Daily Archives: April 15, 2012

View from the 35, G-Day 2012 edition

Perfect weather, 63 points and nobody got hurt… that’s a successful G-Day game in my book.

It would be easy to overanalyze a game which the coaches didn’t take too seriously – the Black team scored on a two-point conversion when the Red team didn’t bother to send anyone out to defend a point-after kick – so I think I’ll abide by the sage advice of Nick Saban (“One thing that never happens in college football is no one ever has a bad spring and no one ever has a bad spring game.”) and skip getting too far in the weeds here.  In fact, you have my permission to snicker at anyone who suggests that the stats from yesterday’s game prove much of anything.

That being said, there were a few things I saw yesterday worth sharing with you.

  • Isaiah Crowell.  In my humble opinion, he was the big story.  It’s easy to forget what he looked like earlier in the season last year when he was healthy, but it was obvious from the first handoff that he’s recovered fully from his ankle injury.  He can get to the corner in a hurry; if Georgia has a tackle who can seal off the end defender, Crowell is going to see his share of big runs this season.  Two bonuses:  he looks much more comfortable about where he’s supposed to go and his pass protection effort has improved noticeably.  Overall, me very happy with what I saw.
  • The rest of the running backs.  Richt’s right about how Ken Malcome is coming on.  It’s not just happy talk.  He’s running with more confidence and authority.  And, yes, we saw Richard Samuel’s début at fullback.  He was okay, but it still strikes me as a waste of what Samuel does best, which is to take off and blast in one direction.  When he hits the hole hard and doesn’t screw around with making any east-west moves, he can be a formidable runner.  He looked good when he stuck to that script yesterday.
  • The offensive line.  Honestly, the most pleasant surprise of G-Day was how well the first string line held up on the Red team’s first touchdown drive of the day.  Unfortunately, the biggest mismatch yesterday was the second team offensive line against the second team defensive line.  And line play wore down as the game went on because kids like Andrews and Burnette had to play for both squads.  Bottom line:  if John Theus is anywhere close to the hype, there’s a starting spot for him this fall.
  • The wide receivers.  No doubt the absence of Mitchell and Conley made a difference.  Overall, this group was okay, but nothing particularly special.  Scott-Wesley made a couple of nice catches and showed potential towards becoming a contributor in the fall.  Tavarres King turned on the jets from about 30 yards out and scored on a nice pass in the flats.  Marlon Brown didn’t do much catching the ball, but was responsible for springing King on the aforementioned TD with a terrific block.  I can see why Bobo is lobbying to get Mitchell back as soon as possible.
  • Tight ends.  Neither Arthur Lynch or Jay Rome looked as fluid in the open field as Orson Charles did, but they’re both bigger, look like they’ll be better blockers and did okay when the ball came their way.  Rome’s 60-plus-yard TD catch with a minute to go was the best play of the day, in fact.
  • Quarterbacks.  I know this will come as a disappointment to some, but there’s no doubt that Aaron Murray is the best quarterback on Georgia’s roster.  It’s not a close call.  He possesses the best skill set and is the most comfortable of the bunch running the offense.  (Grantham had to start running some stunts and blitzes after that first TD drive to slow Murray down.)  Mason’s release is as quick as Murray’s, but he lacks Aaron’s arm strength.  As a runner, he’s noticeably less quick.  The good news is that LeMay is progressing (more proof Bobo knows how to coach up quarterbacks, in case you needed that).  His arm strength lies somewhere between that of Murray’s and Mason’s.  He looked more comfortable out there than the year before running the offense, but still has a way to go – he was guilty of holding the ball too long on more than one occasion.  His play-action fake may even be better than Aaron’s is.  And LeMay is as quick as Murray, too.  I expect an interesting battle at the position when Murray leaves.
  • Defensive line.  If the key to a defense is the play of its line, then rest easy, Dawgnation.  Georgia’s is big, nasty and deep.  As I already mentioned, it was almost unfair seeing what the Red team trotted out to start the game yesterday.  One play worth particular note belonged to Cornelius Washington, who one-handed Kolton Houston out of the way and dropped Ken Malcome for a two-yard loss on a run (attempted run would be more accurate, I suppose).  The whole thing was so easy it almost looked like Washington was bored.
  • Linebackers.  Ditto what I said about the defensive line.  Overall, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Georgia team with more ability to make plays in the front seven than this team has.  Which is good, considering that Ogletree, who is freakishly talented (in returning an interception, he put a couple of moves on Tavarres King that were just sick) and key members of the secondary will be missing in action for various parts of the season’s start.
  • Defensive backs.  If you’re worried about that season’s start, it’s hard to get a good read based on what they showed yesterday.  Mitchell and Williams didn’t play; Rambo, Sanders and Smith did.  One encouraging thing to note is that Swann looked good in coverage.  Bowman had his moments, too.

That’s all I’ve got to give.  If any of you were there yesterday, feel free to chip in with your thoughts.

(G-Day game highlights can be found here.)


Filed under Georgia Football

Falling, the Hogs.

Skipping past the salacious stuff, Paul Myerberg focuses on the important question about Arkansas – post-Petrino, how will that program fare in this year’s SEC West?

As he notes, even when Petrino was calling the plays, there were already limits on the upside.  Those limits are called Alabama and LSU, both of which handled Arkansas with ease last year.  But even with those two aside, I’m not sure things are as rosy in 2012 as Myerberg makes out in his conclusion.

… Teams like South Carolina, Texas A&M, Auburn and the like can’t afford to take Arkansas lightly. Why? Because even when running at less than full capacity, the Razorbacks still have more than enough in the tank to run with every team in the SEC — minus the Tide and Tigers. Sadly, up until the minutes before Petrino’s accident, Arkansas was basing its entire season on how it fared against those two divisional powers.

Eh, maybe.  Arkansas wasn’t a great defensive team last year, which is something Petrino recognized when he replaced defensive coordinators.  What are the odds that Paul Haynes is a talented enough coach to make up for the loss of one of college football’s best playcallers?

I don’t think Arkansas should be taken lightly, but it’s hard to see the Hogs as a BCS bowl threat, either.


Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, SEC Football

Winning is such a blessing.

In light of T. Boone Pickens’… er, innovative method for raising funds for his beloved Oklahoma State program, this is more than a little creepy.

Gundy, who’s spent 21 years at Oklahoma State as a player or coach, makes no attempt to downplay the significance of his program’s historic 2011 season. “For our community and our university, it’s been the biggest thing that’s ever happened to this school,” he said. Letters of gratitude poured in, including one from a 70-year-old man who said: “Thank you. Now I can die in peace.”

Too bad they shut that sucker down.  Sure sounds like they’ve got a few folks left in the fan base ready to step up.


Filed under Big 12 Football, It's Just Bidness

Tony Barnhart thinks he’s on to something, coaches. Look out!

For something that’s supposed to come off as a Very Serious Warning from Mr. Conventional Wisdom, there sure is a lot of unintentional comedy here.

Let’s take a look at what he thinks has changed in the past few months for high-profile coaches, or as he puts it, The New Rules.

Rule No. 1: You have lost the benefit of the doubt and you’re not going to get it back.

Really?  Bobby Petrino did, but that was only after the fact.  Before then, it was painfully apparent that he was given free rein to do as he pleased.  And let’s not forget that even after news of the scandal hit, Barnhart himself thought Petrino would hang on to his job.

If the lesson is keep your pants zipped up when you’re not home, that’s hardly news.  Just ask Mike Price.

Rule No. 2: The Freedom of Information Act is alive and well and is going to get a helluva workout in the future.

Houston Nutt totally agrees, Tony.

Rule No. 3: Coaches used to have all the power. Thanks to technology and the social media, that is no longer the case.

If Randy Edsall is your example of a high-profile coach, you’ve already blown the discussion.  Besides, last time I checked, Edsall, while a dick, is still employed by Maryland.

Rule No. 4: Thanks to that same technology and social media, the truth will always come out.

Pardon Nick Saban for a moment while he pauses for a chuckle.

Rule No. 5: Don’t think it can’t happen to you.

Well, duh.  High-profile coaches who are self-centered and arrogant are hardly a recent development.  The ones who are able to keep their focus on the source of what gives them their power instead of getting sidetracked with sexual matters are going to keep on trucking just fine, at least as long as they keep winning.  And don’t lie to the NCAA.

I know Barnhart thinks this comes off as a dramatic revelation, but what it really sounds like is a bunch of his AD buddies speaking behind their hands about how this time they’re really gonna step it up and take charge of their coaches.  Good luck with that, fellas.


Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

It’s hard to act like you’ve been there when you never have before.

Warning:  this comes from a Clemson board, so the possibility that it’s a Photoshopped image exists, but I sure hope it’s for real.  From the heart of Williams Brice Stadium comes this banner (click on the image at the link) honoring Gamecock immortality.

I suppose they should get credit for not hanging a “Real Winners of the SEC East 2011″ banner, though.


Filed under 'Cock Envy