“Who replaces Isaiah McKenzie?”

It’s a good question, but the more relevant one is who blocks for who replaces Isaiah McKenzie?

Even with McKenzie, Georgia’s return teams have been substandard for years.  Here’s how they’ve ranked in conference play for the last four seasons:

KICKOFF RETURNS

  • 2016:  9th
  • 2015:  12th
  • 2014:  7th
  • 2013:  14th

PUNT RETURNS

  • 2016:  6th
  • 2015:  5th
  • 2014:  5th
  • 2013:  14th

McKenzie certainly had a noticeable impact on punt returns, but overall, that doesn’t exactly paint a picture of excellence for Georgia’s special teams.

As Seth notes, it’s not as if Smart lacks for options when it comes to returners.  But it won’t matter much if they can’t find some players who can set up the returns with consistent blocking.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Close, but no ceegar

Your reminder of how 2016’s 7-5 regular season could have been:

Georgia is one late, fourth-down touchdown catch by Isaiah McKenzie (against Missouri) away from going 0-4 last season against the teams it will face in this four-game stretch. Of course, the Bulldogs also came close to going 3-1 against Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mizzou and Florida.

The only game that was out of reach was a 24-10 loss to Florida where Georgia mustered all of 164 yards of total offense. But had the Bulldogs not surrendered an unbelievable Hail Mary touchdown on the final play against Tennessee, and had their offense not faltered late in a 17-16 loss against Vanderbilt, the narrative from Kirby Smart’s debut season as Georgia’s head coach would be slightly more positive. As it stands, it was a disappointing first season for Smart marred by losses in three of the four biggest games on the schedule: Georgia Tech, Florida, Auburn and Tennessee.

“Slightly”?  Win those Tennessee and Vandy games, and they roll into Jacksonville with a 6-1 record, 4-1 in the conference, and a completely different mindset.

Of course, they’ve got to run the same gauntlet again this season, with only one of the four games in Athens.  If we’re looking for a measuring stick for improvement in Smart’s second season, it starts with going better than 1-3 (barely) against that bunch.

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When Nick met Jesse

This may be your ultimate “doesn’t have time for this shit” moment.

The coach said the visit reminded him of a conversation he once had with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who spoke at LSU at Saban’s request when he coached there. “He said, ‘You know, Nick, your stadium, Tiger Stadium at the time, on a Saturday night is closer to the Kingdom of God than my church,”’ Saban said. “I looked at him like come on, man, you’ve got to be kidding me. First of all, if you’ve ever been to a game at LSU, you can smell the bourbon from the 50-yard line. Everybody celebrates life. Everybody has a party out there.”

Bullshit detector:  on.

LSU football:  getting closer to Gawd with booze.

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Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, Nick Saban Rules

“Two words — Donald Trump.”

According to Dennis Dodd, Tommy Tuberville is thinking about running for governor of Alabama.

PAWWWLLL!!!

Maybe he could urge passage of a law requiring the state to recognize Auburn’s 2004 national championship.

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Filed under Political Wankery, Tommy Tuberville - Mythical National Champ, Whoa, oh, Alabama

“Someone’s going down at some point.”

If Nicholls could produce a nail biter last year in Athens, just imagine what Appalachian State might be capable of doing.

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Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Stats Geek!

You can go home again.

At least if you aspire to being a P5 athletic director, according to Andrea Adelson.  What’s the key attraction from the school’s perspective?  C’mon, dog.

But in these specific cases, it’s completely understandable why so many of these programs opted for somebody with long-standing ties. Especially since an athletic director’s job increasingly relies on fundraising and tapping into the community and alums for more and more support.

It has worked for Miami. James got his very first job working in ticket sales at Miami. Before he was elevated to athletic director, Miami went through two athletic directors over a four-year span. Now, the Hurricanes have much-needed stability at the top.

In the end, that’s what any athletic department wants. Someone familiar with the fabric of a university’s culture may be better suited for the job.

Shakin’ the money loose.  It’s Job One.

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Are Sanford Stadium improvements a zero-sum game?

Bulldog Illustrated asks the musical questions,

It all depends on one’s perspective. On the one hand, there is indeed an issue with long lines at the facilities on game day at Sanford on the north side, and by half-time or the end of the game, the conditions in the restrooms are not the most pleasant. So fans do have a point here. Then on the other hand, the football team has been in need of new locker rooms for a while now and that along with having an area to host recruiting prospects on game day at the stadium will help the football program in the recruiting war. Infusing more talent into the football team’s roster and the ability to keep recruiting at a high level to keep the rosters stocked with talent is part of the recipe for a championship program.

And it’s not like fans are not happy to hear about and see the renovations, but the question is why cannot both needs be addressed? We would like to hear your thoughts and opinions. Are you happy with the proposed renovations? Would you rather the north side facilities be addressed first?

Why, indeed, can’t both needs be addressed at the same time?  It’s certainly not a matter of resources.  The athletic department is awash in money and donors have repeatedly stepped up to the plate to provide additional funds for major capital projects like the JPMIPF™.  You would also think there would be certain efficiencies to be gained by having a general contractor work on both projects together, rather than at separate times.

Is it a matter of not feeling confident about walking and chewing gum at the same time, that B-M can only focus on one stadium job at a time?  (Given that this is the same bunch who couldn’t keep track of a condom provision in a rapper’s contract, don’t be so quick to dismiss the possibility.)  Does McGarity think there’s a financial advantage in spreading the work out, that maybe donors will contribute more generously if the requests for contributions are spaced in time?  That’s certainly an issue to which he can bring laser-like focus.

Or is there really no choice at all here, and the notion of upgrading the facilities on the north side of the stadium merely a pipe dream of the fan base as opposed to an item on the B-M to-do list?  I know what Occam’s Razor suggests.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness