Daily Archives: March 17, 2014

Pruitt on defending HUNH

This isn’t exactly what I would have expected to hear from Todd Grantham, I admit.

“How do they go fast?” Pruitt asked of up-tempo offenses. “That’s the first thing you’ve got to look at. How do these offenses go fast? Obviously it’s got to be the verbiage. Their calls have got to be very simple — not simple in scheme, but simple in getting the call.

“I think from that perspective, you’ve got to go that way on defense. You’ve got to make your calls where they’re one-word calls. To me, that’s the first thing you’ve got to do as a defense.”

Are we about to witness the demise of the sideline towel?  It sounds like we’re headed towards something different, anyway.

“As far as the speed of the game and all that, in my opinion, I just think you’ve got to change the way you coach a little bit,” Pruitt said. “If [offensive coaches] can coach and get the plays in and get them called, I think as a defensive coach, you’ve got to adapt and be able to do that yourself.

“And coach Saban would probably kill me for saying that, but that’s just my opinion.”

I’m not sure I’d call eliminating confused defensive players “adapting”.  More like “being coached properly”.

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21 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

“This is yet another danger to the current model of current athletics.”

Shit’s gettin’ real, NCAA.

Four athletes filed an antitrust complaint today on the eve of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament seeking to bar the association and five “power conferences” from enforcing rules that ban colleges from competing financially for players and limit payments to tuition and related fees.

The antitrust suit, if successful, may lead to bidding wars for top high-school talent. It joins a separate case, scheduled for trial in June, in which athletes seek to overturn an NCAA rule barring college players from profiting from their names, images and likenesses.

Plaintiff’s counsel ain’t exactly some jackleg, either.

Kessler has an extensive history working with professional player unions such as the NFL and NBA Players’ Associations, and helped represent the NFLPA in the landmark 1992 antitrust case in which NFL players won free agency.

Sooner or later, enough of these suits drop and the NCAA loses one.  That’s why I’m guessing somebody’s hard at work on lobbying Congress to give college athletics an antitrust exemption.  It’s easier than compromising, right?

Not that anyone at the NCAA is ready to explain anything.  As usual,

NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn declined to immediately comment on the lawsuit.

At least Stacey, unlike the players, is getting paid.

26 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

A foreshadowing of things to come?

Virginia shocked the world – and me, too – by pulling off something it never managed before, even in the Ralph Sampson years, winning both the ACC regular season and tournament.  It then managed the topper last night of garnering a number one seed in the NCAA tourney.

As thrilled as I am about that, there’s just one little nagging detail that makes me wonder… about the football selection committee.

Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman, the chairman of the selection committee, said Virginia’s two championships trumped an RPI rating of 11 to earn a 1 seed over Michigan and Villanova.

So, an ACC athletic director explains that winning his conference was a bigger factor in determining seeding than play against overall strength of schedule.

Now, this wasn’t about anything more than ordering a top seed, so maybe that’s why there isn’t much of an outcry over it.  But how do you think that rationale, delivered by such a person, would go over were it used to justify four vs. five in a college football playoff?  I’m thinking not well.

32 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

“I’ve got a feeling it’s going to get out of hand in the future.”

Michael Carvell has a couple of good posts up about the NCAA rule that allows high school seniors who are approved for early enrollment to sign financial aid agreements with colleges beginning on August 1 of their senior year.

The first is an interview with Mark Richt and Paul Johnson on how big a deal it is.  Both sort of have a wait-and-see feeling about it, although Richt seems more critical, which is somewhat ironic, since he took advantage of the rule last year with Josh Malone.

“I think it kind of caught everybody by surprise,” Richt told the AJC. “Some people took advantage of it, and some people didn’t. I don’t know how to say it, but I think with a whole year of planning, it may be used a little bit different in the future – more often and more aggressively.

“Will that in turn cause restriction? My guess is that this will be a short-lived thing. We may go through with one more year of it, or we may think it through between now and then, and say ‘I’m not sure this is the wisest thing to do.’ Or it may become such a common practice that it’s not problematic. But my guess is that there will be some issues come up that might make everybody rethink it.”

Which brings us to Carvell’s second pieceAs you may know, the NCAA spun out an interpretation of the rule that restricted its application, by requiring that if a high school senior signed more than one such financial aid agreement, only the first college he signed with would have the benefits of unlimited contact and publicity.  What you may not know is that the SEC isn’t happy about the interpretation and has filed an appeal.

However, a top NCAA official told the AJC that the new interpretation has been appealed by the SEC since then. The NCAA’s Div. I Legislative Council will review the matter in an April 15 session.

“The official interpretation has created a little bit of a concern among some in the membership that aren’t comfortable with — that it might result in inadvertent violations,” said Steve Mallonee, the NCAA’s Managing Director of Academic and Membership Affairs.

Now before you think that the SEC is growing a conscience and doing something right by recruits, think again.  This is all about one conference school not getting screwed over by another.

“If an institution is going to sign a kid, they would need to make sure he hasn’t signed with anybody else if they are going to engage in unlimited access. The issue becomes if the kid already signed with school A, and school B, C and D also signs him.

“B, C and D don’t get the unlimited access. And if they engage in that, they would be engaging in NCAA violations. It becomes the responsibility of each institution to make that determination, and there’s some who don’t feel like that’s the appropriate stance.

“That’s the concern because A, B, C, and D don’t have to share that (information with each other). So B may not let D know. You’re basically taking the word of the kid. That’s part of the issue.”

Unlike the NLI program, which is supervised by the NCAA, the financial aid agreements are shared only between the recruit and the respective college. For example, Tennessee will not disclose to UGA, Clemson and Florida State if next year’s Josh Malone (a) signs a financial aid agreement with Tennessee or (b) the date of signed agreement.

And ultimately, as I posted before, about coaches’ control.

Whatever they wind up with after addressing the appeal, as is usually the case in such matters, they will attempt to spin it as something positive for recruits.  And, as is usually the case in such matters, they will be lying about that.

1 Comment

Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA

Tempering the expectations

In his most recent Mailbag, Bruce Feldman answers a couple of questions about how much of a difference Jeremy Pruitt and Hutson Mason will make for Georgia this season.  There’s a lot of stuff in his response that will make the average Dawg fan happy, including his belief that Georgia enters this season as the favorite in the SEC East, but Feldman hedges his bet in a couple of significant ways.

First, while the defense should be improved, it’s hard to say how much.

Having Jenkins and eight other starters back, bodes well for Pruitt. The defense should be improved.. How much remains to be seen. Pruitt inherited a loaded D with a bunch of studs in the secondary at FSU. I don’t know if he has as many playmakers back there in Athens but this should still be one of the better defenses in the SEC.

It’s a good point.  Just go back and look at Emerson’s pre-spring depth chart and try to answer that question.

Second, if last year’s SEC was the year of the quarterback, this year is going to be which school best survives it not being the year of the quarterback.  And Georgia’s certainly part of that discussion.

As outstanding as the skill guys are in Athens — RBs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are superb and wideouts Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Conley, Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley are playmakers, I still expect Georgia to miss Aaron Murray’s presence in 2014.

Mason, a fifth-year senior, got some experience late in the season after Murray was injured. UGA was 1-1 against Ga. Tech and Nebraska in his two starts. Will he be able to deliver some clutch plays when this offense needs it on third downs? We’ll see…

The silver lining, as Feldman goes on to acknowledge, is that Georgia is far from the only school in the conference that has to address that issue.

23 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Mistakes were made. Go Gata!

Here’s something you don’t see every day, at least outside Gainesville, Florida:

To Mr. Debose: I apologize that my error put your name and reputation in jeopardy, no matter how briefly.  I take full responsibility for this error, and hope that the stories printed and published will correct your name and reputation.  Furthermore, I am extremely proud that you intervened in this incident and likely prevented anyone from being injured or killed.

-Officer Ben Tobias, PIO
Gainesville Police Spokesperson

No mention of Huntley Johnson, but it’s hard to believe he wasn’t on the case.

And if Jimmy Williamson had a grave, he’d be rolling over in it about now.

(h/t DawgPhan)

7 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Gators, Gators...

I’ll take losing streaks that will continue for $200, Alex.

Heather Dinich draws the short straw on having to answer one of those delightful invented topics that ESPN makes its college football conference bloggers deal with on a seemingly endless basis.

We started a series this week looking at some of the ACC’s most meaningful rivalries, and predicting whether the most recent trends are going to change in 2014. Can the underdogs stop the losing streaks?

It’s Georgia Tech’s turn to answer:

Um, that would be a “no”.

2 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football

It’s just business, Brent.

Man, this is cold:  ESPN informed Brent Musburger that he would not call next season’s national championship game in the press box before the BCS title game in January.  Because, I guess, some decisions just can’t wait.  (At least the suits didn’t give him the good news Christmas Eve.)

I hope they had the decency not to mention teaming him with Jesse Palmer until later.

6 Comments

Filed under ESPN Is The Devil

A big little thing for Jeremy Pruitt

It’s sort of tucked away in Seth Emerson’s assessment of what the pre-spring defensive depth chart looks like, but it’s kind of a big deal if Georgia’s going to take steps to improve a so-so performance in opponents’ third down conversion rate:

WILL LINEBACKER (MLB)
Starter:
Ramik Wilson, Sr.
Top backup(s): Reggie Carter, Soph.
Don’t forget: Ryne Rankin, Soph., Johnny O’Neal, Soph.
Not here yet: Wilson was a consensus first-team all-SEC pick, blossoming after two seasons of mostly coming off the bench. He could still get a push from Carter, but it’s more likely that Wilson will retain his spot but come off the field in certain situations. So could Herrera. Bostick moved down from safety during last season, when he was redshirting because of a summer injury. His background would indicate that he brings an element of speed that the inside linebacker spot has been missing since Alec Ogletree bolted for the pros…

Not to take anything away from Wilson’s and Herrera’s performances last year, as both were warriors who played the run well, but if there was anything close to a gimme for other team’s offenses it was running patterns that isolated a receiver on whichever Dawg ILB was left in coverage.  Pruitt has to find somebody who’s quick enough to stay with a receiver on a crossing pattern and – unlike the case under Grantham – is solid enough to deploy on third down in substitution for one of the starters.

With good reason, reshuffling the deck in the secondary is going to get most of our attention in the spring and in August, but this is something else that bears watching.

9 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football