I doubt very many of you who stop by here don’t also read David Hale’s blog (or, should I say, the acclaimed blog of David Hale), but his last two posts on Georgia’s recruiting are especially worth your attention.
The first of these is a promise versus production look at Georgia’s recruiting classes for the 2004-8 period. It’s a very good illustration of the micro vs. macro approach to analyzing recruiting. Again, we all love the stories of the scrappy two-star players who are dying to come to Georgia to play and wind up contributing, but it’s the repeated top-ten classes that allow a program to excel over time in the toughest conference in the country.
However, it’s the second post, the one that breaks down production by position, that’s really interesting. Mainly because Hale deduces a pattern in Richt’s management of his staff:
… So the position coaches who appear to have had the least success at turning promise into performance are all gone now, replaced during the past two offseasons.
I somehow doubt these are the numbers that Mark Richt was crunching when he made the decisions to let those guys go (or in Eason’s case, move him upstairs), but that doesn’t mean he didn’t come to the right conclusion anyway.
Let me chime in with a few thoughts of my own in response:
- If you’re of the “it’s not the Xs and Os, it’s the Jimmies and Joes” school, Richt’s lengthy (some would say too lengthy) approach to replacing coaches makes more sense. A head coach may get a feeling in the shorter term about whether an assistant coach is good with schemes and on the field adjustments, but evaluating a coach’s ability to identify and develop talent on a consistent basis takes more time.
- I think David may be reading a bit more into Rex Robinson’s post about Tony Ball and the recruitment of Da’Rick Rogers than Rex intended, but on the other hand, seeing Marlon Brown produce this season wouldn’t hurt if you’re Ball.
- One thing David doesn’t touch on – and it’s something that I doubt anyone who doesn’t sit in on coaches’ meetings would have any way of knowing – is how much of the shortcomings in production are due to coaching the kids once they arrive on campus and how much of it is due to faulty evaluation going in. And that doesn’t mean a failure in judging talent as much as it means a failure in judging whether the recruits you’re offering are the best fit for what your program needs to succeed in the SEC over time. I sure would love to know how much input the recently departed had in choosing who was offered.
- If you’re looking for the silver lining, Hale provides it: “It’s still far too early to tell what type of impact Georgia’s new coaches will have, but it’s nevertheless encouraging to know that the problems were identified. Because if Tony Ball and Todd Grantham and Warren Belin can each take one guy per season who might have been a “failure” under the old regime and turn him into a success, that’ll mean 12 more productive players four years from now. And that’s a significant difference.”