Daily Archives: April 11, 2012

Maybe Petrino isn’t as smart as we thought he was.

If there’s one thing you’d think a coach at Arkansas would have enough sense to avoid, it would be to keep his personal business off a university-issued cellphone.

Well, you’d be wrong.

Six months of telephone records show that former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino was in frequent contact with his mistress, including conversations before their motorcycle crash that led to his firing.

Petrino’s university cell phone records were obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request…

Actually, you can make a good argument that Petrino was even dumber than the Nuttster was with his phone usage.

Oy vey.

Hell, if I were Jeff Long, I might have fired him just for that.

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Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal

Out of respect, thuggery leaves Gene Chizik speechless.

The first of the trials of the Auburn players arrested for armed robbery last year has started.  Here’s what star witness (and former star Auburn running back) Michael Dyer brought to the proceedings:

… Dyer testified that his gun was used in the incident, but that he tried to talk Goodwin out of taking it. Dyer and the others talked of “constantly” smoking spice, a synthetic cannabis-like drug. DeAngelo Benton said the drug made him sick. Neiko Thorpe testified that he knew Goodwin, Benton, and Shaun Kitchens were drunk on the night of the alleged robbery.

Benton testified that Dyer was with the four players early in the night, partaking in drink and smoke.

Funny how none of that came up during the regular season.  Almost as funny as this:

I wonder if Malzahn knows that his star transfer is packing heat.  He’s probably respectful about that, too.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Crime and Punishment

G’day, G-Day.

With the news that Malcolm Mitchell is a likely no-show for action on Saturday (and am I the only one who finds it ominous that he’s tweaked his hamstring again?), that sort of puts a damper on the first item on Tyler’s list.  In fact, I’m starting to wonder which players in the secondary are going to play on both sides.  And there’s a similar bummer with his second point of interest, given that Keith Marshall won’t play for the same reason as Mitchell.

The walking wounded won’t keep me away, though.  I’m not the kind of person who’s going to pass up near perfect weather, cold beer, fried chicken and a chance to watch any kind of football activity on a Saturday in Athens.

To riff off Tyler’s list, I’m most curious to see two things.  First, there’s the work in progress, the offensive line.  It’s currently morphed into this:

Offensive line coach Will Friend had a surprise when asked what his No. 1 line would be for the G-Day Game. He said sophomore Kolton Houston would be the starter at right tackle.

“We started working him there a week or two ago and he’s really progressed at that spot the last few days,” Friend said. “He had a really good scrimmage [this past Saturday] and he brings a lot of energy and athleticism to the group.”

Houston had been working almost exclusive at guard while sophomores Watts Dantzler and Austin Long were battling it out at right tackle. Friend said the other starters Saturday include left tackle Kenarious Gates, left guard Dallas Lee, center David Andrews and right guard Chris Burnette.

How cohesive are these guys?  How mobile are the tackles?  Is Andrews’ size going to be a problem?

Speaking of the last question, the other thing I want to learn is how dominant the nose tackles are.  By all accounts, Jenkins and Geathers have been feasting on the offensive line.  How much of that is due to the newbies, and how much to the talent of the big men?

What are you guys hoping to see?

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UPDATE:  Get ‘yer G-Day rosters here.

It looks like it’s the ones vs. the ones.  Given my questions about the offensive line, that’s good.

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Filed under Georgia Football

What has the no-huddle done for Georgia?

It was touched on in the comments to this post the other day, so I thought I’d take a look at the number of plays run by and against Georgia over the past ten seasons to see if the data shed any light on what Bobo might have accomplished with the introduction of his shiny new no-huddle toy last season.  The information comes from Georgia’s official site, and is broken down by total number of plays run and yards per play:

YEAR UGA PLAYS UGA YPP OPP PLAYS OPP YPP
2011 1016 5.63 870 4.46
2010 814 6.1 828 5.2
2009 793 5.9 868 5.1
2008 826 6.7 816 5
2007 874 5.6 868 4.8
2006 768 5.3 775 4.3
2005 818 6.2 855 4.8
2004 826 5.9 747 4.6
2003 1023 5.2 880 4.4
2002 981 5.5 934 4.5

First off, if you’d have told me before I looked that the Dawgs ran more plays in 2003 (the offensive line’s Year of Living Dangerously) than any other season in the last ten, I never would have believed it.  The second most shocking item to note is that Martinez’ 2006 defense managed the lowest yards per play figure of any Georgia team in that period.

In general, some of the year-to-year variations you see there can be explained by personnel, by the NCAA clock rule changes and by the season’s length, but I don’t see how anyone can deny that last season Bobo squeezed more plays out of Georgia’s offense by going to the no-huddle, something which had largely been abandoned in Athens since Richt’s first season.

By the way, you should be a little impressed with Grantham’s results last season.  Despite the offense picking up the pace somewhat, the defense held its own in terms of getting off the field (it defended one more game than in 2010, remember) and the 2011 defensive yards per play figure is as good as it was in VanGorder’s prime.

Let me know what y’all think of the numbers.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Carpe rule book.

I’ll bet you didn’t know this was one of the biggest problems with the enforcement of an oversized NCAA book of regulations:

… The biggest challenge the group faces—and the one that will determine its success or failure—is figuring out how to balance competitive equity between wealthy and not-so wealthy programs, Perlman said.

“The most difficult principle is determining whether the NCAA has an interest in making the playing field even between programs that have natural advantages over others,” he said.

Turning to Nelms, Perlman said: “Does the NCAA want to prevent me from using my $75-million budget as an advantage over his $6-million budget?”

At this point, is there anyone who doesn’t see a split coming in D-1 in the next ten or so years?

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Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, The NCAA

Wednesday morning buffet

Something to get you through the start of another long offseason, since Justified wrapped up last night:

  • Bobby Lowder’s departure from Auburn’s board of trustees is final.
  • Kwame Geathers and John Jenkins are getting lots and lots of love this spring.
  • Now that Urban Meyer is safely out of state, Pat Dooley can get all courageous about Corch’s shortcomings.
  • On the other hand, you knew how Mike Bianchi was going to react to Matt Hayes’ piece.
  • It’s 2:20 in the morning at a Whataburger in the Florida Panhandle and an Auburn fan is chanting “War Eagle”.  Repeatedly.  What do you think is gonna happen?
  • Christian Robinson channels his inner Zooker, talks about not being distracted by “noise”.
  • Here’s a list of dos and don’ts for NCAA bowl advertising and promotional policies.
  • When it rains, it pours.
  • And in things you need to know, Bill Connelly gives you the poop on Missouri’s cornerbacks.

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Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football, The NCAA, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

The ride and fall of Bobby Petrino

It turns out I underestimated Bobby Petrino.  Or, I should say more accurately, Bobby Petrino’s ego.  Though I’m not the only one.  Of all the things Jeff Long had to say at last night’s emotionally charged presser, this was the most revealing:

“He made the decision, a conscious decision, to mislead the public on Tuesday, and in doing so negatively and adversely affected the reputation of the University of Arkansas and our football program,” Long said, choking up at one point as he discussed telling players that their coach was gone. “In short, coach Petrino engaged in a pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior designed to deceive me and members of the athletic staff, both before and after the motorcycle accident.”

In other words, Petrino believed he was untouchable.  And he maintained that belief as sordid detail after sordid detail emerged during Long’s investigation.  No doubt what really got to Long – and it was a clearly angry Long we heard at the beginning of the night – was that he gave his head coach repeated opportunities to explain himself to create an exit strategy only to have Petrino reject them out of hand.

… Coach Petrino “had a lot of opportunities to share with me the nature of his relationship, and I’ll leave it at that,” Long said.

Long said only two other candidates were interviewed for the football program’s student-athlete development coordinator job that Dorrell was awarded.

Long said Petrino had engaged in a “pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior to deceive me” and that the coach had “multiple opportunities over a four-day period to be forthcoming, and he chose not to.”

I suspect Long, despite his protestations to the contrary, went into his investigation with the hope that he could salvage Petrino’s career at Arkansas.  Petrino’s unwillingness even to feign contriteness left Long with no room to manuever.  It’s one thing to spin a decision to keep a winning coach who stepped out on his wife; it’s another to stand before the press and mouth the equivalent of “nothing to see here, move on” after you know the guy paid his mistress $20,000 and short-circuited the process to hire her on the school’s dime.  Petrino clearly felt he was unaccountable to Long.  A decision to retain Petrino would have cemented him in Edwin Edwards territory.  That was a bridge too far for Long to cross.

That being said, it’s hard to feel too sorry for Long.  Though he tried to deny it last night in response to a question, he knew what kind of man he was hiring when he offered Petrino the position in the first place.  The irony here is that the pressure to succeed Petrino would have been under had he survived the mess fully transfers to Long.  He’ll get one crack at hiring a permanent replacement and if the program slides back into mediocrity, it’s likely he’ll be shown the door along with his coach.

As for Petrino, I’m reluctant to say that a man who can issue a statement like this (“Given the decision that has been made, this is not the place to debate Jeff’s view of what happened”) has learned any real lessons from his dismissal.  And, really, why should he?  Jeff Long was just another on a long list of enablers.  The only difference is that Petrino pushed his luck a little too far this time.

Expect him to sit for an interview in the next few months to express the phony remorse that might have saved his ass this week so that he can rehabilitate his reputation enough for some desperate athletic director to take a chance on a top-flight offensive mind at a bargain basement price.  (Petrino’s agent’s biggest regret this morning has to be that Mike Hamilton is out of the profession.)

Five years from now, it’s even money that the Arkansas fan base has bigger regrets over Long’s decision than Petrino will.  Just ask this dude.

“Obviously, he was stupid, but I’m more concerned about winning,” said Mark Thompsen , a 33-year-old former Army sergeant who served in Iraq and is pursuing a criminal justice major at Arkansas. “All I care about is beating Alabama and LSU. If we beat them I’m okay with it, short of him stringing someone up.”

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Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal