Daily Archives: October 14, 2009

When you’ve lost Tony Barnhart…

One thing about Tony Barnhart – he tends to be pretty level-headed about handing out criticism of a program or coach as it relates to on-field performance, often to the point of blandness.

That ain’t the case today.

… Here is the reality. While the offensive line lost tackle Trinton Sturdivant for the second straight year, Stacy Searels’ group has underachieved based on the talent at hand. The running backs may have been high in the recruiting services coming out of high school, but they look pretty average to me.

Georgia should never average less than 100 yards rushing per game. Never. That is simply unacceptable.

**–The defense can’t rush the passer. It can’t cover receivers. Other than linebacker Rennie Curran and tackle Jeff Owens, I don’t see a whole lot of passion out there. It’s easy to blame the coaching and there is no question that Willie Martinez has some work to do. Steve Spurrier basically exposed this defense when he threw the ball 53 times against the Bulldogs on Sept. 12. Spurrier is among the best at detecting weaknesses on a defense. And there are a bunch of them on this defense.

So this is where Georgia is, in my opinion. The Bulldogs are a very average team that played very poorly last Saturday in Knoxville. They have a chance to have a decent season. They also have a chance to have a bad season.

His conclusion is just as unflattering.

… When you’re 3-3 and the fundamentals on the team are this bad, everything is on the table. And after this season is over, everything should be on the table for Georgia. And it looks like some tough decisions are going to have to be made.

For Barnhart, that’s a diatribe.

And while you’re surfing the AJ-C sports page, take a gander at Chip Towers’ look at Georgia’s defensive recruiting.  It’s pretty sobering as well.

… it’s clear that some very good prospects are playing very bad defense for Georgia.

Neither one of those pieces are what I’d call Mark Bradley-esque fishing exercises.  Unfortunately.


UPDATE: And Bill King gives us the trifecta when he pulls out the long knife on something else that’s driven me batty the last two seasons.

Apparently, unless your father is threatening to transfer you elsewhere, as was the case when D.J. Shockley was backing up David Greene, Richt is loathe to provide guaranteed, scripted playing time for his backup quarterback.




Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Hi, we’re from the police and we’re here to help.

Georgia junior cornerback Vance Cuff was arrested Tuesday by university police on misdemeanor charges of having a suspended license and emerging from an alley.

Emerging from an alley? They’ve got to be kidding – I didn’t even know that one was on the books.

Athens, Georgia must be the safest college town in America.


UPDATE: Vanderbilt suspended a player for something almost as serious.  In the school’s defense, it was his second arrest in as many years.


UPDATE #2: More details emerge, per David Hale.

… The incident occurred, according to a statement released by the school, when Cuff left the Butts-Mehre Building on his scooter. He made a left and drove down Rutherford Street, which is currently closed during construction. When he was stopped for driving down the closed road, it was discovered that his license was suspended.

You know, it’s a damned shame that Hunter Thompson passed away.  The situation in Athens is crying out for a scooter sequel to Hell’s Angels.


Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

Mumme Poll breakdown: checking out the homers.

Wrong Homer.

Wrong Homer.

As I’ve mentioned, one big target for the Mumme Poll is taking on the bias/conflict of interest problems that plague the Coaches Poll.  As Tony Barnhart illustrated in his post about the last regular season Coaches Poll vote in 2007 (it’s linked at the Mumme Poll page, above), it wasn’t just Hal Mumme’s blatant attempt to prop Hawaii’s position up in the poll results that was a concern, it was also things such as how all the coaches in a given conference voted with regard to its members.

Obviously, our voters don’t have the money stakes in the vote that the coaches do in theirs, but the Mumme Poll is a fan-based operation, so bias is still an issue to be evaluated.  It’s just that you have to take out the financial motivation and substitute an emotional one in its place.  And as I think about it, this has the potential to be one of the weak spots of the MP as an evaluation tool.

Here’s why:  while you might see, say, every coach in the Big Ten look favorably upon Ohio State in a given year in an (I’ll be charitable and call it unconscious) effort to enhance that school’s chances of appearing in a BCS game, they’re not voting that way because they’re Buckeye homeboys.  In other words, they’re not a coordinated bloc that can be counted on merely because of institutional loyalty.  On the other hand, our Ohio State voters do have that loyalty.

Why does that matter?  Well, remember that one thing approval voting is structured for is to reduce the impact that any one vote could have on the overall result.  Hal Mumme voted Hawaii number one because he believed that, given the design of the Coaches Poll which assigns more weight to a higher ranking, his vote alone would have an impact.  With approval voting, unless enough of his peers would vote the same way on Hawaii as Mumme, his attempt to manipulate the vote wouldn’t succeed, and knowing that was unlikely, Mumme’s own vote would have been different as a result.

What you have to worry about with our voters is that the psychology may be different.  Those Ohio State voters aren’t thinking about whether they can manipulate the results to get their beloved school into a BCS game with a big payoff; they just love their school.  And “they” is a key – it’s not like they’re voting as a coordinated, planned bloc, but you still have to be concerned that a group bias could come into play.

Now I’m not suggesting that’s happened, of course.  And there are two factors that would ameliorate the problem, if, in fact, it existed.  First of all, every school is likely to have its share of homers voting.  So to some extent, that should even out in the overall voting results.  And, in any event, there are a large number of voters who aren’t homers, whether that’s by design or circumstances (I’m looking at us, Georgia voters).

Anyway, it’s something I’ll be taking a look at over the rest of the season.  Here’s a breakdown of how some of the voting groups cast their ballots, compared to the overall results:

  • Ohio State:  10th in the MP; tied for 6th among OSU-affiliated voters.
  • Alabama:  1st in the MP; tied for 1st among Alabama-affiliated voters.
  • Florida:  2nd in the MP; tied for 1st among Florida-affiliated voters.
  • Texas:  3rd in the MP; tied for 1st among Texas-affiliated voters.
  • Penn State:  15th in the MP; 12th among Penn State-affiliated voters.
  • Georgia Tech:  18th in the MP, 13th among Tech-affiliated voters.

You can get into sample-size issues with this, so I don’t want to get too crazy with it.  But I think you can see that human nature is what it is.


Filed under Mumme Poll

“All you can ask is for forgiveness — and I’ve done that part.”

I described Coach Richt the other day as the captain of a dysfunctional ship.  Everything’s relative, of course, but if you take the Georgia program as the base for defining dysfunctional, I’m at a loss for a word to describe what’s going on at the University of New Mexico right now.

If you’re not aware, first year head coach Mike Locksley evidently punched out one of his assistant coaches.  The incident was serious enough (don’t forget that Locksley is a big dude – 275 pounds or thereabouts big) that the punchee filed a police report.

An investigation was initiated by the school, rather reluctantly

Initially, the only punishment levied against Locksley was a verbal reprimand and a written letter placed in his personnel file. But at Krebs’ request — and after a public outcry — the University Human Resources department launched an investigation into the altercation.

… and the end result is that Locksley has been suspended for one game and the guy he decked is leaving the program.  No kidding.

It looks like wide receivers coach Jonathan “J.B.” Gerald is on his way out of UNM.  Athletics Director Paul Krebs confirmed Sunday that Gerald turned in his University-issued cell phone and car keys on Friday.

Gerald has been on paid administrative leave since he filed a police report on the evening of Sept. 20 alleging that Lobo football coach Mike Locksley approached him in an “aggressive manner” after a “heated” exchange during an offensive staff meeting.

The Lobos are 0-6 under Locksley, who also had a sexual harassment claim filed against him earlier this year.  Talk about a guy who isn’t on a hot seat with his boss, but should be…


Filed under Crime and Punishment

Vandy week: the state of their union

This should be, in normal times, a sleepy little week as Georgia prepares to travel to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt.  After all, the Dawgs have won 13 of the last 14 meetings between the two schools.  But given that we’ve officially got a Program in Crisis (cue the YouTube clip)…

… it’s anything but.

It’s worth looking around to see if there are any small bits and pieces, any minor developments, any offhand comments that might be telling about where things are headed, at least in the short run.

One emerging meme:  it’s 2006 all over again, baby.  Eh, maybe.  Certainly it is in terms of writing off the SEC East, but nine wins is looking like a helluva stretch right now, even more so than then.  And you tell me what Mark Richt sounds like when he says something like this:

“It’s hard to measure a team’s ability to withstand pressure,” Richt said. “I think a lot of teams fold under that kind of pressure. A lot of coaching staffs fold under that kind of pressure and we never did. We were very resilient. We were very persistent. We stayed the course. We didn’t make a bunch of wholesale changes, whether it was the players, coaches or anything like that. We just kept grinding, we kept banging away. You just never know how close you are to success until you live it out.”

He sounds like a guy who’s wishing and hoping the next six games are going to put him in a place where he doesn’t have to make any hard decisions.  Good luck with that, Coach.

I will say this for Richt – it looks like some needed personnel changes are being implemented, in a low key sort of way.

Richt said redshirt freshman Baccari Rambo will see an increase in his playing time at safety, establishing a three-man rotation with Bryan Evans and Reshad Jones.

Freshman Branden Smith should see more work at corner, too, spelling senior Prince Miller.

Richt said his two freshman receivers, Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten had earned more playing time, too, following Brown’s first significant action of the season last week.

The sooner, the better would seem to be what the defensive stats would suggest.

“To get every rep is not good for anybody in my opinion,” Richt said. “I think there needs to be a time when you are not on the field every single down.”

He didn’t mention that a unit consisting mainly of Jones, Miller, Evans and Boykin has surrendered 249 passing yards per game this season, good enough for 11th best in the SEC and 97th in the FBS.

In moderate playing time, Rambo has accounted for two of Georgia’s four interceptions this season. In more intermittent time, Smith has two pass breakups, the same amount as Miller.

And it’s a good week to make the move.

The Georgia secondary would presumably have an easy task this week, going against Vanderbilt quarterback Larry Smith and a Commodore passing attack that averages a league-worst 146.7 yards per game. That’s good enough for 114th-nationwide, just below a Georgia Tech team that has thrown the ball only 75 times all season.

Of course, as Tyler Estep reminds us…

But as the Bulldogs showed against previously-maligned Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton, nothing’s a given for the Georgia secondary this season.

True dat.


UPDATE: David Hale talks with some of the defensive players about what they think the issues are affecting their recent performance.  I found this quote from Rennie Curran interesting:

“That’s another thing that comes from watching film,” Curran said specifically of defending the play-action. “It’s eye progression and being disciplined. There are certain keys that give away that play-action, and those keys, you only know them if you study film, watch tendencies and know down and distance. Play-action is all about discipline in where your eyes go and knowing what you’re seeing.”

Reading between the lines – not just that quote, but several others – there seems to be a question about the level of dedication some players are putting in.  I’m not saying whether that’s fair or not, but it certainly sounds like it’s there.


UPDATE #2: Michael Elkon asks a musical question.  I know what Mark Richt’s answer would be.


UPDATE #3: Hoo boy.  Now there’s word of a players only meeting.


Filed under Georgia Football

Ed on the spread

Go take a look at Ed Gunther’s post over at The National Championship Issue about how all D-1 teams have done against the spread during the period of 2000-8.  The data is exhaustive and a fun read, but the must read part is at the beginning, where he reminds us what the spread is about:

… The first thing to realize, if you don’t already, is that the spread is NOT a measure of how much Vegas thinks a team is going to win or lose by. It is a measure of what Vegas thinks the betting public thinks a team is going to win or lose by. Their goal is to get the number of bets on either side of the line as close to equal as they can, thereby ensuring that they’ll win as much as they lose, making a profit on the vig they charge to place the bets. So it’s in their best interest to know not only how good teams are and how they match up, but more importantly what the betting public thinks of how good teams are and how they match up.

So the spread can be seen as the mean, or middle, of public expectation. Half the people think a team will beat the spread, the other half don’t. Looking at how teams have performed against these expectations can give us a good idea into whether they’re truly underrated, overrated, or rated just about right.

Good stuff.

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Filed under Stats Geek!