Daily Archives: February 18, 2019

I’ll take “Get a burner phone” for $200, Alex.

Over at The Athletic, Hugh Freeze is asked ($$) the musical question “Is there anything you wish you’d done differently at Ole Miss that you take into this job?“.

(No, that wasn’t part of his answer, sadly.)

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Filed under Freeze!

“Fundraising efforts are already underway.”

Haves vs. have-nots, Butts-Mehre edition:

Georgia Athletic Association board members will be briefed on the progress of efforts to add a new football-dedicated building to the Butts-Mehre Athletic Complex when it holds its annual winter meeting on Wednesday.

In a conference call with members of the board’s facilities and development committee Monday morning, Athletic Director Greg McGarity confirmed that a status report will be provided on the latest multi-million dollar project to come on line since Kirby Smart became the Bulldogs’ head coach in 2016. McGarity said Georgia is in the process of selecting engineers and architects for the project, which is expected to be erect a building in the space between the Spec Town Track & Field grandstands and the Payne Indoor Athletic Facility.

… Since Smart’s arrival on campus in January of 2016, Georgia has built and dedicated a $30 million indoor practice facility and $65 million locker room and recruiting area underneath the West grandstand at Sanford Stadium. Since the fall of 2015, members of Georgia’s relatively new Magill Society have pledged donations totaling nearly $100 million to cover the cost of those projects.

Board members will also be briefed on an upcoming project to improve the lighting at Sanford Stadium, McGarity said.

The majority of the focus on facilities updates on Wednesday will be on construction of a new grandstand for the Henry Feild Stadium courts at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, McGarity said. Cost for that project is now expected to exceed $8 million. The board will also be briefed on plans to erect a new six-court indoor tennis facility for the complex.

“That will be the only action item on Wednesday,” McGarity said.

To date, none of the monies raised from the Magill Society have gone toward tennis. That is the sport Magill oversaw for decades before his death in 2014 at the age of 93.  [Emphasis added.]

Irony is dead.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Skin in the kickoff game

If you’ve watched any Alliance of American Football action (and before you ask, I haven’t), you may have noticed an absence of kickoffs.

The AAF debuted last weekend without toe meeting pigskin following scores. Offenses simply took over at the 25-yard line. No high-speed blocks, tackles or collisions. Definitely no injuries.

“It felt a little awkward,” said Atlanta Legends coach Kevin Coyle, a veteran of more than 40 college and pro seasons. “For me personally, it felt strange not to kickoff and cover the kick.”

Obviously no kickoffs = less injury chances, which has started another drum beat about what college football ought to do about that.

The thing is, the rule changes already enacted have had their desired effect.

  • For the first time since the NCAA began tracking such numbers, less than half of all kickoffs — only 42 percent — were returned last season.
  • For at least the fifth straight year, touchbacks are up. The 2018 total of 4,273 was up almost 28 percent since 2013.
  • The total number of kickoffs returned for touchdowns is down almost half from 72 in 2012 to 38 in 2018.
  • Kickoff return yards are down 42.2 percent since 2011. That was the last season before the kickoff was moved from the 30 to the 35-yard line.

Still, that’s probably not satisfying for the all or nothing crowd.  So what’s an NCAA rules committee to do?  Well, if you’re Steve Shaw, you raise an interesting defense of the status quo.

“Imagine Georgia-Florida and the place is up for grabs and we just jog out and put it on the ground,” he said. “I think we want to do everything we can do to protect the play.”

That’s the most empowered I’ve ever felt about an NCAA rule change.

By the way, thanks for getting the name of the game right, Steve.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

Boom boom

Groo has some thoughts about our ‘Cocky neighbors in response to a post of mine about the recruiting gap between Georgia and the rest of the division.  It’s a good analysis and worth a read, but I confess the main reason I mention it now is because it gives me another excuse to post this.

That never gets old.

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Filed under 'Cock Envy, Recruiting

Body blows

You would think this would be an obvious slam dunk to correct.

Whenever an Oregon football player struggled, vomited or fainted during a strenuous January 2017 workout, two lawsuits allege, their teammates would be punished with additional repetitions. Three Ducks players were hospitalized following the session and diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, an overexertion-induced syndrome that damages muscle fibers and releases their contents into the bloodstream.

In charge of the training? Strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde, whose sole credential was a 21-hour strength training course offered by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, which he reportedly attained while at South Florida in 2016. Oderinde received a bachelor’s degree in recreation administration from Western Kentucky and master’s degree in sport management from Kentucky, though neither of those would certify him to be a strength and conditioning coach…

Under NCAA Bylaw 11, strength and conditioning coaches are required only to take a “nationally accredited strength and conditioning certification program,” a broad spectrum that includes Oderinde’s 21-hour course. And there is no language that prevents strength and conditioning coaches from reporting directly to head coaches.

Brian Hainline, chief medical officer of the NCAA’s Sports Science Institute, told Sporting News the NCAA was looking at bolstering accreditation standards for strength and conditioning coaches “in the next year or two,” though no formal measures have yet been introduced or reviewed.

But you, my friend, aren’t the NCAA.

In 2015, the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCa) — considered industry leaders in strength and conditioning accreditation — asked the NCAA for “higher professional guidelines” for strength and conditioning coaches to become credentialed, according to CBS. Since then, the NSCA and CSCCa have grown frustrated at the lack of NCAA action, sending a follow-up letter that reiterated their policy recommendations in March 2017.

NSCA board president Dr. Travis Triplett told SN that the politics of the NCAA — namely, how conferences and individual athletic programs oppose what they perceive as meddling — has made progress toward improved certification standards slow. Her view is reminiscent of medical experts’ frustration with the NCAA’s approach to preventing non-traumatic injury and death.

“I don’t know if they received enough pressure to back off and they just feel like they can’t really enforce it, I just don’t really know what their thinking is,” Triplett said. “We feel like … we’ve got that credibility that (the NCAA) should say, ‘Yes, you need one of these two certifications (from either the NSCA or the CSCCa). You can have the other ones as support ones.’”

Whatever could be the problem?  It’s the NCAA, so that means one thing.

… William Brooks — who has litigated issues of sports compliance and NCAA rules infractions for Alabama-based law firm Lightfoot, Franklin & White — believes it’s not yet determined whether the NCAA has a legal duty to protect student-athletes. That said, he believes if the NCAA made rules on issues such as strength and conditioning coach certification, it could essentially give the organization a caretaking role in the eyes of courts.

Brooks said he expects the Oregon case — like similar cases before it — will be settled before trial. Still, he is curious how it will shape a continuously evolving dialogue about the NCAA’s role in protecting its student-athletes.

“If they were to enact specific rules or requirements, those likely would be subject to an attack in a particular case if they weren’t good enough and the NCAA had undertaken a duty of protecting student-athletes,” Brooks said. “It wouldn’t be hard to imagine an instance where some kind of injury occurred and a player were to argue that the NCAA’s rules, if they had enacted some, were insufficient and the NCAA was negligent.”

Gee, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say there’s something that trumps doing it for the kids in the NCAA’s playbook.

By the way, Oderinde is the head strength and conditioning coach at Florida State now.

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Filed under See You In Court, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

Balance

As somebody who’s always believed the first law of offensive coordinating is take what the defense gives you, I’ve always favored Mike Leach’s definition of balance over, say, Mike Bobo’s.

“There’s nothing balanced about 50% run-50% pass, ’cause that’s 50% stupid. What is balance is when you have five skill positions and all five of them are contributing to the effort in somewhat equal fashion — that’s balance. This notion that if you hand one guy 50% of the time and then you throw it to a combination of two guys the other 50% that you’re really balanced. You probably pat yourself on the back and tell yourself that. People have been doing that for decades. Well, then you’re delusional.” -Mike Leach

As Ian Boyd puts it,

It’s often been noted that it can be hard to run the ball effectively if the defense isn’t worried about the pass at all because defenders fly downhill when they see run blocking. Alternatively, a defense that isn’t worried about the run can play more DBs, bring more exotic blitzes, and rush the passer off the snap more aggressively. In that sense, balance can just mean making a defense worry about multiple things before the snap to prevent them from zeroing in.

Mike Leach prefers to think of balance in terms of how many skill players on the field have to hold the attention of the defense. If all five skill players are a threat to receive a pass from the QB and do damage with the ball, it becomes very difficult to account for everyone on every snap.

He then goes on to look at what balance means in an era of pass-first, HUNH spread offense.  There are effective wrinkles, of course, but in the end, it still comes back to the Jimmies and Joes.

Having balance in the Leach-ian sense is pretty difficult. Ensuring that there are players at all five skill positions that can actually threaten a defense is pretty difficult. For years Leach was able to do it because his Tech teams were unique in their approach and defensive rosters weren’t built to handle facing so many competent receivers. Nowadays his teams face a squad like Washington that plays in base nickel personnel with speedy LBs in the middle of the field and there are diminishing returns.

Having a roster that can put five skill players on the field at the same time who can be counted on to carry the day if the defense dictates that the ball needs to go there.

Remember, the spread started as a way to give teams with lesser talent a shot at competing with their betters.  It’s certainly evolved from there, but as it has, defenses have evolved with it.  If the world is moving to stop pass-first offenses — and Boyd takes the position that’s still an ongoing process — the teams that are left with high levels of talent and run-heavy schemes that should be able to exploit defenses not geared for that sort of attack should be successful in pursuing a contrarian approach.  Gee, I wonder if we know of any programs that take such an approach…

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Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

Won’t someone think of the enablers?

(AP Photo/Paul Vathis)

Give it a rest, you assholes.

Former Penn State trustee Al Lord, who helped research and write the alumni trustees’ report, said Tuesday he has heard other trustees quietly criticize the Freeh report. He said he hopes the newly public document changes minds.

“It’s about the reputations of Paterno, Spanier, Curley and Schultz. They’re the ones who had the ultimate damage,” Lord said.

About those reputations…

Spanier was convicted in 2017 of a single misdemeanor count of child endangerment, and has a request pending before the state Supreme Court to review his case. A judge in 2017 threw out Spanier’s defamation lawsuit against Freeh.

Two of Spanier’s top lieutenants when he was president, vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley, pleaded guilty to child endangerment on the eve of trial and testified against him. Both served short terms in county jail. Spanier is free on bail pending appeal, and his lawyer declined comment on the new report.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think you’re gonna be able to unring that bell, Al.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, You Can't Put A Price Tag On Joe Paterno's Legacy