Category Archives: Georgia Football

Finished the drill.

Tracy Rocker tells Chip Towers he’s chilling in a good place, really.

I talked to Tracy Rocker on Friday. He didn’t have much to say.

“What are you up to?” I asked.

“Nothing,” Rocker said.

“You OK?”

“Everything’s good.”

“Well, can you tell me, did you leave Georgia on your own or were you dismissed?”

Here he sort of chuckled. “Everybody’s in a happy place,” he said.

“Do you have another job set up or are you taking some time off for a while?” I asked.

“You’ll know. Everything’s in a good place.”

Here Rocker ended the interview by saying “I’ve gotta run. Thanks for reaching out.”

Click.

Zen for the win, baby.

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Filed under Georgia Football

The gift that keeps on giving

Georgia’s 2013 signing class, ladies and gentlemen.

There are more former Georgia players that will be going to the [NFL] combine than those that finished their college careers there.

Yes, the massive brain fart that went into the 2015 Florida game plan didn’t help matters, but Mark Richt isn’t Georgia’s head coach now because several years’ worth of poor roster management decisions came back to bite him in the arse.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

I blame Chubb.

No doubt Jeff Dantzler likes the way this Georgia fan thinks.

If people expect 2018 the year UGA can truly compete for a conference and maybe national championship, does Chubb and Michel returning hurt those chances a bit?  I know they will mention the young dawgs, but would think that on field time for Brian Herrien, Elijah Holyfield, and D’Andre Swift would be more valuable.
– Logan Duckworth

I’ve seen this line of thinking from others, and I respectfully disagree. The best way to get better as a program is to win, and Chubb and Michel give the team the best chance to win. That lifts everything, including recruiting. I know recruiting went well this year, but Smart and his staff were selling hope and playing time. There’s only so long you can do that. You need to sell winning. And they know that, which is why they didn’t try to talk Chubb and Michel from coming back.

The idea that some in the fan base would find it preferable that Chubb and Michel were discouraged from returning to play in 2017 leaves me shaking my head.  I guess for some the team needs at least one more throwaway season.  Hey, at least they’ve got a ready-made excuse if the team doesn’t check all the boxes in 2018.

Then again, maybe the guy could borrow a page from this concept, and ask Seth in another mailbag about benching Chubb and Michel for the Samford game so the young pups could get some prep work in for the following season.  The future is now, you know.

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Filed under Georgia Football

If you could see through our eyes…

I wish I could claim credit for the subject of this post, but the truth of the matter is that I cribbed it from a message board comment.  Still, you take your inspiration whenever you can find it, right?

Anyway, a simple question for you all:  would it kill Greg McGarity and Jere Morehead to get out of their cushy boxes and spend an entire game day with the regular folks who make up the vast majority of the Georgia fan base?  You know — get a real feel for issues that bother us like tailgating restrictions, stadium concessions and bathrooms, ridiculously loud PA, etc. by living through them with the hoi polloi.  And then sit in post-game traffic for a while to get a real flavor for that horror show.

No, I wouldn’t expect a radical change to hearts and minds out of a single day’s experience.  But at least it might not make them so willingly dismissive of our demands for a level of service consummate with our financial contributions. Maybe.

Worth a shot?

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Filed under Georgia Football

“You just want to be in the hunt.”

Once upon a time, Greg McGarity had hopes and dreams, like the rest of us.  What happened?

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Filed under Georgia Football

When you gotta go…

While I’m on the subject of the new west end zone project — you didn’t think I was done with that, did you? — there’s something else besides the money that sticks in my craw a bit.  Listen to Kirby Smart wax eloquent about his new present:

“Really, it’s something we need to enhance our gameday experience for recruiting, but also make it better for our overall fan experience,” football coach Kirby Smart, entering his second season, said after the indoor facility dedication.”Then also for our players to have a locker room over there.”

… Smart said the stadium is used not only on gameday but on recruiting visits when hosting dinners. He said “a lot of teams on the (SEC) West obviously have had these venues. Most of the places I’ve been at stadiums they have had a recruiting room or a place to host recruits so we want to try to catch up to that, but we also want to go beyond them and do a better job and have a nice place for our players gameday locker room.”

“The biggest thing was just to have a recruiting venue at your site,” he said. “When kids come for a gameday experience, you’re able to have somewhere to take them.”

What about when the fans come for a gameday experience?

Look, I get that recruiting is a big deal for Smart.  Use whatever adjective you like — obsessed, laser-focused, driven — recruiting is über alles for the man getting paid almost four million a year to win big.  Really, I get that.

What I don’t get is why I have to be made to feel like my fandom is reduced at times to being a prop for recruiting.  We saw that last year with the #93k exhortations to make G-Day a special occasion for the recruits and it appears we’re seeing more of the same with the new project if, as it appears, the recruiting lounge is centered between the students on game day.  We’re not there to be entertained.  We’re there to contribute to the experience of kids who aren’t even part of the program yet.

Yes, there are some fan friendly improvements in store for the west end, such as the new plaza area (not that Reid Plaza has been that terrific), redone concessions (a professional staff would be more welcome) and more bathrooms.  But you get the feeling that most of those come almost as an afterthought, more of a throw in along the way as the facilities are upgraded for recruiting.

Doubt me on that?  Well, maybe you should read Seth Emerson’s piece from yesterday about… bathrooms.

Georgia’s massive new stadium project hadn’t even been formally approved yet, and school president Jere Morehead was already going into fundraising mode. The goal, you see, is for most of it to be paid by fans, and only a bit for the reserve fund, so Morehead apparently knew he had to justify it.

“I share the athletic director’s optimism that these two initiatives the indoor athletic facility and the west end zone project, are certainly going to put the University of Georgia at a very competitive advantage in the Southeastern Conference,” Morehead told the athletic board. “And I hope and expect they’re going to lead to even greater success for our football program in the future.”

Then the board unanimously approved the $63 million project to rebuild Georgia’s dilapidated locker room on the other side of the stadium, along with a recruiting room that Kirby Smart was urging, and a nice plaza to accompany the project.

Great, right? Well, based on the feedback from many fans upon news of the stadium project, there are plenty of grumbles that the fan experience isn’t getting financial attention too. For instance, the fans are, er, ticked about the state of bathrooms at Sanford Stadium. The locker rooms may be old, but the bathrooms are from the 1970s, one fan said in a phone call. The concession facilities are also below par, fans say, leading to over-crowding and just a cramped, uncomfortable experience in the concourses.

So acting on behalf of those fans, this reporter asked athletics director Greg McGarity about just that.

Great question (by the way, if I can wander off from my stated topic for a second, can I take the opportunity to question once again why Seth gets the criticism he does from some of you, when there are moments like this when he’s clearly doing the Lord’s work?), but the answer shouldn’t surprise anyone in not being great.

“We’re trying to maximize everything we can,” McGarity said, speaking about the stadium as a whole. “As far as renovating restrooms, we’ll start with another – sort of our normal standard operating procedure is to make them as new as they possibly could be. But with this addition it does relieve a lot of the pressure in the main gate area and the west end of the stadium.”

That does not sound like a man who concerns himself with the fans’ game day experience, does it?  Maybe he’s just too focused on improved wifi.  Or maybe he’s simply not focused at all.

Then there’s the vision thing. UGA seems to be hopping from one major facility project to another, while sprinkling in many smaller projects, not only for football but other sports.

Why not go with a big master plan, as some other schools (like Clemson) have done?

McGarity pointed to a master plan that did exist in the late 2000s, that included an indoor building further off campus. He also pointed to a plan he saw in 1999 that had an indoor facility being built right on this spot.

“You prioritize stuff as they become important,” he said. “A master plan, it probably touches every facility that we have. So there’s a lot of other projects for other facilities that are in a master plan. But a lot of things are important as we go on, and some things rise to the level of importance.”

Like recruiting.  And the Magill Society donors.  For the rest of us unwashed, Emerson has some practical advice.

And for now, bathrooms in areas other than the west end zone don’t reach that level of importance. Fans will just have to hold it a bit longer.

Or stay at home where the lines are shorter and the facilities are friendlier.  I’m not kidding myself when I write that; it’s not a perceived threat to Butts-Mehre, but merely the expression of a personal choice that some fans will make.

How to make it a perceived threat that would force McGarity to prioritize this as important stuff?  I dunno.  Hey, they’re big on Twitter hashtags.  How does #flush93k work as an attention getter?  It’s not like they’ll be using the last three characters for G-Day this year, anyway.

Eh, who am I deluding with this?  It’s been a steady regression on the game day front for us since Michael Adams worked his magic on tailgating and it’s hard to see that changing, at least as long as everything is working from the administration’s point of view.  That appears to be going swimmingly, so don’t miss your opportunity to commit to the G and support the West End Zone Project.  And, in the meantime, hold it.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Butts-Mehre is a money raising operation that happens to control a football program.

Georgia’s new IPF — or, as we choose to refer to it around these parts, the JPMIPF™ — was given its formal introduction to the masses yesterday and the school’s powers that be took the opportunity to make mention of the athletic department’s next big thing.

The University of Georgia Athletic Association is pleased to present details on a major enhancement to the west end zone of Sanford Stadium.

The project covers 120,000 total square feet of new and improved space. These enhancements include a new home locker room for the Bulldogs, a space to host and entertain prospects on game day, improvements to restroom and concession areas below the bridge, and a new scoreboard and upper plaza. The project is expected to take approximately 17 months to complete and is estimated to cost $63 million. When completed prior to the 2018 season, the west end zone expansion will have a transformational impact on Sanford Stadium.

It won’t have a transformational inpact on the reserve fund, though.  That’s because Morehead and McGarity plan on sticking with what works.

The athletic board approved a $10 million request that will come from athletic reserves. The other $53 million will come through fundraising over two or three years. The board approved using a line of credit during fiscal year 2018 to help pay for the project…

Morehead said Georgia, which had $67 million in reserves at the end of the fiscal year 2016, is one of the most financially sound athletic programs in the nation and cautioned that he will be hesitant to support more facility projects anytime soon.

“We are going to be extremely careful moving forward while we are in this fundraising initiatives until the pledges and payments are coming in,” he said.

He asked the athletic board to “help us stay focused on the donor prospects and energy and excitement to raise the funds to make this success.

“I have news for you in the next few years, there will be something else with respect to football or one of our other athletic programs,” he said. “I am absolutely committed for our athletic director and our head football coach as they make the case for this project (in fundraising).”

McGarity said Georgia has just “scratched the surface” in fund raising.

“We have 16,000 season ticket holders,” McGarity said. “There’s naming facilities (in the indoor facility) as well as in these new areas. I think there’s tremendous upside for maybe a once in a lifetime chance for naming opportunities that are going to be available in Sanford Stadium.”

He sounds more excited about naming opportunities than winning SEC championships.  Maybe he should be — Chip Towers reports that word is they already have nearly $10 million of their $50+ million goal after donors stepped up past the goal of $31 million for the IAF.

Keeping in mind that pledges from the some 475 members of Georgia’s Magill Society have exceeded $36 million, it’s easy to see where the athletic department’s priorities are focused.  No wonder they just brought this guy on board; he’s gonna be a busy dude just taking care of the (almost) 500.

It’s a great thing they’ve got a football program that inspires passion among the fan base that can be financially tapped as needed.  It’s almost like if they didn’t, they’d have to invent it.  Best of all with this business model, championships appear to be optional.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness