Daily Archives: October 24, 2017

Run the damned ball, Nussmeier.

As entertaining as it is to speculate about Florida hurting the Dawgs with the deep ball, history says if the Gators are going to win Saturday, they’ll have to outgain Georgia on the ground.  Ian Boyd explores what that might entail.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Why I love Aaron Murray.

This is perfect.

Murray won three straight games from 2011-2013 against the Gators.

“It should have been 4-0,” he said.

Georgia lost the 2010 game 34-31 in overtime when Murray was a redshirt freshman.

He’s the only Georgia quarterback since the Spurrier era got underway at Florida with a winning record at the Cocktail Party.  And he’s not satisfied.

How much of Georgia’s resurgence after the bottoming out in 2009 was due to Richt’s regrouping and how much to Gurley’s and Murrey’s will to win?

This is pretty great, as well.

“Warm-ups you can tell a little bit but then when the game starts and you run out of the tunnel and you get going for the coin toss and you look around and you’re like, ‘Oh, my God, this is incredible,” he said.

“I’m mad that I can’t go the game. I’ve never been able to go to the game as a fan and experience it.”

DGD.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Threatening threats

You may have heard about Jim McElwain’s surprising disclosure at yesterday’s presser.

… McElwain was asked a follow-up about coaches deserving credit for dealing with those same obstacles. He surprised reporters and others when he noted – unprompted – that players and families have received threats.

“Credit in this business is internal, it’s never external. I think … it’s … you know a good lesson for the way things are,” McElwain said. “There’s a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger and yet it’s freedom to show it. The hard part is obviously when the threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there, and yet I think it’s really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what’s going on out there nationally. A lot of angry people. In in this business we’re the ones they take the shots at and that’s the way it is.”

On three follow-up questions about the threats, McElwain did not offer any more details. Though “McElwain” and “death threats” are together in headlines all over the internet, the coach did not say that he or his family have received any threats.

Here’s where it gets weird… okay, weirder.  Not only did he refuse to share any details with the media, he had nothing to share with his athletic department, either.

You’d think something like that would be of major interest to them, if for no other reason than to make sure that parents of the kids on the receiving end of those threats can receive some assurance that all necessary steps are being taken to protect the players.  So I doubt they issued a statement like that casually.

What all that means is beyond my ability to ascertain.  Is McElwain struggling with the pressure of a disappointing season?  Is this some bizarre form of fake juice, a way to instill an us against the world attitude in his team?  You got me.  Let’s just say things seem a bit out of kilter in Gainesville right now and leave it at that.

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Filed under Gators, Gators...

Zen and the art of Tennessee football

Whatever condition Booch has is evidently contagious.

Those coaches meetings must be a real hoot.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Hard times in the Sunshine State

It’s a damned shame, let me tell you.

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Filed under ACC Football, Gators, Gators...

Justified

If you’re looking for a little taste of logic chopping come selection committee time, check out Heather Dinich’s rationale for keeping one-loss Clemson in her top four.

No she’s not on the selection committee, but it’s a good example of a way to break things down to justify including one team over another.

One conclusion to draw from her thinking is that, at least as long as Clemson is in the conversation, Georgia had better find a way to beat Auburn.

86 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football

When you say “coaching failure” in the SEC…

… what you really mean is “athletic director” failure.  Allow Matt Hinton to explain.

These days, it’s a given that the league’s malaise is largely a symptom of its uninspiring coaching hires, a list on which Bielema’s name will remain at the top for as long as he still has a job. Coaching-wise, all of the momentum in 2017 resides in the Big Ten.

In that context, it’s harder to recall that his arrival at Arkansas was regarded as a significant coup, and one that specifically reinforced the SEC’s growing sense of superiority over the rest of the country. The 2012 season was the last in the league’s seven-year run of national championships, a streak that seemed to be in no danger of ending anytime soon. At a moment when the Southern superiority complex was at an all-time high, luring the head coach of the three-time defending Big Ten champion to a program like Arkansas was almost an act of hubris: Not only will we beat you when it matters — if your coach matters, we might take him, too.

Because in any other context, by any other prevailing assumption about what motivates a coach to move from one job to another job, Bielema to Arkansas never made sense. If you could convert those assumptions into some kind of equation, it would have rated the logic of that move at zero. Maybe less. It made negative sense. Bielema was a Big Ten lifer: Born in Illinois, played at Iowa, graduated from Iowa, coached at Iowa. Has an Iowa tattoo on his leg. His mentors were Big Ten lifers. Hayden Fry recruited and coached Bielema as a Hawkeye, gave him his first job as a graduate assistant and promoted him to his first full-time job. Bielema coached at Wisconsin before he was promoted to replace his outgoing boss, Barry Alvarez, by his outgoing boss, who remained his boss throughout his tenure.

And of course, he won at Wisconsin. He won big at Wisconsin, which was not a given, historically. Bielema’s last game with the Badgers, a 70-31 splattering of Nebraska in the 2012 B1G title game, sent them on their way to their third consecutive Rose Bowl as conference champs. At the time, only one other Big Ten coach (Kirk Ferentz at Iowa) had been at his current school longer. Bielema’s vintage, between-the-tackles philosophy continued to pay off in Madison – and pretty much only in Madison – with an offense that consistently ranked at or near the top of the conference and turned obscure, 2- and 3-star farm boys into hulking NFL draft picks on an annual basis.

That doesn’t happen in the blue-chip-driven SEC. And the rest of the Big Ten was at a nadir: With Ohio State and Penn State in NCAA-mandated flux, and Nebraska and Michigan still saddled with mediocre hires, Bielema’s program stood as the B1G’s gold standard for stability and traditional Midwestern muscle.

Bielema had no professional connection to Arkansas or the South. Arkansas had never won anything in the SEC. It was arguably further behind its peers than Wisconsin in terms of resources and recruiting base. The Razorbacks’ previous three head coaches had all been exiled under increasingly sordid circumstances. Crazy Wisconsin fans have a beer or two (or six) too many. Crazy Arkansas fans come after your cell phone records.

So what, he was bored by the Rose Bowl? No. At age 42, the only good reason Bret Bielema would leave Wisconsin for Arkansas, the one thing that might entice him to leave the most stable, enviable seat in the conference that raised him, is that he considered a middle-of-the-pack SEC job a step up from the top of the Big Ten. For a coach whose ultimate goal is a national championship, in December 2012 the SEC was clearly the conference that offered that opportunity in the coming Playoff format – even, apparently, at a school that had not (and has not) come close to a national crown in two decades in the fold.

This is, believe it or not, not about pointing fingers at Bert.  He got a big raise for himself and his assistants (the latter was a sticking point in Madison with Alvarez).  Who can blame him for cashing in on his success?

On the other end, though, Jeff Long let himself become convinced that Petrino had made the Arkansas football program into something bigger than it really was.  Bielema was a relatively big name who fell into his lap.  Never mind there were plenty of reasons, as Hinton sets out, to question whether Bielema could translate his Big Ten success into an SEC environment.  A splash was needed and a splash was made.

And Jeff Long is considered to be one of the brighter ADs in the SEC.

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Filed under SEC Football