Daily Archives: August 22, 2021

The evolution of manball

Kirby talked about his new offensive paradigm yesterday.

Two scrimmages in, it’s still up in the air on what Georgia’s offensive identity in 2021 will be. And that’s okay with Kirby Smart. He knows that creating a game plan and determining whether the Bulldogs will be run-heavy or pass-heavy likely is a week to week thing.

“I think some of that is dictated by who the defense is. We want to dictate to the defense what we do, but, at the same time, some of what they do matters,” Smart said after his team’s second scrimmage. “Every defense we play will be different. There will be three-down fronts, four-down fronts. There will be big, small, experience in this level, experience in that level. We want to take advantage of what they give us.”

“We can identify what we need to work on, but we’re just trying to figure out who the best football players are, not who can read the signal the best and go execute,” he continued. “We’re trying to figure out who the best football players are, and that has been our intent in the two scrimmages, not to go out and trick the defense. We’re going out to play fundamental defense. Now, it will become a little more scheme because we need to figure out exactly what each guy can do and what he does well and who we want to become.”

All in all, this sounds like a man who knows what an offense needs to do in this day and age.  Now, he just needs to let go and allow his offensive coordinator to do just that.

19 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

‘I was fearless on the football field. I didn’t want to be afraid of the classroom.’

I received a few emails about a terrific piece in Friday’s edition of The Wall Street Journal about Malcolm Mitchell.

As a star player on a top high-school team, Mr. Mitchell had his pick of college scholarships. But when he arrived at the University of Georgia, he realized that he was behind his peers academically. “They were so articulate and accomplished,” he recalls. “I said to myself, ‘I want that.’” After hearing Curtis Jackson, the rapper known as 50 Cent, talk about Robert Greene’s self-help book “The 48 Laws of Power,” Mr. Mitchell tried reading a copy. “It was heartbreaking,” he recalls. “I had to look up every other word.”

Demoralized but not discouraged, he saw that he needed to “start from scratch.” At 20 he was reading “The Giving Tree” and “Exclamation Mark,” paying close attention to punctuation and writing down new words. He then moved on to graphic novels, young-adult novels like the “Harry Potter” series and adult fiction before exploring essays and biographies. He discovered that he loved learning about people he would never otherwise meet and examining thorny ideas from unexpected points of view. “The more you read, the more you open yourself up to different perspectives,” he observes.

While recovering from knee surgeries in 2013-14, Mr. Mitchell was scanning the shelves at an Athens, Ga., Barnes & Noble when he noticed an older woman holding several books. He struck up a conversation, hoping to get a book recommendation, and was excited to learn that she belonged to a book club. He earnestly asked if he could join and ended up spending two years discussing novels with a group of women older than his mother.

His NFL career ended early due to injury, he’s found his current calling.

Today Mr. Mitchell, 28, is a writer himself. His second children’s book, “My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World,” will be published next month in a bilingual edition with English and Spanish side by side. Retired from the NFL because of injuries, he devotes himself to traveling the country to promote literacy, particularly among students from disadvantaged backgrounds like his own. “Children listen to me because I look like many of them,” he says. His Share the Magic Foundation, now in its fifth year, has reached hundreds of thousands of students through in-person school events and free virtual programming, including a READcamp to keep kids reading over the summer. The organization has distributed nearly 60,000 free books to kids in underserved communities.

And what story about a college athlete who lived up to the ideals the NCAA promotes wouldn’t be complete without an NIL reference?

Eager to promote “the magic of reading” to youngsters, Mr. Mitchell was a college senior when he decided to write his own children’s book. At the time, strict NCAA rules barred college athletes from making business deals, so he had to publish “The Magician’s Hat” himself and sell it exclusively through the University of Georgia bookstore. The book became a local bestseller and earned him the Children’s Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association.

30 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., Georgia Football

Has Georgia settled on a starting o-line?

You tell me.

UGA went primarily with Jamaree Salyer at left tackle, Justin Shaffer at left guard, Sedrick Van Pran at center, Tate Ratledge at right guard, and Warren McClendon at right tackle in scrimmage No. 2. Afterward Kirby Smart, without mentioning that starting group, he indicated that the Bulldogs may have found their starting five — for now.

“We’ve really settled into the five that are repping with the 1s,” Smart said. “We just rotate to get depth. We rotate guys around and there’s still good competition at tackle, there’s good competition going on at center, when Warren’s been healthy to practice since his return from the injury. So he’s been able to practice some and do some things. And then Shaffer and Tate have been primary at guard, but we’ve shuffled some other guys around at guard to get different guys in there. So, I feel good about our depth at offensive line, you know, and we still have time to determine who the starting five will be, in terms of the tackles. But it’s not like we’re out there doing musical chairs. I mean, they play 20 plays one way and they might play 20 another way just to get the best guys on the field.”

Reading between the lines there — and, yes, I’m just speculating — it sounds like they’ve been really hoping someone would step up to take the left tackle spot, allowing Salyer to move inside, but it hasn’t happened yet.  “Yet” being the operative term.

With two weeks to go, it’s about time to start installing the game plan against Clemson, and that means stability on the o-line takes priority over developing options.  But it’s not a one-game season, nor is it one is which Georgia plays top five teams week after week.  All of which is to say that the starting five who take the field in Charlotte may very well not be the same five who take the field in Atlanta.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Dr. Smart! Paging Dr. Smart!

Kirby’s doubling down on his “day-to-day” assessment of team health.

Kirby Smart said expects his Georgia team to be “full tilt” for the opener against Clemson, and he didn’t even knock on any wood when he said it.

After two weeks of negative injury-and-personnel news dominated the headlines for the Bulldogs’ preseason camp, their coach Saturday said pretty much everybody who has been out either is back on the field or will be by the time that game kicks off in Charlotte on Sept. 4 (7:30 p.m., ABC).

“We don’t have an injury that’s got us out for a long amount of time,” Smart said Saturday after the Bulldogs’ second scrimmage at Sanford Stadium. “We hope to get all those guys back. Every one of them was day-to-day, and some of them are practicing now. Each one of them is a different situation, but I expect to be full-tilt when Clemson comes.”

Seth Emerson ($$), in language that echoes one of the blog’s favorite expressions, wrote in response,

Well, “full tilt” is doing a lot of work there, considering George Pickens is coming off ACL surgery, Dominick Blaylock hasn’t been fully cleared to return from his ACL injury, and Darnell Washington and Tykee Smith just suffered foot injuries … but who knows, Georgia has a very good athletic training staff.

I don’t get this.  Either Smart’s got amazing faith in the restorative powers of Ron Courson, he’s trying to run mind games on Dabo, or what, exactly?

15 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“This is not a democracy.”

Damn, 268 words to say the kid’s a lazy, entitled sumbitch who hasn’t earned it yet.

I guess there’s some shit Nick Saban does have time for.

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules