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Category Archives: Georgia Football

“Just building an O-line and go there and dominate all other SEC teams.”

A little Sam Pittman porn for your morning pleasure:

Georgia landed three of the top eight offensive line prospects this year by the 247Sports Composite: No. 2 Jamaree Salyer, No. 4 Cade Mays and No. 8 Trey Hill.

That’s after bringing in two of the top 10 2017 line recruits in Isaiah Wilson and Andrew Thomas, giving the Bulldogs five top-10 offensive line prospects in the past two recruiting cycles. Only three other programs have more than one: Ohio State with three and Alabama and Stanford with two each.

More than twice as many as ‘Bama?  Hoo, boy.  I need to go off and decompress somewhere.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Something’s gotta give.

Those excise taxes on huge coaches’ salaries aren’t going to pay themselves, peeps.

Another byproduct of the new legislation is a provision (Section 4960) that forces tax-exempt organizations like many of the colleges and universities across the country to pay an excise tax of 21 percent on the top five highest paid employees who make a salary of $1 million or more.

In most cases, that would include athletics directors and coaches who are sometimes the highest paid employees in the state.

Nick Saban is the highest paid coach in the FBS last season with a salary of $11.3 million. Under the new tax provision, Alabama would be on the hook for an estimated $2.3 million a year in excise taxes.

The issue stretches beyond Alabama. Last season, 78 coaches made at least $1 million. There were also 15 assistant coaches who made more than $1 million last season, led by LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda ($1.8 million), and a handful of athletics directors who wer paid more than $1 million as well.

How schools will offset the excise tax is another piece of the overall puzzle that no one seems to have an answer for at the moment. Some of it, unfortunately, could come in the form of cuts to programs. Then there are some more extreme measures, some of which involve third-party sponsorship.

“I think that schools are going to look at, ‘Can I get a shoe company to pay part of this?’” McMillen said. “I mean there is probably some workaround, but whatever they are, there’s probably a price to pay. You don’t want your football coach being paid by shoe companies.”

Well, except when you do.  But I digress.

Kirby’s gonna be in a pretty high tax bracket when the dust settles.  Mel Tucker just pole vaulted over the $1 million a year mark.  Presuming success continues for the football program, he’ll soon be joined by other assistants.  Sounds like another rainy day storm heading our way.  No doubt McGarity is on the mother as I type this.

Of course, instead of giving us another mealy-mouthed explanation for the coming bump in 2019, Butts-Mehre could always get a little creative, like this.  Probably not very Georgia Way-ish, though.  Too fan friendly.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

View from the outside, looking in

Always interesting to see the perspective of the Georgia program from the vantage point of other teams, so here’s an early look at the Dawgs’ 2018 prospects posted at the Kentucky Rivals site.

Previewing UGA’s 2018: Fromm is an excellent place for Georgia to start, because while UGA loses Michel, Chubb and leading receiver Javon Wims, a lot of talent returns on the outside and it looks like the Bulldogs should be able to do what they want on offense against most opponents once again. It should be another balanced, efficient attack.

Still, between players like defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter, linebacker D’Andre Walker and cornerback Deandre Baker, the defense still has an embarrassment of high-end talent that should again be one of the SEC’s better units.

Smart’s ability to elevate Georgia a notch or two up the national ladder in two years was impressive, but also a testament to the way his predecessor recruited. But as good as Mark Richt recruited, he never recruited the way Smart is recruiting now. This is a Georgia team with some big shoes to fill, but some big talents to fill them. And they are quickly building more and better quality depth at almost all positions than they have had in a very long time.

In short, they’re the easy favorites to win the East, a leading contender to reach the College Football Playoff for the second straight year, and they’re arguably set up to be one of college football’s two best programs for the foreseeable future.

Georgia might be able to get to 6-0 on cruise control next year. They play Austin Peay, South Carolina, Middle Tennessee, Missouri, Tennessee and Vanderbilt in the first half of the season. Unless South Carolina or Missouri can pull a shocking upset, UGA should be a popular playoff pick by midseason.

The second half is a little more tricky with games LSU, Florida, Kentucky, Auburn, UMass and archrival Georgia Tech. But there’s no Alabama or Mississippi State, and the best team on their schedule (Auburn) has to play Between the Hedges. The schedule sets up well for Smart’s third team.

I can live with that.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Commit to the paycheck

The days of Mark Richt coming out of his own pocket to pay bonuses to his assistant coaches are definitely in Georgia’s rear-view mirror now.

The run to the national championship has indeed become a financial boon to the staff of football coach Kirby Smart, whose 10 on-field assistant coaches will earn a combined total of nearly $2 million more than last year.

The highlights on the new salary pool for the 10 assistants, which is $6.42 million, up from $4.56 million:

  • Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has received a raise to $1.5 million, up from $900,000 last year. Georgia’s defense was one of the best in the country last season.
  • Assistant coach James Coley, expected to move from receivers coach to another position, has been bumped to $850,000 from $450,000 last year. Coley turned down a job offer from Texas A&M to become offensive coordinator.
  • Offensive line coach Sam Pittman will now earn $825,000 after earning $660,000 last year.
  • Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney received a $100,000 raise, and will now earn $950,000.

Strength and conditioning coordinator Scott Sinclair also received a significant bump, and will now earn $450,000. Sinclair earned $300,000 last year.

Here is the outlay for the 2018 staff, and what it earned in 2017:

2018 staff: $6.42 million

Mel Tucker, $1,500,000
Jim Chaney, $950,000
James Coley, $850,000
Sam Pittman, $825,000
Dell McGee, $550,000
Tray Scott, $420,000
Cortez Hankton, $375,000
Glenn Schumann, $325,000
Dan Lanning, $325,000
Scott Fountain, $300,000

2017 staff: $4.56 million

Mel Tucker, $900,000
Jim Chaney, $850,000
Sam Pittman, $660,000
James Coley, $450,000
Tray Scott, $400,000
Kevin Sherrer, $375,000
Dell McGee, $350,000
Shane Beamer, $300,000
Glenn Schumann, $275,000

Throw in the pay bumps to the S&C staff

Including the strength and conditioning staff assistant salaries — Ed Ellis ($180,980), Jamil Walker ($101,125), Rodney Prince ($90,000) and Ben Sowders ($85,000) — Georgia is paying its football assistants just over $7 million in 2018.

… and you’re talking about some real money.

Now, some of the bump can be attributed to adding a tenth member to the coaching staff, but there’s no denying that Tucker and Coley are the recipients of some sweet increases there.

Should we assume that the rest of the $6.6 million McGarity is raising with the season ticket price increase will go to Kirby?  If so, that would put him roughly in the $8 million dollar a year arena.  (At least that’s what I would argue if I were Jimmy Sexton.  Hey, I mean, it’s what the man said, right?)

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Ring bling

Behold, the SEC Championship Ring, in all its encrusted glory:

Herff Jones and University of Georgia Partner to Create SEC Championship Ring – Herffjones.com

Yeah, it’s gaudy, but that’s how those things roll.  The main thing is the big ‘ole “G” sitting in the middle there.  (I kind of like Auburn’s ass-whipping being immortalized, too.)

Hopefully, we won’t find any of these bad boys gracing the pages of eBay in the coming years.

(h/t)

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stylin'

Gap yapping

The five-year average of the 247Sports Composite team rankings has Georgia sitting third nationally in terms of signing talent.  Now, as the article points out, that’s not the same metric as how much talent will be suiting up in the fall.  (“They don’t take player attrition, player development, transfers or other factors into consideration…”)

Aside from that, there’s another factor to consider — the number of kids from the 2014 classes who will be actual contributors in 2018, when they’re redshirt seniors.  Here’s Georgia’s 2014 list, for example.  By my count, there are two of the twenty signees, Gaillard and Baker, who are still around.  It’s a guess on my part, but I doubt that ratio is an outlier, particularly at major programs where there are various forms of regular attrition.

So, I wonder what those averages would look like for SEC schools if you lopped off their 2014 classes.  Math is hard, but here goes.  Teams are listed in their five-year averages order, with the five-year average in parenthesis.  (The chart only listed the top 25 schools.)

  • Alabama:  2.5 (2.2)
  • Georgia:  4.25 (5.0)
  • LSU:  7.5 (6.4)
  • Auburn:  9.75 (9.0)
  • Tennessee: 13.75 (12.4)
  • Texas A&M:  14.75 (12.8)
  • Florida:  14.50 (13.4)
  • Ole Miss:  21.0 (19.8)
  • South Carolina:  21.25 (20.2)
  • Mississippi State:  25.00 (27.0)

That’s ten out of fourteen conference schools listed in the top 25, which isn’t a bad batting average.

What’s really of interest, though, is that while there was little shifting of the overall order after lopping off 2014, every program but two —  Georgia and Mississippi State — saw its average decline.  Now I doubt anybody’s crying for Tuscaloosa, but some of those drops are pretty significant in a conference where almost every program recruits well.  It will be interesting to see which coaches can reverse those trends over the next couple of seasons, but, again, the signs are there for Georgia to have an edge in talent over everyone but you-know-who during that time period.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

This is not your father’s offensive line. (If Mark Richt were your father, that is.)

More than anything else that’s gone on with the program in a little over two years, I am absolutely stunned at how fast and how effective the remake of the offensive line has been.  Here’s Anthony Dasher’s take on 2018:

Obviously, nothing is set in stone, but Andrew Thomas at left tackle certainly appears to be about as close to a guarantee as you can get.

The former Pace standout was moved to the left side from right tackle immediately after the national championship, and barring something totally unforeseen, will be the man at the position for the season-opener against Austin Peay.

Gaillard will start for the second straight year at center, with Cleveland expected to hang onto his starting job at right guard.

Left guard will probably be the most interesting position to watch.

Baker did an excellent job last year in his first season as a starter, but if Salyer is as good as we think he is, he’ll be tough to keep off the field.

We’ve mentioned it appears either Wilson or Mays will be the new right tackle for 2018, all but assuring Georgia’s it’s most physically intimidating offensive line as the Bulldogs have had in recent memory.

These are fun times for Pittman.

No kidding.  It’s not just the starting five, it’s the incredible amount of depth Pittman has amassed with these last two classes.  For the first time in… well, what seems like forever, I’m really looking forward to seeing what the second-string o-line brings to the table on G-Day.

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Filed under Georgia Football