Daily Archives: January 24, 2014

“That thing was over before it started really.”

File this under “it never hurts to ask”:

… According to documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution via an open records request, the Bulldogs had at least four other candidates officially express interest in the job. And their range of experience varied greatly.

John Thompson, a longtime SEC defensive coordinator who most recently was interim head coach at Arkansas State, had a representative send in a cover letter and resume expressing interest in becoming the Bulldog’s defensive coordinator.

“He is a great fit for UGA Defense (sic) Coach … Former Georgia State DC … Knows the Recruiting Area … Experience as D1 Head Coach,” Ted Liberty wrote on Thompson’s behalf.

Interestingly, Kirby Smart never entered the picture.  So much for all the internet fever dreams.

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Filed under Georgia Football

It was fifty years ago today

… that Coach Dodd took his football and went home.

Friday marked the 50th anniversary of a day in Georgia Tech athletic annals that isn’t celebrated and only vaguely remembered. On Jan. 24, 1964, the Institute announced its intent to leave the Southeastern Conference. It’s a move that seems unthinkable today, when the SEC stands as the colossus of college football, and even then it was hard to fathom.

It sure isn’t hard to fathom how it turned the Georgia-Georgia Tech series, though.

If your inner Nick Saban doesn’t have time to tally, here’s all you need to know:

  • 1897-1963:  Georgia 26 – Tech 27 – Tie 5
  • 1964-2013:  Georgia 38 – Tech 12 – Tie 0

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Filed under Georgia Tech Football

Bill Connelly explains it all to you.

I’m not even going to waste your time with a summary.  Just read the damned thing in its entirety.  And then bookmark it.

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Filed under Stats Geek!

Whither the Mumme Poll?

With the Coaches Poll being reduced to a sideshow irrelevancy (easily the greatest by-product of the new postseason format), Tidefan and I thought we’d take stock of where things stand with the Mumme Poll.  There is a temptation to declare victory and call it a day – I think we’ve proven that approval voting is a credible way to assemble a top twenty ballot while reducing the appearance of bias and conflicts of interest as well as making the ballot process much less time-consuming – but I’d like to believe there’s a way to keep the MP relevant in the new playoff era.

Specifically, what I’ve been contemplating is using approval voting not to put together a rankings list, but instead to create a semi-final pool.  Could a random group of college football fans put together a four-team group that would be as worthy of respect as what’s going to come out of the sausage factory selection committee process?  I don’t know, but I thought it might be fun to try.

So here’s what I’ve come up with:  cut the ballot size from ten to eight, drop the tiebreaker and let approval voting determine the top four schools.  It’s even more streamlined than what we’ve done over the past few years.

Anyway, I’d like your feedback on this.  We’re a little disappointed in the drop off we saw in participation this past season, so among other things, I’m looking for ways to generate a higher level of interest.  Give me your thoughts in the comments.

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Filed under Mumme Poll

Importing the Process

I don’t know if you ever got around to reading Bud Elliott’s lengthy post about how FSU got its mojo back under Jimbo Fisher, but it’s an interesting read.  The part that should be of most interest to us is about Fisher’s hire of Jeremy Pruitt.  Fisher knew what he was looking for when he went out shopping for a replacement for Mark Stoops.

But Fisher wanted more. He wanted the system he used to face every day in practice at LSU. He wanted Saban’s defense. And to get it, he took a big risk in hiring Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama’s defensive backs coach. The 38-year-old Pruitt came to Tallahassee with no experience as a coordinator and only three seasons as a position coach at the FBS level. Further, since Saban coaches defensive backs as his specialty, many wondered just how much Pruitt had been involved in the excellent Alabama defensive attack.

“His knowledge of the game, his experience in how he has handled some things when he got on the [whiteboard] and his answers to playing spread things,” Fisher said in 2012 of his hire. “He’s had great success against the open teams that have been out there, from [Gus] Malzahn and all those guys in that league, and the way they’ve played and done those things. We have a great rapport, and he is no doubt ready to be a coordinator.”

Now, Mark Richt’s already gone through one Saban guy as a defensive coordinator.  I don’t think that was a driving factor in Richt’s decision to hire Todd Grantham – if I recall correctly, Richt said at the time he wasn’t specifically looking for a 3-4 guy, just the guy he thought would be the best fit – but I wonder if that was more important to him when it came to replacing Grantham.  For one thing, with Pruitt running a similar scheme, Richt still gets some of that continuity he was hoping for after last season came to an end.  For another, I continue to think that the Sherrer hire is an indication that Richt likes what he’s seen at both Alabama and FSU from a bigger picture standpoint in fashioning a defense.

One way in which Pruitt differs from Grantham is in his background.  Fisher had something interesting to say about that, too.

He’d also wanted a defensive coordinator with a background in defensive backs, like Saban.

“In today’s game, being able to go back to front is very critical, because of the spread,” Fisher said. “You have to be able to match your secondary coverages to your fronts. Who’s going to fit, how they’re going to fit, how you’re going to handle certain play actions, how you’re going to handle certain coverages. And I think it is much easier to go back to front than it is front to back. I think that knowledge is [crucial], especially the way the game is being played today, with such a spread dynamic to it.”

“Because of the spread” wasn’t something we heard a lot about from Richt when he hired Grantham.  But you’d have to think it’s a lot more on Richt’s mind now than it was in 2010, because of a changing SEC.  (Of course, with Alabama getting punched around by HUNH attacks last season, you wouldn’t be blamed for wondering if that Saban tree is all it’s cracked up to be.  But I digress.)

We were all excited with the Grantham hire because, well, to some extent, we thought anybody would be a step up from Martinez, because Grantham talked a good game about his coaching philosophy, because of his demeanor and because he did a good job articulating talent evaluation.  What we didn’t know until time had passed was that there would be an issue translating what was in Grantham’s head into on-field execution.  If Georgia wants to succeed at an elite level, that can’t happen any more.

Is Pruitt the coach who can bridge that gap?  There’s no way to know for sure until we see how things look in the opener.  I hope Richt at some point lets us in about his thought process leading to the hire, because I’d like to know if the last four seasons have changed his approach to what he wants out of a defensive coordinator.  All I can say about what I know now is that I don’t want to be excited anymore.  I want to be impressed.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Friday morning buffet

Indulge yourselves.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Recruiting, The Blogosphere, The NCAA, Whoa, oh, Alabama