Daily Archives: January 11, 2017

When alma maters collide

Man, I hate when this happens.

Although I have to admit it was the’79 meeting between the two in Athens that rekindled my love for college football after wandering in the wilderness for several years before.

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31 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

They strenuously object.

No doubt ESPN will take this under advisement.

AFCA executive director Todd Berry said FBS coaches are in “complete condemnation of Friday night games” and they will “push the powers that be in college football to leave that night sacred for high school football.”

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UPDATE:  And, today, in bullshit.

Student-athlete welfare?  Uh, riiiight.

10 Comments

Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil

Return of the prodigal towel boy

Guess who’s back in the SEC.

Mississippi State is hiring Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, according to a source. Grantham agreed to a multi-year deal to become the next defensive coordinator in Starkville.

Current Mississippi State defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon will not return to the Bulldogs next season, according to a source.

(Sirmon, by the way, is expected to swap jobs with Grantham at Louisville.  That’s efficient, if nothing else.)

Why is Grantham leaving?  Round up the usual suspects.

In 2016, Grantham earned $1.3 million with the Cardinals, making him the fifth-highest-paid assistant coach in the country according to USA Today‘s salary database. Suffice to say, Grantham will be looking at some kind of bump in pay for leaving for Dan Mullen‘s MSU coaching staff; how significant remains to be seen.

Kind of amazed Mullen is able to round up that kind of jack, but whatevs.

Mississippi State, you may or may not recall, comes calling to Athens in the 2017 season, which means that anyone who’s grown nostalgic for the days when his white towel roamed the sidelines in Sanford Stadium will have a new opportunity to get his or her jollies.

Should be a fun week leading up to the game.

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UPDATE:

Hey, it’s not a lie if you believe it.

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UPDATE #2:  I can see Greg McGarity reading this blog post about the hire and slowly shaking his head.

38 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

From Alabama 2007 to Clemson 2017

As Chip Towers argues for yet another program template for Georgia to follow…

So Clemson and Swinney have provided the formula for Georgia. And the Bulldogs’ fan base would be well-advised to take note of the timeline. The Tigers went just 19-15 those first three years. But they won 10 or more every year since, including 28-2 these last two, when the roster brimmed with upperclassmen.

I honestly don’t think it should take Georgia as long to get to a similar place, not with the way Smart is recruiting. Make what you will about recruiting rankings — the Dogs are currently No. 3 nationally — but it is a game of odds and the more highly-rated acquisitions one makes, the better the chance they’ll be able to help you.

… I can’t help but come back to something that crossed my mind as I watched the national championship game unfold, namely how the paths of Clemson and Georgia have diverged so dramatically in just two seasons after this game.

Did Clemson grow that much more talented than Georgia from 2014 to 2016?  Or was there something else that came into play?

As ever, it’s about development and chemistry, two areas on which Swinney and the Tigers get very high marks. We don’t know that yet about Smart and his staff, but we do know it’s a point of heavy emphasis. He certainly knows what great players look like and where to get them. Coaching them up is what we’ll have to wait and see on.

About that “we do know it’s a point of heavy emphasis” thing — exactly how do we know that?  I mean, yes, there are areas where we saw signs of player development, like the defensive front seven, for example.  But if you watched Georgia’s offensive line or special teams play, it’s a stretch to say that was a team-wide phenomenon.

Bottom line, player development is what’s separated Alabama from Georgia for almost a decade now and helps to explain why Clemson pulled down that national title that’s eluded Georgia for 36 years now.  Can Kirby Smart close that gap?  The jury is out.

102 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“You’ve got all day to spend with football.”

Meet the Pacific Pro Football League, the latest attempt to come up with a new professional football league that attempts to fill in the gaps between college and the NFL.

The plan: Four teams based in Southern California, each playing an eight-game schedule on Sundays during the sports dead zone of July and August. Roughly 50 players per team making an average salary and benefits package of $50,000 a year, which they’d be free to supplement with endorsements. Rules tweaked to enhance safety and give NFL scouts matchups they want to see. Coaches with NFL experience, who would teach pro-style schemes in an immersive environment unbound by rules regarding classroom time. Any player four years or fewer removed from high school would be eligible, including college underclassmen who’d entered the NFL draft.

Numerous minor leagues have tried and failed in recent years to expand the American pro football landscape by relying on players who’d missed the NFL cut, which inevitably limited the potential for creating a compelling consumer product. Money has been a common problem, too, and remains a central question here. Don Yee, a veteran NFL agent who is CEO and principal founder of “Pac Pro”, says the league has received angel financing from family and friends and he has met with a potential investor, as well as media distributors. But there is a lot of work to be done. There’s no endorsement or backing from the NFL or its players’ union.

What makes the concept intriguing is it targets a previously untapped talent base: players who currently have no option to play for pay because the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement bars them from the league…

The interesting thing about this business model is that it isn’t really directed at the college football superstar, or sure NFL prospect.

… But like minor league baseball or junior hockey, Pac Pro would be an option for players who either can’t or choose not to play on college scholarships, some of them straight out of high school. Think academic non-qualifiers, juco players paying their own way, players with urgent need to provide for their families, those transitioning from another sport, those who would have to sit out a year under transfer rules, those who have been dismissed from a college program, those who simply want a different path – perhaps, eventually, some top college players who want to start cashing checks and use the league as a sort of football graduate program.

“You’ve got all day to spend with football,” said former NFL coach Mike Shanahan, who’s on the league’s advisory board.

If players want to attend school, the summer schedule wouldn’t interfere and there’d be an option to receive one year’s tuition and books at a community college.

I can see how somebody like a typical SEC coach who skims off the best JUCO talent every year to touch up a roster wouldn’t be happy to see this kind of league come to fruition, because every kid who takes up the offer can never play college ball again.  (It would also have the potential to cripple every Second Chance U program out there.)

What’s interesting is that there appears to be a lot of serious names attached to it.  Whether that equates to serious money is the rub, though.  It would seem to me that if this isn’t sufficiently capitalized, it’ll be hard to sway kids from giving up their amateur status before they’re eligible to sign with an NFL team.

13 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness

If you’re gonna take ’em down, take ’em all down.

I love “what-if” strategy questions like this:

Love to hear somebody ask him about that at his next presser.

Although Dabo Swinney said Alabama sort of tried that.

Swinney said Tuesday that there was defensive pass interference on Clemson receiver Artavis Scott, who made contact with Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey and created some traffic that another Alabama defensive back got caught in on Hunter Renfrow‘s 2-yard TD catch with a second left Monday night…

“Yes, it’s a rub play, it’s a pick play,” Swinney said Tuesday. “Artavis was actually trying to go pick the guy, but he couldn’t get there because he got tackled. I mean, literally, the guy tackles him.”

Boy, it must suck when you’re trying to run an illegal play and the other team commits a penalty to thwart that.  At least they got the winning touchdown out of it.

25 Comments

Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

Auburn delenda est on the recruiting trail?

MaconDawg makes the argument that if recruiting in the state of Georgia is something of a zero sum game, then what’s good for Kirby Smart is bad for Gus Malzahn.

The commonality among those classes? Auburn’s ability to snatch 4-6 blue chip prospects from the state to the east made the difference between a top 10 signing class and one that would have finished outside the national top 20, and near the bottom of the SEC West. And it’s not as if Auburn has been signing the players Georgia passed on. By my count no more than five of the big time recruits listed above did not also have an offer from the Bulldogs. While Auburn’s recruiting “home base” is arguably lower Alabama, Georgia is a close second. When Auburn has recruited well overall, it has recruited Georgia well.

Which is why Gus Malzahn really needs 2017 to be a one-off on the recruiting trail. Auburn has twenty commits for the class of 2017. Only three are from Georgia, none ranked above three stars.

With the possible exception of Crisp County’s Markaviest Bryant (who’s deciding soon from among UGA, Auburn, and LSU), it doesn’t appear that the Tigers are in the running for any blue chip Georgia players. Tray Bishop had been one of the most highly rated players in the 2017 Tiger class, until he flipped his commitment to UGA.

247 currently ranks Auburn’s class a respectable 8th in the nation, including heralded JUCO QB Jarrett Stidham. But that doesnt really tell the full story. Five of the ten teams ranked directly behind the Plainsmen have sixteen or fewer commits. Some will likely add commits and pass them (USC, Penn State, Washington, and obviously Clemson all have significant momentum). In short, Auburn may be about to finish outside the top 10 in recruiting rankings for the first time in a while.

Obviously one year doth not a trend make, but if Rodney Garner, of all people, can’t make hay in Georgia, it’ll be interesting to see what steps, if any, Auburn can take to offset the talent drain from its eastern neighbor.

10 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Recruiting