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.

29 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

29 responses to “It’s a puzzle.

  1. Chi-town Dawg

    I read the article and was also in shock/disbelief at that comment. Then I looked at some of our past OL coaching hires and the fact that Sturdivant was our last true big time left tackle recruit (I still wonder if Theus won’t eventually play OG in the NFL). This is also the first time I can recall in many years where we’ve got commitments from 4 highly ranked OL. Thank God for Pittman!

  2. Paulwrsterdawg

    I could never justify the OT recruiting. You need 2 per year. Even if they don’t pan out at OT you may have yourself a quality guard.

    But we would load up on guards. If they don’t pan out you’ve got nothing for them to do except process out.

    I know they don’t grow on trees. But to have years without recruiting any was just nonsense.

  3. South FL Dawg

    I liked Richt….a lot in fact….but he wasn’t the type to sweat details.

    • Lrgk9

      McGarity insisted on going with the lowest cost bidder for OL.

      None of the Searles, Friend, Sale group were first choice. McGarity and Adams vetoed the first choices as being out of line with the Georgia Way and leading to a coach salary increase trend which Georgia would not be a part of on either McGarity’s or Adams’s watch.

      • IIRC, Richt outdueled Saban for Searles’ services.

        • Lrgk9

          Well, that’s true.
          “Story” I heard was that Richt wanted Texas OL and Georgia alum Mac McWhorter but the $ wasn’t forthcoming and we went after Searles.

          Just sayin’ as that is the reason for my second choice statement on Stacy.

  4. Richt was a quarterback. He couldn’t seem to fully see beyond the offensive backfield when recruiting. Quarterbacks and running backs. Not particularly strong in going after wide-outs either for the most part.

    • James Stephenson

      I would love to have whomever is judging WR talent at LSU, they always have studs out there.

  5. thomas to me signals what’s different about the new staff versus old, and not just because it’s this position, although that’s a huge factor obviously.

    My assumption (caveat emptor) is that the old staff recruited him to a point, saw him more interested in other schools (he was already somewhat vocal, last year around this time, about loving FSU), and sort of moved on. This might be a fight you lose but it’s a fight you have to fight like there’s no tomorrow. Blue Chip OT, in state. At base it’s the best chance you have to land talent at a crucial position. You can never just give up.

    Of course another problem with the old staff was the uneven approach that manifested when it was time to pursue the next guy. Or the guy after that. Just take some guards and maybe they’ll prove good enough to play tackle, or “maybe next class” was not really a good enough approach.

    I don’t think we get LeCounte under the old staff either.

  6. watcher16

    I’m sure Richt et. al were just looking for an unrated diamond in the rough the others hadn’t discovered yet…

  7. Richt put a hat philosophy, did not matter if they had technique or block anyone. Just get in their way and let the skill guys take over.

    • Uglydawg

      I was always amazed at the way (Morino, Gurley, Chubb and others) got yards without much help from the line. Especaily Morino. The guy just made it happen. Just imagine if they’d had a great offensive line blocking for them.

      • Macallanlover

        Agree, Moreno made some great 3 yard runs in his time at UGA. Also recall what Chubb did in his first start at Mizzou against a solid defensive front. I think he was hit at, or behind the line in about 22 of those 30 carries and got 140+. We haven’t had an OL that was above mediocre since 2002, imo.

        • Otto

          Agreed, good to see this staff has a change in priorities. Richt never did recruit OL strong enough, which is a big part of why he did not win the SEC more often. All this talk of 10 wins next year, and I’m looking at the recruiting board.Looks like 2 Guards and 2 Tackles. The tackles are 4 stars, guards are split with a 4 and a 3 star.

        • Macallanlover

          Sorry, typo, think it was about 39 carries. Not so sure we didn’t “recruit OL strong enough”, we just didn’t recruit it well enough. Felt we were fishing in the wrong water holes, didn’t do well enough in evaluating talent, and didn’t have a dynamic OL coach to get the right fish in the boat. We had some good, tough guys at times but rarely had a total unit of guys in the right places, we were always juggling and band-aiding.

          • Otto

            Strong, well, effectively. In the end, after a decade the staff was not fixing the OL. Whatever, Smart has changed, I like that 4 well recruited prospects look to be heading to Athens and the season hasn’t even started.

  8. 69Dawg

    Given Mark’s coaching experience at FSU and the way he recruited offensive lineman it’s a wonder we had the 15 year record we had. His Oline coaches always seem to be trying the one size fits all lineman. As said above let’s just recruit guards and hope they grow longer arms and quicker feet and miraculously become left tackles. It was a head scratcher.

  9. Macallanlover

    I think not getting the “CEO balance” right was Richt’s biggest shortcoming, and he didn’t recognize it until late last year when it was too late for him. It isn’t unusual to have CEOs out of balance with the micro managing versus delegation style of management. I have seen this often in the corporate world and feel he needed a strong leader/advisor to tell him to roll his sleeves up at a point and help those departments not getting it done. That was most obvious with Martinez, the OL coaches, and Schotty.

    Letting Bobo work into the play calling and player assessment roles of OC worked well for him because he mentored Bobo and was comfortable with the offensive part of the game. OL was his biggest offensive blind spot and he placed too much trust in the OL coach to evaluate and coach those positions. It didn’t help that Georgia has not produced great offensive linemen, especially relative to the skill positions where we thrived. We should have made more effort in the Midwest to bring in the big uglies that stayed in the Big Ten and Big 12 areas, imo. But it doesn’t excuse not getting the best that Georgia had available.

  10. Go Dawgs!

    On a side note, man, I hate recruiting.

    “Hey, buddy, this is a list of all the awesome Christmas presents you’re going to get for Christmas 2017! You’re cool with waiting, right?”

    • Charles

      Oh, and all the presents are actually speculative bonds that may or may not be worth anything come Fall of 2019 but aren’t probably worth anything until then and may never realize at all.

  11. steve

    If you have ever been around after an environmental cleanup you can sometimes smell it for months after the the substance is removed (even outside)…It is the Rodney Garner Effect. Even though he wasn’t there, his influence was still operative…..mainly in a ‘not too good’ way.
    One other variable that is probably forgotten is when Coach Richt’s wife became ill our recruiting tumbled log-rhythmically that year….no one complained (for obvious reasons) and the intensity of first-order recruiting never appeared to recover…..compared to other programs’ success.

  12. I’m just here for the weekly pile-on

  13. DawgPhan

    All of CMR’s recruiting was questionable. He never seemed to get a handle on it. Also hurting CMR’s classes was he often got flipped on NSD more so than he was flipping and for whatever reason it seems like big OL guys were the ones flipping a lot of times.

    Last year Kirby might have broken even on the NSD flipping. Smart needs to flip more than get flipped on NSD, which is pretty obvious. Easier said than done, I guess.

  14. lakedawg

    All of CMR recruiting was questionable? Eason, Rochester, Thompson, Gurley, Marshall, green, Murray, Theus, Kublanow, Jones, Brown, Andrews, Chibb, Michel, Ledbetter, etc??????

  15. TEBOW

    CMR just got tired….and a bit lazy in recruiting at going after guys who wanted to be pursued. He kicked me to the curb after getting a verbal from Stafford.

  16. W Cobb Dawg

    Just another of the many head scratching aspects of Mark Richt. OT Thomas from Atlanta, and the recent verbal from OT Demery of Brunswick, are proof that in-state OTs have been there. What was lacking was the effort to land them.

    Clock management, punt safe, roster management, inexplicable time outs, directional kicking, Faton Bauta, etc., etc. I won’t bitch about what CMR could’ve been. I’m just glad the new coach appears to see these problems and acts to solve them.