Daily Archives: February 17, 2021

Look who’s back.

Shit, I meant to post this yesterday and forgot.

Mea culpa, Zooker.  2021 keeps looking up from a blogging perspective.


Filed under The Adventures of Zook

Your 2.17.21 Playpen

Ron Courson is tasked with another tough job.

UGA athletics has a tentative timeline for when COVID-19 vaccines may be available for its nearly 550 athletes and about 300 staff members.

That could be as early as late March or early April, Ron Courson, the school’s longtime director of sports medicine, said last week.

Now Courson will be working to educate them about why they should get shots in arms.

The school on Monday sent out a survey to every Georgia athlete and their parent or guardian to gauge how they feel about getting the vaccine and what questions they may have.

“If you talk to people, there’s some fear about it,” Courson told the UGA athletic board’s student wellness committee Friday. “We don’t want to mandate the vaccine, but what we want to do is give them good information to make informed decisions.”

Courson is, if nothing else, realistic about what he faces.

Courson said reluctance by some to get the vaccine may be because of the speed the vaccine became available for use and misinformation on social media.

“There’s some concern right now about side effects, efficacy,” he said. “There’s concern in certain populations, some push back from African-Americans. We’ve got a lot of athletes in the South whose families may have been a part of the Tuskegee experiment or the Savannah experiment with the military.”

I get it, sad as that may be.  I hope the effort the school is putting into this pays off.  There’s a reason we’re seeing stories of the wealthy and the politically connected jumping in front of the line and it’s not because getting the vaccine is a status symbol.

I do wonder what Smart does if he winds up in a situation where a significant percentage of the team refuses to vaccinate.  Just like I wonder how the school plans for a full stadium in the fall if it turns out there’s similar resistance from the general population around the state.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.  I’m getting my second vaccination shot today and I encourage everyone reading this to get the vaccination as soon as it’s practical to do so, if for no other reason than it helps make a normal football season more of a possibility.  (I know there are more important reasons to do so, but, hey, it’s a football blog.)

I’m off my soapbox now.  Feel free to climb on yours in the comments.


Filed under GTP Stuff

Today, in penalties

Interesting statistical tidbit for your digestion…

If I had to guess why, I suppose I’d start by thinking of all the defensive penalties that result in automatic first downs.  What say you?


Filed under Stats Geek!

G-Day, and butts in the seats

The plan is about what I expected.

As for FY 2022, which runs from July 1 of this summer to June 30, 2022, UGA’s financial picture will be dictated by whether a full football schedule will be played before capacity crowds. They’re tentatively planning on full stadiums.

“We’re going to be ready for that,” Brooks said. “But we can’t commit to a budget until we know where we sit next fall. So, we’re going to have to play a lot of that by ear. But we’ve proven we can pivot quickly, and we’ll adjust from there if needed.”

At least for the April 17 G-Day intrasquad game, Georgia is planning for the same limited-season, socially distanced plan that it utilized last fall. That allowed for 20,524 spectators in the 92,746-seat stadium.

By “tentatively”, they mean “unless the pandemic puts a gun to our head, we’re filling the damned stadium, thank you very much.”  Let’s hope the science keeps up with the game plan.

As far as G-Day goes, well, the devil’s in the details.  I can’t imaging they’re planning on handling the crowd on the basis of first-come, first-served, so that leaves either a random lottery or some sort of ticket purchasing plan to cover allocation.  As a side issue, is the school ready to tolerate tailgating in some form or fashion this spring?  Stay tuned.


Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

With friends like these, who needs a reserve fund?

Kudos to Josh Brooks for doing his best to allow the athletic department to weather the financial storm.

That allowed the budget shortfall for this fiscal year to be projected to be $30 million instead of the $55 million that was projected last summer, Brooks told the UGA athletic board via Zoom at his first board meeting as AD since replacing Greg McGarity last month.

“I’m hopeful in the next few months we can shave that down some more as we get closer to the end of this fiscal year,” Brooks told the board. “We’ve turned a difficult situation into a much more manageable situation. We’re not out of the woods, but if we can stay the course, we’re going to be in good shape.”

Much of that happened because of the fan base stepping up to help out.

The deficit was projected last year to come in at around $55 million, but Brooks said that UGA instead expects a budget shortfall of about $30 million.

Brooks said the savings primarily were the result of season-ticket holders who chose to opt-out of attending games during the 2020 football season responding to UGA’s request to roll that money into a “COVID relief fund” while maintaining their ticket status. While the opt-out rate was 60 percent, those individuals contributed $22.1 million to the fund.

Georgia recorded only $2.5 million in football ticket revenue as of December 2020, compared with $33.7 million in December 2019.

Well played, peeps.

Of course, that wasn’t the whole story.  Brooks, to his credit, did a lot of massaging on the expense side.

Brooks said Georgia also was able to cut back by 27 percent on operating expenses by spending money only on outlays considered “mission critical.”

“We can shave that down some more as we get closer to the end of the fiscal year,” said Brooks, who succeeded Greg McGarity as Georgia’s AD on Jan. 6. “Again, I can’t say the word ‘thank you’ enough to everyone about the way everyone has stepped up in a difficult situation and made it a more manageable situation. We’re not out of the woods, but if we stay the course we ought to be in good shape and maintain a healthy reserve into FY 2022.”

Two things to unpack there.  First, “mission critical” extended to recruiting, which makes sense in a time of an extended dead period.

When it comes to cost-saving measures, not having 21 coaches on the road recruiting helped. Since the NCAA has shut down in-person recruiting, no coach in any sport has been able to travel and recruit. That certainly helped UGA cut back considering how Kirby Smart’s football program spends as much or more than any team in the country.

Yes, considering.  Smart runs the biggest recruiting budget in college football.  It’s been integral to his success in bringing in talent.  And in a year when he had to re-invent how he did business in that area, he still managed to bring in a top-five class.  Color me impressed.

Oh, and about that healthy reserve?  (You didn’t think I’d ignore that, did you?)  Well, before you go all “Senator, see, we knew that reserve fund would come in handy” on me, consider something Seth Emerson ($$) mentioned.

Georgia did have its massive reserve fund (around $90 million, give or take) to fall back on, but it didn’t dip into it to avoid cuts. It’s not like Georgia’s athletic department only survived because of the reserve fund. It did help to use as leverage to borrow money to continue building, while waiting for donor pledges to arrive as real money.

So, for all the financial concerns, the athletic department was still able to proceed with its massive capital project.  (Per Weiszer, “… UGA athletics has raised $71.5 million of the $80 million price tag from Magill Society donors for the Butts-Mehre expansion that will bring a new football operations center.”)  And the football program was able to hand out raises to the coaching staff, as well as bring on an analyst to the tune of 300 grand a year in the form of Will Muschamp.  All without touching the reserve fund.

And good for them for being able to act so.  What this tells you is that there is still an enormous flood of funds flowing through Butts-Mehre, big enough that COVID is proving, at least so far, to be an inconvenience rather than a disaster.  That’s a relief, to be sure, but don’t try to pretend it’s evidence that Greg McGarity’s financial prudence just paid off big time.  Get back to me if there’s ever a day when the SEC money spigot is turned off and the fan base keeps its wallet in its pocket.


Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Cincinnati OL/Offense vs. Georgia defense

Here’s the mate to the bowl game clip I posted the other day.

It’s worth mentioning that Georgia’s defense held Cinci’s offense to its lowest yardage total and lowest score of the season.  One of the stories of the bowl game was how the defense shut down the Bearcats after they took an eleven-point lead early in the second half.

It wasn’t Cine’s finest hour, but it was Brini’s.

Finally, how does that game turn out if Ojulari had decided to opt out for the NFL draft?


Filed under Georgia Football

“… There needs to be a harsh deterrent.”

Well, all I can say is it’s about fucking time.

The American Football Coaches Association has asked the NCAA rules committee to take up the issue of players faking injuries when it meets next month.

The AFCA Ethics Committee voted in January to recommend that the committee address the practice, which has caused tension within the sport for years. Rather than use a timeout, defensive players often will fake an injury in order to stop the clock and slow the momentum of the opposing offense.

“Our ethics committee, which suggests rules changes to the NCAA, said by unanimous consent that this has got to stop,” said AFCA executive director Todd Berry. “So they asked the rules committee to do something about it. It’s bad for football.”

Of course, the irony of this coming from a coaches organization about coaches’ in-game behavior doesn’t escape me.  Though it clearly indicates how bad it’s gotten if they’re willing to point the finger at each other like that.

And this is not a bad suggestion:

What that exact deterrent is remains to be seen. One potential option, Berry said, would require an injured player to miss the remainder of the series. Coaches would be able to use a timeout in order to “buy” that player back into the game right away.


Filed under The NCAA

Retread, the Monken story

Honestly, I didn’t see this hot take coming.

Screenshot_2021-02-17 Max Toscano on Twitter

If you’re minimizing the scheme transition from Coley to Monken, you may not be as insightful as you think you are.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

“A lot of rumors out there, but I didn’t speak to anybody.”

Regrets?  The Portal Master™ has a few.

He was chided for comments about wanting to “pack the Swamp” following a loss to Texas A&M and cram 90,000 fans into Florida Field during a public health crisis.

He also stumbled after losing to Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, insisting the last outing for Florida’s 2020 team actually came in the SEC title game. The Gators were without their top four receivers and three defensive starters against the Sooners, and Mullen praised the effort of his “scout team players,” comments that were viewed as detracting from Oklahoma’s victory.

“There are probably some times I said things that, you know, maybe regrettable, maybe didn’t come off the right way, maybe got interpreted a different way,” Mullen said. “You’re always trying to improve, always trying to get better and look at that. I think one of the things to do is as you look back and reflect and say ‘Hey, at that moment is that the right way to approach something?'”

Mullen had other cringeworthy moments in 2020.

The SEC reprimanded and fined him $25,000 after league officials decided he did more to inflame than extinguish a tense situation against Missouri that led to a brawl at halftime on Halloween night. Mullen wore a Darth Vader costume to his postgame news conference, essentially welcoming the villain role.

He found himself in hotter water just before Christmas, when the NCAA said Mullen had failed to “promote an atmosphere of compliance” for having impermissible contact with a recruit in Seattle and allowing impermissible contact with seven teams that stopped in Gainesville on their way to an event in Tampa.

The violations landed Florida on NCAA probation for the first time in 30 years.

His greatest hits of 2020.

Maybe UF cancelled the spring game so he’d have one less topic to stick his foot in his mouth about.

The show cause penalty also probably means no raise or extension for Mullen, who is 29-9 since replacing Jim McElwain following the 2017 season. He has three years remaining on a six-year, $36.6 million contract that makes him the 10th-highest-paid coach in college football.

“Yeah, I don’t control that part of it, so I’ve got to worry about what I control,” he said. “That can be in somebody else’s press conference. That’d be a good question for them.”

Then again…


Filed under Gators, Gators...

Production picture

What jumps out at you here?

The juxtaposition between Clemson and Georgia looks fairly extreme.  Sure, you could say that between ‘Bama and Georgia is even more so, but since they wouldn’t face each other before the SECCG, that probably won’t matter as much.

Also, Florida.


Filed under Stats Geek!