Daily Archives: November 5, 2015

Reaping what you sow

It’s a question that had to be asked.  And it’s an answer that Greg McGarity had to go on the record with.

USA TODAY reported that Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity “favored” firing Richt after last year but was over-ruled by president Jere Morehead.

However, McGarity forcefully denied that later to both USA Today and the AJC/DawgNation.

“Simple answer. It wasn’t true,” McGarity said in a text. He also told USA TODAY: “There isn’t one ounce of truth to that. That is not right.”

That’s not coming from a “source”.  It’s coming from a name.  Further, Emerson goes on to say this:

That’s backed up by the reporting at the time by this reporter and others on the beat. There were indeed some behind-the-scenes discussions between Richt and the administration over financial support, especially coaches salaries. But at no time did any sources indicate that McGarity wanted to make a change.

It’s good that he was both public and forceful, but it’s sad things have come to this.  In a sense, I feel bad for McGarity having to deal with the crap, but to some extent, this is some of the chickens coming home to roost as a result of that disastrous interview he gave Mark Bradley last December.  As PR moves go, that one will go down as one of the most regrettable.

I suspect it won’t be the last time he has to go on the record about things, either.

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The revenge of Agent Muschamp

I don’t know if you caught this little tidbit from Wolken’s article, but behold Greg McGarity’s percieved chief adviser in the search for a new head coach:

McGarity, who has been Georgia’s athletics director since 2010, has never conducted a coaching search of this magnitude. He previously worked under Jeremy Foley at Florida, and it is expected he would lean heavily on Foley’s advice should he find himself in the middle of a coaching search.

That’s a pretty neat trick, if you’re Foley.  Maybe he can recommend Steve Spurrier.

Just shoot me now.  Please.

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When cultures collide

Bruce Feldman reports on the heart of the matter:

On Thursday, sources told FOX Sports that Richt is dealing with lots of friction inside the Georgia football program, some of it stemming from the old guard Bulldog staff vs. the new guard regarding many of the changes in how the Dawgs program is run.

Many of these changes — from staffing moves to operational decisions to how the team gets ready for its games — were pushed for by second-year Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, a Nick Saban disciple who came to Athens after helping leading Florida State to the national title following the 2013 season. Things have come to a head because the product on the field is struggling and there is frustration from all sides.

The Georgia Way is under siege.

Those of you jonesing for change might want to think about what Pruitt being run off from Athens means, regardless of Richt’s future.

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On the outside, looking in

I recommend reading this debate at SBNation on Richt’s future, which does a pretty good job of cataloguing the pros and cons of firing Richt at season’s end.

A couple of examples:

Bud: Does a new coach fix that? Is Georgia really committed to winning at all costs like the SEC schools that actually win titles? Can the next coach get the weed policy loosened up to match Florida’s? Can he get the Athens police to chill with some of the nonsense arrests? Can he get recruiting staff and film analysts out the wazoo like Alabama has? Those are things behind the scenes that people might not see, but that lead to wins.

Godfrey: The short answer is yes, because they have to. Richt’s adherence to by-the-book discipline on all things minor (read: marijuana possession) is detrimental to both a program’s success and a player’s development. Georgia’s policy is so far out of step with some competitors it’s jarring. I think the right coach can change the perception of Georgia much in the same way Saban did to LSU.

If there’s a coach out there who believes he can do that, I’d love to be a fly on the wall when he interviews with McGarity and Morehead.

No matter what we think the UGA job should be, Richt has gotten the Bulldogs six top-10 finishes in 13 years, and they’d had six in the 32 years before he arrived.

You should only fire a coach if you know for a fact that the guy in charge can’t meet your goals. When you’ve come this close this recently, and when you’re recruiting like Richt is recruiting (and to be sure, the current mess with defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt could wreck that), you just can’t say it’s impossible for him to reach whatever goals Georgia has set. He’s completely botched just about everything in 2015, but that doesn’t mean he always has or always will.

Maybe.  But it doesn’t mean that he won’t, either.  After all, it’s not like he doesn’t have plenty of experience.

I think I’m about at the point when I should just expect the worst, no matter how things go.  I suspect we’re going to be spending a few years in the wilderness, peeps.

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It’s great to be a Georgia Bulldog… most of the time.

The background chatter isn’t letting up.  Quite the contrary, it’s getting noisier.

USA TODAY Sports spoke with multiple people who have insight into the situation at Georgia. They spoke on the condition of anonymity and encompass all levels of the college athletics industry from well-connected supporters of the program to agents to search firms.

Those conversations produced the following conclusions:

► Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity favored a coaching change after last season but was overruled by president Jere Morehead. Richt was then given a contract extension.

► Regardless of the ultimate decision on Richt this time, defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt almost certainly will not be back, as his relationship with Richt and Georgia administrators has grown toxic.

► Georgia does not have one or two mega-boosters with the influence to make the call on Richt, but the displeasure of the Bulldogs’ high-dollar financial supporters has made its way to Morehead’s office.

► If Richt stays, it will be with a coaching staff that looks very different as first-year offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has also been viewed as a problem.

It’s an untenable situation for any major program, particularly one like Georgia that should be competing for SEC titles annually but has squandered opportunity in the weakened Eastern division over the last few years.

The personality conflict between Pruitt and Richt stands at the center of Georgia’s failed season. Pruitt, who came up from the Nick Saban tree and was Jimbo Fisher’s defensive coordinator in 2013 at Florida State, was given wide latitude to improve the program from its recruiting operation to autonomy over several coaching hires.

But as Georgia has continued to lose, the intense and brash Pruitt has butted heads with the laid-back Richt, who has never been a fan of the idea that Alabama influence has become pervasive in his program. A lot of the blame internally has also been directed toward offensive line coach Rob Sale, who was hand-picked by Pruitt but has coached a unit that underperformed despite high expectations.

Many in the industry question whether Georgia will have the stomach to ultimately force out Richt and that it might be better for all parties involved if he chose to walk away after this season.

Little leakage there, Butts-Mehre?  In the immortal words of Wilford Brimley’s character in Absence of Malice, “You had a leak? You call what’s goin’ on around here a leak? Boy, the last time there was a leak like this, Noah built hisself a boat.”

That’s the sign of an inept administration.  And this is a sign of a coach having to deal with that, on top of his self-made problems:

Whatever you think of Richt at this point, there is no way to excuse what’s going on right now.  There’s no way to think it won’t factor into the process when the next coaching hire comes in to play, either.

Jesus, what a fucking mess.

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Familiarity breeds contempt.

Mike Bobo knows something about that.

Bobo, who worked under Richt at Georgia from 2001-14 as the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, said Wednesday that feeling the heat is something any coach should expect. And after 15 years in the same job, it becomes harder to keep people happy all the time.

“That’s the nature of this business. You’re going to take criticism,” Bobo said. “The more you stay, the more you lose a percentage of your fan base because they get dissatisfied. That’s part of it. It’s hard to stay that long and please everybody. But he’s a good football coach and a good man and I hope they win this week, but that’s part of the business.”

When you get paid the kind of money an SEC coach gets these days, it’s not conducive to a long-term career.  Especially when you don’t keep that in mind while doing your job.

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Tale of the tape: bend and break

Interesting notion from Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer about what he considers to be the most relevant way to track a defense’s prowess:

Like many coaches these days, Spencer doesn’t pay much attention to total yardage stats. He feels like the most apt barometer to measure a defense’s worth is points per possession. It’s not something the NCAA keeps tabs on officially. Brian Fremeau (@bcfremeau), a writer for Football Outsiders, does chart such advanced stats. Michigan ranks No. 1 in the points-allowed-per-possession stat at 0.83, followed by Alabama, Wisconsin, Clemson and Boston College. Spencer’s defense is a respectable No. 31.

Well, you know what comes next, right?  To the Statmobile!

If you click on the link in that quoted passage, start by reading Brian’s definitions:

Points Per Drive data are a function of all offensive possessions in FBS vs. FBS games in the given season, excluding first-half clock kills and end-of-game garbage drives and scores. Teams are ranked by net points scored per drive (NPD), the difference between points scored per offensive drive (OPD) and points allowed per opponent offensive drive (DPD). Points per value drive for the offense (OVD) opponent offenses (DVD) are calculated on possessions that begin on the offense’s own side of midfield and reach at least the opponent’s 30-yard line. Points per long drive for the offense (OLD) and opponent offenses (DLD) are calculated on possessions that begin inside the offense’s own 20-yard line.

You want to familiarize yourself with those terms before you read how they illuminate Georgia’s season to date.

Georgia is a mediocre 49th in net points per drive, which is an accurate reflection of a 4-3 record against FBS opponents.  It’s the breakdown between the offensive and defensive sides that’s the eye opener.

On offense, Georgia is 94th in points scored per drive, 116th in points scored per drive that reach the opponent’s 30-yard line (hey there, red zone offense!) and 57th in drives that begin inside their own 20.

It’s quite the opposite story for the defense:  22nd in points allowed per drive; 14th in points allowed per drive that reaches Georgia’s 30-yard line; 5th in points allowed per drive starting inside the opponent’s 20.  In other words, the Dawgs’ defense is plenty good when it’s allowed to do its job of keeping points off the board.  It’s just not being given the circumstances to do so.  Constantly losing the field position battle  – Georgia has fallen in Brian’s FEI field position rankings from first last season to 87th in 2015 – is killing this team.

Explaining this season doesn’t take a degree in rocket science.  You can see it in the stats. You can see it in the stands.

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