Monthly Archives: June 2013

Is Tray Matthews Georgia’s most important player for 2013?

I know I’m being a little provocative with the header, and in an absolute sense Matthews isn’t as important to Georgia’s success as, say, Murray and Gurley are.  But here’s the quote that got me thinking about Matthews in the first place:

Swann knows he will be counted on heavily in the secondary, where three new starters must emerge before the team opens up against Clemson on Aug. 31. And when asked about the players around him who must step up, he mentioned a name we’ve heard about a lot since he arrived on campus — projected starting free safety Tray Matthews, an incoming freshman from Newnan.

“He’s going to be a big key to our secondary, playing back there where (Bacarri) Rambo played at last year,” Swann said. “Tray is going to be one of those guys that we’re going into week one not expecting him to be a true freshman. They’ll call him a true freshman, but we’re going to be looking at him like a guy who has been there for a while.”

They need a lot out of Matthews this season, both because of scheme requirements and because of what’s gone at the safety position.  And Matthews showed enough in the spring to send expectations skyrocketing.  Ask yourself where Georgia is likely to be if he can’t play at a level above that of a true freshman out of the box against Clemson.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Support system

Boy, here’s a resource I bet Mark Richt wishes he could avail upon himself in Athens:  “In Madison, Bielema even had a network of local cops who told him which players were out at which bars on which nights.”

Sadly, that’s probably a firing offense if you’re a member of the ACCPD.

And here’s an even more alien concept – local government criticism of overly zealous crime enforcement.  (h/t Andy Staples)

Commissioner Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson brought up his concerns over the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office’s small-scale busts for marijuana possession in the community.

He said he has reviewed records that show numerous cases in which people were put in jail for related misdemeanors and remained there for 30 to 40 days at a time, which costs the local government money.

Hutchinson suggested that, in a couple of years, the county begin reducing the Sheriff’s Office’s budget by a certain amount per person for every individual put in jail for this kind of offense during the prior year as an incentive to direct the department’s priorities elsewhere.

“Right now, there’s no disincentive whatsoever,” he said. That money and effort could go to drug treatment and prevention work instead.

“I want to help them re-prioritize because there’s a lot of other things they could be doing,” Hutchinson said.

Not saying whether that’s right or wrong.  But as mindsets go, it sure is a world away from what Richt deals with.

12 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

Mr. Speaker, I’d like to revise and extend my remarks.

In a post yesterday, I made the comment that Mike Bobo had slowed the Georgia offense down last season, based on a noticeable drop in the number of offensive plays run.  Several of you jumped on my observation for confusing efficiency with speed – based on this John Pennington post, rightly it seems.

He tracked the total number of seconds per offensive snap in SEC games over the past four seasons.  So you don’t have to pick your way through the chart for the Georgia data, I’ve done it for you:

  • 2009:  28.79 sec.
  • 2010:  30.10 sec.
  • 2011:  28.44 sec.
  • 2012:  26.25 sec.

The reality is that, relatively speaking (seven SEC offenses were faster), Georgia’s offense blazed its way through last season.  So mea culpa on that front.

And while I’m on the subject of his chart, Pennington comes up with an interesting correlation.

Teams snapping the ball faster than every 27 seconds on offense allowed an average of 389.3 yards and 27.7 points per SEC contest on defense.

Teams snapping the ball slower than every 27 seconds on offense allowed an average of 325.6 yards and 21.4 points per SEC contest on offense.

Last season was the first time Georgia’s offense fell under that 27-second mark.  And while Georgia allowed fewer points per conference game in 2012 than it did in 2011, it allowed much more yardage on average last season (350.8 vs. 247.9) in them.   Some of the discrepancy is likely a factor of scheduling and some of it can be chalked up to a much improved turnover margin (the Dawgs went from +2 to +9).  But should any of the defensive yardage increase be attributed to a faster paced offense?  Speed does kill, after all.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Today’s musical query

… comes from a comment on the GTP “About Me” page:

I have no doubt that “Dooley’s Junkyard Dawgs” is the greatest college football song ever but what is the second greatest? Is there a second?

Good questions.  I’m so dazzled by the original…

… that I’ve never given second place much consideration.

So I think I’ll open up the floor for nominations.  It can be a fight song, or anything else, as long as it has a direct college football flavor to it.  Let’s hear your choices.

I should warn you, though – anybody selecting “Zombie Nation” runs the risk of a permanent ban from here.

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Filed under College Football

Tough times for Lulu and Junior

Disclosed at this week’s UT board of regents meeting:  five-year change in ticket revenue from 2010 to a projected 2014 is a negative 18.1 percent.

That new TV money can’t get here fast enough for some folks, I suspect.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

O’Bannon on O’Bannon: “It was pretty intense.”

It’s a fool’s errand to read too much into what goes on at a hearing such as what occurred in Oakland yesterday when the trial judge heard arguments about certifying O’Bannon as a class action lawsuit.  Still, there were a couple of developments that indicate the case is morphing from its original position about control of post-collegiate players’ likenesses as to clothing into a more pure compensation posture related to media.  For one thing, take what the plaintiffs’ lawyers announced at the hearing:

In the course of the hearing, and afterward, Hausfeld also said the plaintiffs no longer are concerning themselves with the use of athletes’ names, images and likenesses in regard to jersey and other apparel sales, as they had stated in the current version of their complaint. That puts the case on the complaint’s other, considerable, areas: TV broadcast and re-broadcast, video games and other digital and electronic media.

And then there’s this:

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken said Thursday she likely will ask the plaintiffs in an anti-trust lawsuit pertaining to the use of college athletes’ names and likenesses to amend their complaint against the NCAA and two co-defendants.

Such a decision would allow the plaintiffs to formally clarify their case, combating one of the defendants’ main arguments in the case. It also would allow the plaintiffs to add at least one current college athlete to the list of named plaintiffs – a move that the plaintiffs’ lead lawyer, Michael Hausfeld, said would be made.

It’s a development that seems logical based on the admissions that have come out about the NCAA’s struggles with player likeness issues.

It’s also a development that led to this ludicrous exchange.

The NCAA also feels the issue is moot because, they argue, most states’ publicity rights allow broadcasters to televise live events without attaining every single participant’s permission. “If you go in front of a camera and know you’re going in front of a camera … you’re fair game for TV,” Curtner said. “Cheerleaders, mascots, lots of people appear in these broadcasts, and there’s a uniform practice in this country that these rights are not individually sold.”

Curtner in turn drew a skeptical chuckle from the judge when Wilken subsequently asked, “So what is it the colleges are selling when they sell rights to show their games?”

“They are selling exclusive access to their stadium or arena,” Curtner responded. “They’re telling CBS, you can come in and broadcast this, and no one else can. … That’s all they’re selling. They’re not selling individual [players’] rights.”

Georgia’s got a bye September 14th. Think Verne and Gary will come to Athens then?

There’s also a whiff of the defendants turning against each other.

Robert Van Nest, representing EA, essentially argued that the company should no longer be included in the suit because the plaintiffs’ case has evolved into a crusade against NCAA amateurism policy.

“Neither EA or CLC have anything to do with [NCAA] rules,” Van Nest said. “They don’t create or enforce them.”

Nah, they just profit by them.

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UPDATE:  By the way, make sure you read Andy Staples’ “What’s at stake” piece on O’Bannon.  And note this interesting little tidbit –

When NCAA Football 14 is released next month, it will feature the likenesses of more than 1,400 former players — all of whom have been paid for the rights to their likeness. This is not a coincidence.

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Filed under The NCAA

The five stages of Bobo

We’ve been through most of them.  Grief.  Anger.  Blame.  Acceptance.

It may be time to move on to amazement.  Check out this chart:

Things really took off on the offensive side of the ball in 2012, didn’t they?  I mean, those are some remarkable numbers there.

The Dawgs were No. 1 in the nation at 7.09 yards per play. When they got in the red zone, they finished, scoring a touchdown in 76 percent of trips, which tied for No. 3 in the nation. If they had scored the winning touchdown against Alabama on the final play, they would have tied for No. 2 in red zone touchdown percentage and played for the national championship.

It’s interesting that in a world in which the trendy development is to go ever faster on offense, Bobo slowed Georgia’s offense down fairly dramatically (almost 10% less plays run than in 2011) but got significant increases in offensive efficiency to more than offset that, as Georgia scored almost a touchdown more per game than during the previous season.

Are we seeing an offensive coordinator who’s finally grown comfortable in his own skin, or a man who’s got enough offensive weapons at his disposal that it’s simply too tough for opposing defenses to shut down consistently?  I’d say yes.  Seriously, I don’t really care which is more the case.  But I sure am looking forward to seeing what the Georgia offense is capable of in 2013.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Is there a “defense bubble” among Georgia’s fan base?

Seth Emerson shared this observation in yesterday’s Mailbag post:

It’s funny, the optimism from Georgia fans’ about this young defense may have actually reached the point where too much is being expected. I’ve said all along that this unit can put up similar stats as last year’s defense, which in the end should be good enough, as long as the offense repeats its 2012 performance. But expectations still shouldn’t be too high. If this defense ranks in the top four in the SEC, that will be stupendous.

Boy, would it.  Georgia finished sixth in total defense in the SEC last season.  And between the greenness of this year’s secondary and the departure of the otherworldly talents of Jarvis Jones, I’m of a mind to say that if they just equal last year’s results, it would be pretty satisfactory.

What say you?  Are we fans expecting too much from Grantham’s guys?

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Filed under Georgia Football

You have to ask people to donate money to make money.

Georgia is embarking on a long overdue upgrade of Foley Field, one that involves asking for donors to pony up serious money to the cause before Butts-Mehre will chip in the first penny.  Seth Emerson, bless his heart, asks Greg McGarity the obvious question about Georgia’s precioussss reserve fund:

Now here comes the sticky question: Georgia currently has a reserve fund of about $70 million, so why not just take from that, rather than ask for money from donors?

McGarity, in an interview, said using the reserve fund should be the last resort.

“It would be like you or me dipping into our 401K. You only want to do that when it’s absolutely necessary,” McGarity said. “In the meantime, we do feel like there will be a response from our donors to raise 50 percent of the funds necessary for this. That is a funding model that was used at the University of Florida on projects of this nature, and it’s one that we’re going to use on this model also, and basically do it up front.

“Sure, there are a lot of things that we could do with our reserve. But what we want to do is use that reserve only when it’s essential to use. … The reason we are in such good financial shape is that’s been sort of a philosophy for a number of years: use the reserve when that’s absolutely the only option you have. And in a situation like this, there are other options.”

Only at Georgia do you look at capital improvements to an aging facility as necessary only if nobody else will pay for them.  Until that happens, promise ’em anything.

“What we are going to do next is going to wow people,” head coach Scott Stricklin, who was hired a couple weeks ago, said in a statement. “At some point, when a recruit is on this campus, we need them to say wow. And that is what Foley Field is going to be in the very near future.”

I figure he can get away with showing recruits stadium mock ups for at least a couple of years before they start asking questions.

And you still wonder whether Richt will get an indoor practice facility.  Know anybody that wants to buy one?

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Filed under Georgia Football

PAWWWWWL thinks we’re all reasonable people.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that Johnny Football’s gotten a lot of media attention this offseason whether he’s wanted it or not.  You win the Heisman in an unprecedented fashion and getting Tebow-ized by ESPN and its ilk comes with the territory.  Manziel’s obviously having a tough time coping with his newfound celebrity status – he’s a 20-year old who’s not fully mature, so it’s not exactly surprising.  Life under a media microscope ain’t easy, especially when you don’t yet have the money to insulate yourself from the public (assuming you want to do so, of course).

Then, again, he is headed towards a major pay day soon, so it’s not as if I’m crying in my beer over Manziel.  Still, we may have hit the moment when the finger wagging has jumped the shark.

ESPN radio personality Paul Finebaum says Johnny Manziel is becoming less likeable every day…

Finebaum said, “When you say what he did the other day.  When you say, ‘Walk in my shoes’ and you’re the Heisman Trophy winner and you have the world in front of you, that’s unacceptable.  We’re reasonable people here.  You can look past a lot of silly things, but I’m having a hard time looking past that.”

Boy, you’d think the kid poisoned a couple of trees, or something.

The interesting thing to watch with Manziel this season is how he copes with this critical attention to everything he says.  Can he block that out when he’s on the field?  If not, the Finebaums of the world are going to have a field day.

34 Comments

Filed under Johnny Football Mania, PAWWWLLL!!!