Daily Archives: March 20, 2014

“The level of paranoia inside the Vince Dooley Athletic Complex on South Campus — extremely high.”

Let me say that I don’t get this at all.

An absolutely beautiful day greeted the Georgia Bulldogs as they gathered on Woodruff Practice Fields on Thursday for their second of 15 spring practices.  But don’t ask me what they’re doing or what they looked like. I wouldn’t know.

Interestingly, UGA is providing fewer than 10 minutes of practice observation time for media that covers the team. Practices generally run about 90 to 120 minutes. Same for this past Tuesday. It was initially supposed to be a full 10 minutes but Georgia’s sports communication personnel began directing reporters and their camera phones off the practice field with four minutes left in the last designated period.

Seth Emerson says much the same thing.

It’s weird, not because I’m asking for Florida/South Carolina levels of access (although that would certainly be nice), but because I can’t imagine they’re doing any more this early in the spring than spending the bulk of their time on fundamentals.  What’s the big deal that needs hiding?

And before you engage in media bashing here, consider Seth’s point:  “In the long run, it’s the public that misses out here if the media isn’t able to do its job. Hopefully the situation will improve, but if not less media access ultimately means less stories.”

I’m just your random unofficial blogger.  I depend on what the beat guys are able to draw out to post about the program in a meaningful way.  So if they can’t get as much access, I can’t write as much.  And that’s the other part of this that makes no sense.  You’ve got a new defensive staff that’s got most of us excited. Promotion would seem to be the order of the day.  Why give us less than ever?

You think that’s no big deal?  See if this whets your appetite for more.

That gets my juices flowing.  But that’s all there is.

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39 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Warp speed, my ass

I suspect this is really the sound Gus Malzahn makes when he’s doubling down on tweaking Nick Saban:

“We think we can be quite a bit faster,” he said in his pre-spring press conference. “There were times last year [when] we had a lot of new people out there, a lot of moving parts, and as you get more comfortable, the faster you can get.”

If Gus is saying his team will come out of the gate this season more polished than it started 2013, no argument here.  The Tigers were a different offense in the SECCG than they were against Washington State. But to pretend there’s some magical higher gear he can move things to from where Auburn finished last season… I ain’t buying it.

Auburn can be better on offense, even with the loss of Tre Mason, if Marshall’s passing skills further develop.  But faster?  Eh.

9 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

Amateurism is damned good for business.

It turns out that even if you’re inept at what you do, you can still make pretty good money if you don’t have to pay the labor.

The NCAA recorded a nearly $61 million surplus for its 2013 fiscal year, according to an audited financial statement the association released Thursday.

While the surplus is smaller than those the association had in each of its two previous years, this is third consecutive year in which the annual surplus has exceeded $60 million. This increased the NCAA’s year-end net assets to more than $627 million, just less than double where they stood at the end of its 2007 fiscal year.

Among the NCAA’s more than $589 million in unrestricted assets is an endowment fund that had grown to more than $326 million as of the end of its 2013 fiscal year, Aug. 31. The fund grew by more than $44 million in 2013, its greatest one-year increase since it was established in 2004.

Mark Emmert probably needs a raise.

34 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

“The only problem with this plan was that Georgia was terrible at it.”

Yesterday, I gave you a tasty, refreshing beverage to consume.  Today, you get something a little harder to swallow and go down.

SBNation’s Ian Boyd asks a simple question about Georgia’s change at defensive coordinator:

Contrasting Georgia’s and FSU’s seasons gives the impression that Richt has stumbled upon a substantial upgrade. Is that actually the case?

The answer isn’t nearly as straightforward as you might expect.

The puzzle for me is that whatever shortcomings you want to lay at Grantham’s feet, nobody’s ever accused him of not knowing his Xs and Os.  He’s a sharp guy who came highly recommended when Richt hired him, and even if Petrino had to overpay to entice him to Louisville, the fact is that despite underwhelming defenses in Athens, he’s still in demand.  So how to explain why the 2013 Georgia defense often looked like it couldn’t get out of its own way?  Was it scheme?

Man coverage was key for the Dawgs all season. It allowed them to stay simple on defense, with straightforward tasks for their defensive backfield behind myriad different fronts. This put a lot on the linebackers to cover ground playing the edge against the run or helping in the flats against screens. It also put a lot on the line and inside linebackers to hold with only five in the box…

Because of their overall athleticism and size up front, this was actually a viable strategy for the Dawgs and allowed them to pursue a strategy with keep-’em-in-front principles on defense. They would rely on the line and outside linebackers inflicting negative plays on an offense to kill drives.

If not scheme, then, where did the fault lie?

The Bulldogs ranked only 36th in passing S&P+ and 44th on passing downs despite having multiple strong pass-rushers, safeties deep, and simple man coverages. They were rarely beat by better athletes but by their own terrible techniques and blown assignments.

Either Grantham’s charges were inattentive and sloppy, or he was a poor teacher and motivator, because this unit put some terrible football on tape. The overall rankings of Grantham’s defenses over the last four years point to a pattern of underachievement…

I think Grantham was a better motivator than the man he replaced, but I recognize that’s damning the man with faint praise.  So was the teacher not up to par, or was it his students who let him down?  Obviously, we’d better hope it was the former.  But if it’s more a case of the latter, then Jeremy Pruitt’s got his work cut out for him.

But can Pruitt develop players that have been coached by Grantham into savvy, intelligent players, like the ones he coached at Florida State? Can Pruitt develop a defensive program to churn out the kind of results that Saban and Fisher saw in their respective systems?

The Georgia front is loaded with big, athletic playmakers who should feel at home in Pruitt’s hybrid fronts, which aren’t terribly different from what Grantham utilized. The challenge will be in playing the kind of aggressive coverages the ‘Noles used to destroy passing attacks without FSU’s defensive backs. Is Georgia’s secondary a few helpful offseason lessons away from erasing SEC teams with press coverage? Or will the roster take time to develop to that level?

There’s the $64,000 question for you.

59 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Gettin’ all hope-y, change-y about SEC scheduling

Shorter Joe Alleva:  SEC presidents need to grow a pair and protect the ability of their football programs to schedule as weakly as they can get away with.

6 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Where’s the moral outrage now?

Here’s a helluva lede:

The dispute between two Florida State teammates that allegedly led to a December shooting and an attempted murder charge for a third-party man has now also reportedly resulted in the arrest of one of the Seminoles involved.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported that redshirt freshman offensive lineman Ira Denson was arrested Tuesday and charged with illegal use of a credit card and petty theft.

Herbstreit’s Twitter feed?  Crickets.  Herbie’s too busy with March Madness, I guess.

Fisher’s dismissed Denson from the team.  But that’s hardly relevant if you want to vent about coaches and programs creating lax atmospheres in which players don’t seem all that concerned about the consequences of their bad actions.  Of course, it’s possible Herbstreit views FSU as a place where there’s little history of poor behavior… yeah, that’s it.  That’s the ticket.

All of which is why I think Jerry Hinnen gets what we’re morally outraged about with regard to this bullshit.

33 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles