Ladies and gentlemen, a rare sighting – the final score on the BDS scoreboard after a(nother) Tech loss to Georgia:
I looked up maybe a minute after it was over, and they’d already pulled that sucker.
A few tidbits for you to digest…
Every once in a while, it really hits me why I enjoy this blog so much. Certainly it’s nice to have a public outlet to express myself and it’s gratifying when I get a public response to my opinions. It’s no secret that I enjoy the give-and-take of a good debate as much as anybody and I’ve had plenty of those with you guys in the comments.
But the best part of the GTP experience for me, hands down, comes every time I’m reminded what’s at the core of why you and I have a special feeling about college football, which, after all, is just a game. And that core isn’t statistics or playoff formats or whether this coach or that one is the right man for the job… and it sure as hell isn’t money.
It’s community. It’s being part of a group of people who bind together, both face to face on a few special Saturdays every fall and by sharing something of themselves in a virtual sense the rest of the year, over a common passion. You know the pain and pleasure, the highs and lows that everyone feels, even if those sometimes are expressed very differently.
I’ve been lucky in both ways. I’ve celebrated the fall with a close group of friends for more than thirty years now. We’ve watched each other get older, seen our kids grow up, had our laughs and our share of tears. And on the blogging side of things, I’ve been the recipient of a steady stream of e-mails that start with something like “I’ve been a long time reader of your blog and wanted to share this with you”… and then they do. And I honestly marvel every time I see that how this shared experience matters.
Where I’m getting to with this is that somebody e-mailed me yesterday about a video that’s posted on YouTube. It struck a chord. I’ll let the author describe it:
I made this film to profile my father’s tailgate. I’ve been going to University of Georgia football games since I was 6 years old. I wanted to share with everyone what our tailgate experience is all about. Family, love, and compassion are just a few words to describe what these people mean to me.
Watch it. I hope you get as much out of it as I did.
There’s something I try to say every time somebody reaches out to me with an e-mail like that. And I hope you understand that when I say it, it’s not offered as some automatic gesture of politeness. It’s sincere. So I’ll say it now in that spirit, Jon.
Thanks for sharing.
UPDATE: The NFL, on the other hand…
Boy, here’s a ringing endorsement from Georgia’s athletic director:
“I would be more concerned it if were the same city, same site. For our players and staff, they’ve never really spent more than one night, actually never in Jacksonville. It’s always been St. Augustine. Heck, we play teams every year regardless. We play Auburn every year, we play (Georgia) Tech every year. In that case, people have always turned out in great numbers.”
I don’t know about you, but that comment doesn’t exactly give me goosebumps.
I was prepared to go all “if you don’t want a disappointing bowl opponent, Dawgs, don’t lose to Vanderbilt” on you this morning, but there might be an actual villain to blame for not getting the Georgia-Michigan meeting many of us were hoping for in Jacksonville.
Believe it or not, it sounds like Georgia’s bowl woes can be blamed on Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder. No, really.
It was an up-and-down day as we awaited the official announcement. We expected Nebraska, then we were cruelly teased with the prospect of facing off against Michigan. Then it switched back to Nebraska again, much to our dismay. But in the end, Bill Snyder avoided having to face a loose cannon who once nearly assaulted him on the sideline, and I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that this is what the negotiations ultimately revolved around.
Bill Snyder doesn’t like Bo Pelini. At all. So we get Bo instead, for the second straight year.
You know, Snyder is well-known for writing letters. Maybe he should consider writing our fan base one.
Year2′s observation that Georgia had a higher yards per play average than its opponents in the two losses to Auburn and Missouri got me wondering how that stat looked for the entire season, so off I went to Marty’s site to get the answer.
So Georgia lost three games this season in which it was more efficient gaining yardage than the opponent. I get Missouri – a minus-4 turnover margin against a good team is awfully hard to overcome – and I sort of get Auburn, but what in the world explains Clemson? Yes, the Dawgs were minus-1 in turnover margin, and, yes, they had one drive that resulted in no points when the field goal attempt was botched, but, still, that net ypp figure is well above the season average. And the Tigers only ran six more plays on the night than Georgia did.
On the other hand, Georgia was 2-1 in games when it was in the red on ypp, and could have won the Vanderbilt game with a break (or, more accurately, without Vandy getting more than its share of breaks from the officiating crew).
(By the way, in case you were wondering, the ypp average for the 2012 season was +1.91. The drop off in 2013 came slightly more on the offensive side of the ball (-.28) than on defense (-.25), which makes sense when you consider the injury situation.)
Anyway, there’s more to consider here to try to explain where the season went south. Missouri, again, is the obvious one when turnover margin hurt, but if you look at the rest of the season, Georgia never had another game when the turnover margin was greater than minus-1. That no doubt leads to a discussion about the special teams, but that’s a subject that’s worth a post of its own.
Or maybe the lesson is that it’s been a weird year and it’s going to be a futile effort to try to make sense of it. We’ll see.
For those of you bitching about Richt electing to leave some of the upcoming bowl practices on the table, it turns out there’s something of a tough choice facing him of which you probably weren’t aware.
As a result of a recent rule change for FBS programs, many staffs could face a choice in the coming days between time spent recruiting future players or coaching current ones.(Photo by Philip Williams/UGA Sports Communications)
Georgia has chosen recruiting.
The Bulldogs will not use their full allotment of 15 allowable bowl practices this year, according to UGA coach Mark Richt, and one of the reasons is the NCAA’s move to recently extend the postseason recruiting dead period to a full month.
The upcoming dead period (during which no in-person contact with recruits is allowed) will coincide with winter holidays, bowl season and the AFCA coaches convention, lasting from Dec. 16, 2013 through Jan 15, 2014. (View the NCAA’s full FBS recruiting calendar here)
So after the regular season concluded Saturday, Richt wasted little time, meeting Monday with assistants and “Making sure that we’re going to get everybody in the right spots that they need to be in between now and the dead period.”
UGA coaches have been on the road recruiting this week and it should largely stay that way next week as well, even though the Bulldogs will have learned their bowl opponent by Sunday at the latest.
Basically, new recruiting restrictions in January means Georgia’s staff will spend the coming week making up that time. So formal bowl preparation in Athens will be on hold while that happens.
So, a couple of questions for those of you who previously objected to Richt not utilizing the full number of bowl practices: (1) which of bowl practice or recruiting would you prioritize and why and (2) if you picked recruiting, why does that have a higher priority for you than the players’ preparation for finals?
Progress of a sort, I suppose:
Since the Tennessee game, the Bulldogs allowed 10 second-half touchdowns in seven games — half of those coming when opponent scoring started at the 50-yard line or closer because of errors by Georgia’s offense or special teams. In the last month of the regular season, the Bulldogs allowed seven second-half points to both Georgia Tech and Kentucky, zero to Appalachian State and 16 to Auburn, although the final six came on a 73-yard Ricardo Louis touchdown catch for the game-winning score after Bulldogs safeties Josh Harvey-Clemons and Tray Matthews failed to bat down an off-target pass.
So the theme in the first half of the season was that the defense finished slowly and the second half of the year saw the opposite. If it’s not a conditioning question – and it’s hard to see how that’s the case given the comebacks – what’s it going to take to get the defense to play a complete game against a decent opponent?
I’m not asking rhetorically. I’d like to hear what you think. And let’s keep it off replace the coaches, because (a) that drum’s already been beaten here plenty and (b) Richt ain’t listening anyway. So tell me how you’d fix things.
Get in line.
If you’ve been worried about Georgia being a little green at the quarterback position before, you should be positively freaking out at the 2014 prospects.
For now, though, the starting job in 2014 is Mason’s to lose. He’s the only quarterback aside from Murray to have attempted a pass this season – Bauta has run three times for 29 yards in mop-up duty and LeMay hasn’t played this season at all, although he saw the field as a reserve in 2012 – and Mason will be far and away the most experienced quarterback on the roster next fall.
If that’s not enough for you, check out this quote from Brice Ramsey:
“I’ve grown so much,” Ramsey said. “In January [when he enrolled], I couldn’t have even have told you what a zone was or what all that was. It was just coming in and actually having to put forth effort and trying to learn the playbook and study and everything. Now I’m picking everything up and just excited for the future.”
Mike Bobo earns his pay, that’s for sure. But it’ll be nice if Mason stays healthy.
I can’t take credit for the work – I found it at the Dawg Post message board – but I thought it was worth passing on in a post here. It’s a list ranking Georgia’s SEC opponents’ offensive yards per game over the last ten seasons:
1. 2013 – 409.7 (Grantham year 4)
2. 2010 – 402.1 (Grantham year 1)
3. 2007 – 394.5 (Martinez year 3)
4. 2004 – 391.0 (Van Gorder final year)
5. 2012 – 378.9 (Grantham year 3)
6. 2009 – 373.9 (Martinez year 5)
7. 2005 – 366.1 (Martinez year 1)
8. 2006 – 359 (Martinez year 2)
9. 2011 – 329.5 (Grantham year 2)
10. 2008 – 326.6 (Martinez year 4)
Couple of things about that list. First of all, whatever else you might say about him, Grantham’s been dealt a tougher hand than either of his predecessors. Second, it’s weird, but for the most part you’d have to say that Martinez’ defenses got worse in the face of weaker opponents’ offenses. That’s generally not going to be a good combination.
How ’bout that VanGorder outlier, though? Georgia finished an impressive eighth nationally in total defense in 2004. The sick thing is that was only good for fourth-best in the conference.