Chicks dig the pop pass.

Gus Malzahn, brave defender of the status quo, touches the last base in opposing the downfield lineman rule change.

“Scoring will be down. You’re not going to see teams scoring as many points, and when it’s getting harder all the time to get fans to come to games, is that something that college football wants?”

I dunno.  I kinda enjoyed it when Georgia held Malzahn’s offense to seven points.

Seriously, I figured that was coming.  And it touches on a nerve.  There’s some point when you cheapen the ability to score so much that it debases the game.  I’m not saying we’re at the point – although I don’t doubt there are plenty who would say otherwise – but arguing that the more pinball action to the game, the better doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies, either.

Besides, I thought you were Mr. Creative, Gus.  Surely a little setback like a rule change won’t be an insurmountable block for a guy with your offensive vision.  Even if you only finished fourth in the conference in scoring last season with the rule the way you like it.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Strategery And Mechanics

‘When you see grass, you get up in that hole.’

One of Georgia’s 2015 signees, Tae Crowder, is scheduled to take his official visit on March 21, when he will see the school and meet his coaches in person for the first time.

As Mark Richt points out, it’s not like that’s a first for the program.

“Timmy Jennings was that way,” Richt said. “We offered Timmy the night before signing day. (He was going to sign with South Carolina State).

“Kenarious Gates, we offered one or two nights before signing day. Gates started three years for us, and Timmy was the last guy in his class to come in – and I think he was the first one drafted. He became an All-Pro corner.”

If Crowder lives up to the standards of those two, maybe Richt should make last-minute offers more often.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

”I’m not sitting here saying we have to name a starting quarterback by the end of spring.”

Jacob Park’s getting some love.

”Park is a shifty cat and he can sling that ball,” linebacker Jordan Jenkins said Wednesday.

Shifty?

”Oh, he’s quick,” Jenkins said. ”I’d compare him with maybe a taller version of (Missouri quarterback) Maty Mauk. Trying to get him down on some plays when he stretches it out definitely can be difficult. He’s shaken quite a few of us.”

Park also made an impression with his leadership while on the scout team.

”He takes pride in what he does,” Jenkins said. ”If one of the offensive linemen on the scout team wasn’t blocking, he doesn’t let it go. He takes it personally that they’re not blocking, and he holds them accountable for it.”

Park’s attitude also impressed Richt.

”You can go over there and pout or you can go over there and try to get better and also try to help your defense get better,” Richt said. ”That’s what his attitude was and we were very pleased with that. I think it served him well and now it’s time to let him compete.”

So when will Schottenheimer weigh in?  Remember, he didn’t see last year’s scout team.

I suspect we’re in for a bout of epic trolling here at GTP after the G-Day game.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Negative recruiting’s next frontier

James Franklin’s already laid down the marker about cost of attendance.

“There’s going to be much more awareness of it and people are going to be using it,” Penn State coach James Franklin recently told USA Today. “The (schools) that are above other (schools) in terms of the amount of aid they’re going to be able to give, they’re going to be throwing that number around. For anybody to think this won’t be a factor in the process next year is being really naïve.”

One man’s naiveté is another’s concern that there’s going to be all sorts of misinformation out there on the recruiting trail.

Each school’s financial aid office determines estimated expenses outside of tuition, room and board each year. Those numbers can vary based on several factors including cost of living in the area in question. And the legislation will allow each school to compensate athletes based on its particular formula, rather than impose a hard number for everyone to follow.

That’s a concern for those who worry that the coaches with bigger COA numbers will use them on the recruiting trail – and that recruiting considerations might inflate COA numbers. And Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis was concerned Wednesday when he caught wind of speculative numbers that are starting to circulate.

“They aren’t accurate,” he said.

That doesn’t mean seekers of truth like Franklin won’t use what they’ve got now, does it?  And what Franklin’s got is some favorable media speculation.

In a story on cost of attendance, David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News included a ranking of 2014-15 allowances for miscellaneous expenses by Big Ten universities, put together by CollegeData.com. Jones wrote in the story that these aren’t necessarily projections of the athletic scholarship COA stipends that go into effect next year, but Internet panic often doesn’t have time for the details.

The CollegeData.com rankings show Penn State at the top of the Big Ten with $4,788 in stipend allowance, and MSU at the bottom with $1,872. Michigan ranks 12th in the CollegeData.com list at $2,054. Northwestern ($2,326) and Minnesota ($2,194) are located in or near big cities yet added together don’t reach Penn State’s number.

The Champaign (Ill.) News-Gazette recently listed projections for 2015-16 Big Ten stipends and listed Penn State first for in-state full scholarship athletes ($5,748 a year), U-M 10th ($2.452) and MSU 13th ($2,132). For out-of-state athletes, Penn State had the same number, with MSU ranking 10th ($2,870) and U-M 11th ($2,452).

The reality is, MSU doesn’t know yet what it will give its scholarship athletes for a COA stipend in the 2015-16 school year.

There will be more credible information, of course, as schools will have to disclose the actual stipend amounts they’ll pay.  And that’s when the fun will really begin.

Holllis and his colleagues don’t determine cost of attendance. The universities do. But he said he’s aware of the potential for inequality and for this to be another budgetary “escalating factor.”

“We’re gonna work within the rules of the game,” Hollis said, “but we’re gonna position ourselves so we can provide our student-athletes with reasonable, comparable and competitive resources.”

Reasonable?  Good luck with that.  When it comes to spending, if there’s one thing big time college football doesn’t do well, it’s reasonable.

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Filed under James Franklin Is Ready To Rumble, Recruiting

“I think they’re both country boys with bald heads so it’s pretty much all the same.”

Marc Weiszer delves into how much change there really is with Georgia’s offense as we head towards the start of spring practice.  It sounds like it’s more about tweaking what they’ve had, not wholesale renovation.

“There’s a learning curve for everybody to a certain degree,” Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said Wednesday. “It’s healthy and I’m enjoying it, learning some new things. There’s a lot of things we’ve been doing that the proof’s kind of in the pudding on the film and coach Schotty really likes it. We’re just kind of melding everybody’s ideas together and making it make sense for everybody.”

“It’s a little bit of a melting pot of people’s ideas,” Richt said. “The ideas that he’s brought in and the things that we’ve done in the past. I’m not going to sit here and say it’s 100 percent exactly the same verbiage that we had a year ago, but as far as the things that we’re doing married up very well.”

There are some different names for calls, Theus said. Richt said blocking combinations may be different.

“We’ve been able to see some stuff and get some notes down,” Theus said. “Any time a new coach comes in stuff’s going to change, calls are going to change. …Being a senior, being able to learn stuff is a lot different than a freshman. I’ll be able to relate it to some older stuff. Overall, I’m pretty sure we’re going to run some same concepts, keep it as similar as possible so it’s easy as possible for us to pick up. I think it’s going to good for us and the spring will be a good time for us to learn a lot.”

Offensive line coaches’ hair styling notwithstanding, though, there will be some changes.  (Theus’ quote was too good for me to pass up.) So I’ll be curious to get a handle on how smoothly the offense runs at G-Day.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Gus Malzahn, selfless and sensitive

Auburn’s coach wants you to know that his objection to the proposed rule change about linemen blocking downfield is more than just about him.  He’s doing it for the children high school coaches everywhere.

“That’s part of the creativity of the game,” Malzahn said. “I’m not into anything that takes the creativity out of the game. You know, you see a lot of coaches around the country, specifically high school coaches that are coaching in college, that’s very important to them.”

Isn’t that how life is sometimes?  One minute, you’re pulling down $4 million a year and the next the Man has a boot on your throat.

Speaking of the Man, here’s the NFL knocking his system.

The divide between offensive philosophies in the NFL and college football is still very wide, especially when it comes to the quarterback position.

Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was very critical of no-huddle offenses during last month’s NFL Combine.

“So many times, you’re evaluating a quarterback who has never called a play in the huddle, never used a snap count. They hold up a card on the sideline, he kicks his foot and throws the ball,” Arians said. “That ain’t playing quarterback. There’s no leadership involved there. There might be leadership on the bench, but when you get them and they have to use verbiage and they have to spit the verbiage out and change the snap count, they are light years behind.”

Gus strenuously objects to that.

As the innovator of the Hurry-Up, No-Huddle philosophy, which utilizes play cards and signals from the sidelines and an incredibly simple verbiage, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn stood by his system.

“I think every coach has their own opinion,” Malzahn said. “Obviously I like what we do, I agree with what we do. That’s where the game is going, regardless of anybody’s opinion. But we feel strongly with what we do.”

Obviously.  And when quotes like Arians’ get thrown back in his face on the recruiting trail – it’s the SEC, so you know they will inevitably – what’s the rebuttal, especially when you see the pros looking at moving Nick Marshall to defensive back?  Why, it’ll be to place the fault on the NFL.

“I know he can be a quarterback at the next level,” Malzahn said. “It needs to be the right system. You’re talking about a guy who’s probably one of the best zone-read quarterbacks in the history of college football.”

If only some owner would just go ahead, bite the bullet and hire a high school coach…

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Strategery And Mechanics, The NFL Is Your Friend.

If at first you don’t succeed…

You’ll be relieved to know that the brother of five-star QB commit Shea Patterson is employed again(h/t)

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Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football