To my loyal South Carolina readership who’s found fault with me for ranking Georgia ahead of South Carolina in this week’s Power Poll despite 35-38, please take note that Bovada still rates the Dawgs’ chances to win a national title better than the Gamecocks’.
Ohio State’s Urban Meyer received 4 percent of the votes, thus ruining the integrity of the poll.
I didn’t know beat writers got that sarcastically personal.
Of course, it may be that Towers ignored the possibility that four percent of the respondents were concerned their sons would get in trouble with the law sometime during their college careers and appreciate a safe haven.
Personally speaking, any topic of conversation that elicits a blunt “That’s bullshit” from the likes of Nick Saban is of interest, but on the subject of multi-year scholarships, I think Saban’s right when he goes on to say,
“It really is not an issue either way, though,” Saban said. “A player’s on a one-year scholarship and it’s automatically renewable. It’s not like you can just take it away. And if he’s on a four-year scholarship and does something in violation of university policy or athletic policy, you can still take it away. It really is insignificant.”
In other words, if you’re a student-athlete, it’s still a matter of trusting your head coach. Hell, even Chris Conley isn’t sure what he’s got as far as a formal commitment. He just knows Richt.
But ask Conley how many years his scholarship has technically been for during his career and he hesitates. Conley admits he’s uncertain.
Some head coaches, such as Georgia’s Mark Richt, “make a pledge to that kid for four years and that’s what he does,” Conley said. “But not every coach has to do that. They can make decisions on whether or not they want a player to be there. So it really comes down to that administration and coaching staff.”
Jeremy Pruitt is hard at work on the recruiting trail, chasing one of the best running backs in the 2016 class. He’s an Alabama kid, so it makes sense that Pruitt would be the one giving chase. But perhaps there’s an ulterior motive in play, too.
The SEC’s best want the 6-foot, 220-pound junior because he could play multiple different positions in college. Miller prefers to play running back at the next level, but is open to the idea of making the full-time switch to linebacker. He plays outside linebacker now for Madison Academy and a few schools feel he’d fit best on the defensive side of the ball.
So first Pruitt’s gotta recruit him to Athens. Then he’s got to recruit him to defense. Look out, Mike Bobo.
Gah, this is repellent.
In April, Missouri star Dorial Green-Beckham busted into the home of his girlfriend with such force that he broke through the drywall surrounding the door. He pushed one of her roommates down four stairs, according to a police report of the incident, and then the 6-foot-6, 225-pound wide receiver dragged his girlfriend out of the apartment by her neck.
Missouri kicked Green-Beckham off the team but he was never charged with a crime. His girlfriend’s roommate declined to press charges, saying she feared the backlash from fans and attention from the media. Police called Green-Beckham’s girlfriend “extremely uncooperative,” and police records show she texted her roommate: “Football really is all he has going for him, and pressing charges would ruin it for him completely.”
Three months later, Green-Beckham was accepted at Oklahoma, getting a fresh start with one of the most successful football programs in the country. It was a move that Sooners athletic director Joe Castiglione admitted the school would be unlikely to repeat today. “If someone presented a case like that now, I think you would be fair to say that he probably wouldn’t be at Oklahoma,” Castiglione said.
“Probably”. Gah, indeed.
The only thing that’s changed between then and now was the emergence of the Ray Rice tape. Castiglione is basically admitting that Green-Beckham’s behavior in and of itself wasn’t a deal breaker. It’s just that the optics are worse now.
Castiglione stressed that Oklahoma didn’t regret admitting Green-Beckham. His stance that OU may not take Green-Beckham now is simply reflective of how the scrutiny level has changed. “Just because of the attention and the cases now in the public consciousness, the university would have been unlikely to take on a situation like that,” Castiglione said.
My only question is whether that passes the Auburn test.
Nail, meet Rick Neuheisel’s hammer:
It’s only September, but we’re all talking about playoffs.
“It’s kind of sad,” says Neuheisel, who has taken part of the discussion in his role with the Pac-12 Network. “We’ve now created everything where I look at Georgia, and in Week One I say they’re a ‘final four’ team. Week Two, they’re out. Neither one of those premises are true. There’s still so much to be played.”
I know ESPN’s gotta ESPN, but he’s right. There is so much playoff noise in the system now and I suspect that’s played a part in contributing to our level of disappointment this week. Which is a shame, because as clichéd as it is for Georgia’s players and coaches to talk about their goals being unchanged, it’s still true, especially given that Georgia’s overcome losses to South Carolina before to get to the SECCG.
Mike Bobo caught grief about one bad call, but overall, I thought he had a good game against South Carolina. Georgia scored 35, should have scored a good bit more, and racked up over 400 yards on a night with bad weather and a sputtering offensive line. Most of the problems on offense could be chalked up to execution.
The defense had its share of execution problems, too.
“I think there’s a combination of just tightening down the screws just a little bit as far as when we are in certain coverages making sure we’re forcing them to throw to check-downs and then come up and break on the ball and make tackles instead of jumping some of the underneath routes,” Richt said. “We jumped on some underneath routes that opened up some things behind us…”
But the truth is that Jeremy Pruitt got schooled by Steve Spurrier, who very obviously spent time carefully reviewing the Clemson tape.
Now Pruitt doesn’t have the skill position talent to deploy that Bobo does, so to some extent he deserves a pass. We all know the secondary is going to be Georgia’s weak link this season and without consistent pressure from some combination in the front seven, the secondary stands to be exposed. And that’s definitely what happened in the first half, as Pruitt played a soft zone behind his front and watched his pass defense get picked apart by throws over the middle as Thompson had all the time he needed to set up and play pitch and catch with his receivers.
Pruitt seemed to blitz Sanders a good bit, but to little success. The pass rush improved when Drew was inserted into the d-line, but the night’s only sack came on an inside linebacker blitz.
The Dawgs did alright handling the run in the first half – Ramik Wilson played his ass off in that regard – but when Thompson throws for 270 yards, that kind of gets glossed over.
The second half came and Pruitt adjusted to try to take away some of the vulnerability over the middle. The problem for him was that Spurrier adjusted as well and began attacking the outside with the running game. The Gamecocks only threw the ball a handful of times in the second half, but then, again, they really didn’t need to.
That being said, when Georgia found itself late in the third quarter down by eleven, Georgia managed a defensive stop that let it claw back to within three. And Pruitt won the chess match on the Swann interception, when Thompson was clearly confused by the coverage.
We all knew before the season started that the defense was going to be a work in progress. The fourth quarter against Clemson wasn’t a mirage so much as it was a situation that Georgia couldn’t get to against South Carolina, when the defense could dictate to the offense because the offense’s options were squeezed. (Which is why I disagree with those of you who think Spurrier would still have had an easy time of it if Georgia had managed to score a touchdown on that infamous first and goal series.) So we really shouldn’t be surprised by what we saw in Columbia.
When Georgia’s offense is clicking against a team that doesn’t have a passing attack that can take advantage of the flaws in the pass coverage, the Dawgs will be fine. Fortunately for them, there don’t seem to be too many teams on the schedule that have the ability to exploit Georgia secondary. But overall, the lesson from Columbia is that we’re at least a season away from having a shut down defense to cheer for.
UPDATE: Cory Brinson illustrates some of the defensive breakdowns here.
UPDATE #2: And here’s a nice example of how Spurrier schemed to exploit Pruitt’s defense.