Daily Archives: March 27, 2019

“I wouldn’t say it’s unrealistic, it’s just challenging.”

The NCAA is so mad at Kentucky they’re going to give Cleveland State another year of probation.

Jerry Tarkanian

One only wonders what Tarkanian would have quipped about this.

Like most warning shots, it was loud and flashy, designed to capture attention. Like most warning shots, it drew no blood. And like many warning shots, it isn’t likely to force much change.

In early February, the NCAA used Saginaw Valley State University to launch its latest warning to member institutions — this time the smaller schools that make up Division II.

Springboarding off a self-report from Saginaw Valley on paperwork issues that led to 130 athletes in 15 sports competing improperly over several years, the NCAA warned schools that they must have a strong compliance program — a tall task for small schools.

“The committee is cognizant of the financial challenges faced by many Division II member schools,” the NCAA said in its press release announcing its decision. “However, this case illustrates the need for all Division II schools to ensure that they devote the necessary funds and staffing to establish an effective and reliable compliance program that, at a minimum, can fulfill basic and fundamental responsibilities of membership, including eligibility certification, as exemplified in this case.”

It might also illustrate the need for less NCAA regulations.  But that might affect the job market for compliance officers.

“Division II is largely the forgotten division,” Eckstein said. “There are often the local state school or the smaller private school. The NCAA has the tendency to pick and choose when they enforce all the rules. They don’t like to do so at the big schools, so they do every once and a while with the smaller schools and they can say, ‘Look, we enforce the rules.'”

The NCAA declined to make anyone available to talk about this issue.

Unlike Tarkanian…

2 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

Heat index

Spencer Hall tackles an important subject — ranking how friggin’ hot each SEC venue gets.

I’ve never been to Gainesville, so I’ll have to take his word on the Swamp being the hottest of hots, but if any other school had ranked second ahead of South Carolina, I would have strenuously objected.

SOUTH CAROLINA. Never attended a game there but who cares: Columbia is so fucking hot they made it part of a city marketing campaign. Columbia feels like a pet store gecko terrarium looks, right down to the sensation of being trapped under a heat lamp. This is actually part of why we’ve never been there for a game. We lived there as a kid, and the prevailing memory was of hitting cockroaches the size of koalas with flip-flops while trying not to touch anything in contact with direct sunlight. The way Columbia smells makes it feel hotter, and no, I’m not going to explain this, either.

The two most uncomfortable road games I’ve suffered through were in Columbia, where it got so effing hot that I had to retreat under the stands during the game a couple of times and Clemson, where the stadium concessions added the nice touch of running out of ice well before the first half ended.  (That was the game that started with the center vomiting on the ball, which now seems like some sort of fitting metaphor.)

The only game in Athens that ranked with those two was the 2010 Arkansas game, which was a thoroughly miserable experience that ended with the Hogs pulling out the win with fifteen seconds left and made me realize that I had literally had a taste of what hell must be like.

How about you?

71 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Your 3.27.19 Playpen

Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to condemn Thomas Mars.

The video begins with the student holding the belt and playfully hitting the person under the blanket.

“Pick my cotton, b—-,” the man says.

“I’m not black,” the person being hit retorts loudly, prompting chuckles from the other people in the room. The man, seemingly unfazed, continues to repeat the command and lightly smack the person in bed. Another person can be heard echoing the man’s words in a high-pitched voice.

The man is in the middle of swinging the belt when a voice off-camera interrupts: “You’re not using the right words.”

He freezes, the belt dangling limply from his raised hand. “Pick my,” he starts to say before pausing. Another person in the room eggs him on.

“Wait, get a video of it,” someone says.

Yes, because the only thing better than being racist is deliberately choosing to publicize the fact.  This Georgia grad doesn’t know whether to be more embarrassed for their attitude or their outright stupidity.  “Better Men for a Better World”, indeed.

And let’s hear it for the genius takes at Stingtalk.

With that, the floor is yours.

211 Comments

Filed under GTP Stuff

Have some havoc, please.

A couple of other quotes from Kirby’s presser yesterday deserve their own post, because, havoc.

On if they work on schematic or individual defensive plays…

“There’s definitely some schematic stuff. We have a base defense that we feel good about. Within that, we have pressures and we have a lot of things we didn’t use last year for whatever reason. We may not have thought they fit the opponent. We may not have thought the fit who we had on the back end to protect it. I think we’re going to be deeper and older and wiser on the back end, which allows for a little more complexity. Last year was s tough year. It was nothing to do with Coach (Mel) Tucker. It was tough. We had some young guys in the secondary, a lot of young guys. Where now, I feel like we have a group back there that is emerging with some personality. Divaad (Wilson) has grown a little confident. That bowl game worked wonders for him. He’s playing good. Mark Webb is where he understands things. J.R. Richard…there’s good competition at safety with Otis (Reese). We just have more competition, which I think allows us to create more havoc. Some of that is scheme where you go meet with five times that are in the top 20 creating tackles for loss and you say ‘How do you do it?’ You start learning that and you try to put some things in that they do. We’re trying to that, but to be honest with you, you’re running against a big ole wall of grown men up that, and that’s tough. That’s a good offensive line.”

I read that to say that the defense was limited last season by inexperience in the secondary, which, if you think about it, is a little strange to say given that Baker and Reed were starters at two spots.  Indeed, you can make the argument that there’s as much inexperience coming into this season, as Reed is the only projected starter with more than one season under his belt.  Which leads me to this observation about the defensive front:

We want some quickness and twitch. When we study all these ‘havoc rates,’ a lot of it is twitchy players…quick guys. It’s a catch 22 for us because if you have quick twitchy guys and you’re playing against our guys every day in practice, our offensive line, when you move and they move you, some times the displacement is huge because when you’ve got Salyer and Andrew (Thomas) and really good offensive linemen and you start moving sideways, they just whack you and move you. We’re not built to be an extremely violent quick, twitchy defense.

This is where I think the real issue lies.  What every defensive coach wants, whether it’s out of a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, is a defense that can put real pressure on a quarterback with no more than a four-man rush.  Georgia really didn’t provide much of that consistently in 2018.

Seth Emerson ($$) writes some of that is by design.

Some of it is scheme:  Georgia often asks its edge rushers to essentially sacrifice stats (mainly sacks) for the greater good of the defense. Outside linebackers can be employed to “mush rush,” a term for keeping contain on the outside rather than making a mad dash for the quarterback and risk exposing the outside.

Significantly, it’s a design that works.  For all of Kirby’s newfound interest in havoc, it’s worth repeating that Georgia’s defense was very, very good last season in not giving up big plays.  I doubt Smart’s willing to sacrifice that in the name of havoc.

I suspect what this all really means is that Georgia is going to be more creative with personnel than with scheme.  Kirby wasn’t talking up Smith and Johnson in that presser to make them (or us, for that matter) feel better about themselves.  It will be interesting to watch the defensive brain trust’s juggling act in that regard.

11 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Kirby’s presser: a little Dawg porn, a little concern

Some tidbits from yesterday’s chat with the press as spring practice gets in to the swing of things:

On who stands out of the wide receivers…

“Well, ironically Tyler Simmons has played well. He’s really competitive, he’s fast, he gets on top of us. He’s done some good things. I think ‘D-Rob’ (Demetrius Robertson) stepped up. He’s got to continue to play more physical, but he’s made some catches. He’s made some vertical threats. Jeremiah (Holloman) is playing well. Kearis (Jackson) is coming along, probably not as fast as I’d like. Matt (Landers) has done some things and Tommy (Bush} has done some things. You know Matt’s got some bruises. Tommy’s dealing with some groin injuries. The volume we have for the number of receivers we have has been tough, and we normally balance that with tight ends but we don’t have volume there. So we’re thin. We know help’s on the way, but we’ve just got to do a good job developing enough depth that we’re comfortable with. They’ve made some plays, I definitely think that, where last year it was like big-play-bonanza out there with the wideouts while we had the young DBs. That’s balanced out more. Our DBs have gotten better, at least I hope they have, or the receivers are not as good a group right now. Actually, it was this time last year. That’s only going to happen through getting the kids here we signed and continuing to develop them.”

Two things that stand out there are (1) Robertson’s still got blocking issues that may limit playing time, which is going to make for an interesting decision since it appears he’s got significant receiving skills and (2) the stud incoming freshmen are going to be given every opportunity to earn playing time as soon as possible.

On what he’s seen from early enrollees DE Nolan Smith and LB Jermaine Johnson…

“I’ve seen hunger out of both of those guys. They don’t know exactly what to do yet, but man they do it hard. There’s something to be said for that. We’re going to play kids at the University of Georgia who give effort and play hard and do the right things. Those two guys, they play hard. They don’t know what they’re doing yet, and that’s our job. I’m very thankful they’re here for (these) 15 practices. I mean Nolan has flashed some plays. He made a helluva hit today and a really good play. He’s also flashed some What are you doing?’ Jermaine has been the same play. We call them ‘Super Man plays,’ where you look out there and say ‘Who is that guy? Who is that jersey number?’ But then they’re lost some too. I’m fired up to coach those two guys because I’m excited about what they’re going to do to the guys in front of them from a pushing standpoint.

Hubba hubba.  If Kirby’s excited, I’m excited.

On if DL Jordan Davis and other defensive linemen are stepping up with an injured line…

“What other guys? We don’t have any. Defensive line is super thin. I guess I’m whining to the masses because every coach would tell you they don’t have enough defensive linemen. Jordan is pushing hard. He’s working hard to control his weight. He’s not playing to the level he was playing mid-season to the end of the season. He’s not there right now, but he’s working hard. Jordan comes in and works cardio more than anybody we’ve got. I mean if I ran as much as Jordan my wife would be happy because I’d be skinny. Jordan’s got to fight that battle, and he knows it. We don’t have enough depth there. I thought Devonte Wyatt is a guy who’s really been competitive and done some good things. He was starting to grow up during the season, and there’s something about these guys in that second spring when they start to click and get it. Our help is on the way there. It’s just not here.”

Well, shit, Kirby.  (Although I love that line about “if I ran as much as Jordan my wife would be happy because I’d be skinny”.)

On OL Jamaree Salyer’s performance…

“I’d say he’s three or four practices, he’s our most improved offensive lineman. It’s not center because he’s working at center as a candidate, but he’s working at right tackle and right guard. Let me tell you something, he’s played quick. The biggest jump has been that guy. We kept waiting on it because you knew you were getting a really talented player. I didn’t see the Jamaree I’ve seen this spring, I didn’t see any of that in the fall. He’s challenging some guys. He’s making guys work hard. I didn’t know if the guy could be a right tackle, but he’s gone out and played well. He’s gone to right guard and played well. He’s gone to center and blocks Jordan Davis. You start going ‘Who is that?’ ‘That’s Jamaree.’ ‘Who’s that at right guard?’ ‘That’s Jamaree.’ Jamaree has done some good things. We gave him some looks today with the ones, and we’ll continue to do that if he continues to play well.”

More hubba hubba.  Have I mentioned that Sam Pittman is a golden god?

6 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

It’s not just that they’re big.

I keep pinching myself over how much returning, experienced talent there is on the offensive line.

Kindley is one of four returning offensive linemen with at least nine starts under his belt. Junior left tackle Andrew Thomas has started 28 of the 29 games UGA has played since he arrived on campus. Ben Cleveland has nine starts over the past two seasons and that number would be much greater if not for a fractured fibula that kept him off the field, except for special teams, for the final nine games of 2018. Isaiah Wilson started all 14 games last season and Kindley has 24 starts (all 14 a year ago).

All of those guys are healthy this spring with reserve lineman Justin Shaffer and D’Marcus Hayes going into their third season. UGA also has Trey Hill and Cade Mays back, each of whom started four games or more last season. There’s also Jamaree Salyer, who served in mop-up duty as a freshman but was ranked as the nation’s No. 10 overall prospect in the 2018 class per the industry-generated 247Sports Composite coming out of Pace Academy.

I get the point that Georgia’s had huge offensive lines before that didn’t exactly pan out as hoped, but, goodness, I don’t think there’s ever been a season when the Dawgs could deploy a line that combined size and experienced depth in the way this 2019 group does.

20 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“Obviously, I’m extremely disappointed.”

But Kirby Smart hasn’t lost control!

“My concern is the decisions that are made to put yourself in that situation,” Smart said. “Look, our kids go downtown. We know they go downtown, but when you go downtown you’ve got to behave. You’ve got to act the right away, follow and be law-abiding citizens. That’s the expectations we have for our players and to be honest with you, most of our guys do that, but when they don’t, we’re going to try to correct it and we’re going to try to do it the educational way. We’re certainly going to do that with Tyrique and Tyler.”

Man, where’s the overreaction, the sanctimonious handwringing, the sense that the program is about to collapse under its own weight?  Why hasn’t Kirby spoken with Kirk Herbstreit about it?

I dunno, maybe he’s just waiting for PAWWWLLL! to weigh in.  This is just too measured.  This lack of aggression will not stand, man.  At least not as long as there are still dumbasses sensitive pundits with hot takes out there.

10 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football