If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Notre Dame’s Guest Services Team should be deeply flattered by this.
What was really cool and unexpected was Georgia’s announcement that it would be utilizing the “Silver Dawgs” to serve as campus hosts at the Bulldogs’ home football games in the future.
What in the world are Silver Dawgs, you ask? Well, that’s yet to be established. But if you were at the Notre Dame game in South Bend, Ind., this past September, you have an idea what Georgia is shooting for.
While on the beautiful campus occupied by the Fighting Irish, you no doubt came in contact there with one or more green-jacketed individuals who were incredibly cheerful and very willing to help. Notre Dame calls those guys its “Guest Services Team.” They are just one small part – and the most visible part — of what is actually an army of personnel that Notre Dame unleashes to provide hospitality for guests visiting their pristine campus on game days. On its website, Notre Dame numbers its “Usher Corps” at 850 people, about 350 of which are volunteers. Many others are full- or part-time employees of the university.
Basically, they’re there to make sure spectators – and visiting fans, in particular – have an enjoyable game-day and game-weekend experience. So, they’re deployed all over campus on Fridays and Saturdays of a home game and stationed at key points to answer questions, provide directions to restrooms or points of interest on campus and even to provide historical information.
Speaking as one who was there, I thought those folks were great. They really added to what was a terrific stadium experience. That Georgia is looking to emulate that is something I can heartily commend.
No doubt Jeremy Pruitt is thrilled to learn there’s no way Phil Fulmer intends to leave the AD’s office in too short a time to avoid having ultimate say so over Pruitt’s tenure at UT.
He added: “I want to do this as long as I am being helpful and if I had to put a number on it, which I don’t have to, I would say five years, six years, something like that.’’
Fulmer said it wouldn’t be fair to new football coach Jeremy Pruitt to leave after two years.
“If I was going to do that,’’ Fulmer said, “I wouldn’t have (taken the job) to be honest with you. I’m committed to being here’’ as long as he’s healthy and productive.
You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Jeremy.
Signs your fans aren’t as excited about your football program as the in-state rival’s are:
A fundraising challenge to increase Georgia Tech’s recruiting staff is more than 90 percent of the way toward being met.
More than $185,000 has been pledged by fans and alumni, money that will be matched on a 50 percent basis by an anonymous donor. Tech has a goal of reaching $300,000 (donations plus match) by next Wednesday (national signing day), which would be enough to fund four recruiting staff positions for the coming year.
Athletic director Todd Stansbury and coach Paul Johnson made public the department’s fundraising challenge on January 6. It’s a two-year program – another $300,000 will need to be raised for 2019 – after which Stansbury anticipates that the athletic department will be able to fund the positions through its annual budget.
Then again, maybe they’re just worried about throwing good money after bad.
Georgia ranks a lowly 95th in Bill Connelly’s returning production (not the same thing as returning starters) metric. Youth will be served — must be might be more accurate a description. If it’s any consolation — and it probably isn’t — Alabama isn’t even in Bill’s top 100.
Also, I mentioned this before in my post about returning starters, but it may behoove us to keep an eye on Mississippi State this season. Why?
Former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead took over for Dan Mullen, and he inherits a far greater level of expectation than Mullen did when he arrived in 2009. Not only has MSU achieved at an unprecedented level (eight straight bowls, plus at least nine wins in three of the last four years), the Bulldogs return so much:
- 100 percent of passing yards (and now with two tested QBs)
- 100 percent of RB rushing yards
- 71 percent of receiving corps yards
- 80 percent of offensive line starts
- 82 percent of overall tackles
- 92 percent of TFLs
In terms of combined experience and talent, this could be one of MSU’s most impressive teams.
If Joe Moorhead is as good a coach as many surmise, this team might be something.
From last night’s (likely, in the long term) meaningless basketball win:
In the game’s last minute, the home crowd paid the victor the ultimate compliment, chanting, “Just Like Football! Just Like Football!” High praise, indeed.
For the record, last night in no way resembled the most glorious opening seven-and-a-half minutes of Georgia football I’ve witnessed in Jacksonville.
As things go, though, not a bad Gator troll.
The University of Texas has already spent more than half a million dollars defending a lawsuit that has “SETTLE!” written all over it in flaming red letters.
In my next life, I’d like to come back as a competent athletic director of a rich department. The world would be my oyster.
One positive development from player compensation becoming a reality is that I doubt we’ll see the days of allowing a coach who went 29-34 overall in five seasons at Arkansas, 11-29 in the SEC during his tenure to walk away with an $11.935 million buyout again.
Which is a good thing, considering how boneheaded both sides were about Bert’s hire in the first place.
Since getting fired, Bielema has thought a lot about what worked so well at Wisconsin and what didn’t work at Arkansas. The biggest difference between the two, he believes, was how well he understood the Badgers’ program before he took over as the head coach after spending two years as Barry Alvarez’s defensive coordinator. “I want to go into a situation where you know everything that’s going on,” Bielema said. “I didn’t have to worry about uncovering land mines halfway into the job.”
Bielema estimates that he’d spent about 24 hours in Arkansas in his entire life before taking the Razorbacks job. At Wisconsin, he knew exactly what the program’s strengths and deficiencies were. Plus, Alvarez had provided a spectacular blueprint for success. (A blueprint current Badgers coach Paul Chryst has followed quite well.)
At Arkansas, Bielema had to learn all that on the job. The fallout from Bobby Petrino’s firing and a disastrous season with John L. Smith as the interim coach necessitated an overhaul, but if you examine Bielema’s record, he actually came through that part O.K. The 2015 season, when the Razorbacks went 8–5 overall and 5–3 in the SEC, seemed to indicate a turning of the corner.
But Bielema admits he didn’t initially realize how deep a team needed to be on both lines of scrimmage to succeed in the SEC West.
Might have been nice to know that before you jumped jobs. And to think that many people believed Jeff Long was one of the most competent ADs in the business.