I don’t think anyone who watched the Cap One and Liberty Bowls will be surprised by Gentry Estes’ comparison of where the Alabama and Georgia programs are today.
… I’ve been asked a lot since I took this job about the differences in Nick Saban’s Alabama, which I covered from 2007 through the 2009 BCS title, to Mark Richt’s current Georgia program.
I’ve thought about this for a while and wanted to wait until a full season was complete to form a fair judgment. So here goes. My conclusion is the raw talent gap is actually not that large, but …
First, there’s the eye test. Overall, Alabama players look bigger and in far better condition. Richt addressed this with the recent strength and conditioning swap. And while some rolled their eyes at the shuffle of long-time employee Joe Tereshinski to head Dave Van Halanger’s former department, former players loved this move, because Joe T’s plan is to put his foot to some rears to find out who really wants to earn his way. Bravo. It needed to happen a while ago.
Second, and more important, football has just got to mean more.
Georgia’s players need to take their commitment to the sport more seriously. They need to stop getting into silly off-the-field situations. They need to start showing up to watch more film on their own. There needs to be more leadership. There needs to be more accountability from actual players, not just the coaching staff. If you can’t depend on a teammate to show up for an academic appointment under threat of suspension if he doesn’t, how can you trust he’ll make a key block when required?
I asked somebody this the other day – can you think of another school which pinned so much hope in turning its fortunes around on a change in its strength and conditioning program? I’m not sure which bothers me more, that it seems so strange, or that it might work.