Daily Archives: March 20, 2016

The search for the class of 2016, still going

That means exactly what you think.  Demetris Robertson has signed his third financial aid agreement, this one with Georgia.

Let me know when this one’s over.

30 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Final thoughts on the Turman transfer

Bottom line from reading everyone’s comments over the last couple of days is that there’s a certain amount of missing the forest for the trees thinking going on in response to what’s happened.  Hear me out:

  • Smart’s on strong ground when he invokes the standard operating procedure defense.  He’s right to note that Georgia’s stance prior to his arrival was the outlier and that he is doing nothing more than taking things back to their normal order among the programs that are Georgia’s peers.
  • None of which changes the point that as policies go, chaining players to a program they no longer wish to play for is not the most defensible of things.  That the same coaches who push for player control have the freedom to move from one school to another makes it difficult to come up with compelling logic for the policy and I think we heard some of that awkwardness from Smart in yesterday’s presser.  (Not to mention that it’s kind of hard to reconcile the somber warnings about the dangers of player transfer with the excitement the Georgia staff displayed about Tyler Catalina’s decision to play his last year of college football in Athens.)
  • All that being said, Kirby Smart isn’t being paid to be intellectually consistent.  He’s being paid to direct a football program in a manner that maximizes winning without violating established rules.  As long as he’s doing that, it’s not worth giving him too much grief for following the herd, even if it’s something Mark Richt avoided.
  • Which also isn’t to say it isn’t a dickish move on his part.  But the more I think about it, I don’t believe Smart is trying to be a dick with his players, something that isn’t consistent with his approach to coaching.  I do believe, however, he is trying to be a dick with Greg McGarity.  And that he’s doing with purpose and for good reason.
  • Remember, this is a job Smart’s been preparing for over a period of some time.  He’s also been in an environment for the past nine years where preparation rules.  So when the opportunity finally arose when the Georgia job came open and was offered to him, it’s hard to believe that Kirby Smart didn’t do his homework.  A program with the resources available that under-performed is a program that a sharp guy like Smart is going to ask questions about before taking.  And who better to ask the questions that needed to be asked than Smart’s good friend Mike Bobo?
  • Yes, I’m speculating like crazy out of my hindquarters, but I doubt someone as thorough as Kirby Smart didn’t do his due diligence.  And I doubt that someone like Mike Bobo wasn’t able to let Smart know what he was getting into.
  • By that, I mean what we lovingly refer to here as the Georgia Way.  Kirby, I expect, had a very good picture of the dysfunction that marked much of the relationship between the athletic department and the football staff during the course of Richt’s term as he went into contract negotiations with Greg McGarity.
  • What we’re seeing now is territory marking, plain and simple.  Keep in mind that by Kirby’s own admission yesterday, it wasn’t necessary to announce a change in transfer policy, as Turman isn’t interested in going to either Florida or Miami.  Yet Smart thought it necessary to announce the change and then spend a considerable amount of time at his press conference explaining why.  Like it or not, he’s comfortable owning it and wants everyone to know that.
  • But that’s only half of the story.  The other part is that the new direction has forced Greg McGarity to come up with an even lamer explanation for his change of heart from a mere year ago when he chastised Georgia Tech for blocking the transfer of a basketball player to Fox’ program while patting his back for allowing J.J. Green to play for the genius on the Flats.  The result of that is most of the criticism has been deflected away from Smart, who, after all, changed the policy, to McGarity, who looks insincere.  Take, for example, this observation from Bruce Feldman:  “This is quite the 180 by Georgia and by McGarity, especially, which makes him look very hypocritical… I get why Smart is changing many things about how Georgia football does business. It’s his program now… It’s just a bad look for McGarity and another bad look for big-time college sports.”
  • In the end, Smart comes off like a coach who’s taking control of a program in need of more control and McGarity comes off looking weak and inconsistent.  If you’re Kirby Smart and you’re trying to find a way to marginalize the athletic director who made life difficult for your predecessor – who got fired after fifteen years, by the way – it’s hard to see what just happened as anything less than a complete victory. And if Smart indeed manages to pull off a remake and take the program to the next level, I expect the end result will be to reduce Greg McGarity’s role to little more than the guy who signs the checks when Kirby puts them in front of him.

Kirby Smart is prying control of the football program away from Butts-Mehre.  That is definitely not the Georgia Way.  Even if, like me, you’re not happy with the lever he used this time to kick start that process, if that result is something you think needs to happen, even partially, to drag Georgia football out of where it’s been recently, then this isn’t a totally bad thing.  Anyway, that’s how I see it for now.  Your mileage may vary, obviously.

61 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Get ready for G-Day.

Coming to a stadium near you soon:  Georgia’s 2016 G-Day, when the administration vows to “… just treat this like a regular ball game”, except for a few key details.

The biggest potential hang-up for fans attending the game comes with parking, which will not be handled like during a regular fall football game.

Campus parking lots will open at 7 a.m. and, outside of a few reserved lots, will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. (Fans are asked not to tailgate or place tents, grills, chairs or other items in open spaces or to try holding parking spaces for other cars.)

However, your usual fall football parking spot might not be available, because campus residence hall lots will not be emptied of student cars to make way for football fans.

Can’t wait to see how that gets enforced.

To their credit, it sounds like they’re making an effort to have a close-to-ordinary experience inside the stadium, or at least as close as you can get without having ticketed seating.  All levels of the stadium will be open, all the concession stands will be open, all the rest rooms and first-aid stations also will be open.

Sure hope it works.

18 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

Regardless of how you feel about the purpose of House Bill 757, aka Georgia’s version of the “religious liberty” law, I don’t think there’s any doubt that if it is signed by Governor Deal, the result will be this state will have a shit storm of controversy raining down on it. Part of that storm will fall on the sports front.

Jeff Schultz did the round up with the usual suspects – the NFL, the local professional sports teams and the NCAA – and didn’t get a single shrug off.  An example:

The NCAA, which controls the site of the Final Four, also released a statement Friday night, saying in part it will “monitor current events, which include issues surrounding diversity, in all cities bidding on NCAA championships and events, as well as cities that have already been named as future host sites. Our commitment to the fair treatment of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has not changed and is at the core of our NCAA values.  It is our expectation that all people will be welcomed and treated with respect in cities that host our NCAA championships and events.”

I have no doubt that poor ol’ Arthur Blank is livid right now about the possibility of having the Super Bowl snatched out from under him, and that the Braves aren’t too thrilled about not getting an early shot at an All-Star game in their shiny new digs, but the event I wonder about is the SEC Championship Game.  There are plenty of other venues that would be more than happy to host the event without threat of protest and you’d have to think Greg Sankey would have to ponder that possibility.

Here’s another one:

The College Football Playoff is not an NCAA event, however. The CFP is an autonomous organization run by the commissioners of the ten FBS conferences.

How many of them do you suppose want this kind of trouble?  Again, it’s not like there aren’t plenty of other stadiums more than happy to push Atlanta out of the way to host a semifinal or title game.

There’s a lot of prestige and a lot of money at stake.  (That’s even before you get to the expense of defending the inevitable litigation the bill, if signed, will spawn.)  How convincing will that prove to be to a governor who’s not up for reelection?  Stay tuned.

142 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

The “Kirby Smart has lost control” meme starts now.

From Jason Butt:

Georgia defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter was arrested on two misdemeanor charges early Sunday morning, according to an Athens-Clarke County jail record.

Ledbetter, 18, was charged with underage possession/furnishing of alcohol and with possessing false identification. He was booked at 3:11 a.m. and released at 4:13 a.m. on a total of $3,000 bond — $2,500 for the false identification charge and $500 for underage possession/furnishing of alcohol.

Ledbetter will likely face a one-game suspension due to university policy on alcohol-related offenses. Georgia opens its season against North Carolina on Sept. 3 at the Georgia Dome.

The Bulldogs are already down a defensive lineman to start the season. Chauncey Rivers is slated to miss the first three games of the season due to a second marijuana arrest.

Ledbetter is in line for a bigger role this season and did receive first-team reps in individual work during Saturday’s practice.

At least Kirby’s got a few months to work on enlightening Greg McGarity about how suspension culture has changed recently.

15 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football