Daily Archives: September 23, 2021

Exercise in futility


Tell us you didn’t need a survey without saying you didn’t need a survey.

Further illustration of the difference between inept and dysfunctional.  Mark Emmert is inept.  The organization he heads is dysfunctional.



Filed under The NCAA

The wages of Alston

To the victors go the spoils:

Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Alston v. NCAA, the Southeastern Conference presidents and chancellors have voted to confirm that each SEC member university now has the discretion to determine criteria and methods to provide education-related benefits and academic achievement awards to their student-athletes, consistent with the Court’s recent decision.

The Alston decision granted universities the opportunity to provide student-athletes with additional education-related benefits such as computers, science equipment and musical instruments, along with direct financial support in the form of academic achievement awards, up to the legally established maximum of $5,980 per year.

While the Alston decision allows individual conferences to set limits on the new educational benefits, the SEC’s presidents and chancellors have elected not to place additional constraints on Conference members in determining how to provide this new support to their student-athletes. The unanimous vote by the SEC’s presidents and chancellors was an approval of a recommendation from the Conference’s athletics directors.

It’s up to the individual schools, so who comes up with the best recruiting angle for this dough?


Filed under Academics? Academics., SEC Football

TFW you’re doing your stats wrong

I can’t put my finger on it, but it seems like something is missing here.

What are y’all grading exactly, PFF?


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Name that caption, new Kirbs meme edition

That should go right up there with popcorn-eating Smart.

Have at it in the comments.


Filed under Name That Caption

Observations from the 35, fizzled cannon shot edition

For me, there’s something about conference openers, and 2021 is no exception.  Sure, it’s good to gauge a team in a powerhouse meeting, as we saw against Clemson, but it’s taking stock against the teams Georgia faces every year that gives me a stronger feeling about where things are headed.

Based on what I saw last Saturday, that appears to be in a good direction.

The front defensive seven is the rock this team is built on.  They obliterated South Carolina’s offensive line.  They harassed the quarterbacks all game long.  They made a very good running back in Kevin Harris look… well, not very good.  By the time the score turned 40-6, which was midway through the third quarter, the Gamecock offense had amassed a whopping 148 yards of offense, turned the ball over twice and yielded a safety.  That’s a good day’s work in less than a full day.

Of course, in this day and age, a stellar defensive front will only get you so far, and that’s why the other encouraging development was JT Daniels’ return.  Physically speaking, he’s clearly in a better place than he’s been so far with this program.  His mechanics reflect that.  He turned in his best performance since the Missouri game last year and did it without displaying any discomfort from his knee or the oblique injury that, with the benefit of hindsight, affected his play in the Clemson win.

On top of that, he accomplished it with a shuffled offensive line still in the process of figuring things out at a position or two and while missing a couple of key pieces in the receiving corps.  It’s reasonable to expect the offense has room for improvement.

And with that, here come the bullet points.

  • In a game like that, I hesitate to say there’s a turning point, or even a key moment, but there were two points worth noting.  The first came at 14-6.  South Carolina had their first sack of the game, forced a punt and had to be feeling pretty good, especially after Josh Vann’s big catch over Kendrick.  From there it was all downhill:  Vann gets penalized with an unsportsmanlike conduct call, SC winds up punting, Daniels hits a big play pass to Mitchell to make the score 21-6 and that’s all she wrote to the momentarily good vibes.
  • The second, of course, is the remarkable run that took place in the last minute of the first half and the first minute of the second half.  Two dumb decisions that led to the safety — the play call and then Doty’s panicked decision to run the ball out of the end zone — a smartly called series by Monken and a perfect kick from Podlesny (I guess he can keep his job for another week, right?) added up to five gift points to end the half.
  • Then, an interception and two Zamir White runs to start the second half and suddenly the Dawgs are up by 27.  Hope wasn’t just dead; it was, to borrow an expression, crushed in the face with a hobnail boot.  That is what really good teams do in games like that.
  • The offensive line allowed only one sack by a team with a couple of SEC-caliber pass rushers.   Georgia averaged just a tick below six yards per rush.  They didn’t have a bad game, but they need to improve their consistency, particularly at the guard position.  Ericson had a few good moments, but also had a couple of spectacular busts.  Shaffer was better, but there was a screen pass I remember when he completely whiffed blocking anyone downfield, which cost them a chance at a big gain.
  • It’s hard not to be impressed with what the receiving corps is doing in the absence of stalwarts like Pickens, Blaylock and Washington.  What’s helped fill the gap is the freshmen Bowers, McConkey and Mitchell stepping up.  The latter’s improvement over the first three games of the season has been impressive.  Burton is rounding into form from his injury.  Jackson stepped back into the wideout lineup and showed his experience and steadiness.  He’ll get better.
  • When you’ve only got about 30 carries to split among five running backs, that ain’t easy.  It was nice to see Milton emerge as the leading rusher, but Cook and White managed their contributions, too.  McIntosh showed out with some good receptions.  Perhaps most encouraging was seeing the pass pro from all the backs, including McIntosh, who’s clearly improved from last season in that regard.
  • I’ve already mentioned how Daniels’ mechanics look better.  There was no awkward hop when he delivered deep throws and he managed to hit his receivers in stride, rather than airing those throws and having them slow down to make a catch.  The TD throw to Mitchell I was certain was too far; instead, JT had a handle on Mitchell’s speed and location and dropped a perfect dime.  His first throw of the game, a 20-yard completion to Bowers was a dart thrown just over a linebacker, a real thing of beauty.  The interception was a bad decision, but I expect Daniels will learn from that.  All in all, a more than solid day from him.
  • With regard to that defensive front seven, it would be easier to list the players who didn’t contribute, but Nolan Smith deserves special consideration.  For a guy who didn’t play an entire game, his production was absurd:  sacks, tackles for loss, solo tackles, you name it.  It’s great to see him coming into his own and living up to his immense promise.
  • From a production standpoint, Adam Anderson was just a tick behind Smith.  Bookends are good.
  • This is your weekly reminder of all the folks who left Jordan Davis off their preseason first team all-SEC and all-American teams.
  • Anybody notice how Jalen Carter’s coming along this season?
  • Man, that linebacking corps!  Dean is having a whale of a season.  And nobody on the team has improved more than Channing Tindall, who is making a case for being my favorite player on the defense this season.
  • You want another sign of improvement from the linebackers?  Last year, Nick Muse tore Georgia’s pass coverage apart.  Saturday, he was pretty much a non-factor.
  • Unfortunately, Josh Vann was anything but a non-factor.  Some of his catches were well-defended, but some weren’t.  Speaking of which, Ameer Speed reinforced my G-Day impression of his game.  He’s better defending the short and underneath stuff and not as strong on the long ball; still, his recovery on Vann’s first reception to make the tackle was good.  (To be fair, the entire defense was caught flat footed by SC’s quick snap.)
  • The other deep ball reception came from Jalen Brooks, who made a ridiculous grab in the face of good coverage.  Aside from all that, Carolina’s passing game was held in check.  And I don’t mean that in an “other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?” sense, either.  Sometimes the other guy just makes a play and you have to tip your cap.  Of course, it’s only fair to note that front seven is helping to make Georgia’s secondary look good.
  • Brini and Cine are so consistent and so solid.
  • I don’t know about you, but after watching the way the backups played against UAB, I was a little disappointed that South Carolina’s offense got some late traction against them.  I’m getting spoiled and we’re only a quarter of the way into the season.
  • Special teams turned in their best effort of the season.  Podlesny, as mentioned, didn’t whiff.  The punting game was superb — Camarda’s punt and Speed’s stop set up the safety.  Kickoffs were their usual, quiet selves.  And McIntosh continues to be a weapon on kickoff returns.
  • Monken… man, what can I say?  The man knows how to design plays and he called a superb game.  It was minor in the sense that it was the last touchdown of the day, but the way he got Cook open looked so easy.  (Somebody’s done a good job teaching Bowers how to tiptoe up to the OPI line on a pick play without actually crossing it.)
  • Still, I have to think there’s no coach on the staff having more fun than Dan Lanning.  All that talent to deploy and so many ways to deploy it.
  • You can quibble about Kirby’s day somewhat.  Yeah, the decision to insert Bennett into the game in the first half when the offense was running on all cylinders was boneheaded, but it’s not like it had a game changing impact.  It was also made up for by superb clock management to squeeze a gift field goal out of the end of the first half.  More importantly, it’s the third straight week he’s had his team prepared and ready to play.  I’ll take it.

It’s hard not to get overly excited about this team’s chances.  There are key players who haven’t played yet due to injury that will return in the next couple of weeks.  There’s a quarterback who’s only now looking like he’s beaten the injury bug himself.  There are freshmen contributors who are only going to get better.  And there’s a regular season schedule that perhaps looks more formidable than it did at the start of the year, but doesn’t appear anywhere near insurmountable.

Most significantly, so far, this is a team that appears to have its head on straight.  Vanderbilt is going to present a different kind of challenge, not one of talent, but one of attitude.  Can Georgia go to Nashville and show up against an inferior opponent?  There have been seasons when that hasn’t been the case in games like this.  Going up there, taking care of business and working on areas that have room for improvement — well, do all that and we’ll know this season can be pretty special.


Filed under Georgia Football

“You’re either elite or you’re not.”


“If you think you’re elite at something then you’re not,” said junior outside linebacker Nolan Smith Saturday after his best game as a Bulldog against South Carolina with 1 ½ sacks, a forced fumble, combo-ing on a safety and making a team-high 8 tackles. “You’ve got to keep going and keep getting better.”

Adam Anderson, the athletic edge rusher, said: “Honestly, nobody can define themselves as an elite defense. You can be a great defense. If you want to be an elite defense, you have to do a lot of things and commit to a lot of things. Our defense is great but we still have things to work on as well.”


Shane Beamer’s first SEC game as a head coach left him with a viral moment when asked about what Georgia’s defensive line did to clamp down on the Gamecocks.

“They’ve got like 500 5-star players on their defense,” Beamer said in his postgame Zoom with reporters Saturday night. “They have a defensive lineman that weighs 340 pounds and runs better than everybody on this call. They’ve got 5-star defensive backs. They’re big and physical and fast. Other than that, they’re really freaking good. That’s why they have the top defense in the country. They’re hard to run the football on. There wasn’t some magical scheme they came out with tonight. They got five-star recruits everywhere and they play really physical. Damn.”

… Other SEC East coaches that still have to go up against the Bulldogs defense added their voices this week to the chorus oohing and ahhing about the salty Dawgs’ D.

“Holy cow, how good is Georgia’s defense?” Missouri coach Eliah Drinkwitz said Monday on the SEC Network. “The job coach Lanning, coach Smart are doing over there. Adding Will Muschamp to that defensive staff ought to be illegal.”

The name of the former South Carolina and Florida coach who first made his name as a top defensive coordinator even came up at Kentucky this week.

Coach Mark Stoops laughed away a question about Muschamp’s impact on last week’s rout of South Carolina.

“You think anything had to do with it, those beasts that Georgia had on their team?” he said, “Just a little. …Will, I love Will, I have great respect for Will, I’m friends with Will, but Georgia’s got pretty good players.”

Leave the damned bottle on the bar.

“I wish I had this defense when I played,” former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said Tuesday on Sirius XM radio. “I might have a couple of rings on my fingers.”

C’mon, Aaron.  You had Todd Grantham, who, according to Dan Mullen, is the best defensive coordinator in the country.  But I digress.

One more fun stat from Weiszer:

Georgia’s 5-star tally on defense is 9. The Bulldogs’ remaining nine opponents have a combined seven 5-stars on offense with Florida accounting for three and Auburn and Tennessee with two each.

Looks elite enough to me.


Filed under Georgia Football

When you’ve lost Bill Hancock…

Guys, I don’t think the playoff expansion talks are going well.

A plan to expand the College Football Playoff stalled Wednesday, when the college sports administrators who oversee the postseason system were unable to reach a consensus on whether to grow the format from four to 12 teams.

The 10 conference commissioners of the Football Bowl Subdivision and Notre Dame athletic director director Jack Swarbrick, who make up the CFP management committee, met to share feedback from their member schools and address concerns about the expansion proposal unveiled in June.

“There’s still issues that need to be discussed,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock told AP…

“There won’t be a vote next week,” Hancock said. “Next week will be, I’ll call it an informational meeting. It’s complicated.”

Hancock added: “We have time.”

When the process first began, the 2023 season seemed like the soonest an expansion plan could be implemented. After the latest meeting, Hancock talked about 2024.

“I can’t say what the timetable might be, but I would say if we want to expand beginning in the 2024 season, we have a few months,” he said. “But if we want to change the format beginning in 2026, after the 12-year contract (with ESPN) is over, we have a couple of years.”

And if that doesn’t work, they can always extend year over year until they get their collective shit together, right, Bill?

Skip all the alleged side issues they’re supposedly grappling with.  The sticking point is over an eight- or twelve-team format.  The Alliance conferences (as well as the Big 12, I presume) prefer the former, with conference championship tie-ins, because that will act as a limit on how many teams the soon-to-be enlarged SEC would be able to seed the field with.  Needless to say, Greg Sankey isn’t on board with that.  Nor is Notre Dame.  Nor is the G5.  And since any vote on the format has to be unanimous, it’s safe to say that isn’t going anywhere.

On the other hand, the 12-team proposal has Greg Sankey’s fingerprints on it, which means it isn’t going anywhere until his peers’ fee-fees have been assuaged.  When will that happen?  Let’s ask Bill.

Hancock downplayed the idea the new Power Five commissioners were responsible for tapping the brakes on expansion.

“Any time you talk about a format discussion, there are lots of details,” Hancock said. “The working group knew this, and the full group did, too.”

Hancock said the committee is still sorting through issues related to the involvement of bowl games, media rights and number of teams in the field. He insisted that doubling back to talk about an eight-team format should not be viewed as a setback.

“It’s one of the details that has to be discussed,” Hancock said. “Eight was discussed today. There certainly was not unanimous support for it.”

Asked whether there was any support for it, Hancock said: “I don’t want to get into details.”

Rut row.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Credit where credit is due

One thing JT Daniels does that impresses me is how gracious he is in the way he acknowledges his teammates.  Here are a couple of examples of that:

George Pickens back practicing and Daniels’ conversations with him as he recovers…
“The most important thing is to make sure you’re ready when you come back, is what I’m always going to tell him. I’m going to keep telling him. As much as I want George back in the starting lineup, because I don’t think there’s anybody better than him anywhere, I think him being fully healthy and fully prepared to play is the most important thing. It’s about the person before the player. With a guy who has the chance that he has for his future and his potential, as much as we’d all love to have him, I think the most important thing is making sure the person is ready and he’s medically cleared. Of course I have great trust in our training staff, but I don’t want him to say it’s better than it is. Just want to be focused on making sure he’s rehabbing, doing the right thing, and when he comes back, he’s coming back full speed.”

On making throws on the run…
“I’ll always be comfortable in the pocket. I think I looked a lot faster before the SEC came around. Guys like Nolan Smith, there’s just nobody else like him anywhere. When you think about all the kids that play high school football, there’s only so many of them that are elite football players that play in the SEC. They’re the elite of the elite. I definitely think I’m a threat to take off when I have to take off. I just think for me personally, and really the position of quarterback, I’m the primary distributor. Can I take off and run? Yeah, but I would much rather have James Cook running with it. I’d much rather Jermaine Burton running with it than myself.”

How do you not want to play with someone like that?


Filed under Georgia Football

Look, darlin’, Kelee Ringo.

Very quietly, Kelee Ringo is off to a good start.

One thing that has impressed me about his play so far is how fast he’s learning.  Against Clemson, he was called for a couple of pass interference penalties and looked a little raw, technique-wise.  Then, in the next game against UAB, he did this:

That’s pretty much picture perfect work there.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Owning the transfer portal

The Laner’s been in the belly of the beast, so it should come as no surprise that he has this sort of take on Nick Saban’s roster management skills.

“Now they go to cherry-pick players for any holes they may have like an Ohio State receiver [Jameson Williams] or a Tennessee linebacker [Henry To’o To’o],” Kiffin said. “So now, it’s like not only do they get the best draft picks but they get to go into free agency and take players, so it really is going to set up one of the most talented teams ever, which is what we’re getting ready to play.”

Hell, the man himself warned everybody.

Saban, who has been a skeptic of transfer deregulation, warned that the adoption of the one-time transfer rule would further separate the haves from the have nots.

“I think what’s gonna happen, as you’ve seen happen in a lot of leagues, the good players go to a good team and the bad players leave good teams because they’re not playing,” Saban said earlier this year. “Is that gonna make the rich get richer? I don’t know. You can decide that.”

As I’ve said previously, if the latest NCAA proposal allowing teams to fill roster openings created by players opting to use the transfer portal becomes a reality, lather, rinse, repeat.  It’s not so much a case of the rich getting richer as it is the ruthless roster managers being given an even freer hand with which to operate.  And I say that as someone who favors players being able to transfer without restriction.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Transfers Are For Coaches.