Category Archives: Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Tuesday morning buffet

Get your fill before signing news takes over.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Big 12 Football, Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Recruiting, The Body Is A Temple

Too much Clausen is never enough.

Tell me you don’t get a chuckle out of this…

Maybe they can put Jimmy in charge of the team’s transportation.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Jimmy Clausen - Boy Wonder

Butch Jones’ recruiting loophole

Butch Jones once said this about Alabama:  “The one thing they can say about their program is it is what we are building here at Tennessee.”

When it comes to recruiting, it’s starting to look like Butch is a chip off the old block.  You may not have noticed, but Tennessee is well on its way to a monster-sized recruiting class, well over the scholarship limit.  How can Jones do that?  Well, much of that will come down to the traditional way more aggressive programs have gone about their oversigning business:  some combination of countbacks to the 2013 class, grayshirting, weeding out some kids on the current 85-man roster and pushing some current commits to the side to take higher rated ones.  It’s a frothy mixture that no doubt will be tolerated by the Vol faithful, but it’s nothing new.

What is new is this.

As Tennessee’s list of verbal commitments continues to grow (it should be up to 34 if lineman Charles Mosley commits on Friday as expected), the Vols are contending with two limits.

One is the NCAA-imposed limit on scholarships. The other is the conference-imposed limit on signees.

There’s no loophole on NCAA scholarship limits. Teams can have only 85 total scholarship players, of whom no more than 25 can be “initial counters” in any given year. (There are some strategies to minimize the impact of the NCAA limits, which I discussed here. More on that in a second).

But is it possible that Tennessee’s staff has stumbled upon a loophole that would effectively allow the Vols to “over-sign” in a way that was common a few years ago but has largely been eliminated because of new rules?

Take a look at the text of the SEC rule limiting signees that went into effect Aug. 1, 2011 (emphasis added):

13.9.1 Letter of Intent – Limitation. Each SEC member institution is limited to signing 25 football prospective student-athletes to a National Letter of Intent, Conference financial aid agreement and/or institutional offer of athletics financial aid from December 1 through May 31st of each year. [Adopted 5/29/09; effective immediately; revised 6/3/11; effective August 1, 2011]

(Here’s a .pdf link if you want to peruse the SEC rules yourself.)

The dates are critical, because the SEC bylaw collides with a new NCAA rules interpretation that impacted this recruiting cycle. Academically eligible student-athletes who plan to enroll early (in January) are now allowed to sign aid agreements with universities as early as Aug. 1.

Tennessee had a flood of players sign aid agreements last month — perhaps a half-dozen players or more. Why is this significant? By the letter of the law, those players wouldn’t count against the SEC’s signing limit. They’re freebies, if you will.

I’m not exactly sure I’d call that a freebie, or even a loophole.  It’s more like buying something on credit – at some time you’ve still got to pay the bill, so to speak.  It’s a semi-loophole, at best.

Signees and scholarships (i.e., initial counters) are two different things.

SEC rules limit signees; NCAA rules limit overall scholarships and initial counters.

The possible loophole I described is for the former; there is no loophole for the latter.

At the end of the day, the Vols — like any other team — can give no more than 25 initial counters in any year and have no more than 85 scholarship players overall. 

Under the hypothetical theory I floated in the story, the Vols could sign 35 players, but they would still have to cross the scholarship hurdle.

In the end, Jones will have to get his roster numbers down to the same level that every other program does.  It’s the process of getting there that’s going to be revealing.  As Woodbury puts it, “Signees are a January/February issue. Scholarships are a May/June/July issue.”  In other words, get ‘em in the door and let God sort out the rest.  At least the kids who signed financial aid agreements won’t be coming out of pocket.

The other thing that will be worth watching is as Jones’ strategy comes more into focus is the reaction from other coaches.  Do they scream or do they copy?  Hey, it’s the SEC, who am I kidding?  They’ll do both.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Recruiting

Friday lunch buffet

No turkey in this buffet.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Gene Chizik Is The Chiznit, Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple, Whoa, oh, Alabama

Look who’s shopping at the oversigning store.

Butch Jones may have just gotten to the SEC, but he’s been quick to embrace that “25-man signing cap is just a state of mind” attitude.

Schools can still backcount and grayshirt their way right past the 25-man “limit.”  Take Tennessee’s Butch Jones as the latest example.  He’s putting together a top five recruiting class in Knoxville as we speak.  His program appears to have room for as many as 30 signees in February (thanks to backcounting), but the Vols are already up to 33 commitments.  And they’re still out recruiting.  Jones offered up this tease to a booster group yesterday:

“If I can find a way to sign 35 guys, I’m gonna sign ‘em.  There is a plan in place.  It’s very strategic but it’s all gonna work out.  I promise you.”

The “secret plan” Jones has in mind is anyone’s guess, but it’s hard to imagine he’s found a loophole that’s not been taken advantage of by someone else somewhere else.

What is it with Tennessee coaches and plans?

Anyway, the idea that Jones has found a loophole in the signing rules that Nick Saban hasn’t… well, let’s just say I’m skeptical.  Pennington’s likely right to surmise that some of those prized recruits ready to show up in Knoxville next year are going to get a “not so fast, son” message pretty soon.  Or there may be a few medical issues cropping up on the current UT roster that will require some untimely retirements.  Or both.

You gotta break a few eggs if you want to make an urnge omelet.  Does anybody think the Vol fan base will care?  Hells no – anything Jones does that emulates Nick Saban is a feature, not a bug, in their book.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Recruiting

When orange turns to gray

Amidst the chaos and craziness that’s characterized the SEC East in 2013, I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks, Tennessee, you’ve been a rock.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Saturday morning buffet

Hungry?

  • D.J. Shockley on Aaron Murray:  “But in my book, he’s No. 1. He’s done it all. The numbers don’t lie. He’s put them in position, and obviously he can’t play defense and special teams. He’s definitely had a great career and worthy of being one of the best.” 
  • Johnny Football’s going to make announce a decision about his future before TAMU’s bowl game.
  • “The celebration by locals that for decades has been Florida football has more of an atmosphere of “Let’s just get this over with.”
  • Revenge is a dish best served urnge.
  • The financial aid deals Georgia signed with two recruits this week have five-year terms.  Still haven’t seen a downside for a recruit to do this.
  • It’s been a roller coaster ride for Arkansas’ seniors.
  • Want something to worry about in today’s game in Athens?  Kentucky’s defensive ends are fifth and seventh in the conference in sacks.

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Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Recruiting, WOAH! It's Johnny Football!

Wednesday morning buffet

Kibbles and bits from around college football:

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Big Ten Football, Coach O Needs Another Red Bull, Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Keeping the special in special teams

I mentioned earlier in the week my concern about the big day Auburn’s special teams had against Tennessee last Saturday, although, to be fair, Seth Emerson notes that the punt return matchup is pretty competitive.

Georgia may need to win Saturday’s game in an offensive shootout, but there’s another reason to discourage the Bulldogs from punting: Chris Davis.

The senior defensive back leads the nation in punt return yardage, averaging 24.1 yards per return, with one touchdown.

Georgia’s punt defense has actually been pretty good (4.11 yards per opponent return, ranking 18th in the country).

That of course assumes they get the punt off safely.  But we’ll save that discussion for another day.

But it’s also worth noting that the Vols fell victim to something that’s going to sound awfully familiar to us Dawg fans – loading up the coverage teams with green, non-starting players.

Safety LaDarrell McNeil was the only defensive starter on the field for Grant’s return. That kickoff team included true freshmen Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Lemond Johnson and Malik Foreman; redshirt freshmen Drae Bowles and Tino Thomas, walk-on safety Max Arnold, third-string tailback Tom Smith and reserve linebackers John Propst and Raiques Crump.

Linebacker Dontavis Sapp and cornerback Justin Coleman were the defensive starters on the field for Davis’s score. Crump and Reeves-Maybin are also on that unit, along with nickelbacks Devaun Swafford and JaRon Toney, a walk-on and former walk-on. Linebacker Greg King, defensive tackle Danny O’Brien and guard Dylan Wiesman make up the punter’s shield.

Georgia’s not as guilty of doing that as it used to be.  Remember classics like this?

That’s not a Georgia punt, but it’s the same principle.  (That’s freshman Nick Marshall with the spectacular whiff on Ingram, by the way.)

The Dawgs have got to avoid getting burned on special teams this Saturday.  Got to.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football

The more things change…

… the more Steve Spurrier remains a dick.

You know what else the OBC can say?  Since he’s been at South Carolina, he’s won as many SEC championships as UT’s coaches have, too.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, The Evil Genius