Daily Archives: April 16, 2014

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…

The NCAA comes up with another subjective safety rule.

I guess they felt officials might have idle time on their hands with the change to the targeting rules.  Good luck on figuring out when a running quarterback behind the line of scrimmage is in a passing situation, fellas.

About these ads

17 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

Time will tell.

I know I’m whaling away on a certain deceased thoroughbred again, but damn if they don’t keep pulling me back in.

I doubt Fox was shy in letting B-M know that his recruiting was tied to his contract situation, so what was the point of McGarity’s Hamlet act, exactly?  Maybe recruiting isn’t that important to him?  Yeah, that must be it.  Oh, wait.

“We need to recruit at a very high level, because you have to continually kind of restock every year,” McGarity said. “That’s a very important point, and we did talk about that as well as other things. But needless to say sometimes that is the elephant in the room. We realize what needs to be done.”

Riiiight.  I have no idea what’s going on there.  I doubt I will if the time ever comes when something needs to be done about the head football coach, either.

11 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Next time you’re in Athens…

Andy Staples speculates on what schools could bring to the training table now that the NCAA isn’t holding anyone back on what they can fill the feeding troughs with.

He’s sure got Athens nailed.

Georgia: While Latin food isn’t the first thing that comes to mind in Athens, the crew at Cali N Tito’s could walk ample quantities of skirt steak and fried plantains to the nearby Butts-Mehre football complex. Also, with service inside the building, Mark Richt wouldn’t have to worry about his players getting tempted by the beer from the gas station next door, or distracted by the sundresses on the premises of Cali N Titos…

Sounds like a man who’s been to the Classic City more than a few times.

I’ll know who to blame if the line at Cali’s is longer the next time I’m there.

47 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

“We don’t need an investigation, thorough or otherwise…”

If you wonder why some people are reluctant to pursue criminal complaints against star athletes, this might help illuminate the problem:

Officer Pate’s blunt interviewing style did not help, the student said. “The first thing he asked me,” she recounted, “was if I was sure this was rape or if I just didn’t want a baby or wanted the morning after pill.” He also made comments, she said, “like, ‘Are you sure you want to file a report? It will be very awkward, especially for a female.’”

In his complaint to the police, the father wrote that Officer Pate had suggested that an investigation “would be futile, as ‘this kind of stuff happens all the time here.’”

Or to put it another way,

A decade before the Winston case, the inspector general found that Florida State had violated its policy when the athletic department failed to inform the campus police of a rape accusation against one of its standout football players. Mr. Ruiz, the former prosecutor who handled the case for the state attorney’s office, recalled that the coach at the time, the revered Bobby Bowden, attempted to convince him that a crime had not occurred. A jury eventually acquitted the player.

“I learned quickly what football meant in the South,” said Mr. Ruiz, who grew up in New York State. “Clearly, it meant a lot. And with respect to this case I learned that keeping players on the field was a priority.”

Just win, baby.  Everyone in a college town knows what that means.

73 Comments

Filed under College Football, Crime and Punishment

Is it something he said?

I have no idea what Tray Matthews is complaining about here…

… but I sure hope it isn’t about this.

“There’s something going on. He’s probably got to take some more ownership too. … He might need to spend a little more time with flexibility stuff in the offseason than maybe another guy might have to.”

Accountability can be a bitch sometimes.

75 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“We didn’t get to this problem overnight.”

I know my focus on the threats facing the NCAA’s amateurism standard is a sore spot with some of you.  I do it because, like it or not, those threats have the potential to change college football as much as, say, conference realignment has.  Both are driven by the same engine of commercialism that is engulfing college athletics.

Don’t take my word for that.  Take it from the former commissioner of the Big 12 Conference.

Beebe agreed.

He said realignment increased students’ desires to get their share of the money generated by football and men’s basketball. He noted programs like women’s volleyball and softball in the Big 12 now fly to games and stay in first-class hotels with the bills paid by the revenue generated from football and men’s basketball.

In a capitalistic world, kids aren’t any less motivated by financial considerations than adults are.  And that’s not simply meant in the purest sense of “I want some of what you’re getting”.  It’s also meant in the sense that it becomes harder and harder to swallow amateurism as a defense to practical demands for changes.

That’s why the NCAA suddenly announced it’s getting the hell out of the food service business.  That may sound like a minor tactical retreat, but this is the NCAA we’re talking about, the same organization that until recently prohibited schools from letting players schmear a little cream cheese on their bagels.  No retreats are minor.

That’s why Mike Slive is bleating.

“We also have to accept the fact that college sports are evolving,” Slive said. “We are in an evolutionary mode.”

Translation:  the players are winning.

The thing Conley needs to realize is that the players got what they wanted and Napier got the attention he did for the same reason – the heat that’s coming down on the NCAA and the schools from the NLRB ruling and the antitrust suits.  The public may not be thrilled with a college players’ union or Johnny Football getting paid, but it’s not so blind to miss some of the obvious indefensible positions being taken in the name of amateurism.  And that’s having an effect.  Tell me where you would have heard talk like this from college administrators ten years ago:

Barnhart pointed to the Olympic model.

He said the organization changed from purely amateur athletes to today’s system where many, but not all, Olympians earn money without turning off fans.

The thing is, we’re in the low-hanging fruit part of the contest.  There are plenty of easy decisions to make about things other than how a school can feed its student-athletes.  That the NCAA membership is struggling even with those isn’t a good sign.  Change is coming and if the suits don’t come up with a satisfactory course of action soon, a quote like this a couple of years from now is going to sound much more dire:

“We’d be in a better place,” Beebe said, “and if it happened a couple years ago it could’ve held off some of these outside pressures.”

23 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Look For The Union Label, The NCAA

Lighter and longer: fighting the HUNH

If you don’t think dealing with the HUNH attack isn’t the biggest thing on the minds of SEC defensive coordinators, think again.

At Georgia, Jeremy Pruitt and Tracy Rocker are concerned about their big men being able to stay on the field and contribute in the face of more pace.

Rocker didn’t call out any single player, but he just emphasized that everybody has to trim down.

“That’s going to happen. I mean, that’s going to be the No. 1 thing, is we’re gonna have to trim them all down and get them under weight,” Rocker said. “Because this league, it’s a lot of no-huddle, and we can’t be 330 pounds out there. We’ll get that done. But it’ll be up to them to do it, too. We’ve got time. But it’s going fast.”

“The way these offenses go now, and they go so fast, you don’t get to sub a lot,” Pruitt said. “If a guy is stuck in there, he’s gotta be able to play. To me, if you’re in shape, then you don’t make mental errors, because fatigue makes a coward out of everybody. So we need to get in shape as a football team. We’re nowhere where we need to be.”

And Ellis Johnson is a man in search of a different body type.

In the SEC, Auburn faces a mix of power teams, spread teams and everything in between. Defensive coaches need versatile players, especially in Auburn’s defense, which can wait to make a call until seeing the offensive formation.

“The game has become more spread out on all levels,” Johnson said. “Quarterbacks throw the ball better than they used to because they’re learning how to throw it at a younger age. High schools are teaching complicated and well-polished passing games and kids are coming to college —receivers and quarterbacks and pass protection — a lot better than they were 15-25 years ago. It’s a different style of football with most teams.

On the other hand, if you’re going to win a championship at Auburn, you’re probably going to have to go through Georgia, LSU and Alabama. They’re all power football teams. It’s difficult, game to game, it changes quite a bit. But even those teams can spread the field. They all throw the ball extremely well and they have great receivers.

“It’s hard to play with the old prototype linebacker that could stop the run and was a liability in coverage. They’ve got to be able to run, these days. We put a huge premium in trying to recruit length. Not just height, but armspan and those type of things, because so much is done in pass coverage and blitzing where arm length and overall length is such a big factor.”

Johnson mentions a concern I’ve discussed before – the risk that a DC goes so far in structuring a defense to stop the spread that he leaves himself vulnerable to offenses that deploy power attacks.  It’s a tough call.  Even in the SEC, there are only so many physical defensive freaks you can find who can play against all kinds of offenses.  What’s interesting to me is that Georgia seems to believe slimming down on the defensive line will payoff even against the power offenses.

… Tracy Rocker, the team’s new defensive line coach, studied tape of that second championship game, the loss to Alabama, and saw a problem.

“They go to the championship, and you turn on that tape, and the first thing everybody saw (was), they couldn’t get off the blocks,” Rocker said. “That answers a lot of questions.”

And that’s why the days of big nose tackles are gone at Georgia, at least as long as Rocker and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt are around.

In order to adapt to a game that has become more up-tempo, the Bulldogs are emphasizing getting lighter at all defensive positions. Pruitt thinks his defense as a whole is “too big” and needs to cut down.

It sure is going to be fun watching the chess matches this season, isn’t it?

16 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Coach, you’ve gotta ask yourself a question: “Do I feel lucky?”

Michael Carvell reports that the SEC won its appeal of the NCAA’s restrictive interpretation of the rule about high school seniors who qualify to enroll early and sign financial aid agreements with more than one program.  He sees this as a game-changer, leading to a return of an era when coaches camped out on the doorsteps of the most sought after recruits.

Me, I’m not so sure it’s as big a deal as he hopes.

Because there’s a big caveat in the very first paragraph of the NCAA’s official announcement:

As a part of its April meeting, Division I Legislative Council members decided that schools may continue to recruit prospects who sign financial aid agreements for mid-year enrollment. But if that prospect does not enroll at the school, the school will be considered in violation of recruiting rules.  [Emphasis added.]

What it looks like the NCAA has done is to shift the risk from the unknown…

The change created an unintended scenario in which prospects (most often mid-year enrollees) signed multiple offers of financial aid and coaches were incentivized to recruit prospects to sign so they could recruit without restrictions. The act of signing the agreements then lifted recruiting restrictions for that prospect with more than one school and created what some termed an unhealthy recruiting environment surrounding mid-year enrollees.

The official interpretation said that only the first school to sign a prospect to a financial aid agreement was allowed the unlimited recruiting access, but many schools indicated a concern about inadvertent violations. Schools often aren’t aware when prospects sign financial aid agreements with multiple schools and in what order.

… to the known.  If you’re a head coach who agrees to let a recruit sign a financial aid agreement, you no longer have to worry about how many other agreements he’s signed.  You now have to worry about making sure he’s part of your next class.  That strikes me as a tough gamble to take, unless you’re awfully sure about the kid and your chances to sign him.

3 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA

“There’s nothing to make us think they won’t be full speed by June.”

Well, this is good news.

Coach Mark Richt said on the G-Day TV broadcast on CSS that he expects Rome, wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell (leg) and tailback Keith Marshall (knee) to be ready well before August practices.

The more weapons for Bobo and Mason to use, the better.

4 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Life begins at forty.

We gots us another bowl game.

The American Athletic and Sun Belt conferences will participate in a new bowl game in Orlando, Fla., in 2015, sources said Tuesday.

The addition of the game — it will be called the Cure Bowl and benefit breast cancer-related charities — will increase the number of bowls in 2015 to a record 40, although that includes the College Football Playoff title game, so only 78 bowl teams will be needed.

They still need a TV deal, so that explains the delay into 2015, but I doubt that remains a hold up for too long.

And to think there were twelve less bowls just a decade ago.  Between teams jumping up to D-1 and playoff expansion, don’t expect that trend to stop any time soon.

14 Comments

Filed under College Football