Daily Archives: December 8, 2015

A clue to the new direction

Unless Kirby’s bullshitting here

Smart knows current UGA defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt well as the two worked together at Alabama from 2007-12. But he would not get into specifics about whether Pruitt would be retained.

Smart did say he has the freedom to retain anyone he wants from the current staff at Georgia.

“They’ve been totally supportive of any decision I want to make, and that’s the way it should be,” Smart said. “… I don’t want to (speculate). That’s really unfair to those coaches and their families. There will be consideration there, obviously. But I do think it’s very important that I hire my staff and put my staff in place.”

… I would say that Greg McGarity blinked.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Coaches’ All-SEC teams

Three Dawgs total on the two teams.

Hard to argue with that.

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Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

This is what you call staying on message.

I don’t suppose Nick Saban would let him do that on the sidelines for the playoffs.  Damned shame.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“I’d let Kirby go.”

If Alabama doesn’t win the national championship next month, I wonder if Gene Stallings has provided the template for Tide regret with this:

“If I were Alabama, as long as they have (Alabama head coach Nick) Saban, defensively, they are going to be fine,” Stallings told The Opening Kickoff on WNSP-FM 105.5 in Mobile, Alabama. “I’d let Kirby go. He works to get a head coaching job. He’s got it. He can be there physically, but mentally, he’s putting his (Georgia) staff together. He’s recruiting. … You might as well let him go.”

Stallings said his 1996 Alabama team was in a similar situation. Stallings announced his retirement after a 24-23 win over Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

“It happened to me when I was at Alabama,” Stallings explained. It’s not a matter of leaving but when they announced it. Mike DuBose, who was on my staff, was going to replace me. I asked the president not announce it until after the championship game. He announced it on like Monday or Tuesday. … Well, Mike was excited about getting the position. He was concerned about putting his staff together and what he was going to do, so I don’t think we did a very good job, defensively, in that particular game.”

The Crimson Tide lost to then-No. 4 Florida 45-30.

Damned if you go; damned if you stay.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Whoa oh Alabama

“We have to make sure we’re supporting him 100 percent.”

After all this time, Greg McGarity’s found religion.

McGarity said he met with other UGA athletic administrators on Monday morning to talk about the mind-set of changing the way things are done under a new head football coach.

“We have to listen,” he said. “We’re going to listen to Kirby, his goals, his objectives because we’ve operated one way for six years now (since McGarity arrived for the 2010 season). Just like when we’ve hired other coaches, you’re going to have to help us understand what you want and our job is to make those things happen.”

Then again, he could simply be trolling Mark Richt.

 

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Filed under Georgia Football

What I want next season.

Y’all can debate what won-loss record will be satisfying, but I’m not gauging Smart’s performance in 2016 on that.  I’ve got a much simpler criteria.

I just want this not to be bullshit.

On whether he will be more hands on with the defense, not leaving it to assistants…
“Oh, no, I’m hands on with the whole program. I’m going to be involved with everything. I mean, for me, that’s one of the biggest strengths I think I have as a coach is managing the whole thing, being involved in special teams, being involved in the offensive and defensive sides and being involved with coaches. The big thing is making sure everybody’s on the same page. Demand excellence out of everybody and make sure you get that. If you don’t, you’ve got to make a change.

“That’s what being a head coach is about, and those are the hard, tough decisions you’ve got to make, and that’s what I’m ready to do.”

Give me a head coach who knows the difference between delegating and not paying attention.  Give me a head coach who, in the process of fixing one problem, manages not to disregard another.  Give me a head coach who’s capable of getting both the offense and defense to contribute to the team’s success.

Give me all that next season, and I won’t care if the team misses a bowl game.  Because I’ll know things are heading in the right direction.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“I’m a big Plan B guy.”

I tend to brace myself when Greg McGarity is in explanation mode, but this is downright weird.

Change was clearly on the mind of Athletic Director Greg McGarity back in mid-October when he began looking into search firms. McGarity revealed Monday that it was then that he made up his mind he was going to utilize Bill Carr of CarrSports Consulting — if needed.

McGarity was a panelist at the College Athletics Leadership Symposium at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Atlanta on Oct. 19 when approached by Carr and “three or four” other search firms after the meeting.

“Bill was one presenting that day,” McGarity said after introducing Kirby Smart as Georgia’s new head coach Monday at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education. “They all anticipate (coaching changes). That’s the job of these firms. When you finally make a decision to contact one — and I’m sure they’ve done some homework themselves — those guys want work, too. … They’re doing their due diligence, too.”

So McGarity didn’t seek out search firms, they sought him out?  Color me a wee bit skeptical on that happening out of the blue.

It’s a pretty good indication the decision to can Richt wasn’t totally based on this season’s record, though.  That “on the way home from the Tech game” story of McGarity’s is just that.

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UPDATE:  According to Chip Towers, the players didn’t see it coming.

Georgia’s players have had the air knocked out of them the past week. They went from not really believing that Richt was in trouble with the administration to dealing with him being fired, to rationalizing him bolting for Miami, to accepting a new coach.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“Whatever he has planned for us, we’ll be ready.”

Georgia’s players sound like they’re ready to adapt to life after Richt.

Several Bulldogs openly expressed their disappointment with McGarity’s decision, but their mood was softened when Richt found employment so soon.

“Once the team saw how Coach Richt was able to go back to his alma mater, we were happy for him and able to move on,” outside linebacker Davin Bellamy said. “We knew then that he was happy, and once we moved on from that, we knew we had to embrace the next coach that was coming in.

“We made a great hire in Coach Smart. He was the best coach available, and we’re excited.”

They sound realistic about the short term, too.

“As a quarterback, you want to know who the OC is and what we’re going to do on offense,” Greyson Lambert said, “but Coach Smart is having to be the head coach and the defensive coordinator right now for two different teams. He’s having to recruit for us right now and coach his guys, so when it comes it comes.

“I don’t think much will change as far as the offensive scheme, because every offense today has to be multiple and be able to do every little detail.”

Of course, if there’s one guy who’s got experience with a change at offensive coordinator, it’s Greyson Lambert.

 

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Filed under Georgia Football

Looking back: taking my lumps with my SEC preseason predictions

Once again, a blogger’s gotta do what a blogger’s gotta do – in this case, take my annual hindsight driven peek back at how I saw the SEC shaping up before the start of the season.

As always, schools are listed in the same order as they were in the preseason post, with this season’s won-loss totals.

SEC WEST

ALABAMA (12-1, 7-1)

  • What I Said:  Uncharted territory – as good as this team is in places, between the schedule, breaking in a new quarterback and losing Cooper (something I don’t think is getting near enough attention), I can actually contemplate the possibility of Alabama losing two regular season games.  Mind you, I’m not predicting that, but I accept it could happen.
  • How I Did:  Predicting greatness from the Tide isn’t exactly rocket science.  I did underestimate Kiffin’s ability to replace Cooper’s production with Henry’s.
  • Grade:  A-

MISSISSIPPI STATE (8-4, 4-4)

  • What I Said:  Having the best quarterback in the conference return is nice, but this team is going to take a hit after losing a ton of experienced players.  Getting Manny Diaz to come back to replace Collins was a good move.  I’m thinking eight wins, tops.
  • How I Did:  Well, yeah.  Although Diaz wasn’t anything great.
  • Grade:  A-

MISSISSIPPI (9-3, 6-2)

  • What I Said: People forget how good this team was over the first half of the season, and most of the talent is back, especially on defense.  Quarterback and running back are legitimate concerns.  So is depth, which is what hurt Ole Miss over the second half in 2014.  Still, with that defense, it’s hard to see how Freeze’s team will do any worse than last season’s record.
  • How I Did:  They didn’t.  But they could have been better.
  • Grade:  A-

AUBURN (6-6, 2-6)

  • What I Said:  Last year, I wrote that “historically, Auburn doesn’t do well when it’s a preseason front-runner”, and that’s worth keeping in mind again.  I think Johnson will do fine, but Marshall was perfect for Malzahn’s system.  Based on getting some key defensive talent back and the schedule, I do think Auburn will rebound, but not as much as some would have you believe.  Nine or ten wins looks about right.
  • How I Did:  I should have bought in to the historical record more.
  • Grade:  D-

LSU (8-3, 5-3)

  • What I Said:  I used to count dependably on Les Miles’ teams for two losses a year.  This year, LSU is the hardest team to handicap in the conference.  Plug the QB black hole and keep up defensive excellence, and this is a team that has enough going for it to make it all the way to the CFP.  If not, given the toughness of the division, it’s not out of the question for the Tigers to lose four SEC games again this season.  Tentatively, I’ll split the baby.
  • How I Did:  LSU split the baby, alright.
  • Grade:  B+

TEXAS A & M (8-4, 4-4)

  • What I Said:  Chavis is a great hire, but Rome wasn’t built overnight.  I’m not seeing where people predicting the Aggies to win the West are coming from.  Based on a tougher schedule, I’m not sure there will be much of a change in the record over 2014’s.
  • How I Did:  The defense improved, but the offense slid.  The end result was about what I expected.
  • Grade:  B+

ARKANSAS (7-5, 5-3)

  • What I Said:  I’m still a little amazed about what gets you a $4 million/year contract these days.  But the defense improved enough last season to elevate Arkansas to a tough out in the SEC West.  The question is, can they build on that in 2015?  Maybe a little.  The Hogs look like an eight-win team that goes .500 in the conference to me.
  • How I Did:  Meh.  The defense weakened and the offense got better.  Go figure.
  • Grade:  C

SEC EAST

MISSOURI (5-7, 1-7)

  • What I Said: As has been the case for the past couple of seasons, the schedule shapes up to be Missouri’s biggest friend.  Pinkel knows what he’s doing and showed it again with the hire of his new defensive coordinator.  Mizzou looks like it’s all about the running game (on both sides of the ball) and Mauk’s ability to show out in crunch time.  I’ve learned my lesson with the Tigers:  barring injury, I don’t expect more than two regular season losses.  Will that be enough for a third straight division title?  Stay tuned.
  • How I Did:  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Mauk lost his job, the offense stunk on ice and sunk a team with a good defense.
  • Grade:  D-

GEORGIA (9-3, 5-3)

  • What I Said:  As I wrote the other week, a ten-win regular season is a justified expectation.  Which doesn’t mean the Dawgs will win ten games.  This team will go as far as its ability to avoid brain farts takes it.
  • How I Did:  The final record wasn’t far off, especially once you factor in Chubb’s injury.  But it was a disappointing season.  And I’d say Florida counts as a monumental brain fart.
  • Grade:  B-

FLORIDA (10-3, 7-1)

  • What I Said:  The Gators are likely to be good enough on defense to avoid making this year a debacle, but not good enough on offense to show much improvement in the record, unless McElwain can steal a win somewhere.
  • How I Did:  Didn’t see that one coming.  (Not that anyone else did.)
  • Grade:  D+

SOUTH CAROLINA (3-9, 1-7)

  • What I Said:  The ‘Cocks have to hope they’re going to get good answers to a lot of questions, based on how last season turned out.  Still, Spurrier’s got that chip on his shoulder again.  It’s just that he can only throw the visor so many times for effect.  Eight wins look about right.
  • How I Did:  Oof.  Spurrier and his chip couldn’t even finish the season.
  • Grade:  F

TENNESSEE (8-4, 5-3)

  • What I Said:  On the uptick?  Okay, yes. But the only way I can see the Vols living up to some of the preseason hype is if the East completely falls apart.  (Stranger things have happened, but still.)  I’m seeing eight wins here.
  • How I Did:  Pretty much nailed it.
  • Grade:  A

KENTUCKY (5-7, 2-6)

  • What I Said:  This is a team that has recruited well enough to return to bowl eligibility this season.  But the schedule is tough enough to make that a close call.
  • How I Did:  Same as it ever was.
  • Grade:  A

VANDERBILT (4-8, 2-6)

  • What I Said:  The bottom fell out under Derek Mason’s first year, as he appeared in over his head.  Will he get that fixed?  It’s hard to see where the Commodores get better.  And the scary thing is that Mason’s window already appears tight, as Vandy’s recruiting has fallen off from where Franklin had taken it.
  • How I Did:  Derek Mason is a very good defensive coordinator.  Vanderbilt was better because of that.
  • Grade:  C-

So, what do you think about what I think?

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Filed under GTP Stuff, SEC Football

Today, Columbia. Tomorrow, the world.

I notice there’s already some chatter in the comment thread about what sort of record we can expect out of the Dawgs in Kirby’s first season.  That’s fine, but based on what South Carolina President Harris Pastides had to say about his new head coach, you guys seriously need to up your expectations game.

USC’s boss, president Harris Pastides, is not willing to wait long for the football team to rebound.

“So is it where we want to be today? No,” Pastides told The State after the former Florida coach was introduced Monday. “But I’m not buying into a three- or five-year turnaround. I want to be back to success next season.”

What does success look like next year?

“Competing for the SEC Eastern (division) championship. I think that’s got to be the proximal goal. Anything less than that to me wouldn’t feel right as a fan. I think given the state of the SEC East without necessarily a consistent, dominant team over the last few years, I think that’s within sight. Coach is going to tell us what his goals are. I’m talking more as a fan about it.”

After Muschamp’s first season, Pastides wants the Gamecocks vying for the SEC title and a spot in the national playoffs.

Well, now.  This is gonna be fun to watch.

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UPDATE:  Boom’s got his work cut out for him on the recruiting trail.

Steve Spurrier is a legend and he took the Gamecocks to heights they couldn’t have achieved without him, but he also left the cupboard pretty bare when it comes to roster and current recruiting. The Gamecocks are currently ahead of only Vanderbilt in SEC recruiting for 2016. Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern have more top 20 South Carolina commitments than South Carolina right now.

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Filed under 'Cock Envy