Daily Archives: July 25, 2018

When you have a “big need on the team”

I’m sorry, I know how the game is played, but I still can’t help being amused by the staff’s diligence in getting Demetris Robertson eligible to contribute this season in light of Kirby’s hand wringing over player transfers.

Such coaches as Georgia’s Kirby Smart and Florida’s Dan Mullen worry the new rules could move the league closer to free agency if more freedoms to players are granted. They cringe at the idea players could be eventually empowered to seek transfers as soon as they drop on the depth chart or are asked to run extra laps.

“I’ve expressed my belief in a guy who graduates from college being able to go where he wants to go,” Smart said Tuesday at SEC Media Days. “I feel very strongly about that, but when you start talking about every year … I’ve got to be honest with you, it’s hard.”

Makes you wonder if he’s reflected on Robertson’s nature the way he did Stetson Bennett’s.



Filed under Georgia Football

Lather, rinse, repeat is no way to go through life, son.

Part two of the Chronicles of Legge is behind a paywall, so I’m not going to quote anything from it here, but let’s just say that “No one believes in Brian Schottenheimer” bears a strong resemblance to something I wrote years ago.

… Mark Richt wakes up this morning as the captain of a very dysfunctional ship.  I doubt there’s anyone in the Dawgnation, including the head coach, who feels same way about the program today as I did in Jacksonville seven years ago.

If I had to put my finger on what’s wrong, I’d call it a crisis of faith. I don’t mean that in a religious sense. (By the way, of all the arguments I’ve seen about what’s wrong, blaming Coach Richt’s religious convictions for the slide has to rank as the dumbest.) Rather, it’s a systemic doubt: the coaches lack faith in the players to execute and the players lack faith in the coaches’ ability to deploy them efficiently and effectively.

Sigh.  Déjà vu all over again.

Bullet point reactions?  Bullet point reactions:

  • If you’re someone like me, what this reminds you most of is one of Richt’s glaring issues, the ability to fix one thing and have something else crop up to bedevil him.  The depressing part is that in this case, it was a repeated mistake.
  • That being said, it was a problem Richt fixed before and seeing that there wasn’t the personal relationship with Schottenheimer that there was with Martinez, I don’t doubt that had he been allowed to stay as head coach for 2017, he wouldn’t have needed much urging to show Schottenheimer the door.
  • Even so, there would have been some other issue right behind it.
  • Did I mention that Richt let this happen before?


Filed under Georgia Football

“I was never told about anything and nothing ever came to light.”

I have a lot of readers and commenters of the blog who are members of the legal profession, so it’s no surprise to see several comments here reminding folks that Zach Smith has not been found guilty of a crime in a court of law.  It’s a fair point, as far as it goes, but I think my fellow barmates need to keep their eyes on the prize.

What’s important here isn’t Smith being a criminal in an official sense.  It’s that Urban Meyer is full of shit.

With all the domestic violence issues currently happening in the NFL, Meyer was asked about he handles those topics with his team and whether he uses them as examples of what to avoid.

“Every day, every day,” Meyer said. “They know it, they see it. How do you not see it? They are all teachable moments, and if you don’t use that … I think everybody in the country used that.”

As far as his policy with domestic violence with his team, Meyer reaffirmed that it’s zero tolerance.

“Oh yeah,” Meyer said. “We had a couple issues that we had to evaluate, but that’s one of the core values.”

So how do you run that highfalutin standard up against this?

• Zach Smith was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass in May. Courtney was granted a protection order against him July 20, alleging she had been intimidated and harassed by him. The trespass charge came after Zach Smith allegedly dropped one of the couple’s children at Courtney’s residence instead of a public place.

• Monday morning, longtime college football reporter Brett McMurphy reported that Courtney accused Zach of domestic violence in 2009 while Zach was a graduate assistant on Meyer’s staff at Florida and Courtney was two months pregnant. No charges were filed.

• Monday afternoon, McMurphy reported that Courtney had accused Zach of domestic violence again in 2015 and the coach had been investigated for felony domestic violence and felony assault. No charges have been filed.

Easy.  You pretend none of it ever happened.

After leaving the podium, Meyer was asked to clarify his comments on Smith’s firing, and he said of the 2009 incident (via elevenwarriors.com), “We found out what happened according to both parties, we met with them. There were no charges. Everything was dropped. It was a very young couple and I saw a very talented young coach and we moved forward.”

On whether he had any regrets about how he and the school handled the dismissal of Smith, who was hired by Meyer when he arrived at Ohio State in 2012, the coach said, “No. We handled it the right way. I’ve been down that road — ‘Why didn’t you do this,’ or ‘Why didn’t you do that?’ — and it’s a very personal matter.

“Domestic issues are a lot of he said, she said. We care about people as they move forward.”

Of the reports on another incident in 2015, Meyer told reporters he’d received “a text late last night” that “something happened” involving Smith that year, but he claimed “there was nothing.” Meyer added, “Once again, there’s nothing — once again, I don’t know who creates a story like that.”

McMurphy had cited a Powell (Ohio) Police Department arrest report from Oct. 26, 2015, in which Courtney Smith was said to have been “a victim of sustained physical abuse” by her then-husband. Officers returned to their home two weeks later to investigate a “menace-by-stalking claim,” but charges were not filed in either case.

In his clarifying comments Tuesday, Meyer said of the 2015 allegations, “I can’t say it didn’t happen because I wasn’t there…”

That works until it all comes out in the public eye.

Asked if he fired Smith on Monday “because any of this became public” or “because there was another incident that led to the latest protective order on Friday,” Meyer said he wouldn’t “get into that,” as it was “a very personal matter.” The 54-year-old coach, who took over the Buckeyes’ program before the 2012 season and led it to a national title in 2014, added that “we are in a public world” and “to say that doesn’t have something to do with it, it does a little bit.”

“I try to stay focused on what’s the most important thing. That’s our players and our team. But I do understand the value,” Meyer said. “It’s the Ohio State University is bigger than all of us. So you have to do what’s right by them. And the timing. It wasn’t just my decision. It was a group effort on several people that I rely on.”

The reality is that Smith isn’t out of a coaching job because of something he did or didn’t do.  He’s out of a job because his history — and, more importantly, Urban Meyer’s failure to act despite claiming to enforce a zero tolerance policy — became a public embarrassment for Urban Meyer.  All the gobbledygook in the world trying to spin the dismissal as something noble on Meyer’s part won’t change that.

“And then this recent one was you press pause, it’s something our team lives by, E + R = O, you press pause and get your mind right and step up, press pause and gather information, get your mind right, gather energy, and then step up to do the right thing. That’s the position I hold. That’s how we did that.”

Meyer is a better coach than human being.  Not that that’s saying much, but I sure hope he keeps getting called out on his sanctimony.


Filed under Urban Meyer Points and Stares

“… a tremendously difficult thing for our entire program to deal with this summer.”

I’ll bet.

Earlier this month, McNair’s family announced that the 19-year-old lineman’s death was caused by heatstroke. They have also hired the law firm that represented the family of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore man who died in 2015 after being injured while in police custody, and are exploring their legal options. Durkin, who was at the workout with the rest of the Maryland coaching staff, declined to provide further details of that day while Maryland is still participating in an external review.  [Emphasis added.]

Yeah, I can see how the head coach’s presence at a workout that led to a player’s death might be a difficulty.  Good luck with that review, fellas.


Filed under The Body Is A Temple

“We’ve got great rules right now.”

Damn it, Steve Shaw.  This could have been a contendah.

During the offseason, there was quiet discussion that could have potentially turned college football’s offensive revolution upside down.

The NCAA Football Rules Committee considered making reviewable a long-standing rule that allows offensive lineman to block up to 3 yards downfield on a pass, according to Steve Shaw, NCAA secretary-rules editor.

Can you imagine the bricks that would have been shat on the Gus Bus had that been put into effect?  Actually, yes.

“We’ve got great rules right now,” said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, one of the nation’s best at running RPO concepts. “Three yards downfield is fair. College football is fine. That’s what high school has done. That’s what people want to see.”

Yeah, Gus, coaches cheating on the rules is what I pay good money to watch.

It’s apparent there’s a problem with the officials on the field keeping up with RPOs.

“What makes that call so difficult is you can be up to 3 yards [downfield] when the pass is thrown,” Shaw told CBS Sports. “What that means is, at that release point, you’ve got to frame the field. The umpire — the guy right behind the defense — used to be the guy for that. That ball goes overhead and you see a guy 5 yards downfield. You’ve got to map [the lineman] back to where he was.”

So what’s the problem with providing an eye in the sky to help?  Evidently what scared Shaw and his cohorts off was the possibility of (more?) delays.

“There was conversation in the rules committee, ‘Should we make it reviewable?'” Shaw said. “The concern now is, every pass play, [you] put yourself in the replay seat. You can’t let the game start unless you review ineligibles downfield.”

Current Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham had a quick reaction. It’s hard to imagine stopping a game every time there is a question whether is improperly downfield. College games are long enough. In 2016, the average length of a game was the longest in history: 3 hours, 24 minutes.

“It would be interesting if that were a rule change,” Stidham said. “Games might turn into 5 ½-hour games.”

Or maybe, after throwing a couple of flags to take away big gains, the threat of reviews might encourage certain teams to play within the rules.  We’ll never know.  Thanks, Steve!


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA

Conference power grows out of the barrel of a television camera.

It’s cute to puff your chest out about UCF’s national championship claims as evidence that your conference deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with the P5 bunch — oops, “P6”, as the the American Athletic Conference would prefer for you to think of it — but even if you accept the argument that the AAC teams are increasingly competitive with, say, the Auburns of the college football world, the reality is that’s not what will let the conference run with the big dogs.

This is.

… For all of AAC commissioner Mike Aresco’s stumping for the sport’s model to change to a Power Six, there’s no chance of that transcending empty rhetoric until the league’s financial revenues look more Rockefeller than Bundy.

The league is wheezing through the final two seasons of a seven-year, $126 million television contract with ESPN that was essentially a hostage negation that doubled as a TV deal. The AAC, fresh off a spate of realignment departures, did the best it could at the time and signed on for short money to be more attractive this time around. For ESPN, it has proven a grand bargain for the quality and quantity of content. (Essentially, each major conference program in the Power Five gets more television revenue annually than all 12 teams in the AAC).

These days, the schools in the AAC are getting somewhere around $2 million a year in television revenue, which means that schools like Clemson and LSU are paying their defensive coordinators more than UCF and Houston are receiving each year in TV revenue. With the revenue threshold for the Big Ten crossing $50 million annually per school – much of which is from television – the distance that the AAC is behind financially is staggering.

No one knows this better than Aresco, who told Yahoo Sports in a phone interview: “This TV deal will determine how people view the conference,” Aresco said, “and how they view me.”

You ain’t nothin’ until you’ve got your own conference broadcast network.  That’s the real playing field these days.


Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

“Coach, Huntley Johnson is on line three.”

One good thing about bringing Dan Mullen back to Florida is that he presumably saved all his speed dial numbers from his previous stint in Gainesville.


Filed under Crime and Punishment, Gators, Gators...

“So when I tweet, it’s important.”

Matt Hayes thinks college football has crossed another Rubicon.

One tweet, 10 words: “I didn’t come to Arizona to run the triple-option.”

One tweet, one purposeful and poignant tweet from a football player who three months earlier was an unknown backup on a struggling team, changed the way they do business at University of Arizona and laid the groundwork for similar change elsewhere in college sports.

A paradigm shift may be coming in the way athletes and universities view their complex relationships. The days of players being excluded from key university decisions that affect them may be on the verge of a dynamic detour.

The thing I find strange about this story is that despite crazy talk from Arizona’s president about the process that went into hiring a new coach after Rich Rodriguez was canned (“I want our student-athletes to have a voice,” says Arizona president Dr. Robert Robbins. “I want them to be disruptive problem solvers.”), nobody, including Khalil Tate himself, comes out and actually says his tweet was the reason the school walked away from Ken Niumatalolo.  You’d think that’s kind of a big omission, no?

That being said, if there has been some kind of paradigm shift there, good luck to Kevin Sumlin.  Managing a football program via Twitter ought to be a real blast.


Filed under Pac-12 Football, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground

The gift that just keeps on giving

Less than two weeks later, it’s already obvious this will never get old.

UGA’s staff knows that the talent margin is closing, that we are no longer a team with a couple of nice pieces – that we are getting deep. Sandridge was a cannon shot. A championship playoff run, at a position of need, and we still get the commitment – regardless of what is being written about currently (and make no mistake, it isn’t a coincidence).

It has been a long time since we’ve been this deep. On the staff and on the roster. It’s the middle of July and we are all in the same range of commitments and we are ahead of them. Pressure is all on them.

How’s that whole cannon shot-y thing working out, fella?  Smashingly!

Travon Walker made his college commitment from a small gathering at the Fine Arts Center at Upson-Lee High School on Tuesday night.

His decision came down to Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and South Carolina. The 5-star DT prospect chose UGA…

They’re singing a new song over at The Big Spur message board.

Sucks that georgia landed him but great to see our hat on the table for a 5 star DT out of Georgia.

You can win a lot of games with hats.  Meanwhile, with three fewer recruits, Georgia sits twelve spots ahead of the ‘Cocks in this morning’s 247Sports recruiting rankings.


Filed under 'Cock Envy, Georgia Football, Recruiting