Monthly Archives: May 2008

“In our heads. Yea, right.”

Please, go back and read the comment thread to this post about the Celebration.

And then read what Urban has to say on the subject.

Florida coach Urban Meyer made sure to point out that his team has more rivals than just Georgia even though the one rivalry game that Gators fans and players figure to circle on the calendar this year is the Nov. 1 game in Jacksonville against the Bulldogs.

Georgia players celebrated excessively in the end zone after Richt instructed them to draw a penalty after the first score in the Bulldogs’ 42-30 win last year.

Meyer said video of the scene will be used with his team.

“It will,” Meyer said. “We can’t concern ourselves with that right now. that’s a big game. We’re playing Hawaii (in the opener) … so we’re not trying to motivate our team through several workouts with Georgia.”

Meyer won’t deny he’s mentioned the celebration this offseason.

“I won’t say that,” Meyer said. “Our focus isn’t that.”

It’s obvious nobody’s thinking about that elephant in the room.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

“We had the chance to do something special.”

This just floors me:

… Of Rivals.com’s top 20 prospects in the ’05 class, five bypassed their senior seasons and were selected last month in the NFL draft. Two of the five, Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart and Miami safety Kenny Phillips, were first-round selections.

Yet 11 of the 20 have been arrested. [Emphasis added.]

By the way, it’s not all little stuff, either. One sample:

4. DE Melvin Alaeze Randallstown, Md. Maryland

After failing to meet academic requirements to play for the Terrapins, Alaeze was arrested in February 2006 on five marijuana-related offenses. He wound up with Ron Zook at Illinois later that year but was quickly suspended for missing classes and left for what he cited as personal reasons. He was arrested that December in Randallstown for his involvement in a robbery and shooting and was sentenced this past November to eight years in prison.

Meyer and Fulmer sound the alarm bells.

… Speaking to Florida boosters recently in Miami, Meyer said the NCAA is pulling coaches away from the recruiting process and making it more difficult to judge character.

“I’m not allowed to go out anymore,” Meyer said. “I’m not allowed to text-message. I’m trying to find out as best I can. You just keep re-evaluating.

“If you just look around and see some of the things that are going on, it’s amazing. It’s concerning. It’s alarming.”

Fulmer agreed, admitting he doesn’t know as much about today’s prospects.

“I think it’s the whole environment that’s been created,” he said. “You don’t know as much about them, and it’s hard sometimes to find out information about them because people aren’t completely honest with you about them. That’s a concern.

“There are issues with some young people trying to go so fast in their athletic career because they’re not looking as much for an education as they are the NFL, so they’re going to school for the wrong reasons, and that in itself is very, very dangerous.”

I think blaming a text message ban for causing evaluation problems is beyond silly, but it’s obvious that coaches are having a hard time judging character, or, perhaps more accurately, their ability to manage character.

Is that because the system doesn’t build in sufficient accountability for recruiting players like these? Will the APR have any effect? Hard to say, although it’s fairly certain that winning big cures lots of faults.

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UPDATE: More thoughts on this from Tyrone Willingham:

COACH WILLINGHAM: I would say, also, that the statement that Mark made about the information and the source of the information is critical because there are very few communities that you go into that someone wants to be known as the person that denied Johnny a scholarship. There are not going to be many of those in most of the communities you go into. So even for the assistant coach to get the information is very difficult.

Hopefully that’s where the experience of the staff comes in, when the coach says he’s all right, you understand that there’s something in that statement, he’s all right. And that’s very difficult.

So the gaining of the information I think is probably the most difficult thing in the process, which allows you to gauge and really understand the character. I think we can assess the academic information; I think that’s pretty straightforward. But the character issues I think you have to reach deeper. And if you were to have a young man that at a youthful age did have a problem, anything on him is probably sealed, so how do you get that information? Even with a service working for you, it’s very difficult to get to the heart of what all the problems were.

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Filed under College Football, Crime and Punishment, Recruiting

Georgia’s ten most memorable plays of 2007, #7

Georgia vs. Auburn, November 10:

Georgia at 6:47 AUB GA
1st and 10 at GA 32 Knowshon Moreno rush for a loss of 3 yards to the Geo 29. 20 17
2nd and 13 at GA 29 Georgia penalty 0 yard ineligible downfield on pass off-setting accepted, Auburn penalty 0 yard personal foul off-setting, NO PLAY. accepted, no play.
2nd and 13 at GA 29 Matthew Stafford pass complete to Sean Bailey for 45 yards to the Aub 26 for a 1ST down.

Hard to believe, but there was a point in the Blackout game when things weren’t going so swimmingly for the home team. In the middle of the third quarter, Auburn capped off a 17 point run against the Dawgs with a Wes Byrum field goal to take a 20-17 lead. During that stretch, Georgia didn’t have any answers for Will Muschamp’s defense, particularly Antonio Coleman’s one man wrecking crew performance.

But it turned out that it only took one play to unleash the hounds.

Start at the 5:50 mark on the clip. What you’ll see is Stafford stepping back and throwing a beautiful strike to Sean Bailey down the right sideline that Bailey makes a slight adjustment on. With that play, the momentum shifted for the last time, as Georgia went on to score 28 straight points to rout Auburn 45-20.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“The SEC is supposed to be tough.”

I honestly don’t understand those people who feel the need to suck the joy out of college football in the name of fairness. Here’s a new super terrific idea from John Adams of The Knoxville News Sentinel: get rid of rivalries.

The SEC spring meetings, which begin this week, always bring out the constructive critic in me.

Today’s target: the SEC football schedule.

The SEC could improve its method of determining division champions.

That would mean putting an end to non-divisional rivalries on an annual basis.

Yep – he wants to do away with Alabama and Tennessee playing each year. And he doesn’t need to see Georgia and Auburn, the originators of the oldest football rivalry in the South, play annually, either.

Essentially, he’s bothered by the fact that in certain years one contending team faces a tougher conference slate than a competitor (he uses this year’s Georgia-Florida schedules as examples). But here’s the thing: you never really know what you’re going to get in a specific year in the SEC. There are years when a good team flops; there are years when a bad team proves competitive. Plus, over time this stuff tends to balance out.

What’s most irritating about his article is that it ignores history.

Traditionalists might cringe at the thought. But the SEC shoved tradition aside a long time ago when it went to divisional play.

Nice shot – except the SEC didn’t have balanced schedules before divisional play. So there have always been years where one conference team had a easier slate than another.  It’s a tradition, you might say.

Bad idea.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football

They call him the joker.

If Tommy Tuberville ever gets tired of coaching, he might have a future in standup comedy.

… In a brief meeting in the Oval Office, Bush presented each of the coaches with a tie clip and a golf ball, each with the Presidential seal.

“You need to get rid of all this stuff,” Tuberville said, referring to the fewer than eight months remaining in Bush’s term. “Your wife’s not going to let you bring it home.”

… A few hours later, as the same bus brought the coaches to the field, someone announced that a coach needed to volunteer to serve as referee. Weis snapped it up.

“I’m going to screw the SEC,” Weis said, looking for a reaction.

“It wouldn’t be the first time,” Tuberville shot back.

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Filed under Tommy Tuberville - Mythical National Champ

If you run it, they won’t throw.

Funny, I look at Florida’s four losses last year and the fact that it finished at the bottom of the conference in pass defense and figure that for the Gators to contend for the SEC championship, they’ve got to close that gaping wound.

Evidently that ain’t it at all.

7. Does Florida need a true feature back to win the SEC? It was a familiar refrain last season: If Florida just had a good tailback, it would’ve won the SEC East.

That refrain already has started this season. But it needs to end because the statement is wrong.

Yes, every team wants a standout tailback it can give the ball to 20 times a game. But Florida doesn’t need a great tailback; it just needs its projected tailback-by-committee approach to net 1,200 rushing yards. If that happens, the Gators win the East – and probably the league as a whole.

I say evidently, because I don’t think he’s looking in the right direction. First of all, that’s a question that ignores the way Meyer structures his offense.

… The closest Meyer ever came to using an every-down back was in 2003 at Utah, when Brandon Warfield carried 237 times for 976 yards and 11 touchdowns. In fact, 2003 was the only season in Meyer’s seven as a head coach that he didn’t have at least three players with at least 75 rushing attempts.

The numbers don’t lie. In seven seasons, Meyer has never coached a 1,000-yard rusher.

Second, it implies that Meyer is going to take the ball out of the hands of two proven performers in order to put them in the hands of, well… not so proven performers. Florida’s top three runners last year gained over 2,200 yards on the ground. As Kestahn Moore was one of the three, that means that in order to feed the tailback committee its yardage, either Florida is going to have to find an additional 600-700 yards of offense, or take the ball away from Tebow and Harvin to make up the difference.

Now maybe Harvin’s injury will make that a valid possibility, but if you’re Urban Meyer, why would you want to take the ball out of your best player’s hands? Sunday Morning Quarterback labels Tebow Florida’s closest thing to a force of nature, and while that may be a tad hyperbolic, you can’t argue with him when he says “… as long as he’s in the lineup, Florida is a contender to outscore anyone.”

The key word there being “outscore”. As SMQ points out, Florida scored 45 points in seven of its games last season and averaged 24 points in its four losses – as well as 61 yards and 13 points per game more than the unit that won the mythical championship in ‘06. The Gators’ weakness was on the other side of the ball.

Florida looks to be better in ’08. The schedule is more favorable than last year’s, as Auburn drops off in favor of Arkansas and the Gators don’t travel to Baton Rouge. And the simple fact is that the pass defense has nowhere to go but up (although if you attribute the rough year to youth, it ought to be a little disconcerting to note that the Florida pass defense didn’t really look much better at year’s end).

So, yeah, I expect a lot to be riding on the WLOCP this year. I’m just not convinced that Emmanuel Moody’s rushing yardage is going to be the key as to why so much will be on the line in Jacksonville.

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UPDATE: Orange and Blue Hue’s GatorPilot has more thoughts on this here. (Bonus points for Celebration reference!)

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Media Punditry/Foibles, The Blogosphere

Georgia’s ten most memorable plays of 2007, #8

November 24, Georgia at Georgia Tech

Georgia at 13:26 GA GT
1st and 10 at GA 29 Thomas Brown rush for a loss of 5 yards to the Geo 24. 23 17
2nd and 15 at GA 24 Thomas Brown rush for 33 yards to the GTech 43 out-of-bounds for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 43 Knowshon Moreno rush for 2 yards to the GTech 41.
2nd and 8 at GT 41 Knowshon Moreno rush for 10 yards to the GTech 31 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 31 Knowshon Moreno rush for a loss of 1 yard to the GTech 32.
2nd and 11 at GT 32 Thomas Brown rush for 32 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. 29 17

There were a lot of crazy plays in this game – fumbles, balls bouncing off helmets, Stafford doing his best George Godsey impression on a TD run – but the play that sticks out in my mind was blissfully straightforward.

In an era of read options, spread options, five wides and other frou-frou on offense, it’s immensely satisfying to watch a perfectly blocked simple toss sweep to the right develop exactly like it’s drawn up. Everybody blocks their man (especially Southerland) and nobody lays a finger on Thomas Brown. That’s the play that wrapped the game up and sent the message to every Jacket: there’s a reason it’s seven in a row.

Oh yeah, I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Stacey Searels is ‘da man.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“Mr. Graham was intoxicated and celebrating being eligible to play college football again.”

Lt. Bender: GIVE THE BAG TO BOZO, DROP THE GUN, AND PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR.
Earl Mott: Who said that?
Lt. Walters: This could very well be the stupidest person on the face of the earth.

The torch has been passed, I’m afraid.

(h/t The Wizard of Odds)

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Filed under Crime and Punishment

Georgia’s ten most memorable plays of 2007, #9

January 1, 2008, Georgia vs. Hawaii (Sugar Bowl)

Hawaii at 9:48 HAW GA
1st and 10 at HAW 4 Colt Brennan pass complete to Kealoha Pilares for 3 yards to the Hawa 7. 3 24
2nd and 7 at HAW 7 Colt Brennan pass incomplete to Davone Bess.
3rd and 7 at HAW 7 Colt Brennan pass complete to C.J. Hawthorne for 7 yards to the Hawa 14 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at HAW 14 Colt Brennan pass incomplete to Ryan Grice-Mullen.
2nd and 10 at HAW 14 Colt Brennan pass incomplete to Jason Rivers.
3rd and 10 at HAW 14 Marcus Howard recovery of fumble in end zone for a TOUCHDOWN. 3 30

Sure, it was the cherry on top of the sundae, as Georgia was cruising to an easy win over an outmanned Hawai’i squad, but Marcus Howard’s sack and fumble recovery for a TD was the exclamation point to the finest game of his collegiate career.

The speed and Howard’s ferocity in getting to Colt Brennan – again! – illustrate what a worthy contributor Marcus became to the legacy of pass rushing prowess of Georgia defensive ends in the Richt era. Stiffs don’t wind up leading the SEC in total sacks.

Here’s the play, along with some rather incoherent commentary, for your viewing pleasure:

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Filed under Georgia Football

Georgia’s ten most memorable plays of 2007, #10

November 17: Kentucky at Georgia

Kentucky at 14:54 UK GA
1st and 10 at UK 34 Rafael Little rush for 1 yard to the Kent 35. 10 7
2nd and 9 at UK 35 Andre’ Woodson pass incomplete.
3rd and 9 at UK 35 Georgia penalty 5 yard offside defense accepted, no play.
3rd and 4 at UK 40 Kentucky penalty 5 yard false start on N/A accepted.
3rd and 9 at UK 35 Andre’ Woodson pass incomplete.
4th and 9 at UK 35 Team punt blocked for no gain.

Right in the middle of Georgia’s seven game winning streak, it’s easy to forget what a struggle the Kentucky game was, especially for Georgia’s offense. The Dawgs turned the ball over four times and Stafford was held under 100 yards passing – the only time that happened all season.

But the defense played tough against a good Wildcat offense. And the special teams were just that. Although Asher Allen’s 82 yard kickoff return was wasted by a subsequent Moreno fumble, the punt return team came through in a big way in the third quarter with a crucial punt block.

(photo courtesy Athens Banner-Herald)

As the AB-H described the action,

… Senior safety Kelin Johnson helped change the momentum in his final home game.

With Georgia trailing 10-7 in the third quarter, Johnson rushed up the middle and blocked Tim Masthay’s punt and Ramarcus Brown recovered at the Kentucky 19.

Six plays later, Thomas Brown scored on a 1-yard run to put Georgia ahead for the first time 14-10 and the Bulldogs never relinquished the lead.

It was a fine way for the seniors to go out on top in their last game in front of the home folks.

You can find the entire game linked here.

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