Hell, half of me believes he must might. Which is really the point, isn’t it?
Daily Archives: November 9, 2015
In a shocking development, the Georgia Southern game isn’t a nooner.
If Georgia loses this week, playing at night in mid-November could really chill the bidding, so to speak. Even on Senior Night, which would be a shame.
Is Tim Beckman a sociopath, or just a coach who wanted to win? Or is the line between the two that fine?
Dude, you can keep changing your handle, your email address or whatever else. There aren’t enough places in the world with WiFi to prevent me from banning your ass every time you show up with cherry picked stats and the same lame arguments you’ve been making for months now.
Do us both a favor, go home to your mama’s basement and take up another hobby. I hear porn is nice.
I’ve hesitated about penning a response (okay, not penning, exactly, but you know what I mean) to this Darrell Huckaby piece because I know it’s a well-intentioned cri de coeur. But I have to admit the first thought that crossed my mind after reading this…
But college football is not so much fun for me anymore. The players seem to care more about the name on the back of the jersey than the school they represent. Too few of them seem to appreciate the opportunity they have been given. The twin gods, television and the almighty dollar, dictate everything that happens, from scheduling to starting time. It takes four hours to play a game that should be over in two. It costs more money to follow a team for a season than my father ever made in any three-year period of his life. Attending a game is an all-day commitment, sometimes a two- or three-day commitment.
… was, what took you so long?
Where we’re at in the here and now has been a long time in coming and the process only seems to be accelerating. Conference realignment, monster television deals that result in conferences giving up more of their independence to Mickey, a postseason that grows and grows – we’ve been bitching about all that crap for years here.
The reality, as I’ve suggested before, is that there is a certain romance fans have always had about the sport. Huckaby is no exception to that. The cynical bastards who run college athletics count on it, even as the Steve Pattersons of the world work on nonsensical rebranding, not as a means to enhancing fan loyalty, but as an end of squeezing every last drop out of our wallets. Because that’s what really matters these days.
And people like Huckaby give them a pass. Sure, he’s disillusioned, but notice that he can’t even bring himself to blame the suits. He goes straight from the selfish players who “care more about the name on the back of the jersey” to television and money without bothering to mention the middlemen who have made it all possible.
Michael Adams never broke his leg playing in Sanford Stadium. Greg Sankey isn’t currently in rehab at the Shepherd Center (something, if you want to get shitty about it, that might not have happened if Gales’ school wasn’t busy chasing a paycheck to play in Athens). They’re just part of the group of people who’ve done what they could to make our present day dissatisfaction possible. The front of the jersey matters to them largely to the extent they can monetize it.
They treat college sports like a business, or at least their vision of a business. Any perception otherwise on our part is bound to end in disappointment. If it already hasn’t.
I don’t think there’s any doubt about what last Saturday’s highlight is. And thanks to the officiating crew for milking the drama by getting the touchdown call wrong to start with.
As for the rest of the day, let’s whip up a few bullet points.
- The weather was threatening, but unlike the Alabama game, it held off. Much appreciated.
- The crowd was better than expected, to be honest, given the weather and turmoil. There were a fair number of empty seats at kickoff, but things filled in to the extent I’d say the crowd was in the mid-eighties. The mood was supportive; the closest negative moment I can recall was after the Morgan missed field goal. But even that was more of a collective groan than a boo.
- Speaking of which, special teams continues to be its usual mixed mess. The coverage units were solid, but the return team play is still awful. There wasn’t a single time when a Georgia player had a clean field in front of him on a return. I called the onside pooch kick before it happened – and really, why wouldn’t you? The one clear area of improvement is perhaps the most unlikely, the emergence of Brice Ramsey as a weapon at punter. (Barber, meanwhile, continued to be dependable at delivering the wrong type of punt at the wrong time.)
- I know it was against Kentucky, but the defense turned in an excellent effort. Basically, it was one Isaiah McKenzie fumble away from pitching a shutout.
- DeLoach played his best game of the season. Parrish just played another great game, period. He’s really come on this year. Sanders did well, considering one of his interceptions turned into a mere four-yard loss for Kentucky. But it’s hard to get too upset about that, considering he’s playing with a bum hand right now.
- The downers on defense? Without blitzing, there wasn’t a consistent pass rush. That’s been a problem all season. And Towles burned both Davis and Briscoe on bad technique when neither turned around to see where the pass was.
- How many of you got a sinking feeling after Georgia’s first series on offense? Probably about as many of you as got a chuckle watching Godwin score Georgia’s first rushing touchdown in what seemed like a decade after fumbling the ball.
- I know I’ve already hammered away on this, but it’s hard to describe how poor Georgia’s passing game is right now without watching it. (Lambert throws a ball off the helmet of his own lineman, who’s three inches shorter? Really?) It’s almost as if they’ve given up trying. Shocking, really. And I feel really bad for Malcolm Mitchell, who’s playing his guts out game after game, with less and less to show for it.
- That being said, it was good to see what Michel can do when he gets into a rhythm and gets a little blocking support. Ditto Keith Marshall. It would be nice to see a few plays drawn up now with both in the formation, giving Michel a chance to operate in space, where he excels.
- The performance of the offensive line was a mixed bag. Run blocking was improved, but pass protection was inconsistent, even when UK wasn’t blitzing. A consequence of spending more practice time getting the wildcat down? Perhaps.
- Er, coaching? Pruitt’s gameplan was solid and his players handled it well. For the first time in ages, he even had the luxury of playing second teamers late in the game. Nice.
- Schottenheimer must have discovered a chapter in the Georgia playbook he hadn’t noticed before. Marshall’s score came on a perfectly designed screen pass, the kind of thing Mason executed routinely last season. The fullback even got a carry out of the I-formation. Once. Needless to say, I didn’t leave the stadium overly impressed.
- And as for the head man? Well, no doubt this last week was as tough a week as he’s ever had in Athens. He did manage to have the team ready to play, which a lot of people doubted he was capable of doing. There’s also a sense that even though he denied it during the week leading up to the game, he did have greater input in fashioning the offensive gameplan, and maybe even some of the play calling.
I don’t want to take this too far, though. It was a solid win, something this team really needed, so in that sense it was certainly a good one. But it’s certainly not any evidence of a major turnaround on the season. The defense is solid, but the special teams and offense still look deficient. Basically, this appears to be a team that will go as far as its running game will take it. That’s why it’s not worth throwing a parade over Saturday’s win.
Hey, remember this?
“One of the greatest attractions for me looking at Brian was the fact we do think a lot alike,” Richt said. “How to run the football, how to throw the football, how to protect, formations, run combos at the line of scrimmage, still believing in some two-back running game, but also being able to spread it out and take advantage of formations, motions and be able to protect. The fact we do things very much the same, though we may call it different, but the guts of it is going to be very similar.
“I’m not going to say we’re going to do exactly what we did, because we do want to know the things Brian knows and can help us grow as an offensive football team.”
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say I doubt running a lot out of the wildcat against Kentucky was exactly what Mark Richt envisioned when he said that. At least I hope not.
Richt added: “Really, the thought of having a guy that was very similar in thought, similar in scheme, similar in philosophy. We run a pro-style attack. A lot of teams across the country are spread and do a lot of zone read with the quarterback and protect in certain ways It’s not been what we’re about. We’re about running the ball a certain way and having the diversity in the passing game to be as sophisticated as anyone in the country with our protections and route concepts. We’re not just throwing four verts and smash routes. We’ve got an intricate passing game and protections scheme. We put a lot on our quarterback to make decisions at the line of scrimmage. Philosophically, we’re very much the same.”
You’ve come a long way, baby.
For those of you who said that Georgia’s lack of prowess throwing the ball over the last few games was due to facing great defense after great defense, Saturday’s results must have come as a bit of a shock. Kentucky is ranked 12th in the conference in defensive passer rating, and that’s after holding Georgia to 90 yards of passing. Check out that defensive game log for the ‘Cats. Even Missouri’s passing game posed a bigger challenge than did Schottenheimer’s.
Georgia’s offensive passing game log isn’t any prettier. The Dawgs have played nine games. They’ve averaged less than seven yards per pass attempt in five of them. They’ve done that twice in the previous seven seasons, so this year’s bunch has a chance not to set a new mark. That is, if they can average more than seven yards an attempt over the next four games. (I’m not exactly holding my breath on that one.)
Meanwhile, what’s in store for the Georgia passing attack? Why, more growth… er, wildcat.
Following easily Georgia’s biggest scoring output in three games, coach Mark Richt signaled the Bulldogs will stick with a similar offensive approach Saturday against Auburn on offense.
That means look for Greyson Lambert and Brice Ramsey to both play quarterback, more wild cat with Terry Godwin and Sony Michel and the new offensive line rolled out in the 27-3 win against Kentucky to remain intact.
“We’ll go into this week thinking we’ll play Greyson (Lambert) and Brice (Ramsey) again,” Richt said Sunday night…
…“I think we’ll have an element of the ‘Wild Dawg’ in there,” Richt said. “Terry doing it a little bit. Sony doing it a little bit.”
After all, what could be better for growth than to split the reps with the ones not just between three taking snaps, but four? Plus, you get the added bonus of cutting back Godwin’s reps at wide receiver.
Right now, that appears to be a feature, not a bug.
Given the clear success, Schottenheimer said the package will “keep growing” and Godwin said he wants to keep playing in that role as long as it can help the team.
One obviously lacking wrinkle from the read option was the pass option, especially given that Godwin was a quarterback in high school and a standout outfielder who was drafted by the Atlanta Braves. This was by design, for now.
“Oh, there’s no question (he’ll throw it),” Schottenheimer said. “But we can’t tell you when that’s going to be. He actually throws it pretty well. He does. Yeah, baseball player. Ask the Braves.”
Maybe Richt’s getting tips from the Braves, too.
The troubling thing about all this is that it’s being embraced despite doing nothing to develop a passing attack for next season. Given that the team goals for this season are shot, there’s really only one reason to pursue this approach, and that’s sheer expediency. This is what you get when an embattled coach is fighting for his job. For the very short term, I can see why Richt has grasped it.
There are likely consequences, though. No doubt it makes for an excellent selling point on the recruiting trail. I’m sure every major talent at wide receiver is chomping at the bit to come play in Georgia’s version of a pro-style offense. Where else can you find that kind of opportunity to grow your game?
Gary Pinkel is stuck between a rock and a hard place. He issued a statement of support for his black players’ stance on the school president.
But he’s also got this to contend with.
A Missouri Tigers player said Sunday night that the entire team is not united over the decision to stop practicing until grad student Jonathan Butler ends his hunger strike.
“As much as we want to say everyone is united, half the team and coaches — black and white — are pissed,” the player, who wished to remain anonymous, told ESPN…
… The player, who is white, spoke on the condition of anonymity because coaches told the team not to talk to the media as they thought the situation “would blow over eventually.”
Yeah, that last part’s chickenshit. If his statement about half the team being pissed were true, I doubt Mr. Anonymous would have had to speak on his lonesome. But I also doubt that there’s a complete unanimity on the team, human nature being what it is. How that division gets dealt with, especially if a significant part of the team refuses to suit up for this Saturday’s game, is a real challenge.
And not just in terms of keeping this team together. There is the potential for this to become an explosive issue on the recruiting trail. Just ask anyone who’s coached at Ole Miss if that’s any fun.
Saturday was a very, very good day for Nick Saban. In fact, it was close to perfect.
- Alabama. To borrow one of my favorite lines, if you’re a Tide fan, the world is once again spinning in its properly greased groove.
- LSU. The loss to Alabama was bad enough that Les was talking about next year after the game.
- Florida. Scoring nine points and winning an East game is the new black.
- Mississippi State. The Bulldogs just keep quietly rolling on. At least until this Saturday, after which they either won’t be quiet or won’t be rolling along any more.
- Mississippi. So much for controlling your destiny.
- Tennessee. It’s November, Vols. You can relax now.
- Arkansas. Based on Petrino and Bielema, it appears that coaching the Hogs is good for your libido.
- Auburn. There’s a real question about how much of that win against Texas A&M was a mirage.
- Georgia. Of course, the most Georgia thing that could happen at this point would be for the Dawgs to win out.
- Texas A&M. Funny thing happened on the way to making sure the Aggies defense didn’t suck so much this season – somebody forgot to pay attention to the offense.
- South Carolina. That makes two moral victories since Spurrier quit.
- Kentucky. How fast have the ‘Cats fallen? This fast: Vanderbilt is a 4.5-point favorite this week.
- Vanderbilt. If only this team had an even mediocre offense.
- Missouri. A player strike really cements this as Gary Pinkel’s season from Hell.
With LSU’s loss and TCU’s, I had to rethink my ballot for the first time in a couple of weeks.
- Notre Dame
- Ohio State
I’m pretty sure the Big 12 is overrated this season (which is why I omitted Oklahoma State from my ballot), but not positive. Another week or two of games should sort that out. Same thing with Stanford and Notre Dame.
At least I’m down to seven teams this week. But up to ten minutes to put my ballot together.