Daily Archives: August 20, 2013

Where things stand… now.

I found an interesting echo in Mark Bradley’s love letter to Mark Richt (boy, I bet Paul Johnson feels jilted) of something I once posted.

Namely, how did Mark Richt right the Georgia Bulldogs after going 6-7 in 2010 and starting 0-2 in 2011. And much of it, I’d suggest, had to do with faith. Richt knew what he believed, and he kept believing even when not many fans – and writers, let’s emphasize – shared that belief.

Faith.  That’s something I discussed after that horrendous loss to Junior in 2009.

If I had to put my finger on what’s wrong, I’d call it a crisis of faith.  I don’t mean that in a religious sense.  (By the way, of all the arguments I’ve seen about what’s wrong, blaming Coach Richt’s religious convictions for the slide has to rank as the dumbest.)  Rather, it’s a systemic doubt:  the coaches lack faith in the players to execute and the players lack faith in the coaches’ ability to deploy them efficiently and effectively.

And that’s why I think, admiring though he is, Bradley doesn’t get this exactly right.  This wasn’t some purely internal battle of Richt’s belief system.  This was about getting everyone associated with the program back to buying in to what Georgia football should be – a tough sell, especially since Richt had given little indication up until then that he was willing to look at what was going wrong.  It wasn’t about “knowing what he believed”; it was about recognizing that he either had to adapt credibly or die.  Richt fleshes that out in this quote:

“You really have to know what you believe. You can’t be so stubborn that you refuse to change if you believe you should change. Don’t not change because it’s a prideful act of not letting someone say, ‘I told you so.’ Sometimes your motivation for not changing can be prideful rather than practical. But there are certain things that if you truly believe are the right things to do and the right way to go about it … Regardless of the result, that’s what guides you and what keeps you moving down the track in confidence rather than fear.”

I can think of plenty of coaches who would never admit to something like that, or might say something like that without truly meaning it.  But I can’t think of very many whose ego would let them say it and act upon it.  And that is a remarkable thing.

Any doubts I had about Richt’s ability to turn the direction of the program around from the funk it was in just a few seasons ago were completely demolished the night of the 2012 SECCG.  The outcome of the game was disappointing, but the effort those players and coaches gave in that game wasn’t.  It was light years removed from what I watched in Knoxville.

I don’t know if Bradley’s right to say that engineering the turnaround is the greatest accomplishment of Richt’s career.  But I will say this:  hearing someone like him mention Georgia having a legitimate 2013 national title chance without a trace of mockery sure beats where we were for a while.



Filed under Georgia Football

Epic nerd

This is too good not to share.

The crowd shot seals the deal, doesn’t it?  The only thing that could have made that speech more epic is if he’d ripped off his gown to reveal an imperial storm trooper’s uniform beneath.

Remember, these are the people who Paul Johnson wants to get to football games.

(h/t CardDawg)


Filed under Georgia Tech Football

Coaching effect

Neat little piece at Football Study Hall that attempts to measure the relationship between a team’s talent and its on-field results over the past seven seasons.  There’s really little surprise about the talent conclusion – teams that recruit well tend to do better than teams that don’t recruit well – but it’s the part afterwards that’s really fun to read.

The remaining piece of the puzzle is what I am calling “Coaching Effect”, but refers not only to game prep and game-day coaching, but scheme, S&C program, and talent evaluation–coaches that routinely have better results than recruiting rankings indicate they should are probably doing a better job of evaluating the available talent than the ratings services are doing.

It stands to reason that over time, strong coaching staffs ought to consistently and measurably outperform (or at least perform in line) with the available talent on hand and weaker staffs will underachieve (sometimes spectacularly).

Based at least on how Richt’s teams chart, his method feels like it has the ring of truth, or at least plausibility, to it.  And for some real amusement, compare Gene Chizik’s numbers from the 2010 and 2012 seasons.  Let’s just say Cam deserved the Heisman.


Filed under Stats Geek!

The most overrated statistic in college football

John Pennington chooses to put the Alabama conspiracy theorists at the heart of this post, but the real story there is that penalty yardage has no correlation with wins and losses.

Of the four teams with more than 30 wins over the last six seasons, three of them have been penalized the more yardage than anyone — LSU, Florida and Georgia.

Meanwhile, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Kentucky are among the least penalized programs in conference games.

Sure, feel free to gripe about that single, egregious call, but just remember that over the course of a season, penalties don’t have much impact on the bottom line.


Filed under SEC Football

They’ve still got to win, but…

BCS Guru puts together preseason BCS standings and Georgia ranks third.  The computers look favorably on the Dawgs.

What that should tell you is that if Georgia comes out of September with no more than one loss, it should be in the national title hunt for the rest of the regular season.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football

Things could get ugly out there.

Between this and this, I’m starting to wonder whether you could cobble together a functioning secondary by combining Clemson’s and Georgia’s defensive backs.  It’s a close call.  And there are less than two weeks ’til opening night.


Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Georgia Football