Seth Emerson’s got a good article up today tracing a link between Georgia’s dwindling fortunes on the won-loss front and the falloff in the number of Dawgs taken in the NFL draft.
… During head coach Mark Richt’s first five years, the Bulldogs were 52-13, won two SEC titles and won three East Division titles.
The past five years, the Bulldogs are 42-20.
From 2002-06, the draft years that followed Rich’s first five seasons, the Bulldogs had 32 total players drafted and 15 in the top three rounds.
In the past four drafts, the Bulldogs have seen 19 players drafted and only seven in the top three rounds…
That’s just a description of the symptom, not the disease, though. Those numbers don’t tell us whether the program is slipping in its ability to recruit talent, or in its ability to develop that talent once it arrives on campus. (Stewart Mandel notes that it’s not an illness confined to Athens, either.)
Over at his blog, Emerson takes the time to flesh things out a bit more, with class by class breakdowns of the top-rated recruits. His conclusion – “Somewhere over the past five years, it seems there’s been a gap between recruiting and production once in college” – is logical if you assume that the recruiting services do a competent job analyzing talent. Talent isn’t everything, though. Are the players coachable? And will they develop physically in a suitable manner?
Yes, overall, it still comes back to the coaches. They’re the ones who identify their needs and they’re the ones responsible for turning high schoolers into functioning collegiate athletes. But it’s critical for Mark Richt (and Greg McGarity) to reach a determination about how much of each side of that coin has contributed to the slippage. Things won’t get better unless you’re fixing the right problems.