Daily Archives: September 1, 2021

Physician, heal thyself.

If this doesn’t win the prize for the most Georgia thing ever, I have no effing idea what would.

Ron Courson, the Bulldogs’ director of sports medicine, has been diagnosed with COVID-19, a person with knowledge of the situation has confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Courson tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. The news was shared with the football staff on Wednesday and Courson was not in attendance at Wednesday’s practice.

… At the least, this means Georgia’s medical chief of staff won’t be in Charlotte for Saturday night’s matchup against No. 3 Clemson in the Duke’s Mayo Classic. More concerning, however, is the fact that Courson’s role in the athletic department puts him in physical contact with virtually every member of the football team, especially those that are injured.

Uhhh, that’s not a problem, is it?

Courson, who has served as Georgia’s director of sports medicine since 1995, is a member of the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance task force. That group has been lauded for helping the SEC navigate its way through the coronavirus pandemic to get in a football season last year. At Georgia, he has been at the forefront of combating the virus and personally established most of the protocols the athletic department has used to safeguard its athletes through the pandemic.

But in that role, Courson is the one person in Georgia’s football complex who has contact up and down the chain. He oversees all of the Bulldogs’ injury rehabilitations and oversees all of the in-house COVID-19 testing.

You really can’t make this shit up.  I just hope I’m not typing that sentiment again in 48 hours over bad news about the team’s health.

65 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

The End Zone Party Boyz

Jeez, this is cringeworthy.

Spend more than a few minutes watching a Florida football game in person and you might be as intrigued by what’s going on off the field as on it. One glance at the UF sideline in a moment of inaction and you can usually find half a dozen players or more jumping up and down, whooping and hollering.

For Florida coach Dan Mullen, it’s all about manufacturing energy.

“On the sideline, while other guys are playing, we had Juice Boys, so we had them kind of hyping the crowd up and hyping each other up, bringing the energy,” receiver Xzavier Henderson said.

Perhaps most notably, the Juice Boys earned a little national recognition when a clip of long snapper Ryan Farr playing a spirited air guitar during a pre-fourth-quarter rendition of Tom Petty’s “We Are The Boys” in the Swamp went viral on social media after the 2018 South Carolina game.

Ever since, it’s been a constant contest to up the ante for anyone trying to pump a little juice on the sideline.

But why limit the energy to the sideline?

This year, led by receiver Jacob Copeland, Florida will have a new band of bros ready to bring the bounce. Dubbed “The End Zone Party Boyz,” Florida’s receivers consider themselves a key cog in the hype machine.

I guess you’ve got to come up with something to distract, now that Kyle Pitts isn’t in Gainesville any longer.

40 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators...

Backfield mix

Is this a tell?  Because it sure feels like a tell.

One thing I noticed at G-Day was how in sync White and Daniels were with each other when it came to pass plays; it was palpable.  Also, I still think White is Georgia’s best at blitz pickup, so that number changing wouldn’t surprise me.

25 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Not your regular SEC preseason predictions, 2021 edition

Once more into the breach, dear friends, with my stab at what’s coming.  But first, let me start with my annual caveat, which I guarantee will be ignored by at least a couple of commenters.

The format for my picks, in case you haven’t tuned into this broadcast before, hasn’t changed.

Rather than give you my predicted records, I’ll list the schools in the order they finished in the conference last year, look at areas of potential improvement and decline and assess in what direction I expect each to go by comparison to 2020.

In other words, pure seat of the pants BS.

Based on that, the teams are listed in the order of [last season’s] conference order of finish.  Remember that, before you start freaking out over where a school shows up in this post.

Y’all try to keep up this year, okay?  And with that, away we go.

SEC WEST

ALABAMA (13-0, 10-0)

  • Pros:  Conference best depth; Nick Saban and The Process; defense
  • Cons:  Replacement of several key offensive skill position players
  • Outlook:  Same as it ever was in Tuscaloosa.  There are plenty of people who think the Tide are a lock to lose a regular season game.  Okay, but to whom?

TEXAS A&M (9-1, 8-1)

  • Pros:  Schedule; defensive front seven; running back; tight end; defensive coordinator; rising talent base
  • Cons:  Offensive line turnover; quarterback
  • Outlook:  The non-conference schedule is soft.  The crossover games are against Missouri and South Carolina.  The defense under Elko will be nasty.  This team will go as far as the o-line, which lost a bunch of starters, and a new quarterback will take them.  The offense isn’t cutting edge, but Fisher will game manage the Aggies to no worse than nine, and probably ten, regular season wins.

AUBURN (6-5, 6-4)

  • Pros:  Running back; defensive back seven
  • Cons:  Coaching staff overhaul; defensive line
  • Outlook:  Somebody said Harsin hired two coordinators better suited for 2013 than 2021.  That may be true, but I think Auburn’s success this season boils down to whether Bo Nix evolves into a functional SEC quarterback.  From where I sit, it feels like a seven-win season is coming.

LSU (5-5, 5-5)

  • Pros:  Overall talent; offensive line; defensive backfield; Cade York; departure of Bo Pelini
  • Cons:  Staff turnover
  • Outlook:  This is the SEC’s biggest mystery team, and it’s because Orgeron’s management skills are, shall we say, questionable.  Does his new staff recapture some, if not all, of the 2019 magic?  Your guess is as good as mine.  The Tigers will be better, but I’m hedging my bets at eight, maybe nine, wins tops.

OLE MISS (5-5, 4-5)

  • Pros:  Offense; schedule
  • Cons:  Defense; overall depth; four new assistant coaches; special teams losses
  • Outlook:  They’ll be fun to watch, for sure, but that defense has a way to go.  And they’re still digging out from under the rubble from the NCAA sanctions.  They get the Vols and Vandy from the East and the non-conference schedule is certainly manageable.  There could be as many as eight wins in store for them.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (4-7, 3-7)

  • Pros:  Second year bounce for coaching staff; receiving corps; special teams
  • Cons:  Offensive line; defensive depth
  • Outlook:  Leach has done what he’s done in his first year at previous stops: rip apart everything at the seams and rebuild from there.  It took him two or three seasons to show improvement and there’s no reason to think it’ll be any different at MSU — other than the fact he’s trying to reinvent the wheel in the SEC West.  I’ll say five wins, as the non-conference schedule is soft and they get Vandy.

ARKANSAS (3-7, 3-7)

  • Pros:  Second year bounce for coaching staff; wide receiver
  • Cons:  Schedule; new quarterback; offensive line; pass defense
  • Outlook:  You could say the Hogs exceeded expectations last year, but that’s because the bar was set very low.  This year’s schedule, like 2020’s, is brutal and it’s hard to see where there are more than four wins on it.

SEC EAST

FLORIDA (8-4, 8-2)

  • Pros:  Defensive front; secondary
  • Cons:  Offensive line; significant skill position losses; schedule; special teams losses
  • Outlook:  My gut tells me UF will be a better team than we want it to be.  No, the Gators won’t be as good on offense as they were last season, but it’s hard to see how they can be any worse on defense.  The problem is that they’ve drawn Alabama as their floating cross-division opponent.  The rest of the schedule is fairly manageable, with the key game being against LSU.  Nine or ten regular season wins seem doable.

GEORGIA (8-2, 7-2)

  • Pros:  Overall roster depth on par with Alabama; defensive front seven; running backs; schedule; special teams; offensive cohesion
  • Cons:  Offensive line; secondary
  • Outlook:  Stability at quarterback is huge.  So is Monken having a full preseason to work on installing his offense.  The early injuries are a little concerning, but Georgia looks like a team that will improve as the season goes on.  There shouldn’t be more than one regular season loss.

MISSOURI (5-5, 5-5)

  • Pros:  Second-year coaching bounce; schedule
  • Cons:  Pass defense; losses of Rountree and Bolton
  • Outlook:  I’m not on the Mizzou bandwagon yet.  Drinkwitz did a good job in a tough year for them, but the team tailed off as the season progressed, and I don’t think Bazelak was very good in the second half.  The Tigers didn’t beat a team with a winning record.  Missouri has the early soft schedule that it typically relies on to build momentum; it doesn’t face a ranked team until week seven and only faces two others after that.  Seven wins.

KENTUCKY (5-6; 4-6)

  • Pros:  Offensive line; running backs; experienced roster; schedule
  • Cons:  Offensive scheme change; secondary
  • Outlook:  They are making a major change on offense, with a new quarterback, to boot.  Hard to think there won’t be growing pains.  Fortunately, they’ve got a stout offensive line and some good backs to lean on.  The schedule is favorable, too.  This could be an eight-win team in 2021.

SOUTH CAROLINA (4-8, 3-5)

  • Pros:  Running back
  • Cons:  Coaching staff turnover; defensive back seven; schedule
  • Outlook:  What a mess.  The roster is lacking in talent for an SEC program.  The schedule has three teams ranked in the preseason top ten.  Vanderbilt is worse, but I’m not sure by how much.  Four wins is as good as it gets.

TENNESSEE (3-7, 3-7)

  • Pros:  Non-conference schedule; kicking game
  • Cons:  Team depth; coaching staff overhaul
  • Outlook:    A brutal offseason in the portal, where the Vols lost many of their best players.  They’re making a major stylistic change from Pruitt to Heupel.  Still, given the state of the East and a soft non-conference schedule, this team has a decent shot at bowl eligibility.

VANDERBILT (0-9, 0-9)

  • Pros:  Linebacker; quarterback
  • Cons:  Schedule; overall lowest talent level in the conference
  • Outlook:  This was an awful team in 2020, so bad that I’m not defaulting coaching staff turnover as a con.  The talent was lacking, but last year’s Vandy staff flat out sucked.  The other blessing here for the ‘Dores is a return to non-conference play.  They could win three games this season.  Maybe.

That’s all I’ve got.  Come at me.

35 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Wednesday morning buffet

Enjoy today’s offerings:

10 Comments

Filed under Alabama, BCS/Playoffs, Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

State of the program: it’s okay to feel bullish

Shot.

… Beginning in 1998, the first year of the BCS and the dawn of the era when national championships are decided on the field and not in the polls, six teams have combined to win 74% of the championships: Alabama (6), LSU (3), Clemson (2), Florida State (2), Florida (2) and Ohio State (2). In the last 23 years, just 17 teams have qualified for the 46 spots in championship games.

The Playoff era, which began with the 2014 season, has been even more exclusive. Four teams—Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma—have accounted for 20 of the 28 playoff spots (71%), and the Tide, Tigers and Buckeyes have combined for 11 of the possible 14 championship game berths. Last season marked a new extreme in the imbalance of the sport. For the first time in the seven years of the Playoff, none of the four participants were making their first appearance in the four-team bracket.

Chaser.

Of those six teams that have won three-quarters of the national titles since 1998, five rank in the top 12 nationally in athletic department budgets, according to 2019 figures from USA Today. (Clemson is the outlier at No. 22.) And of those six schools, five are part of a group that has reeled in the best talent in the nation over the last decade. In a study from MaxPreps, seven programs have signed 55% of the five-star prospects since 2011. They include LSU, Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Ohio State, as well as USC and Georgia.

Quite simply, after years of relative neglect, Georgia has upped its game.  It’s spending the money and signing recruits at a level it needs to be at in order to be included consistently among the elite.  More importantly,

As for football, Brooks said he senses fans want to win it all now, but they are also happy with the program’s direction, how Smart and staff recruit and develop talent and the support campus-wise including from president Jere Morehead.

“I think they’re happy with the alignment of the full program and the athletic department and the university,” Brooks said. “We’re moving in the same direction. We’ve been able to really grow this program and I think we’re in great position. One of the most important things when you talk about a program like this is the continuity. We have a great president who supports us, a great coach with a vision, and I believe in my vision and my support of the program that as we’re in alignment we can keep the continuity growing this program where there can be a lot of success for a long time.”

There were moments here and there under Richt when it seemed like the program was about to take that leap, only to recede in the face of questionable roster management and general dysfunction that seemed to overtake the program in Richt’s last years.  That all seems to be in the rear view mirror now.

On being asked on Marty & McGee about about what it would be like to win a national title at Georgia.
He said “It will be special and it’s coming. It’s a matter of time for our players.”
Why do you feel that it’s coming?

“Well, it has to be coming, right? If it’s not coming then what are we doing? I don’t look at it in perspective of when. I look at in the perspective of what’s important now, what are we doing now. I know the people in this organization, I know the administration, I know the people in this state, I know the people that love Georgia and the energy and enthusiasm they have, it’s always long overdue, right? I don’t care if you won one three years ago, it’s overdue. For me, that’s the end game, that’s the goal, that’s what you’re always trying to work towards. It doesn’t make it a successful season or a failure if you don’t. I just don’t look at things that way. I don’t let that control my thought process in my life. But I certainly pursue excellence and that’s what excellence is.”

When, not if.

12 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Nike’s latest offering

Behold, the Nike College Air Zoom Pegasus 38 (Georgia):

For Nike, that’s almost subtle.  Not bad.  And it can be yours for a mere $130.

Likee or not?

34 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stylin'

I didn’t think it was possible to include ‘Auburn’ and ‘zen’ in the same sentence, but…

Grasshoppers, this deep thought is brought to you by friend of the blog Ed Kilgore.

14 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

Oh, wait… he was serious about that?

I’m having a hard time swallowing this.

Against Jordan Davis?  Good luck with that, Dabo.

9 Comments

Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Strategery And Mechanics

Your preseason SEC Power Poll

Jimbo Fisher is in the fourth year of a 10-year/$75 million fully guaranteed contract.

Fisher has not won a national championship at Texas A&M.

Fisher has not coached in the CFP at Texas A&M.

Fisher has not won the conference at Texas A&M.

Fisher has not won the division at Texas A&M.

So, naturally, this is happening.

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher has seven years remaining on his contract paying him $7.5 million annually. A&M believes that is not enough on both counts following a successful first three seasons under the former Florida State coach.

A&M will soon announce a contract extension and raise for Fisher, according to university insiders, after the Aggies (9-1) were No. 4 in last season’s final Associated Press poll, their highest finish since winning their lone national title in 1939.

A&M will add three years to Fisher’s contract to put it back to 10 years remaining and he will make about $9 million annually, according to an insider with knowledge of the process. Based on the updated contract, which is expected to easily receive A&M regents’ approval, Fisher would trail only mentor Nick Saban of Alabama (recently raised to an average of $10.6 million through 2028 season) when the ink dries in College Station, according to a USA Today database.

Bidding against themselves.

Okay, the header is a joke.  But… if I did post a conference power poll today, I’d rank Jimmy Sexton number one.

11 Comments

Filed under Jimmy Sexton is the Nick Saban of agents and is Nick Saban's agent, SEC Football