Daily Archives: March 7, 2014

“The fact that Tammy is standing right in front of me pretty much seals the quest to have a No. 1 bestseller, I think.”

PAWWWLLL has a book coming out, which raises three questions:

  1. How long has it been since most of his listeners read a book?
  2. Who plays Finebaum in the movie based on the book?
  3. How did he convince Nick Saban to pose for the centerfold?

I’m kidding about that last question… at least I hope I am.

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Filed under PAWWWLLL!!!

Why are they saying nice things about Aaron Murray’s career?

Per CBSSports’ Pat Kirwan, Aaron Murray was voted the toughest quarterback to face by the SEC defensive backs Kirwan interviewed at the Senior Bowl and combine.

That seems unlikely.  Aren’t most SEC games by definition big games?

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Filed under Georgia Football

While we’re on the subject…

Tracy Rocker talks about what sold him on coming to Georgia:

“What got me here was Jeremy Pruitt, just a conversation with him, talking about what he was looking for and he was trying to put together,” Rocker said. “He got me in front of Coach Richt, and we hit it off and saw eye-to-eye on some things and wanted to go in the same direction. And everything took care of itself from there.”

Hmmm.  I wonder if Nick Fairley’s name came up in the conversation.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Off to the recruiting races

ESPN is reporting that the NCAA is seriously considering an early signing period for college football.

College football is taking steps toward establishing an early signing period, according to the NCAA official who manages the national letter of intent program.

Susan Peal, NCAA associate director of operations, said the continued acceleration of recruiting has led the Conference Commissioners Association to consider an earlier date to supplement the long-existing date in February, similar to the structure for basketball and other sports.

“I think everyone wants an early signing period,” Peal said this week. “It’s just trying to nail down what’s the appropriate date for that.”

Can’t say I’m surprised, given the way the whole process has noticeably accelerated over the past few years.  I used to be unsure as to whom an early period would favor, but it seems clear to me now with the way the power programs are adding advisory staff to beef up contacts with the high schools that they would be the victors to whom the spoils would flow.  Which is probably why the NCAA is taking this up now.

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Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA

“You also have to remember we play the SEC Championship Game.”

Judging from this article, a majority of Southeastern Conference athletic directors favor sticking with an eight-game conference schedule.  What’s interesting is that there isn’t a single mention in the article about television contracts being a motivating factor in the equation.  Instead, it’s almost all about the playoffs.

“I think we’ve done a really good job convincing the country that a one-loss SEC team deserves to play for the national title,” said Mississippi State Athletics Director Scott Stricklin, who supports eight games. “Are we going to be able to make the same argument for a two-loss team, which would happen more often (with nine games)?”

I think Stricklin’s missing the point there.  Greg McGarity, however, isn’t.

Said Georgia Athletics Director Greg McGarity: “The eight-game formula has served us well in the national championship discussion. Is that the right pattern moving forward? I think a lot of us think it is until proven differently.”

In other words, until they see proof that the conference is getting burned by the selection committee on the strength of schedule front, nobody’s inclined to do much of anything.

Which means we should expect scheduling to continue to be a season-by-season process.  And there’s something else we should continue to expect – a steady diet of cupcakes.  The recipe for those comes from the perfect combination of arrogance…

“I’m not worried about other schools playing nine games in their league. In some leagues, the bottom half of their league is cupcakes. So big deal you’re playing nine. You’re playing a cupcake anyway.”

… (because all cupcakes are equal, right?) and finances.

Gate revenue is also an argument made by some ADs for eight games. For Florida and Georgia, which annually play a neutral-site SEC game and an ACC rival that fluctuates home and away, nine SEC games would mean only six home games every other year.

“That’s a net loss of over $2 million what you generate every home game,” McGarity said. “So over a 10-year period, in today’s dollars, you’re leaving $10 to $11 million on the table.”

By negative implication, I assume that means Slive hasn’t been able to get the networks to pony up enough for the improved inventory a ninth conference game offers.

So expect Slive to be reactive instead of proactive on this front.  That means we’ll have plenty of SEC coaches bitching about scheduling for the foreseeable future.  And then even more bitching when one of them gets screwed out of a playoff spot.  Oh, goody for that.

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Filed under SEC Football

Mark Richt’s expertise on losing control pays off.

He’s become college sports’ go-to guy on injury wipeouts (h/t Bernie).

Gosh, and here I’ve been thinking that losing all those players had nothing to do with going 8-5 last season.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Draft from the north country

One shortcoming I have as a lifetime Southerner is a total lack of familiarity with the NHL draft.  Fortunately, that’s what we have Michigan bloggers for.  Brian Cook has an interesting response to Mark Cuban’s whining about the one-and-done rule:

There is a solution here. It’s easy, actually: the NBA moves to an NHL-style draft where any relevant player is automatically inserted at 18. This preserves their eligibility. The NBA then allows teams to sign draftees but forces them to guarantee contracts one year longer than their eligibility would last (IE, signing a guy out of HS: five year contract, freshman 4 years, etc) except in the case of graduating seniors, who are owed nothing.

If there’s a five-round draft, say, that

  • increases NCAA popularity as NBA fans check out their prospects,
  • reduces bad NBA contracts for unready or plain overrated prospects,
  • encourages the NBA to sign guys when they’re ready and only then,
  • allows LeBron-type prospects to immediately hit the NBA like they deserve to.

That is a vast improvement on the current system and 1000% more fun than anything Mark Cuban’s come up with.

The more I think about it, the more I find this pretty damned clever.  It neatly gets around the absence of a legitimate minor-league alternative to the college game, lets some kids get paid, gives a nod to cost control for the pros and to some extent allows player development to proceed at its own pace.

Assuming the NCAA could live with it, here’s my question:  why wouldn’t that work for the NFL, too?

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

“Every little thing I do is just trying to create good habits.”

Weiszer’s got a good story on Hutson Mason.  One thing to keep a close eye on this spring is his mechanics, which sound like they still need a bit of polish.

“There are just some things he does with his drop that we’re going to try out this spring,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “It will be interesting how to see how it works. Hutson’s a guy that we’ve got to do a good job keeping on balance sometimes. His feet get a little bit too close together and he kind of gets up on his toes. A little bit looking at Tom Brady more of how he keeps a good base in the pocket is what I was showing him.”

Aaron Murray struggled with his footwork at times, but overall made good progress in that department (especially last season), so it’s not like we’re looking at the end of the world here.  But a lot of Murray’s shortcomings in that department came from inconsistent offensive line play, something that wouldn’t surprise me to be much the same in 2014.  And as Mason himself observes, it’s not like he’s got the luxury of working things out over a four-year career.

“Every little thing you have to do as far as preparation as far as holding guys accountable bringing guys along that need to be brought along, you can’t really sit here and say, ‘I’ll figure this out or get my feet wet,’” Mason said. “You’ve kind of just got to go all in. If that’s my point of view, win, lose or draw, I won’t have any regrets because the regrets will come if I didn’t say I didn’t go all in. At the end of the day, I can’t look back and say I can do this different next year because there is no next year.”

Let’s hope he’s a quick learner.

16 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Johnny makes bank.

No doubt you’re aware that Manziel currently has no affiliation with a football team.  That doesn’t seem to have limited his ability to earn something off his name.

The former Texas A&M quarterback signed an endorsement deal with Nike that spokesman KeJuan Wilkins confirmed to ESPN.com on Thursday night.

Manziel will wear Nike gear and appear in marketing campaigns for the global apparel and shoe manufacturer, Wilkins told the network. No contract details were announced, but ESPN reported that the deal is for multiple years and will be the largest Nike contract for a rookie in the 2014 draft class.

I doubt Nike is planning to restrict promoting him to the College Station market.  So can we take a moment to concede that at least for some players, the NCAA’s amateurism mandate acts as a bar to earning compensation for the use of one’s name or likeness?  And that at least some of that market value is derived from a source other than a school’s name on a jersey?  That hardly seems like rocket science.

The hard part is understanding why that’s fair.

13 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

Has “scheme” become a dirty word at Georgia?

I thought I’d share some quotes from Mark Richt about what’s behind the hiring of his last two defensive coordinators.  Start with a couple of things he said when he hired Todd Grantham.  One:

“There were so many names that crossed my desk and people calling from all around that recommended people and when Todd’s name came up I was very interested in learning more about him. The more I learned about him the more excited I got about him. It just so happens that a lot of coaches that I know in the business know Todd and know of what he’s done in the past and know of his football knowledge. I think a lot of people in the college game who have spent time with Todd and grown as coaches, let’s face it, the NFL is really the cutting edge of football and Coach Grantham is one of the best minds out there. [Emphasis added.] And it also turned out that my brother in law, Brad Johnson, who played quarterback for the Cowboys at the tail end of his career and was there last year and got to know Todd as a coach … and was highly impressed with him and his energy and how he would teach and the respect that players had for him.”

And two:

“I think it is particularly valuable that he has a wealth of experience on the defensive side of the ball at both the NFL and collegiate levels…”

Here’s what Richt has to say about where his head’s at now:

“You could have great scheme and poor tactics, and you’re going to have no success. I’d rather have less scheme and more tactics and more fundamentals because I think we’ll have a better chance of winning. That is what is happening right now,” Richt said.

To answer the question in the header, no, I don’t think Richt is abandoning defensive scheming.  But it’s pretty obvious he’s blowing off all that NFL-based expertise for something more practical, something that Grantham gave plenty of lip service to, but never seemed to instill in his troops.  Will that pay off, or will we be reading about a new approach from Richt in a few years?

18 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics