Tag Archives: Ray Goff

Summer means fun.

You know you’ve hit the off-season doldrums when you’ve got a good old-fashioned pissing match erupting… over Jim Donnan.

I’m just as bored as the next guy, so let me add two more thoughts to the debate.

First, what really did Donnan in wasn’t his occasionally prickly personality, the record against Tech, hitching his wagon to Quincy’s star or the inevitable let down after the now infamous “I’ve been waiting” comment before the 200o season.  It was, instead, the same sin that Ray Goff committed – not hiring a first rate defensive coordinator.  That’s why I’ll always see the 1999 Auburn game as Donnan’s Waterloo.  And why I’ll always believe that hiring VanGorder was the smartest thing Mark Richt ever did.

Second, I’ll never be able to dismiss Donnan as completely as Kyle does, simply because he directed one of the iconic games of the Georgia football program.

Bite me.

Bite me.

56-49, bitches.  Thanks for that, Coach.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The Blogosphere

Saturday morning buffet

It’s raining and it’s the last day of February, so it’s not like you’ve got a lot to do at the moment.

  • Man, what’s gotten into Dennis Dodd?  A well-researched article on the current Congressional follies regarding the BCS?  Color me surprised and impressed.  Best line was his advice for the Mountain West’s conference commissioner:  “1) Visit while the lawmakers are actually voting on stuff; 2) Make your case to someone besides the appointment secretary.” True dat.
  • On the other side of the coin, Matt Hayes lives down to expectations with a “he’s tanned, rested and ready” piece about… Dennis Franchione.
  • A. J. Green isn’t worried about Joe Cox, or being double-teamed, either.  He’s just trying to live up to the Ray Goff mantra of getting “buttah and buttah”.
  • It looks like the Brian Butler saga is going to continue on for a while.  I have to admit I’m hoping that Bryce Brown confirms his verbal commitment to Miami when all is said and done, just so we can see what Randy Shannon does.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, General Idiocy, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Recruiting

Remembering Richard Bell

I don’t know if you saw Tim Tucker’s post at his AJ-C blog yesterday, but the gist of it was short, sweet and compelling.

• Georgia has allowed 25.6 points per game this season, just one point per game shy of the worst mark in school history (26.6 per game allowed in 1990).

• Georgia’s defense went from first to worst in sacking quarterbacks — from an SEC-leading 42 sacks in 2007 to a last-in-the-league 18 sacks this season.

• Georgia is minus-2 for the season in turnover margin, a telling drop from plus-nine in 2007.

• On a positive note, Georgia players continue to lead the SEC in passing, rushing and receiving yards per game. If that’s still the case after the bowls, it’ll be, according to the SEC, the first time since the 1966 Florida Gators that one team has had the league’s individual leaders in all three categories.

Every one of those stats tells a story.  Actually, two stories.

First, going back to VanGorder, Georgia’s defenses during Richt’s tenure have been built on pressure from the d-line.  That didn’t happen this year, especially in the second half of the season.  That stat line for sacks is bad.  Epic bad.  Unfortunately, the SEC doesn’t track that info prior to 2003, but in the five years prior to this one, Georgia only finished outside the top three in the conference once, and that was a fourth place showing in 2006.

Do I think that factors in to the other two stats related to the defense that Tucker lists?  Absolutely.

The second tale to be told is what an embarrassment of riches on offense was wasted this season.  Think about it for a minute:  this year’s team has a better core group of skill position players relative to the conference than the ’92 team did.  (And two of those guys went on to all-Pro careers in the NFL.)  And just like in 1992, this year’s team didn’t even sniff the SECCG, let alone anything bigger, and wound up the season playing in Orlando.

But even during that year, as painfully as it played out (and, damn, it was painful), and as much as I cussed Richard Bell, we never saw that defense get blown out for a quarter here or a half there as often as did this year’s squad.  Like it or not, 2008 is the gold standard for that.

So while Mark Richt is pondering the state of the program this winter, it might behoove him to think about the lessons to be learned from 1992.  That was as good as things got under Goff.  The recruiting fell off, Ray played with a succession of ever more mediocre defensive coordinators and he also had his fair share of bad luck towards the end.

Do I think things are as bad now?  Of course not.  But if Richt thinks he’ll be able to carry on with a defense (and we haven’t even mentioned special teams) that performed this poorly without making some changes that result in significant improvement, history strongly suggests that he’ll be fooling himself into thinking the end product will be better.   And we’ll all be having a much harsher debate about the program at the end of next season.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

He can’t knock the SEC for this one.

I guess Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has been so involved in his pissing match with Comcast over cable broadcast fees for the Big Ten Network that he didn’t have time to notice that a crew chief of one of his conference’s officiating teams has a bit of a, shall we say, checkered history, including a bankruptcy with over $400,000 of liabilities listing two casinos as creditors.

Oops.

Now, there’s evidently nothing linking this official to gambling on games, but still, it makes you feel a bit queasy when you observe his crew blow an obvious call in an important game like this…

… especially if you’re a Buckeye fan.

And what does the normally quotable Delany have to say about this mess?

When reached at his home Tuesday, Delany said, “I don’t have any comment on that right now.”

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UPDATE: Now that the horse is out of the barn, the Big Ten will do a little more checking.

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UPDATE #2:  The story, as Ray Goff might put it, is getting “bettuh and bettuh”.

… But Pamon not only was allowed to work in the Big Ten, the NCAA also cleared him to work bowl games, the highest honor for a college football official. According to Yahoo! Sports, Pamon was an alternate for last year’s Fiesta Bowl and had worked the Sugar, Holiday and Independence Bowls in years past…

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Basically, it wasn’t pretty.

More thoughts, observations, reflections from Sattidy night’s disappointment:

  • I find myself in agreement with Spurrier’s observation that the result wasn’t a shock. I think the Dawgs are a more talented bunch than the Gamecocks, but talent was trumped by experience and the obvious fact that Nix was better prepared for the game than was Bobo.  South Carolina deserved the win.
  • Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that makes five straight losses for Georgia to SEC East teams – something that never occurred under either Goff or Donnan.
  • One good thing in Georgia’s favor is that the Dawgs won’t see a dominant defensive line until late in the season, when it’s time to play Auburn and Georgia Tech. One bad thing is I’m still not sure the offensive line will be molded into a functioning unit by that time.
  • Most of the questioning I see with regard to game decisions is focused on Richt’s call to kick the last field goal. I didn’t have a problem with the call. At that point in time, Georgia had converted only two third down opportunities for the entire game. The odds of pulling off fourth and fifteen were slim, especially given the fact that the offense sputtered on that drive the moment it reached the SC eleven.  There was still about four and a half minutes left in the game at that point, more than enough time to regroup and take another shot at the endzone (especially considering Spurrier’s strange playcalling on SC’s previous drive).
  • Far more questionable was Richt’s decision to go for it on fourth and two on the SC 33 in the third quarter – why not let Coutu try a 50 yard FG in that spot? As it turned out, the play called was a disaster and gave the ‘Cocks the ball almost at midfield and set up a short field for their second FG. Even a punt that went in the endzone for a touchback would have been a better decision.
  • I don’t know what’s happened to Bryan Evans, but it looked like his coverage skills have regressed significantly. Spurrier saw something there and exploited it successfully. The sad thing was that Mitchell’s throw on the 31 yard completion was pathetic and had Evans looked back, he’d have been in a position to break the pass up.
  • Stafford had a frustrating game: not only did he overthrow receivers, but he missed seeing open ones. He rarely looked comfortable, as his completion percentage indicated. He never ran, although I saw a couple of occasions when he could have picked up a few yards. He was also lucky in that he had two INTs dropped. On the other hand, he still managed to throw for 213 yards (forty more than Mitchell) and his completion on 3rd and 23 to Massaquoi was jaw dropping on both ends of the play.
  • I think it’s safe to say that the old saw about team improvement from the first to the second week took a serious hit to its credibility last night.  Along the same line, this team continues to exhibit a disturbing tendency under Richt to follow up a dominant performance with an unfocused one.  They seemed surprised by South Carolina’s emotion at the start of the game.  Why I’m not sure, as the home crowd seemed pretty geeked up as well.
  • I know it’s only one game and one loss, but the reality is that it’s going to be extremely difficult for Georgia to win the East at this point.  It’s true that Georgia misses LSU, unlike SC and Florida, but so does Tennessee.  Winning in Knoxville is mandatory just to maintain a pulse.  Saturday night’s loss also makes it necessary for Georgia to lose one less conference game than SC in order to pull it off.  In essence, it’s likely that Georgia can’t lose another SEC game.  I don’t see that happening, frankly.
  • As playmakers, Moreno, Brown, Henderson and Massaquoi continue to impress.  Bailey was good, but not as good as he was in the opener.  I am curious why Stafford went to Wilson and Moore as much as he did, as Massaquoi appears to have regained his freshman mojo.  As I mentioned above, the catch he made to convert the third and 23 was nothing short of stunning.
  • Georgia won’t win ten regular season games in ’07, and it’s not because the SEC is overwhelming this year.  Every team in the East struggled at least part of the day on Saturday, and Auburn was upset at home by USF.  Assuming Florida holds serve in the Swamp next week, it looks like the UF-USC game in Columbia would be for the East – and don’t you think the OBC will pull out all the stops for that one?  That’s a tough choice for Dawg fans.

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A tale of two Marks: Bradley is stumped; Richt yawns.

With all the question marks surrounding the Georgia program going into the ’07 season – an inexperienced offensive line, a receiving corps without a proven track record, three new starters and no experienced depth at linebacker, for example – Mark Bradley looks at the one thing that’s really keeping Mark Richt up at night:

… This year’s question has become almost an annual stumper. Once again, Georgia doesn’t know who’ll be the primary ballcarrier. Once again, Georgia doesn’t even know if it’ll have a primary ballcarrier.

Exactly why is this a big deal? Bradley fumbles around with this. Georgia had its best year in many moons in 2002 with Musa Smith being the primary back, but Bradley has no answer as to whether there’s a causal relationship there, and, indeed, goes on to note that

(t)here’s some merit in Richt’s rotation — fresh legs tend to move faster — and it’s true that Georgia averaged more yards rushing in 2004 and 2005 than in Musa Smith’s banner season.

Aha! But then Bradley finds a telling factoid that he thinks says much without explaining anything. The Bulldogs under Richt are 23-2 when they generate a 100-yard rusher, he says. On the surface that sounds great, but wait a minute. How many of those are games where the Dawgs had a lead going into the late part of a game and just gave the ball to a back to grind out the clock to preserve the win? Given MR’s tendencies as a playcaller, I would imagine quite a few.

Here’s a list of all the backs that rushed for more than 100 yards per game in 2006 D-1:

Rank Player Pos Cl Gm Carries Net TDs Avg Ydspgm
1 Garrett Wolfe, Northern Ill. RB SR 13 309 1928 18 6.24 148.31
2 Ian Johnson, Boise St. RB SO 12 276 1714 25 6.21 142.83
3 Ray Rice, Rutgers RB SO 13 335 1794 20 5.36 138.00
4 Steve Slaton, West Virginia RB SO 13 248 1744 16 7.03 134.15
5 Ahmad Bradshaw, Marshall RB JR 12 249 1523 19 6.12 126.92
6 Dwayne Wright, Fresno St. RB JR 12 261 1462 11 5.60 121.83
7 Jon Cornish, Kansas RB SR 12 250 1457 8 5.83 121.42
8 P.J. Hill, Wisconsin RB FR 13 311 1569 15 5.05 120.69
9 Michael Hart, Michigan RB JR 13 318 1562 14 4.91 120.15
10 Darren McFadden, Arkansas TB SO 14 284 1647 14 5.80 117.64
11 Damion Fletcher, Southern Miss. RB FR 13 276 1388 11 5.03 106.77
12 Tony Hunt, Penn St. RB SR 13 277 1386 11 5.00 106.62
13 Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech RB JR 14 297 1473 12 4.96 105.21
14 Marshawn Lynch, California RB JR 13 223 1356 11 6.08 104.31
15 Kevin Smith, UCF RB SO 9 206 934 7 4.53 103.78
16 Patrick White, West Virginia QB SO 12 165 1219 18 7.39 101.58
17 Calvin Dawson, La.-Monroe RB JR 12 213 1210 11 5.68 100.83
18 Yvenson Bernard, Oregon St. RB JR 13 296 1307 12 4.42 100.54

It’s an impressive list of talent. But here are a few names you don’t see on the list – Florida, Ohio State, LSU, Southern Cal, Oklahoma. Many teams made it to BCS games this past season, including the winner of the title game, without having a 100 yard per game rusher.

There’s a time and a place for a featured back. It’s when you have one player who’s clearly separated himself from the others. Fortunately, Mark Richt understands this far better than Mark Bradley seems to.

… Richt doesn’t see the lack of a 1,000-yard back as a problem. “The good thing about Musa [Smith, who gained 1,324 yards in the breakthrough 2002 season] was that we had consistency there,” Richt said Saturday, speaking at Georgia’s media convocation. “But we didn’t have as many guys ready to play there. Musa was head and tails above everybody else. Until somebody separates himself from the pack, we’ll probably be [tailback] by committee.”

You can almost hear Bradley sputtering “but, but… but” in response. Richt could be missing somebody!

But it’d be a shame if Georgia looks up five years hence and realizes it left another resource untapped. Lest we forget, Terrell Davis never had a 1,000-yard season as a Bulldog under Ray Goff. As a Denver Bronco, Davis had four.

Yeah, it’s a shame that Goff couldn’t figure out what he had with Davis. But exactly whom does Bradley suggest should have had plays and carries shifted away from so that Davis could have shown out? Garrison Hearst started ahead of Davis. He didn’t exactly suck as a college back. The starting QB was Eric Zeier. How much would you take away from him? You can only play with one football at a time.

In the end, this is all much ado about not very much.

If not having a featured back in 2007 turns out to be the biggest problem Georgia faces, it’ll be a good year. Actually, a very good year…

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Goff talks.

The Georgia Scout site has posted the first part of an interview with former Georgia QB and head coach Ray Goff that’s a good illustration of the strengths and weaknesses of Goff’s regime, as well as the decision making process that led to his hire as HC.

With regard to the latter, in Goff’s own words it was the result of a “scramble” that arose due to the school’s ineptness in failing to hire either of the two leading candidates. (Dooley was out of the loop for a period and an inexperienced hiring committee took responsibility for the job search, as I recall.) At that point, Goff decided to throw his hat in the ring, and, to the surprise of many, wound up with Dooley’s backing.

Looking back on it, Dooley’s rationale for the hire was weak:

“Ultimately I felt that Ray Goff, a Georgia man, deserved a chance (to be head coach). Ray knew the program and gave us the best chance for consistency. The Georgia people liked him, and it would obviously be a very popular choice,” Dooley later wrote of picking Goff over Haffner.

Goff suspects that something else was in play, but won’t elaborate:

Looking back, however, Goff says he is a little more skeptical about why he got the job.

“I was very fortunate to get it, and I think I have a pretty good idea why I got the job,” Goff said. “But if you talk about stuff like that I think you are living in the past, and also there are things that might be hurtful to people. Still, just having that shot was a dream come true.”

Goff has the class to refuse to dwell on the negative in the interview, which is more than commendable. And you can’t help but like a guy who says, “(t)he only thing I ever wanted to do was be (sic) was to be the head coach at Georgia, and I had that opportunity,” Goff said. “If I went somewhere else I would be cheating because I couldn’t give it my best.”

But the interview also includes the story surrounding Zeier’s elevation to starting QB in ’91 – a decision that everyone knew was inevitable, but was still poorly handled:

… But it was clear before the award went out that week: a change was going to happen at quarterback. Goff made the decision final – Zeier was to start against Ole Miss and for the remainder of the season. Goff let the freshman know, but didn’t make Talley aware of the change immediately.

“I wish it had been handled differently,” Goff said of his mistake. “It got out before we had a chance to talk with Greg. That, probably, of all the things I regret, is the thing I regret the most – because Greg Talley is one of the finest young men that I have ever been associated with in my life. I felt like we, and me specifically, did not handle that right.”

The press got hold of the story, and it was front page news the next day. Talley, Goff admitted, learned about Zeier’s starting by reading it in the paper, not by talking with his head coach.

Pretty emblematic of the Goff era – the talent was present, but the management was lacking. Unfortunately, the latter often seemed to outweigh the former.

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Political posturing: the saga of Big Ten TV continues.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think it’s ever a good thing when you come to the attention of any member of Congress who chairs a committee.

I do think I know what’s making Commissioner Delany so cranky lately, though – nobody can spell his name correctly.

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UPDATE: In the immortal words of Ray Goff, this just keeps getting “buttah and buttah”.

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Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness

Here and there, this and that, around and about

A few random observations on a summer morning:

  • It’s nature’s way. This never would have happened if Mike Shula was still the head coach. I can’t wait for the arrest and trial. (h/t Loser With Socks)
  • A Chantastic revelation. After watching this video posted at EDSBS, is there any doubt that Chan Gailey is simply Ray Goff with a better defensive coordinator?
  • They really, really like me. Speaking of Georgia Tech, Paul Westerdawg has a post about the esteem Jacket fans continue to hold for Reggie “Dog” Ball. Please, show your support. It doesn’t cost much.
  • Son, after you take your shower, go see the lawyer. How much do things suck at the University of Toledo right now?
  • We’ll always have 2004. And I mean always. I’m beginning to think that Tommy Tuberville is physically incapable of having a football conversation – any football conversation – without bringing up the undefeated season. One of these days his players are gonna get an inferiority complex.
  • They’ll have to rename IPTAY. Clemmins prepares to go the “seat equity” route. One fan’s equity is another’s outrage, so I’m sure this won’t be nearly as smooth a transition as they’re spinning. Not that they’re likely to care in the end, anyways…

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Tech Football, It's Just Bidness, Nick Saban Rules, SEC Football, Tommy Tuberville - Mythical National Champ

I got ‘dem National Signing Day blues, mama.

We all agree there’s something sleazy and creepy about the whole recruitin’ process. And yet, like gawkers on the highway driving by a particularly gruesome wreck, we can’t look away.

We sneer at the coaches that text message these seventeen and eighteen year old boys so much that they force the kids to cancel their phone contracts because they can’t afford the bills from the texting. At the same time, we’re dropping our hard earned scratch on recruiting “services” that at their best sound like high school gossips (“did ‘ya hear what Johnny got on his SAT?”) and at their worst are nothing more than glorified football pimps.

To make matters worse, if you’re a Dawg fan, right now you’re feeling something ranging from mild anxiety to raging… um… well, rage. Kids have been spurning our school the past three weeks (except for Kevin Butler’s son, and everyone knows that kickers don’t count) like it’s caught herpes simplex 7. Florida and Tennessee are kicking Georgia’s ass! The borders aren’t closed anymore (nothing some electrified fencing and Dobermans can’t fix, right?)! Richt’s own son is going to Clemmins (not that anyone cared one way or another about this kid two weeks ago)!

Deep breaths, ladies and gents, deep breaths. Take ‘em. Feel better? No? Well, I feel for you. I’ve been scouring the ‘net looking for a balm to soothe your jangled nerves and I’m gonna try to help.

First, try to learn how to make these recruiting services be your friend. Follow this blogger’s tips and you’ll be in control of the process in no time at all. (Sadly, I’ve seen every one of those points offered in a serious way on one Dawg message board or another over the past couple of weeks.)

A false sense of confidence based on a degree of denial isn’t working for you? How about a sick sense of guilt to take your mind off of things? According to Mark Bradley in the AJC today, Herschel and the Dawgnation are responsible for all of today’s recruiting craziness anyway. I guess it’s kinda like a disease vector: one day some guy is sitting in the jungle noshing on monkey and – bam! – the next thing you know, you’ve got an international epidemic on your hands.

 

More chilled monkey brains, Mr. Cavan?

Per Bradley, “The chase for Herschel was the flashpoint for the evolution of a low-key ritual into a high-volume mania.” Who knew that Mike Cavan being holed up in some cheap Wrightsville motel like someone on the lam would lead to Jamie Newberg? It’s all our fault. Revel in it.

But what if guilt doesn’t take your mind off of the frustration any better than denial? Well, there’s always mockery, like Spurrier’s famous quote after he kicked Goff’s ass in ’91:

“Why is it that during recruiting season they sign all the great players, but when it comes time to play the game, we have all the great players? I don’t understand that. What happens to them?”

Of course, for that approach to work for us with the Gators we’d need to see some wins.

If nothing works for you, face it, you’re probably a recruiting loser. Know that’s you he’s referring to in the last line from that Loser With Socks post linked above:

Hope this helps guide you through next Wednesday as your team attempts to win the only title that matters: The Recruiting National Championship.

Yeah!

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