“It’s so hard, you might as well pick some big ones…”

Here’s a criticism several have voiced here at the blog.

In fact, he applauds the pair for the emphasis they appear to be placing on the OL, something (Matt) Stinchcomb said wasn’t always the case with the former Georgia regime.

“I like the emphasis on focusing on offensive line and getting the right guys. I do like that,” he said. “I will say, as much as I respect it, and I appreciate Coach (Mark) Richt and what he did, one thing that I did not agree with the idea with the offensive line was kind of just a commodity. I think it worked that way at Florida State.”

As a former offensive lineman, that saddened Stinchcomb.

We saw that attitude right off the bat, as Richt outsourced offensive line recruiting to Neil Callaway, and we saw it in the last season, when an over-matched Rob Sale was handed the metaphorical keys to the car.

So Stinchcomb’s larger point (see what I did there?) is that it’s not so much Pittman’s emphasis on big linemen that matters nearly as much as the head coach caring enough about the offensive line to make sure it’s an area of strength.

I can’t say for sure every place where I expect the team to be improved from Richt to Smart, but I don’t have any difficulty believing, given time, the offensive line will be better.

28 Comments

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28 responses to ““It’s so hard, you might as well pick some big ones…”

  1. merk

    Richt was a good coach in some areas, but he killed himself with always having a crappy O-line. We had some good guys, but they were just mixed in here and there. Add in some guys never seeming to be coached up while here and you get the constant idea that our O-line would be a strength only to turn out to be utterly worthless all season. Additionally, this seemed to be the same case with ST play. At least he finally saw the light in that area, but it took 12 seasons for that to happen.

  2. I think a good an excellent OL can make a mediocre QB looking better. I always thought Alabama had one like that last year. I may be wrong.

  3. I remember seeing Stafford frequently sacked due to missed tackles. I remember when he was sacked where his body nearly bent to a letter C. Whew, that should have hurt.

  4. Gatriguy

    Richt seemed to get off on a bad foot with the OL once Donnan’s guys left and then never could get traction after that. It’s hard to recruit a position when you don’t have a story to sell. Which he just didn’t.

    • merk

      Well, that’s when you find a guy who can. Not like he was at some low tier school that could not pay a bit if he would have pushed for it. Yes, he lost a lot of power after 2010, but before that he had more than enough to push for it. He didn’t, the real question is if it was just a Richt issue or an issue of the AD and department just not being behind him. The latter would just seem dumb with him having 2 SEC Championships and a #2 finish in 07.

      • Mayor

        The AD and the department are only interested in one thing–money. They run the football program to maximize profit not to win championships. That is why I have so little faith that anything will be significantly different. I remember everybody saying all the same things about Richt 14 years ago that they are now saying about Smart. Donnan actually was a damn good coach himself. The problems at Georgia are not at the HC level. The failures of the Georgia football program stem from a lack of commitment to winning within B-M and at the highest levels at the University. Until those issues are addressed there will be a revolving door at the HC’s office and nothing will materially change.

        • Cojones

          Don’t you think that B-M is more behind Kirby because he is a Dawg? Personally, I think he gets more leeway than any other coach in a long time for that reason. B-M was behind him before Richt was fired.

          Btw, spoke to an Auburn fan yesterday (a 50s+ physician) and he said that everyone he knew at Auburn can’t figure out why Richt was fired, especially since he and Aaron owned their ass.

  5. RugbyDawg79

    We will be better this year-better on the OL and you know Nick Chubb will like that — It all starts upfront

  6. Hogbody Spradlin

    My most favorite offensive line memory is the 99 yard drive (NINETY NINE FRIGGIN YARDS) against Florida in 83. Talk about imposing your will.

    My least favorite offensive line memory is the 2012 SECCG, the way THEIR steroid enhanced, three deep, five star recruits pushed good players around. Grrrrrrr.

    • Russ

      While I agree with you and everyone else here about our OL under Richt, we did have that crushing 8:00 drive to close out the ol’ Ball Sack and the Cocks a couple of years ago. Not as good as the 99 yarder against the Gators, but just as satisfying.

  7. W Cobb Dawg

    To me the odd thing is assigning so little importance to the OL. We signed what, maybe two 5 star OLs in 15 years? And hiring inexperienced OL coaches like Friend & Sale, when more polished coaches would’ve jumped at the chance, backs up the accusation the OL wasn’t a priority.

    • merk

      Given all of the hires he made during his tenure, he really never hired any polished coaches. Grantham talked a good game, but was an NFL guy. Same with Schotty. Pruitt was the only one, but it seems more like he came to Richt than the other way around. Hiring friends and guys they know is fine if they work out (Bobo), but when they don’t you get a Willie situation.

    • Hobnail_Boot

      One. Jon Theus.

    • The Richt philosophy was just put a hat on someone. The Bowden way of blocking was just get in their way and carried over when Richt became the HC.

  8. sectionzalum

    I am puzzled at the conclusion that OL recruiting wasn’t a Richt interest. do educate me, please. how can one conclude that Richt merely tossed it to coordinators? I don’t pretend to know.

  9. I, like Stinch, have been saddened. Saddened in a way that only bigger, nastier and plentiful o-lineman can fix. I got a fever, and the only prescription is…

  10. GeorgiaSportsBlog

    So many bad decisions, bad roster management and bad breaks. If Sturdivant’s knee had held up, there’s no doubt that 2008 and 2009 couldn’t be turned out different.

    If Shackleford and Chester Adams didn’t wasn’t their FR years blocking on FGs and were redshirted then 2007 and 2008 could’ve been very different.

    If Callaway didn’t sign unwanted Jucos instead of workable talent in 2007, maybe 2010 and 2011 are different years.

    So many bad, bad decisions and blunders and bad luck. Too many over too long a period to not be systemic issues on Richt. More than on any individual OL coach.

    • GeorgiaSportsBlog

      So many typos. Yikes autocorrect killed that.

    • Sturdivant’s knee completely changed the offensive line. The guy would have been a top 5-10 pick as a 3 or 4-year starter at left tackle. Athletic, smart and big …

    • Certainly didn’t help that due either to old fashioned S&C or just pure bad luck there was the rash of shoulder injuries with O-linemen.

      Though I think in a way MR was always more focused on pass blocking OL prospects and private school kids. The state of Georgia has had plenty of quality road graders who went to the Bamas and Auburns over the years.

      I hope that Pittman and Kirby are more focused on giving the great RBs that MR has always gotten a bit more support in the future.

  11. Offensive line recruiting is the most difficult. Most blue-chip linemen can succeed by being more powerful than the kid across from them. They have to be taught technique from a good college Oline coach. Smart and Pittman are probably right on this. Go out and get big guys that have the frame you’re looking for and then coach and develop them to their potential. It worked for Saban and Cristobal at Alabama. No reason it shouldn’t work here.

  12. Gurkha Dawg

    I agree that our OL has not been great, but it has not been that bad. TG and NC are great backs, but no back can gain those kind of yards without decent blocking. As an example, in the Bama game last year our OL could not block Bama and Chubb was completely shutdown until trash time. Having said that, I do think we will see improvement in OL play, which can only be good.

  13. Jt (the other one)

    Games are won and lost on the LOS…its been that way since the game was created and was that way last season.

  14. Bigshotdawg

    Stacey Searls did a good job at LSU, then he came to UGA and the rest was history.