Again, with the Saban comparison?

Andy Staples offers a straw for you to clutch tightly going into the offseason.

While the state of Georgia led the nation in draftees produced, the University of Georgia had only one player drafted (receiver Isaiah McKenzie, who grew up in Florida). There, Kirby Smart, is your mandate. Given the sheer volume of talent pumped out in America’s eighth-largest state—the Peach State produced 15 draftees in ’16, 30 in ’15 and 25 in ’14—the most popular college football program in the state should be able to produce the same kind of draft classes as Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State on a consistent basis. If that happens, it also would coincide with at least a few SEC East titles and opens up the possibility of SEC titles and playoff berths. This is why Georgia replaced Mark Richt with Smart, and it will be up to Smart to cultivate his (extremely fertile) recruiting grounds. If he does, West Georgia will never again have more players chosen than Georgia in one draft.

If Smart needs any inspiration, he can think back to his time with Nick Saban at Alabama. That staff’s first season was ’07. In the ’08 NFL draft, teams selected zero Crimson Tide players. They’ve taken 65 since then.

Ah, there we go again with Alabama’s infamous 2007 season.  The comparisons are seemingly endless.  So, if history doesn’t repeat itself, whom should we point the finger at?

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36 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules

36 responses to “Again, with the Saban comparison?

  1. D.N. Nation

    2007 Bama had eventual national champ LSU dead and buried before the Tigers pulled out a win via Les Miles Nonsense®. They also took eventual 11-win UGA to OT.

    ULaLa was a real doofus loss and they finished the year poorly when some upperclassmen quit on the team, but you could tell that Bama was going to get good fast if you looked hard enough.

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  2. 'Ol Gill

    Recruiting this cycle has me extremely worried. That was the one positive thing about Kirboprocess so far. This year it’s off track. I know it’s too early to get panicked about a class but at the same time, unless he gets some significant flips, the “put a fence around Georgia” mantra is gone for the year.

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  3. Minnesota Dawg

    “Given the sheer volume of talent pumped out in America’s eighth-largest state—the Peach State produced 15 draftees in ’16, 30 in ’15 and 25 in ’14—the most popular college football program in the state should be able to produce the same kind of draft classes as Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State on a consistent basis. If that happens…”

    If, if, if… Anyone following recruiting for the 2018 class? The schools where the highest ranked Georgia HS players are committing? Not UGA. It’s not happening for Kirby right now on the recruiting trail. And for a guy who has based his plan for success on talent over scheme, “closing the borders” and getting Georgia kids buy in to what he is selling…this is trouble. Win big in 2017 and all will be right? Perhaps, but that’s a ton of future importance on a single season in which the team still has lots of question marks.

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  4. Cojones

    Why did the players attend W.Ga. instead of UGA or another major school? Those players weren’t lost, just were not recruited to the top five conferences because their credentials didn’t match athletically and they developed later. Or did I miss something?

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    • The Dawg abides

      One player, Dylan Donahue, is from Billings, Montana. Pretty sure we don’t recruit that state very hard. According to Andy Staples, nobody’s even heard of UGA in Montana. The other West Georgia player selected was Alex Armah. He played DE and TE, but was drafted as a FB by the Panthers in the 6th round. He was not ranked in the Georgia top 250 as a senior at Dacula in 2013. He did make the Gwinnett Daily Post’s all-area 3rd team as a TE though.

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      • That was Stewart Mandel. Staples has a pretty healthy respect for the UGA program considering he a former UF player.

        He has routinely said that the UGA job should be the #1 college coaching job in the country.

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  5. Got Cowdog

    The AD and the BM crowd? We could point the finger at them, I suppose. They certainly have been vilified for other issues. I don’t know what they have to do with recruiting, though.
    You could make the argument that if Richt couldn’t do it, and Smart can’t do it, then the issue must be somewhere else. But where? and outside of a few bright spots, who else has at Georgia? To hear that West Georgia has more players in the draft ought to be embarrassing to someone, even though we had a few guys stick around that could have gone. It also makes me feel justified when I said this year’s 8-5 would likely have happened no matter which staff was running the program. If we go 10 and 3 this year, it will be an improvement right? What if those three are UT, UF, and AU?
    My favorite era at UGA was 2001-2005, Greene was the quarterback, then DJ. They did not win every game, but they seemed to be in every one. I felt as a fan they could play with anyone, and If they lost it wasn’t because they weren’t well coached or weren’t motivated. I miss that attitude from the team. Not swagger, just confidence, and they were well led (CMR) during that period. I wonder what happened.

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    • The 2008 blackout game happened. Neither program has been the same since.

      Go back and watch that game. Watch how Alabama dominated on the LOS. Watch how well scouted we were on offense and how we could not get a first down in that first half.

      Everything UGA had done since then has been playing catch up.

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      • Got Cowdog

        I saw it the first time, no need to put myself through that again. Kind of seemed like Coach Saban had a little chip on his shoulder about the 07 overtime win, didn’t it?

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        • Mayor

          I think Coach Saban had a chip on his shoulder about the blackout business. Insulted probably.

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        • Got Cowdog

          Yeah, I remember. Georgia was preseason #1, Alabama #25. We beat up on a bunch of patsies the first few games, riding high on emotion, talking shit, and BLACKING OUT THE STADIUM! Gonna Whoop some Bama ass!
          Talk about an ass whooping, we’re still scared to wear black to the stadium. Remember what Saban said about the blackout before the game? “Mother%^*%$#@ Funeral” I believe it was.

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      • 'Ol Gill

        Meh, you could take any game and ruminate upon it. I thought the 2007 Florida game would transition to a NC game and Richt being a legend. Didn’t happen. Look at how many times we’ve skunked Auburn when they thought victory was sure. Nothing happened. One game only creates a legacy in retrospect. Britney Spears and Mike Patrick should have tought you that.

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        • Got Cowdog

          You are correct on that OG, We tend to have Auburn’s number, but isn’t the series record about even? Prettty sure Karma is on our side in that one anyway. And I would agree 100% if it were only one game, but it isn’t.
          Did Britney Spears play football? Who is Mike Patrick?

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        • If you don’t think that game was a turning point for both programs, then I can’t help ya.

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          • 'Ol Gill

            Nah, it wasn’t. Do you think if we had beat Bama or even beat them by 28 that things would be different? One game is an aberration. If you want to use it as an example of why the process is so much better, fine. But if we had destroyed Bama they would probably still have had multiple titles. If we had won the 2012 SEC Title and the NC, Saban would have multiple titles and we would have one under Richt. If we had beaten Florida and then Miami in 2002 combined with 2012 Richt would have two titles and Saban would still have more.

            I hate to sound like an endorsement of Saban because I hate what he is. I’m just saying one game doesn’t change shit. Gettysburg didn’t lose the war for the south, nor did Vicksburg. Almost any battle before or after could have made the difference. Turning points are for popular history. Real historians use long-term trends combined with these big events.

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  6. Cojones

    Maybe the problem this year is the UGA record and play from last year? Last season was a negative recruit upon ourselves and it takes no effort for others to mention it to the recruits because the recruits saw the games coached and can think for themselves. Exactly how does this fit into an acceptance philosophy for the fans in assessing a “throwaway” year that’s been partially blamed on the recruiting of a coach who, thus far, has the #1 class for this year while we have one three-star recruit? Looks like the recruits have been keeping tabs to me and the appeal of CMR has “devolved” south although I’m sure that someone will pin our current lack of success in recruiting on the straw man pinata currently constructed to salve our fee-fees for this coaching staff.

    Put that in your “throwaway year” pipe and smoke it.

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    • Got Cowdog

      That is my point and my question. What the hell happened? Not blaming Richt but not apologizing for him either. CMR has the current #1 recruiting class for 2018? Not snarky, just didn’t know. How many are from Georgia? Why didn’t he do that here, or maybe why couldn’t he?
      If Smart doesn’t get it done, why? What is wrong with his program?
      ” Throwaway” Season my ass. What we saw was the result of poor roster management and musical coordinators. There is no doubt in my mind that Smart did the best he could with what he had to work with, and that does not give me the warm fuzzies. Not on the available talent nor what was done with it. Blah. Kool aid tastes like 10 and 3 today, and still dissatisfying.

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      • Mayor

        Gotta disagree GC. In 2016 Kirby tried to play smash mouth football with a finesse OL. Georgia lost at least 2 games as a direct result of that and got blown out by Ole Piss and to a lessor extent by FU for the same reason. If playing that style of football is what Kirby wants going forward and he was just trying to change the culture in Athens I can accept that. My view is a little different, though. I think it is the HC’s job to win games maximizing the abilities of the talent he has.

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  7. Bill Glennon

    “Put that in your “throwaway year” pipe and smoke it.”

    The RA just called 9-1-1. Probable cause to search your domicile has been established.

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    • Hillbilly Dawg

      Do you really think we can go 9-1-1 this year? I was really hoping for a 9-3 season but maybe we can get the NC A/A to let us call the Barn game a tie.
      set sarcasm meter

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  8. DawgPhan

    I know everyone is concerned about the 2018 class. I am not super concerned about it yet, because Smart did just pull in a very good class. He can’t of forgotten how to recruit so they must have a load of silent commits, which might be a dangerous game to play if the season doesnt work out.

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    • Bud Elliott is obviously pretty well-connected on the recruiting front, but this just seems like common sense at this point.

      What Georgia is entering, though, is its “prove it” year. Georgia was more talented than most rosters who gain a new head coach. This has created an expedited timetable. While most coaches might not be expected to show real results on the field until Year 3, Kirby Smart’s UGA program must show a jump in play in Year 2. If Georgia does take a step forward and establish itself as the top dog in the SEC East, expect recruiting to tick up again.

      This really is the “show me” year for Kirby and company. The recruiting was a known quantity, but it’s going to have to translate to results to keep that up. You can only sell the need of immediate help for a couple of recruiting cycles.

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      • Cojones

        2018 is supposed to be a talent-laden year in HS as well as 2019. The “show me” for the fans is the next recruiting class because we are looking at a loss upwards of 17 players to the NFL next year. Good players. If we don’t get their replacements this next class, think how that will impact both team play and recruiting in the near future. All I see thus far is coaches trying to flip players already committed, waiting thru the days to hear another HS athlete in Ga say he is going elsewhere, extending many 3-star offers due to the dearth of 5, 4-star Ga players interested, players visiting often, but not committing… and on and on. No leader among recruits (as LeCount was last year) also hurts.

        All the excuses for firing a successful coach that had a sizable class for the next year already committed has had a resultant, I fear. An experienced 10-year SEC coach, who could make recruits believe, was axed in favor of having an alum coach favored by the GOBs because he was the underling to a very successful coach; all because the GOBs want a copy of a natural rival’s team instead of having our own brand of football. It’s ironic that the very coach some want to emulate asked questions about a coach’s firing; a coach whose team he last met who nearly ended his team’s shot at the NC with a final fierce and aggressive set of plays.

        “We want more success, fuck school loyalty ” has been the GOB’s watchwords above the innate pride of our ageless program in a pell-mell pursuit to emulate another SEC program. Well, we are here now and beginning to pat our foot while waiting for the excuses to end and this year’s recruiting to begin. And it isn’t a good place to be.

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        • dawgman3000

          We’ve listened to excuse after excuse for 10 freaking years and now everyone is up in arms after a subpar season with a rookie coach with a o-line that couldn’t bust a grape without straining to do it. Can you at least let them play a game in year 2 before you grab the pitchfork?

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  9. Kirby, you heard it from your team’s uniform sponsor. “Just Do It”.

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  10. thejet

    Andy Staples beat me to the punch. Makes you feel pretty good about Kirby, and explains why we went 8-5, and why we should do better this year. All aboard the Kirby=Saban meme.

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  11. Macallanlover

    Sigh, another article about the talent in GA HS football. No thought given to the limitations we can sign, or the number of top level predators as close, or closer, to Athens, or the fact you may choose the wrong guy, or they get injured, or any other number of events that could happen. I really don’t know another state where the talent has so many options. Yes, we are fortunate to have a lot of people in HS who are really good good prospects, but we are cursed to have 7-8 quality programs with a few short hours drive of much of our state. And this one draft wasn’t indicative of our norm. Folks should look at more than the headlines when drawing conclusions. This is a tired debate, and Georgia is like the 4th or 5th highest producing state, I think.

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    • thejet

      Mac, yes sir ree. Recruiting ain’t never been no problem for UGA. Been top10 forever. My thang is, can you coach up anybody? that remains to be seen, first year returns didn’t give much hope that this staff can do anything more than recruit, but like Andy says, roll off 3 or 4 top 5 recruiting seasons, and a natl trophy is inevitable. Ask Les Miles or USC or Oklahoma about that.

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  12. W Cobb Dawg

    We will certainly have more players drafted next year. I can rattle them off: Chubb, Michel, Carter, Sanders, Bellamy. Perhaps Thompson, Roquan, and Patrick too.

    But the comparison to ’07 bama is a reach. Sabah had a decent staff. Kirby’s surrounded himself with lifetime mediocre assistants. Chaney & Pittman worked under SOD at ut. Coley under Golden at Miami. They’ve all bounced around like beach balls at a minor league game. Show me anybody on this staff that has a future as a head coach. That’s where our weakness lies.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Can you at least let them play a game in year 2 before you grab the pitchfork? Well, we are here now and beginning to pat our foot while waiting for the excuses to end and this year’s recruiting to begin.

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