Daily Archives: April 15, 2016

Can a coach be the subject of a Verne crush?

Strong stuff from Uncle V on Kirby:

Q: What are your thoughts on Kirby Smart?

Lundquist: “They made one heck of a hire. Kirby Smart, and we chatted about this last night, we talked about how long he stayed with Nick (Saban) at Alabama. And many of us who had dealt with Kirby over the years always felt he was going to be a terrific head coach someday. In my view, he was patient enough to wait for the best opportunity, and the best opportunity for him quite obviously was in Athens. I think he’s going to be terrific. I really do.”

Q: Saban didn’t allow much media access to assistant coaches. How well do you know Smart?

Lundquist: “We (CBS) did get a little more access than Nick normally allows (to assistant coaches), so we did talk with Kirby quite a bit. First of all, I find him to be a gregarious man. I think he’s going to interact with the fan base on a very, very high and personable level. I just like his personality. I’ll leave it to Gary Danielson to do the Xs and Os with regard to Kirby, but I just like him.”

Q: What’s Smart’s reputation among SEC broadcasters?

Lundquist: “I can tell you this from Gary: (Smart) has an enormous amount of respect among his fellow coaches and certainly from the analysts who have done the Alabama games. He’s considered a tactical master when it comes to defensive schemes.”

All that without even mentioning that he’s coaching at the school he played for.  Okay, it may not be Tebow territory, but on the other hand, I don’t remember him waxing that eloquently about, say, Booch when he got the UT job.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Can The Process be cloned?

If you listened to The Audible podcast I linked to yesterday past Stewart Mandel’s interview with Kirby Smart, you would have heard Mandel and Bruce Feldman discuss where Smart wants to take the program.  (By the way, Feldman makes an excellent point about how Aaron Murray might be the exact type of quarterback Smart looks for.)  The point they both arrive at is that Kirby intends to, as Mandel put it, “out-Alabama, Alabama”.

Andy Staples pretty much goes to the same place here.

Smart got this job not because he once played safety for the Bulldogs. He got it because he served as the defensive coordinator for the man who knows how to regularly get those last two or three wins. At Alabama, any season that doesn’t end with a national title is an abject failure. Smart helped Nick Saban capture four national titles in the past seven seasons. So, like former Saban assistants Derek Dooley, Jimbo Fisher, Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain before him, Smart has been hired to lead a program with the expectation that he will bring Saban’s formula and get Saban’s results…

Smart knows this, but long-term thinking is antithetical to The Process. The greatest challenge in the Alabamafication of Georgia’s program is getting the Bulldogs to think the way the Crimson Tide players do. While Saban’s skill at projecting and recruiting talent and then drawing up schemes ranks among the best in the game, his greatest gift is his ability to make a huge group of 18- to 22-year-olds perform consistently. He does this by making them forget the big picture exists. Instead, they concentrate solely on the next play, the next weight-room rep and the next English Composition paper. “The media is going to portray it as ‘Are you going to win the SEC East? Are you going to win the national championship? Uh uh,” Smart said. “We’re worried about practice No. 10. Then we’re worried about practice No. 11.”

Last week Smart sought a way to refocus his players before a practice. He feared they had hit a wall. He worried some felt too sorry for themselves to pay attention. So, before the Bulldogs took the field, Smart showed them a brief video in which Alonzo Mourning discussed his return to the NBA following a kidney transplant. After hearing about Mourning’s fight, a few hours of practice didn’t seem so bad. Smart will have to find something else to reinforce that message every day, and he knows he will have to communicate it differently to different players. “That’s where Nick is ahead of the curve on everybody,” Smart said. “He’s got a different way to reach every kid. He’s also got every accessory.”

Smart has yet to decide if he’ll use the same array of consultants Saban uses. (For example, Alabama contracts three different people to serve as mental coaches for its players.) But Smart will absolutely try to mimic Saban’s core principle…

Will it work?  Greg McGarity has made a big bet that it will.  If Butts-Mehre has indeed bought in all the way to letting the football program operate in a wide open manner, resource wise, McGarity’s judgment may indeed be vindicated.

But Georgia ain’t Alabama.  Not now, not ever.  There’s a lot of history and a lot of entrenched attitudes that Smart is going to have to work extremely hard to overcome.  That’s the big advantage Saban had over Smart in coming into the job at Alabama.  There simply wasn’t anything he had to fight when he started.

Kirby has to build a championship football program and change the Georgia Way, all at the same time.  That’s a lot for anyone to have on his plate, let alone a first time head coach.  Is he up to it?  And, perhaps more relevantly, is the athletic department up to it?

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Filed under Georgia Football

Brian Cook ❤ Hugh Freeze. Really ❤.

I know there’s an agenda behind this, but, boy, does Cook lay into Ole Miss’ head coach here:

Elsewhere in how Freeze gets work done. Interesting little glimpse inside the sausage factory Freeze is running at Ole Miss from a doofus with money:

An Ocean Springs businessman claimed to have offered his guest house to unnamed college football players rent-free, only to later amend his story. But a source with knowledge of the situation said Scott Walker’s neighbors were told by the renters they paid for a two-night stay at his home last weekend.

Renting his home on a short-term basis would be a violation of local ordinances, and when first contacted by the Mississippi Press Walker said it was “four university players” who were “absolutely not paying” to stay in his guest house.

That raised red flags, because a booster (Walker is an Ole Miss grad and fan) offering free or reduced rent is a clear-cut NCAA violation.

Ole Miss cheats. Hardcore, all the time. That’s how a nobody high school coach with one year at Arkansas State who arrives at a school with a fanbase that mostly still wants a plantation owner as their mascot and zero success in the past 50 years starts recruiting five-stars. I’m resigned to the fact that this will happen forever, and that the correct solution is to let people pay the players without repercussions.

But you run the cheatingest program in the country and you get sanctimonious about your free time? Harbaugh’s just trying to level the playing field out a little bit here. Freeze can take his vacations and come back knowing that an Ole Miss offer has thousands of dollars behind it that a Michigan one doesn’t.

Woof.  I think my eyebrows are singed.

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Filed under The Blogosphere

No pressure, kid.

Man, I’m not sure anyone has described the expectations for Jacob Eason tomorrow like Stewart Mandel does here.

No other spring game in the country this year will garner the same level of buildup as Georgia’s annual G-Day on Saturday. First-year head coach Kirby Smart has been pushing for months to get 93,000 fans to fill Sanford Stadium. The school created a #93KDAY campaign. It even booked Ludacris this week as a pregame entertainer.

With all due respect to the aforementioned Grammy winner, those 93,000 will be coming primarily to see another person.

Jacob Eason, the consensus No. 1 quarterback recruit in the class of 2016 who committed to Georgia prior to his junior year of high school, makes his long-awaited public debut. His arrival comes none too soon for a fan base that suffered through the nation’s 104th-ranked passing offense last season.

Well, dayum.

Here’s my first question for you: if Eason comes out of tomorrow looking competitive – not necessarily better than Lambert or Ramsey, but definitely no worse than on even footing with them – should that be enough for Chaney and Smart to declare him the winner of this spring’s quarterback competition?  After all, I think we had our fill last year of seeing what happens when you don’t name a starting quarterback until mid-August.

And my second flows from that:  how good are you going to feel about Georgia’s passing game in 2016 if the coaches don’t name a starter after G-Day?

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Filed under Georgia Football

“They want to do all their stuff in the dark.”

According to Mike Leach, there isn’t a coach in the Pac-12 who is in favor of shutting down satellite camps.  And yet, the Pac-12 representative, UCLA athletic Dan Guerrero, voted to do just that.  Why?  Let the Pirate explain:

“The committee. Well who did it? Them. Well, who’s them? We can’t tell you who them is. They want it shrouded by secrecy. I think we need as much exposure to this as possible…”

The truth is out there.  Yar!

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Filed under Mike Leach. Yar!, Pac-12 Football, The NCAA

“It doesn’t impress me because it’s expected.”

I’m gonna have to disagree with you here, Sony.  This does impress me.

Nick Chubb continues to make progress with his recovery.

The latest stepping stone is the fact Chubb was seen participating in individual drills without a knee brace, which would be the second practice in a row he’s done so.

Chubb also went through more positional work than usual. To this point, Chubb had only been participating in play-polish work where he’d take a handoff and run straight ahead. During this practice, Chubb was able to jump cut and step over bags during other drills the running backs have long been doing.

It’s another good sign for Chubb…

I’ve gone from wondering if he’d even see the field this season to speculating on whether he’ll contribute enough to get some all-conference consideration by the end of the year.  Amazing.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple