Mr. Conventional Wisdom’s gonna conventional wisdom.

From stating the obvious as if it’s profound wisdom (“Now let me say this again because some people will miss this: If the charges are proven true, Ole Miss deserves the punishment it gets.”) to lauding Mike Slive’s leadership to chastising those in glass houses, Tony Barnhart’s reaction to the Ole Miss mess is exactly what you’d expect, right down to the punctuation marks.

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Filed under Freeze!, Media Punditry/Foibles

Well, now.

I guess you can add one more name to the list of national media not buying into another throwaway year for Georgia football.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken is ready to write off Kirby Smart if the Bulldogs don’t win the SEC East in 2017.

“If Kirby Smart doesn’t win the East next year, he’s a clown,” Wolken said on “Dukes and Bell” on SportsRadio 92.9 The Game in Atlanta on Thursday. “I’m sorry. Point blank. They are so far above the rest of that division in terms of talent right now with the players that they’ve got coming back.

“Give me a break. The expectation for Georgia next year should be winning the East, point blank—period. If they don’t get that done, then I have to seriously question whether Kirby can coach.”

Wolken gives Georgia a pass for the 2016 season, considering it was lacking depth at key positions, but he still believes Smart already has recruited well enough to beat their opposition in the division.

“We’re talking about winning a terrible division where we’ve got teams like Vandy, Missouri. South Carolina is definitely improving, but they’re not ready for prime time,” Wolken said. “Tennessee’s a joke, Florida’s not very good right now. Look at the teams they’re competing against.

“They have no excuse not to win this division next year when you’ve got Nick Chubb coming back, you’ve got Sony Michel. Jacob Eason has got to take a step forward. You’ve got guys defensively; I think they’re pretty loaded on that side of the ball. I’m sorry, they are so much more talented than the rest of that division right now. I don’t want to hear it — I don’t want to hear any excuses.”

Jeff Dantzler strenuously objects, but what about you?  Outside of a replay of the 2013 injury plague, are there reasonable excuses for Georgia not to finish the drill as the divisional favorite this season?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

The SEC’s rising tide

Al.com hit Alabama and Auburn with FOIA requests to show us the money.  You won’t be surprised to learn 2016 was a berry, berry good year.

Here’s Auburn’s story, year over year:

Auburn Athletic Finances

Year Total Revenue Total Expenses Surplus/Deficit
2016 $140,070,593 $124,864,399 $15,206,194
2015 $124,657,247 $115,498,047 $9,159,200

A $16 million increase in revenue and a $6 million bump in profit is none too shabby.

Alabama did just fine, as well.

According to documents filed with the NCAA, the school’s profit increased 13.1 percent in 2016 to $18.7 million.

…To compare to Alabama’s $18.7 million total profit, Auburn’s athletics department reported a $15.2 million surplus. Auburn’s $140 million revenue was a school record, as was Alabama’s $164 million in income.

Georgia, as you no doubt know, isn’t in any hurry to respond to open records requests, so we’ll be waiting a while to hear what a great job Greg McGarity’s done in that regard.  But if you’re of a mind to triangulate, you can find Georgia’s 2015 numbers here:  $116,151,279 in total revenue and $19,591,972 in “surplus” (nice euphemism there).  If things are fairly analogous — and you’d think they would be — Butts-Mehre is positively rolling in dough.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

A fresh set of eyes for the offense?

On first blush, those of you who are frustrated with Jim Chaney should welcome this news.

The Georgia Bulldogs are set to add an analyst that was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at multiple spots the last few seasons.

Multiple sources have confirmed to Dawgs247 that former Minnesota OC and Quarterbacks coach Jay Johnson is set to join the Bulldogs as an offensive analyst.

Here’s his bio from the U of Minnesota web site.

Johnson, who is from Lakeville, Minn., has more than two decades of coaching experience on offense and just recently completed his fifth season as offensive coordinator for the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.

Johnson directed an offense that set multiple school records during his five years at Louisiana. Under Johnson, the Cajuns set school records for total offense (5,914 yards) and points (461) in 2012. Johnson’s offense finished 22nd in the nation in rushing in 2014, as it averaged 225.9 yards per game.

In 2013, the Cajuns set program records for total first downs (283) and total plays from scrimmage (883). Johnson’s offense was also extremely effective in the red zone during his stint at Louisiana, as it finished 10th in the nation in 2014, converting at a 91.2 percent success rate.

Johnson also coached and developed record-setting quarterback Terrance Broadway from 2012-14. Broadway is the school’s record holder in total offense with 9,240 yards. In 2013, Broadway led Sun Belt quarterbacks in passing efficiency and completed 62 percent of his passes for 2,419 yards and 19 touchdowns. Prior to Broadway, Johnson coached quarterback Blaine Gautier, who in 2011, threw for a school record 2,958 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Before you hyperventilate over the prospect of Kirby bringing in a little competition, so to speak, to direct the offense, note what’s missing there — any discussion of how Minnesota’s offense performed in 2016 under Johnson’s direction.

Bill Connelly is here to help with that, though, and his advanced stats profile doesn’t exactly overwhelm.  Yes, Minnesota finished ahead of Georgia in offensive S&P+, but given that the Dawgs were 93rd, the Gophers’ 84th ranking isn’t exciting.  Nor is the rest of what’s there a huge upgrade.  Mitch Leidner was a senior and a three-year starter at quarterback who managed to finish last season with the worst passer rating of his career.

I’ll be interested to hear more about what they’re getting, but as initial impressions go, there doesn’t appear to be much to get excited about.

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Filed under Georgia Football

War of words

Willie Taggart’s gotten off to a rocky start at Oregon for, among other things, some trouble with the strength and conditioning program that resulted in the S&C coach being suspended for a month and Taggart losing direct control over the S&C program.

Taggart has responded in the most professional way he could.

Head coach Willie Taggart, whom Oregon hired to replace Mark Helfrich in December, said he is no longer speaking to The Oregonian reporter who broke the story, claiming that the reporter’s characterization of the workouts as “grueling” and “akin to military basic training” were inaccurate, unfair and directly contradicted what Taggart told the reporter before the story was written.

Keep in mind that the words used by the reporter were suggested to him by several sources and that a faculty athletics representative who investigated said the story was fair and that coaches made mistakes in the first workout.  Oh, and let’s not forget that three players were hospitalized due to the workouts.

So when you boil it down, Oregon’s head coach has decided to get pissy with the paper covering his team over semantics.  That certainly bodes well for his public relations skills.  Better win big and win fast, my man.

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Filed under Pac-12 Football

The more, the merrier

It’s becoming readily apparent that Kirby Smart views kickers like beer:  you can never have too much.

Signing Day may be nearly a month in the rearview mirror at this point, but there are still a select few division-one players lingering out there for teams to bring in. Many of these are specialists, and that’s exact who Georgia landed on Thursday night, as punter Bill Rubright committed to play as a preferred walk-on for Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs in 2017 and beyond…

Rubright is an in-state kid — he’s from the Atlanta area and played at Marist School — and according to 247Sports, he is the sixth-ranked punter in the country.

Honestly, what’s not to like about stocking up?  You have to figure at some point if Smart gets enough in, he manages to hit pay dirt with at least one of them.  It’s not like he could do much worse than last season, anyway.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Trent Thompson sacks himself.

I have no particular insight about what Trent Thompson’s condition might be, so in that regard, all I can do is wish him the best for a speedy recovery, whether that involves a future at Georgia or otherwise.

Chip Towers reports that he’s been released from the hospital, but the rest of the details are murky.

There are conflicting reports as to the cause of his medical issues but it is not believed to be football related. Police have not yet responded to requests for a report. Sources with knowledge of the situation told DawgNation no drugs or alcohol were involved.

“Trenton was recently discharged from the hospital and remains under close medical care,” a statement by UGA said. “With respect to last night’s incident, the physical appearance and behavior described in the UGA PD report is solely related to an adverse reaction to medications prescribed specifically for his medical condition. The adverse reaction required emergency transport to Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center where he was treated and released.”

No idea what that medical condition might be, although Towers also reports that Marshall Thompson may have underwent shoulder surgery this offseason.  It’s not worth speculating beyond that.

If there’s anything noteworthy about the matter, it’s the restraint displayed by the UGAPD officer who first came upon Thompson clearly in distress.  No overreaction and EMS was called.  Considering that Williamson’s finest once arrested a football player for failing to give his middle name, that’s almost praiseworthy behavior.  It’s certainly professional.  Good enough that I’ll refrain from snark.

This is a little weird, though.

Grady News Source, UGA’s in-house television news production team, asked Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship what he knew about the situation.

“Trent has asked that we don’t speak to anybody else about what’s happened, just because the football team is a brotherhood and a family,” Blankenship said in a brief interview that appeared on WSB-TV.

Rodrigo Blankenship, team spokesman?  And you’d think that the in-house news staff would know in advance that it wouldn’t get much in the interview, so was the only point to reinforce the “we’re a family” talk?  Like I said, a little weird.

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Filed under Georgia Football