Daily Archives: April 29, 2019

“I thought we had a really good spring.”

Georgia’s 2019 spring practice is in the books.  More than a week after G-Day, I thought I’d take my expertly formulated opinion — hey, I watched a spring scrimmage and read the media reports, didn’t I? — and post my thumbnail feelings about a few topics.  Bullet points, get over here!

  • Areas of least concern:  offensive line (duh); secondary (even post-Baker, I couldn’t help but be impressed with the depth of talent in the defensive backfield); outside linebacker; running back; Blankenship
  • Area of lesser concern:  quarterback, at least as long as Fromm stays healthy (Bennett looks like he’s functional, at the least, and Mathis has talent)
  • Areas of some concern:  defensive line (not sure if the depth is there); inside linebacker (not sure if the speed is there, at least until Dean is a regular part of the rotation)
  • Area of concern:  receivers (mainly because of depth after Holloman, Simmons and Woerner; the incoming group plus Robertson I hope will lower my anxiety)

This is a loaded bunch.  Based on my limited exposure watching as many spring football games as I could, I don’t see another team in the East at Georgia’s talent level.  But I also see an offense that is probably going to be brought around more slowly than the spring chatter might indicate and a defense that has a few things to sort out in the front seven.  Plus, there are new coordinators on both sides of the ball.

For those reasons, I don’t find a reason to think there’s going to be a major deviation from last season’s offensive game plan, at least early on.  Mashing defenses with that huge offensive line makes too much sense, given where the talent and depth on offense lies right now.

Your post-spring thoughts?

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44 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“I knew how to work the game.”

Let me see if I’ve got this straight:  the NCAA doesn’t allow student-athletes to be compensated for the use of their name, likeness and image, but has no problem allowing them to promote the use of their name, likeness and image.

Snell is part of a growing number of college athletes capitalizing on their popularity. The NCAA prevents athletes from endorsing products or being paid by sponsors, but they’re allowed to turn themselves into online personalities. And that helps lay the groundwork for future deals.

It’s a trend that Jim Nagy, executive director of the Senior Bowl, has noticed over the past few years. By building a personal brand in college, athletes “can really monetize themselves when they become professionals, rather than start from scratch in whatever NFL city they end up in,” said Nagy, a former NFL scout.

Evidently, it’s not spending time commercializing yourself that’s a problem.  It’s getting to the commercially viable stage while you’re still in school that is.

The really perverse twist to this is that schools are starting to take advantage of it.  No, really.

INFLCR was founded in 2017 by Jim Cavale, a former college baseball player who felt NCAA athletes were losing out on a golden opportunity to leverage their stardom. Schools pay between $10,000 and $50,000 per year for the service, and in return athletes receive approved content on their phones right after a game or practice. The service uses the professional cameramen that schools already employ.

“Athletic departments are often so focused on the return on investment, which to them means ticket sales or merchandise sales,” Cavale said. “Our service is a different kind of play. This is about recruiting, reaching a wider audience, and a better student-athlete experience. It’s a bit more abstract.”

Schools are coming around to the idea. Kentucky bought the Snell Yeah trademark and website, then transferred both to the running back after he left school. Guy Ramsey, who oversees the Wildcats’ website and social media, said the department’s approach has evolved over the past few years to become more collaborative. The school understands that its athletes reach an audience that the Wildcats’ accounts often miss.

“It even dips into recruiting,” Ramsey said. “It’s difficult to get a recruit to follow your brand account sometimes. But if you have an ambassador putting content out through their own personal lens, that’s then a reflection of our own brand.”

So there it is:  kids, you can have the brand.  You just can’t have the money.

I’m sure this makes sense to somebody.  I’m not sure how they keep a straight face about it, though.

9 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground, The NCAA

Transfers are scary things.

That’s why everyone uses scare quotes these days.  Here, for example, is a question from yesterday’s Bill King post:

Bill, the way I see it, this “transfer portal” the NCAA has instituted is going to remake the game of college football, and not in a good way. No wonder Kirby and other coaches hate it. If players can leave whenever they want and transfer wherever they want, it’s likely to make it impossible to stockpile talent and let it mature. Top-ranked players come in and don’t crack the starting lineup in their first season? They’re outta here! Won’t that put pressure on coaches to start all the 5-stars they sign, even if they’re not ready? And that’s so unfair to players who’ve worked hard in the program. What are your thoughts?

Now, transfer portal is a real phrase, so why the quotation marks?  There’s only one reason, Bubba.  Fear!  Anxiety!

Much the same in this Hartford Courant piece about “free agency” and the “transfer portal” (again).  I’m beginning to think coaches tell their kids scary stories at bedtime:  “if you don’t behave, you’re going straight into the transfer portal!”.  Ooh.

Well, it’s only fair to say that Randy Edsall, of all people, ain’t buying that.

“I think you have too many people in the NCAA who are out of touch with reality of what this is all about. They want to sit there and think grad transfers is about academics. It’s not about academics. It’s about these young men taking advantage of an opportunity, because they did get an undergraduate degree, to maybe go somewhere and give them a better opportunity to showcase their abilities and talents that’s going to help them get a better opportunity in the NBA or the NFL. That’s really what it’s all about.”

Ironically, both Edsall and entitled college football fan grasp the situation better than does the NCAA.  This isn’t about academics, as much as some schools and Mark Emmert would like to insist otherwise.  It’s about who should have control over student-athletes’ playing futures.

And maybe how much control they should have.  Edsall goes on to make what I think is a valid point with this:

… He would also like to see a binding letter of intent as part of the process.

After last season, defensive lineman Michael Hinton, who graduated from Columbia, committed to play at UConn as a grad student and signed a financial aid agreement, binding for the school, but not the player. Last week, Hinton changed course and decided to play at Tulane, another AAC school, and Edsall said he believes he won’t be able to use the scholarship on another player, because Hinton had signed a financial agreement at UConn.

Bottom line, there should be some sort of reasonable common ground to attain regarding transfers.  That probably won’t happen until the NCAA drops the fiction it’s trying to preserve the academic mission.  Oh, and everybody loses the scare quotes…

14 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA, Transfers Are For Coaches.

On the up and up

In the wake of Dabo Swinney signing that ginormous contract extension at Clemson, I’ve seen a fair number of takes like this, suggesting his argument that player compensation is another form of entitlement that college athletics can do without no longer has any place in the discussion.

With all due respect, that completely misses the point.  Of course Swinney’s perspective continues to matter, and matter greatly.  Not because it occupies some moral high ground, but because, unlike some, Dabo ain’t stupid.  He can do the math, and the math here is pretty dang simple.

For now, there is no reason to think the top of the college football coaching marketplace is going anywhere but up. Rapidly.

Every year, more money pours into college athletics departments. There is no legal way for schools to cap coaches’ compensation. And for the time being, at least, there is a legal way to cap athletes’ compensation.

So a market that’s governed by the usual economic factors, plus the wild card of emotion, is almost assured of going higher than it did Friday.

All that money’s gotta go somewhere, and if it’s not going to the players directly, well… like I said, Dabo ain’t stupid.  There’s a good reason college sports are the only major commercialized venue where coaches make more than star players.

What I wonder about is what happens should the time come when the NCAA and the schools go all out for an antitrust exemption.  Will college coaches realize what that will likely mean for them, too?  And, if so, what would they do about it?

11 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Mano a mano

Over at UGASports.com, Dayne Young has a post with some cuts from G-Day that focus on the offensive line, the receiver blocking, and the defensive rush.  It may not be as sexy as QBR, but it’s certainly revealing.  The o-line, as you might guess, tends to have its way in grind ’em scenarios, but the defense gets its licks in when speed matters more than strength.

The unanswered question is whether each group is facing as talented an opponent as it will see during the regular season, or not.  (Although I can already say the defense won’t see another D’Andre Swift in 2019.)

What do y’all see in those clips?

6 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football