Daily Archives: August 12, 2016

Done deal.

The SEC grants Maurice Smith his waiver to be admitted to Georgia.

Welcome aboard, Mo.  Um… first scrimmage is Saturday.


UPDATE:  Here’s the official statement.



Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

Remain calm. All is well at ILB.

The good folks at Pro Football Focus tell us not to sweat Tim Kimbrough’s departure.

Georgia can overcome recent LB transfer: There is more transfer news around the SEC, as senior linebacker Tim Kimbrough has left the program. He’s been a quality player for the Bulldogs, particularly the last two seasons, during which he has played 606 snaps with strong work against the run. Last season he was one of Georgia’s best run-stopping linebackers, so they’ll need to replace that production on early downs. It hasn’t been as smooth for Kimbrough in coverage, where he has graded below-average and has missed 13 of 100 tackle attempts the last two seasons.

Georgia does have potential reinforcements at inside linebacker, particularly a pair of true sophomores in Natrez Patrick and Roquan Smith. Patrick posted an excellent run-stopping grade with most of his work coming against Georgia Tech and then Penn State in the bowl game. It was an encouraging 160-snap showing for Patrick and a similar small sample of work for Smith, who posted a strong run grade on his 78 snaps. While losing Kimbrough does hurt the inside linebacker depth, the future is bright at the position for the Bulldogs and it sounds like Kimbrough and the coaching staff simply didn’t mesh.

Georgia LBs

Personally speaking, I’m really looking forward to what Roquan Smith can do this season.  Notice that pass coverage grade in limited time.  I’m not sure I can get used to an inside linebacker who isn’t a liability in coverage.  But I’m willing to give that a try.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

The greatest trick Nick Saban ever played…

… was to make me agree with a Kevin Scarbinsky column.

Saban’s words suggested exasperation with the entire situation.

“We have done everything that we can do institutionally to allow the conference to make the decision about whatever they decide is in the best interest of the conference and the SEC rules relative to Maurice Smith,” Saban said. “So that is past us now. It is beyond us. So we don’t really need to talk about that anymore, and I don’t have any other comments to make about it.”

Did you catch that? Not what’s in the best interest of Maurice Smith. What’s in the best interest of the SEC and its rules.

Those words are telling. They don’t mean Saban doesn’t care about his players, which is an absurd charge from desperate rivals. They mean Saban and every other coach who grosses seven figures a year is driven by a combination of paranoia and pressure to protect the program. Or, as Saban more accurately describes Alabama football, the organization.

The organization wants to help young men earn meaningful degrees and prepare them to lead productive lives when they leave campus. The organization also needs to win, and the tug-of-war between wants and needs isn’t always a fair fight.

In this case, what’s best for a college graduate such as Smith should be decided by Smith and his family, but if someone’s going to decide what’s best for the SEC, better it be Greg Sankey than Saban.

I know there are plenty of folks who love to speculate about Alabama-SEC conspiracies, but I do think Saban’s left Greg Sankey in something of a tight spot here, if it’s Sankey’s inclination to defend the existing rule.

For one, all the attention paid to the fight between Saban and the Smith family makes the optics for a conference denial of a waiver look particularly bad, and that’s even before you get to the whole “why restrict where graduates can transfer?” thing.  The PR black eye for the SEC would be brutal.  And whereas before Saban capitulated, the negativity on the recruiting trail was solely directed the Tide’s way, if Sankey doesn’t grant the waiver, it’ll be the conference as a whole that takes the hit in recruiting.

Beyond that, though, if Sankey doesn’t grant the waiver, it does raise the issue of a double standard, because of this:

There have been exceptions to the SEC transfer rule in recent years. In May, former kicker Andy Pappanastos was released from his scholarship at Ole Miss and transferred to Alabama. Sources told ESPN that the SEC also granted him a waiver to transfer within the league. Pappanastos, who has two years of eligibility remaining, was a scholarship player at Ole Miss but joined the Crimson Tide as a walk-on.

A source familiar with the case told ESPN on Thursday that walk-ons are subject to the same SEC transfer rules as scholarship players and confirmed that Pappanastos had to receive a waiver from the league before he could enroll at Alabama this summer…

In another recent case, former Alabama receiver Chris Black transferred to Missouri as a graduate transfer last season. Al.com reported earlier this month that Black was able to transfer to an SEC school because Alabama officials didn’t respond to his transfer request within seven business days, which is required under NCAA rules. Black also would have needed an SEC waiver to transfer within the league.

Now Sankey could try to ignore the criticism that would undoubtedly be hurled his way, but I don’t think that’s a good look for a guy who loves to talk about supporting student-athletes.  In any event, as Schlabach notes, school in Athens started yesterday, so the clock is ticking for Smith, both on the field and in the classroom.

The ball’s in your court, Commissioner.


Filed under SEC Football

Does Georgia have a decided schematic advantage on offense?

I’ve previously taken note of what appears to be a talent deficit at quarterback in this season’s SEC…

I have no idea how accurate this list of SEC post-spring position rankings for quarterbacks will turn out to be, but if it’s anywhere close, what does it say that LSU is third?  Or that Georgia is sixth?

I’m thinking the conference better have some very stout running backs this season.

… and sort of lazily presumed the running backs would take up the slack.  But after reading this, I’m beginning to wonder what I was thinking.

Very clear stratification. LSU and Georgia are 1-2, and in that order on every ballot. Then we have the Bama/Tenn/Kentucky tier. There’s some disagreement on how much to rate production versus potential, as per usual, but it shakes out that all three are razor close. You could put them in any order.

We then have an anonymous middle tier down to about Mississippi St, before we get into the real dregs of the SEC. the surprising thing is how bad the middle of the conference looks. The top teams are great, but it gets pretty ugly, pretty fast.

1. LSU
2. Georgia
3. Tennessee
4. Kentucky
5. Alabama
6. Vandy
7. Arkansas
8. Ole Miss
9. Florida
10. Miss State
11. Auburn
12. Texas A&M
13. Mizzou
14. South Carolina

Regarding the the Bama/Tenn/Kentucky tier, I would give the Vols the nod because Dobbs gives them another legitimate runner, but overall, I think the point is well taken.  The conference ain’t loaded.  LSU and Georgia are loaded.  (Steele, by the way, lists LSU first and Georgia fourth in his national running backs position rankings, with Tennessee and Alabama making his top fifteen.)

Sure, both the Tigers and Georgia have questions at quarterback.  But how many other SEC teams do, too, and don’t have a running game with which to compensate?  If you don’t have much of either, considering how stout most SEC defenses are expected to be this season, where’s the scoring going to come from?

Admittedly, this is a good reason to like Tennessee’s prospects in the East, as the Vols manage to combine Dobbs with an above-average backfield, which at least on paper suggests they may have the most balanced offense in the conference.  Georgia’s running game, though, on that same paper, appears superior to the rest of the division, and it’s hard to see at the moment another program that has a good enough passing game to compensate.

Of course, it would be nice if Georgia’s backs stay healthy.


Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

“… It’s called common sense.”

Jimbo Fisher knows what’s wrong with college football.

On the eve of a potential shift in the ACC’s scheduling, Florida State Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher advocated for uniform schedules across the Power 5 leagues and a college football commissioner.

“I’d like to play for a championship where everyone has the same rules,” he said. “… You don’t think we need a commissioner and a set of rules to make things even? We’re the only sport in America that doesn’t have the same set of rules for everybody that plays.”

Yeah, moar NFL.  That’s the ticket.

How far do you want to push even, Jimbo?  You wanna operate on, say, Wake Forest’s football budget?  That would be fair.  You think it might be a good idea to reduce the scholarship limits to spread the talent out farther?  That would make things more even.

I suspect your conception of what rules need to be evened and Mike Leach’s might be different.

While we’re at it, who do you have in mind for college football czar?  Who’s the guy or gal who could make Delany and Sankey willingly cede authority?  Yeah, me neither.

It’s amazing to me the number of people who believe the best thing college football can do is to trash what makes it so unique, its regional roots.


Filed under College Football

Louisiana fat

I get this.  I mean, totally.

Travin Dural’s entree of choice during his convalescence from hamstring surgery last off-season was, you might say, an off menu item as far as the LSU training table was concerned.

Popeyes fried chicken. He found it side-sticking good.

“Yeah, Popeyes was putting a lot of weight on me,” the fifth-year senior wide receiver from Breaux Bridge said this week, skillfully transferring the blame.

His mother, Tamika Dural, noticed an obvious change.

“I went home one day, and my mom was like, ‘Man, you look stuffed,’” Dural said. “So, that’s when I knew it was time for change. I was almost 230 pounds in the spring and I played at 203 last year.”

Who among us can argue?  Let he who is without sin cast the first gnawed chicken carcass.  Spicy, of course.


Filed under The Body Is A Temple