Daily Archives: August 18, 2016

Kirby Smart’s chicken soup for the Bulldog soul

Damn, do I love hearing this.

“The biggest goal coming into camp was to improve third-down play defensively and offensively. A big part of that offensively is the vertical passing game so we’ve tried to focus on that with drills and situations in practices and scrimmages,” Smart said.

Amen, brother.  I like this kind of talk, too.

“To be honest, I’ve seen Terry up and down,” Smart said after Tuesday’s practice, when asked assess Godwin’s camp. “I know the athlete that Terry is, I know the athlete that Terry can be. But Terry needs to get a little more consistency. And I tell him that every day.”

“He has to block with the same vigor that he runs a route with,” Smart said.

Now, Emerson’s right when he goes on to observe that Godwin’s size likely precludes him from being a dominant blocker, but he’s also right to point out that Malcolm Mitchell, also not a large receiver, was Georgia’s best blocking receiver last year.

Frankly, I thought the decline in downfield blocking from the receiving corps was an under-acknowledged deficiency last season that contributed to the offensive constipation we saw frequently.  Losing Bennett and Conley hurt a lot in that department.  Fix that to any extent, and you likely have a big impact on Georgia’s third-down efficiency.  As a bonus, you also free up the tight ends to have more involvement in the receiving game.

Let’s hope Kirby can translate talk into action.

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52 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Idle gossip and random chatter can be fun.

Jimmy Hyams does a round up of what anonymous SEC coaches say about other SEC programs… anonymously.

As I’ve said about Athlon’s similar take, the snark level has gone down noticeably with Tuberville’s departure.  There are only a couple of negative shots at coaches — “Kirby Smart is a very good football coach, but he needs to mature. He loses his cool when things don’t go his way.” and “Arkansas is getting tired of Bielema’s bullshit. He hasn’t won over nine games. Houston (Nutt) won 10 and was a hell of a lot better person.” — but there is another quote that wins:

“A lot of smoke around Ole Miss because of the behavior of some players,” a coach said.

I want to believe that’s a deliberate pun, so whoever you are, coach, well played.

20 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Running backs: a reader poll

Nick Chubb’s feelin’ good, like he knew that he would.

Chubb said he scored two touchdowns in the scrimmage, but more signficiant than the scores was the first hit he took from outside linebacker Johnny O’Neal.

“The hard part was mentally,” Chubb said. “Just taking that first hit and deciding, ‘I’m ready. Let’s go.’”

He added: “When it happened, I just was making sure my body wasn’t bending any other ways. It was good.”

Chubb wasn’t thrilled that officials were blowing the plays dead early when he was the ball-carrier because he “wanted to feel like I was with the team and play and get tackled to the ground and play live just for myself.”

He said “getting tackled a couple of times,” helped his knee in the return.

His father, a cousin and an aunt were there watching an important day for Chubb.

Chubb said he’s still working to get his speed back to the level he was at last season when he rushed for 747 yards and seven touchdowns in only five games (plus that one carry). He’s doing it now while wearing a brace on that left knee.

“It’s just different running with that thing, but I feel good when I have it on,” he said.

He said there wasn’t any swelling after the scrimmage and he “felt better, just the mental part. …After that scrimmage I felt more confident in myself and my teammates and just everyone around me.”

Unfortunately, it does not seem the same can be said for his backfield mate Michel.

Sony Michel’s status still appears unchanged based on what head coach Kirby Smart had to say during an appearance on 680 The Fan.

After giving an optimistic take on fellow running back Nick Chubb, who is “pointing in that direction” to return to the football field against North Carolina, Smart seemed less enthused about Michel’s status.

Michel has been wearing a black non-contact jersey in practice and was most recently wearing a wrap around his arm. Michel sustained an open fracture to his left forearm in an All-Terrain Vehicle accident on July 3.

In recent practices, Michel has taken hand-offs and caught passes in individual drills.

But Smart said Michel hasn’t been getting much work in team situations, which was also evidenced by sticking to conditioning work during last Saturday’s scrimmage.

“I don’t know if he’s getting more reps,” Smart said. “He’s not able to carry the ball yet. It’s a step by step process for him. We don’t know where he’s going to be.”

At this point, I’m taking that as a no-go for the opener.

At least it appears that Georgia will get some contributions from the true freshmen, as Chubb indicated that he’s impressed with what he’s seen from Holyfield and Herrien.  There’s also the reliable Brendan Douglas to toss in the mix.  But I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to see a sizeable gap between what a healthy Chubb brings to the table and what the other three might bring — and we still don’t know how healthy Chubb is yet.

Which means it’s time for a reader poll.

 

37 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Nick Saban and “immediate self-gratification”

You may have heard that another highly-rated defensive back just left the Alabama program.

Redshirt freshman cornerback Kendall Sheffield is transferring from Alabama.

Sheffield, a five-star prospect in the class of 2015, became a topic of conversation early in the week after he did not attend Crimson Tide practices Monday and Tuesday.

A Sheffield family member told ESPN that Sheffield was informed on Wednesday by Alabama football coach Nick Saban that he would receive his release from the school. The release has the stipulation that Sheffield cannot transfer to another SEC school.

Sheffield, the nation’s No. 3-ranked cornerback in 2015, has returned to his family home in the Houston area. He was running second team at cornerback prior to his decision to transfer.

Naturally, this has generated a great deal of introspection amongst the Tide faithful about what Saban might have done to lead to the rash of departures… okay, I keed, I keed.  Over at Roll Bama Roll, the lede is “Another CB prospect from Texas sulks over the depth chart.”

Meanwhile, Michael Casagrande has a piece that claims to make sense about the kids leaving the program.  And surprise — it’s not you, Nick, it’s those damned youngsters.

What’s behind that? Each transfer is unique while still fitting into a shifting culture among athletes one year after leaving high school. Barton Simmons, the director of scouting at 247Sports, said the proliferation of transfers among players while in high school is a factor.

“It becomes much more less taboo, much more of a standard operating procedure,” Simmons said. “I think that’s been a steady evolution towards this. But I think that’s just a challenge that a school like Alabama has to face on an annual basis due to the fact that they recruit at such a high level.”

Yeah, cry me a river… except Saban’s been recruiting at the same high level for years, but it’s 2016 that’s off the chart in the departures department, as even Casagrande acknowledges:

A total of 26 Alabama signees from the classes of 2010-16 have transferred before exhausting their eligibility. The 2015 class’s five departures already equals the 2013 group’s total three years later.[Emphasis added.]

The funny thing here is the dog that’s not barking.  Nobody’s mentioned the change at defensive coordinator.  Think Jeremy Pruitt might have had an effect here?  If you’re not sure, you might want to check out Georgia’s 2013 recruiting class, peeps.  The man has a way with kids he didn’t recruit.  He’ll also do just fine with the kids he does pull in.  It was, um… gratifying to watch him work the recruiting trail hard while he was in Athens.

16 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules

Jim Chaney is my new coaching hero.

If there’s one coaching philosophy I appreciate more than “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, it’s “keep it simple, stupid”.  And this may be the best distillation of KISS I’ve ever seen.

“I tell the kids all the time, at quarterback, your job is one job: You’ve got to get the ball and deliver it to the playmakers, either hand it to them or throw it to them,” Chaney said. “That’s it. Don’t overthink this thing. Don’t think you have got to do something outside of the system or you’ve got to do all that craziness. Just do your job and do it the best you can daily.”

Hell, after you read that, you can start to believe that going with Lambert or Ramsey might actually work.

19 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

This salary aggression will not stand, man.

Coaching contracts these days have long ceased to floor me, so Jim Harbaugh getting a sweetened deal that promises to take his total compensation to $9 million in basic pay for his current contract year is just another brick in the wall of schools being full of crap when they plead poverty…

… but if a guy who has yet to win a Big Ten title is worth that kind of jack, what’s Nick Saban worth?  Something tells me we’ll find out sooner or later.  Right, Mr. Sexton?

13 Comments

Filed under Heard About Harbaugh?, It's Just Bidness