Daily Archives: February 23, 2016

Working with what you’ve got

Kirby Smart’s been studying last year’s tapes and makes an interesting outsider’s observation about Georgia’s 2015 pass defense.

On Monday night speaking before the Macon Touchdown Club, he went the other direction when discussing Georgia’s defense. The unit ranked seventh in the nation in total defense and eighth in scoring defense.

“These guys played good last year, they played hard I thought last year,” Smart said. “They were very competitive.”

That doesn’t mean there isn’t work to do especially with the defensive line losing starters Sterling Bailey and Chris Mayes and outside linebackers Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins taking much of Georgia’s pass rushing production with them to the NFL.

Georgia ranked tops in the nation in pass defense, allowing 156.5 yards per game. It didn’t hurt that Georgia ended the regular season with run-heavy Auburn and triple-option teams Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech.

“A lot of the secondary is back,” Smart said of a group that returns safeties Dominick Sanders and Quincy Mauger and cornerbacks Malkom Parrish, Aaron Davis and Rico McGraw. “They didn’t put their secondary in tough situations very often. They protected those guys. There weren’t a lot of cover guys back there. If we can get where we have better cover guys, we can pressure more…”

I don’t take that as a backhanded compliment; I think Smart’s sincere about the effort on defense.  But it’s clear he thinks Pruitt had to work around coverage shortcomings in the secondary.  How much of that was due to the talent level there and how much to lack of experience is left unsaid, but that strikes me as a major consideration as he and Tucker remake Georgia’s defense in 2016.

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13 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

That went well, Vols.

So they had that joint head coach presser they had today in Knoxville.  And… well, they had that presser.

Tennessee held a press conference with head coaches involving all 16 of its varsity sports on Tuesday in an attempt to combat the negative press generated by recent numerous sexual assault cases involving Volunteer athletes. Just last week Tennessee joined an ever-growing list of major universities facing federal lawsuits in how it handled sexual assault cases — particularly those involving male athletes.

The stated purpose of Tuesday’s press conference was not to combat those allegations, but to offer an alternative narrative of what’s happening inside the Vols’ athletics department. The negative stories, UT coaches said, were drowning out the actual, positive culture in Big Orange Country.

They’re big on that culture thing up there, aren’t they?

The cheerleading was nice, but it doesn’t explain one bizarre omission.

The most head-scratching aspect of the press conference: all 16 Tennessee head coaches found time to appear on Tuesday morning, but not athletics director Rick Hart.

The chancellor didn’t make an appearance, either.  Maybe that means they’re not part of the active, positive culture in Big Urnge Country.

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UPDATE:  As I like to say about so many things in today’s SEC, this presser was about one thing, and it ain’t the culture.

The football coach said the recent run of bad publicity has had an effect. The Vols are facing a Title IX lawsuit that was filed by six unidentified women against the university alleging that Tennessee has created a “hostile sexual environment”. Since the suit became public, Tennessee’s football team has had two former players and a current player arrested on serious charges.

“Our competitors are using it against us,” Jones said during a press conference involving all 16 head coaches at Tennessee…

31 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Kirby, since you asked…

Sounds like an open invitation for G-Day QBR talk to me.  Not that some of us need the invite.

17 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The Blogosphere

Herbie comes a little late to the party.

I believe I detect a note of buyer’s remorse from Mr. Herbstreit.

Kirk Herbstreit says the playoff is redefining what fans view as a successful season. Coaches have less time than ever to find success, and Herbstreit says an 8-team playoff would make it worse.

“I was a guy that thought we’d eventually go to eight,” Herbstreit said on SiriusXM College Sports Nation. “This is the first time I really felt that fans, even maybe players, that there was a focus for 15 weeks for the four.… Then the teams are decided, and it was like fanbases getting frustrated with a 12-1 season or an 11-2 season, ‘Ugh, going to the Rose Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl.’ It’s like, what have we created where fans are so focused on the four, that if their team still has a great year and goes to a Jan. 1, they’re left frustrated?

Can you imagine, if it was eight, how that would create? Fans call it a meaningless bowl game. I could not disagree with that any more. Any time the Big Ten plays in a bowl game, to me, that’s significant. Any time the SEC and Big Ten play each other, I don’t care if it’s the Outback Bowl or Gator Bowl, I find those matchups interesting and important to the conferences and their pride.

“I’m a little concerned, even at four, that we’re getting to the focus of playoff-or-bust. If it went to eight, I think it would get worse, where the only games that ‘matter’ to people are if you made the playoff. I don’t think that’s healthy for the game of football when the only thing that matters if your team is successful if they make the playoff.”

Well, duh.  This is what people like me warned about as the cost for postseason expansion, dude.  Once bracket creep starts, the only thing that can stop it is a failure to find more revenues to support it.

At least your network has those nifty selection committee shows to broadcast, though.  Which is really the point here.

86 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil

“Spring training games?”

Give Kirby Smart points for honesty.  He called out Jim Harbaugh’s spring practice in Florida for what it is, instead of wallowing in hypocritical bullshit about impinging upon student-athletes’ free time.

“I guess you’re talking about spring practice with Michigan going down to Florida, maybe? Yeah, I can’t comment other than to say they’re obviously trying to gain a competitive advantage. Obviously, that’s their right. I think the NCAA in due time will have to step in and keep it from getting out of hand.”

And I love this:

“There’s a lot of factors that people don’t think about in that deal,” Smart said. “We have to think about recruiting rules, how are they going to handle those, is it an advantage, a disadvantage, are they going to let other coaches come through? Are they going to be open practices? Can we all go over there and watch ‘em and scout ‘em? If it’s open practices, why don’t we go? It’s a Pandora’s box of what it’s going to get into to.”

If the NCAA wants to bring this to a skidding halt, watch what would happen if it were to mandate open practices and allow other coaches to attend.  End of recruiting advantage.

Well played, Coach.

19 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

Kirby Smart doesn’t have time for your preseason happy talk.

Sounds like there might have been a small come-to-Jesus moment yesterday for certain Georgia players:

Smart, who has expressed concern about his offensive line, said he has been pleased with how the group has performed during offseason workouts. That, perhaps, was the first time he publicly has said anything positive about the group, although with one caveat.

“I wish there were more of them, and I wish they were bigger,” Smart said.

Smart was scheduled to arrive before 6 p.m. on Monday but showed up a tad late. During the first part of his speech, Smart explained how he’s holding his players to a high standard year round. He then mentioned he was unable to board his plane in time because some players weren’t giving their best effort during a particular strength and conditioning session.

“I had some guys during offseason workouts who didn’t want to work,” Smart said.

Smart didn’t name the players or elaborate as to whether any disciplinary measures were taken.

I don’t think I’d test a guy who spent the last nine years of his career at a place that perfected the art of roster management.  But maybe that’s just me.

30 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

This year’s buzz phrase

If you’ve been looking for the replacement for “Finish the Drill”, here ‘ya go.

Smart recalled that about seven years ago he flew up to New England to spend two weeks around Bill Belichick and the Patriots. The first thing he saw, on a sign behind the secretary’s desk, were three words: “DO YOUR JOB.”

Smart wrote it down. Then he saw those three words again in a meeting room. And then, finally, in a bathroom.

Before he left, Smart asked a Patriots employee, Bill O’Brien, (now the head coach for the Houston Texans), what that was all about. O’Brien told him that Belichick had instituted it when he came and had stuck with it.

It was also the finishing message to Smart’s speech.

“Do … your … job,” he said, slowly but emphatically.

In a bathroom?  That sounds dangerously close to SOD territory.

15 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football