Daily Archives: July 11, 2016

Out of the mouths of Gators

Unfortunately, I don’t have a snappy comeback for that one.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

Hoo, boy.

Blowing smoke, or it’s all just made up and flagellent?  You decide.

I can think of a number of defensive coordinators in his prior gig who might disagree with Gus’ assessment.



Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

“It’s the right thing to do.”

How do you know when a coach’s ass is on the hot seat?  When said coach knows his ass is on the hot seat.

The four Auburn players arrested for possession of marijuana in April — Byron Cowart, Carlton Davis, Ryan Davis and Jeremiah Dinson — won’t miss any playing time.

… “Those four young men made a mistake, we punished them and they won’t miss any time that’s behind us,” Malzahn said. “They are four fine young men. They made a mistake and I’m confident they won’t make it again.”

Malzahn said the decision had “zero” to do with the quality of his team’s week one opponent Clemson, and declined to elaborate why the punishment isn’t as severe as the one Nick Marshall received for a similar offense two years ago.

I wished he’d have said it was because Marshall was on his second chance.  In any event, what better time to bury the lede than the week Mullen, Freeze and Jones will face the brunt of the media’s scrutiny?

And how tight is Gus’ sphincter going to be if Clemson rolls in the opener?


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Crime and Punishment

“I know I’ve been drinking alcohol.”

There are times when you feel the need to blame ACC/UGA police for being overbearing in their dealings with football players.  Then there are times when you can only give them credit for dealing responsibly with knuckleheads.

“I explained to Mr. Ledbetter that I was asking him if he would submit to a breath test and that I needed a yes or no,” the report said. “He proceeded to explain that he knows what’s going on in the world now with cops shooting black people and he also said that he wanted to know if he passed the test or not so that he could take his boys home. There was no one in the car except for Mr. Ledbetter when I arrived on the scene. He also says he feels like this is a hate crime.”

Ledbetter told police he would submit to a breath test, but said he “plays football for UGA and that he does not need to get into any more trouble because he is going to get kicked off of the team and that he needs to provide for his mother and family.”

Yeah, that’s gonna work, especially when…

He registered a .131 and .138. Blood alcohol level of 0.02 grams is standard for DUI in an offender who is under 21.

Hate crime, my ass.  Somebody’s got a serious drinking problem and needs help.


UPDATE:  First reactions.

Georgia defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter will be receive unspecified “discipline” after his second alcohol-related arrest, as well as what the school is calling “an intensified education, counseling, and medical assistance program.”

In a statement released on Monday morning, head coach Kirby Smart did not outline a specific suspension, but UGA policy mandates a two-game suspension for a DUI, which Ledbetter was arrested for on Sunday morning. 

“Certainly we are disappointed and recognize he has a serious problem,” Smart said in a statement.  “We have provided help for him previously and we are committed to providing whatever assistance is necessary for Jonathan that will contribute to immediate improvement but also ensure that his long-term well-being is secure.”

Ledbetter was also arrested in March on charges of possessing a fake ID and underage drinking, but the charges were dismissed. After initially announcing a one-game suspension (as mandated by UGA policy), Smart did not answer whether the suspension would stand following the dismissal of the charges.

Ledbetter, 18, has been expected to contend for a starting spot on the defensive line.

“First I want to apologize to my family, my teammates and coaches, the University and the Bulldog Nation,” Ledbetter said in a statement released by the team.  “I have a problem and have received an incredible amount of support and treatment through the Athletic Department for the problem.  For that I am thankful.  I ask for everyone’s support as I continue to receive additional treatment for this disease and work toward a healthy life.”

Well, at least Kirby’s got something to talk about besides Chubb’s knee in Hoover this week.


Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

One more thing about Auburn

It’s possible that I’m overrating Carl Lawson.

The SEC is loaded with top pass-rushing talent heading into the 2016 season — from Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett to Tennessee’s Derek Barnett, to Missouri’s Charles Harris, and not forgetting the formidable Alabama duo of Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson. Simply put, there isn’t another position within a conference in all of college football that is so loaded with talent.

That opening list doesn’t even do the conference justice, with several other talented players trying to crack the break into the top players at the position. One such player is Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson. It might come as a surprise to not see him quite mentioned with the best of the best when it comes to SEC pass rushers, but the truth is that Lawson isn’t quite there yet, and he must improve in a couple of ways if he is to challenge the likes of Garrett and Barnett.

As a pass rusher, he’s inconsistent.  He’s been injury prone, which hasn’t helped, but still,

… In three of the seven games he played in last season, Lawson was held to two pressures or fewer, being held in check by Texas A&M, Georgia and Idaho. His pass-rushing productivity rating was impressive in the season-opener and the bowl game, but his inconsistency saw the pass-rushers mentioned earlier (along with LSU’s Arden Key) all finish with better pass-rushing productivity ratings than him.

If last year’s Georgia offensive line was capable of holding you in check, then, yeah, you’ve still got some way to go before you’re a dominant pass rusher.

When it comes to run defense, Lawson doesn’t even merit being called inconsistent.

At +2.1, Lawson’s run defense grade isn’t a problem in the sense that he grades negatively in that aspect of his game, but when compared to the other top edge defenders in the conference, there is a pretty clear gap.


The really telling player name above Lawson is Alabama’s Tim Williams. A pass-rush specialist who played just 36 snaps against the run last year, he was able to make more of an impact against the run than Lawson who, despite injury, played 207 snaps against the run. Lawson made 10 tackles resulting in a defensive stop against the run, compared with five from Williams. The difference was Williams did it on almost a sixth of the run defense snaps.

So where does he struggle against the run? In a number of ways. Lawson is athletic enough to get the better of most of the offensive tackles he’ll face as a pass rusher, but can often get caught over-pursuing at times against the run. At other times he was overpowered by opposing offensive linemen, being shoved too far inside at times.

Tell me that last paragraph doesn’t sound like any number of players Rodney Garner coached at Georgia.

Health isn’t the only thing Lawson may need to overcome this season.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Stats Geek!

What those preseason point spreads are telling us.

Chase Stuart does this exercise every preseason now – generates a set of team power rankings from the early betting lines.  I find it useful, because it provides some real insight into how Vegas sets up the season before it’s underway.  It you need a reminder of his methodology, here you go:

You may be wondering, how do we know how good Alabama’s opponents are? Well, we can imply the ratings of each team in college football based on these points spreads.  I explained how to do this last year, but here is the refresher:

The system is pretty simple: I took the point spread for each game and turned it into a margin of victory, after assigning 3 points to the road team in each game. Do this for every game, iterate the results hundreds of times ala the Simple Rating System, and you end up with a set of power ratings.

Two quick notes about the rankings.

1) These are not intended to be surprise. The methodology may be somewhat complicated, but all these ratings are intended to do is quantify public perception.

2) These are not “my” ratings. These are simply the implied ratings based on the Vegas (or, more specifically, the Golden Nugget) points spreads; nothing more, nothing less.

And here’s his top twenty.


As he notes, he’s not trying to reinvent the wheel with this.  As a matter of fact, there’s a remarkable consistency at the top with others.

The top five teams based on implied vegas ratings are, in order, Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU, Clemson, Florida State. In Phil Steele’s top 10 rankings, he has Alabama at 1, Oklahoma at 3, at 5, Clemson at 2, and FSU at 4; in other words, that’s the same top five, just in a different order. ESPN’s FPI’s top six teams are FSU-LSU-Oklahoma-Clemson-Tennessee-Alabama. That, of course, is the same top six as these implied ratings. Bill Connelly at SB Nation? His top five was, as of February, also Alabama, LSU, Clemson, Oklahoma, Florida State.

Along those lines, Georgia at 12 doesn’t seem that out of line.  Also worth noting is that Georgia faces five of the top 22 teams in that set of ratings.  Add in Georgia Tech, South Carolina and Vanderbilt and that’s eight of the top 48 there.  There may be more meat on those scheduling bones than we’ve admitted.

Nothing definitive, of course, but it does shed some more light on the preseason perceptions of Georgia.


Filed under Stats Geek!, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

How do you feel about 10-2?

CFN has its projection of Georgia’s 2016 season here.  Take a look:

2016 Georgia Bulldogs

2016 Prediction: 10-2
2016 SEC Prediction: 6-2
Sept. 3 North Carolina (in Atlanta) WIN
Sept. 10 Nicholls State WIN
Sept. 17 at Missouri WIN
Sept. 24 at Ole Miss Loss
Oct. 1 Tennessee Loss
Oct. 8 at South Carolina WIN
Oct. 15 Vanderbilt WIN
Oct. 29 Florida (in Jacksonville) WIN
Nov. 5 at Kentucky WIN
Nov. 12 Auburn WIN
Nov. 19 Louisiana WIN
Nov. 26 Georgia Tech WIN

That’s a good year, but not in their opinion good enough to get to Atlanta, as they’ve got the Vols going 11-1, 7-1.  Still, that’s a seven-game winning streak to close out the season and with a bowl win, lots of momentum for Smart to ride into next season.

Ten wins is my optimistic take on 2016, and nine feels more realistic.  What’s yours?


Filed under Georgia Football

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.

While we’re debating who’s in line to have an awkward week in Hoover, don’t forget to add the supreme commander’s name to the list.

But just as the SEC’s superiority has resurfaced, so has its history of unflattering off-field drama.

A little more than a year after former commissioner Mike Slive retired having reached his longstanding goal of a probation-free SEC, Ole Miss now faces a far-reaching infractions case that could significantly impact its surprising recent football success. Missouri has spent recent months dealing with major infractions in men’s basketball. And in April, Alabama parted ways with one of its best recruiters in defensive line coach Bo Davis due to NCAA rules violations, though it seems unlikely there will be further penalties assessed to the school.

Meanwhile, after the SEC positioned itself as a leader on domestic violence with a rule relating to transfers, Mississippi State decided to allow the enrollment of five-star recruit Jeffery Simmons, who had been videotaped pummeling a woman, instead giving him a one-game suspension.

And just last week, Tennessee settled a Federal Title IX lawsuit for $2.48 million with eight women who alleged they had been physically or sexually assaulted by athletes between 2013 and 2015.

Though commissioner Greg Sankey will likely use the bulk of his annual address Monday to tout the league’s on-field achievements and academic benchmarks, this has not been an ideal offseason for the SEC’s image.

No shit, Sherlock.  Though I’m sure Sankey will be the epitome of open, honest discussion about that in response to media questioning.

And those issues aren’t going away, even as the games loom closer. (Sankey, through a spokesperson, declined the opportunity to talk about them until his regular media availability Monday.)

Er, maybe he’ll stick to a few prepared remarks and not take questions.  Is Stacey Osburn doing anything this week?


Filed under SEC Football

Let’s not you-know-what just yet.

Want a damper to the Nick Chubb comeback story?  Check out the cover to Georgia’s 2016 Media Guide.


Nothing like a little judicious bet hedging…


UPDATE:  Marc Weiszer finds out there are three Media Guide covers this year and Chubb is on one of them.  Now that’s some Grade-A bet hedging.


Filed under Georgia Football

It’s a puzzle.

You know something I don’t get?  This.

Sam Pittman is having a great day today. That’s because he now has his left tackle.

That’s been the go-to line for Pittman down the home stretch of recruiting Pace Academy offensive tackle Andrew Thomas. The nation’s No. 10 offensive tackle chose Georgia on Saturday evening during ESPNU’s broadcast of Nike’s all-star “The Opening” prospect showcase in Oregon…

Thomas fulfills a major priority for Georgia as the top-rated offensive lineman in the state this year…

Andre Thomas said his son was sold on Pittman from the first meeting. That was important as Thomas was not deemed a recruiting priority by the previous staff. He was getting recruited harder by Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Notre Dame.  [Emphasis added.]

I mean, WTF?  Georgia struggled to find true left tackles under Richt and here you’ve got a highly regarded in state recruit you can’t bring yourself to chase hard?

Even if you were a die hard believer in Richt as Georgia’s head coach, this is the kind of stuff that should drive you crazy.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting