Take your drop.

You guys know me – I’m always interested in stories of how Georgia kickers go about self-correcting flaws in their games.  Today, it’s Collin Barber’s turn.

Barber is just trying to win back his starting job entering his junior season.

That begins, he said, not with his leg, but with his drop.

“I don’t care how strong your leg is, if you have a bad drop the ball is not going to go how you want it to,” Barber said.

… Barber, from Cartersville, worked on drills this offseason with his personal kicking coach, Marc Nolan of Roswell, to make sure the ball was where it needed to be on the drop.

“Right over my right foot and nose a little bit down instead of just kind of tossing it up and swinging at it,” Barber said.

Barber said he’s taking a “jab step,” now before he catches the ball to punt it.

“It’s shortening my steps and my get-off time,” Barber said.

Okay, again it’s with the outside kicking help.  But what’s interesting about Barber’s story is that Richt seems to be on top of what he’s been doing.

“The operation time is a big deal,” Richt said. “The snap to the catch to the kick. There’s a certain time that you’re looking for and if you’re too slow in your operation time, it doesn’t matter how good you block, you’re probably going to be vulnerable to having your punts blocked. I would say Collin and Adam have done a tremendous job of getting their times down to where they’re very quick, almost two step punting instead of three step punting.”

Now if they can just get the punt coverage team to focus on protection.

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Open practice means lots of tea leaf reading.

Georgia had an open practice yesterday – really open, in that students were invited/coaxed in with free pizza – which means we’ve got some pretty detailed observations from the beat writers:

Some observations about the observations:

  • About the secondary, I think Weiszer sums it up best.  “The big takeaways from the field were the number of newcomers running with the starting unit on defense: cornerback and junior college transfer Shattle Fenteng, walk-on safety Aaron Davis and Dominick Sanders, who was working at the star nickel back position.”  Nothing is settled yet, but Pruitt sure isn’t having any problems letting everyone have a shot.
  • Richt on the secondary:  “They’ve got a good talent base; their issue is experience,” head coach Mark Richt said of the young players. “But there’s some guys that are coached real hard right now because they’ve gotta get ready, and the clock’s ticking.”  So when does the clock stop ticking?
  • Richt on the offensive line:  “I’d say we’re probably a little less settled right this minute than we have been maybe in years past,” Richt said. “There’s still some guys that might be able to change a coach’s mind.”  In a good way, or a bad way?
  • I’m not liking that Wilson and Floyd are banged up/recovering.
  • Still no separation behind Mason.
  • Estes noted that Georgia hasn’t started scout team work yet for Clemson.  Is that an indication of how much trouble the coaches are having settling on a starting 22?
  • It sounds like Quayvon Hicks is going to have a busier year than we anticipated.

Ten days ’til the opener.  Anyone getting nervous?

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Wednesday morning buffet

Jump right in, peeps.

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Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, Recruiting, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

“A healthy Georgia is a dangerous Georgia.”

So sayeth Paul Myerberg in his preseason preview of the Dawgs.  But not that dangerous – after all, he ranks them fourteenth.

I think a best-case scenario would find Georgia atop the East Division and in the midst of the playoff conversation, though this isn’t really a team worthy of being viewed as more than a dark-horse championship contender. Take the offensive line, for example, which could be a weekly nuisance. Or the defensive line, which has depth but not a tremendous amount of next-level athleticism, if that makes sense. Consider the secondary, which clearly lacks the sort of experience and consistency Pruitt demands from this vital grouping. These are the weaknesses that leave Georgia outside the nation’s top eight, to cite one number; these are also weaknesses that could very well be addressed before midseason, though I doubt Georgia gets its ducks in a row in time for Clemson and South Carolina.

That’s not unfair.  Push comes to shove, I’d rank South Carolina ahead of Georgia right now, too.  Simply put, the ‘Cocks have fewer holes than does Georgia.  But I think Georgia has a higher ceiling.  The question for 2014 is how quickly the coaches can get the team climbing higher.

I have a minor quibble with Myerberg’s well researched piece.  I wonder if it will be Leonard Floyd who will be coming off the field in obvious passing situations; my bet is on Herrera, as Pruitt tries to maximize pass rush pressure from the linebackers.  Other than that, you may disagree with his overall assessment, but you can’t say he doesn’t have valid reasons for it.

 

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“laughable”

Yes, it is, Bobby.

“I have the utmost respect for Todd. I think he’s an expert at everything he does on defense. It’s great having him here because of his intensity, his knowledge, and with me being able to work on offense and him run the entire defense.

“We have a great relationship. We have the utmost respect for each other. We’re having a really good time in camp and I see our players getting better and smarter on defense every day.”

Remember, those kids were coached by Strong and Bedford last season.

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It never hurts to ask.

Now, this, my friends, is chutzpah with a capital “C”.

Rihanna, Katy Perry, or Coldplay might be doing the Super Bowl halftime show this year—that is, if they’re willing to pay up. According to The Wall Street Journal, the NFL has narrowed down its list of potential performers for the 2015 gig to those three candidates, though it’s also asking “at least some of the acts” if they’d be willing to pay the league for the privilege of playing the halftime show—something that’s absolutely insane, but not 100 percent unreasonable, considering how many people actually watch the performance. Alternately (and this is where it gets wacky), they should “be willing to contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income to the league.”  [Emphasis added.]

As Eric Loomis wonders, it’s not that far from there to asking for a cut of their players’ promotional deals.

It strikes me that Steve Patterson is missing the boat on this one.  The NFL should inspire him.  Instead of drawing a firm line in the sand against student-athlete compensation, he ought to insist on paying college players a little something now in return for a piece of their future earnings.  See how much Johnny Football winds up liking them apples!

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Steve Patterson feels trapped in a world he never made.

The amazing thing to me isn’t that Steve Patterson keeps saying stupid stuff like this (h/t)

But what about athletes like Vince Young and Johnny Manziel, who create huge benefits and revenues for their universities, from fund-raising to ticket sales to sponsorships and licensing? Shouldn’t they at least be allowed to monetize their famous names? “No,” he says categorically. “I am not saying they did not benefit the university. But you have to understand that both parties benefit. The university is largely creating the value. The athletes are trading on the value the universities have created. No corporations are going to be lining up to pay them money out of high school. They also get a huge benefit on the college stage by having such assets as strength coaches, nutritionists, psychological support, tutors, mentors, media training. All of that costs money. It is too easy for those in the sports press to say, ‘You are manipulating and using these kids. You are giving them nothing.’ We are not giving them nothing.”

There are also practical problems with paying athletes, Patterson says. He suggests that if schools pay Young or Manziel, they are going to be sued by athletes on the soccer or basketball or rowing teams, looking for equal pay. “That would almost certainly happen,” he says. “And if you have a situation where the students are employees, you will have to either hugely increase revenues or cut costs and eliminate teams.”

It’s that he thinks saying it helps his cause.

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