Daily Archives: June 5, 2017

One more thing about the newest Gator

This poses the perfect nightmare scenario, if you’re a Georgia fan.

… He does give UF more options under center, though. And with more options, there’s a greater chance that the problems Gators have had at quarterback basically since Tim Tebow left will finally be solved.

One way those options could play in Georgia’s favor is if the Gators are still playing musical chairs at QB by the time the WLOCP is played. If you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks, as the old cliché goes. A Florida offense still trying to find its identity could be red meat for what figures to be a fantastic Bulldogs defense…

You can see it coming a mile away, can’t you?  Zaire doesn’t emerge as Florida’s starting quarterback in August and the Gator offense continues at the same level it’s been at for a while, only to see him kept under wraps during the bye week leading up to the Cocktail Party, when he gets his first start of the season, throws only ten passes, rushes for over 100 yards… yada, yada, yada.

There are times when I really hate college football.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

The SEC — it just means too much.

You know, for a conference that prides itself on being tougher than all the others, there sure is a lot of sanctimonious whining about playing Alabama going on lately.

I guess it’s easier to complain about playing Nick Saban than to advocate a nine-game conference schedule.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Nick Saban Rules

“We’re going to keep the game moving.”

The SEC, all in on keeping the trains running on time.

When it comes to halftime, Shaw said there’s an acknowledgement that there has been too much lollygagging. The concern is that officials have gotten away from starting the 20-minute halftime clock immediately, either because they’re waiting on the coaches’ walk-off interview, or the game manager says they have two bands going, etc. So halftimes have often been stretching to 23 or 24 minutes.

So now after the last play of the half, the referee will make sure there are no flags, no replay review coming, etc.

“And then we’re going to crank the 20-minute [clock],” Shaw said.

When the 20 minutes are up, kickoff will quickly follow. Hopefully within seconds of that 20-minute clock running out.

“I really believe if our officials work well with our TV partners, and we do well with the halftime component, we’ll whittle that down,” Shaw said.

Then there’s first downs, and the clock winding quickly afterwards. Shaw said there will be a re-emphasis on re-starting the clock when the center judge puts the ball down to be snapped. Research showed they had also delayed a bit there.

It’s not just there: Shaw said referees have been told to be “actively consistent” in restarting the game clock after the substitution process.

But only to a certain extent.

So what about the length of commercial breaks, which fans complain about? That’s out of the control of the officials.

If you’ve been to games, you may notice an official in a red hat who signals to the referee when TV has come out of commercial, meaning the game can re-start. The referee cannot simply end the commercial break and re-start the game.

The referee do have the discretion to keep the game going rather than going to a TV timeout, in some cases where flow of the game is important.

“If there’s a momentum play, the referee can look at the red hat and say, no,” Shaw said. “Let’s say you have a punt. The referee gets ready for play, gets his count, and I would always sneak a peak at the red hat and he would say, ‘I want a timeout.’ But we would get a big punt return and I’ll say to him, Nope we’re going, we’re staying.

“But once it goes to TV, our TV liaison has total control.”

Priorities, priorities.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

“I know in our group, the coaches would like a little more of a voice in the rules.”

We learned last week that SEC coaches ain’t happy about that new signing period.  It’s concern for the kids, you know.

The arguments mainly focus on the timing of the early signing period and spring official visits. Multiple SEC coaches pointed out that the early signing period conflicts with recruits who are in the midst of chasing a state championship while studying for final exams.

Bielema said it wasn’t smart to host official visits during the spring of a prospect’s junior year, which is arguably the most important one academically.

Yeah, uh-hunh.  Unfortunately for his worried brethren, Bert gave the game away with this comment:

The only SEC coach to say anything remotely positive about the new recruiting rules was Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema. And his take was about prospects having more leverage with an early signing period since they won’t have to worry about having a scholarship pulled at the last second.

Players’ feature is coaches’ bug.  Go figure.


Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

Going to Zaire

Let’s not forget there’s an immediate beneficiary to the SEC’s new graduate transfer rule.  Former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire is headed to Gainesville.

In some quarters, this is breathlessly hailed, not simply as the key to Florida’s third straight divisional title, but as “that one piece the Gators need to finally settle the Crimson Tide”No, really.

This is the bulk of Zaire’s resume:

Florida is definitely better off having Zaire as an option, but it’s not as though he comes to Florida with a ton of game experience. He began the 2015 season as Notre Dame’s starter, but only for the first two games of the year before going down with a broken ankle. His two starts brought mixed reviews.

He was fantastic against Texas in the season opener, throwing 313 yards and three touchdowns while completing 86 percent of his passes in a 38-3 Irish win. The next week at Virginia wasn’t as kind, as he completed 39 percent of his passes for 115 yards and a score while also rushing for 87 yards before going down with the ankle injury.

He served as a backup behind eventual second-round pick Deshone Kizer in 2016, appearing in eight games and completing 11 of his 23 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown.

All in all, Zaire has only thrown 98 passes in his college career, completing 58 of them (59.2 percent) for 816 yards and six touchdowns. To his credit, none of those 98 passes has ever been intercepted.

He was spectacular in that Texas game, no doubt, finishing with a passer rating over 250.  It was all downhill from there, though, as he only threw one more pass in all of 2016 than he did against the Longhorns, on his way to posting a 106.73 passer rating as the back up.

He does bring something to the position that Florida’s lacked under McElwain:  mobility.

There’s a real chicken-and-egg aspect to that, though.  Have the Gators not used the quarterback as a runner because they haven’t had a mobile quarterback, or is the Florida offense not structured to take advantage of having a mobile quarterback?

Either way, if Zaire is supposed to usher in a new era, there isn’t a lot of time to restructure the offense to tailor it to his strengths, or, alternatively, for Zaire to learn Nussmeier’s system.  None of which is to say it’s not useful to sign an experienced quarterback.  Before Zaire’s arrival, Florida was looking at a choice of Luke Del Rio, himself a transfer, recovering from an injury that caused him to miss half the regular season, and redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks, who had a nice spring game, and… did I mention he had a nice spring game?

So, while it’s not hard to see why they’re happy to have him, it feels like something of a leap to proclaim Zaire as some sort of final piece in Florida’s SEC puzzle.  Of course, if you’re a Georgia fan, all you care about is if Zaire brings enough to the table to allow Florida to maintain its East streak.  As to that, who knows — he just very well might.


Filed under Gators, Gators...

The SEC, where academics just mean more

In fact, so much more that the conference keeps changing the standards for the graduate transfer rule.

The biggest topic of the week was the league’s stringent graduate transfer rule that prevents schools that have previously taken graduate transfers who did not meet eligibility expectations at the end of each term from accepting more graduate transfers for a period of three years.

Legislation approved Friday by the presidents and chancellor reduced that period to a year, which clears the way for Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire to immediately join Florida’s team as a graduate transfer.

“We (the SEC) are the unique as it relates to having requirements around our graduate transfers,” Sankey said. “It’s been a maturation process. We started at five years, then to three years and now to one year.”

You can almost sense his chest swelled with pride as he delivered that.

Meanwhile, the league’s coaches are extraordinarily concerned about the academics of their member institutions.

The presidents and chancellors took no action on changing the rule that requires a waiver from the commissioner on intraconference transfers. The league’s football and basketball coaches wanted a rule to disallow such transfers with no waiver available.

Obviously, the lesson to be taken from the Maurice Smith situation is that a player transfer from one SEC program to another is disastrous for the player.  I mean, there couldn’t be any other motivation for the coaches’ stand, could there?

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Filed under Academics? Academics., It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, SEC Football

Help a Jacket out, man.

Newly minted Georgia Tech grad student needs to know something:

– Why exactly should I hate Georgia? With the MSU/UM rivalry, I am fully accustomed to the whole in state ‘little brother’ thing and all that it entails, so save your breath there. My guess is that there is another reason besides just historically being on the wrong side of the rivalry more often than not (For example, UM tried to stunt the growth of MSU as an academic institution when it was starting up, and did the best it could to prevent MSU from joining the Big Ten, which is kinda all you need to know about the general attitude of the Michigan fanbase as that has translated to massive arrogance over the years).

– Any other schools I should learn to hate? From an outsider’s perspective, I’m not aware of any major rivalries for GT outside of UGA.

I can’t wait ’til somebody explains Dragon*Con to him.


Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football

If you can’t beat him, change the rules?

al.com argues this year’s SEC spring meetings were All About Saban.

The SEC spring meetings have started to feel like an annual conference at the beach where coaches talk about how to keep Alabama from killing everyone on the football field. What rules can be put in place to cap Alabama’s spending? How can schedules be tweaked to make life easier for everyone else?

Nick Saban is in favor of fewer rules. Others want more rules. For example, the latest rule that discourages SEC football teams from hiring a high school coach as a support staffer. If a team hires a high school coach, then that team can’t recruit that high school for two years.

The rule sounds very well intentioned, of course. SEC teams with tons of money shouldn’t be able to hire a high school coach just to land a prospect from that coaches team. In reality, it sounds like just another rule to keep Alabama in check.

It’s a nice theory, except for one thing.  That’s a NCAA rule.


Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, Nick Saban Rules, SEC Football