It’s not a visor toss, but the disgust still comes through.
In fairness, he’s got some reasons for that.
Gee, I wonder why.
Good piece from Brandon Larrabee on how Steve Spurrier turned the South Carolina program around includes this observation:
In a way, it’s not really surprising to say that facilities, recruiting and coaching all played a role in South Carolina’s emergence as a power in the SEC East. What is perhaps somewhat surprising is that Steve Spurrier — who won a half-dozen SEC titles and a national championship at Florida doing things his way — was able to oversee that kind of reinvention in the twilight of his career.
Larrabee is referring to the reinvention of the program there, but I think Spurrier also reinvented his approach to running a program as well. Not an easy thing to do, especially when you’re somebody who’s had a great deal of success over a long period doing things in a particular way. You have to tip your hat to Spurrier for pulling that off.
You also have to wonder if Mark Richt can pull off the same trick. It’s apparent to me that Richt is in the second phase of reinventing his approach to running the Georgia program since the dark days of the 2009 season, although I’m not sure whether it’s best to characterize what’s been happening this offseason as a continuation of what he started when he dismissed Willie Martinez and the rest of the defensive staff, or if this is a separate development. In any event, it’s apparent that in some ways, business as usual in 2014 isn’t the same business as usual we saw over the previous four seasons.
2009 saw a complete breakdown in confidence between the staff and players. That breakdown has largely been mended, I feel. But it may have masked other issues that came to light later, issues which I would sort of group together under the heading of not paying enough attention to details. That’s how you get the nitpicking crazy stuff about special teams breakdowns I’ve highlighted this week. It’s also how you get poor roster management.
So maybe the new blood that’s arrived has put a charge into Richt, a charge leading him to focus on the details more than he did before. Last year was a valuable experience in that we finally saw a Georgia team that may have lost its composure now and then, but never failed to show up for a game – something we couldn’t say about the prior two seasons (or many seasons before that, honestly), even if both 2011 and 2012 saw SECCG trips along the way. That’s the sign of a team that’s bought back in to what the coaches have to offer. The next step from that is to keep up that focus on all the details, which is over time what separates teams with talent from teams that win consistently.
Is Georgia there yet? I am skeptical you can turn a battleship that quickly, but Richt has surprised me before. Even if there isn’t a complete transformation, there should be early signs of it we should see in the opener if all the preseason talk we’ve gotten is more than just that. I’ll be rooting for reinvention.
Too bad schools are losing touch with their students on that front, then.
Average student attendance at college football games is down 7.1% since 2009, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal of stadium turnstile records from about 50 public colleges with top-division football teams. The decline was 5.6% at colleges in the five richest conferences.
The decrease even at schools with entrenched football traditions and national championships stands in contrast to college football’s overall popularity.
What’s the problem? Not enough wi-fi? Nah, it’s the usual suspect.
The growing number of empty seats in student sections across the U.S. is a sign of soaring ticket prices, more lopsided games and fewer matchups against longtime rivals, and the proliferation of televised games that make it easier than ever for students to keep tailgating long after kickoff.
It’s money that they love. Schools, I mean. And students usually don’t have that much, at least in comparison to older alumni and ESPN. And perhaps that’s why ADs like Joe Alleva don’t sound that upset.
“There are so many other things they can do that maybe going to the game that day isn’t the most important thing on their agenda,” says Louisiana State University athletic director Joe Alleva. Student attendance fell 5.5% to 8,508 in 2013 from 9,000 in 2012.
By the time LSU notices that those students aren’t buying season tickets down the road, Joe will be off enjoying retirement somewhere and it’ll be somebody else’s problem. Of course, by then college football may be sporting a 24-team playoff, so maybe nobody will notice.
Just curious about something, based on a debate some of y’all had in the comments this week. Take a look at this:
Of the 12 winningest coaches in SEC history, as judged by winning percentage, are active in the conference. Nick Saban‘s .804 on-the-field winning percentage at LSU and Alabama ranks fourth in conference history behind Urban Meyer (.813), Gene Stallings (.810) and Frank Thomas (.805). LSU’s Les Miles is fifth at .798, South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier is ninth at .750 and Georgia’s Mark Richt is 12th at .739.
Where do you draw the line between good and great there? Fifth? Ninth? Eleventh?
To reiterate a point made in a post the other day,
What has changed, according to players, is the intensity of teaching.
“Definitely stressing more fundamental-wise and trying to focus on some of the little things,” said senior Kosta Vavlas, a special teams standout. “I mean prior (to this year) we kind of just jumped in, going all the way through without breaking each phase of each game down.”
Defensive players, especially in the secondary, have talked often about the detailed coaching that they’re getting from first-year coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, and receiver Reggie Davis made it sound like that was happening — from all coaches — on special teams.
“Coaches are definitely paying attention to details this year,” Davis said, adding for emphasis, “Small, small details.”
Davis muffed three punts last year.
“They’re really cracking down on just looking the ball all the way in, especially because of what I did last year,” Davis said.
Sure, a lot of that can be characterized as happy talk. And who’s to say it’s going to pay off in a big way this season? But tolerating that kind of stuff sure goes a long way towards explaining the many moments of special teams epic fail, 2013 version.