Always be digging.

Georgia will always be on the mind of one Steven Orr Spurrier.

What are the best jobs in the SEC? Steve Spurrier says it’s Georgia and LSU.

On Finebaum, Spurrier said, “Of course, Nick Saban has made Alabama the best right now, but as far as recruiting advantages, LSU doesn’t have much competition in their state, and Georgia pretty much should own their state there. “

“Pretty much should own their state”, eh?  That’s a subtle change in tune from what he once lobbed in Ray Goff’s direction.

Spurrier could recruit, but he could also coach. He felt Goff and his staff at Georgia, on the other hand, only proved themselves adept at the former. So after Spurrier and the Gators whupped the Bulldogs 45–13 in 1991, he asked the following hypothetical question.

“Why is it that during recruiting season they sign all the great players, but when it comes time to play the game, we have all the great players? I don’t understand that. What happens to them?”

I guess Georgia doesn’t recruit like it did in Goff’s day.

*************************************************************************

UPDATE:  I’m not the only one.

… And naming Georgia as the SEC East’s top job isn’t a controversial statement either.

But it’s also a hint-hint, nudge-nudge at his dominance of the hated Bulldogs as a head coach. Spurrier went an astounding 11-1 against Georgia during his dozen years at Florida (the Gators were 2-10 against UGA in the 12 years prior to Spurrier’s arrival) and 5-6 against the Dawgs at South Carolina (the ‘Cocks had beaten Georgia 13 times in 57 tries before the HBC got to Columbia).

If Georgia is the best job in the SEC East, it makes his six SEC championships and eight SEC East titles won while working at jobs worse than that one look all the more impressive. For the record, Georgia has won two SEC titles and five SEC East crowns over that same span.

An overly cynical view of Spurrier’s honest and entirely reasonable assessment? Perhaps. But I doubt it.

54 Comments

Filed under The Evil Genius

54 responses to “Always be digging.

  1. Normaltown Mike

    AIDA, attention, interest, desire, action

  2. Macallanlover

    This “UGA has all the advantages” meme gets tiring, especially from Spurrier. The state of Georgia, unquestionably, has loads of D1 talent, 4th or 5th best allegedly. It is also in very close proximity to many other top flight schools, sometimes closer to that talent than Athens. And it is also true there are no physical borders stopping traffic in, or out, of the state. So the actual state of residence isn’t as big of an advantage as say Texas, South Florida, or Nebraska, etc.

    Spurrier would have seen more of that talent in Red and Black when he was at SC had we adopted his “standards” of behavior and eligibility for playing time (Garcia, hotel gate, Clowney, etc.)

    • charlottedawg

      Exactly, i would totally rather be one of the schools that are in states with a relatively little high school football talent and have to come into our state to poach talent like Clemson, Auburn, Alabama, south Carolina, or Tennessee rather than the flagship school and program that’s 75 minutes from metro Atlanta. No we can’t sign every prospect in the state but we can sure do a better job recruiting especially for the top prospects in our own backyard.

  3. dawgtired

    “It is also in very close proximity to many other top flight schools, sometimes closer to that talent than Athens”

    This exactly. There are some top talent producing High Schools much closer to other D1 programs.

    “And it is also true there are no physical borders stopping traffic in, or out, of the state”

    Maybe Trump could have a wall built around Georgia🙂

  4. @gatriguy

    My dream of dreams is that Spurrier takes a job at ESPN and then is forced to sit on set, on location and watch Kirby win a National Title.

    Given his history of petulant, quit while you’re losing douchbaggery, he’d probably quit before going back on air.

  5. UGA85

    To disavow that UGA has an enviable recruiting base is a stretch. Atlanta is an hour away. State borders do mean something, don’t they? Being raised as a resident of Georgia means home to me and to many of you and to many athletes as well. And geographic proximity to other schools is a two way street; they can recruit our state, and we can recruit theirs, so it’s a wash. We have every advantage, even including Tech’s option offense and recent ineptitude. Clemson, Auburn, Bama, UT, and much of the SEC has lived off of Georgia’s (Atlanta’s) talent. We are sitting on top of a gold mine, in other words, and I would trade places, recruiting wise, with no other program in the NCAA.

    • Debby Balcer

      Just because you live in GA now does not mean you are from GA. The Atlanta area has as many transplants as it does locals. We live in a transient society.

      • UGA85

        Atlanta is no different than any large metropolitan area. All cities have many transplants. But what is the option? Don’t have this incredibly large recruiting hotbed at your doorstep?

        • PTC DAWG

          Just not realistic to say that ATL is as transient as other large metro areas..rarely do people move north.

          • UGA85

            Well, compare ATL to New York, for instance. Chicago? LA? These cities, I imagine, have turnover and people moving in and out constantly. Like other big cities. ATL is now officially a big city, so I just feel this is to be expected, not highlighted as something unusual or unique.

            • 81Dog

              Atlanta is now officially a big city? Welcome to breaking news from 1966,

              • UGA85

                I think you already know this, but my words were meant to emphasize that big cities and turnover, job changes, and moves go hand in hand. Atlanta’s growth, relative to the other cities listed, is recent. And that is a good development for UGA.

      • Charlottedawg

        The fact that Atlanta is such a transientplace is a direct function of a population boom and net influx of people. This is a net positive for recruiting for Georgia not a disadvantage. To argue otherwise is making excuses.

      • Walt

        I don’t think Debby is saying its a disadvantage, but pointing out that some Atlanta kids may have grown up in families that were not UGA fans. if you’re taught to root for LSU or Bama or Notre Dame from an early age, it might affect your decision to attend UGA.

        • Russ

          Very true, as I read a letter from a teacher in Georgia to the Governor of Louisiana lamenting the state of LSU funding-wise, and how her son was going to have to go to Georgia or Georgia Tech instead of LSU. Lots of parents out there pushing their kids to go “back home” (the same as I’m pushing my daughter to leave Texas and go to UGA, but my wife and in-state tuition will probably win out).

        • Debby Balcer

          Yes sorry I thought that it would be easy to get my point.

    • Macallanlover

      Not sure I have seen anyone here say we aren’t in a good place recruiting wise, no one at all. But the truth is, we aren’t on an island and south Georgia is much closer to Gainesville and Tally, Augusta is closer to Columbia, Columbus is much closer to Auburn, etc., etc. And we can still only sign about 25 guys a year. Wouldn’t say we want to trade positions with others but you cannot blindly accept statements about how UGA has this huge advantage when those same advantages are also enjoyed by others. It is an edge, but not as unique to us as implied. And we have done pretty good job with recruiting, and will as long as we remain in the Top 15 programs.

  6. anon

    I asked myself the same question the last few years

    • 83dawg

      Hah!
      I asked myself that question in the later Goff years.
      He was pretty funny because some times he was just telling it like it was.

      “…your father is the worst kind of pain in the neck. A know-it-all who’s sometimes right.”

                  --Paul Theroux, 'The Mosquito Coast'
      
  7. Many people in the Atlanta area don’t consider themselves Georgians. All you have to do is look at the college and professional teams they support. The state is also the largest in land area east of the Mississippi, so for many of the players in some of the hot beds outside Atlanta, some out-of-state schools are closer to home than Athens. Therefore, that “built-in” geographic advantage is somewhat negated. Throw in the conservative approach to making in-state offers, and you end up with a roster with the depth of a school on probation.

    LSU doesn’t have that same issue. The typical Louisiana high school football player was born and raised purple and gold because New Orleans and the surrounding area is not a transient area. Vadal Alexander graduated from Buford HS because his family was displaced following Katrina. There was no way in hell we were going to sign him over LSU even though he was a Georgia high school prospect. That shows how difficult it is for schools outside Louisiana to pull a blue chip that LSU wants out of state.

    Therefore, I actually think LSU is probably the best job in conference for fan support, high school talent, brand, and facilities. Florida is probably #2 due to the pure volume of high school talent in the state (especially with The U down). Alabama is #3 because of the administration’s commitment to winning at the highest level whatever it takes. Georgia may be #4 with Auburn.

    • MLB2

      Great post. Couldn’t say it better.

    • UGA85

      My point is that, if I could pick any geographic place in America to build a college football team from scratch, I would pick Athens. Being in the South, next to Atlanta, in the SEC, as the state’s only flagship school sounds like a dream come true. I think that is Spurrier’s point. Lots of other non-geographic issues are in play, as you mentioned, but geography is our friend, to say the least.

      • 85, no doubt about it. Proximity to Atlanta (and Gwinnett County, in particular) does provide an advantage that the out of state schools have to work to match. The non-geographic issues dull that advantage to an extent.

    • 81Dog

      If UGA isn’t an order of magnitude better job than AU, I will eat my Herschel autographed SI from 1980. Cant argue that LSU or Florida might be slightly better due to in state domination in LA or the abundance of talent in FL (there were almost 300 D1 football schollys signed in 88 or 89, has to be more now), but even with Auburn? We have much better facilities, much more in state talent, a much better campus, a much better hometown, and it isn’t even close. I admit they have better bagmen. Sheesh.

      • 81, I agree with you, but the administration and the bagmen make the HFC’s job a heck of a lot easier in greater Opelika than in the Classic City. Without those two things, Auburn would be South Carolina. Also, I would say at this time, Auburn’s facilities are better than ours.

      • UGA85

        I don’t think any of the schools you mentioned have the advantages we have in recruiting right now. Atlanta’s rise and Tech’s fall have made us the only game in a very large town.

        • If it were simply a matter of geography, Deshaun Watson, Mitch Hyatt, Derrick Brown, Robert Nkemdiche, etc. would have been wearing red and black. We may not have Georgia-based competition for those players, but we need to face the fact (I think Kirby is) that HS kids in the Atlanta area don’t look at UGA differently than the SEC schools in the adjacent states unlike Louisiana or Alabama kids look at their schools.

  8. Derek

    If you get 15-20 of the top 30 kids in the state and add a few special out of state guys, you should do fine. Our problem has been not getting enough of the right “big” guys. Your Carlton Thomas’, Tyson Browning’s, Mikey Henderson’s, Branden smith’s are all good and fine, but we always were deep in those types and never getting to 8 and 9 deep across the lines. They all look the same in the recruiting rankings but on the football field? Not so much.

    In short, I’ve always said lsu and uga are the easiet places to win consistently because of the talent level and lack of in state competition for them. Nothing is guaranteed, but Athens and Baton Rouge are pretty good starting points to build programs. Ohio state is probably a close third. I don’t think people realize how many good players are in that state, especially the Cleveland metro area and in western pa. Obviously you can win at Alabama but you’ve got to out work auburn for fewer in state targets and build about 2/3rds of your roster from out of state. That’s not easy. We could easily go with 4/5ths in state kids. That’s a huge difference. If Kirby started getting 90% of the in state kids we want, well get ready to travel in late December and early January.

    • Derek, I agree with you. Excellent post.

      The only thing I would add is that Georgia high school football doesn’t produce bumper crops of blue-chip offensive linemen. Coaches take their best big men and put them on the defensive line. We are going to need to go to a national recruiting model for offensive linemen. That’s exactly what Alabama has done successfully. Hopefully, Smart, Chaney & Pittman can get that done.

      • Cojones.

        And that’s an excellent point by you that I haven’t seen. You placed your finger right on the sore spot that affects the most important cog in the machine as I now see it.

        • Macallanlover

          Yep, seems the best OL talent is in the Midwest, Northeast, and West. Maybe we need a few satellite camps scattered around the country. I have envied the OL talent I have seen at Wisconsin, ND, Nebraska, Michigan, USC, etc. for many decades. Agree that it could be the money made by NFL defensive linemen. Could also be the offenses we see in the South in HS.

          • “Could also be the offenses we see in the South in HS.”

            Nail >> Head – Georgia high school coaches have moved so quickly to forms of the spread where you don’t need to have a offensive line of road graders. They need the quick, agile, big defensive lineman (think Trent Thompson) to create chaos on the inside and allow linebackers like Roquan Smith to run from sideline to sideline.

  9. Ben

    When Dooley stepped down and Spurrier, did UGA reach out to him at all? Or was Goff always the guy to succeed Dooley? I don’t remember because I was just a pup. Any of y’all know?

  10. Cojones.

    Gosh, Steve, didn’t recall that bunch you had last year making a dent or that our boys fell down while playing your bunch of well-trained guys. And our recruiting the year before seemed to have supplied enough good players to play 3rd stringers against your coaching butt.

    52-20. Blow it out your ass.

    Adios, MF.

  11. Normaltown Mike

    Another interesting observation: what other school has 3 powerful programs from out of state that are literally a 20 minute drive over the line (Aubrun, Free Shoes and Clempson)?

    Aubrun has done especially well at getting kids from south metro ATL, LaGrange & West Georgia over the years.

    • UGA85

      I think you could argue that each of those programs is powerful primarily because they recruit Georgia so well. Clemson and Auburn would both wither away without our talent. Ironically, all three of these teams have played for national championships recently; throw in Bama, and it’s hard to miss the fact that Georgia talent has been the key to the South’s dominant run.

    • Cojones

      And in my salad days, Lagrange, Murphy and Valdosta were the big contenders for Georgia HS Championships. We seem to be getting back into the latter two. Valdosta has been an FSU pull for many years going back to Richt’s time there. Richt began changing that pull to UGA and I expect that Kirby can increase it since he came from So Ga and has been followed closely down here..

  12. PTC DAWG

    SOS= QUITTER

  13. Mike

    Maybe the good Senator was getting to this, but I think Spurrier jab had multiple barbs. First and foremost he thought was an idiot and never wasted an opportunity to point that out. Second, Spurrier got a bit tired of the meme that he was not an enthusiastic recruiter compared to Goff and other guys that seemed tireless at it. I think he wanted to point out that his players were pretty talented too. And finally, he was participating in his usual mind games.

    • Normaltown Mike

      “he was participating in his usual mind games.”

      With Ray….it was one-sided.

    • 81Dog

      Wouldn’t it kind of been a shot at Foley, too? Like, “Look what I did at Florida, they aint really so hot without me. Irvin won with Ron Zook’s guys, and quit before the guys he recruited cratered the whole deal.”

  14. 92 grad

    I believe his words are intended to joke about the jobs from a coaching perspective. The idea being “a coach can make a ton of easy money at those schools, easy recruiting-big money-8-9 wins is good enough to not get fired”. I think he’s laughing because he thinks a mediocre coach can milk the money train forever (in his mind). I always thought that every time he beat us he laughed to himself “I can’t believe they don’t fire that guy”.

  15. Reading the continuous man-crush of the old ball sack by the likes of Barnhart is simply pathetic. Almost as pathetic as him quitting on his team, his employer, and those who support USuC mid-season. He’s an ass-clown.