Daily Archives: December 12, 2019
Today’s question comes from Seth Emerson’s mailbag ($$):
In your opinion is Kirby Smart able/willing to truly evaluate every part of the program, himself included and make necessary changes? If not I fear we’re stuck here.
This was the tone of several questions this week, and a general sentiment among a growing segment of the fan base: Is Smart too stubborn and set in his ways to fix the offense? (Tim, I know you say “every part of the program,” but let’s be honest, you mean the offense.) Another reader, George C., went so far as to term Smart’s post-SEC championship presser as “tone deaf,” which was when Smart said this: “People can say, well, Coach Smart wants to play man ball. Coach Smart wants to win, and we threw the ball 42 times.”
For the record, the very fact Smart cited the term “man ball” means he knows the criticism is out there. He is self-aware. That’s a good thing. Whether he acts on it is, of course, a whole different matter.
Seth gives Kirby the benefit of the doubt there. How about you? Sounds like a reader poll topic to me.
UPDATE: Kirby and Georgia’s offense appear to be a popular Mailbag topic. Here’s the leadoff item from Andy Staples‘ ($$):
You asked the question about Kirby Smart: Will he adapt like Saban and Orgeron and fulfill the promise he’s created at Georgia, or will he stubbornly refuse like Les Miles and throw away all he’s built in Athens? So what’s the answer? What do you honestly think he’ll do, knowing what you know about Kirby?
I think Smart will try to change the offense. The question is how far he’ll be willing to go.
He tried to hire former Georgia coordinator Mike Bobo — who was fired last week at Colorado State — but South Carolina coach Will Muschamp won the tug-of-war between former Georgia teammates to hire their former teammate Bobo. Bobo would have opened up the offense…
Clearly, the Vols aren’t used to going to bowl games anymore. First, the school indicated to its fan base that it’s headed to the Music City Bowl. Tennessee fans jumped on tickets to said bowl as soon as they were made available. UT then pivoted to the Gator Bowl. Hilarity ensued ($$).
On Sunday, he jumped the gun and purchased a pair of tickets to the Music City Bowl for $250 before the matchup was decided. The 42-year-old fishing lure designer drives five hours from his home in Camden, Tenn., for every Tennessee home game, but the only bowl he’d ever attended was the 2016 Music City Bowl. Now, Tennessee was back, and Powley was going to make a return of his own.
Instead, despite initial reports that said otherwise, Tennessee ended up in the Gator Bowl against Indiana in Jacksonville, Fla., and Powley was stuck with rapidly depreciating tickets. He called up a family of Mississippi State fans he knows with an offer for a pair of tickets to see the Bulldogs take on Louisville in Nashville.
“They laughed,” Powley said. “And said I’m about the 10th person that they personally know that called them in the same situation.”
So much for that whole “act like you’ve been there before” attitude.
The nation’s No. 22 OT prospect (per the 247Sports Composite) has opted to back off his commitment to Georgia in the wake of the news that Pittman is no longer the offensive line coach at Georgia. It does not even make sense to call it a de-commitment this time. At least is his eyes.
Braun and his family viewed it as a commitment to play for Sam Pittman as the line coach at Georgia.
“Due to Coach Pittman leaving, I have taken a step back and am reassessing my commitment,” Braun told DawgNation on Wednesday. “My commitment was to play for Coach Pittman, but since he is no longer there the commitment is void.”
He didn’t decommit from Georgia. He never committed to Georgia in the first place. Or something like that.
Throughout the 113-year history of the NCAA, the notion of federal government intervention in the management of college sports has generally been viewed with both skepticism and outright disdain. But NCAA president Mark Emmert has carried a new message into the halls of Congress lately on the nationwide push for college athletes to be able to profit off their name, image and likeness: We need help.
Emmert acknowledged Wednesday at a sports business conference in Manhattan that he has met with members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate recently to discuss how federal legislation might help the NCAA deal with an onslaught of issues presented as more states pass bills similar to California’s “Fair Pay to Play Act.”
As a guy whose first option is always to brazen it out in the courts, that’s an admission that the NCAA is concerned the legislative brush fire on NIL rights risks turning into a full bore conflagration, one that the organization won’t be able to put out on its own through its working group.
Emmert is no doubt hoping he can lobby Congress into putting into law what the NCAA wants and nothing more, but this doesn’t sound like a guy who’s willing to play ball on the NCAA’s terms alone.
Meanwhile, a bipartisan Senate working group led by Murphy and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) was announced last week to discuss how college athletes can be more fairly compensated. Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C,) already has introduced a bill that would allow college athletes to make money off their names, images and likenesses. In addition, a legal challenge to the NCAA’s athlete-compensation rules has been set for oral argument before a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in March.
“This whole thing is a house of cards that’s going to come down one way or the other,” Murphy said during a telephone interview Wednesday. “College athletics is trying to be a multi-billion-dollar industry without compensating the people who are making the product. That’s not going to stand in the long run from a moral perspective or a legal perspective.
“The college athletics industry created this problem by professionalizing itself over the course of years and one way or another, this is not sustainable because of public pressure — fans aren’t going to allow for the coaches and the schools and the companies to make billions of dollars while the students make almost nothing — or because the courts are going to step in.”
I suspect the compromise that’s going to be crafted will be to loosen the reins around NIL rights more than Emmert would like, in return for building a firewall around the idea that schools would have to pay college athletes directly. We’ll see.
… but if this is any indication, the players sound like they’re taking it more seriously than they did last time out.
But two Georgia defensive backs on this year’s Georgia team have both stated they will be playing in the 2020 Sugar Bowl when Georgia takes on Baylor on Jan. 1 in New Orleans.
LeCounte told reporters after Georgia’s 37-10 defeat to LSU in the SEC championship game.
“I’m definitely going to play in the bowl game,” LeCounte said. “The next thing I’m looking forward to is what happens in the bowl game.
Reed told reporters the same when speaking with media in Atlanta. Reed is a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, which will be presented on Thursday night.
“The Dawgs are playing and I’m still a Dawg,” Reed said according to the Athens Banner-Herald’s Marc Weiszer.
That falls in line with Smart’s proclaimed strategy that he wants to emphasize players who want to play in the bowl game. When you’re as deep as Georgia is at most positions, it’s a good approach, I suppose.
I don’t think it’s a horse out of the barn situation, either. When you combine how the 2019 regular season ended with the egg the team laid in the last Sugar Bowl, showing up to play this go ’round would restore a certain vibe. Another lackadaisical approach to a bowl game following a disappointing SECCG would be certain to leave a lasting bad taste in the collective mouth of the fan base and I don’t think that’s something Smart wants to risk.