Daily Archives: November 6, 2017

“I barely made a profit.”

If you liked the Todd Gurley paid signature story, you’re gonna love this one.

It all started, Panezich will eventually say, with a working road trip: a 12-hour drive from Ohio to Tuscaloosa, Ala., in December 2009. Panezich and Adam Bollinger, a Chick-Fil-A truck driver whom Panezich met while chasing autographs outside of hotels and stadiums across Cleveland, had agreed to split the costs of an expedition to Alabama, where the No. 1–ranked Crimson Tide football team was preparing to play in the BCS National Championship Game against Texas. Panezich’s sole source of income at the time was a legit autograph business on eBay that he called Athletic Connections Sports Memorabilia, and he knew that Tide items were in high demand…

Panezich and Bollinger arrived in Tuscaloosa during winter break, when the football team wasn’t practicing, so finding players required improvisation. The first member of the Crimson Tide they say they encountered—and asked to sign, outside of a dorm—was cornerback Marquis Johnson. The two collectors had 40-odd white-paneled footballs, each emblazoned with Alabama’s logo, laid out in the rear bed of their SUV, and “[Johnson] signed a few,” Panezich says. “[He] talked about getting paid to do the rest. . . . We paid him up front and . . . he recruited everybody else to come and sign. He’d go into the dorm, grab a couple guys—$20, $30, $40, depending on who the player was—and they’d all come sign 40 team items.”

Panezich says Johnson was paid roughly $200, but “not everyone took money. [Defensive tackle] Terrence Cody was probably the biggest. He got paid to sign all the team stuff—and then we heard he was interested in making some more money. So he came out and signed a bunch of mini helmets that he inscribed, like 2x all-american, or 2 blocked fgs against tennessee, very specific stuff.” Panezich recalls that they paid Cody around $400 total. (SI obtained cellphone video from Panezich that shows Johnson, fellow cornerback Rod Woodson and tight end Colin Peek autographing items; Panezich says that Peek, as well as running back Ali Sharrief and QB Greg McElroy, signed but declined compensation in order to comply with NCAA rules. Cody, through his agent, declined to comment. Says Johnson: “I never got paid. I don’t know [Panezich].” Woodson could not be reached for comment. When asked if the school had knowledge of the signings, an Alabama spokesman said, in part, “As part of our comprehensive compliance and education program, we routinely review all situations of potential concern and address matters such as these with all of our student-athletes.”)

Altogether it took Panezich and Bollinger nearly a week to gather the signatures they wanted, and Panezich says they shelled out more than $1,000 to players—but he figured the investment was worth it. He’d seen a team-signed Bama ball sell on eBay for roughly $800 earlier that month. Even if his own fetched just $500 apiece, “we were in pretty good shape,” he says. But once Panezich made it back to Ohio and listed the items on eBay, he says he found a marketplace newly flooded with what he believed to be forgeries—most selling for less than $150.

At least Gurley cut himself a better deal with his buyer.

Wait a minute.  2009.  That would mean this happened while Kirby Smart was still in Tuscaloosa.  Uhhh… you don’t suppose Greg McGarity would engage in any preemptive sanctioning, do ‘ya?  I mean, you never know about those NCAA folks…  stay on their good side… just sayin’.

14 Comments

Filed under Alabama, The NCAA

Never knew what hit him

Lord, Roquan Smith is fast.

23 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“He’s very hungry.”

Considering the circumstances that led to Natrez Patrick’s now-served suspension, I’m not sure that’s the best adjective to go with here, Reggie.  (Which isn’t the same thing as saying it’s inaccurate.  Because, munchies.)

16 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

Bill C.’s rosy statistical picture

If you thought Georgia’s effort against South Carolina would get dinged in Connelly’s performance percentile, guess again.  The Dawgs notched a robust 91%.

S&P+ has Georgia favored in each of its three remaining games, with better than an 86% of losing no more than one of them.

And the defense is still totally bad ass in the first and third quarters.

14 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Today, in life imitates art

You know the old joke about a guy leaving two Falcons tickets on his windshield at the mall for anyone to take, only to come back and find four?

It’s no joke at Arkansas.

23 Comments

Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal

Mr. Conventional Wisdom brings it.

Here’s this morning’s cutting edge analysis.

Give him credit for one thing — you don’t need to read any further than his tweet.  The man sure packs a ton on insight into 140 characters.

27 Comments

Filed under Mr. Conventional Wisdom

It’s never too early to start thinking about Auburn.

And this, courtesy of Andy Staples, is a good place to start.

The Bulldogs haven’t seen a relatively equal collection of athletes since their win at Notre Dame on Sept. 9. They’ll see one Saturday in Auburn. So this one may come down to whether Kirby Smart and his staff can outcoach Gus Malzahn and his staff.

As long as that damned rabbit’s foot is somewhere in another time zone, I’m okay with that.

79 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football

Observations from the 35, South Carolina edition

This turned out to be a game where the Dawgs traded dominant for workmanlike in describing their performance… and I’m okay with that.

The game played out almost exactly as I anticipated.  Kirby’s will imposition met a South Carolina defensive game plan that never altered from loading the box to stop the run and the result was a grind it out job that saw Georgia’s statistical advantages not exactly mirrored by the final score.  A key turnover, some badly timed penalties and a lengthy second half drive that wound up generating three points instead of a touchdown all contributed to the discrepancy.

Even with that, along with Jake Bentley playing well for the first three quarters and Hayden Hurst showing why many thought in the preseason that he was the SEC’s best tight end, it never really felt like South Carolina stepped up from being tenacious to threatening.

Afterwards, I told my friends that it reminded me of a game from Richt’s first season, when Georgia went down to Jacksonville and lost to a more talented Florida team.  Georgia had done an excellent job with game management that season, but simply didn’t have the horses to keep up with the Gators.  Still, the Dawgs fought hard that day and weren’t embarrassed.

On that note, it’s on to the bullet points.

  • I usually don’t start with the coaches, but I was very impressed with the job Jim Chaney did.  Everybody in the stadium knew Georgia was going to run, run and run some more, but Chaney did a masterful job of mixing personnel and formations to keep the South Carolina defense off-balance.  The opening drive of the second half may have been his best called series of the season.
  • Speaking of that drive, Mecole Hardman sure is coming along, isn’t he?  Between that touchdown catch and his downing of Nizialek’s punt on the SC one, that was one helluva third quarter.
  • I remember the day when we would have called Nick Chubb getting 20 carries a good first half.
  • Sony had two amazing runs — the touchdown where he was bottled up the middle, regrouped and took it outside to score behind Fromm’s (!) block and a later run where he appeared to be going down behind the line of scrimmage, only to shake off a tackle, dodge another one and turn the play into a reasonable gain.
  • Not one, but two tight end receptions.  Alert the media!
  • The offensive line had a tough challenge facing eight and nine man boxes all day, but managed to pave the way to almost 250 yards on the ground, while keeping Fromm’s jersey pretty clean.
  • Outside of Godwin’s fumble, it’s hard to complain about the receiving corps’ efforts on a day when Georgia completed 16 of 22 pass attempts.  If I have to be critical of something, it did seem like downfield blocking was a little more inconsistent than it’s been of late.  I did notice the coaches pulled Ridley after one play when Fromm kept the ball but had to scoot out of bounds because the defensive back was able to force the play.
  • Speaking of Fromm, another great game from the true freshman.  RPO calls are perfectly suited for his talent with pre-snap reads.  He also eats soft coverage for lunch.  He did get away with a couple of risky throws when the defensive backs played their receivers closely and that’s something for him to continue working on.
  • The play you really wish Fromm could have back was during Georgia’s last drive of the first half.  On second down, with the ball at midfield, he had two receivers wide open, one down the right sideline and the other across the middle; he didn’t see the latter and waited just long enough for the back to recover on the outside man and make a play on the ball when Fromm did throw it.
  • Another little thing I noticed:  Fromm’s issues last week with the play clock disappeared.
  • Eh, let me get this out of the way, lest I forget.  Roquan. Smith.  Nice game from his ILB cohort, Reggie Carter, too.
  • The onside kick to start the game was an interesting call, given that Kirby’s played it straight this season.  It’s easy to be conservative with that defense and special teams.  The defense kept the ‘Cocks from scoring, so the call didn’t affect much, but it does plant a seed for other teams to be aware of.  That being said, I’m totally fine with touchbacks.
  • There were problems defending the pass in the first half, which seemed to be the result of some soft zone coverage and Bentley being given enough time to make throws, even in some third-and-long situations.  It felt all game that Georgia was much more vanilla with its defensive game plan this week than it was against Florida.  I didn’t see a lot of exotic blitzes (boy, that delayed blitz from Roquan was effective, though, wasn’t it?) or stunting.  Even so, when Carolina had to throw in the second half, the passing game was shut down.  SC’s last three series went punt, turnover on downs and interception.
  • If the pass defense was a little frustrating at times, though, the run defense was anything but.  Running the ball and stopping the run is still the winning formula in the SEC.
  • Hard to complain about special teams, with one exception.  The kicking game was its usual solid self, but the punt return game took a step back.  Plus, the fake punt.
  • Kinda felt bad for the ref on the sideline who got stuck having to call the end zone pass plays that were both overruled in the replay booth.  In his defense, they were tough to judge in real time.  That’s about the only pass I’m willing to give the crew, as they whiffed on what I thought were some pretty obvious push offs by the Carolina receivers, as well as a face-mask on Fromm that appeared to be right in an official’s line of sight.  (I’ve quit complaining about holding by offensive linemen, because that’s the way the SEC rolls.)
  • I won’t say it was Mel Tucker’s best effort of the season, but holding an opponent to ten points and under 300 yards — again! — isn’t something to bitch about, either.
  • Meanwhile, Kirby continues to have his team mentally prepared to handle the weekly SEC grind.  This was a game sandwiched between a huge win in Jacksonville, the subsequent number one ranking by the CFP selection committee and what looks to be a tough game at Auburn.  In other words, the kind of game that previous Georgia teams have served up a disappointing performance.  That didn’t happen and that’s on Kirby to a large extent.

That last bullet point can’t be understated.  Auburn presents a vastly different challenge to this Georgia team, likely its biggest one since the Notre Dame game, and that’s combined with the realization that the Dawgs’ ticket to Atlanta is already punched.  I like to think Kirby’s up to this challenge, too.

32 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

They can’t pass.

While opposing defensive backs dismiss Jake Fromm for his lack of passing skills, maybe their teammates on offense ought to be concerned about who really has a problem with the deep pass in Georgia games.

11 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Yeah, that’s a shame.

Nice streak, Vols.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

15 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange