Daily Archives: March 16, 2016

“The general consensus among these families and players has been that UGA waits too late to offer them.”

Welcome to Freshman Day, kids!

The highest compliment is this:

What’s the biggest way to know that this plan is the next wave? Watson said Alabama just reached out. They want to host a “Freshman Day” of their own.

Score one for Smart. Alabama is already copying something in place at UGA. That’s progress.



Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Big Ten’s shit gettin’ real, man.

Boy, this is guaranteed to send Greg Sankey over the edge.

Although it would be worth the price of admission to find out if Corch still has a grudge against certain members of the Florida media.  And vice versa.  Seat 37F rides again, baby!



Filed under Urban Meyer Points and Stares

Georgia football, where there’s always a meme waiting to emerge

Welcome to the wonderful world of punditry, Coach Smart.

You’d think that many questions would mean patience would be required of fans. You’d think it would be met with more tempered expectations. But you’d be wrong. This is Georgia, which fired Mark Richt for being good, but not good enough, remember? Though no one is saying Smart is on the hot seat from Day 1, there is a clear sense that a full-on rebuilding project isn’t on the menu. In a mediocre SEC East, it’s a win-now mentality in Athens.

It’s nice that he’s got at least a one-day honeymoon.  I’d keep an eye on that G-Day QBR, though.


Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Adios, amigo.

If you can’t make it in Athens as a running back

Georgia’s tailback depth is a little thinner this spring without reserve A.J. Turman.

The redshirt sophomore from Orlando was not listed on the updated roster the school provided on Tuesday. He was earlier listed with other players in the bios in the spring media guide.

A team spokesman said simply that Turman is no longer on the roster.


Filed under Georgia Football

The hunger games

Okay, so maybe I’m not used to hearing this kind of talk in the spring.

The new UGA coach was asked by a reporter on Tuesday to give an assessment of how the offseason conditioning work has gone through the winter. This would’ve been the perfect opportunity for a coach to throw a bouquet to his new team if he wished — to talk about how hard everyone has been working, and how proud UGA fans were going to be come fall. Instead, Smart lobbed a grenade. He said the winter workouts had been “off and on” and that there “were some bumps and bruises in there.”

If you believe Jeff Schulz, that edge has been noticed by the players.

Some players are walking on eggshells.

Some fans will smile at this.

Smart isn’t merely bringing in new schemes, coaches and players. A new college coach often walks onto a campus and desires to change everything, particularly when he comes from a program (Alabama) that wins national championships and goes at a program (Georgia) that has been known for losing too many big games and falling short of expectations.

It will be “a challenge,” Smart said, to balance his message with expectations.

“I told them, ‘Don’t come out here thinking it’s your time to win the SEC East or the SEC tomorrow,’” he said. “The goal is to get better each day.”

Smart wants players to “treat each day as if it has a history and a life of its own. Meaning whatever happened yesterday, whether we won or lost, so what? Now what?”

When somebody hasn’t coached a game yet, every soundbite sounds perfect, every decision seems right. Smart has everybody’s attention, particularly his players.

“Some players are nervous,” center Brandon Kublanow said

“We know there’s no depth chart,” safety Quincy Mauger said.

“Nobody can say a job is theirs,” Michel said.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable, Smart  is telling his players.

Some of that is inevitable, you’d think, any time there’s an overhaul of a coaching staff.  (Although, interestingly enough, it sounds like Richt has gotten his new team past that.)

But some of that is reacting to the message.  I can see how that message worked well at Alabama, where if you’re Jimmy Five-Star and you start to rest on your laurels, you face the risk of Johnny Five-Star coming in next season and putting you on the roster management road.  Georgia is obviously not at that point in recruiting yet, but you know that’s one of Smart’s goals.  In the meantime, it’s about making those there now realize with the change there are new demands.

It’s not asking these players how bad they want it that matters ultimately, though.  It’s how these players answer the question that does.  I suspect it’ll take more than a season to flesh that out completely.


UPDATE:  More about Smart’s expectations here.  This, in particular, sounds straight out of Tuscaloosa:

“It doesn’t matter if it’s running on the field, off the field, all the things you might take for granted. Have your helmet in your hand. Your helmet’s not sitting on the side. Every detail you can have covered, we cover it with these guys to make them understand,” Smart said. “These things are part of discipline. They’re part of doing things right. They’re part of accountability. If we don’t have accountability and discipline, then we don’t have a very good program. It starts with that.”


Filed under Georgia Football

Doin’ the o-line shuffle.

I’m not gonna go crazy with any heavy analysis of what went on yesterday at Kirby Smart’s first practice, because it was Kirby Smart’s first practice.  I can’t resist mentioning one thing, though.

Georgia’s offensive line appears to be taking a different approach in practice than the previous coaching staff had it do.

In position drills, the guards and centers broke off from the tackles. The tackles actually did position work with the tight ends. And Greg Pyke, who has played right guard the past two years, was with the tackles, working in tandem with tight end Jeb Blazevich on drills. To be more specific, it appeared Pyke was working as a right tackle.

The first-team offensive line, at this point, appeared to be left tackle Kendall Baker, left guard Isaiah Wynn, center Brandon Kublanow, right guard Dyshon Sims and Pyke.

It’s not so much that I see that as being writ in stone as I do see it as an indication of Pittman’s fresh eyes.  It’s going to be interesting to see what he fashions on the line in August.  One thing I do hope is that he’s able to make up his mind early enough then to give the starting five, who obviously are going to be different from last year’s group, an opportunity to develop some continuity with each other.  (Not to mention what needs to happen if Smart elects to start a true freshman quarterback…)


Filed under Georgia Football

O’Bannon goes to the next level.

The NCAA may not be sure about appealing the Ninth Circuit’s decision in the O’Bannon case, but the plaintiffs are.

Lawyers for the Ed O’Bannon plaintiffs on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to hear their antitrust case against the NCAA, a request that carries risks and rewards but no guarantee of even being heard.

Last fall, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken’s decision allowing college football and men’s basketball players to be paid up to $5,000 per year in deferred money. But the Ninth Circuit upheld that the NCAA’s rules restricting payments to players violate antitrust laws. As it stands now, cost of attendance stipends — since they are tied to education — are the highest form of payment the NCAA must legally allow schools to offer players.

There are layers upon layers here, as Solomon notes – the attorney’s fee award, the decision that compensation should be limited to COA stipends are two things at stake – but it seems to me that the NCAA should be truly worried about one thing above all.

For the NCAA, a Supreme Court case carries a tremendous risk of having the higher court agree with Wilken that athletes should be allowed to get paid beyond cost of attendance. The NCAA has spent considerable time in recent years lobbying Congress, potentially for some sort of antitrust exemption if that day is ever needed. Congress isn’t exactly passing legislation at breathtaking speed, though, and there’s no certainty the NCAA could get freedom from these types of antitrust lawsuits in the future.

A win at the Supreme Court could strengthen or clarify how antitrust laws impact the NCAA. Because of the O’Bannon decision as it stands now, the NCAA can no linger cling to a 1984 Supreme Court ruling in Board of Regents vs. Oklahoma that the association used to defend amateurism for decades.

If the Supremes take the case and uphold the Ninth Circuit, the NCAA will have won the battle and lost the antitrust war.  And, yes, if that happens, you’ll see panicked lobbying of Congress like you’ve never seen before.  The NCAA’s problem is, if they don’t take it, the Ninth Circuit’s decision still stands as the highest law in the land on the subject.  Jeffrey Kessler can live with that.


Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

The unsinkable Nick Chubb

I know I risk sounding obsessed, but five months ago how many of you would have expected to see this picture from the first day of spring practice?

Hell, forget five months ago… how about a week ago?

I would have loved to have seen the coaches’ reaction when Chubb said he was ready to practice yesterday.

The pessimist in me wants to doubt he’ll be ready by the opener, but at this point, I wouldn’t put money on it.  Just amazing.


Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple