Daily Archives: February 10, 2014

“It’s multiple.”

Speaking of Pruitt, it’s starting to sound like as much of his defensive philosophy was formulated at Hoover High as at Tuscaloosa.

“For the most part, the basis of it was a carbon copy,” said Sherrer, who was Pruitt’s first hire at Georgia and will coach the `Sam’ linebackers and the `Star’ nickel back position. “I know he did some things that we did at Hoover High School (in Alabama). We did a little bit of that at South Alabama, but the terminology, the scheme, the coverages, the pressures, all of those type of things are exactly the same things.”

Things?  What things?

You can get in three downs, you can get in four downs. You’re going to match personnel with the offense. You’re going to have five defensive backs on the field, you’re going to have six defensive backs on the field. You’re going to get in some packages where you may have two d-lineman and three or four linebackers on third down and things like that where you can create pressure and that’s why he likes to recruit the guys that can play multiple positions. You can have a guy who can play inside backer, they can play not really a D-end but an outside rush guy on third down, things like that but they can also drop back and cover and run with the wide receivers and things.”

To catch an offensive coordinator who honed his scheme in high school, maybe you need a defensive coordinator who did much the same.

One thing you can say about Richt – he sure is flexible when it comes to his defensive coordinators’ backgrounds.

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Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

“We’re playing against a lot more spread.”

Nick Saban, like rust, never sleeps.  I suspect he’s been chewing over the reasons behind Alabama’s two-game losing streak.  It sounds like his defensive philosophy is evolving in response to what happened last season.

Saban has said on multiple occasions recently how important it is for Alabama to adapt to the changing landscape of college football. His system has long relied on big, heavy bodies on the defensive line to clog running lanes and free up linebackers to play in space. And for a while, no one had an answer for it as his defenses at LSU and Alabama routinely dominated the point of attack. But as more and more mobile quarterbacks have begun moving the pocket and more and more hurry-up offenses have sped up the game, the size Saban so covets has been nullified. Three-hundred pound defensive linemen are too slow to catch quarterbacks like Johnny Manziel and Nick Marshall, and they’re too slow to catch someone like Trevor Knight when he’s getting rid of the ball in the blink of an eye.

The litany of personnel packages Saban was known for using have become outdated as well. It’s not that they’re no longer effective, they’re simply no longer applicable. With so many teams going without a huddle on offense, there’s no time to substitute players. So, in turn, Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart have had to simplify the defense and find players who can play multiple roles. That means no more lumbering defensive ends and no more linebackers who don’t have the speed to cover a slot receiver. Athleticism and versatility is now the name of the game.

I don’t think all that’s totally gone the way of the dinosaur, if for no other reason than that not every team Alabama plays runs some version of the HUNH.  Plus, beef still tends to come in handy inside the red zone, regardless of the opponent’s scheme.  And the idea that athleticism is all of a sudden the name of the game is silly, considering that you can go back to what Jimmy Johnson did at Miami to counter the powerhouse option offenses of the time to see that defensive minds have valued athleticism for some time now.

Versatility, however, is something that’s increasingly valuable in this new era.  (So are some other things, if you’ll recall.)  If Saban’s reached an adapt-or-perish point in coaching defense, he’s not the only one.  Recruiting the right kind of athletes and knowing how best to deploy those athletes once they get on campus will always be the name of the game, even as college offenses change.  It’ll be interesting to see if Saban’s defense can mutate successfully.  And Jeremy Pruitt’s.

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Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

Commit to the reserve fund.

Okay, I gotta admit this was good for a chuckle:

The UGA athletic board met, and approved the spending of $12 million to renovate baseball’s Foley Field. When the news was tweeted out by this reporter, a member of the football team, cornerback Sheldon Dawson, immediately responded.

“And we can’t get no indoor (practice facility),” he wrote, the disgust hard to miss.

Now, I agree with Seth that there’s a certain amount of symbolism attached to the IPF.  It’s not my highest financial priority, although I understand the arguments of those who disagree about that.  And I also acknowledge that we’re in an era and a region where universities are routinely expected to do with less and less public funding of their needs.  (Private funding is the new black for SEC athletic facilities.)  So I get that prudence and caution with athletic department funds aren’t dirty words.

However, methinks they doth protest a wee bit too much.

The subject of the Georgia athletics department’s massive reserve fund came up about midway through the meeting. An accountant with Ernst and Young had just presented his annual audit of the athletic association, reporting that as the new fiscal year began Georgia had $67.1 million in that reserve fund.

Yes, $67.1 million. Seemingly a lot of money to throw around, and build four-and-a-half indoor practice facilities.

But it’s not that simple.

Board member Bill Archer, a retired executive with Georgia Power, spoke up. Yes, that’s a lot of money, but UGA has almost twice that in debt, Archer pointed out.

“We got that money there. But we got a lot of that money there because we took out bonds to get it,” Archer said.

Across the table another board member, Bob Bishop, chimed in with agreement.

“That’s what I like to call unallocated funds,” Bishop said.

Is there another athletic department in the country that’s more defensive about how it handles its money making than Georgia’s?  I’m hard-pressed to think of one.  And here’s what’s particularly noteworthy here – this is coming from a program that is routinely in the top three or four nationally in terms of athletic department profitability, but ranks nowhere near as high in overall revenues.  It’s not hard to do the math to figure out how that’s possible.

As far as the bonds argument goes, I think any average Joe or Jane who’s ever borrowed money to buy a house will tell you that assuming you’ve made a sound investment, cash flow is a lot more relevant than whether you’ve got enough money in the bank to pay the mortgage off tomorrow.  Georgia is doing swimmingly there, and stands to do even better once the new TV moneys start rolling in.

So you’ll have to pardon me if I take McGarity’s hand wringing about revenues…

“You see that big reserve there, but our margin’s right now are not very strong, because of our revenue. Think about it, we haven’t raised ticket prices since ’08. … The only way we can really generate more revenue is to raise ticket prices. We don’t want to do that.”

… with a rather sizeable grain of salt.

How much has the SEC’s wealth grown? Just four years ago, the SEC distributed $132.5 million ($11 million per school), meaning the conference’s payout has increased by 118 percent since its current ESPN and CBS deals began in 2009-10.  [Emphasis added.]

As far as using the reserve fund to pay down the outstanding debt, that’s something you do if it’s your best financial option.  It’s not something you do emotionally, simply because you feel better with less debt on the books.  And when I say “best financial option”, that doesn’t just mean what kind of rate you can get investing your savings (although that’s certainly a valid goal).  It also means taking steps to strengthen the programs that generate the cash flow that grows the reserve fund.

As the article indicates, this isn’t all about McGarity.  But there is a unity of purpose at work there.  Let’s just say B-M is lucky to have somebody like Mark Richt at the helm of the football program.  In a number of ways, Richt helps make knee-jerk frugality pay off.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Monday morning buffet

Clearing the decks… dig in.

  • “We felt like our tight end position was really a little scary with the depth there,” coach Mark Richt said.
  • To me, the most interesting aspect of the Michael Sam coming out story is whether the NFL will be able to deal with Sam’s sexual orientation as maturely as Missouri did.
  • Rodney Garner complains of overcoming negative recruiting in his success in getting Dontavius Russell to flip from Georgia to Auburn.
  • Good story from the Chattanooga paper on how their college football careers played out for 50 area recruits(h/t Scorpio Jones, III)
  • Bill Connelly has his first S&P+ projections for 2014.  Georgia is eighth.
  • I’m not sure Bret Bielema understands how recruiting rankings work.  Either that, or he’s convinced he’s really, really good at finding diamonds in the rough.
  • Chalk up another head coach who sees the role technology plays in recruiting these days.  Mark Stoops“I think it’s easier in some ways because of all the social media that you have,” he said.
  • Junior, a look back.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Name that caption: use the force, Mark.

The latest cast in Chris Conley’s epic looks thusly:


Say what you want about the tenets of the Jedi, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.

Your comments are welcome.

**************************************************************************

UPDATE:  Bernie’s got more.

Damn, Mark Richt’s lost control of something there.

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Filed under Name That Caption