Daily Archives: January 14, 2021

Today, in athletic department belt tightening

Jesus.  Sarkisian just hired away Saban’s special teams coach for the low, low price of $1 million a year.

Just imagine what these idiots might be doing if we weren’t in a pandemic.

31 Comments

Filed under Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

“It’s not like the antitrust laws were passed yesterday…”

It appears the new sheriffs in town aren’t impressed with Mark Emmert’s sudden retreat on the NCAA’s proposed one-time transfer rule.

Blumenthal and Booker said they had no patience for the notion that the NCAA Division I Council and Board of Directors backed off scheduled votes this week on transfer and NIL proposals, in part, because of concerns the Justice Department’s antitrust division leader Makan Delrahim raised in a letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert last Friday. Blumenthal indicated that any antitrust flaws in the proposals should have been apparent to the association and the proposals should have been tailored accordingly.

“It’s not like the antitrust laws were passed yesterday,” Blumenthal said. “They’ve been around for a while.”

Booker said he saw no reason why the Justice Department’s concerns with elements of the transfer process that weren’t being addressed by the proposed rules changes should have prevented the NCAA from making the change that the department actually lauded – addressing the five remaining Division I sports in which athletes generally are prohibited from playing for one year if they change schools.

“A good-faith measure for them would be to change their transfer rules,” so transferring athletes don’t have to sit out, Booker said. “I don’t think that this is a reaction to the Justice Department. I think this is a false cry of impotency on their part to address the real fairness and justice issues of the athletes that they say they’re organized to protect.”

I’m shocked, shocked that anyone would accuse the NCAA of having ulterior motives when it comes to doing it for the kids controlling the distribution of the enormous sums of money that flow through collegiate athletics.

15 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

Keep ’em happy.

One thing about a concern that there won’t be enough balls to keep all the skill position players happy this season — you can address that, at least partially, by running more plays in a game.

Here, via cfbstats.com, are the number of plays per game run by Georgia during Smart’s term, compared to the team in the country that ran the most plays per game in the same season:

  • 2016:  Georgia 70.7  Tulsa 85.7
  • 2017:  Georgia 65.0  Syracuse 85.6
  • 2018:  Georgia 65.9  Wake Forest 82.1
  • 2019:  Georgia 67.1  Ohio State 76.4
  • 2020:  Georgia 68.3  Clemson 75.1

I’m not advocating pedal to the metal, but there is clearly some room for Georgia’s offense to increase the number of plays it runs.  Also, note that, from season to season, there is a healthy concentration of the best offenses ranked in the top five of plays run, which makes sense, if you think about it.  Together, that’s a good way to keep your backs and receivers engaged.

33 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

When you haven’t lost Danny Kanell…

Ah, hell.

“I think you should be massively excited if you are a Georgia fan, for a couple reasons,” Kanell said. “One, because of what you’re bringing back. JT Daniels looked the part. Todd Monken, another year getting that offense kind of developed, getting the players more familiar with it because, remember, they did not have a full offseason. It wasn’t normal. JT Daniels didn’t get to start or play much in the preseason, now he gets to start a handful of games late and he looked good in those. You bring back George Pickens, your top three pass catchers. I know there are losses on the defensive side of the ball, but that’s just where you trust the recruiting classes and trust Kirby. This is going to be a good defense. Are they elite? That’s a question you have to ask and that’s maybe concerning but my biggest issue with Georgia has always been around the offense and I think they should be excited about that.”

Danny even tossed in some Florida shade, to boot.

Now I’m a little worried about Georgia’s 2021 prospects.

42 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Dennis Dodd means well.

There are going to be a lot of “how can college football’s postseason be improved?” thought pieces this offseason, not that any of them will be worth a damn unless they’re penned by the P5 commissioners.  Dodd’s got one, and it’s well-intentioned, I suppose, but this paragraph made me chuckle:

3. Reduce the playoff-or-bust mentality: All of the following may happen organically, but if not, options begin with reducing the number of bowl games, which creates more demand. With the expected, eventual addition of name, image and likeness rights, allow sponsors, apparel companies or even the network to pay star players bonuses for participating in non-playoff bowl games. That may help stave off massive opt outs only reducing those to potential early first-round picks.

Yeah, player compensation might stem the tide of opt-outs to some degree, but how you can talk about a playoff-or-bust mentality without mentioning ESPN, by far the worst offender in that regard, is either craven or a surrender to reality.  Players sticking around might be nice, but as long as viewers are tuning in to the bowl games — most owned by the network, remember — in sufficient numbers, Mickey ain’t crying.

7 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Has Georgia reached the “reload, not rebuild” stage?

Or, as Marc Weiszer calls it, retooling.

As the final wave of UGA football players announcing their plans for 2021 wound down, Georgia inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann provided a visual reminder of the ever changing nature of college football.

He posted photos on his Twitter account with incoming linebackers Xavier Sorey and Smael Mondon welcoming two of the four five-star signees in the Bulldogs latest recruiting class to campus.

Georgia’s talent base is at the level that neither will have be counted on to be instant impact players for the Bulldogs.

One reason why is because of whom Georgia brings back as starters.  Here’s the list:

  • JT Daniels, QB
  • Stetson Bennett, QB
  • Zamir White, RB
  • George Pickens, WR
  • Jermaine Burton, WR
  • Darnell Washington, TE
  • John FitzPatrick, TE
  • Jamaree Salyer, OL
  • Justin Shaffer, OG
  • Warren McClendon, OT
  • Jordan Davis, NG
  • Devonte Wyatt, DT
  • Nakobe Dean, ILB
  • Chris Smith, SS
  • Lewis Cine, S

Retooling isn’t confined to the returning starters, either.  As Seth Emerson points out ($$), the Dawgs are poised to return an obscene amount of offensive productivity.

• 94 percent of its receiving yards from last season, a hugely important number if the lesson of the 2019 season means anything.

• 98 percent of its rushing yards, led by White but also James Cook, whose skills were finally unlocked by first-year offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

The defense isn’t quite as loaded, but there’s a notable stockpile of talent on that side of the ball as well.

Davis, defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt and inside linebacker and leading tackler Nakobe Dean should make the Bulldogs hard to run on again after the Bulldogs led the nation in stopping the run and Quay Walker (fourth in tackles) can step in as a starter at inside linebacker

The Bulldogs’ secondary had struggles in 2020 and was hit hard with the departures of underclassmen Stokes and Campbell declaring for the NFL draft as expected. Add to that sophomore Tyrique Stevenson is in the transfer portal and it will be an overhaul for a unit that already was losing safety Richard LeCounte, nickel back Mark Webb and cornerback DJ Daniel.

… Georgia’s defense can lean on former five-stars to fill holes including defensive lineman Jalen Carter and Travon Walker, outside linebackers Adam Anderson (6 ½ sacks) and Nolan Smith and cornerback Keelee Ringo who didn’t play this season.

Ringo was practicing with the team at season’s end and dressed out for the bowl game. Four-star cornerback signee Nyland Green also could be in position to get early playing time.

(By the way, both kickers return, too.)

If there’s one area where a red flag could be raised, it’s the secondary.  There is little experience at the corner positions, in particular, something that will need to be addressed in one form or fashion.  As Weiszer writes, “Smart should be mining the transfer portal for a plug-and-play cornerback like the Bulldogs did to add to other positions of need last year.”  (Fortunately, there do appear to be a few candidates in the portal already.)

Which brings us to the touchy subject of roster management.  Smart faces some real challenges, something he’s noted before, partially driven by the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA in the face of the coronavirus’ impact on the 2020 schedule, partially driven by the depth at certain positions due to no one taking an early departure to the NFL draft (as one commenter put it last night, “But happy as I am about Zeus and Cook returning, not sure McIntosh, Milton and Edwards will want to share time with them instead of transferring to a program with a less crowded RB room.”).

Not that enjoying an overload of talent at a particular position is such a bad thing to have.  Still, it will likely force some uncomfortable decisions in the next few months, some by the coaching staff, some by the players themselves.  The tricky part for Kirby will come in managing the timing so that he doesn’t get caught short by a sudden move that leaves the team vulnerable at a key position (*** cough *** cough *** Newman ***).  At this point, it doesn’t appear that preparing an early departure for the NFL draft is a major concern, but the transfer portal taketh as well as giveth, and there’s still plenty of time between now and the summer for musical chairs to be played.

30 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“Siri, show me the current state of Tennessee football.”

Truly a golden age for the Vols.

33 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Narrative, distilled

Pat Forde may deserve some kind of award for neatly summing up every easy take we’ll see pundits offer up about Georgia football in the coming preseason in one paragraph.

Once transfer quarterback JT Daniels was healthy enough to play, the season changed for Georgia. With Daniels coming back, top running back Zamir White doing the same and the nation’s No. 1 recruiting classes from 2018–20 continuing to suffuse the program with talent, the time is now for the Bulldogs. Yes, there are a lot of early-entry losses to the draft, especially on defense—but the return of interior linemen Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt gives Georgia a chance to once again field the nation’s No. 1 run defense. Can Kirby Smart answer the lingering questions about his in-game coaching?

There’s probably a solid drinking game to be designed from all that.  Hell, you could get alcohol poisoning just from the number of times “the time is now for the Bulldogs” gets repeated in the next seven months.

14 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles