Here’s a fantastic piece from Bill Connelly ($$) that illustrates how the role of the quarterback on college football’s championship teams has evolved from this…
In the nearly four decades from 1965, when one-platoon football officially ceased to exist, to 2003, when Mauck helped Saban to his first title, only four quarterbacks both won a national title for their team and became a first-round draft pick, and it’s four only if you count the supplemental draft. Two-time Nebraska champ Jerry Tagge went 11th in the 1972 draft; Penn State’s Todd Blackledge went seventh in 1983; and the first two title-winning QBs at Miami, Bernie Kosar and Steve Walsh, went first in the 1985 and 1989 supplemental drafts.
… to the point when Mr. Impose Your Will has had to bend to the changing times.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, Saban’s longtime former defensive coordinator, had hired former Oklahoma State and NFL offensive coordinator Todd Monken as his OC before the 2020 season. It was an acknowledgment of the changing times and Smart’s attempt to land his own Joe Brady (the wunderkind who merged the RPO and pro-style worlds to great effect with LSU in 2019) or Steve Sarkisian (the coaching veteran who did the same, and then some, for Alabama in 2020), but we didn’t necessarily see the Monken offense in full effect last fall due to quarterback issues.
Incumbent Jake Fromm left early for the pros; presumptive starter Jamie Newman opted out; blue-chip transfer JT Daniels was recovering from a knee injury; and redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis simply wasn’t ready. That left former walk-on Stetson Bennett to carry the reins, and he managed games well enough — with help from a strong run game and, per SP+, the best defense in the country — to lead the Dawgs to wins over Arkansas, Auburn, Tennessee and Kentucky. But they were outscored by a combined 85-52 against Alabama (No. 1 in offensive SP+) and Florida (No. 4).
With Georgia’s title hopes kaput and Daniels healthy and ready, Smart made a QB change. Daniels completed 67% of his passes and threw for more than 300 yards per game in the last four games of the season; Georgia’s scoring average increased by more than eight points per game; and the Dawgs won out to finish 8-2.
Perhaps more importantly than Daniels throwing well is that he was asked to throw a lot. He averaged 30 passes per game and hit 38 twice; in three years as Georgia’s starter, Fromm threw more than 30 passes just six times, and all six were in losses. Passing as a last resort is the modus operandi of a team that wants a game manager behind center, but Smart and Monken let Daniels cook. And while he wasn’t Jones or Burrow, he was close enough that it’s fair to wonder what he and Georgia might be capable of now that the rust has been knocked off.
If you’ve got a subscription (damn you, ESPN), read the whole thing.
… hopefully, it’ll be good enough for Sanford Stadium in four months.
When Georgia’s baseball team entertains Ole Miss next week for its final regular-season series, the Bulldogs will be able to play in front of a packed house at Foley Field.
“We have been steadily preparing for 100 percent capacity at sporting events for next year and after seeing how some professional teams in our area have handled expanded attendance successfully, we believe this is the perfect opportunity to increase to full operations,” said athletic director Josh Brooks. “This is one positive step to bringing Bulldog Nation back to campus to celebrate and support our teams.”
Gates will open one hour before each game. Attendance, which had been capped at 664, will now return to 3,200.
The Southeastern Conference event protocols will remain in place. Spectators will still be required to wear masks or face coverings when entering and moving about the facility.
Maybe they’ll even let us start using chairs for tailgating again. Be still, my heart.
At least we know there’s one football venue that will be packed with red and black this season.
Beyond that, the real reason to be high on what Daniels brings to the offense is how Georgia’s offense performed as a whole once he became the starter.
In Daniels’ three SEC starts, the Bulldogs scored on 19 of their 31 offensive drives. The offense became much more explosive, hitting 30 plays of 20-plus yards in the final four games (7.5 per game, second-most in the SEC behind Ole Miss during that stretch) after producing 23 over their first six games (3.8 per game) without him. Even their rushing output improved with Daniels on the field, going from 4.1 yards per carry before he took over to 5.35 yards per carry over the last four games.
Sure, small sample size, not the stoutest opposition, and all that. To which I’ll counter with nineteen months of rust to shake off during a pandemic season in which he and his offensive coordinator were forced to learn on the fly. All in all, I’ll take that, happily. Stratospherically, even.
Nothing says prudent management like spending sixty thousand dollars on a search firm to conduct the hiring of the only real candidate for the job.
The University of Georgia needed just 36 days between the announcement on the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend that Greg McGarity was retiring as the school’s athletic director to the job being offered and accepted by his top deputy, Josh Brooks, on Jan. 5.
The school completed the quick search with the help of Collegiate Sports Associates.
UGA paid the Raleigh, N.C., search firm $60,378.50, according to information obtained by the Athens Banner-Herald in an open records request on Wednesday afternoon.
According to the one page invoice billed to the UGA Athletic Association, Collegiate Sports Associates was paid $60,000 for executive search services for the athletic director opening, $92 for social media background checks on Dec. 31 and $286.50 for formal background checks on candidates.
No doubt that $286.50 was worth every fucking penny.
Just a reminder that anger management isn’t the same thing as roster management.
There’s a perverse part of me that wants to see Boom on the Georgia sideline losing it. Like I said, it’s a perverse part of me.
Consider this one of those quasi-Playpen posts…
“End of an era” is one of those handy cliches I probably overuse, but in this case, it certainly qualifies. (h/t Theresa in Athens)
The owners of landmark fast-food restaurant The Varsity recently filed for a permit to tear down the 1965 restaurant to make way for what is likely to be apartments and retail, perhaps a grocery store.
It’s been obvious for years that The Varsity’s owners, the Gordy family, would take this step. The family started buying up properties around the restaurant in 2017 and requested a rezoning for the 6.7 acres they’d assembled in 2018.
“This was inevitable,” said Commissioner Melissa Link, who represents the area. “We knew this was coming. The people who own The Varsity have made it clear they want to wash their hands of the property.”
… Link has placed a 90-day hold on the demolition permit in hopes of convincing architects to somehow acknowledge The Varsity’s history, but ACC cannot stop the demolition. In addition to its iconic status among UGA football fans, the restaurant was the site of Vietnam protests, Klan rallies and sit-ins during the civil rights movement.
That intersection is gonna be a bigger mess than it already is, but I digress.
Like any one of y’all who’s spent time in Athens, I’ve got a few memories about that place. Some are even from sober moments. It feels selfish, I know, but it’s sad to see another little piece of one’s personal history chewed up. Feel free to share any fond thoughts you have about the pending demise of the greasy V, or other Classic City landmarks that have departed. Sigh.