The best compliment I can pay Jeremy Pruitt.

A couple of seasons ago, this tidbit would have generated a certain sense of dread in me.

Those practice reps are allowing Carter to feel more comfortable in dropping into coverage, something he didn’t do much in high school. Coaches are cross-training outside linebackers to pick up the concepts to allow them to play inside linebacker, defensive end or even free safety, Carter said.

Now?  I just wanna see how it works out.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Great moments in bureaucracy

I’m guessing it’s not a good thing when the head of a task force you authorized to get your ass out of a crack for making a very unpopular decision sends out an email to the other members confirming you lied.

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Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Whoa, oh, Alabama

I know what you mean and I like the way you say it.

I love a good malaprop as much as anything.  And I feel like we haven’t heard a really good one out of a Georgia football player since Charles Grant’s immortal “motivation stone” utterance.  But I think Lorenzo Carter has stepped up to fill the breech.

Despite not having a game to prepare for, Jeremy Pruitt is still popping in tape to teach and explain his defense.

But the second year defensive coordinator isn’t just pulling from what he saw from the Georgia defense last season. He is also drawing on his time as a defensive backs coach at Alabama and as a defensive coordinator Florida State.

Spots where he won multiple national championships.

“We’ve seen so many different places where he’s been and produced,” sophomore Lorenzo Carter said. “We’ll watch film from his Alabama team and his Florida State team. It’s all matriculating in.”

“It’s all matriculating in” may have to become this season’s catchphrase.  I dig it.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Academics vs. athletics: when push comes to shove…

… you know which way the chips are gonna fall.

This spring, a new group will begin studying Division I transfer rules. Its goal: to recommend changes that will be considered during the 2015-16 legislative cycle.

During a conference call earlier this month, the Division I Council Coordination Committee appointed the Ad Hoc Transfer Issues Working Group to consider where improvements can be made to current rules. The group’s focus will be on graduate transfers and permission-to-contact rules.

“Student transfers are an important issue in higher education, and it is no different in athletics,” said co-chair Jere Morehead, president of the University of Georgia. “The group will be mindful of the integration of athletics and academics when creating recommendations for Division I transfer policy or legislation.”

Transfer rules were not included among the specific areas of autonomy within which the Division I Board of Directors has given the 65 schools in the Big 10, Big 12, ACC, Pac-12 and SEC the ability to make rules for themselves. However, the leadership in those five conferences indicated at that time that they were dissatisfied with the current transfer rules and hoped changes could be made quickly for students in the entire division.

One of the new group’s points of emphasis will be to consider whether to update the policy for graduate transfers to more closely mirror a new policy adopted last year for undergraduate transfers.

Yes, because giving kids an incentive to do what they’re supposed to be in school for – earn a college degree – might have to be compromised in the name of a greater good.  Like this:

The group will discuss whether that policy should be consistent with the undergraduate transfer policy, which requires students competing in baseball, basketball, bowl subdivision football and men’s ice hockey to sit out of competition for a year after transferring. The new policy allows those students to request a waiver to extend the number of years they have to complete their eligibility, but they can no longer request a waiver to compete immediately.

That policy applies to any undergraduate student-athlete seeking immediate eligibility starting with the 2015-16 academic year, regardless of when they enrolled. The group that recommended the undergraduate policy change was interested in exploring similar guidelines for graduate students, pending further research into the issue.

The new working group will examine graduate transfer data collected by the NCAA research staff when considering whether changes would be appropriate.

Consistency.  Yes, we all know when it comes to the NCAA, that’s an issue of paramount significance.  That’s why you should pay no attention to minor concerns.

 High-profile situations that have arisen under the current rules have spurred some athletics administrators to believe a better solution is possible.

“We plan to build on the great foundation of work done by the Leadership Council subcommittee on transfer issues, specifically in the areas of graduate transfer and permission to contact,” said working group co-chair Keith Gill, athletics director at the University of Richmond. “We want to ascertain whether there are better ways to appropriately balance providing our students with the opportunity to transfer when necessary and ensuring that the recruiting process has an end once students are enrolled. I look forward to working with the group toward possible solutions.”

They’re building!  What could possibly be wrong about building?

But given the focus on academics, taking away a benefit for players who actually get their degree would seem to contradict the stated goal of the NCAA. Expect plenty of public backlash against this potential change.

The NCAA contradicting one of its stated goals?  That’s consistent.

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Filed under The NCAA

College football’s meaningless will whip your sport’s meaningless ass.

Who watches all those damn bowl games, anyway?  Well, somebody does.

March Madness is huge, right? This year, the multiweek extravaganza has had its usual share of upsets, an exhilarated coach falling off his rolling chair after a victory and the presence of a dominant Kentucky team. Nearly 11.6 million brackets were submitted to ESPN.com’s annual contest. So what in college sports could be a bigger fan draw than the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament?

How about a bunch of bowl games? Yes, college football bowl games — nearly all of which had no meaning other than providing athletes with a postseason experience.

It is an imperfect comparison: a tournament with a natural direction of 68 teams reduced to a final pairing versus a bowl system that only this year introduced a four-team playoff to decide a national champion — the only instance in the history of bowl games when a winner advanced to the next level.

So it is worth noting that none of the 38 bowl games carried by the ESPN empire last season had fewer viewers than the 1.1 million who tuned in for the inaugural Camellia Bowl from Montgomery, Ala., while nine early-round N.C.A.A. tournament matchups generated audiences below that figure — Texas Southern-Arizona, a TNT telecast, was ranked last at 501,000 — based on the available data from 40 of the 48 games played before Thursday.

And I thought brackets über alles.

This really shouldn’t come as a surprise.  The typical casual fan filling out an office tournament bracket doesn’t care about watching all the games, just seeing the results.  College football, with all its warts, still manages to attract more dedicated fans.  The basketball numbers will improve as the tourney progresses, but the bottom end is what it is.  The difference is that college football keeps adding minor bowl games and we keep watching as they get added on.

The lessons to be drawn from this – why we have all those bowls, why ESPN invests in all those bowl games, what happens to fan interest in the wake of postseason expansion – are pretty obvious.  Unless you come from the “nevermind, The New York Times sux” school of sports analysis, that is.

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Filed under College Football

Mark Richt could show you the scrimmage stats. But then he’d have to kill you.

Today is the day for Georgia’s first scrimmage of the spring.  It is A Very Big Deal.

“We had a little shorter practice today,” coach Mark Richt said in a news release. “Tomorrow is a very important day. It’s the first scrimmage of the spring and practice number seven. We’re almost halfway through. We’ll find out where we’re at tomorrow.”

As is usually the case with such things, the scrimmage will not be open to the public or the media.  But Richt has decided to go one step beyond the usual.

We’ll have to rely on observations of players and Richt afterwards because Georgia has said there won’t be statistics provided.

No stats? Say what? Doesn’t Richt realize what he’s setting up if we don’t get scrimmage stats?  The only thing we’ll have to chew over the summer will be G-Day QBR numbers.

The horror.

Seriously, I suspect the quarterback situation is the real reason behind the decision to keep us in the dark.  And it’s understandable to an extent.

Brice Ramsey, Faton Bauta and Jacob Park will continue their spring competition for the starting job.

Ramsey figures offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is “kind of just feeling it all out right now,” and is looking for “consistency of play and grasp of the playbook and knowledge of knowing what’s going on with everyone on the field, making the right decisions, getting us in the right runs. Just normal stuff an offensive coordinator would want.”

Asked if he felt this was a true open competition, Park said: “I guess so. I’m not really one to ask that question. As far as playing time and as far as opportunities out there, I think it’s definitely a pretty equal chance.”

The less public second-guessing, the better.  At least from the coaches’ standpoint.  But it’s frustrating for the rest of us.  Especially when you consider the list of items of interest Weiszer lays out in his piece.

Ah, well, there’s always G-Day.  Unless they make the quarterbacks wear disguises.

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Filed under Georgia Football

You had one job, Dave Hart.

And that was not to screw up a job hire as badly as Mike Hamilton used to do.  Scratch that.

Tennessee fired men’s basketball coach Donnie Tyndall for cause Friday morning because it believes the NCAA is likely to charge him with significant violations as a result of its investigation into Tyndall’s former Southern Miss program. Also included in the termination letter obtained by the News Sentinel is that the first-year UT coach deleted emails of NCAA interest.

Jeez.  Bruce Pearl, dude.  What were you thinking?

Amazing.

***********************************************************************

UPDATE:  The big picture in Knoxville is stunning.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange