Daily Archives: January 28, 2018

All the right moves

Allow me to submit the proposition that a man willing to subject himself to this on the recruiting trail (with apparently good humor, mind you)…

… isn’t the kind of man intent on hanging his spurs up any time soon.  (h/t)



Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

Player development, for the win

I thought it might be fun to go back and look at Phil Steele’s preseason projections of Georgia’s standing in each of his 2017’s top individual units, not because I want to take a shot at Steele’s analytical acumen — honestly, I couldn’t find much to disagree with at the time I first read them — but in the hopes that it might provide some indication of the job Georgia’s staff did developing the talent in the course of what wound being one of the program’s best seasons in decades.

Here come the bullet points, with Steele’s ranking and my comments.

  • Quarterbacks.  24th.  (A fair assessment, based way more on potential than on results to date.  It’s just that Fromm exceeded expectations by a wide margin.)
  • Running backs.  2nd.  (Hard to go up here, but I’d argue that Swift wound up with a better freshman season than most thought he’d have coming in.)
  • Receivers.  21st.  (This one is a little hard to judge, given that the passing game wasn’t exactly a point of emphasis.  I would argue, though, that between the improved blocking, the emergence of Wims and that Georgia finished 11th nationally in yards per passing attempt, that the group was a little underrated going in.)
  • Offensive line.  46th.  (I have the feeling next year’s bunch will be somewhat more favorably rated by Steele.)
  • Defensive line.  11th.  (This one strikes me as about right, both then and now.)
  • Linebackers.  6th.  (There were some higher ranked units that didn’t pan out as well as Georgia’s, so, yeah, this one wound up a bit on the light side.)
  • Defensive backs.  16th.  (Before the CFP, I might have questioned this ranking, but as Georgia wound up 15th in defensive passer rating, I can’t object too much.)
  • Special teams.  Unranked, i.e., outside the top 55.  (Yeah, that would ordinarily rank as a major whiff, except nobody else saw this special teams’ season coming.)

Bottom line, no lapses –that’s as much about good coaching as the improvements are, by the way — and three major leaps at quarterback, offensive line and special teams.  Pretty much explains the season, don’t it?


Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

Today, in just askin’

Man, this article is so dumb I almost feel guilty sharing it, but an SEC Country writer looks at several 2016 quarterback signees not making it with their teams and goes on to ask the musical question… okay, he can’t even bring himself to ask a specific question, so he leads with “The SEC’s recent history with highly ranked quarterbacks is eyebrow-raising, to say the least.”

Oy.  Some of those kids, like Jacob Eason, were overtaken by equally well-regarded recruits.  Shea Patterson decided to bail on Ole Miss in the wake of NCAA sanctions.  Does anyone really doubt that if he stayed, he’d be starting this season.

Then there’s my favorite example.

Perhaps the most discussed potential transfer is Alabama’s Jalen Hurts. Tua Tagovailoa, a 5-star freshman in the 2017 class, replaced Hurts after halftime of the National Championship Game and led Alabama to a come-from-behind win over Georgia. Hurts has not announced his intentions, but at the very least there will be a quarterback battle in Tuscaloosa this spring.

Congratulations, Holmes, you’ve cracked the case!  Never mind that nothing’s happened yet.

The only thing that’s eyebrow raising of late is that the conference schools have upped their games recruiting quarterbacks.  It’s a strange day when increased competition is eyebrow raising.


Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

Emmert defends Emmert.

If you didn’t think the NCAA president would lay low after the article in The Athletic asserting he had knowledge shortly after taking office that there was a sexual assault problem with Michigan State athletics, well, you’d be right.

A day after a report suggested the NCAA could have years ago looked into problems at Michigan State, President Mark Emmert said Saturday that sexual assault allegations against Spartans athletes in 2010 were “widely reported” and already being investigated by law enforcement and the school.

Emmert made the comments in an email to the NCAA Board of Governors and other university presidents. Spokeswoman Stacey Osburn provided Emmert’s email to The Associated Press.

If you’ve already gotten the hint that maybe this wasn’t the best defense, don’t let me convince you otherwise.

Emmert noted he met with the coalition’s Katherine Redmond and legal expert Wendy Murphy in November 2010. A letter sent by Emmert, dated Dec. 6 and addressed to Redmond and Parker, was also provided to AP. It detailed programs the NCAA was helping to implement on campuses to address sexual violence and student behavior, though it made no specific reference to Michigan State.

As for his role, Emmert told the NCAA board in his email: “The MSU cases were widely reported in the press and already being investigated by law enforcement and university officials. Kathy did not imply that these were unreported cases or that she was acting as a whistleblower to report unknown information to the letter’s recipients.”

You see the holes there, don’t you?  If not, let the author of The Athletic piece spell out the first.

Evidently, if you don’t spell things out completely for Mark Emmert, he’s at a loss about what you want.  Obviously the many programs the NCAA sponsored at the time that Emmert mentioned in his response have had a great impact at member institutions like Baylor and Michigan State.

The other hole?  “The MSU cases were widely reported in the press and already being investigated by law enforcement and university officials.”?  Really, that’s your defense for avoiding direct involvement?  Emmert wants to go there after tearing up the NCAA procedures manual to go at Penn State even as the Sandusky tragedy was being reported and investigated extensively?  If that was the standard at the time, why is the NCAA wading into what’s happened at Michigan State now?

This is the look of a fish flopping around on the shore, frantically trying to throw itself back into safe waters.  I can’t help but wonder what was going through Stacey Osburn’s mind when Emmert asked her to pass this on to the Associated Press.  If it was anything other than “geez, this isn’t going to end well”, she’s dumber than I thought.


Filed under Crime and Punishment, The NCAA

Getting noticed

Georgia’s current prowess on the recruiting trail, that is.  The obvious — Georgia sitting in one of the most talent rich states, the other P5 school not contesting for the majority of that in-state talent, the athletic department devoting ever-increasing resources in support of the staff and the staff’s approach to recruiting itself — isn’t enough for some folks.

There’s the benign explanation, as pitched by a Michigan commit:

While Michigan’s current class isn’t ranked as highly as in recent years, according to some recruits, that could be attributed to the product on the field.

“Recruits go to the mainstream schools that are having a lot of success in the moment, if you look at Georgia and how they’re doing,” said ESPN 300 tight end Mustapha Muhammad, a Michigan commit. “In Michigan’s case, we didn’t have the best year and that’s why we missed on a few guys.”

I’m sure Georgia’s 2017 run has helped sell the product, but let’s not ignore the momentum that was already in place with Georgia’s recruiting before the ’17 season was even underway.

Then there’s the ol’ “if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin'” spin.

Yeah, evidently that came straight from the keyboard of a moderator of a recruiting site message board.

The point being not that this can’t be dismissed as arrant bullshit, but that with great success comes a target on your back.  I imagine the Georgia chatter on the recruiting trail grows more harsh and will continue to do so.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting