Daily Archives: June 15, 2015

Close, but no ceegar

Steele has Georgia playing Baylor in the Sugar Bowl, which implies a Dawgs’ loss in the SECCG to Alabama.

Would you be satisfied with that?

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UPDATE:  That would be consistent with this.

38 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

Huntley Johnson is a wizard, ctd.

Via Andy Staples

But I got a chance to study the phenomenon up close while covering Florida as a beat writer for The Tampa Tribune from 2004-07. As the OTL piece pointed out, Gators in trouble—and there were a lot in those years—tend to turn to an attorney named Huntley Johnson.

We beat writers used to joke that if Johnson didn’t represent a player who got arrested, it meant that player was probably already kicked off the team. That wasn’t true all the time, but Johnson almost always seemed to get retained when a player got sideways with the law. Johnson rarely talks to the press about cases, typically letting the plea deals he negotiates do the talking for him. I tried to interview him in 2007 after former (and future) Florida lineman Ronnie Wilson pleaded no contest to battery and discharging a firearm in public. Wilson had hit a man and spit on him, and after realizing the man was following him to give Wilson’s information to a 911 dispatcher, Wilson switched to a vehicle that had an AK-47 in the trunk. Later, he would pull that AK-47 and fire it in the air to scare the man he had hit and spit on. The man said in court that Wilson pointed the gun at him before firing into the air. Thanks to Johnson, Wilson served no jail time beyond the brief period between his arrest and his posting bail. He got two years of probation. I asked Johnson after the change of plea hearing if he’d talk about the case. “What do you think I’m going to say?” Johnson asked. My reply was something to the effect of, “Your client pulled an AK-47 on a guy and won’t spend a day in jail, so I’m guessing not much, but I’m going to ask anyway.” Johnson smiled. “You’re pretty smart,” he said. End of interview.

A good magician never reveals his secrets, you know.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Gators Gators

Is the SEC East poised to regain its balance with the West?

Let’s just say I find this article unconvincing.

On the low end, no team in the West is going to be as subpar as Vanderbilt will be this season.  And on the high end, it’s been, what, six seasons since the East triumphed in Atlanta?

But it’s really in the middle where the gap is.  Tennessee to this point is nothing but talk and potential.  Florida’s offense is an empty cupboard.  Missouri has made it to Atlanta the last two seasons based on favorable scheduling and gotten exposed both times upon arrival.  And nobody seems to be taking South Carolina seriously as a contender.  Compare that to whatever schools you consider to be the middle of the West – say, Arkansas, LSU, one of the two Mississippi schools and Texas A&M.  Does anyone really see the divisional balance being there yet?

11 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

SEC Media Days, 2015 edition

For some reason, someone thought it would be a good idea to come up with a logo this year.

Gee, I’ll treasure that always.

More importantly, they’ve released the coaches’ speaking schedule, which looks like this:

Monday, July 13
— Commissioner Greg Sankey, Auburn (Gus Malzahn/players): 11:30 a.m. – 2:20 p.m.
— Florida (Jim McElwain/players), Vanderbilt (Derek Mason/players): 2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 14
— Steve Shaw, SEC Coordinator of Football Officials: 8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m.
— South Carolina (Steve Spurrier/players), Texas A&M (Kevin Sumlin/players): 9 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.
— Mississippi State (Dan Mullen/players), Tennessee (Butch Jones/players): 1 p.m – 4 p.m.

Wednesday, July 15
— Alabama (Nick Saban/players), Kentucky (Mark Stoops/players): 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
— Mizzou (Gary Pinkel/players), Arkansas (Bret Bielema/players): 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Thursday, July 16
— Georgia (Mark Richt/players), Ole Miss (Hugh Freeze/players), LSU (Les Miles/players): 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

I’ll be out of town that Wednesday and Thursday, so my pithy observations may be even pithier than usual.  But I’ll figure something out.  Because you know they’ll be bitching about something.

23 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

How good does Georgia’s quarterback need to be this season?

Mark Bradley (I know) calls 2015.

Georgia will go 8-4. I’m always accused of overrating the Bulldogs, and sometimes the accusation holds water. But I have real doubts about this season. Over Mark Richt’s 14 seasons in Athens, teams working with a new quarterback have averaged 3.8 regular-season losses. (Richt’s teams with an incumbent have averaged 2.1.) Most of those new quarterbacks — David Greene, D.J. Shockley, Matthew Stafford and Aaron Murray — were a cut above any on this roster, and coordinator Mike Bobo isn’t around to smooth the kinks. I see Georgia losing to Tennessee, Alabama and Auburn — and to someone else simply because Georgia under Richt always loses a game it shouldn’t. But I do think Georgia will beat Tech.

Say what you will about the rest of it, what I want to focus on is his “cut above” observation about new quarterbacks.  Here’s the passer rating for every quarterback’s first season as a starter under Richt:

A few things to note there.  Shockley is the only one of that bunch to enjoy a trip to Atlanta in his first (and only) starting season.  He had a fine year, but he also benefited from a defense that hadn’t forgotten what VanGorder taught.  Stafford is the only true freshman on that list, and his passer rating reflects that.  Greene’s first season is underrated – his passer rating actually declined over the next two seasons – but that year was Richt’s first and was clearly transitional.

What’s interesting is the jump in Murray’s and Mason’s ratings over their predecessors.  That, in my opinion, reflects a change in philosophy on offense, as Richt and Bobo started putting a higher priority on completion percentage.  Georgia’s starting quarterbacks have been over the 60% threshold every year since 2010 except for Murray’s second.

But here’s the thing – note what most of these guys didn’t have in those seasons.  Most of them didn’t have a dominant running game to take some of the pressure off.  Mason did.  And it’s likely that whoever starts this season will enjoy the same benefit.

Now it’s true we’ve got the wild card of a change in offensive coordinators, so there’s certainly that to take into consideration.  But how much of this is really going to matter as part of Georgia’s success in 2015?  If the approach on offense is to focus on with what’s worked, which is completion percentage and turnover avoidance, is it really that unlikely that we won’t see this year’s starter with a similar rating?

I know pointing in the quarterback’s direction is the obvious way to assess Georgia’s chances this season.  I just have a feeling this season’s success is going to come down to what it usually does in Athens, and that’s a matter of how well the defense plays.

69 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football