Tag Archives: Greg McGarity

“You’ve got to keep up with the Joneses.”

I don’t know about you, but the first thought that came to mind while reading this story was that Nick Saban has already assigned three of his best people to the job of gaming the new system.

My second thought was that Greg McGarity will sit back, watch how it goes in Tuscaloosa for a year or so and then copy what he likes on the cheap.

My third thought is that Georgia will still be luckier than most places as to that.  Haves rule; have-nots drool.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting, The NCAA

The nine-game conference schedule talk won’t die.

Seth Emerson takes Greg McGarity through a lengthy interview, the most interesting part of which comes at the end.  McGarity begins with a response to a question about attendance trends in college football.

You can look at programs now, and very successful programs can’t fill their basketball arenas, football stadiums. So it’s up to us to make sure that we’re being as creative as possible to give that person a reason to come to the game. I think our use of the scoreboard, of the video board in the stadium this year was exceptional. The replays, the clarity of the board. Our ability to look into other games. Little things like our ‘stadium defender’ (commercial), the little spoof we did. You can only see that in Sanford Stadium. So we’ve got to think of things you can only see at Sanford Stadium that you can’t at home.

Because the thought is, If I’m home and I’ve got my (remote control) out I can toggle between Game A and Game B, and if I wanna cut it off I can cut it off. Well, we’re thinking that way in the stadium, to where if I can do it at home, hopefully I can do some of that stuff at the stadium. … That’s our charge next year: What more creative ideas can we generate? And have a little fun. Can we do a better job in certain areas of how we present the game? Sure we can. Can we do a better job with concessions? Maybe we have more hawkers in the stands. Instead of Greg and Seth having to go up in line and wait 30 minutes for a Coke, let’s bring the Coke to you, and maybe that’s doubling the amount of hawkers you have in the stadium. Those are all things we think about daily. …Locally we have to do that.

It’s nice that he’s thinking about it, but this is just nibbling at the edges stuff, at best.  How many Georgia fans get up on a Saturday and say, “let’s go to the game so we can watch the new stadium defender ad”?

To Emerson’s credit, he takes the conversation where it really needs to go – quality of scheduling.

Q: Would it also impact non-conference scheduling?

McGarity: I tell you what, if you think about our schedule (in 2011) if we had not played Boise State. We would have been playing in Louisville this year, sandwiched in between two SEC games. Now we saw what Charlie (Strong) and the job they did. That would have been another game where you have to be at peak performance, you can’t just think you’ve got that one in your back pocket. But I think the strength of schedule, that’s something we have to study. We don’t know what that means. That’s why we haven’t done any scheduling in the last year, moving forward, because we want to see what is the strength of schedule.  [Emphasis added.]

I can only think of one thing McGarity could be waiting on, and so could Emerson.

Q: Are you also waiting to make sure the SEC schedule stays at eight games?

McGarity: Yeah, yeah. We are going to discuss what a nine-game model looks like, at least have that discussion. But you want to be sure that you’re not over-scheduling and making it more difficult to be in the BCS games, by adding an SEC game.

Q: Will you also discuss that in Destin, at the SEC meetings?

McGarity: It’ll be a topic, yeah. We’ll cover some of that in Nashville at the next A.D. meeting. But yes that nine-game schedule we’re going to take a look at it, to see what it looks like. But no commitment, either way.

They know.  These guys know.  The fans want less cupcakes in their scheduling diet.  One less Sun Belt opponent is going to do more for attendance enthusiasm than ten stadium defender ads would.  The networks want more conference product (and if the SEC is the best conference in the country, why wouldn’t they?).  And a nine-game conference schedule is far less unwieldy in a fourteen-team conference than what they’re struggling with now.

What’s holding them back are the same two things:  the fear of revenue reduction from a loss of a seventh home game every other season and the potentially negative impact of tougher regular season scheduling on the SEC’s postseason chances.  My bet is they’ve already heard enough from the networks to conclude that a nine-game conference schedule will result in nothing worse than a revenue wash.  (McGarity’s silence on that is a pretty good indication that it’s not really a concern to the ADs.)  So what’s left is waiting to hear how this whole selection committee thing for the new playoffs gets structured.  Bottom line:  if the ADs feel like there’s a reasonable chance two conference teams playing a nine-game SEC schedule can make the four-team playoff field, they’ll make the move.

If not?  Well, expect more stadium defender ads and unstable conference scheduling in the short term.  And don’t be surprised when Mike Slive decides that an eight-team playoff is the direction where college football really needs to be heading.  Because these guys know.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football, SEC Football

He’s not that into you, sorry.

Call ‘em bashers.  Call ‘em realists (that’s how they refer to themselves).  Greg McGarity’s got his own catch phrase for a certain segment of the Georgia fan base.

He understands there’s still an unhappy segment of the fan base. But he refers to them as, “the society of the miserable. They’re going to vent when things are going really well and when they’re not.”

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume none of the program’s big contributors fall into this category.  Either that, or McGarity’s learned how to tap dance when he needs to.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Extensions! Get ‘yer contract extentions!

My first thought upon reading the news about Mark Richt’s new deal was it took you people six months to come up with that?  There’s nothing groundbreaking and evidently salary wasn’t an issue.  The press has jumped all over the fact that Richt no longer has a buyout penalty to pay if he chooses to leave Athens before the contract expires, but McGarity was quick to point out it isn’t a provision of much significance.

“I think people are gonna twist it and say whatever they want to about it. But I’m just telling you the truth. I’m telling you how it is between Mark and myself,” McGarity sad. “There’s no monkey business here.”

Besides

“I think it’s Greg’s philosophy on the contract,” Richt said. “It’s not something that I was asking for. It was something that he suggested and I said that would be fine. I think the bottom line for me, gosh, I think I’ve been here long enough for everybody to understand … that Georgia’s my home. Georgia’s where I want to be. Georgia’s the only job I want.”

The man’s only been saying that since the ink was drying on the contract he signed with Dooley.  Isn’t it about time we all took him at his word on it?  Time to move on, folks.

No, the more interesting development was the surprise announcement by the High Chancellor that McGarity was also getting a contract extension (and a raise).

“He’s had two years here now,”He’s had two years here now,” UGA president Michael Adams said. “He’s shown extraordinary leadership. He’s widely respected already among the other A.D.s in the conference…”

Wow.  “Extraordinary”.  Who’s the man responsible for bringing this paragon of excellence to the University of Georgia?  Not Vince Dooley, that’s for sure.

This being Michael Adams, a little horn tooting on a pleasant occasion isn’t enough.  There has to be some subtle muscle flexing tossed in the mix.  So if I’m Mark Richt, I’m wondering what I should read from this particular tea leaf:

“I just felt it was important for the benefit of the athletic association and the university that we get him locked in at a time that was slightly longer than the head football coach. And that would well position the university for any changes that might happen in the future.”

Adams departs in 2013, so the impact of this, whatever that might be, is likely to occur long after he’s gone.  But it’s curious that management feels the need to position McGarity in this way with Richt.  And you wonder if this is simply a parting gift that Adams has bestowed on his AD, or if McGarity asked for it.  Either way, it suggests that the school wants an edge with its head football coach.

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UPDATE:  Chris Low’s take on Richt’s new deal is worth a look.

McGarity said he didn’t see “anything negative here at all” regarding Richt’s new contract, which now runs through 2016.

I wouldn’t call it negative, either. To me, it’s more reality.

And that reality is that McGarity and the Georgia administration simply aren’t ready to throw a lot of guaranteed money at Richt right now because they don’t want to be stuck with a pricey buyout if they decide two years from now that Richt isn’t the answer long term.

Reasonable minds can differ on whether that’s a good approach or a bad one, but I think Low is on target there.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Michael Adams Wants To Rule The World

I gave up; you did, too.

“That wasn’t the total plan coming in,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “We were going to try to be balanced. But I just felt like after the first series, even though we gave up a couple of pressures, I felt like we could get open in their secondary. We just kind of opened it up from there.”

Every Georgia Tech game marks an anniversary of sorts.  I started GTP after the 2006 win over the Jackets.  Every win has been enjoyable, but there’s something more deeply satisfying about today’s.

For one thing, it caps a remarkable year.  After an 0-2 start, this team beat every longstanding rival on the schedule, something it hadn’t done in 30 years, and in the process, nullified the loss to South Carolina.  Georgia is going to the SECCG to face the most formidable team in the country.  I don’t argue that the Dawgs will likely open as a substantial underdog, but I’m not writing them off, either.

And that’s because Mark Richt and his coaching staff have come full circle.  In some ways, that’s even more remarkable than the 10-2 record.  The odds on a major program recovering from a sustained slump under the same head coach are fairly long.  But Richt has done just that.  Georgia dominated its in state rival in a way it hadn’t done in several years and it did so in large part by outcoaching the Yellow Jackets staff.

The quote from Bobo above is indicative of how far they’ve come.  Last year’s game wound up being a nail biter partly because he couldn’t keep his foot on the gas.  That wasn’t a problem this go ’round – all the more remarkable because he didn’t have a full deck to play with.

And Grantham continues to prove that he’s as good making halftime adjustments as any Georgia defensive coordinator in memory.  Against a triple option that gained almost 200 yards in the first half, Georgia came out in the second half and did this with Tech on its first four possessions: three plays, interception; four plays, punt; one play, interception; 13 plays, turnover on downs.

I can’t say I know exactly what sort of progress Greg McGarity was looking for going into this season.  From my selfish standpoint, I was looking for a team that was prepared to compete for a full sixty minutes.  I was also looking for a team that was prepared.  It hasn’t always been a smooth ride, but I can’t argue with where this team finds itself tonight.  And so I find myself ready to believe again.  And, boy, is that a good feeling to rediscover.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Running backs? We don’t need no stinkin’ running backs.

I swear, this reads like a bad April Fools’ joke.

A trio of Georgia running backs have been suspended for the upcoming game against New Mexico State.

As first reported by ESPN, Dawg Post has confirmed tailbacks Isaiah Crowell, Carlton Thomas and Ken Malcome have been suspended for a violation of team rules.

Malcome’s got a helluva sense of timing, doesn’t he?

I guess this week Georgia will be the team lined up in the five-receiver sets.

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UPDATE:  Hmm.  This is kind of interesting.

… There was speculation leading up to the Florida game on Saturday that Crowell was facing a possible suspension, but he played.

Athletic director Greg McGarity said “absolutely not,” this afternoon when asked by The Athens Banner-Herald if discipline was held over until after the Florida game.

“This had nothing to do with the Florida game or anything,” McGarity said. “It was all timing.”

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Filed under Georgia Football

More on men behaving badly

You know, I thought James Franklin’s let’s get ready to rumble moment on the field Saturday night was sparked by him taking offense at what he perceived as dirty play by one or some of Georgia’s players.  I didn’t think he went about his business in the best way, but I could understand his being upset.

But that’s not exactly what set Franklin off.  (h/t SPORTSbyBROOKS)

If you want the transcript of that, here ’tis:

… In video captured by WSMV-TV in Nashville, Franklin talked to Georgia coach Mark Richt on the field about Georgia “rubbing our face in it right after the game. And then your coach when I tell him about it, then he goes after me and the fight starts.”

Richt responded by telling Franklin: “That’s what I thought happened.”

Oy vey.  At that point, Richt’s got to wonder what in the hell he’s gotten himself into.  All he wanted was a nice little “good game, coach” exchange after a too close for comfort win.  Instead, he found himself inserted into a scene straight out of middle school.

I mean, this turned out to be about a head coach at the conference’s most uppah-crust school taking offense at being verbally dissed by a twenty-something kid?  Seriously?  If I’m Mike Slive, I’d be tempted to announce as punishment that Franklin and Grantham are being sent to time-out without supper.

The thing is, though, while I don’t doubt that Grantham foolishly reacted in the heat of the moment, there’s a part of me that wonders if there wasn’t something more calculating behind Franklin’s actions.  And I’m not the only one.

… And what I got out of his “we won’t back down” press conference is that he — very rightly — had his team come into this game determined not to be the patsy. Georgia is a wobbly traditional heavyweight that they could land some punches against, so Franklin wanted to be the aggressor. That was evident from the trick plays, the fake punt, the chippiness, the chop blocks, etc.

I don’t begrudge them that. If you want to take over Vandy and have it be something other than Vandy, then you go hard after a team like Georgia.

I do begrudge the passive aggressive “we’re gonna play with class” posturing after the fact. Franklin wanted this fight and he got what he asked for. It’s disingenuous for him to feign surprise at the outcome.

That’s reinforced by what Franklin was evidently selling recruits afterwards.

… Sealand said he felt like running on the field in support of his future college coach. “Honestly, it got my heart pumping, and I know with a lot of the recruits around me, it got their hearts pumping, too. It gave me a lot of pride about Vanderbilt and made me realize how much I love that school already without being up there yet. Coach Franklin has won his players over, and has already won me over, too.”

East Paulding defensive lineman LaDarius Banks, “Honestly, I liked the confrontation. I’m all for getting after it. At a certain point, though, it’s college football and you’re supposed to conduct yourselves accordingly. As of right now, there are a lot of players on Vanderbilt’s team from Georgia, and what happened on Saturday is going to stir up a good rivalry over the next few years.”

Banks met with Franklin after the game. “I can’t really explain how Coach Frankin was … OK, he was pissed. All the other coaches were trying to calm him down. Everybody was fired up about what happened.”

Come to Vandy:  we may not win much, but at least we won’t take anybody’s shit anymore.  You know, that’s not the worst sales pitch in the world for a program that largely been a doormat for decades.  Matt Zemek’s buying it.

The part Franklin likely didn’t count on, but turned out to be the bonus that made the confrontation so much bigger, was Grantham’s rapid combustibility.  If he’s being chewed out by Richt and McGarity, it ought to be over his stupidity in responding, not his passion.  That’s the life lesson he needs to take away from this.

Particularly because, as Groo notes, the coaches on Georgia’s sideline weren’t doing a good job keeping emotions under control during the game.

… The discipline and execution that had led to four straight dominant defensive performances were abandoned. We’ll let the players describe what happened. Ray Drew:

We kind of fell apart (in the second half), let emotions run a little too high, and things started going every which way.

Jarvis Jones:

We were out of position on a lot of plays, which is the mental part of the game, and the quarterback took control of the game.

They’re not reaching for excuses – that all happened. You could see the missed tackles, the personal fouls, the loss of containment, and the gaping spaces left by players out of position. No other way could Vandy roll up 200 yards of rushing.

Unfortunately, there was no one on the sideline able to reel the emotions back in. If someone was trying to get heads back in the game, they didn’t make much progress. After the game Grantham was well within his place to take up for his players, and that will be appreciated in the locker room. During the game though Grantham and the other defensive coaches needed to recognize that their players were caught up in the emotion and get everyone settled down and focused on their assignments. They failed in that respect, and that should bother us a lot more than whatever went on afterwards.

That, too, reinforces my impression that a lot of this was calculated on Franklin’s part.  That’s not bad coaching, although you wonder how sustainable it is over the long haul.

And don’t take my word for Franklin’s nature here.  Take his:

“I’m not a guy who really has a whole lot of regrets,” Franklin said. “I’m really calculated and pretty thought out in the things that I do, for the most part. I am an emotional guy, as most of you guys know.”

Well, after a home loss, he’s got his team on the map for the moment.  That’s something.  Let’s see what he does with it from here.

And let’s see what Grantham takes from this.

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UPDATE:  Mark Bradley, in throwing the fish bait out, offers this warning:

(An aside here: I’d also be careful about angering this Vandy coach.  James Franklin is going to beat some big names very soon.)

Is it too much to hope that Georgia Tech could play Vanderbilt real soon?  The Bradley column pondering that meeting of coaching legends would be epic.

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Filed under Georgia Football, James Franklin Is Ready To Rumble, Recruiting

Mike Slive is all over Todd Grantham.

Uh oh, Grantham got called into the principal’s office.

Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity has already met with defensive coordinator Todd Grantham regarding the postgame confrontation with Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin on Saturday and the Southeastern Conference is in the process of reviewing the incident.

McGarity, who was in Nashville on Saturday, said he discussed the situation with Georgia head coach Mark Richt by telephone on Sunday, then met with Grantham face-to-face in his office at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall early Monday morning. Meanwhile, both Georgia and Vanderbilt have been asked by SEC Commissioner Mike Slive to submit written reports to the league office for review.

Yeah!  Two grown men making asses out of themselves in public.  That’s the kind of crisis Mike Slive can sink his teeth into!

By the way, Grantham is very, very sorry.

… Grantham told the AJC Monday morning he regretted his actions after Saturday’s game.

“First of all, I love my players and appreciate their hard work and investment in our program,” Grantham said. “I feel a responsibility and loyalty to protect and stand up for them. However, I feel it’s important to educate them in all areas of life. While my intentions were genuine, I feel it was unfortunate that things escalated to a confrontation. However, I’ll use it as a learning experience for my self as well as my players so that we all become better men.”

I’m sure he’ll get right on that after he finishes ripping his players a new one over the second-half run defense play.

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UPDATE:  If Mike Slive really wants to channel his inner Miss Manners, here’s something else he can put on his to-do list.

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Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

From hot seat to hot hire

Funny, but when I heard the news about Arizona firing Mike Stoops, I had this exact thought pass through my head:

… Imagine Byrne, frantically refreshing ESPN, waiting for news that Georgia has foolishly opted to fire Richt after the Bulldogs go 8-4 in the regular season – let’s say Georgia loses to Georgia Tech to end the regular season. How quickly does Arizona fire up the private jet to hire Richt? All the names on the list would quickly move to the background should he become available; they should, at least. If that came to pass, Georgia’s loss would be Arizona’s enormous gain.

I’m not saying McGarity wouldn’t necessarily be justified in making a move – at this point, who knows yet? – but I’d expect the media to turn on a dime and do a 180 if it happened.

And it sure as hell would mean that he’d have to make a home run hire for a replacement, or get crucified in the aftermath.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

The jury is still out.

I get the point John Pennington makes in response to this quote from Greg McGarity -

“What everyone must do at a halfway point — it’s just like the halfway point of a project the halfway point of anything you do — it’s how you finish that really is the key thing that everyone has to focus on right now,” McGarity said. “Once you think you might have it figured out or you may rest on your laurels so to speak, that’s when you have problems. The message that we need to have and the message that everyone needs to have is that each week gets bigger and bigger. To get to certain levels, you have to work that much harder.”

… that the program would be better served by Georgia’s AD reserving comment until the season’s over.  I’m just not sure I agree with it.

For one thing, complacency has been Richt’s Achilles’ heel the last couple of seasons.  I’m not sure McGarity’s doing anything more there than stating a gentle reminder of the obvious.  (And perhaps that message is a public one because it’s intended to be directed more at Richt’s charges than the head coach.)

And as for this,

“Obviously you’re winning the games that really you need to win,” McGarity said. “At the same time, those teams have really struggled. I don’t know if there’s a (conference) win among them. You’ve got to keep things in perspective because there are some big tests coming up.”

… there’s a little more context to it.

McGarity didn’t want to diminish winning at Neyland Stadium “because everybody knows how tough it is to win there regardless of Tennessee’s program.”

Going forward, McGarity says this team “has very good leadership and I think that translates into doing the right things on and off the field.”

To me, McGarity sounds like he’s letting us know he’s in the same place most of the fan base is right now – hopefulness tempered by remembering what’s gone on over the previous two seasons.  Honestly, isn’t that where we want him?

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