The agony of Greg McGarity

I don’t doubt for a second that he’s sincere about this:

“People are upset, we’re upset,” McGarity said, “and we’ve got to work even harder to try to do things that will help us avoid these problems but at the end of the day, a young person has to make a decision. You see that not only with 18-year olds but you see that with 50-year olds that make poor decisions.

“When you do have a problem, it makes you go back and just take another look, take a second look on what’s registering and what is not.”

But seriously, if he finds a solution, he needs to take his services to a bigger stage than Athens, Georgia.  Social engineering is a tall order from an athletic director’s office.

For that matter, given Georgia’s experience over the past few years, the same can be said about the school president’s office as well.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

The NCAA’s concussion settlement

It’s hardly more than a good start, if that.  The NCAA puts up $70 million in a fund that can be accessed by players to screen as to whether any suffer head-injury problems, but no money is set aside for actual damages.  Instead, any player with issues will have to sue to collect compensation.

There are some agreed to mandates on current policy…

– Preseason baseline testing for every athlete for each season in which he or she competes

– Prohibition from return to play on the same day an athlete is diagnosed with a concussion. Generally accepted medical protocols recommend athletes not return to play the same day if they exhibit signs of a concussion or are diagnosed with one, but a 2010 survey of certified athletic trainers conducted by the NCAA found that nearly half reported that athletes had returned to play the same day.

– Requirement that medical personnel be present for all games and available for practices for all contact sports, defined in the settlement as football, lacrosse, wrestling, ice hockey, field hockey, soccer and basketball. Those personnel must be trained in the diagnosis, treatment and management of concussions.

– Implementation of concussion tracking in which schools will report concussions and their resolution

– Requirement that schools provide NCAA-approved training to athletes, coaches and athletic trainers before each season

– Education for faculty on the academic accommodations needed for students with concussions

… but also a question as to how far those mandates go.

Huma told ESPN the settlement also falls short of protecting current players because it does not mandate new return-to-play protocols. Instead, the NCAA and the plaintiffs agreed that remaining guidelines for schools and the implementation of those guidelines are subject to the NCAA’s rule-making process.

“And we know what the regular NCAA rule-making process is like. It could take years, or they could shoot it down,” Huma said. “The settlement represents yet another refusal of the NCAA to protect players from unnecessary brain trauma. Instead of agreeing to rules that protect players’ brains by reducing contact in practices and mandatory return-to-play protocols, such protections would remain optional.”

He has a point about the NCAA’s rule-making process.

And one other thing – that $70 million isn’t all for screening.

The NCAA, which in the settlement denied the plaintiffs’ allegations, agreed not to oppose attorneys’ fees up to $15 million. Those fees and expenses would come out of the $75 million assigned for medical monitoring and research.

So, progress of a sort, at best.  And the agreement still has to be approved by the court.  In other words, this one has a long way to go.

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Filed under The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

Haz a crayon alert

Mike Bobo shows up at number nine on Bruce Feldman’s list of offensive coordinators ready for head coaching gigs.

My second favorite thing about the list is that Kurt Roper shows up three slots ahead of Bobo.  I’ll be interested in seeing the conventional wisdom after the season’s over.

The best thing is seeing Bobo on the same list with a MENSA member.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

The new roster is here! The new roster is here!

Here’s the link.  Weiszer’s post about it is here.  Seth has his observations here.

Overall, it’s about what you might expect.  The defensive front has shed weight, with the only d-lineman weighing more than 300 pounds is freshman Lamont Gaillard.  (Ed. note:  Chris Mayes shows up at over 300 pounds, as well.)  The offensive line has grown, with Zach DeBell adding an astounding 25 pounds.  Outside linebacking has picked up size, while on the inside Wilson added a few pounds and Herrera has dropped a bunch – 13 pounds to 231 (if that makes him quicker and improves his stamina without affecting his strength, he could be somebody to watch next month).

A couple of names caught my eye.  Theus is up to 313 now, which is good-sized for a tackle.  The question is how mobile he is.  And on the other side, Ray Drew bucked the trend and added eight pounds.  Better strength, or could that be a reason he’s not been able to push up the depth chart yet?

The number I was most interested in seeing turned out to be 226.  That’s Todd Gurley’s listed weight.  It’s a few pounds less than last year’s official weight, but not so much that you worry about his ability to plow into defenders.

What do you guys see?

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Filed under Georgia Football

Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. But what if there’s more than one clock?

Dean Legge, with an interesting comparison…

Because, back to Justin Scott-Wesley and Nick Marshall, even though both players were charged with the same crime – possession of less than an ounce of marijuana – one was arrested (JSW) and one was ticketed (Marshall). So even though they were in the same state, the guy in Athens was taken to jail, and the guy arrested in Reynolds was given a ticket for $1,000. So if the punishment is not applied the same for the exact crime in the State of Georgia how in the world is the same crime going to be applied the same in all SEC jurisdictions?

In addition to that – it is very possible that JSW’s “ticket” for weed would have gone totally unnoticed by the press because of the simple way that the Athens-Clarke County jail report works. He would have been given a ticket, and likely paid it. No one would have never noticed his one-game suspension because he would still be coming back from his ACL injury that happened last October.

I’m not sure I buy that last point he makes completely – we found out about Marshall’s arrest quickly enough – but overall, there’s certainly some food for thought when it comes to advocating a universal drug policy for a conference.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

About the linebackers

Count me in the group that thinks Georgia’s linebacking corps is an obvious team strength.  (Seth Emerson lays out what he calls the team’s ice cream here.)  Some of my optimism is based on improved coaching in that I believe Pruitt is going to do a better job of deploying the talent than Grantham did – I doubt we see Floyd dropping back in coverage very much and I’ll be shocked if Herrera and Wilson are on the field together in obvious passing situations nearly as often as they were last season – but most is due to having all four starters back.  Experience, talent and better coaching is a nice formula for quality play.

And here’s some context for you to digest.  South Carolina is making noises about shifting from the 4-2-5 scheme it’s run as its base for several years to some version of the 3-4 (per Lorenzo Ward, “At the end of the season I would be shocked if we didn’t play two-to-one 3-4 to 4-2-5…”) because the strength of the defense is at the linebacking position.  And that strength is reckoned as top five in the conference by SB Nation’s SEC bloggers.

They rank Georgia second, three spots ahead, and a hair’s breadth behind what’s been the conference standard, Alabama.  I’ll gladly take that.

Let’s just hope And The Valley Shook hasn’t delivered a 2014 epitaph for them:  “This is a deep, talented unit surrounded by, unfortunately, the rest of the Georgia defense.”

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Filed under Georgia Football

I hate to keep beating a dead Gator.

It’s just that I’m starting to hear some of the same “why Florida will be good this year” talk that I questioned before the start of last season.  It’s not that I don’t think the Gators won’t be improved; a better health situation will take care of that.  But that offense, with its third coordinator in four years, a quarterback who missed most of last season and has no experienced depth behind him, a lackluster receiving corps and an offensive line with its own depth issues, looks like it’s as big a hot mess as it was a year ago.  So, while a certain amount of optimism may be warranted, it seems to me that there’s an element of wishful thinking in play, as well.

Take, for instance, this piece, entitled “Five Reasons Florida Will Win the East”.  Here are two of the five:

2. Jeff Driskel – Though Driskel has yet to live up to the lofty expectations with which he entered college, he is still an athletic signal caller with tons of potential. The schematic changes on offense will benefit no individual player more than Driskel, who appears to be an ideal fit for Roper’s style of play-calling. Lining up in the shotgun and having more opportunities to use his legs as a weapon, Driskel should be able to increase his production of explosive plays exponentially. Bouncing back from a season-injury leg suffered in just the third game of the 2013 season, Driskel will be helped along by his clean bill of health, in addition to the fact that this is fourth season at the collegiate level.

3. Team Health – While injuries were a major issue for numerous SEC teams last fall, there is no question that the Gators were bit worst by the injury bug. According to Phil Steele, Florida lost by far the most starts due to injury in the conference in 2013 (51). That equates to nearly 20 percent of the Gators’ starts being lost due to health problems, the third-highest percentage in the country. The overall lack of depth and experience made life difficult for the Gators in 2013, but the team has the vast majority of its players at 100 percent health heading into fall camp. The likelihood of Florida experiencing a rash of injuries similar to last season is exceptionally rare, meaning that it should expect to take serious strides forward in 2014.

Maybe it’s just me, but putting your hopes on Driskel using his legs more while brushing off the chances of serious injuries seems like a weird juxtaposition.

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Filed under Gators, Gators...