Category Archives: Blowing Smoke

“We don’t sign backups here at the University of Texas.”

Sure, Tom Herman signed the lowest-rated recruiting class at Texas ever, but at least there was science behind it.

However, it seems there was actually some strategy that went into Texas’ 2017 class. Herman said in a recent interview with Longhorn Network that he and his staff found research regarding first-year head coaches’ classes that prompted them to change their approach a bit. Below are some of Herman’s comments during the interview, which were transcribed via Football Scoop.

“We knew through all the metrics, all the analytics, all the numbers that point to most of the time in years of transition in coaching staffs, that signing class has the highest rate of attrition – meaning kids that quit – has the highest rate of off-field issues including academics, drugs and social, and has the highest rate of guys that can’t play, and don’t ever see the field.”

Whatevs, dude.  Just explain how proclaiming that you don’t sign backups — “None of these guys were signed for depth or anything other than we believe that they can either play now and help us win championships…” — turn right around to say that one of the main focuses of your 2017 signing class was to add guys who can provide depth, as opposed to ones who would see the field right away is anything other than a roundabout way of pretending you don’t really need those all-star recruits you were chasing and will continue to keep chasing.

Better stick the landing a helluva lot better with next year’s class.  At least that way you won’t have to spend as much time spinning to defend it.

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Filed under Blowing Smoke, Recruiting, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

‘Ya gotta have heart.

Tennessee was 2016’s heavy favorite to win the SEC East.  Tennessee flops.  Butch Jones responds:  “They’ve won the biggest championship — that’s the championship of life…”

Fast forward to February, 2017.  Tennessee comes out of national signing day with a middling result by SEC standards.  Two of its permanent opponents, Alabama and Georgia, dominate the final recruiting class rankings.  Butch Jones responds:

“We’ve spoken about the competitive nature, and I think that’s really, really big in today’s world,” Jones said. Everyone gets into the whole two-star, three-star, four-star, five-star thing. The only five-star that we even concern ourselves with is a five-star heart.

“We want five-star hearts and five-star competitors.”

I’m sensing a pattern here.

Jones and Tennessee director of player personnel Bob Welton said they evaluate a player’s competitive spirit throughout the recruiting process, and not just on the football field, basketball court or baseball diamond.

The Vols entertain recruits with games throughout their weekends in Knoxville. They play games on campus, go bowling downtown and play ping pong, billiards, corn hole and even charades during trips to Jones’ house.

Welton said Tennessee isn’t just entertaining the players in those situations. He said they’re also evaluating them.

“It could be something as a simple as a corn hole game, but our guys are competing, talking trash,” Welton said. “We watch that. We observe that. We’ve actually shied away from some kids on visits when all these kids are out there competing, and that kid’s over there just sitting. That tells you a lot about a kid.

“That competitiveness, you can’t coach it, and you usually can’t change it once you get ‘em. You can’t put that into a kid. They have to be born with it and live with it.”

I can’t wait ’til Booch proclaims his team the SEC’s 2017 corn hole champions.  Is there a bonus for that in his contract?

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Blowing Smoke

Booch be shoveling.

I mentioned the story yesterday about the top 100 recruit willing to grayshirt at Alabama because there was literally no room at the inn for him in the ridiculous class Saban assembled, but Tennessee’s head coach wants us to know things were just as tough for him.

“We had to turn away very, very talented football players, unfortunately, because of our numbers and what we needed with this current football team, and probably had to turn away more talented players than we’ve had since we’ve been here.”

I guess that would explain how UT wound up with the seventh-best class in the conference.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Blowing Smoke, Recruiting

To know a man’s heart

How come none of you genius amateur psychiatrists who just knew Richt deliberately threw the Florida game so he could engineer a multi-million dollar buyout on his way to the sunny shores of Florida have offered up similar insights about Charlie Strong’s embarrassing loss to Kansas?

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Filed under Blowing Smoke

Today, in bidness decisions

Tennessee football, don’t ever change.

I’m sure the prospect of Booch managing Smith’s future made an enormous difference, big enough that this was merely an irrelevant coincidence.

In the summer Tennessee hired Ashley Smith, Trey’s sister, to work in the football program with the title of executive assistant to the head coach.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Blowing Smoke, Recruiting

Today, in I don’t think that means what you think it means

Tray Matthews, one of a small number of college players who can proudly claim a starring role in not one, but two, iconic moments, refers to his attempted tackle of Leonard Fournette last season as a “business decision”.

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Filed under Blowing Smoke

Greg Sankey wants you to know his heart is in the right place.

Jeez, how the man didn’t get laughed out of the room after saying this yesterday, I don’t know.

The commissioner of the SEC used his opening remarks at SEC Media Days to stress that his league would always try to ‘do the right thing.’

“… Our institutions are expected and will continue to handle these matters with integrity,” Sankey said. “We hope both of the current matters are completed in a timely manner. We understand there are issues that arise. That’s why the expectation for integrity is so high. And as we move forward together, we can’t have any more of those issues arise.”

Tennessee recently settled a Title XI lawsuit to the tune of a $2.48 million dollar settlement while Mississippi is currently in the middle of an NCAA investigation centered on allegations of players receiving impermissible benefits.

“The central thought must be, must be, we never have a team return a championship trophy, never vacate any wins, and never have one of our teams precluded from postseason competition because we either can’t follow the NCAA’s rules or can’t meet the expectations for academic success,” he added. “We have made enormous progress.”

Sankey said the league created a working group this offseason to help the SEC work towards meeting the NCAA expectations while “avoiding integrity compromises that challenge our entire mission.”

Your league is doing a bang-up job with that integrity thingy, Commish.

He added that it’s imperative the league must understand the high expectations placed on it when it comes to the personal conduct of each of its players.

“Young people need to understand the serious consequences associated with their behaviors, and our leaders need to make certain the laws and expectations of society are unquestionably followed,” said Sankey. “As leaders, we have to hold ourselves to high standards so that we are the example for our student-athletes.”

Oy.

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Filed under Blowing Smoke, SEC Football