Daily Archives: August 9, 2012

“What am I?”

David Ching has outdone himself with this terrific story on what to expect out of Malcolm Mitchell this season.  What makes it so good?  Two things – one, he goes back and tries to place the present expectations on Mitchell against the historical backdrop of Champ Bailey’s incredible 1998 season, and, two, he talks to Brandon Boykin, Jay Rome and Scott Woerner (!) about how realistic it is for Mitchell to be a significant contributor on both sides of the ball.

No sugar-coating here; it’s going to be a tall, tall task.  If Mitchell can pull it off, he’s one special player.

By the way, in the last six games (four SEC opponents, Georgia Tech and the bowl game) of the ’98 season, Champ Bailey averaged almost 107 plays per game.  That’s insane.  And it’s an effort that should have been worthy of much more Heisman attention than it got.



Filed under Georgia Football

Here’s hoping for a good year at Auburn.

“Good” in the VanGorderish sense, that is:  “Bad experiences are good.”

Sort of the Plains equivalent of “May you live in interesting times.”


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

Chuck Oliver is not an attorney, although he plays one on the Internet.

I don’t know if you caught Oliver’s hissy fit on Twitter over Branden Smith’s non-suspension, but if you didn’t, here’s the gist of it:

Whenever Mark Richt, his employers or supporters wonder why he has the reputation of being soft on discipline, they should simply look at his handling of the non-suspension of CB Brandon Smith.

Fact: Smith was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana.

Fact: Smith pled guilty, during pre-trial intervention.  [Emphasis added.]

Fact: UGA’s policy is that being guilty of misdemeanor results in the student being suspended for one game (if he’s a football player, other lengths for other sports).

Fact: Mark Richt instead said, “Nah, we’ll let him play.”

Pretty cut and dried, eh?  Well, maybe not so much.

Branden Smith – Does UGA policy mandate one game suspension for misdemeanor arrest? Some think so, I can’t find it.
– David Grier

The short answer is no: In the case of a misdemeanor arrest, it is normally left to the coaches’ discretion as to discipline. A felony arrest triggers automatic penalties.

The UGA drug policy, revised as of June (without any major changes), does still call for a suspension of 10 percent of a season for a first offense of the drug policy. But I’ve looked through it, and at no point do I see any automatic punishment for a drug-related arrest, regardless of the outcome of the trial. Essentially, while Smith agreed to pre-trial intervention (which technically is not an admission of guilt) [Emphasis added], UGA took into account that he passed drug tests through the court and the school. So it was determined he had in fact not committed an offense of the drug policy.

That’s a big difference, is it not?  In fact, given that it’s clear, as even Oliver concedes, that there was no evidence of usage, it’s the whole story here.

So who’s right?  Logic suggests that Emerson is.  Besides that, take a look at some of the key language from the Alabama Code on pre-trial intervention.  First, about the agreement into which the parties must enter:

If as part of the Pre-Trial Intervention Program, the offender agrees to plead guilty to a particular offense and receive a specific sentence, this agreement concerning the offense and sentence shall be approved by an appropriate circuit or district judge of the Twenty-eighth Judicial Circuit prior to admission of the offender in the Pre-Trial Intervention Program.  [Emphasis added.]

Sure sounds to me as if a guilty plea isn’t automatic in PTI.  And from the violations section, there’s this:

(a) If the offender violates the conditions of the Pre-Trial Intervention Program agreed to in writing by the offender and the district attorney, the district attorney may terminate the participation of the offender in the program and pursue criminal charges against the offender.

Again, if you’ve already got a guilty plea in your pocket, there’s no need to pursue criminal charges – you’re simply going to haul the offender in and move directly to the punishment stage.

Now while I am an attorney, I don’t practice criminal law and I don’t practice in Alabama.  So I don’t want to say anything here with any sort of absolute authority.  But I’m also not the one making a factual assertion that a guilty plea exists.  The relevant law doesn’t mandate one and I’ve never heard Smith or anyone representing him state for the record that he pled guilty to a criminal charge.  Maybe Oliver is privy to some inside information on the matter.  If that’s the case, it seems like he should make that information public in support of his “fact”.  Otherwise, somebody owes somebody an apology.


Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Women weaken legs.

They’re deadly serious about preseason practice at Missouri.


Filed under SEC Football

So, how much you makin’ on amateurism these days?

The NCAA is ordered to turn over lots of key financial data to the plaintiffs in the O’Bannon case.  Somehow, the court wasn’t swayed by this reasoning:

The athletic association has already turned over some of its agreements with licensees, but there were many contracts that were signed at the conference or university level. The NCAA argued that disclosure of the requested information “could chill the willingness and ability of the NCAA and its members to engage in candid and sensitive communications going forward, based on their fear that a future litigant might also seek discovery relating to those communications.”

Too bad Emmert can’t threaten O’Bannon with death penalty sanctions.  I’m sure he’d like to.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Cameras on the goal line?

Here’s an officiating experiment I can support:

The Big Ten is strongly considering experimenting with goal-line cameras at some football stadiums this season so instant replay officials can better review critical goal-line plays.

Big Ten coordinator of officials Bill Carollo said the conference is in discussions with its members and there’s a “very strong possibility” there will be a trial run this season…

Go for it, man.  A cost of $1 million+ isn’t that much, considering what the sport is bringing in and how crucial a call can be there.

It sounds like Steve Shaw is keeping an eye on it, which is also good.

SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw said the Big Ten’s testing of goal-line cameras would add great value.

“It’s something that, if it’s successful, we need to take a look at in college football,” Shaw said. “We had some early conversations (within the SEC). You can’t put a pole up in our stadiums. Our stadiums are almost sacred ground so you’d have to find a spot, whether it’s an overhang or a deck, where you could mount a camera that would be unobtrusive and have a good view.”


Filed under Big Ten Football, Science Marches Onward, SEC Football

The textbook example of inexplicable

I know cocknfire was focused on Tennessee’s decline in this post, but still, all the more reason to ask:  how in the hell did Georgia get smoked in that 2007 game in Knoxville?


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football

Catch it if you can.

Three take-aways from Paul Myerberg’s preseason look at Georgia Tech:

First, the trivia.

Georgia Tech’s magic number: 31. Since Johnson took over in 2008, the Jackets are 22-1 when scoring more than 30 points. This included a 7-0 mark last season. The lone outlier came in the 2010 regular season finale, when the Jackets lost to Georgia, 42-34.[Emphasis added.]  On the other hand, Tech is 2-11 under Johnson when scoring less than 20 points.

Next, the bugaboo.

Tech simply needs the added dimension the passing game lends this offense to be a realistic A.C.C. contender. Since Johnson’s arrival in 2008, the program is 19-3 when averaging at least 9.0 yards per pass attempt. Conversely, the Jackets are 14-16 when averaging 8.9 or fewer yards per pass attempt.

Finally, the reality.

Wide receiver Tech does not return one receiver with a career reception under his belt. That’s a concern, even if the Jackets remain run-focused. Instead of experience, what you see when you look at Tech’s stable of receivers is length, athleticism and potential, especially among those receivers added over the last two or three recruiting classes. While Johnson and his staff are still working out a two-deep, the likely starters for the season opener will be senior Chris Jackson, a former Alabama transfer, and sophomore Jeff Greene. While neither held any role in the offense, Jackson and Greene, along with sophomore Darren Waller, did help the Jackets on special teams – Waller in particular; he’ll block a kick or punt this season.

When the nicest thing you can say about a school’s entire receiving corps is that one kid looks promising as a punt blocker, that’s not good.

Myerberg thinks Tech’s inability to rush the passer is its biggest vulnerability.  Maybe he’s right about that, but unless one of those receivers steps up to shock the world, we’re about to see what indifferent recruiting at the position combined with the natural flow of the triple option gets you.  It would seem that the genius has his hands full there.


Filed under Georgia Tech Football