Daily Archives: November 3, 2021

Taken out of context

Dan Mullen corrects the record, or attempts to, anyway.

Two days after shutting off all media access for the week other than an SEC-mandated teleconference call following a terse press conference on Monday to open the week, Florida coach Dan Mullen attempted to clear the air about what he described as a situation taken out of context…

Following Monday’s press conference, Mullen opted to close off media access to defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and players this week to allow his guys to focus.

With that schedule?  If you have focus issues that threaten your chances with South Carolina, you’ve got bigger problems than we saw last Saturday.

He had a team meeting on Monday, one that sources described to Swamp247 as being very animated, including plenty of yelling. After gathering his guys and attempting to set a clear agenda for the rest of the season.

That agenda being “save my ass”.

“And so because of that, I made myself available for media every single day this week — Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday — because we didn’t have the players available. So I just want to clarify some of those things that apparently have been taken way out of context over the last several days.”

Though Mullen did meet with local media at his regularly scheduled time, his Tuesday ‘availability’ with the media was an exclusive interview given to the Orlando Sentinel. Wednesday’s SEC teleconference appearance was mandated by the league.

And by the way, had he said this —  “Our staff recruits non-stop. We grind at recruiting every day. We’re always recruiting and working the best to get great players that fit the Gator standard and bring them here to our program.” — Monday when he was asked about recruiting, he wouldn’t have spent the next two days in PR free fall.

As noted the other day, the man is a walking “this is fine” meme.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant

Wednesday ticket exchange

Missouri edition — have some to sell?  Need to buy?  Whatever it may be, ask away in the comments, and remember to be specific.

34 Comments

Filed under GTP Stuff

Observations from the end zone, Cocktail Party edition

You know, few things in life have given me more pleasure than the concentrated trouncing Georgia gave Florida in the first seven and a half minutes of the 2017 game.  That was the first time I’d ever seen Gator fans exit the stadium during the first quarter, and it was glorious.  Quite frankly, I never thought we’d see its like again.

Then, last Saturday, Stetson Bennett threw a bad interception just before halftime and this subsequently ensued.

All of that in, what, less than 100 seconds?  If you’re a Dawg fan who likes to get an early jump on the halftime bathroom crowd by leaving your seat a couple of minutes early, you seriously screwed yourself.  I’ve never experienced a rush like that before at a Georgia-Florida game.  (Yes, even 1980, which was a different sort of experience.)  I can’t say if this defense is generational until season’s end, but if there’s a word that lies between exceptional and generational, I’m there for it now.

Bullet points after that almost seem superfluous, but what the hell…

  • If there’s a sour note to be struck, it’s that the offense didn’t exactly show out, at least not on a consistent basis, and that started with the offensive line’s work.  It’s getting frustrating to see the same pattern of inconsistent play emerge again.  There were times when the run blocking was superb, as was the case for both Cook’s (was Salyer lined up at right end for that?) and White’s touchdown runs.  But the line also showed its usual tendency to breakdown in the face of blitzes and stunts.  Nor was pass protection as solid as it’s been in previous weeks.  Georgia rushed for almost 200 yards, so I don’t want to pretend it was a total disaster, but things still aren’t clicking on the line like they need to click.
  • How much that played into Bennett’s subpar game I can’t say, but he turned in his shakiest game of the season.  It wasn’t just the bad decision making on the two interceptions; it was him falling back into bad habits of missing open receivers — and make no mistake about it, there were plenty of opportunities in that regard.  The good thing is that when he took the time to orient himself on the pre-snap read, he made some very good decisions, like the touchdown throw to Jackson.  He also did a fantastic job looking off the wheel route to hit a wide open Washington for a huge gain.  (Of course, he threw the first of his picks on the very next play.)  That being said, he again did a nice job with his feet, especially on the play where he simply outran Cox, who looked like he became disinterested mid-play.
  • How much difference does a healthy Kearis Jackson make for Georgia’s passing game?  Quite a bit.  Ditto for Darnell Washington, who looks healthier, but still seems to be rounding into game shape.
  • Those three tight end sets are a bear to defend, aren’t they?
  • I know I’m not the first to say this, but White and Cook really look better with more carries.  Especially White.
  • Damn, did I love White’s TD run after Florida got on the scoreboard.
  • Monster, monster game from Quay Walker, who seemed to be every frickin’ where all day long.
  • The athleticism of both Travon Walker and Nolan Smith on the latter’s interception was simply astonishing.  That had to be the moment when Anthony Richardson realized that his head coach wasn’t doing him any favors by giving him his first start against Georgia.
  • As for Nakobe Dean, what else can you say?  He’s firmly entered Roquan territory and there’s no higher praise I can give a Georgia ILB.
  • Which reminds me — this is by far the best linebacking group in terms of pass coverage I’ve ever seen at Georgia.  And no, I’m not damning with faint praise when I type that.
  • Does anyone beside me think that Mullen screwed up by not giving Dameon Pierce the ball more?  That dude ran hard all game long.
  • Speaking of Mullen’s screw ups, that double pass trick play was so obvious that my first thought when I saw Florida line up on that play was it was a decoy.  The play would have worked better if it had been.
  • The secondary did its usual good job of keeping Florida from converting any big passing plays.  Of course it helps when the Gators don’t really have the same deep threats they had last season.
  • Outside of Podlesny’s field goal whiff (and, boy, did he whiff!), special teams played well, for the most part.  It’s a shame the coverage team lost track of Camarda’s first punt, which could have been downed inside the ten, for sure.  In any event, they were a shit load better than Florida’s.
  • Was that shut out a big deal?  Considering that it was 27-0 fairly late in the fourth quarter and both teams still had their first stringers in the game, I’d say it was.
  • I’d pay money to know what Smart and Mullen had to say during their post-game embrace, which seemed to last longer than their previous handshakes combined.
  • Losing the shut out aside, Lanning called another terrific game.  The Gators struggled on third down and turned the ball over on downs once.  And Georgia’s defense made their takeaways count for a lot more than Florida’s did.
  • It didn’t feel like Monken had one of his best days playcalling, but when you realize the offense only had the ball for 52 plays, those 354 yards (6.8 ypp) don’t seem bad at all, especially on a day when his quarterback was a bit off throwing the ball.  He used the counter, a play LSU used to expose Florida’s defense, quite effectively.  All in all, I’ll take it.
  • All I can say about Smart is the same thing I find myself saying every week in my Observations posts:  he gets this team ready to play, regardless of the opponent.  Beyond that, his game management has improved over prior seasons.  (You haven’t heard any post-game mockery coming from Gator quarters about that, for good reason.)  And the Dawg fan in me loves how much beating Florida obviously matters to him.

Were the demons from last year’s loss exorcised?  I can’t say one way or the other about that, but what I can say is that this year’s game fully exposed the nonsense about Mullen allegedly closing any sort of gap between the two programs.

Mullen has lost four of five heads up with Smart, three of the last four while at Florida, and I didn’t see anything Saturday — or on the recruiting trail, where Mullen is getting duly excoriated for his relative lack of success — to indicate that’s going to change soon.  I’m not into predicting here, but if Georgia’s on the cusp of going on some sort of dominant run in this series, something that’s certainly not uncommon, I’m on board for it.

Life is good, Dawg fans.  Savor it.

45 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Andrea Adelson strenuously objects to the selection committee.

She is furious over its snubbing of Cincinnati.  I get her point, until she goes too far with this:

There are those who might want to fire back and say, “Alabama/Ohio State/Georgia would crush Cincinnati in a playoff game!” Was it not less than one year ago when Cincinnati nearly upset Georgia in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl? Or does that not count because Georgia “didn’t care” and “wasn’t playing hard” because it missed the playoff?

If you’re gonna go with the “Was it not less than one year ago” hot take to justify Cinci’s inclusion in the top four this season, then it seems to me you’re gonna have to accept the same argument for a bunch of other teams.

I’m not defending the selection committee’s choices — far from it — but they do a bad enough job rationalizing what’s gone down this year without dragging the past into the mix.  Don’t make things any more complicated than they have to be.

That all being said, I’m developing a working theory that the committee is deliberately screwing the pooch now to grease the skids for the adoption of a 12-team playoff field.  Hey, that could work!

63 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

War Damn Eagle!

There’s a narrative that started bubbling up to the top this week I don’t get.  It seems that members of the pundit class are coming to grips with the thought that Auburn has turned things around and looks to be headed for bigger things.  Here’s Adam Rittenberg ($$) with an example of that thinking:

Like any new coaching staff, Auburn needed time to evaluate players during in-season practices, make changes and craft an identity, especially on offense. The Tigers lost Sept. 18 at Penn State and trailed Georgia State into the final minute the following week before scoring twice.

Harsin made some bold decisions, such as benching Nix against Georgia State and firing wide receivers coach Cornelius Williams the following day. Auburn then fell behind 13-0 at LSU before rallying to win behind Nix in what has become the team’s signature quarter. Auburn suddenly finds itself ranked No. 12 and tied with Alabama in the loss column for first place in the SEC West Division.

He breaks Auburn’s season into two phases: started 2-1; since 4-1.  I guess I’m missing the dramatic turnaround.  The Tigers went from losing to Penn State on the road and avoiding an embarrassing upset (with a little timely help from the officials) at the hands of Georgia State to… beating a subpar LSU team and a beat up, shorthanded Ole Miss team while getting walloped at home by Georgia.  That’s progress?

The defense shut out LSU, Arkansas and Ole Miss in the fourth quarter of recent wins.

Cool beans.  Georgia’s defense shut Auburn out in the second and fourth quarters of their recent loss.

The Tigers finish their season playing three ranked conference opponents in their last four games.  I guess we’ll see how much traction this narrative holds.

51 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

2021 Mumme Poll, Week 9

Screenshot_2019-09-30 (1) Senator Blutarsky ( MummePoll) Twitter

This week 54 teams received votes from the 297 folks who cast ballots.  The average number of teams on a ballot was 8.3.  Here’s how our top 25 shapes up:

(I probably don’t need to mention this, but don’t waste your time looking for Florida there.  The Gators didn’t receive a single vote this week.  But I digress.)

This week’s relevant comparison is with the initial set of CFP rankings, of course.  Behold what the selection committee spawned:

You know what?  I like our list better than theirs.  (I bet Cinci does, too.)  Especially when you compare this ($$)

This week, for the first time in nearly a year, the committee will gather in a conference room upstairs at the Gaylord Texan, a massive resort just north of the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

For around 16 hours across two days, the members of the committee will deliberate.

… with this.

16 hours at the Gaylord Texan, versus less than 15 minutes on a computer.  We can even leave our hats on!  (Admittedly, that’s not as funny as Oregon being fourth, but I work with the material I’ve got.)

Your conference breakdown:

The Big Ten might be losing a little of its luster with us, but it’s still showing credibly.  And before anyone accuses us of an SEC bias, note that the selection committee has seven SEC teams in its top 25, including numbers one and two.

Speaking of “us”, this week, Georgia voters made up 64% of the total casting ballots.

As for the burning question about Halloween candy…

I’m just gonna say that anyone who rates Kit Kat and Butterfinger above 100 Grand needs to seriously reevaluate their life choices.  Sad.

Random bits:

  • Georgia hits the legendary 100% mark!  Hell, the 2019 version of LSU only did that once.
  • The Dawgs are joined on Tier One (appearing on more than 90% of the ballots cast) by… Michigan State?  Interesting.
  • Only eight teams cracked the 50% threshold, with a big drop off at nine.
  • Did I mention that Florida didn’t receive a vote this week?  Just checking.

40 Comments

Filed under Mumme Poll

No rush, JT.

If there’s ever a week to let Stetson Bennett start at quarterback, it’s this one.  Start with Missouri’s rushing defense, by far the conference’s worst:

As ugly as that looks, you have to see the game log to do the Tigers’ run defense true justice.

My Gawd.  Vanderbilt, 6.97 yards per rush.  Tennessee, 458 total yards rushing.  Southeast Missouri State, 8.17 yards per rush.  Southeast Missouri State, 8.17 yards per rush.

Now add this on top of that:

Anyone hoping for an update on whether Missouri quarterback Connor Bazelak will suit up when the Tigers take the field Saturday against No. 1 Georgia — or who will start in his place if not — will have to keep waiting, at least until Thursday.

Addressing members of the media during his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon, Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz didn’t provide a substantive update on Bazelak’s status. Bazelak left Missouri’s win at Vanderbilt Saturday during the fourth quarter after being tackled on a quarterback keeper and did not return. He was replaced by true freshman Tyler Macon.

Drinkwitz continued to describe Bazelak’s ailment as a “soft tissue injury,” but he didn’t provide a specific diagnosis or timetable for his return. He did not rule Bazelak out against Georgia, saying “we won’t know anything until we get through practice.” The team’s Tuesday afternoon practice, normally open to reporters for observation, will be closed…

Drinkwitz also declined to reveal who would start if Bazelak is unable to play. After the game Saturday, he made sure not to anoint Macon the No. 2 signal-caller even after he replaced Bazelak, saying the decision to play Macon was “situational.” Tuesday, he said it’s possible the team could utilize both Macon and fellow St. Louis native Brady Cook in different spots. Neither Macon nor Cook has started a college game.

Ask Anthony Richardson how that goes against Georgia’s defense.

The question we should be asking isn’t whether Daniels should play this week — unless he’s 110%, I don’t see any need for it — it’s what the over/under on Bennett’s pass attempts number will be.  I’m thinking ten.

33 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

“I don’t feel any pressure from anyone in the building.”

Dan Mullen’s got it all under control, y’all.

Amid speculation he is fast approaching the coaching hot seat amid a 2-7 stretch against Power 5 competition, Mullen insisted he has the backing of athletic director Scott Stricklin.

“There’s tremendous support from him every day, ‘What can I do to help?’” Mullen said of Stricklin, who also was his boss from 2010-17 at Mississippi State. “The administration is 100% on board with what we’re doing and looking to the future.

I tell you what — it takes a pretty special guy to self-administer the kiss of death.

33 Comments

Filed under Blowing Smoke, Gators, Gators...