Live, from Hoover, Alabama!

The SEC Network goes all in on SEC Media Days.

Date Time (ET) Program Network
Mon, July 13 12:30-5:30 p.m. SEC Now: 2015 Football Media Days Special SEC Network
  5:30-7 p.m. The Paul Finebaum Show SEC Network
Tue, July 14 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. SEC Now: 2015 Football Media Days Special SEC Network
  4-7 p.m. The Paul Finebaum Show SEC Network
Wed, July 15 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. SEC Now: 2015 Football Media Days Special SEC Network
  4-7 p.m. The Paul Finebaum Show SEC Network
Thu, July 16 10 a.m.-1 p.m. SEC Now: 2015 Football Media Days Special SEC Network
3-7 p.m. The Paul FInebaum Show SEC Network

By my count, that’s something like 32 hours of broadcast time. Can you say overkill? I thought you could.

7 Comments

Filed under PAWWWLLL!!!, SEC Football

Malcolm Mitchell, jes’ showin’ off

I don’t know about his legs, but there’s nothing wrong with his hands.  (h/t)

18 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Stay in school, kids.

The story about the NCAA reconsidering its rule about letting basketball players declare for the NBA draft but allow them the opportunity to return to college under certain conditions with their eligibility intact is interesting for what it says about what the NCAA is struggling to do with its amateurism protocol.

But I wonder how much of an impact it would really have if the policy were extended to football, as SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey has hinted might be under consideration.  Take a look at this chart:

% of student-athletes who declared for NBA draft, but were not selected

  • 2015 – 34.04
  • 2014 – 36.36
  • 2013 – 37.7
  • 2012 – 30.6
  • 2011 – 30.95

% of student-athletes who declared for NFL draft, but were not selected

  • 2015 – 25.6
  • 2014 – 37
  • 2013 – 30
  • 2012 – 18
  • 2011 – 23

In 2014, the percentage of college football players actually declaring early but not being drafted exceeded that of college basketball players, but look what happened this year.  And if you’re wondering why, it’s because the NFL got more persuasive about the odds.

The decrease in players leaving school early for the NFL came a year after the league altered its evaluation process – limiting schools to just five draft-eligible underclassmen it can request evaluations for and altering the information that players receive.

Previously, five different grades were handed out by the NFL Draft Advisory Board: As high as the first round; as high as the second round; as high as the third round; no potential to go in the first three rounds; and no potential to be drafted.

That was cut to three categories this year: first round, second round, and neither – which is the board advising the player to stay in school.

Look, as much as these coaches like to say it’s a rule change that favors the players, it’s really about the rule favoring college coaches, by letting them keep the talent around longer.  The question I have is how much a change by the NCAA would really matter, given the effect education has had.  Let’s face it – it’s not like the NFL needs these kids to come out a year early.  If they don’t, it’s one less year they get paid.

11 Comments

Filed under The NCAA, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Fifty shades of Mark Richt

My last post got me to thinking (“Oh, Gawd,” you’re saying, “what now?”) about some of the ongoing debates we’ve had in the comments section – okay, the debate we’ve had in the comments section – and I can’t help but believe most people are missing the bigger picture surrounding the football program at present.

It strikes me that what the pessimists get correct is Mark Richt’s failings as a game manager.  It’s not his strong suit, to be sure.  We’ve all seen (or recited) the litany of games where there’s either been a head scratcher of a decision at a key moment, or a game where the team came out unprepared, mentally or emotionally, to play at the level expected.  It’s a reality and it’s probably not going away.  If that’s not something you’re prepared to concede, you, friend, are a blind optimist.

That being said, it ain’t necessarily the end of the world.  If it were, I’d expect to hear a lot of similar comments about the dire straits Alabama is headed towards.  After all, consider how the Tide’s last two seasons have ended – in 2013, a loss to Auburn on a play that Saban’s team looked totally unprepared to handle that knocked them out of the SEC and national title hunt, followed by a listless performance against Big Game Bob (!) and then last season’s smoking at the hands of Ohio State, a team Kirby Smart admitted Alabama took lightly because it was starting a third-string quarterback.  Gee, where have I heard that before?

But that’s not really the point I’m trying to make here.  Instead, my main point is directed toward those who’ve wanted a coaching change.  Well, in essence, I’d say you already have that coaching change.

Consider the following:

  • Assistant staff.  With Tony Ball’s departure, there is only one are only two assistant coaches on the staff left from 2013, and one of them, Brian McClendon, is not at the same position he occupied a mere two seasons ago.  You’d expect to have a similar amount of turnover if Georgia had replaced Richt, wouldn’t you?
  • Recruiting.  As I said in my earlier post today, to go from the days of voluntarily running a roster with less than 70 scholarship players on it to the aggressive signing of a legit recruit four+ months after national signing day is a 180 degree turn of events.  When you consider that was Georgia’s second such signing of an offensive lineman it plucked from another major program in this class (Madden) and what Georgia did to secure Roquan Smith’s commitment, recruiting is clearly in a different and better place than the one it occupied just a few seasons ago.
  • Special teams.  If serial undersigning has been Richt’s biggest sin over the last six years or so, the second biggest has been how he let special teams deteriorate.  Georgia went from having return games that were weapons to a fair catch specialist.  Inexcusable.  I’m not saying the Dawgs are out of the woods completely, but anyone who watched special teams play last season has to concede that things are moving in the proper direction.  That only happens when a head coach wakes up and realizes what he’s done wrong.  (Or the new guy corrects the predecessor’s glaring mistake.)
  • Infrastructure.  You may not think an IPF is all that necessary, but one is still in the works.  There’s been a robust increase in the size of the support staff for the program.  The recruiting budget has been seriously jacked up.  All of this is stuff that a new head coach at a program like Georgia would likely demand as a condition for taking the job.  Which leads to…
  • Administrative support.  We’ve come a long way from Greg McGarity’s interview with Mark Bradley and the weirdness surrounding the post game Belk Bowl.  And again, there’s no way somebody comes in after Richt without making demands that B-M quit working at cross-purposes with the football staff.

You wanted wholesale change; you got it, brother.  The only thing you didn’t get was a different name at the top.  And maybe that spoils the whole thing for you.  You’d call yourself a realist for that.  I’d argue, instead, that it makes you a blind pessimist.

I have no idea if all these changes are going to pay off.  (Then, again, I’d have no idea if a new head coach would pay off, either.)  But there’s enough happening to intrigue me sufficiently to want to see what Richt can do with this over the next two or three seasons.

If Richt’s greatest flaw has been loyalty to a fault – really, that explains Martinez overstaying his welcome as defensive coordinator and Richt’s reluctance to put himself in a position where he might potentially screw over a kid who committed to Georgia – his greatest strength has been his willingness to look at himself in the mirror, see his strategic mistakes and take concrete steps to correct them.  There are a lot of head coaches at programs inferior to Georgia who could never remake themselves.

And Richt, to his credit, has done that once already.  Tell me – after the debacles of the ’09 and ’10 seasons, how many of you anticipated Georgia would reel off back-to-back SECCG appearances and come within a whisker of playing for a national title in the next two seasons?  I know I thought Richt’s departure was a more likely outcome than that.

I’m not saying this because I’m a Richt apologist or because I’m satisfied with Georgia football failing to win a championship of any sort for a decade.  I’m saying this because it’s hard to think of any other major program that’s remade itself to the extent ours has in such a short period without a change at head coach.  And that’s a big enough deal for me to want to see how the story plays out.

It’s a helluva lot more interesting a story than the bullshit the national media spins out about Richt and his program these days, that’s for sure.  Maybe you should stick around for the ride, too.  With your eyes open.

94 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

This isn’t your father’s Georgia recruiting.

By now, I assume most of you have heard that Georgia has made a late addition to the recruiting class of 2015.  And it’s not some obscure two-star recruit nobody’s ever heard of before, either.  (Not that that hasn’t paid off for Georgia before.)

Nope, Georgia managed to grab three-star Mirko Jurkovic, an offensive lineman who originally was a Ohio State commit, was then chased by Notre Dame when that fell through and wound up committing to Athens when the Irish couldn’t make room.

Former Ohio State football signee Mirko Jurkovic told the AJC that it was a phone conversation with Mark Richt on Monday evening that made him commit on the spot.

The offensive lineman from Florida’s IMG Academy picked UGA over Notre Dame and Florida after not being able to enroll at Ohio State due to an academic issue.

What exactly did Richt say to Jurkovic?

“I talked to Coach Richt about 20 minutes ago,” Jurkovic told the AJC. “He told me that I would be admitted, so then I told him that I was coming to Georgia.”

The 6-foot-5, 275-pounder went ahead and committed, despite the fact that he’s never stepped foot on UGA’s campus. He’ll take an official visit with the Bulldogs on July 13-14.

“It’s just that I know I’m going to love Georgia … that’s why I committed so quickly,” Jurkovic said. “I talked to so many people about it. I talked to my uncle about Georgia, and he told me to finish it as soon as possible. I’m going to enjoy Georgia. I just know it.”

Think about how quickly this broke in Georgia’s favor.  The news on DeVondre Seymour leaving the program barely had time to sink in before the staff was moving upon learning that Jurkovic was in play.  And they managed to grab a kid who’s obviously not a stiff without even getting him on campus first because they had an open slot on the offensive line that needed filling.  Quite the nimble sales job there.

For a staff whose chronic undersigning was the most serious structural flaw of the second half of Richt’s tenure, that is a remarkable turn of events.

16 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Tape don’t lie.

After being caught on tape punching a woman in the face last month at a Tallahassee bar, FSU quarterback De’Andre Johnson managed to bypass a baseball team suspension and go straight to outright dismissal from the football program.

State’s attorney Willie Meggs, who decided to charge Johnson after seeing video of the incident, said the woman still had a black eye when he met with her last week.

Shit, when you’ve lost Willie Meggs, you’ve got real problems.

43 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment

I knew that song sucked.

Texas A&M had to reinforce the south end zone stands at Kyle Field after they shifted unsettlingly during the Aggies’ loss to LSU because of the playing of “Sandstorm”.

I wonder if that’s what McGarity was referring to when he said “…we have an opportunity to do certain things that will get our crowd excited in a proactive manner, rather than in a reactive manner.”

31 Comments

Filed under General Idiocy