Daily Archives: April 4, 2017

A different kind of “going pro” story

Former Oklahoma cheerleader gets busted on prostitution charges.  I don’t know which part of the story is better, that her mom is the Sooners cheerleading coach, or that her pimp — okay, alleged pimp — played football for Oklahoma for a season.

Should make the family’s next Thanksgiving dinner a fun get-together.

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21 Comments

Filed under Big 12 Football, Crime and Punishment

The red zone is the dead zone.

Seth Emerson returns to a subject we’ve harped on plenty here since the end of the last regular season, Georgia’s ineffective play on both sides of the ball when it’s inside the 20-yard line.

… The 20 yards beyond the end zone were calamitous for Georgia in general last year.

On defense, it was probably what kept a good unit from being great: Georgia ranked 114th nationally, and second-worst in the SEC, in red zone defense. It allowed opponents to score 90.7 percent of the time it got inside the 20, and to score touchdowns 74.4 percent of the time.

That was a major step backwards from 2015, when Georgia ranked third-best nationally in red zone defense. Opponents only scored 67.6 percent of the time inside the 20, and the touchdown rate was 50 percent.

“We work on that a little bit more, so we can perfect that, have a little better percentage next season,” Baker said.

On offense, Georgia’s red zone problem last year was just another problem area: The Bulldogs scored at least three points on 84.4 percent of trips there, which ranked 64th nationally. But it only managed a touchdown 55.6 percent of the time, which ranked 100th nationally.

If there’s a difference in the two, it’s that I would say the offensive red zone woes were more an extension of the general inefficiency we saw last season, whereas the defense played well outside of that area.  Or, as Emerson puts it,

The offensive problems are easier to diagnose, because they’re symptomatic of what went wrong in general. Problems with blocking, by the line and on the perimeter. Play-calling that was too predictable at times. A freshman quarterback slowed down the offense, stalling momentum when drives got closer to the end zone….

Smart is correct about the team being “horrible” in the red zone offensively. But it was only part of the problem: Georgia had 45 red-zone offensive trips last year, but that only ranked 79th nationally. The Bulldogs got touchdowns on 25 of those trips. If they had penetrated the end zone 10 more times, then the 35 touchdowns still only would have ranked 39th nationally. Good, but not great.

The defense, on the other hand, can almost single-handedly point at red zone problems. Georgia’s opponents only had 43 such trips, tied for 37th nationally, but the success rate (39 times getting at least a field goal, and 32 touchdowns) is startling.

So, you can argue that if the staff can address the offense’s general problems, that should lead to more red zone success.  On defense, though, it’s a little trickier.  Davin Bellamy thinks “it’s all about attitude”.  He’s referring to himself and his teammates there, but as I once speculated, I wonder if it’s more about coaching priorities.  If I’m right, there’s a lot of factors in play that would have to be addressed.

I joke about the Auburn game that the key to keeping Auburn from scoring regularly from the red zone was to keep Malzahn’s offense out of the red zone, but that’s actually how things played out in Georgia’s most impressive defensive effort of the year.

The trick to that, though, isn’t simple or one-sided.  You have to think turnover margin and field position play major roles in aiding a defense in keeping opponents from crossing its twenty.  So does stopping teams on third downs, though.  All of which has been a mixed bag for Georgia over the past few seasons.

All I’m saying here is, if indeed this is something that matters to Smart — and his track record at Alabama would indicate that it does — there’s a lot of work across the board left to be done.

Starting this spring.

26 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

You know it’s gonna be a long spring when…

I was mocking the notion in my header yesterday, but seriously, are we really about to go down the road of making Eason sux a preseason narrative, ESPN?

Let me just add that if you want to start throwing shade about a premier talent not living up to the hype, perhaps it would be better to throw it in another direction, like this one:

Maybe Fromm does beat out Eason next season, but it won’t be before games are played. It is Eason’s job to lose more than Fromm’s to win. For Eason to lose it, he will have to put in some bad performances next season and lose some football games because of it. And that will mean Smart and Jim Chaney will have probably squandered one of the best QB talents to come to Athens in decades. Which also means you should not trust them to develop Fromm into a top-level quarterback.

42 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Friday night fights

To tell you the truth, I’m surprised there are issues to which Jim Delany will take no for an answer.  At least for now, anyway.

3 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football

Don’t rock the boat.

Florida wants former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire as a graduate transfer for the 2017 season.  Zaire, by some accounts, has reciprocal interest.  There’s only one little problem holding the two back from tying the knot.

The SEC requires graduate transfers to hit certain academic benchmarks after they transfer, or the school is penalized by not being allowed to sign such players for three years. Florida is unable to take on new grad transfers because offensive lineman Mason Halter and linebacker Anthony Harrell did not meet the requirements after transferring in 2015.

This, you may recall, is the issue currently in front of Georgia with regard to Maurice Smith’s hope to play NFL ball and the effect it would have on Georgia potentially facing a similar penalty.  And therein lies the rub as to how SEC athletic departments think.  Whereas Georgia is merely hoping for an individual waiver in Smith’s case, Florida has bigger fish in mind.

Florida coach Jim McElwain told GatorBait.net that he hopes the rule will change and that he believes the SEC will re-examine the rule at its spring meeting.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey says the rule was created to make sure schools didn’t stockpile player, without accountability.

“We put originally a five-year prohibition on taking more grad transfers because we wanted that accountability to be meaningful,” Sankey said. “We’ve moved that to three, and actually in our office we had a number of conversations observing, first of all, no one else has that kind of accountability in their own system.

“We don’t want to be overly punitive in how we create that kind of accountability.”

Some of that you can say is due to which side of the divide the two programs currently find themselves on this, but if Florida is successful in lobbying the conference to change what is certainly a rule that overreaches, it’s just another reminder of which athletic department remains among the SEC’s most passive.

6 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, SEC Football

Updating the 2017 depth chart

Dawgs247 takes a crack at revision after watching a week’s worth of practice.  Yeah, it’s presented in slideshow format, but it’s not like you’ve got anything better to do in early April.

If you don’t want to go through the tiresome exercise, allow me to provide a few highlights.

  • In a shocking upset, Jacob Eason is still listed at first-string quarterback.  (I keed, I keed.)
  • Running back depth appears ridiculous… until you think about the injury history at the position Georgia’s been plagued with over the past few seasons.
  • Tight end depth may be even more ridiculous.  Of course, we all know what that usually is worth.
  • Holloman must really be impressing observers, as he’s now listed as the first team split end, along with Ridley.
  • There appears to be a lot of depth on the d-line, too.
  • You can see the restocking going on in the secondary, as the majority of backups are freshmen.

8 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Today, in amateurism = socialism

Here’s what should be a clarifying pair of tweets for some of you to ponder.

Or, to translate into the original Marx, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”.

Can you imagine anywhere else in the private sector where an employer making hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars a year could get away with telling staff in one money-making department it wasn’t going to get paid so that another money-losing department could be propped up?  And before you go down the “but, Title IX” road here, remember where that mandate originates.

Yet somehow I’m the Alinsky lefty in this debate.  Okay, fine.

67 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA