This year could be the year.
Daily Archives: January 3, 2015
I’ve seen/heard some suggestions in the wake of the Pruitt extension that it shows Georgia can and will do something on a similar level with the offensive coordinator hire. Eh, I’m not so sure about that.
And I don’t necessarily mean that as criticism.
If I’ve slagged B-M and McGarity in particular for trying to ignore the reality of the market, honesty compels me to admit that the offensive coordinator market is a different beast from the market Georgia faced in Pruitt’s case. Take a look at USA Today’s assistant coaches’ salary database to see what I mean here. With Muschamp’s hire and Pruitt’s raise, there are now four assistants in the SEC making more than a million dollars a year, only one of whom, Cam Cameron, is on the offensive side.
And Cameron is clearly an outlier. Roper and Kiffin were the next highest paid offensive coordinators this past season and each made about half of what Cameron did.
There is simply a higher premium put on good defensive coordinators in this conference. Some of that is probably due to some SEC head coaches, like Freeze, Malzahn and Sumlin, still being heavily involved in their offenses’ play. Some of it is probably due to stopping an offense being harder to do these days than ever. And some is due to there being plenty of talented offensive guys out there, particularly if you’re looking to run some version of the Air Raid.
Georgia doesn’t need to spend over a million a year to get a top-notch guy, in other words. But it’s probably going to have to spend more than it did on Bobo.
The message here is that Richt should have some real flexibility in going after the coach he wants for the position. I tend to agree with Emerson and Estes at this point that the next OC is likely not on anyone’s radar yet.
As Weiszer noted,
The Pruitt raise is an indication that Georgia is willing to pay assistants who may be pursued for other jobs. More assistants could be getting raises and Richt seems almost certain to get one as well considering he’s now towards the back of the pack among SEC coaches in annual compensation after several got pay increases.
All true, but here’s what’s noteworthy.
There are expected to be more raises coming for Richt’s assistants, according to a source. It was not specified why Pruitt’s was announced right away, but with other schools (including LSU) currently looking for a defensive coordinator, the move should stave off any possible interest in hiring Pruitt away from UGA.
That, friends, is what proactive smells like. Given B-M’s historic pace in matters like this, somebody’s come around. That’s a most welcome development. Whoever you are, Greg McGarity or McGarity’s enabler, well played, boss.
Tennessee finished 3-5 in conference play this season, with a negative net scoring margin. The Vols made their bowl eligibility bones in their last game of the season, beating a Vanderbilt squad that regressed more than any other team in the SEC. They finished beating soundly an Iowa team yesterday that clearly had little interest in playing. Considering what UT has accomplished in the past four seasons, it was a good year.
But evidently I’m not giving Tennessee enough credit.
There’s no doubt that Tennessee went through some growing pains this year, nowhere more so than during a stretch of the season where the Vols went almost two months between victories against FBS competition. And no one is going to mistake Iowa in a January 2 bowl game for Alabama in Tuscaloosa in October. But after winning three of its last four games — all against SEC opponents — Tennessee was already getting some buzz as a possible contender in what is expected to be another wide-open SEC East race. On Friday, the Vols gave everyone watching plenty of reasons to believe that they can deliver.
Those four opponents were South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt. Murderers’ Row it wasn’t.
Look, no question that Butch Jones has recruited well. (Thanks for repeating that tidbit ad nauseam, Rod Gilmore.) Two things about that. First, he’s had to. The cupboard SOD left him was threadbare, to say the least. Second, it’s the SEC. Every coach recruits well in the SEC, or at least every coach does if he wants to stay employed. And, true, I doubt any team will be universally anointed as the division winner in this offseason.
But, geez, there are at least a few SEC East teams that will have a leg up on the Vols going into 2015. Tennessee had one player make the coaches All-SEC teams – Derek Barnett (he’s a good one) made second team. Every other team expected to be in the divisional mix next season did better than that. And while I realize that some of those names are moving on, the point is that, unlike Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Missouri and South Carolina haven’t suffered serious drop offs in recruiting in recent seasons.
None of which is to say Tennessee won’t be improved in 2015. UT should be if for no other reason than there is more talent on the roster. The schedule is slightly better in that Oklahoma is a home game, too. But I think I’ll wait another year to see if they’re all the way back.
Mr. Conventional Wisdom, as we all know, bows to no man in his love and admiration for all things SEC. And, yes, he’s a little stung right now by his 12-0 prediction for the SEC’s bowl season. So you can roll your eyes a bit as he’s working the “they’ll be back, baby!” angle hard already.
But he’s not quite as off the mark as the good folks at Eleven Warriors make him sound. Listening to the bowl chatter yesterday, it’s clear that plenty of ESPN’s talking heads had no problem pimping the SEC’s admittedly bad New Year’s Day as a sign of serious decline. Since it’s ESPN, it’s pretty clear why that was so: it’s good for business.
Expect it to gain traction in the offseason. The P5 conferences have every reason in the world to work the refs as long as there are more conferences than playoff slots and if ESPN is willing to do some of the heavy lifting, I doubt anyone will object.
Expect Nick Saban to have time for this shit, though.