Daily Archives: July 13, 2014

Third and Pruitt

Tyler Dawgden looks at the transition from Grantham to Pruitt and sees this as nerve calming:

One other thing to be hopeful for about this season: Pruitt won’t likely do much different, alignment wise, than Grantham did with the front seven. Much of the heavy lifting will be done with the DEs and NG filling gaps, with the line performing nearly the same role of preventing easy inside yards, while pushing the pocket back into the QB on pass plays. The big difference will come from philosophy after the snap with the LBs, as Pruitt’s system is both simpler from an execution standpoint and more reliant on the LBs to blow up plays with speed. In that regard, I feel pretty good about our talent.

I don’t disagree, but I think I’d go one step further.  I don’t think we’ll see Herrera and Wilson on the field in coverage together as much as we did last season.  Opposing 2013 quarterbacks put up a 192.77 passer rating against Grantham’s defense on 3rd Down, 7-9 yards to go situations and a 141.45 passer rating on 3rd Down, 10+ yards to go situations. Pruitt’s gotta come up with something to deal with that.  And I doubt that’s leaving those two out there handling receivers.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

I was gonna ask a good question at Hoover, but then I got high.

While I’m sure there will be a myriad of subjects discussed at this week’s SEC Media Days – I learned five years ago there’s no shark in Hoover that can’t be jumped – here’s one subject I’m skeptical we’ll hear much about:

We knew this was coming: you do not lose Johnny Manziel, AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger, Connor Shaw and James Franklin without some sort of dropoff. But it does create an interesting debate this week: just who is the best QB in the SEC?

Wallace and Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott have their supporters. Auburn’s Nick Marshall will likely be first-team All-SEC, based on where his team ended last season and the location of SEC Media Days. Alabama’s Jacob Coker has never participated in a practice at the school, but is the presumed starter. But the answer may be either Missouri’s Maty Mauk or Georgia’s Hutson Mason. Both started games because of injury last season and impressed. It’s their job now, and each one has the skill (and the schedule) to go on a run through the SEC.

I just don’t see much traction for Mason in a preseason conversation like that. Anyway, it’s likely that Marshall’s sucked all the oxygen out of the room this week.  Then again, Clay Travis could always ask Gus Malzahn if Nick Marshall’s the best quarterback in the conference when he’s high.  Maybe I should hold off on my doubts.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football

The NCAA, sensitive to student welfare issues

John Infante notes that Brad Wolverton’s reporting that the folks running college athletics are pondering the possibility of lobbying Congress for an antitrust exemption.  Now while John explores the likelihood that none of these people have glommed on to the reality that Congress is going to expect some legitimate horse trading on the NCAA’s part to reach its goal, I suspect that even if Emmert’s bunch does realize that, it’s not the approach they’ll take, at least at the start.  Nah, look for more of the same loaded language and appeals to emotion that have been such a convincing part of the O’Bannon defense.

Don’t believe me?  Welp,

One way for the NCAA to protect itself, Mr. Schulz said, is to lobby for new federal regulations that would help define a student-athlete and give colleges more latitude in limiting spending. The NCAA and the Big 12 Conference, of which Kansas State is a member, have recently hired lobbying firms to work on issues related to student welfare.

“Legislation might be the only way we don’t bleed ourselves to death over the next 20 years,” said Mr. Schulz, a member of the Division I board and of the committee shaping the NCAA governance changes. “This is not ‘win one and it goes away.’”

Antitrust exemption is an issue related to student welfare?  Only the NCAA might believe that would work.

Mr. Schulz, by the way, is the current president of Kansas State.  He recently demonstrated his unswerving commitment to student welfare in the Leticia Romero transfer debacle.

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Filed under The NCAA

Capturing the Zeitgeist

If you haven’t read Seth Emerson’s piece on Mark Richt’s Paul Oliver Network, take a minute to do so now.  It’s a terrific take on how Georgia’s head coach is wired and how he’s lucky enough to be in a position to do something about a matter that concerns him.

But that’s not why you should read it.  This is:

Richt sat in a private room at his office this summer. His voice lowered.

“Paul, somewhere along the way, lost hope,” he said.

Oliver never called Richt looking for help. Richt doesn’t want to presume that the inability to find work was the reason for his depression. But Richt sensed that any man with a wife and kids would feel pressure to provide.

“It’s one of the things that I believe God has ordained us to do, is to provide and protect for our families,” Richt said. “When you’re not able to do that, your ego takes a beating, or however you want to say it.”

The coach took a deep breath.

“I don’t want any one of our guys to feel like, ‘I don’t know where to go, I don’t know where to turn,’ ” he said.

There will be cynics who argue that this will help Richt with recruiting, that it can help his good-guy image and encourage players to go to Georgia.

Richt himself brought up that side of it.

“I can promise you it doesn’t have anything to do with recruiting,” he said. “I’m sure it could help recruiting. But I can assure you I’m doing this because I really care about these guys.”

After fourteen years in Athens, it’s amazing that he still thinks there’s a need to reassure some part of the fan base about his motives.  And that’s not meant as a reflection on him.  But it’s obvious that he does.

This season will be Richt’s 14th as Georgia’s head coach. He’s only 54, and yet there is always speculation that he could walk away to pursue non-football measures.

But the Paul Oliver Network is just that, and Richt feels he can do more good by staying as the head coach at Georgia. It empowers him, because this is a major way he can make a difference on the job.

“It fires me up,” Richt said. “I’ve always had a greater purpose in coaching than trying to get a raise or trying to win a championship or coach a Heisman Trophy winner. I mean I’ve been blessed to win championships, coach Heisman winners, All-Americans, national championships, ACC championships. I know we didn’t do that at Georgia as a national champion. But you know, I experienced all that. And if that’s all there is at the end it’s empty, unless you help these guys.

“And that’s what people misunderstand sometimes. I’m highly motivated to win the national championship. But just because I care about them beyond football they think, ‘Oh he’s more worried about that than he is winning.’ No that’s not true at all. Not true at all. I want to win, and we’re gonna do the best we can to try to win. But I feel like we truly are educators, and we truly have a responsibility to help these guys.”

And, sadly, he’s right about that.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Life After Football