Daily Archives: January 16, 2012

Is Nick Saban opening up a new front in the oversigning wars?

Nick Saban tells a kid who verballed to ‘Bama last February that his time hasn’t come yet, and that he’ll have to wait until 2013 to sign with the Tide.  That damned new SEC hard-25 rule claims its first victim.

But here’s the most interesting part:

“Coach Saban said he wished he would’ve been able to tell me this in August instead of now.  He said the only reason he can’t sign me is because he can’t sign 26 people. They can only sign 25 people. He said he was going to sign me with the next class. But he also said he would sign a piece of paper to show that they are keeping their word – they are going to sign it and they want me to sign it to make sure I know I still have my scholarship.”  [Emphasis added.]

So this kid believes he’s going to get some sort of binding commitment from Alabama for a scholarship in a year’s time.  I can’t wait to hear from the NCAA about that.  (Not to mention every school in the SEC.)

I said most interesting, because that’s not the only eye-popping comment this kid made.  Check this out:

“He said I’m going to stay in Georgia. They are going to find me a job. I’m going to work. I’m going to physical therapy at least seven days per week. I guess I will work, go to physical therapy and get strong … I will come in with the class of 2013. I’ll get there with the early group so I can do winter workouts and spring football.”  [Emphasis added.]

Employment via Saban.  That’s nice.  Times are tough, after all.  Perhaps he can arrange for transportation to get the kid to and from his job while he’s at it.

I suspect we’ll be hearing shortly about how this is all an unfortunate misunderstanding.  But it’s reassuring to see that Saban continues to push the envelope.  I’m sure a few of his peers are busy taking notes.


UPDATE:  Helluva catch by Andy Staples, straight from the NCAA manual. After Completion of Senior Year. An institution may arrange for employment or employ any prospective student-athlete (regardless of athletics award winner status), provided the employment does not begin prior to the completion of the prospective student-athlete’s senior year in high school. (See Bylaw

I should have known Saban is one step ahead of things.  Like I said, I bet there are coaches taking notes on this.


UPDATE #2:  Now, Justin Taylor is going to look at his options.



Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

Another item for Mark Richt’s to-do list

One thing Georgia’s head coach deserves credit for this past season is identifying two problems that crippled Georgia in 2010 – turnover margin and opponents’ third-down conversion rate – and taking steps to rectify them.  The Dawgs improved dramatically in both.  That’s why I take some comfort in his announcement that he intends to focus on Georgia’s special teams woes this offseason.

But there is another sore spot he needs to direct some attention towards.  I think this chart speaks to that:

2011 6.57 94th
2010 4.85 23rd
2009 4.77 25th
2008 4.31 19th
2007 4 3rd

One of those years is not like the others.  But even with that enormous jump in 2011, things have been on a steadily downward trend over the past five seasons.

What’s to blame?  Well, sacks explain some of it…

2011 2.36 87th
2010 1.92 65th
2009 0.92 8th
2008 1.23 27th
2007 1.08 12th

… but they clearly don’t explain all.  (Say what you will about Joe Cox, but at least he could avoid a sack.)  I’d say there’s a fair amount of blame to spread around:

  • Aaron Murray.  He may be more mobile than his two predecessors, but that’s not stopping him from getting sacked at a much greater rate than either Cox or Stafford.
  • Will Friend.  I know he didn’t have much to work with from a depth standpoint, but that huge increase in 2011 after four seasons of relative stability indicates that something wasn’t right on the offensive line last year.
  • Running backs.  Remember how everyone used to say that Moreno’s greatest gift as a runner was turning three-yard losses into two-yard gains?  We weren’t making that up.  Call this year’s group anything you’d like, but don’t call them elusive.
  • Game planning.  You run more plays per game, you run the risk of having more negative plays result.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“It rises to the occasion of saying, ‘Oops. Mistake. Sorry.'”

Bobby Hebert says he’s not a journalist, even though he attends LSU games and pressers on his employer’s press pass.

LSU calls Hebert a “representative of the station”.

ESPN, that noted bastion of journalism, sees Hebert as a story.

In a Thursday interview on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show, Hebert mostly discussed the Saints’ upcoming playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers, but the news conference question/commentary and subsequent media attention he’d received for it also came up.

The hosts first played a recording of Hebert confronting Miles, then asked Hebert “to take us through what was going on there and what your thoughts were.”

And the radio station where Hebert works describes him as an institution who “got a little carried away”.

No wonder the media is held in such high regard these days.  If they don’t see themselves as bound by certain rules of professionalism, why should the rest of us?


Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles

A playoff, for the wrong reason

Joe Posnanski is a college football playoff proponent.  And while I think he’s not completely right about the last BCS title game, I do think he’s on to something here:

… Many people around America legitimately did not care. The game drew its lowest ratings in a few years. Bowl games in general drew significantly lower ratings — the lowest since the BCS began…

… What happened after the game? The predictable. College football people began to panic. Bad ratings? Bad game? No hype? We all know 2011 was a terrible year for college football for many reasons — suddenly college football does not seem quite as invulnerable. And voila, like magic, Big 10 Commission Jim Delany, who had widely been viewed as a leader of the anti-playoff forces, said that he wanted to have have the playoff “conversation.” NCAA President Mark Emmert came out in favor of a four-team playoff. Reports emerged saying there is now “momentum” for a playoff.

I think a four-team playoff is inevitable at this point.  They’re just debating the details.  And I do agree it’s a reaction because some panic has set in over the ratings drop.  What I differ with Posnanski about is the root cause.  He thinks the rematch, combined with it being a bad game, is to blame.  But BCS title games tend to be lopsided affairs.  That hasn’t mattered too much, until now.  That’s because moving college football’s showcase game to pay TV is more to blame for the numbers falling.

And that’s not going away with a playoff.  Which gives Posnanski’s prediction an air of inevitability.

Yes, there will be a playoff. It will begin as a four-team playoff. Get ready for it — and get ready for the people in charge insisting that it will always be a four-team playoff (a Football Final Four, if you will). Yes, they will say that four teams is the perfect number, and that any more than four would be unseemly, poisonous to the academic institutions, unfair to the players and all those other things they have been saying the last few years about NO playoff.

It will stay a four-team playoff right up to the point that the ratings drop, and the hype drops, the games are lousy and people stop caring. Then it could become an eight-team playoff. A 16-team playoff. And so on. In the real world, the story always ends with “and so on.”

I have this sinking feeling that the war is over.  And I got my ass kicked.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil

No hard feelings, Derek.

You’re Nick Saban.  You’ve been grooming one of your top recruiters and position coaches to fill the Kirby Smart slot that will open up when some other school takes a shot at hiring Smart as its new head coach, only to see one of your former protegés step in and make him an offer he couldn’t refuse.  All that hard work, gone to waste.  Then, to top it off, he has the nerve to make you sound magnanimous about it.

“I told Nick when I called him that it was a hard call because it isn’t a Tennessee-Alabama deal. It was such a good opportunity professionally for Sal, and I know Nick has always been proud of the coaches that go on to bigger and brighter things because of the time they spent with him.

“I’m appreciative of what he gave me as a coach and I know Sal is appreciate of what he has given him as a coach. I was really pleased at how professionally he handled it. We have a friendship too, and that will never be compromised. It wasn’t about Tennessee taking anything from Alabama. It was a guy that has had a track record of great coaching over the last two decades and an opportunity that I think he has been wanting for a couple of years.”

Well, screw magnanimous.  You didn’t just win another national title by being magnanimous.  You won it because you’re the most ruthless bastard on the block.  There’s got to be something you can do to put young Dooley in his place.

This’ll do.

Tennessee won five football games this season.

Since then, the Volunteers have lost six assistant coaches.

Lance Thompson is the latest to leave UT, as the defensive line coach will return to Alabama, according to a source inside the Vols’ football program. The national champion Crimson Tide had a vacancy to fill on their staff after UT hired outside linebackers coach Sal Sunseri as its defensive coordinator last week. Thompson’s departure gives Vols’ coach Derek Dooley three vacancies to fill.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules