Monthly Archives: August 2012

Coaches to NCAA: help us to help you.

You just have to chuckle at reasoning like this.

Currently, only head coaches or assistant coaches can participate in the selection and evaluation of recruits. The NCAA Rules Working Group has proposed that this rule be eliminated, allowing staff members now known as directors of operations or directors of player personnel to watch film of a prospect or to contact a prospect’s coach or guardian…

Some coaches interviewed for this story said that, should the current rule be eliminated, teams could form a staff position designed solely for the purpose of overseeing day-to-day recruiting operations, just as general managers in professional sports handle the evaluation and acquisition of talent.

Virginia Tech football Coach Frank Beamer, for one, said he thinks the rule change would allow the NCAA to spend more time worrying about serious infractions. It would also allow his assistants to spend more time on game preparation and player management.

“Rather than trying to say, ‘Who made the call? Was it this guy, or was it that guy?’ I think we’re getting into the more serious stuff that really does make a difference,” Beamer said. “Keeping that under control really makes it a level playing field.”

Well, except for Nick Saban.  He’s too busy calculating how many more analysts he’ll need to add to the Alabama staff to keep ahead of everyone else when the rules change.

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Filed under Blowing Smoke, Recruiting, The NCAA

Tuesday morning buffet

It’s getting closer.  Here are a few tidbits to keep your appetites whetted:

  • The SEC, trying to fashion an in-stadium experience that TV viewers can be proud of.
  • Your NCAA dollars at work.  Since Legends and Leaders are already taken, can I suggest renaming the two parts of Division I as “Mo’ Money” and “Less Money”?
  • While we’re on the subject of money, it looks like the cash cow that is the Tennessee athletics department is running on fumes.  It may not be fair, but another mediocre year in football likely means SOD is out the door.  UT simply can’t afford the status quo.
  • Justin Smith Morrill, the unsung father of American college football.
  • Sunday Morning Quarterback is resurrected.  That’s a good thing.
  • Here’s a look at how every school in the AP Top 25 got its nickname.
  • You can find a summary of the SEC quarterback situations here.
  • Non-football related, but here’s a Freedom of Information Act request we can all support.
  • Bruce Feldman takes a look at a very cool new website, XandOLabs.com.
  • Even when it doesn’t involve playing in Jacksonville, Mark Richt keeps tabs on the weather.

43 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, College Football, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA

A word is worth a thousand pictures.

Behold, the listed two-deep at quarterback on Florida’s depth chart:

QB 6 Jeff Driskel 6-4 237 So
              OR 12 Jacoby Brissett 6-4 229 So

Yep, that’s how you build a successful SEC offense these days.

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UPDATE:  Jeebus, this actually gets dumber as they go along.

Per the Gainesville Sun and other outlets, Muschamp outlined a plan in which one quarterback would play the first quarter, the other would play the second quarter, and which quarterback (or quarterbacks) would play the third and fourth quarters would be decided by the Gator staff at halftime.

If that doesn’t sound indecisive enough, there’s also this: Muschamp said that he and first-year offensive coordinator Brent Pease haven’t even decided which quarterback would get the first-quarter assignment.

And you wonder why coaches from Boise State don’t do as well once they leave.

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Filed under Gators, Gators...

Mike Bobo is ready for somebody else to take the blame.

Things are buttah this year.

“I actually think we’re ahead of last year in preparation,” Bobo said Friday. “I’ve mentioned it a few times. I feel like everybody is on the same page, a lot less missed assignments. I feel good.”

Less missed assignments?

“Just experience, number one, experience at the quarterback position,” Bobo said. “Guys have been able to get us in the right play, which cuts down on missed assignments for offensive linemen. When you get in the right play, you don’t have to practice against so many different looks and how to block every look. You’re only going to block certain looks, because you’re not going to run them against the bad looks.”

That makes sense, to be fair.  Last year, the offense spent August installing a new no-huddle attack.  As we saw against Boise State, the kinks were far from worked out when the season started.  So things should be smoother with a year under the offense’s belt.  Whether that translates into a more effective running game and less turnovers from Murray remains to be seen.

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Filed under Georgia Football

A gentle reminder

Just thought I’d mention that the pick ’em pool for the Fabris Invitational is open.  Two of this week’s games are on Thursday, so you have to make those two picks earlier.

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UPDATE:  Just so you know, the pick ’em site sends out two reminders – one on Thursday, if there are any Thursday night games in the pool, and one on Friday.  So if you are the kind of person who needs that, don’t turn off your e-mail option.

13 Comments

Filed under GTP Stuff

Not your regular SEC preseason predictions, 2012 version

I adopted this format last year out of necessity – I simply couldn’t get a handle on Georgia’s prospects, but didn’t want to give up entirely on handicapping the SEC’s 2011 season.  The thing is, it worked out well enough I’ve decided to stick with it.  Here’s how I described it the first time:

Rather than give you my predicted records, I’ll list the schools in the order they finished in the conference last year, look at areas of potential improvement and decline and assess in what direction I expect each to go by comparison to 2010.

In other words, pure seat of the pants BS.

In the spirit of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, here I go again.  Besides, Missouri’s and TAMU’s fates are mysteries to me.

SEC WEST

LSU (13-1, 8-0)

  • Pros:  As deep a team as any school in the country; continuity on coaching staff; easier schedule than 2011; special teams
  • Cons:  Loss of best defensive back in the conference; loss of Tyrann Mathieu; questions about passing game and new quarterback
  • Outlook:  Les Miles broke through the two-loss barrier last year.  He looks good for a repeat of that.  Mathieu’s departure will hurt, but not as much as the pundit class would have you believe.  And Mettenberger won’t matter unless he’s a turnover machine.

ALABAMA (12-1, 7-1)

  • Pros:  Offensive line; team depth; Nick Saban; experience at quarterback
  • Cons:  Less experience on defense; loss of Trent Richardson; special teams
  • Outlook:  Neck and neck with LSU.

ARKANSAS (11-2, 6-2)

  • Pros:  Plenty of skill position talent; return of Knile Davis; special teams; Alabama and LSU as home games
  • Cons:  Departure of Bobby Petrino; offseason problems; defense a notch below the elite conference teams
  • Outlook:  I’m bearish.  Petrino meant more to this team than many admit and is almost impossible to replace as a playcaller.  There’s no way this defense is as good as Alabama’s or LSU’s.  The schedule says the Hogs are a lock to win at least eight; the question is whether the ceiling is nine wins or ten.

AUBURN (8-5, 4-4)

  • Pros:  Upgrade at defensive coordinator; defensive line; special teams
  • Cons:  Loss of Malzahn; shaky quarterback situation; loss of Dyer; implementation of new offensive and defensive schemes; Pythagorean expectation
  • Outlook:  Chizik did a decent job last year, all things considered.  But with new coordinators on both sides of the ball, a new quarterback, a power offense that has to find a replacement for its best power running back and a schedule with five of the preseason’s top fourteen teams in the country on it, getting back to eight wins will be a challenge.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (7-6, 2-6)

  • Pros:  Coaching stability; receivers; defensive back seven; soft first-half schedule
  • Cons:  Distraction of NCAA investigation; schedule has Alabama and LSU on the road; offensive line; special teams
  • Outlook:  MSU should do no worse than come out of the gate 6-1.  Then comes a brutal four-game stretch when the Bulldogs are probably looking at going 1-3, and then a finish against Ole Miss.

MISSISSIPPI (2-10, 0-8)

  • Pros:  Special teams
  • Cons:  Inexperience at quarterback; coaching staff change; schedule; talent deficiency
  • Outlook:  If Ole Miss doesn’t win a game before September’s out, it likely won’t win a game all year.

TEXAS A & M (7-6, 4-5 in Big 12)

  • Pros:  Running backs; offensive line; starting wide receivers
  • Cons:  New coaching staff and schemes; new quarterback; defensive line
  • Outlook:  Too many new variables for TAMU to challenge the top teams in the SEC West.  If everything clicks, eight wins is doable.  If not, no bowl game for the Aggies.

SEC EAST

GEORGIA (10-4, 7-1)

  • Pros:  Coaching continuity; favorable schedule; defense; Aaron Murray
  • Cons:  Offensive line; special teams; team depth; early season suspensions
  • Outlook:  If the Dawgs beat Missouri, you can make a reasonable case for an eleven-win season and a return trip to Atlanta.

SOUTH CAROLINA (11-2, 6-2)

  • Pros:  Steve Spurrier; steadily increasing level of talent; defensive line; Marcus Lattimore
  • Cons:  Secondary; less favorable schedule than Georgia’s; special teams; replacing Alshon Jeffrey
  • Outlook:  I have a feeling the ‘Cocks get by Arkansas this year, so the season could come down to how they fare against LSU.  Ten wins look likely.

FLORIDA (7-6, 3-5)

  • Pros:  Defense; special teams; second year for Muschamp; improved schedule from 2011; regression to the mean on turnover margin
  • Cons:  Quarterback; third offensive coordinator in three years; running back depth; team psyche
  • Outlook:  Overall, the trend lines are positive, but it’s hard to get excited about the Gator offense.  Eight or nine wins look about right.

VANDERBILT (6-7, 3-5)

  • Pros:  Respectable defense by SEC standards; coaching; running backs; second year in a row of returning a high number of starters; favorable conference schedule; Pythagorean expectation
  • Cons:  Depth issues in comparison with elite SEC teams; special teams; loss of Casey Hayward
  • Outlook:  You’ve probably heard by now that Vanderbilt has never played in bowl games in two successive seasons.  Can the Commodores do it this year?  It’s going to be a close call.  They won’t sneak up on anybody, but they get a few favors from the schedule (no Alabama, Arkansas or LSU from the West, for example).  And they’re experienced.  Depth is the thing to watch.  A couple of key injuries and Vandy’s season could unravel.

KENTUCKY (5-7, 2-6)

  • Pros:  No Alabama or LSU on schedule
  • Cons:  Passing game; inexperience on defense; offensive line depth
  • Outlook:  Remember that Seinfeld episode when Elaine is horrified by the realization that she’s turned into George?  Well, Kentucky has turned into Vanderbilt.  It’s hard to see where the ‘Cats get a conference win, or beat Louisville.  Three wins, tops.

TENNESSEE (5-7, 1-7)

  • Pros:  Easier schedule; return of Justin Hunter; most returning starters in the SEC
  • Cons:  Coaching staff turnover; preseason turmoil; running game; depth issues at quarterback, linebacker and secondary; transition to new defensive scheme
  • Outlook:  The schedule alone should make Tennessee bowl eligible.  I can see the Vols winning as many as eight, assuming no more implosions are on the horizon.  You have to wonder how smooth the change to a 3-4 scheme on defense will be, though.

MISSOURI (8-5, 5-4 in the Big 12)

  • Pros:  Coaching stability; passing game; linebacking
  • Cons:  Offensive line depth; running backs depth; schedule; secondary
  • Outlook: I want to say eight wins again for the Tigers, but two things hold me back.  One is depth. Missouri has issues keeping key personnel healthy.  The other is the schedule.  There’s only one FCS school and one mid-major on the OOC slate.  And with three preseason top ten teams there, the margin for error isn’t that great.

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Filed under SEC Football

Musical palate cleanser: Get me out of FLA.

Not that you should need any help, but here’s something to get you revved up to start the week – Wilco’s wonderfully Stonesy (wouldn’t you love to hear what Keef could do with that guitar break?) “Monday”.

As fictional band names go, the World Record Players is pretty fabulous.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Steele’s adjusted starters

One thing I appreciate about Phil Steele’s blog is the way he uses it to update information in the magazine that’s become stale due to events after publication.  So in that light, here’s his chart of teams which have lost starters since May.  There are four SEC schools on the list:  Georgia, LSU, Mississippi and Tennessee.

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Filed under Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

There’s a fine line between confidence and Kool-Aid drinking.

I hope these guys are on the right side of it.

Senior defensive end Cornelius Washington and some of his teammates are talking unabashedly about a national title.

“Like I told the guys, it just kind of seems like the stars are kind of aligning for us to be able to do a whole lot of great things this year,” Washington said. “We’ve got to put in the work and put in the effort, and I feel like we go out every day and do that.”

“Our goal is to get to Atlanta, to get to Miami and to win,” junior tight end Arthur Lynch said. “(Snapper) Ty Frix said it well the other night. Let’s forget Miami. If you win every single game and you’re in the SEC, you will be national champions.”

GATA, fellas.  Let’s see what you’ve got.

33 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Mark Richt has lost control of the whole damned SEC.

Is it a program whose coaches take too many chances on talent at the expense of character in recruiting to try to keep up with their very successful rivals?

Is it a program whose players keep seeing their teammates get suspended and dismissed for their actions but, for some reason, don’t seem to get the message?

N0pe, that’s not Bradley or Schultz questioning Richt.  It’s Kevin Scarbinsky, reaming out Gene Chizik after Auburn’s starting center was arrested and charged with public intoxication.  (In Athens, they call that thuggery.)

Meanwhile, somebody in Knoxville had to take the fall for Da’Rick Rogers.  Luckily, there’s a $56,000 a year “Vol For Life” coordinator who was handy.  (One could argue that Rogers’ actions successfully brand him as a Vol for life, but I digress.)

Documents released by the school in response to an open records request from the News Sentinel suggest Dooley was unhappy with Lott’s leadership in the program, which was created in 2010 to help players in the areas of character education, life skills, career development and spiritual growth.

Part of the problem may be that it takes two to tango.

According to the notes from the June 28 meeting, Lott said Dooley hadn’t given him enough direction for the VFL program and that it was difficult to communicate with the coach.

I’m sure everything is fixed now.  At least until Mark Richt interferes again.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange