Monthly Archives: January 2017

“You have to have big, grown men…”

Kirby tried to tell us what’s coming.

Offensive line coach Sam Pittman has put an emphasis on size at his previous stops, including having the biggest offensive line of any NFL or Power 5 team for two-straight years.

Team/Year LT LG C RG RT Total
Arkansas/2015 6-5, 340 6-5, 334 6-3, 322 6-5, 312 6-10, 331 1,640 pounds
2014 6-10, 326 6-5, 350 6-3, 315 6-5, 337 6-7, 314 1,642 pounds
2013 6-6, 318 6-4, 315 6-5, 315 6-7, 330 6-5, 345 1,623 pounds
Tennessee/2012 6-6, 329 6-5, 310 6-3, 310 6-5, 324 6-6, 323 1,596 pounds

 

One thing the above offensive lines have in common – they led the SEC in sacks allowed per game. In 2016, even though Georgia was 10th in the SEC in pass attempts, the team was just seventh in the SEC and No. 47 in the country sacks allowed per game.

Georgia/2016 LT LG C RG RT Total
Starting lineup 6-6, 314 6-2, 285 6-3, 293 6-2, 301 6-6, 325 1,518 pounds

That’s some difference there.  Pittman prefers to work with beef and it’s pretty clear that size was lacking across the middle of the offensive line last season.

Then, there’s the issue of a change in approach.  I don’t want to get too in the weeds about what was different about Georgia’s blocking schemes in 2016 from the previous season, but if you want to get a flavor for that, here’s a nice post outlining the differences between gap, man and zone blocking.

Bottom line, Georgia’s getting the personnel Pittman prefers and should see its linemen buying into his approach over the next two seasons.  I just wonder if Georgia quarterbacks will know how to act if they’re getting consistent pocket protection.

21 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

The return of Evil Richt

In 1972, Hunter S. Thompson set about covering the presidential campaign, paying special attention to the Democratic Party’s George McGoven as he failed to get into office.

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 was serially published by Rolling Stone throughout the year. In one of the articles Thompson makes a poignant comparison to a campaign that happened in Texas in which Lyndon Johnson attempted to create a rumour to denounce his competitor.

It reads: “This is one of the oldest and most effective tricks in politics. Every hack in the business has used it in times of trouble, and it has even been elevated to the level of political mythology in a story about one of Lyndon Johnson’s early campaigns in Texas.

“The race was close and Johnson was getting worried. Finally he told his campaign manager to start a massive rumour campaign about his opponent’s life-long habit of enjoying carnal knowledge of his barnyard sows.

“Christ, we can’t get away with calling him a pig-f****r,” the campaign manager protested. “Nobody’s going to believe a thing like that.”

“I know,” Johnson replied. “But let’s make the sonofab****h deny it.”

I am reminded this morning of Tommy Perkins’ timeless analogy regarding recruiting in the state of Florida:

Miami: From a Bulldog perspective, if you looked at the state of Florida as though it were Afghanistan (and I do), the Gators, obviously, are the Taliban, while Miami is whatever warlord is running things in the Northeast. The Hurricanes don’t occupy anything remotely resembling moral high ground, but they are useful.

Why this morning, you ask?  Welp,

Rumors surfaced Thursday about the Florida football program committing an NCAA recruiting violation.

A source close to the program vehemently dismissed the allegations to SEC Country on Friday. A message board post — which later made the rounds social media — alleged that two UF assistant coaches offered cash to a prospect at Homestead High School. The poster also alleged there’s a video and it was provided to the NCAA.

The program source who spoke with SEC Country said Florida has not offered or recruited anyone from Homestead High School in three years. Florida State’s Ermon Lane, a 5-star prospect in 2014, is the last Homestead player UF recruited, according the source.

SEC Country also learned Friday that verbal commitments for the Gators were contacted by Miami staff members, who asked the recruits if they would reconsider the Hurricanes because of the alleged NCAA violation at Homestead. Members of Florida’s 2017 football recruiting class told SEC Country they received a text message from UF calling the rumors false.[Emphasis added.]

So it turns out Mark Richt is trying to do a solid for both himself and his former employer there, which, of course, is awesome.  I’ve got a feeling it’s gonna get pretty damned ugly in the Sunshine State over the next few days.  Popcorn, anyone?

25 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Recruiting

“Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players.”

Just when you think it can’t get any more hideous

Forget the NCAA.  Somebody needs to go to jail.

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Filed under Baylor Is Sensitive To Women's Issues

Always be ‘crootin’.

Jake Fromm isn’t worried about competing for a job, because he’s got the bigger picture in mind barely two weeks after stepping on campus.

Fromm said he and Eason haven’t discussed the competition to come.

“We haven’t really talked about it, you just kind of know,” Fromm said. “That’s what Coach (Jim) Chaney is doing now – he’s looking for someone to replace me. That’s the way it goes. It’s college football now. You’ve just got to take it one step at a time.”

Don’t worry, Jake.  Whoever that next guy might be, rest assured that a portion of the fan base will be pushing for him to start ahead of you one day based on G-Day QBRs.

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“… dark, cloudy and a lot of uncertainty.”

I’d say pity the poor Rebels, except Hugh Freeze deserves every bit of karma he’s reaping from this.

23 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA

Getting chomped

What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on with Florida recruiting?  The Gators are the two-time defending SEC East champs, operate in the most talent rich state in the country, and yet, at least by their usual standards, are trailing badly in the recruiting races.

Smart and Georgia have the No. 3 recruiting class for 2017, while Florida lags behind at No. 31. A big reason for the disparity in the teams’ recruiting rankings is how the schools have fared with the top talent in their respective states.

Florida and Georgia each produced three 5-star players in the 2017 recruiting cycle. Only Texas and California produced more 5-star recruits…

Of the top 20 recruits in Florida, the Gators have one commitment, while Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, Miami and Auburn all have more. The Gators’ highest-rated commit, Carter, is the No. 14 recruit in the state…

To recap, Georgia has commitments from 12 of the top 20 prospects in its state. Florida has one.

It’s a little ironic to me that McElwain is the first Gator head coach in a while who’s not a dick, but still appears to be having trouble closing the deal with a lot of top-flight recruits.

Even more strangely, there’s a lot of weird chatter out there about the program right now.  Andy Staples takes this question…

How safe is Florida head coach Jim McElwain’s job? If the Gators close with a mediocre recruiting class (they currently rank No. 31 in the country), fail to make significant progress on offense and go 7–6, could McElwain get fired in 2017? Yes, McElwain has won the SEC East in each of his first two years, but how much does that count for given the state of the division?

… and argues that it has a certain credence.  I’d like to believe that it’s nuts for a fan base to put more insistence on recruiting rankings than in division titles, but, after all, this is the SEC we’re talking about, PAWWWLLL.

Meanwhile, there’s a juicy rumor that’s been circulating on more message boards than I can count that a Florida high school has banned a Gator coach from campus and that a recruit has film of that coach offering him money.  The word bullshit comes quickly to mind here, but that wouldn’t stop this kind of stuff from making the rounds on the recruiting trail.  And if it is, then you know McElwain and his staff are having to waste time denying it.  If you’re recruiting against Florida, that’s half the battle won right there.

Now it ain’t close to being over.  As the story linked first notes, there are still plenty of uncommitted top in state recruits out there for Florida to make up significant ground between now and signing day.  But there appears to be a lot of heavy lifting ahead for a program that traditionally isn’t used to that.  Like I said, strange.

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UPDATE:  Bud Elliott has more on the current status of Florida’s recruiting here.

55 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Recruiting

“Commit to the school, not the coach.”

While that may be easier said than done, given this stat, there is a certain wisdom to that approach.

Among 65 Power 5 programs, there are just five schools set to enter the 2017 season with the same coaching staff for the third year in a row. Florida State, Kansas State, Michigan State, Northwestern and Oklahoma State are the only Power 5 programs able to tell recruits this year that their juniors are playing for the same staff they committed to as high school seniors in the 2015 class.

Of course, it’s still early.  You know there’s some jumping to come after signing day.

3 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

Dad, I told you to keep your mouth shut.

Let’s see… since Ken Blankenship’s public eruption about how Kirby’s done his son wrong, Georgia has taken one graduate transfer kicker and now offered another preferred walk-on status.

Georgia’s 2017 class continues to grow. Though it’s not a 4- or 5-star like Bulldog fans might hope for, Kirby Smart reeled in another important commitment on Thursday night, this time from Norcross, Ga. kicker Brooks Buce…

Buce will be joining the Bulldogs as a preferred walk-on, eschewing scholarship offers from Air Force, Army, Navy and Jacksonville State, according to 247Sports.

Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia’s current kicker, had an outstanding freshman season in 2017, but the controversy over his lack of scholarship offer has his future with the team at least somewhat in doubt. Buce could certainly serve as a backup plan should anything further happen with Blankenship, but nonetheless he’ll be a part of the Georgia team next fall and for the foreseeable future.

As responses go, that’s subtle, but effective.  Hopefully, the competition will be good for Rodrigo.  And some advice for Ken — in the immortal words of Omar, you come at the king, you best not miss.

38 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Self-preservation on the recruiting trail

This is why Kirby’s got to make sure those Georgia fences are strong.

13 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

“The point is that recruiting, when done well, is more art than science.”

Mr. Conventional Wisdom’s post on recruiting is every bit the gem you’d expect it to be.

Pay no attention to those number one recruiting classes Nick Saban racks up year after year.  He’s an artist.

6 Comments

Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, Recruiting