Daily Archives: September 8, 2009

Stop making sense.

From Bulldogs Blog, 9/1/09:

“We’re not going to expect them to play a major role right now, but they’ve certainly got to be ready to play,” receivers coach Tony Ball said of his freshmen, Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten. “And with what we’re asking them to do, I think they can go out there and perform.”

From today’s AJ-C:

Coach Mark Richt indicated Tuesday that Brown and Wooten will likely play this week.

“The game (last Saturday) was tight,” Richt said.. “You have a young guy in there that you don’t feel like understands it as well as a veteran guy. You kind of look at your veterans and see if they have enough juice in them to keep going.  We decided not to play those guys, but we cannot go the season with just four receivers. There’s no way, so we have to play those guys. I told the freshman that you have to make sure in practice that you are sharp. The sharper you are in practice, that breeds confidence in your coach to give you opportunities. We know we need to play them, but they also need to continue to get to the point where they are studying and practicing to where it gives them confidence and the staff confidence.”

So, did something happen in those four days?  Or did Coach Ball not know what he was talking about in the first place?

I tell you what – Coach Searels’ policy with the media looks better with each passing day.  Maybe they should designate the coaching staff as honorary offensive linemen…

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UPDATE: David Hale’s got some more great quotes.   Basically, everything is clear as mud.

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Head, meet wall.

No disrespect intended, but what have Georgia’s coaches been doing the last five months?

“Personally I feel like we’ve got to get back to figuring out what we can do,” Bobo said. “I think we had a little too much in the game plan and obviously we didn’t execute it very well. We’ve got to find out what we can do and do it well.”

Now that’s one hell of an admission to make after the regular season game for which you have the most time all year to prepare and evaluate your talent.

Given that, it’s probably best that the Dawgs played a quality opponent in the opener.   I doubt that a 31-7 win over Directional State A & M would have generated the type of soul searching that’s going down in Athens right now.

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SEC Power Poll Ballot – Week One

I accepted a gracious invitation from Team Speed Kills‘ cocknfire to become a participant in the SEC Power Poll.

The problem early, of course, is that I don’t have much of a data base from which to rank the programs.  Last year’s impressions are going to play a part in my decision making at this point in the season until teams convince me otherwise.

And away we go…

  1. Florida. Okay, it was against Charleston Southern, but I didn’t see anything to make me feel differently about this team.
  2. Alabama. There are some weaknesses, sure.  But as I posted earlier, this team knows what it’s about.  That and the schedule are going to take the Tide a long way this year.
  3. Mississippi. If Snead gets off to a start like that against a decent SEC opponent, things won’t turn out so well.
  4. LSU. It wasn’t an impressive performance against a Pac-10 team that was awful last year, but it wasn’t an easy trip, either.  Kind of a default ranking, but that offense sure needs to get better.
  5. Georgia. Ditto everything I just said about LSU, except that Oklahoma State wasn’t awful last year.
  6. South Carolina. Yech.  That NC State game is what you get when the whole is less than the sum of its parts.  Still, I’ll wait and see.
  7. Auburn. We’ve reached the throw ‘em at the dart board portion of the ballot.  I put the Tigers ahead of UT and Arky because they played a tougher opponent.
  8. Tennessee. Yeah, nice results after the dust settled, but it sure got quiet in Neyland after that first turnover, didn’t it?
  9. Arkansas. I’ve got to put them somewhere.  Right now, there’s little to judge the Hogs on.
  10. Kentucky. They beat a MAC team.  Vandy and MSU di’int.
  11. Vanderbilt. A big win over a 1-AA opponent isn’t the stuff that legends are made of.  Let’s see what happens in Death Valley this week.
  12. Mississippi State. It’s a good start.  For Mississippi State.

The conference as a whole turned in an 11-1 mark for the week, but I’d characterize the results as more workmanlike than spectacular, mainly because of the level of much of the opposition.  With that in mind, ‘Bama clearly had the most impressive win of the bunch.

At this early juncture, if you’re putting money down on a Florida-Alabama rematch in the SECCG, you’re not going to get an argument out of me.

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Gee, Coach, it’s only Wofford.

Focus, baby, focus.

USF coach Jim Leavitt said Sunday he was unaware at least three players were Tweeting messages from their cell phones Saturday during team meetings, the pregame meal, on the bus ride to Raymond James Stadium and even in the locker room about 15 minutes before kickoff.

How do coaches miss something like that?  (h/t ‘Da Wiz)

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The BCS as a bad Alanis Morissette lyric

… at least as far as Boise State may be concerned.

After all that publicity over the Oregon win and the inevitability of an undefeated season based on a schedule that makes Mississippi’s look challenging leading to ridiculously early BCS speculation for the Broncos, wouldn’t it be something if it turned out that their biggest road block to playing in one of the big bowls was Brigham Young?

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One last look back

I spent a good chunk of the holiday weekend out of town with some friends, thus the paucity of posting (sorry, Frank).  It’s been interesting reading the comments here and elsewhere about Saturday’s game – some of which I agree with, some of which I don’t.

It’s not worth dwelling on most of those points, as it’s already Tuesday and the SEC opener is approaching, but there are a final few considerations I thought I’d mention.

  • What is this “progression to the mean” you speak of? -3 in turnover margin, untimely penalties (as soon as I saw the block in the back on the punt return, I knew Prince Miller was going to break it) and a breakdown on kickoff coverage – we’ve seen it all before.  The good news is that the last time Georgia had a turnover margin implosion against a top ten team, it lost by 39.  Obviously, if the situation doesn’t improve, this team goes nowhere this season.
  • What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on at receiver? I knew watching the game that Brown and Wooten didn’t catch a ball (or even have one thrown their way), but I didn’t realize until I read Hale’s post that they didn’t even play.  I don’t know what they’re being saved for, but given the overall numbers of the receiving corps, I can’t imagine they’ll be redshirted.   God help the offense if any of the receivers who did play on Saturday get hurt.
  • Speaking of injuries… What kind of shape was the team in?  The number of kids who needed IVs and fluids to play in the second half make me wonder if Cox and Pugh were the only ones struggling with the flu.  And Richt was right about the protection breakdown that led to the disastrous sack and fumble by Cox – if you look at the play, Jones really struggled with his footing and couldn’t get any leverage against a smaller tackle.  That in turn made me wonder if Jones’ ankle sprain was still an issue Saturday.  Sturdivant’s season ending injury was just icing on the cake.
  • The most troubling part of Joe Cox’ game wasn’t the inconsistency of or the lack of zip on his throws.  You have to think that he wasn’t at his physical best with the flu.  But that doesn’t explain the length of time he held on to the ball on some plays, or the trouble he had reading the defense.  That sideline sack was simply inexcusable.  If that’s the best a fifth year senior who knows the playbook backwards and forwards can do, it’s a pretty strong argument to look for other answers at the position.
  • The key play of the game for Mike Bobo was clearly the Carlton Thomas fumble.  Bobo lost faith in the running game from that point forward, no doubt worried by the prospect of having no options behind Samuel.  Bobo is a much better playcaller when he’s aggressive and dictating to the defense.  When he schemes around his biggest fear, you get results like Saturday’s game.

It really isn’t wrist-slitting time.  But the coaching staff needs to take a hard look at itself in a hurry.  This team is not without talent, but that talent sure wasn’t deployed effectively after the first six minutes of the game.  The best thing about Saturday is that Georgia won’t see another wide receiver as good as Bryant at least for the rest of the regular season.  The bad news is that the Dawgs will see several defenses that will be better than OSU’s – starting this weekend, as a matter of fact.

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