Daily Archives: June 18, 2014

Looking for some good news?

From Chip Towers today:

Word coming out of Georgia’s football complex is that the Bulldogs’ “229 Boys” – Malcolm Mitchell, Jay Rome and Justin Scott-Wesley – have progressed nicely in their rehabilitations from leg injuries and are now working out full speed with the rest of the team in summer conditioning and practices. This is good news and, if it holds true through preseason camp, is a big deal for the Bulldogs’ offensive fortunes in 2014.

Especially good to hear that about Scott-Wesley, who at one point sounded like he was a bit behind the curve on recovery.  Hutson Mason ought to be a happy camper.

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5 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

So much for that “it’s what’s on the front of the jersey that counts”

EA Sports executive Joel Linzer is on the stand for the plaintiffs in O’Bannon today.  Here’s one thing he just said:

Please, amateurism supporters, explain to me how he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

8 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

All by himself

Pat Forde makes a good point here – how’s a guy who’s had his recent major public appearances shielded by mixing him with others going to do on the witness stand tomorrow all by his lonesome?

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Filed under The NCAA

A whole ‘nother box of crayons

Mike Bobo, on the evolution of Georgia’s offense:

“I think the biggest thing is keep adapting to what you’re trying to do offensively, and get the guys that can make plays the ball. The big misconception to us if (that) we’re gonna be two-back and run it all the time. We were 75-percent one-back last year,” Bobo said. “And everybody thinks, Well you’re gonna play Georgia you’re gonna be play-action pass. We used to. Well that’s when we had a little different personnel. So you’re going to adapt to your personnel and how they play. You’ll probably see a little more spread this year too because that’s what Hutson is comfortable with. And that’s what Aaron was comfortable with.”

In fact the No. 1 personnel group for Georgia’s offense last year was the three-receiver set. That doesn’t mean Georgia went away from the power-I or any two-back set. Bobo said he was “still a firm believer that you’ve gotta let them know you’re at the ballpark and be physical running the ball.”

Let me say two things surprise me there.  First, the whole “keep adapting” thing is something I strongly doubt we’d have heard emerge from Bobo’s mouth five years ago.  So it’s great to see the way his approach to the game has changed.  Second, his comment that Aaron Murray was more comfortable playing in the spread caught me.  But reflecting back, I can see where Bobo’s coming from with that.  The 2011 opener against Boise State was when Georgia started playing with no-huddle a significant amount of the time, and if you think about the personnel Bobo had to deploy that season, it makes sense.

So what are we going to get with the change at quarterback?

“You know, sometimes simpler is better for those guys,” Bobo said. “Because you want them to have success. You never want to put them in a situation where they might fail and you might lose them their whole career.”

Dang!  Next thing you know, Bobo will be telling us that he’s always been a big believer in Mike Leach’s definition of balance.

15 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Moving up from momma’s basement

It’s nice to see that Stewart Mandel’s attitude about bloggers has evolved from this

But I’m afraid you give me far too much credit in terms of my clout in the realm of cyberspace. Have you read some of the bloggers out there? Here’s a little sampling from the first few pages of a Google search involving my name: “SI’s Stewart Mandel: I get paid to write 2+2=4″ (jonathantu.wordpress.com), “Stewart Mandel is an idiot and I hope UGA bites him in the rear end” (Dawgsports.com) and “Stewart Mandel needs a long vacation” (thenittanyline.blogspot.com). I’m guessing you’d have a better chance getting these guys to actually shave and shower on consecutive days than participate in any idea that originated from me.

… to leading off with a quote from MGoBlog’s Brian Cook in today’s piece.

Either that, or he’s confirmed that Cook showers and shaves every day.

6 Comments

Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, The Blogosphere

Today’s dog bites man story

Junior offers 13-year old quarterback who, four years later, is having second thoughts about his commitment.  Who’da thunk it?

7 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

“The litigation, that will take care of itself.”

So the media purports to be surprised at how the tactics of the NCAA’s lawyers in O’Bannon backfired yesterday.  Here’s how ESPN’s legal eagle put it:

The NCAA’s plan for Tuesday in the Ed O’Bannon trial was to give Judge Claudia Wilken a detailed look at an ideal combination of athletics and academics at the University of Texas. The plan also included finishing an aggressive attack on the players’ expert witness, who said college football and men’s basketball were no longer amateur sports and had become professional.

It was a perfectly good plan. Had it worked, it could have provided powerful support for the NCAA’s claims that a ban on player pay helps integrate athletes into the academic community and that it maintains the organization’s ideal of amateurism.

But as Christine Plonsky, the women’s director of athletics at Texas, described in the loftiest of terms how Texas connects its “student-athletes” to the values of higher education, she opened the door to a cross examination on her work on NCAA committees that considered the idea of allowing payments to players as a realistic possibility.

Paying players is not something the NCAA wants to recognize at any level of possibility, much less get the word out that it actually had been considered by top NCAA leaders in a task force that existed for four years. The organization has been trying to say that paying players is unthinkable; after Tuesday, the judge now knows NCAA leaders had actually been thinking about that very thing.

Oops!

The thing is, that’s what comes of making the argument that you can be a little bit pregnant.  You’ve got a significant part of the NCAA membership pushing for a player stipend – just a little taste, you know – at the same time the NCAA is trying to argue with a straight face that college players shouldn’t receive any compensation at all for their participation in sports beyond a scholarship.  And that disconnect is at the heart of what makes O’Bannon a losing proposition for the schools and the NCAA.

If it wasn’t Christine Plonsky whom the plaintiffs’ lawyers used as a foil, it would be somebody else.  Like Jim Delany or Mike Slive, for example.

“The litigation, that will take care of itself,” Slive said. “But in the area that we have the ability to act, we are acting. And we are acting on the basis that the student-athlete comes first. Maybe that hasn’t been the philosophy over the last 20 or 30 years, but it is our philosophy today.”

Except it’s clear they don’t know where to draw the line – just that a line needs to be drawn somewhere.  Because.

If the athletes deserve more benefits, at what point does anyone consider them professionalized?

“I don’t know how you viewed yourself, but when I was in college, I knew how I viewed myself,” Delany said. “I played basketball since I was eight years old. I viewed myself as an athlete. There’s nothing wrong with a person seeing himself as an athlete …

“That’s not inconsistent with being a full-time student and getting a degree …

“If you’re a dramatic arts major, do you view yourself as an actress or do you view yourself as a student? If I’m a painter, are you a painter or a student?”

That’s really the question of the times: Whether the tradeoff is even possible anymore at the highest levels — integrating that free athletic scholarship into a legitimate educational experience.

Delany asked the same question a different way: “When did it change?”

Probably for good about the same time you saw real value in becoming the director of programming for an athletic conference, Jimbo.

The easy answer to his initial question is money, which has increased exponentially in the last couple of decades, mostly as a result of football TV contracts. One example: the 10 commissioners of the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision met Tuesday afternoon to discuss the College Football Playoff. For the right to televise the postseason tournament, ESPN will pay $7.2 billion over 12 years – and the vast majority of that will be divided among the Power Five conferences. That cash has fueled, among other things, an explosion in coaches’ and administrators’ salaries. Meanwhile, the players continue to receive scholarships.

This is why the NCAA’s lawyers looked dumb yesterday.  It’s not their fault.  It’s the hand they’ve been dealt by idiots who should have known better.

19 Comments

Filed under The NCAA