to, as well.

Bottom line:  ESPN depresses the crap out of me.  It’s like the media equivalent of the Borg.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, The Blogosphere

“Now there’s a chance for some real hanky panky.”

Well, well, well.  I guess they can feel the heat on occasion.

Concerned in part with continuing attacks on the Bowl Championship Series, BCS officials successfully lobbied the American Football Coaches Association to delay a controversial change in the coaches poll by a year, CBSSports.com has learned.

The BCS boys are serious about this.

The return to a lack of transparency upset BCS officials more than what was originally known. There are indications that the change could be a deal breaker, going forward, in the coaches poll’s inclusion in the BCS. The poll is one of two human components in the BCS. The Harris poll is the other. There are also six computer indexes that are factored in.

And it sounds as if the threat remains an ongoing one.

The BCS also didn’t want to scramble so close to the 2009 regular season to find a replacement poll if it dropped the coaches poll because of the change, one source indicated. Dropping the coaches poll seems to be an ongoing possibility — call it leverage for the BCS — if the AFCA follows through with once again hiding the ballots. The BCS adjusted in 2004 after the Associated Poll dropped out because of ethical concerns. The BCS then assembled the Harris poll to replace AP.

While not outwardly criticizing the change, BCS coordinator John Swofford released a cryptic statement in May: “The commissioners review all aspects of the BCS arrangement — including the BCS standings — at the conclusion of each season, and I know the AFCA’s decision will be on the agenda for that review after the January 2010 games.”

So how much do the coaches want to stay in the mix?  I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Of course, they could render this secret ballot controversy moot by thinking outside the box a little.  (Note:  shameless plug alert!)

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football

It sure beats a boy named Sue.

I don’t know how Mr. Swindle happened upon this, but they can retire the name award now as far as I’m concerned.  I don’t know how you can top that.  Or why you’d want to, for that matter.

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Filed under General Idiocy