Daily Archives: March 1, 2016

Evidently, there’s a G-Day plan.

Or so Greg McGarity is saying.

I asked Georgia’s athletic director, Greg McGarity, on Tuesday if he was concerned about not being able to fulfill Smart’s lofty goal.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “There’s no doubt in my mind it will happen. … If we don’t we’ll be disappointed.”

Planning has been ongoing since the turn of the new year. The April 16 event (4 p.m.) is being treated internally just like a fall Saturday home game. Every nook and cranny of Sanford Stadium will be open, every concession stand stocked to the max, every bathroom open. Police will be out en force and parking will be complicated, but a plan is being forged and will be unveiled around the time spring practice commences on March 15.

“For a lot of people, this will be their only opportunity to be in a historic venue, and we want them to have the total fan experience that day,” McGarity said.

The “total fan experience”?  This I gotta see.

40 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

While the cat’s away…

Jim Harbaugh’s livin’ large in sunny Florida right now.  Meanwhile, Corch is taking a commitment from a kid from Ann Arbor.  That’s cold.

4 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, Recruiting

“At this stage in their careers, these guys know how to hit and take a hit.”

The Ivy League is about to take the unprecedented step of eliminating all full-contact hitting from practices during the regular season.  The really interesting thing here is that the decision to do so isn’t being imposed from on high by school presidents.

Instead, the eight Ivy League coaches unanimously approved the measure last week.

It’ll be interesting to see if this is the start of a larger trend.

11 Comments

Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple

“Collaborative replay” is a simple concept.

Or so Mr. Conventional Wisdom assures us.

Instead of having one person in a booth make all of the decisions on replay in a particular game, those plays will instead be reviewed collectively by a number of officials in a command center. Those officials, including the one in the stadium, will look at the play together and come to a consensus on whether to overturn the call on the field.

The thinking: When it comes to these kinds of pressure-filled calls, the more eyes the better.

Keep in mind when it comes to replay needing to override a mistake, they had eight sets of eyes collaborating on the field who got it wrong in the first place.

The flip side to Barnhart’s “the more, the merrier” assertion is too many cooks spoiling the broth.

Yes, this potentially could be an improvement.  But it’s also got the potential to be little more than another layer of protection for bad officiating.

You really want to start fixing things, it begins with better hiring, training and retention practices.  A league that let Penn Wagers operate unchecked for years isn’t likely to find a quick fix with three or four replay officials collaborating.

36 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Doing it for the children, or doing it to the children?

Really, there aren’t two more interesting intersections between the worlds of college football and politics than those we’re seeing in Louisiana and Missouri.

In the case of the latter, we’re watching the school struggle to respond to the demands of a hostile legislature and threats from gubernatorial candidates.  So there’s this.

Not sure what that means, or why only athletes will be required to enroll.  But I’m pretty sure it won’t be more than window dressing.

Meanwhile LSU is doubling down on the threat from state’s budget crisis.  Geaux, you Tigahs!

It’s not hyperbole, it’s reality, says LSU President F. King Alexander.

If the mid-year cuts to higher education are deep enough that campuses close early or that summer school is cut, then athletic programs will suffer, he told the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday afternoon.

Alexander, in his address, said that higher education institutions are trapped in “a fog” of uncertainty where school leaders are anxiously awaiting to find out from legislators how severe the damage will be on their individual campuses.

“I know a lot of people will say, ‘Well, that’s not going to happen,’” he said referring to the prospect of LSU football being hurt. “Well, that will happen if we don’t have summer school. We’ll only have half of our football team eligible.”

The recent theme of using football to garner attention for worst-case scenarios to higher education has been widely criticized by many legislators who have stated that the rhetoric is either unrealistic or that it minimizes the importance of cuts to academics.

“It’s not us saying that,” Alexander said. “It’s the NCAA telling us that — that student athletes have to be eligible to play. And yes, classes and sports go together. They’re student athletes, you can’t have one without the other.”

The man is practically begging Mark Emmert, who, if you’ll recall, once occupied his position, to stick his nose in Louisiana’s business.  I doubt it’ll work, but you have to give him credit for creativity.

47 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery

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

I expect many would argue that quarterback represents the biggest crap shoot Georgia faces this offseason, but my money’s on the offensive line.  I say that not only because there are no returning starters at certain spots, there is a good deal of uncertainty at some of the others and because Smart’s/Pittman’s philosophy of bigger is better on the line represents an immediate departure from what Georgia had adopted over the past couple of seasons.

It’s also because of a running sore that never seemed to heal over the past few years.  Let Kolton Houston explain.

“You can never have enough bodies on the offensive line,” he said. “I think that’s what we’ve always struggled with at Georgia is our coaches never trusted more than about seven of us in a game. If they can get 10 guys that they can throw in there, that’d be pretty big.”

Keep in mind Houston was in the program for six seasons, so when he says “our coaches”, he’s covering three position coaches and two coordinators.  It wasn’t just that they never were able to recruit depth, or develop it.  It’s that they never trusted having depth.  And now Smart and Pittman have been presented with the bill for that.

That leads to a tough call this season.  There’s some real size in the ranks, but in most cases that size is very inexperienced.  In a normal setting, you’d redshirt the hell out of the incoming freshman class and take your time developing the kids who redshirted last season.  That’s probably not a completely realistic approach for Pittman to take, though, which means picking a few to take their lumps early on in order to build depth for future seasons.

In turn, that’s probably not the greatest news for whoever populates Georgia’s 2016 backfield, because “take their lumps” takes on an unfortunately different meaning for quarterbacks and running backs who are asked to operate behind an inconsistent offensive line.  Logic would suggest that Houston is right about the way to proceed in the short term.

Despite the presence of Jacob Eason at quarterback, Houston believes Georgia will continue to be a heavily run-oriented team, thus the need for strong run-blockers. “I think (Georgia will play offense) a lot like Arkansas, and the same thing that we were with (Mike) Bobo. They’re going to run first, I would imagine.”

It’s a good thing Georgia’s deep at tight end and Chaney loves to utilize that position.  You’d have to think we’ll see a heavy dose of twin TE-formation looks early on to bolster blocking on the line.

In any event, particularly since Tyler Catalina doesn’t show up until the summer, don’t expect a lot of answers here until right before the opener… and even then, those will in some cases be written in pencil.

28 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

If it’s the NFL’s world, and we’re all just living in it…

It strikes me with all the NFL coaches whining about how unprepared in fundamentals so many college players in the draft are these days that they’re not seeing the big picture.  The problem they cite doesn’t start in college.  It starts before these kids get to college.

College football became more of a speed-and-space game the past four years, and it should remain on the same trajectory, especially as more high schools spread the field. [Emphasis added.]

They come from a spread in high school and they play in a spread in college, which means during their formative years, they’re not getting the exposure to the kind of fundamentals the NFL desires.  On top of that, the NCAA is facing pressure to rein in coaching demands on players’ times – not that I expect meaningful change in that department, but on the odd chance something significant does occur there, that means even less time for the kind of player development the pros seek.

Welcome to the world of you pays your money and you gets your choice, boys.  Or in this case, this is what you get when you don’t pay your money.

What’s the solution for the NFL?  Beats me.  They’ve already made it clear they don’t like the idea of pouring their own funding into a full-blown developmental league under their complete control.  The idea of wholesale adoption of what’s sweeping college football doesn’t seem like an attractive alternative, either.  So what’s left?  Targeted contributions to athletic departments that oversee football programs that don’t utilize spread attacks to encourage them to stay the course?  Special drafts for a limited number of gifted underclassmen who are then automatically enrolled on enlarged NFL practice squads for development purposes?

7 Comments

Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, The NFL Is Your Friend.