Keep calm and carry on.

The most remarkable thing about Smart’s post-practice presser yesterday is how unremarkable it was.

Pretty much everything he said there could have been said a week or two weeks ago.  With the same delivery.  From that alone, you’d never know his first game as a head coach is coming up in a week.

Yeah, I think he’s doing a little soft selling there.  No doubt they’re still knee-deep in player evaluation — it’s a first-time staff with a bunch of players signed by others, after all — but I’m skeptical they’ve been that casual about game planning for North Carolina.

Oh, and speaking of game planning, for those of you who think there’s some strategic reason to keep Gene Chizik guessing about who Georgia’s starting quarterback will be, Kirby shot that down.

Subterfuge could always be a reason for not announcing a starter. North Carolina would have plenty of film on Lambert, but much less on the other two. But Smart seemed to downplay that as a strategy, as none are dual-threat quarterbacks.

“I don’t know if that’s a big deal or not,” Smart said. “I think it’s different when you have truly distinct quarterbacks to get ready for.”

So much for that theory.

What I do think you can say is that the man does an excellent job of not showing his cards.

 

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Thursday morning buffet

A few morsels to start your day…

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, College Football, Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Don’t get even. Get mad.

Pat Dye says Auburn’s coaches didn’t like each other last year.  But that’s all in the past now.

Meanwhile, Kirk Herbstreit says the key to Auburn’s success this season will be that the defense is pissed off.

I’m really looking forward to the coming soap opera on the Plains.

 

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“I’m tired of people who don’t know who you are and they think you’re an asshole.”

Two thoughts on that:  first, Charlie Weis must be tired of a whole lot of folks, and second, just because they don’t know who you are, Charlie, doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

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Today, in when smart coaches do dumb things

Larry Fedora’s got a big game coming up on national TV against an SEC opponent, but I guess he’s got enough spare time on his hands to deal with the inevitable backlash from hiring Tim Beckman, who, when we last checked in on him, was getting bounced from Illinois for mistreating some of his players.

At least that’s what everyone else says.  Fedora’s got the real poop.

“I don’t believe everything I read, all right,” Fedora said, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. “I know Tim. I know his side of the story, also. So I was comfortable with it. If I wouldn’t have been, obviously I wouldn’t have brought him. I wouldn’t have allowed him to be in our program.”

He continued: “I know (criticism is) going to happen, and then a couple of days from now it won’t be news. I mean, I promise you, I didn’t see anywhere where the NCAA said that he should be banished from the game of football. You know?

“I mean, the guy didn’t win enough games. That’s all it was.”

You gotta love it — “I hired him, so that’s proof in and of itself he didn’t do anything bad.”

How many of Kirby Smart’s opposing coaches already have non-game distractions to deal with this season?

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No joke

Seth Emerson’s take on Jim Chaney and Sam Pittman may sound like the plot for a ’90s buddy movie, but there is one point he makes that’s worth a note:

The close connection between Chaney and Pittman – the fact they were basically a package deal – could be an underrated boon to Georgia’s offense.

When an offensive coordinator and O-line coach are on the same page, things flow well. Witness the halcyon days of Georgia’s offense, 2011-14, when coordinator Mike Bobo and O-line coach Will Friend worked so well together and became so close that when Bobo became Colorado State’s head coach, Friend went west with him as offensive coordinator.

But last year, that closeness didn’t seem to exist. Brian Schottenheimer had spent the previous 11 years in the NFL, while O-line coach Rob Sale had a college and high school background, and came recommended by then-defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. It’s not that Schottenheimer and Sale didn’t get along, but they had different backgrounds and had never worked together.

No, that wasn’t the biggest chemistry issue on Georgia’s staff last year, but, yeah, I can see how having your o-line coach and offensive coordinator on the same page might help.

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When the rabbit’s foot deserts you

This is harsh.

There’s a real chance that Gus Malzahn, who enters the season on the hot seat, doesn’t make it out of September with his job. That’s because there’s a real chance that the Tigers, who open the season with four home games, start 0-4 on the year against Clemson, Arkansas State, Texas A&M, and LSU. Yes, Arkansas State, a team that is exponentially better than the Jacksonville State team that almost beat Auburn on the Plains last year. What issues appear solved heading into the season? The defense, outside of Carl Lawson, isn’t noticeably improved, and the quarterback situation is anything but settled — they’ll either roll with Sean White again or go with John Franklin III instead of Jeremy Johnson. Franklin, a junior college transfer, left Florida State because he wasn’t deemed good enough to be the fourth-string QB. They also have only one running back with collegiate experience and lost their two leading receivers from 2015. The makings of a bounce back do not appear to be in place — there’s a real chance Auburn finishes in last place in the SEC West again in 2016.

Dayum.  Even I’m not that down on Auburn’s chances this season — although I reserve the right to change my mind if Lawson goes down again.

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