The fine line between competition and a short leash

Rex Robinson makes a good point here:

“Once they choose a guy, he needs to be the guy,” Robinson told me. “You don’t want to go back and forth. You don’t want to do that at any position, particularly at quarterback and kicker. You don’t want that in the back of his mind: ‘Hey, if I miss a kick I might get pulled, or if I throw an interception I might get pulled.’ They need to have confidence that they’re going to be the guy. However that plays out, whoever wins the job, I hope they stick with them for a while.”

The trick is finding the sweet spot of keeping a player properly motivated to perform his best while not promoting the mind set of having someone constantly looking over his shoulder.  An even bigger trick is having to recognize that every player has a different sweet spot.

Chip Towers goes on to doubt that Robinson’s advice will be heeded by the coaching staff.

That’s good in theory for sure, but it’s doubtful that’s the way Smart and company will handle it. That certainly hasn’t been this staff’s M.O. so far. I’m sure Blankenship’s job is going to be only as secure as his last game performance.

Now, if it turns out that’s the best way to motivate Rodrigo, all well and good.  (It certainly is similar to the way the place kicking job was managed early last season.)  Nobody would argue that honest competition shouldn’t bring out the best in competitors. It just seems to me that if you want your players playing fast and not overthinking their roles, you have to know how far you can push them.

21 Comments

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21 responses to “The fine line between competition and a short leash

  1. HVL Dawg

    Y’all are incredible.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Greg

    Heard Sheridan say that the dawgs could only have 7 wins this year…probably did not know we have settled on a FG kicker at the time 😏…gotta love it:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.saturdaydownsouth.com/georgia-football/college-football-analyst-danny-sheridan-doesnt-like-georgias-chances-year/amp/

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  3. kfoge

    Reading Danny Sheridan’s name in your reply triggered some childhood memories. He’s been around so long. I am 45yrs old but remember riding with my dad (parents divorced when I was 7) on weekends listening to Leonard’s Losers on the radio…..”Leonard’s Loser in a nail biter—XXX team”…… funny how seeing Sheridan’s name took me back to those memories.

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  4. Russ

    As for Rodrigo, he’ll be fine if Kirby and Dad quit messing with him. Once he was named the guy, he did really well, especially considering he was a freshman.

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  5. St. Johns Dawg

    Competition should breed excellence. Don’t want to get benched? Make every kick … simple.

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  6. Robinson’s comments sound like what would come from a fan more than from a coach. Sure, you don’t want to make it head games but “just pick someone and stick with him”? Geez! Uuga Booga…head coach need fire! Not soft!

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  7. CPark58

    “That’s good in theory for sure, but it’s doubtful that’s the way Smart and company will handle it. That certainly hasn’t been this staff’s M.O. so far. I’m sure Blankenship’s job is going to be only as secure as his last game performance.”

    Was it really their M.O.? Jacob Eason played almost every snap after UNC even though a more experienced, known entity was waiting behind him. William Hamm was given 3 games to shake the yips before they were forced to make a change and despite all the talk, the job pretty much stayed Rodrigo’s.

    Perception is reality though I guess, if HotRod thinks he’s going to get yanked for missing a kick, whether that’s the case or not, it is going to have the same effect mentally.

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    • Irwin R. Fletcher

      This is exactly what I was going to write. They stuck with Ham until he literally couldn’t kick the ball straight.

      Towers is such a hack.

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  8. 69Dawg

    Kickers need to have some stress. George O’Leary at the Atlanta Touchdown Club was asked why he had taken over coaching the kickers. He said because he hated it when a game played by men was won or lost by some guy who weighed 150 pounds. He said he made the kicker kick a 35 year field goal at the end of every practice, if he makes it we end practice but if he misses it the whole team runs wind sprints. Everybody laughed and O’Leary said he only missed one time then he never missed again. If the kicker can’t take the stress he shouldn’t be a kicker.

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    • Greg

      Need more Tom Dempseys of the world….players are getting soft.

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    • Uglydawg

      Still say they should change the rules so that the longer the field goal, the fewer the points. Reward a team that can drive it deeper. Don’t reward the team that goes to Australia and signs a kid who can kick it 70 yards but doesn’t know a first down from a home run.
      Give it some thought before you say I’m crazy (we’ve been down this road before and I know what’s coming, I’m crazy)
      But really think on it. Why reward a team that can’t drive the ball with the same points a team gets from driving it to the 8? This would be CMR’s worst nightmare, however. Talking LOS, here. for instance, 4 points from inside the 15, 3 points from 15 to the 30 , 2 points from athe 30 to 40, one point outside of that.
      I’ll tell you what would happen..you would see more fake FG; plays ran, you would see more straight up gambles on fourth and long and almost all fourth and short plays would not become fgs.
      Plus it would shorten the game.
      And Urban Meyers could use his time outs for something better than to ice a kid on a long kick.
      And while we’re at it, get rid of field goals completely in OT…and you have to go for two on TDs in OT.
      I think it will happen someday If so, remember the crazy guy that thought it up.
      (Blutarsky is probably going to reprimand me for harping on this 🙂 )

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  9. Uglydawg

    Rex forgot to tell Steve Spurrier, “that won’t work”.

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  10. Brandon

    Last year? If I remember correctly, Hot Rod didn’t get his first shot at a FG until Tennessee. Kirby stuck with Ham WAY too long considering we all held our breaths on every PAT the kid tried to kick. If that’s the plan for this year, I’d say Specs has plenty of room for error.

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  11. W Cobb Dawg

    Um, with Manac moving on there is a scholly open. Ken Blankenship on line 1, Kirby.

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