Daily Archives: September 20, 2019

Quid pro quo, bitchez.

Mike Leach, saying the quiet part out loud:

His deposition in the next antitrust suit ought to be epic.


UPDATE:  In case you missed it, Danny Kanell is a moron.

I mean, unless you really think it’s the official position of the NCAA that players have jobs, that is… nah, he’s a moron.



Filed under Mike Leach. Yar!

“Do More” = “Spend More”

Mark Schlabach’s piece about how Georgia has spent its way into becoming a national powerhouse doesn’t really contain anything new, but there is this oh-so-modest quote from Kirby Smart:

“I talk about commitment to excellence and commitment to building a strong program, and [the administration] has committed to that,” Smart said. “When you’re talking about taking a job at the caliber of Georgia, there’s not a lot of negotiating power. It’s a great job, and I wanted the job. They talked about a commitment to excellence, and that’s what I want and that’s what they’ve done.”  [Emphasis added.]

All it took to counter that was a well-timed Jimmy Sexton threat about South Carolina and the rest is history.


Filed under Georgia Football

The sharpest tool in college football’s shed

From the latest installment of “How Does Larry Scott Still Have a Job?“, an ever-continuing series:

Though the Pac-12 has an enviable TV footprint, with five of the top 17 markets in the country — Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix and Denver — it doesn’t translate to the balance sheet under the terms of its television deals. The Big Ten distributed as much as $54 million in TV revenue to its schools in the 2018 fiscal year, dwarfing the $29.5 million the Pac-12 paid out. The SEC paid out as much as $43.7 million to its schools, while the Big 12 was at $38.8 million and the A.C.C., whose revenues will get a bump this year with the start of its conference network, was at $29.5 million along with the Pac-12, whose payout decreased by $1.5 million from 2017[Emphasis added.]

In this day and age of the value of live broadcast, how in the world does a P5 conference with plenty of major TV markets in its wheelhouse pull something like that off?  It just takes the right kind of vision from the right kind of visionary.

That’s how long the Pac-12 will have to wait to see if Scott’s big bet pays off: the decision not to partner with ESPN or Fox in forming the Pac-12 Network (as other conference networks have) while waiting to cash in on a bidding war for all its TV rights when they expire — a battle among not just traditional networks but also newer contenders like Amazon and Google.

Or so the hope goes.

At the moment, it has been a costly decision. Not only is the conference left with far less money, it also has far lower viewership because cable and satellite companies aren’t compelled by a partner like ESPN or Fox to take the Pac-12 Network as part of a bundle of sports networks. As a result, the Pac-12 Network, which was introduced seven years ago, is in only 18 million homes, less than a third of the audience for the SEC Network and the Big Ten Network, and about half of that for A.C.C. Network, which started in August.

“We determined that we didn’t want to sell the Pac-12 Network — there was anticipation that it would grow — and when the landscape changed, we’d be able to negotiate a better deal and cash in,” Ray Anderson, Arizona State’s athletic director, said. “That’s been a painful wait.”

The truly amazing thing is that their best scenario has the pain continuing until 2024.  And my bet is that Larry “But I feel like it’s my job to regularly think outside the box” Scott will be collecting steady paychecks all along the way.

Man, I’m in the wrong line of work.


Filed under Pac-12 Football

“Obviously, we took a risk as we said earlier, and vetted the young man.”

Honestly, WTF is it with some coaches?  Is there some contest to see who can be the next Art Briles?

This is something:

A former Michigan State football staffer said under oath that head coach Mark Dantonio ignored his assistants’ warnings while recruiting a player who subsequently was convicted of sexually assaulting a fellow student on campus and that important information was omitted from an investigation into how the athletic department handled a pair of sexual misconduct allegations involving football players…

During the course of the Jones Day investigation in 2017, another football player, defensive end Auston Robertson, sexually assaulted the girlfriend of one of his teammates. He was dismissed from the team when he was charged with a crime, and later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

Blackwell said in his deposition that multiple assistant coaches asked Dantonio not to offer Robertson a spot on the roster because he had a history of troubling behavior. Blackwell said he witnessed defensive line coach Ron Burton tell Dantonio that he didn’t want Robertson to be on the same campus as his daughter.

“So for Ron Burton to say it was that bad that he didn’t want his daughter around him, I knew he had some real serious sexual issues,” Blackwell said in his deposition…

That’s putting it mildly.

Robertson, a highly touted recruit from Indiana, was charged with misdemeanor battery during his senior year of high school. Police said he “rubbed and grabbed” a female classmate’s groin against her will in the school’s lobby. The female student told police Robertson had also harassed or touched her inappropriately on two other occasions. Robertson, who had also been arrested on vandalism charges months earlier, was kicked off the high school’s football team and banned from the high school’s campus while Michigan State was recruiting him.

Blackwell said in his deposition that Michigan State assistant coaches learned about other troubling incidents in Robertson’s past when they attempted to vet him further during the early months of 2017.

Police reports and court documents show that Robertson was involved in a string of incidents in which he was accused of sexual violence and two forceful rape attempts during his high school years. He was not charged with crimes in any of those cases. A university spokeswoman said in 2018 that the school was not aware of any of those incidents when Robertson was accepted as a student.

Uh huh.  Right.

Blackwell said that he, Burton and fellow assistant Dave Warner all suggested the team steer clear of Robertson in a meeting with Dantonio.

“I want to say [Warner] spoke with the principal and the coach … and they had nothing good to say about him,” Blackwell said. “[Warner] couldn’t really find anybody that could say anything good about Auston.”

Blackwell said Dantonio “overrode” other staff members who didn’t want him on campus, telling them he would make Robertson his “pet project.” Blackwell said Dantonio met with Robertson on a weekly basis during the freshman’s time on campus and created a special program to mentor and monitor him.

Dantonio’s deposition, assuming it ever gets to that stage, ought to be a real hoot.


Filed under Big Ten Football, Crime and Punishment

Potential chink in the armor?

If you’re indulging your inner Munson and looking for an area where there’s a decided schematic advantage in Notre Dame’s favor, Nathan Lawrence is here for you.

One of the very few situations wherein Notre Dame has a decided statistical advantage is on first downs. Not only has there been a large margin in the performance of these two units, the Fighting Celtic People have been a top-ten offense in first-down situations. Most of the the advantages ND has over UGA are in situations where both teams are, at best, average, 1st down SR is the only area where ND is excellent, and there is a significant gap between the two teams. One of the most worrying signs possible in the early stages of this game would be to see consistent success on first down. This would open up the playbook for Ian Book, ND’s senior QB. As more of a scrambler than a pure pocket passer, Book has shined when he can move in the pocket, keep his eyes upfield, and run against zone defenses. The unequivocally best way to put him that situation is for the ND offense to be successful on early downs. If we see that unfold on Saturday, particularly in the first frame of the game, that’s when we need to start worrying.

This is the answer to my question earlier in the week, about how can ND beat Georgia if the Dawgs’ ground game is clicking.  The Irish have to commit to winning a shootout, countering Georgia’s rushing success with their own ability to move the ball on early downs so that Ian Book can unleash his entire skill set on Georgia’s defense.  (A timely turnover or two wouldn’t hurt, either.)

That’s the only path I see for Brian Kelly’s team, because, just to beat that poor dead horse even more, they ain’t stopping Georgia’s running attack.  Just ask Nathan.

Screenshot_2019-09-20 What Advanced Stats Tell Us About UGA’s Matchup Against Notre Dame

First of all, let’s just look at UGA’s plot here. Holy s***. The dawgs are formidable on offense to this point in the year. When your radar plot on one side of the ball is basically a regular polygon, you’re doing everything right. There’s been a low-boil narrative developing across Kirby Smart’s career that he, to a fault, wants to “impose his will” or play “man ball.” This has manifested and is driven by many, many predictable offensive calls in short-yardage and goal-to-go situations.

This is the rare big game where Kirby’s natural, impose your will instinct is absolutely the correct strategy all night long.  Notre Dame has to go in doing what it can to keep up.  Georgia’s ability to handle Notre Dame’s offense on early downs will likely dictate the final margin tomorrow.


Filed under Georgia Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Run, Georgia, run!

I’m sorry, I can’t help it.  I’m totally besotted by Georgia’s advantage in the run game.

More data from DawgStats:

They good, in other words.

And here’s the list of the twenty worst college football defenses on rushing plays of 10+ yards.

Screenshot_2019-09-20 cfbstats com - 2019 National Team Leaders

They bad, in other words.  (And not in the Isaac Hayes sense of bad, either.)  On a per game basis, only Kent State gives up more of these gashes per game than does Notre Dame.

I doubt Kirby needs any guidance here, but Herschel ain’t wrong.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Goin’ down the road, feelin’ bad

Some kind of omen here?




Filed under Notre Dame's Faint Echoes

Some personnel notes

If you aren’t that on top of Notre Dame’s roster, at least outside of Ian Book, here are a few things I’ve dug up for your attention.

First, from PFF:


Georgia LT Andrew Thomas vs. Notre Dame’s Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara

When Notre Dame heads down to Georgia, it will be the largest collection of draftable talent facing off in any game we’ve seen yet this season. The marquee matchup will be right along the line of scrimmage. Both Andrew Thomas and Julian Okwara look very likely to be first-round selections come next April, checking in at 10th and 17th on the PFF draft board, respectively. Kareem is more of a Day 2 guy, but that’s still a great litmus test for both him and Thomas. Okwara is one of the best players in the nation at converting speed-to-power with a prodigious combo of length and burst. Kareem is more of pure power player and even played defensive tackle early in his Notre Dame career. Thomas is currently the highest-graded tackle in the country and won’t face a better edge duo all season, and the Notre Dame duo won’t face a better tackle. This is tape scouts will be coming back to frequently next spring.

Notre Dame’s defensive front may be a little soft in the middle, but it’s got real talent on the outside.  I’m not so much concerned about how Thomas handles whoever is lined up on his side as I am at the other tackle and, perhaps more significantly, how the interior of Georgia’s line — I’m looking at you, Trey Hill — handles the inevitable stunts and twists I expect the Irish to utilize to try to get at Fromm.

Here’s another key matchup.

Notre Dame WR Chase Claypool vs. Georgia Secondary

The Georgia secondary is loaded with draftable talent. The safeties J.R. Reed and Richard LeCounte are the headliners after grading out exceptionally in 2018, but redshirt sophomore cornerback Eric Stokes could make his way up boards here soon as well. They’ll face a man who looks like an NFL wideout at 6-4, 230 pounds with good speed but has yet to produce like one until this season. Claypool was a basketball standout in high school yet that hasn’t translated as well in contested situations as we may have liked going 6-for-14 on those last season. The key here will be the play of both Claypool and Stokes at the line of scrimmage. Bigger receivers often lack the flexibility and quick to deal with good press corners, and Stokes has played the eighth-most snaps in press of any corner in the nation (64).

Well, remember that Georgia tends not to flip its cornerbacks to follow particular receivers, so it’s unlikely that Claypool finds himself matched up against Stokes all day.  In fact, I would expect Notre Dame to do what it can to exploit Claypool’s talent and size against the corner on the other side, who will either be a Tyson Campbell who is nursing an ankle injury, or Daniel and/or Stevenson.  In any event, you have to think Smart and Lanning are going to have to provide some safety help if Claypool proves to be too much for one DB to handle.

Jake Rowe has some more player details here.  I will say that I have a lot of respect for Ian Book’s game; he’s one of those scrappy running quarterbacks who seem to give Georgia defenses plenty of problems over the years.  Containment is going to be a huge deal for the defense tomorrow night.  I hope I’m not pulling out my hair watching that breakdown constantly.

Book’s completion percentage hasn’t been as great as I expect Brian Kelly would like it to be, but he hasn’t thrown an interception in Notre Dame’s two games and he absolutely ripped New Mexico’s pass defense apart.  He’s also averaging better than 5.5 yards per rush and has two running TDs to his credit.  A real threat, in other words.

If you want more, Rowe also has a unit group comparison posted here.


Filed under Georgia Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes

TFW getting there isn’t half the fun

Athens-Clark County PD’s traffic control, never exactly the stuff of legends on game day, is likely to be challenged even more severely by the influx of what is expected to be a larger than normal sized crowd.

If this is meant to reassure, I’m not getting the message.

Athens-Clarke police have “been planning for this weekend for over two months. We believe we have a plan in place to handle the anticipated crowds,” police spokesman Geoffrey Gilland said.

Gilland and Greg Trevor, executive director for media communications at UGA, said their agencies do not discuss specifics of their security plans.

UGA did say they are bringing in additional staffing to assist with the crowd.

Gilland said the traffic plan in place is designed to move vehicles out of campus and downtown and onto the Athens Perimeter when the game is over.

Police are also loading their traffic patterns onto an app that people can access to see post game traffic routes. Gilland said police are using the app Waze in an effort to provide this information to the public.

People are advised that at least 21 streets in the downtown district will be modified to keep traffic flowing out of town, Gilland said.

Many downtown interior streets will be blocked and traffic will not be able to access some locations, he said.

Clayton Street from Thomas to Pulaski streets will be closed off to vehicular traffic sometime after 8 p.m., Gilland said.

People using ride shares are asked to utilize Washington Street and Hancock Avenue as traffic will not be permitted to stop on Broad Street. South Street between Thomas and Jackson streets is also open for ride shares.

Parking on campus is restricted and it is best to avoid streets surrounding campus including Lumpkin Street, Gilland said.

“Do not stop and ask an officer for help while they are directing traffic,” he said.

Shit, help?  Why would this night be different from any other?  They may be from the government, but they are not there to help.

Screwing with street access isn’t the only thing you need to be aware of.  Georgia is contributing with gate access changes.

Yeah, this is going to end well.  Anyway, you have been warned, peeps.  In Athens, fan-friendly is a state of mind.


Filed under Georgia Football

“I knew the Georgia fan base was for real.”

One of the unalloyed joys of this week is reliving the pleasure of my trip to South Bend in 2017.  I’ve come across several articles that have made it clear what an impact our fan base had on the players in that game.

Dennis Dodd:

The 2017 game in South Bend, Indiana, was a launching point of sorts for both schools. Smart was in his second season. Georgia squeezed out a 20-19 win that was significant because SEC schools seldom challenge themselves with such true road nonconference games outside the Deep South.

“I most definitely remember the fans,” Georgia defensive back J.R. Reed said. “Being in that stadium and seeing that sea of red made me think it was a home game. I knew the Georgia fan base was for real.”

There were an estimated 30,000 Dawgs at Notre Dame Stadium that night.


Georgia players didn’t know what to expect before they arrived. What would the environment be like? The fans? Bellamy remembers a “fear of the unknown” because they’d never played Notre Dame and only heard about the school in a mystical sense and from watching old games on ESPN Classic.

But by this point in their careers, Bellamy and his fellow seniors had played in some intimidating places. Tennessee twice, Florida twice. Then they ran out of the Notre Dame Stadium tunnel and saw…Bulldogs fans. It put the team at ease.

“It was like a home game,” Bellamy says.

“We were pissed off,” McGlinchey says.

We really were awesome, weren’t we?

There will be far less than 30,000 visitors in the stands tomorrow night, but I do hope we show some legit Southern hospitality to those Irish fans who do brave the trip.  I know I’m repeating myself here, but I was so impressed with how gracious everyone was in South Bend, before and after the game, despite their obvious disappointment that so many of their ticket holders sold their seats to invaders wearing red and black.

These aren’t Tech fans, so reciprocate if you get the chance, Georgia folks.  It’s how your mommas raised you.  (Or should have, anyway.)


Filed under Georgia Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes