… was convincing Notre Dame to pony up an almost $19 million buyout of Charlie Weis’ contract.
Daily Archives: May 15, 2017
Give Kevin Sumlin credit for stating the obvious:
One positive from an early signing date is that coaches will know who’s serious, who isn’t and who just isn’t ready. Kevin Sumlin sees the early date working because it will give coaching staffs a better perspective about how kids are really feeling. “If I guy doesn’t sign in December, he’s not committed. He has a reservation.”
You could say the same thing about coaches, too.
On both a personal level for the kid as well as what it means for the team, if you can’t get excited about the Trent Thompson news, I’m not sure what you’re doing here.
I’ve already mentioned the staff turnover at Notre Dame. When Georgia rolls into South Bend, the Irish will be playing for new coordinators on both sides of the ball. In theory, that should put Brian Kelly a step behind Kirby Smart.
Maybe so, but in terms of the players on the field, Notre Dame will be anything but inexperienced. In fact, Ian Boyd sets up what should be a fascinating match up between Notre Dame’s offense and Georgia’s defense.
I’ve broken down the basics of the Long RPO attack before. The biggest bonus of this attack is the way it will create opportunities for the Irish to fully leverage their absurd collection of talent on offense. For whatever reason, Notre Dame has two offensive linemen who were eligible for the 2017 NFL draft but stayed in school. Now the Irish return a left side of Mike McGlinchey (a 6’8, 310-pound, fifth-year tackle) and Quenton Nelson (a 6’5, 325-pound fourth-year guard).
In fact, the Irish figure to return four starters from a year ago across the line, along with top wideout Equanimeous St. Brown and starting RB Josh Adams. So as far as skill, talent and blocking, they can check off the RPO offense requirements of being able to beat man coverage and run on an honest front.
Doesn’t that sound familiar. Georgia brings back every starter from last year’s defense, except for Maurice Smith, so you’re looking at two very experienced and talented groups facing off against each other.
The big questions may turn out to be whether Kelly’s new quarterback is ready to roll against that defense and how well Georgia’s staff prepares for what Chip Long will throw at them. I bet you’ve got some staffers deep in the bowels of Butts-Mehre breaking down every inch of tape on Memphis’ offense last year as you read this.
I don’t follow Wisconsin recruiting, of course, so it’s interesting to see what utter nonsense the program’s decision to revoke its offer to Ben Bryant is, based on its recent track record.
Yes, the contact, offer and tweet could have been contributing factors, but if those were the reasons, the Badgers are hypocrites. A player being committed to another school hasn’t stopped Wisconsin from going after them, most recently offering defensive tackle Apu Ika (Salt Lake City), who has been committed to BYU since last summer. And the tweet thing? Doesn’t hold water, either. Safety Reggie Pearson (River Rouge, Mich.) committed to the Badgers in August 2016, and a week later tweeted an offer he received from Arkansas. He remains a member of Wisconsin’s Class of 2018.
The author goes on to surmise that the real impetus behind the revocation was that Bryant no longer fit into Wisconsin’s plans, a conclusion that doesn’t require a huge leap in logic to make, and then adds this observation:
No matter what, this is an unfortunate black eye for Wisconsin. Pulling a scholarship is a rarity for the Badgers. The program, especially under former coach Bret Bielema and current coach Paul Chryst, has carried itself as being somehow morally superior when it comes to recruiting. Bielema once famously called out Ohio State coach Urban Meyer for “illegal” recruiting tactics, and saying, “We at the Big Ten don’t want to be like the SEC in any way, shape or form.” Bielema was in the SEC less than a year later, but his point stands. Wisconsin has recruited the right way.
This latest move, though, suggests the Badgers may not be holding that moral high ground any longer.
A message that will no doubt be reinforced on the recruiting trail.
So, I see checking in this morning, that someone in the comments has lobbed an accusation my way that I “salivate every time you can find a negative article” about Kirby Smart. There’s also something about taking glee in 2016’s 8-5 record.
I don’t want to post a rebuttal here, something I could have done in a direct response in the comments, but rather would like to use that as a starting point to a larger discussion about what’s the realistic take on where the program and the head coach stand after Smart’s initial season.
From my selfish standpoint, I don’t think there’s any other way to describe the 2016 season than to call it disappointing. I say that mindful of the obvious shortcomings the program was burdened with going into the year, such as a rookie head coach, a flawed offensive line and a true freshman starting quarterback. For me, the biggest frustration was the lack of progress I saw over the final quarter of the regular season.
Combine that with a certain attitude — call it arrogance, call it cocksureness, call it whatever you like — that seemed to have been imported from Smart’s run at Alabama, but was out of place for a new regime that had yet to prove anything and never was justified by the results on the field last season, and it’s hard to swallow a nothing but blue skies ahead, sunny approach to blogging about the program on mere faith.
That isn’t close to saying Smart’s already proven himself to be an abject failure, though. He’s no dummy and he learned from the best in Nick Saban. He’s an excellent and tireless recruiter, which is something you have to be if you want your program to join the ranks of the college football elite. Also, while he drove me to the depths of despair with the way he managed certain games last year, there’s also the positive way he directed the team to wins against North Carolina and Auburn that I take into account in evaluating his first year.
The talent base is clearly on the rise, as a result of the flushing of the disaster of 2013’s signing class and the solid to excellent classes Smart signed in 2016 and 2017. I’m also a believer in learning curve improvements in a staff’s second season (hell, if it worked for Todd Grantham, it’ll work for Kirby Smart). The 2017 schedule works in Georgia’s favor, too.
All of that adds up to a sense of optimism on my part about Smart’s chances this season to be coaching once again on the sidelines of the SECCG. Honesty compels me to admit, though, that my optimism is a bit shaky, because Smart’s resume is thin and because (let’s face it) we’re Georgia. That’s not to say we’re not due, but given recent history, I’m gonna need a little real world reinforcement before I happily jump off the cliff.
If that’s salivating, can somebody pass me a towel so I can wipe the drool off my chin?