Daily Archives: March 4, 2016

Kirby Smart, best of both worlds?

You can certainly take parts of this “10 things we’ve learned” piece on Smart with a grain of salt – Lord knows, I do – but this story intrigues me, even if not to the point of breaking out the champagne Kool-Aid:

Broadcast game copies of each turnover created that week in NFL games led every Alabama meeting. The Crimson Tide handed out a wrestling championship replica belt to the player who created the most turnovers in practice each day. The same applies to the offensive side of the ball. What are those guys doing each day to prevent turnovers? That will be emphasized, too.

Players will be trained to avoid turnovers with more than old school strip drills. The new model is creating adverse game simulations. Chase drills. Challenge drills. Managers will be swatting quarterbacks with a bag to simulate the chaos of a collapsed pocket. A defender in a drill will be assigned to make the tackle. Another will be tasked with trying to punch the ball out.  Players that show the tip of the ball to a defense are regarded as “tip violators.” When Alabama learned from Garrett that a large percentage of fumbles by backs came in the midst of a stiff arm or the player putting his hand on the ground, they practiced those situations.

“You have to simulate the act that causes the fumble,” Smart said.

That’s not the only emphasis that should follow Smart to UGA.

When interceptions occur, Smart’s teams will be coached how to set up a big return. Run to the sideline? Meh. The new model is getting to the numbers and tasking the rest of the unit to block high away from the return and give an athlete the space for a big return.  “Find blocks and don’t watch,” Smart said.

Would I like to see some obsessive attention paid to little details like those?  You betcha.

Maybe Trevor Lawrence is on to something.

“Coach Smart kind of has that Nick Saban side to him and a Mark Richt side to him,” Five-star quarterback prospect Trevor Lawrence said. “He seems like a mixture of both men. Nick Saban can be a little intimidating sometimes, but you know Coach Richt was real nice and down to Earth. He’s just kind of a mixture of both of that. It makes him real easy to talk to, but I can see how he could have that Nick Saban side where he stresses every single little thing as a coach.”

Be still, mine heart.

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Musical palate cleanser, hillbilly music edition

I’m going up to Athens today to catch Dwight Yoakam at the Georgia Theater.

As long as I’ve followed him, this’ll be the first time I’ve caught him live.  There’s a ton of stuff I hope he’ll play tonight – really, more than there’s time for, I suspect – and this is one I definitely want to hear:

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What does the Fromm flip tell us?

I guess they’re happy now.

Yeah, it’s a very long way until next year, so let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves about Fromm’s future in Athens yet.  There are a couple of things about this that pique my curiosity, though.

First, why weren’t Richt and Schottenheimer interested in this kid?  From all accounts, he’s talented, he’s bled red and black from an early stage and it’s pretty obvious that Georgia needs to sign two quarterbacks in the 2017 class.

Fromm grew up a big Georgia fan but never received an offer from former head coach Mark Richt and the previous staff. Not thinking he would get one, he decided to commit to Alabama to focus primarily on his junior season of football. Once Richt was fired and Smart took the job, things changed, with Smart sending one of his first offers to Fromm.

Fromm elected to wait but ultimately decided he wanted to play for the in-state program he grew up admiring.

“I think it’s something he’s been dealing with a while now, since he got offered by Georgia,” Lassiter said. “I think when you grow up in the state of Georgia and you’re a Bulldog fan, it’s tough, especially when that opportunity is put in your face. Since Coach Smart got there, they’ve been recruiting Jake pretty hard.”

I don’t want to get too deep into the weeds about whether Fromm is the best high school senior QB in the state, but were the coaches that enamored with Bailey Hockman?  (I’m not asking this in a critical way, I really am curious as to what the thinking was at the time.)

In any event, hell hath no fury as a quarterback scorned.  Just ask Jake.

When he announced his original commitment to Alabama, Fromm said he couldn’t wait to come back to Athens and “carve up the Dawgs.”

Motivation for an Alabama quarterback can be a dangerous thing.

… Fromm gave his verbal to the Crimson Tide last October for a number of different reasons, one of them being so he could come back to Athens and carve up the Bulldogs on CBS.

“That’s what it was,” Fromm told 247Sports Thursday morning. “That’s the competitive edge in me. If you don’t want me, I was going to go to the next best thing and come back and whoop that tail.”

Well, that’s over now.  The interesting thing for me is Kirby’s sales pitch going up against the strengths of his old stomping grounds – you know, the ones he sold to Fromm to get him to commit to Alabama in the first place.  Saban has logic to sell, the logic of a place that’s geared for a high level of success and has churned it out year after year.

That’s not a message Smart can match.  So he’s got to counter with emotion.  Some of that is built in to his appeal to home state kids staying home.  There’s also this:

Fromm made a surprise visit to UGA last Thursday. He was intrigued by the thought of taking UGA to a place that Alabama football is already known for. He believes in what new coach Kirby Smart is trying to build.

“I think Jake wanted to be a part of something that is on the way up, and he wants to be a part of something special,” his father said. “It’s harder to be a part of something special at Alabama because they do it all of the time. You go win a championship at Georgia, you’ve done something.”

Sure, we’ve heard stuff like that before coming out of Athens, but maybe it resonates a little more coming from Smart, because he can play off of his own background in making that pitch.  That doesn’t mean it’s going to work every time, but I do think it’s worth keeping an eye over the next two years as to how successful Alabama remains in poaching talent from the state of Georgia.  It’s hard to keep Nick Saban down, but it looks like Smart’s gonna try.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting