Daily Archives: October 3, 2018

Kirby Smart may say there’s no plan…

… but Gary Danielson begs to differ.

“They are navigating waters that no one knows how to do,” Danielson said. “This new rule of four games – the unintended consequences – are being dealt with all through college football. All the coaches are flying blind. Players are trying to figure out what to do.”

Danielson cited the Georgia Bulldogs as an example.

Kirby Smart’s team utilized both Jake Fromm and Justin Fields last week in a win over Tennessee. The SEC on CBS analyst believes the Bulldogs are preparing for No. 1 Alabama.

“I think Georgia is going to settle on a two-quarterback system,” he said. “I think the Georgia is getting ready for Alabama. They are getting ready for LSU. I think the way they are looking at this is we are our best when we play both.

“I think Alabama, in a tight game, does not play both. They may go with a change-up with Jalen Hurts, but I think Tua is their best chance. I think when Georgia looks at a game, their best chance is to play both of them.”

Georgia is getting ready for Alabama?  Kinda cocky, doncha think?

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Filed under Georgia Football

“But it’s OU-Texas. There are no rules.”

This is epic.

“The body language was awesome. It was like watching a Muttley cartoon,” Leach said, referring to the villainous 1960s dog who was the sidekick to Dick Dastardly. “They decided to give it the Muttley snicker and then went up the tunnel.”

Yar!

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Filed under Mike Leach. Yar!, Strategery And Mechanics, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

“Keep chopping” — is that enough?

I want to return to that Dawgnation piece on some of the ESPN talking heads expressing concern about Georgia’s offense, to highlight one quote in particular.

McElroy’s co-host, Marcus Spears added that Georgia is still trying to find “their best self.”

“I don’t think Kirby is comfortable with where they are,” Spears said.

Does this sound like a guy who’s uncomfortable with where they are?

Kirby Smart’s not budging, Georgia is going to remain a power football team.

“You have to have body blow after body blow until it wears people down,” Smart said. 

You must chop wood, continue to hit people, wear them down, you’ve got to have the threat of a pass and you’ve got to do it over and over.”

It doesn’t sound that way to me.  The way it sounds is that it’s some of the pundit class and the fan base that’s uncomfortable with where they are.  As Connor Riley puts it,

If you ask an honest Georgia fan, they’ll tell this team hasn’t played always their best brand of football this season. With the exception of the third quarter of the South Carolina, Georgia hasn’t looked like the dominant team a No. 2 ranking would indicate.

And yet, Georgia also really hasn’t had to sweat an outcome yet. Not a single Georgia game has been decided by single digits and the Bulldogs have two in-conference road wins already. Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson can’t say that so far.

If you’re an honest Georgia fan, it seems to me the question you should be trying to answer honestly is why the dissatisfaction.  It’s a little funny to me, because I detect faint echoes from the early Mark Richt era when a chunk of the fan base complained regularly about a lack of style points even as the program was winning division and conference titles fairly regularly.  It’s amusing now because the program under Smart is already scaling greater heights than it did in the early aughts and yet for some, it’s apparently still not enough.

So let’s see if we can break this down a little.

First off, I doubt anyone, including Kirby Smart, would question the observation that Georgia football hasn’t been operating at maximum efficiency all games, sixty minutes at a time.  Outside of ‘Bama, though, what college football team has this season?

That being said, could things be better?  Sure.  The Tennessee game is a good example of that; better execution in the passing game would have turned a dominant day into a blow out earlier on.  The Dawgs wasted some opportunities, no question.

If you want to say Kirby’s uncomfortable about execution, okay, I can buy that, but the overall vision — what he likes to refer to as his team imposing its will on the opponent, or playing to a standard — isn’t going to change.  It was the same in 2016, when the talent didn’t match his philosophy and he stuck with it, so why would anyone expect him to depart from that as he’s reshaping the roster with his recruits?

That leads to another honest question.  What explains the execution issues that have at times bogged the team down?

One area that’s been offered as an explanation is the overall youth of the roster.

No question Smart is playing a lot of freshmen and sophomores, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that even many of those kids have significant playing time under their belts already, as Georgia’s had plenty of blow out opportunities to give the back ups real game experience.  (In turn, that’s also some context in which to consider those snap count numbers Parrish posted.)  Let’s also not forget that there are plenty of upper classmen in the two-deep; as of right now, there are only two true freshman starters, Tyson Campbell and Jake Camarda.

The one area where I think youth is a valid concern/excuse is special teams.  It hasn’t been noticeable on kickoffs, because Blankenship is a touchback machine, but blocking on punt returns has been a noticeable problem.  It’s not a coincidence that the one game where the return team did a consistent job blocking was also Hardman’s best game of the season.

If I’m being honest, then, what do I see as the root source of Georgia’s inconsistency?  For want of a better term, I’d say it’s group mindset.  Not only was trying to force the square peg of the 2016 roster into the round hole of Kirby’s overall philosophy a problem that first season, but there was also the issue of player buy-in to that philosophy.  The decision of the four seniors to return in 2017 put to be the buy-in issue and the tough road win at Notre Dame forged a resoluteness that carried the team to a national title game.

This year’s team, then, has a legacy to build on and it’s already a pretty steep one.  Add to that the noticeable talent advantage the program has quickly built along with the relatively easy schedule Georgia has had to navigate so far and you’ve got a team that knows it’s one of the nation’s best and hasn’t always felt a need to challenge itself at every turn because of that.

The challenge is coming, though.

Are they ready for it?  Neither you nor I nor even Kirby Smart will know the answer to that until the team is faced with it.  But we do know this:  better to be the team with gobs of talent than not.  We also know that Smart and staff will do what they can to have this team ready.  It’ll be up to the players themselves to find what they need when the time comes.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Your 10.3.18 Playpen

Thought I’d get this week’s edition started with a couple of requests.

I had some emails asking me to share some pics from Rennsport, so here goes.

This is the Porsche 64, the 1939 prototype that led to the post-war Porsche company.  I’d never seen one in the flesh before.  They actually took it on the track for a short run.

I was lucky enough to get a pass on to the bay area adjoining the track.  I got a close-up opportunity to see cars heading in as they prepared to race.

This year’s Rennsport was a four-day affair that drew over eighty thousand fans.  Pretty impressive.

Topic two?  Well…

Kirby ain’t happy about Sasser’s “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son” moment.

“If what I read and heard is true, it’s really unacceptable behavior that’s not who we are at Georgia,” Smart said. “We’re trying to build a program on tolerance and mutual respect. You can’t control what other people say, but the expectation is that people that are part of our program and come to our games share the same beliefs that we do. It’s sad that something like this would happen. I’m disappointed. But it doesn’t affect our family, our unit here and our kids have been great. It’s not something I’ve had to address with them. I’ve addressed it with Justin. That’s the most important thing.”

Actually, no, that’s not the most important thing.  The most important thing is public perception and whether that trickles down to the recruiting trail.  So, while I agree with this take…

Gulebian was asked what her and her friends thought should happen to Sasser.

“Honestly, that’s kind of hard to say,” said Gulebian, a junior majoring in animal science. “I don’t know how far his consequence should go. But I do think something should happen. People will think it’s OK if it doesn’t, and it’s not OK. Plus, he’s a student-athlete. He’s a public figure, people know who he is and he represents our school. He should know better. So I don’t know what should happen but I think something should happen.”

… I strongly suspect Sasser’s fate rests largely in Smart’s hands.

Share your suspicions in the comments section, if you dare.

*********************************************************************

UPDATE:  And there you have it.

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Filed under GTP Stuff

“The NCAA rules are the not the laws of the country.”

The basketball fraud case is in court and it sure sounds like two things are true.

One, there are a lot of dirty schools.

But Donnelly said in her opening statements that coaches at Adidas-sponsored schools asked Gatto for help in securing the highly ranked players.

Specifically, Donnelly alleged the evidence will show that Gatto agreed to pay Brian Bowen’s father, Brian Bowen Sr., $100,000 for Bowen to attend Louisville, but only after Nike-sponsored Oregon offered the recruit an “astronomical amount of money” to sign with the Ducks.

Donnelly said Gatto and defendants Merl Code and Christian Dawkins also schemed to pay Nassir Little’s family $150,000 to steer him toward the Miami Hurricanes, but only after Arizona, a Nike school, offered the five-star prospect from Florida the same amount to play for the Wildcats. Little committed to North Carolina shortly after the investigation broke last September.

And Donnelly said Gatto assisted Kansas by approving a $20,000 payment to Silvio De Sousa’s guardian, Fenny Falmagne, to reimburse Under Armour, which had paid him to ensure that he signed with Maryland.

And, two, the prosecution has a tough sell ahead of it.

In her opening statement, Donnelly emphasized that breaking NCAA rules is not necessarily breaking federal law.

“The NCAA rules are the not the laws of the country,” she said. “It’s like a kids’ after-school soccer league, if that soccer league also brought in $1 billion a year. These aren’t the laws. They’re the equivalent of the rules in your apartment building. If you break them, you haven’t broken the law. It is not against the law to violate NCAA rules.”

Donnelly told the jury that Gatto thought of the schemes as a “win-win-win” scenario that benefited all three parties involved: the universities, by getting top-ranked players; Adidas, by getting top players at Adidas-sponsored schools; and the players and their families, by getting money to tide them over until they could play professionally.

“The basketball coaches would ask for Jim’s help in recruiting particularly talented basketball players to their programs,” Donnelly said. “I suspect you know what kind of ‘help’ the coaches wanted from Jim. He’s not a guidance counselor. Jim understood that Adidas should help the families out if that’s what the coaches wanted.”

Whichever way this goes, it won’t be pretty.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Recruiting, The NCAA

Got ’em right where they want ’em.

You don’t have to tell a Georgia fan that the Dawgs always get Vandy’s best shot when the ‘Dores are big underdogs.

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Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

Wednesday morning buffet

Dig in, my friends.

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Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA