Daily Archives: September 9, 2021

Let’s welcome back…

I had a feeling this would happen after McGarity’s retirement.

Former University of Georgia head football coach Mark Richt will be honored at halftime of the Bulldogs’ football game versus Missouri on Nov. 6, J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Josh Brooks announced on Thursday.

“We are so appreciative of all of Coach Richt’s contributions to the University of Georgia,” Brooks said. “His impact on Georgia football, the Athletic Association and the Athens community is immeasurable. We are thrilled we are able to honor him at Sanford Stadium this season.”

Richt’s 145-51 overall record in 15 seasons at UGA ranks him 10th on the all-time winningest SEC coach list. The Bulldogs had an 85-40 SEC record during his tenure and made five appearances in SEC Championship Games, winning twice in 2002 and 2005. Richt, a two-time SEC Coach of the Year honoree, led Georgia to nine bowl game wins, with Sugar Bowl victories in 2002 and 2007.

During Richt’s tenure leading the Bulldogs, his teams produced 84 NFL Draft picks (2002-16), including 13 taken in the first round, had 17 All-Americans and finished with 106 All-SEC selections.

“Katharyn and I are excited about being honored on Nov. 6 in Sanford Stadium,” Richt said. “Athens and the University of Georgia have been very special to us and we are humbled to be a part of the great history and tradition of the football program. We also would like to thank the people of Georgia for the love and support we felt throughout our time in Athens.”

I’m guessing he’s about to feel a little more.  I wonder how many of his former players will be on hand.  Anyway, well deserved and it’s good to see the school step up.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Name that caption, two dudes on a sideline edition

There’s probably an Odd Couple episode somewhere in this…

Have at it in the comments.

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Filed under Name That Caption

So near, and yet…

Speaking of the Murphy sack, check this out.

Well, shit.  JT was even looking that way before the bottom dropped out.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Observations from the end zone, Queen City edition

There’s an obvious question to ask about Georgia’s opener.  If someone had told you before the game that the Dawgs wouldn’t score an offensive touchdown, whiff on a makeable field goal and lose the turnover margin battle, what kind of final result would you have predicted?

Yeah, me, too.

Instead, the defense bowed up, gave us a collective “we got this” and led the team to its biggest win since the Rose Bowl.  Unlike that game, it was a grinder with only one truly thrilling moment, but, as it turned out, one thrill was enough.

And with that, on to our friends, the bullet points.

  • If Georgia’s o-line didn’t have the best of nights, it was still better than Clemson’s.  Daniels was only sacked once, on a perfectly executed stunt by Murphy that wasn’t picked up (Ericson?).  Georgia averaged just shy of four yards per rush, which may not seem like much, but compared to Clemson’s two total yards rushing, was monumental.  The problem was consistency, something that was exacerbated when Ratledge was lost for the season on the first series of the game.  (Given how much Monken attacked Clemson’s perimeter, Ratledge’s ability to pull was missed.)  All that being said, don’t forget how Georgia closed the game out with a 10-play, all runs, drive.  You don’t do that behind an offensive line not getting the job done.  The big question from here is how soon the coaches decide to move Salyer inside.
  • One other thing about the o-line — it still feels like it’s transitioning from the pure power of Pittman’s approach to Luke’s preference for mobility.
  • It was JT’s least effective game as a starter, but I really doubt he’s that broken up about it.  Yeah, he was constrained by the injuries to the receiving corps and Venables’ emphasis on taking away the deep pass — I was surprised early on by how deep Clemson’s safeties were deployed — but he’s had better games reading the defense and finding the open man than he did Saturday night.  The interception was a bad decision, plain and simple.  I also wonder what would have happened on the play when the ball slipped out of his hands, because Smith had slipped open for what would have been a touchdown pass.
  • Speaking of the receiving corps, it was noticeably depleted.  And it did limit Georgia’s offense, not just in terms of catching options, but also, as I posted previously, in terms of blocking.  There were several short passes that should have broken for decent yardage had a receiver been able to make and hold a block on a Clemson defensive back.  Johnson did have one nice catch.  McConkey showed that his future is working out of the slot.  Mitchell looks like what he is right now, a talented true freshman with potential.  He didn’t have a catch, but drew two PI calls; more work in the weight room will help his ability to beat defensive backs.  Burton and Rosemy-Jacksaint look like they’re still working their way back physically.  Robinson did some surprisingly good work as a blocker, but that’s only half the game.  Let’s just say that there’s room for improvement and leave it at that for now.
  • Tight ends were a different story.  Fitzpatrick only had one catch, but he was a tenacious blocker all game long.  Bowers was a pleasant surprise.  Great hands and, for someone playing in his first college game, a good route runner.  He almost pulled off a great touchdown catch, despite Arian Smith.  (I can’t imagine the play was designed for both to wind up in the same area of the end zone.)  This is going to be a formidable bunch once Washington returns.
  • If there was any doubt before the game who running back number one was, Zamir White ended that.  He ran tough, showed good vision and had a couple of beautiful cuts.  He also contributed in the passing game, both picking up the blitz and also as a receiver.  You also had to love the way he channeled his inner Richard Samuel, 2011 Cocktail Party version, to put the game away on that soul crushing final drive.  Whatever rust he had from his injuries is gone.
  • Cook played well, although his stats don’t really reflect that, especially in the passing game.  He made a great decision to cut inside to pick up a critical first down on Georgia’s last drive.
  • White may be the present, but Milton is clearly the future.
  • The defense — jeez, what can you say?  It’s hard to believe it’s gotten faster, but it’s definitely gotten faster.  Just ask Clemson’s offensive linemen.  There’s speed at every level.  The way some of Georgia’s defenders burst out of scrums at the line of scrimmage to finish at the quarterback was stunning to watch.
  • Every one of you who ignored Jordan Davis as a preseason all-SEC player ought to be feeling pretty stupid right now.  He wrecked the inner part of Clemson’s o-line all night long.
  • He got plenty of support from the likes of Walker, Wyatt and Carter, too.  Carter and Walker notched sacks; Wyatt had a couple of pass breakups.
  • If there’s one thing that surprised me it was how stout the linebackers were in pass coverage.  Clemson took plenty of shots with wheel routes, to no avail.
  • The best thing about Nolan Smith’s sack was watching the way Clemson’s left tackle kind of shrugged his shoulders after the play.  (By the way, between holding and illegal motion, that dude should have had a bunch of penalty flags thrown his way all night.)
  • Nakobe Dean is really coming into his own.  I know it’s easy to make the Roquan comparisons, since they play the same position, but one reason the defense is faster is because Dean knows exactly what he’s doing, down after down.
  • Channing Tindall played like someone who wants a lot more playing time.  And it’s hard to see how the coaches deny him.
  • No, the secondary wasn’t perfect, but their performance will do until perfect shows up.  At least two of Georgia’s seven sacks were coverage sacks.  There were a number of plays where there simply weren’t any open receivers.
  • Ringo got picked on, but you can see why the staff is so high on him.  Tons of physical upside, great speed.  Just has to work on improving his technique.
  • Outside of that, it’s hard to be critical.  Cine, outside of whiffing on one tackle, had a brilliant night, with a key pass breakup on a play that otherwise would have resulted in a critical first down.
  • Speed and Brini have become real assets.  Brini almost single-handedly kept Clemson out of the end zone on its biggest scoring threat of the night.
  • And then there’s Christopher Smith, who turned in the play of the game (duh).  That was a fantastic job of baiting the quarterback into making the wrong throw.
  • I didn’t understand Dabo’s decision to go for it on fourth-and-five at the time and I still don’t today.  Clemson had all its time outs, its defense had been playing almost as well as Georgia’s and a good punt would have pinned the Dawgs deep.  It was the kind of decision that, had Kirby made it, would have garnered all sorts of criticism.
  • Georgia’s special teams effort was, to be kind, something of a mixed bag.  The biggest mistake, Milton’s accidental touch of a punt, was bailed out by Smith’s pick six.  But Podlesny’s whiff on a very makeable field goal attempt really kept things closer then they should have been.  That being said, in a grinder of a game like that, field position was extremely critical and Georgia’s punting game absolutely killed it.  Clemson had zero punt return yards.  Aside from Camarda’s placement wizardry, Arian Smith had a huge play where he downed the ball inside Clemson’s five.  He’s an inspired choice as a gunner.
  • One thing I have to admit is that Dabo is elite at working the refs.  That pass interference call on Speed was all on him.
  • Okay, it wasn’t Monken’s finest hour, either.  But I suspect it would have looked better if some of those perimeter plays had been blocked properly.  That being said, it felt like attacking the perimeter was a deliberate strategy to wear down Clemson’s defense and judging from the last four and a half minutes of the game, that strategy was a success.
  • Dan Lanning had a monster night.  The man knows how to dial up just the right blitz call.
  • So did Kirby Smart.  It was a heavyweight fight against the number three team in the country and his team maintained its composure all night.  It was Dabo Swinney, not Kirby Smart, who took a chance on a questionable call late in the game.  In a way, the night reminded me of that moment in the 2002 Cocktail Party, when I suddenly realized that Georgia felt comfortable and on the same level with an opponent it had struggled with for a decade.  (Admittedly this was better, since Georgia won.)  I’m not predicting that the Dawgs are winning a natty this season, but they certainly looked like they belong in the conversation — even on a night when the offense didn’t get in the end zone.  That’s a helluva thing.

There was a lot to overcome, now that I think about it.  A tough, well prepared (at least on defense) opponent.  An offense that was missing quite a few quality parts.  And yet, when all was said and done, Georgia won a game in which it never trailed and in so doing, answered a lot of questions about itself.  That’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement, as there obviously is on the offensive side of the ball.  But this team seems to have its collective shit together for 2021.  Enjoy the ride, folks.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Respect the depth

This is a nice piece about Saturday’s opponent.  I’ve always had something of a soft spot for UAB, considering the political shenanigans the football program has had to tolerate over the years.  And Bill Clark is a helluva coach.

Anyway, you should read the entire piece, if only to discover this nugget:

UAB’s defensive line was so deep entering this season that a backup transferred to Auburn in the hopes of more playing time.

Now, that’s beautiful.

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Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

“Players aren’t getting bought; they’re asking you to buy.”

Sally Jenkins argues that NIL compensation hasn’t ruined college football, despite arguments to the contrary.

Change is not invariably bad, and the legal change that allows college athletes to profit from their own name, image and likeness (NIL) will not crumble stadiums. Despite the NCAA’s scarifying prediction that it would lead to the immediate death of autumn, the season is coming on. As the ground gets firmer in the cold, tailgaters will enjoy the warming delights of bourbon outdoors before noon and stadium crowds will bob in their warring colors as they issue their guttural incantations, as they ever have. On the field, the players will be as fervent as they ever were, lusting for success, trying on stardom but still young and rehearsing for adulthood.

The NIL market is in its early days, but it’s safe to say almost nothing has gone as the naysayers threatened. Despite all the vertigo over NCAA rule book upheavals, the money is not changing college sports for the worse…

The doomsday scenario preached by shortsighted NCAA officials was that NIL would be ruinous. It would disillusion a public in love with “amateurism,” poison team chemistry, tank smaller schools and leave obscure athletes and minor sports unfunded while a handful of NFL-bound stars in power conferences commandeered megadeals…

It’s hard to deny she has a point there.  This doesn’t look like disillusionment to me.

I still believe a major reason schools and the NCAA fought NIL compensation was out of fear that player compensation would become normalized in the minds of the public, making it harder to cry wolf over the possibility that they would eventually pay college athletes directly.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Envy and jealousy, captains of industry edition

Andy Staples really nails the Clampett mentality at work with playoff expansion ($$):

… The idea of creating a new Playoff by 2023 using the 12-team model proposed earlier this year is basically dead because leagues not named the SEC are leery of the proposal — created by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick — because Sankey was crafting the 12-team model at the same time Oklahoma and Texas were lobbying in secret to join the SEC. So the process will be slowed down, and it could take a while. Once they all have their say, the FBS commissioners likely will create an expanded CFP that looks an awful lot like the one Sankey, Bowlsby, Thompson and Swarbrick proposed, but the rest will get to think it was their idea.

It’s funny because it’s true.  It’s also sad because it’s true.

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Filed under Envy and Jealousy

It’s a mystery.

I have no freakin’ idea what’s going on here.

JT Daniels‘ status for Georgia’s home opener against UAB on Saturday is in question. According to persons with knowledge of the situation, Daniels is dealing with an injury to his core, likely ribs or oblique.

Those same sources indicate that the injury isn’t long-term but that Daniels is truly day to day for the time being. He practiced on Monday but did not get in much work at all on Tuesday with Carson Beck getting a large portion of the first-team reps. If Daniels is unable to play against UAB, a decision that has not yet been made according to sources, Beck would likely get the start.

Sounds concerning, right?  In fact, makes you wonder if it affected Daniels’ ability to throw the ball deep in the Clemson game.  (Weiszer reports that it’s “something that may have lingered from the preseason”.)

But here’s a direct quote that paints a different picture.

I can’t imagine Smart feels like he needs to play head games with UAB, so what gives here?

I will say that if JT is indeed nicked up, there’s no need to let him play Saturday.  But “if” may be doing some heavy lifting there.  Ordinarily we’d wait to see how Kirby addresses this in his next presser, except that’s not scheduled until Saturday.  Hey, at least now we’ve got a compelling reason to watch the game!

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Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

One step away from the dreaded vote of confidence

Shot.

“Obviously, going from the Paul Johnson system to any other system, we knew was going to take time,” Stansbury said. “But I get it. I understand why people are frustrated. I guarantee you there’s nobody more frustrated than Geoff Collins, his staff and the young men that were out there on Saturday.”

Chaser.

The sphincter, she is tightening.

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Filed under Georgia Tech Football