Daily Archives: July 18, 2018

Envy and jealousy, from an unusual source

Perhaps liberated from chasing clicks by his move to The Athletic (for more on that, if you subscribe, you should read baseball beat writer David O’Brien’s remarkable introduction here), Jeff Schultz ($$) has a great line about where the Georgia program is at now:

Year 3 is about handling success. It’s the same situation Saban deals with, the only difference being Georgia’s problem has seldom been, “How do we handle success?”

Remember, peeps, just because it’s sad doesn’t mean it’s not true.

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Filed under Envy and Jealousy

No time to stop and smell the roses.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say somebody’s trying to make me feel bad about how much I enjoyed last season.

“People ask me every day, ‘Are you guys going back [to the playoff]? Are you guys going back?’ defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter said. “Of course, the answer would be, ‘Yes.’ … We [aren’t] going anywhere, just cleaning some things up in the office and in the shop. We’re going to get this thing clicking on all cylinders.”

But as good as the Dawgs were last season, an SEC championship wasn’t enough. Not when it came in only Smart’s second season. Not when the natty was Georgia’s to have and to hold … until it wasn’t. Not when the Dawgs were playing 70 miles from campus in their home state.

Sweeping the East, crushing Georgia Tech, an SEC title in a game that avenged the only regular season loss, an unforgettable road win at Notre Dame, a Rose Bowl win for the ages… and it wasn’t enough?  Pardon me for smiling as I recall all of it.

Try reminding any Georgia fan of this: Alabama in 2017 won its fourth title since 2009. Georgia still hasn’t won one since 1980.

We’ll get ’em next time?

“It’s definitely a lot easier for players than fans,” Reed said. “I feel like fans get too hung up.”

No offense to J.R., but I’m not the guy who said this:

“The ultimate goal is to win the natty, and the SEC Championship doesn’t mean anything if you don’t win the national championship,” Reed said Tuesday morning at the Omni Hotel, moments before attending SEC Football Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame. “So that’s where we are right now.”

I get that there’s a danger to resting on your laurels and Kirby wants to guard against complacency.  It’s good that it’s trickled down to the team.  I just don’t get the mindset that encourages sucking all the joy out of Georgia’s greatest season in decades. (It’s only fair to note, though, that Reid said that after flashing his SEC championship ring, so I’m not sure he really meant everything the way it came out.)

Also, this is what you get when you raise the college football playoffs über alles.

I guess that’s where I am right now.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Death, taxes and Huntley Johnson

A new coach at most places leads to the usual cheap talk about strength and conditioning improvements, better utilization of talent, coaches who “get it”, etc.

At Florida, it leads to how the “team has improved its behavior accountability“.  This from a guy who cut his teeth coaching under Urban Meyer.  Sheesh.

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Filed under Gators, Gators...

His bullshit is immaculate.

When it comes to player compensation, Greg Sankey can mix a fundamentally disingenuous word salad with the best of them.

“People talk about something called ‘name, image and likeness,’” Sankey said. “I’m waiting for everyone to define how that is operationalized. But, fundamentally, it goes back to this phrase ‘student-athlete.’ People take shots at it and say it was created by (former NCAA executive director) Walter Byers. Did you know we had 31 graduate patches in the national championship game? That means 31 out of about 200 players on that field already had earned bachelor’s degrees.”

Not sure what any of that has to do with the price of tea in China.  If he’s suggesting that letting the players make money off something that belongs to them would corrode their ability to pursue their primary purpose in life, maybe Greg can explain how the sweet bank he takes home as SEC Commissioner has made it difficult to do his job.

The idea that it’ll be a breeze to implement an Olympic model for college athletics runs smack dab into this kind of mindset.  It won’t be easy because here’s what Sankey and his constituents are concerned about:

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football, The NCAA

Heavy, dude.

Okay, a little Xs and Os time:

Georgia’s addition of Jay Hayes may have some unintended benefits. The Bulldogs pursued the former Notre Dame defensive end as a graduate transfer to help add some depth to its defensive line after some struggles in the spring, and he’s set to give Kirby Smart and company they help they need in that department.

But his ability to play outside the tackle, especially in run-heavy situations, may allow UGA to employ a rather massive defensive front that’ll have a chance to shut down opposing team’s power run game.

“I get to play a little more outside linebacker now that he’s (Hayes) going to be a defensive end,” Ledbetter said. “It’ll be a good fit for us. We’ll be able to go big up front and have a close-to-300-pound d-lineman at d-end, and I’m 280 right now. I can play outside linebacker at 280 and that’s just good to set edges and play big up front when we need to against those type of teams.”

The ability to bulk up the defensive front aligns with Smart’s philosophy as a defensive coach. The Bulldogs want to stop the run before all else, forcing teams to be one-dimensional with the pass. At that point, Mel Tucker can start to get exotic with his blitzes and coverages and help force turnovers. Taking the ball away is something both Smart and Tucker regularly emphasize.

The defensive end role Hayes can fill is the five-technique spot. That refers to a defensive lineman who can line up on the outside shoulder of the tackle. The man that position a player must be able to hold up to down blocks from the tight end while also having the athleticism to set the edge and keep teams from getting their run game going on the perimeter.

I love how this staff constantly shows it has a clue.

Of course, Gary Patterson and Lincoln Riley are asking why anyone needs to worry about defending a power run game.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

This was fine. This is fine. This will be fine.

Hol-ee Mother of Crapola.

Aaron Murray isn’t a believer in Jeremy Pruitt.

Murray, the former Georgia quarterback who is now an analyst with the CBS Sports Network, offered a blistering critique of Tennessee’s first-year coach during an interview Tuesday on ESPN’s 102.5 The Game.

“I don’t know if his personality is fit to be a head coach. I don’t,” Murray told the radio station. “As a head coach, there’s so many things that go into it. It’s not just going out there and coaching. You have to deal with front office. You’ve got to go talk with the president of the university. You have to deal with boosters. You have to deal with the offense, the defense. It’s not just going in there and dealing with the kids and scheming up. There’s a lot that goes into it.

“I don’t think he’s the right guy to kind of be the CEO of a corporation. He’s really good managing just a defense and being a defensive coordinator. He needs to prove to me that he can handle the whole ship. For right now, I don’t think he can. We’ll see what happens this year. I don’t think it helps that he doesn’t have a lot of talent at Tennessee.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement there.

Now it’s true that their times didn’t overlap in Athens.  But it’s hard to imagine that Murray didn’t hear from his former teammates and coaches about developments from 2014 and 2015.  (Or, for that matter, read the paper and watch the Belk Bowl presser.)

“When he was at Georgia, the way he acted, the way he treated Coach Richt I thought was poor,” Murray told 102.5 The Game. “He wasn’t as respectful as I thought a defensive coordinator should be to a head coach. That’s my thing, with authority.

“When he’s dealing with the athletic director, when he’s dealing with the president, when he’s dealing with a booster who has given millions of dollars, you can’t go tell him to screw off. You have to take the meeting. You have to sit with them. Yeah, I know you want to be game planning and getting ready for the game, but you’re a head coach now. You have to do these other things.”

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating:  there’s one helluva book to be written about the twilight of the Mark Richt era in Athens.

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UPDATE:  Jeremy responds.

“Probably” is doing some heavy lifting there.

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UPDATE #2:  Ooh, it’s lit.

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UPDATE #3:  David Pollack weighed in, too.

“To address Aaron’s (Murray) comment — because I think it needs to be addressed a little bit — the stories that I have heard and some of y’all have heard that came out of Athens – that are true, (from) coaches that were on the staff, some of the things Jeremy Pruitt did to Mark Richt, some coaches would tell you are the most disrespectful, most crazy things they heard,” Pollack said on the set of “SEC Now.”

“So, I’ll be curious to watch Jeremy Pruitt as he evolves with this relationship with Phillip Fulmer because Jeremy Pruitt did a good job when he was with Nick Saban — because he knew where he stood. He did a good job with Jimbo Fisher — they let you know where you stand. The hierarchy was very clear. How does he evolve as a head coach?

“He put on a good show (at the main podium at SEC Media Days), he definitely showed you what he has. I want to see if he continues to treat people in the correct manner, if he respects authority, because to be honest, the stories we’ve heard — we’ve all heard the same stories, it was pretty bad. It was disrespectful, so that’s what I’m interested to see.”

Based on things I’ve heard, I’d disagree a little with his assessment of Pruitt’s time at FSU, but, still…

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UPDATE #4:  Richt sends regards.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“I’m Georgia! I’m Georgia!”

What in the wide, wide world of sports has come over the Florida Gators?

Check out this excuse from one player about the Missouri blowout. (h/t)

That whole thing is just one giant “damn, son, I don’t think I would have said that” moment.

Then there’s the remarkable denial about another 2017 blowout near and dear to our hearts.

The scoreboard at EverBank Field in Jacksonville reflected a Georgia football victory over Florida by a 42-7 score, the Gators avoiding the shutout in the game’s final minutes.

Florida players at the SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday, however, agreed the game was much closer than the final score indicated.

The eventual SEC champion Bulldogs jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead, out-gaining a Florida team that was headed for a 4-7 season finish by a margin of 393 yards to 249 yards.

But was last year’s the game actually closer than the 42-7 final indicated?

“Definitely so,” said linebacker David Reese ll.

“Most definitely,” offensive lineman Martez Ivey insisted.

“Most definitely,” defensive lineman Cece Jefferson responded.

The 21 points in the first quarter were the most against a Florida team since 1970, and the Gators were shutout in the series at the half since 1988.

Such numbers might suggest a blowout of historic proportion, but the Gators weren’t about to concede that.

Each gave his own take on what went down last Oct. 28, and what many of us apparently only thought we saw.

“That game, we let that one slip away,” Reese said.

“That game was way closer than what the scoreboard put out last year,” Ivey said.

“ … that score doesn’t determine who’s the better team,” Jefferson concluded.

The 2008 Georgia Bulldogs couldn’t have said that better if they tried.  And that’s when it hit me:  Florida’s head is now where Georgia’s was.

The opposite.

Dan Mullen has his work cut out for him.

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Filed under Gators, Gators...