Mark Weiszer has a piece up about the strengths and weaknesses of Jamie Newman, from the perspectives of three former NFL quarterbacks who watched him play last season while doing broadcast work. It’s generally informative and worth a read.
This part had me drooling a little:
Wake Forest used unique designed runs for Newman, Hasselbeck said.
“They’re kind of sometime QB follow type plays,” he said. “It’s not just a normal zone read. He literally ends up like being the backside seal blocker at times at Wake with some of the stuff they did. He’s just big and strong. If you look at Cam Newton with the Carolina Panthers, there was a pretty good stretch when he was their best goal-line back. I could see a scenario at Georgia where it’s a part of their offense now inside the 5-yard line, now all of a sudden, one of your best goal-line backs is your 230-pound quarterback and now you’re defending 11-on-11. You can get an extra blocker because of his ability as a runner.”
It’s not that I’d want him doing that every time down at the goal line, but planting that possibility in the minds of defenders and defensive coordinators? Hells yeah to that.
Stewart Mandel referenced “man ball” in today’s Mailbag ($$).
I have to give David Hale credit for staying in touch with his roots. Here’s what he has to say about a neighbor to the north and bowl game overreactions:
Tennessee can win the SEC East
Nothing sets the stage for a good offseason “momentum” story like a six-game winning streak, which Tennessee capped with a 23-22 win over Indiana in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. The Vols came a long way from that opening loss to Georgia State, and to be sure, there’s cause for a lot more optimism around Jeremy Pruitt’s program now than there was a year ago.
But let’s pump the brakes a bit on Tennessee’s return to glory. UT averaged 15 points in six games versus Power 5 bowl teams. There are big questions about the future of the QB position and an offensive line that couldn’t open up running lanes all year. And, despite the late-season success against South Carolina, Missouri and Vandy, the Vols were outscored by their two real foes in the East — Georgia and Florida — by a total of 60 points.
We’ll see how much the Vols enjoy their November this season when they come to Athens.
I have to admit that one thing Donald Trump doesn’t get enough credit for is his subtle sense of humor.
Oh, wait… he was serious about that? Never mind.
If you don’t want to discuss that, I’ll give you a twofer today.
This country… Jeebus.
Thought this was an interesting statistic.
At 41.18%, Georgia’s third down conversion rate last season was 50th nationally. (I probably don’t need to tell you which game saw the Dawgs notch their highest mark of the season against an FBS opponent at 66.67%.)
You know something Georgia hasn’t done well recently? Transition to a new offensive coordinator ($$).
The last three times Georgia had a new offensive coordinator, the results were not good.
2015: Fell from first to fifth in the SEC in offense, and from first to ninth in scoring.
2016: Fill from fifth to 11th in offense, and from ninth to 11th in scoring.
2019: Fell from third to sixth in offense, and second to fifth in scoring.
I doubt Smart is unfamiliar with that track record, which makes his decision to change coordinators again that much more surprising or impressive, depending on your point of view.
I wonder if Dantzler is tempted to call 2020 a throwaway season.
PFF joins the pack in issuing a way-too-early 2020 set of rankings, but unlike the pack, ranks Georgia as its highest SEC team.
3. Georgia Bulldogs
As of now, the SEC is running through the Georgia Bulldogs. They return the second most WAA among non-quarterbacks as a team, with Eric Stokes and George Pickens leading the way. And they were fortunate enough to land the biggest graduate transfer of this offseason in Jamie Newman. During Newman’s 2019 season at Wake Forest, he displayed traits that Jake Fromm couldn’t touch — such as tight-window accuracy and effective deep passing — while displaying far superior athleticism. His tight-window passing grade and deep-passing grade (20-plus yards) both were second to only Joe Burrow this season. That’s pretty good company. Getting him out of Wake Forest’s up-tempo, RPO system will allow Newman to do what he does best — beat defenses with his arm instead of his legs.
(WAA is their acronym for wins above average. There’s a link to a fuller explanation in the opening paragraph you may want to click on for understanding.)
Oh, you might ask, Georgia higher than the Mighty Gators? How can that be?
19. Florida Gators
Before Florida fans start complaining over their team’s No. 19 ranking, they should keep in mind that the Gators are losing three of their six most valuable players — Jonathan Greenard, Freddie Swain and Van Jefferson — and Kyle Trask rarely impressed on a game-to-game basis. Trask had just two game grades above 70.0 all season long. On the bright side, the Gators return one of the best young cornerbacks in Kaiir Elam, who allowed just 10 catches on 23 targets and was responsible for six combined pass breakups and interceptions. A healthy Kadarius Toney should help matters, too.
If you think that’s probably not sitting well in certain quarters… well, you’d be right.
In a shocking development…
Meanwhile, Greg McGarity shakes his head at another school missing the marketing angle of making beer sales a premium perk for big donors.
It’s really not that hard to admit reality.
The man who played a lead role in helping the NCAA earn its status as a billion-dollar organization says there is no longer a way to justify the current limits on how college athletes can make money.
From 2012 through 2016, Mark Lewis oversaw a division of the NCAA that organizes and stages 90 championship events each year. During his time in that role, Lewis increased corporate partnerships and completed a landmark $8.8 billion, eight-year extension to the contract that gives CBS and Turner the television rights to the annual men’s basketball March Madness tournament. The proliferation of television contracts at the school and conference level, Lewis said, has been a driving force that has fundamentally changed college sports in the last several decades.
“The priority is to monetize the sport,” Lewis told ESPN this past week. “That’s taken precedent over everything else. If that’s the model — and there’s nothing wrong with that — then you can’t expect the players to live by the same set of rules [as they did in the past]. To me, it’s just a question of fairness.”
I understand how someone can be an amateurism romantic. What I don’t understand is how an amateurism romantic can’t accept how the surrounding world of college athletics has changed so dramatically when it comes to priorities.
The horse has left the barn. What’s the point in shutting the door on college athletes now?
UPDATE: “Using the word ‘amateurism’ is a loser long term,” one respondent said. “We are the only ones left who use it. It’s a lack of credibility issue. We are using the word … because we have to with these lawsuits.”