Category Archives: Georgia Football

From Alabama 2007 to Clemson 2017

As Chip Towers argues for yet another program template for Georgia to follow…

So Clemson and Swinney have provided the formula for Georgia. And the Bulldogs’ fan base would be well-advised to take note of the timeline. The Tigers went just 19-15 those first three years. But they won 10 or more every year since, including 28-2 these last two, when the roster brimmed with upperclassmen.

I honestly don’t think it should take Georgia as long to get to a similar place, not with the way Smart is recruiting. Make what you will about recruiting rankings — the Dogs are currently No. 3 nationally — but it is a game of odds and the more highly-rated acquisitions one makes, the better the chance they’ll be able to help you.

… I can’t help but come back to something that crossed my mind as I watched the national championship game unfold, namely how the paths of Clemson and Georgia have diverged so dramatically in just two seasons after this game.

Did Clemson grow that much more talented than Georgia from 2014 to 2016?  Or was there something else that came into play?

As ever, it’s about development and chemistry, two areas on which Swinney and the Tigers get very high marks. We don’t know that yet about Smart and his staff, but we do know it’s a point of heavy emphasis. He certainly knows what great players look like and where to get them. Coaching them up is what we’ll have to wait and see on.

About that “we do know it’s a point of heavy emphasis” thing — exactly how do we know that?  I mean, yes, there are areas where we saw signs of player development, like the defensive front seven, for example.  But if you watched Georgia’s offensive line or special teams play, it’s a stretch to say that was a team-wide phenomenon.

Bottom line, player development is what’s separated Alabama from Georgia for almost a decade now and helps to explain why Clemson pulled down that national title that’s eluded Georgia for 36 years now.  Can Kirby Smart close that gap?  The jury is out.


Filed under Georgia Football

Auburn delenda est on the recruiting trail?

MaconDawg makes the argument that if recruiting in the state of Georgia is something of a zero sum game, then what’s good for Kirby Smart is bad for Gus Malzahn.

The commonality among those classes? Auburn’s ability to snatch 4-6 blue chip prospects from the state to the east made the difference between a top 10 signing class and one that would have finished outside the national top 20, and near the bottom of the SEC West. And it’s not as if Auburn has been signing the players Georgia passed on. By my count no more than five of the big time recruits listed above did not also have an offer from the Bulldogs. While Auburn’s recruiting “home base” is arguably lower Alabama, Georgia is a close second. When Auburn has recruited well overall, it has recruited Georgia well.

Which is why Gus Malzahn really needs 2017 to be a one-off on the recruiting trail. Auburn has twenty commits for the class of 2017. Only three are from Georgia, none ranked above three stars.

With the possible exception of Crisp County’s Markaviest Bryant (who’s deciding soon from among UGA, Auburn, and LSU), it doesn’t appear that the Tigers are in the running for any blue chip Georgia players. Tray Bishop had been one of the most highly rated players in the 2017 Tiger class, until he flipped his commitment to UGA.

247 currently ranks Auburn’s class a respectable 8th in the nation, including heralded JUCO QB Jarrett Stidham. But that doesnt really tell the full story. Five of the ten teams ranked directly behind the Plainsmen have sixteen or fewer commits. Some will likely add commits and pass them (USC, Penn State, Washington, and obviously Clemson all have significant momentum). In short, Auburn may be about to finish outside the top 10 in recruiting rankings for the first time in a while.

Obviously one year doth not a trend make, but if Rodney Garner, of all people, can’t make hay in Georgia, it’ll be interesting to see what steps, if any, Auburn can take to offset the talent drain from its eastern neighbor.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Recruiting

Don’t worry about that learning curve, folks.

Jacob Eason is on the mother.

“Coming in at the beginning of the season seeing different defenses change before a snap, try to mess with me as a young quarterback,” he said. “Definitely now I feel a lot more comfortable just because of the film work and the on the field work starting against our own defense, switching up stuff a bunch. Now I feel a tremendous amount better than I did at the beginning of the season.”

His position coach agrees that things are starting to click, although the timing of that might surprise you.

The game began to slow down for Eason, according to Chaney, at about the eighth game of the season, which was against Florida, a 24-10 loss.

He finished that game with a 91.86 passer rating.  I shudder to think what that would have been if the game hadn’t begun slowing down for him.

This offseason may be more trying than we think.


Filed under Georgia Football

Brace yourself.

Here’s the kind of thinking that doesn’t surprise you in the least.

Brian Moore, a longtime executive at DonJoy, which manufactures braces, said he believed the practice of prophylactic bracing began in the early 1990s, though it did not gain traction at the highest level of college football until later that decade. The premise is that the braces are needed to protect the vulnerable joints of linemen, who are often hit on the side or the back of a knee by other players who are falling in the so-called trenches, near the line of scrimmage.

In fact, according to Moore, just about every Division I team in the country now requires its linemen to wear knee braces in practice, if not in games, even if those players have never had a knee injury.

“It’s true; the participation rate is near 100 percent,” said Brian Pietrosimone, an assistant professor of exercise and sports science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill who has studied prophylactic bracing at length.

“But,” he added, “they’re using these things without much evidence to support that it works. In fact, the evidence is troublingly inconclusive.”

Of course, Moore, the executive from DonJoy, disagrees. In a telephone interview, he cited three studies indicating that wearing braces could help linemen avoid the most severe types of injuries. When a reporter pointed out that all three studies had been conducted more than 15 years ago, he said the research was still valid.

Pietrosimone, however, was part of a group that did a systematic review of all studies on whether knee braces prevent injury in 2008 and concluded that the issue was not so clear-cut. The methodology of the studies was flawed in many cases, the review found, and several studies even indicated that wearing braces might increase — not decrease — the risk of knee injury.

Those braces cost about $1000 a set, so it’s not hard to see why Mr. Moore might disagree with a point of view that doesn’t find them necessary.  It sounds like more research into the matter might be worthwhile.

Eh, studies, shmudies.

… Danny Poole, who is Clemson’s director of sports medicine and has been at the university for more than three decades, estimated that he began endorsing the practice 15 years ago. (Clemson also requires players to have either tape or a brace on their ankles.) Poole said he was largely indifferent to skepticism that might appear in academic journals, preferring a more direct evaluation.

“I’m not a big, huge studies guy,” Poole said. “I like to hear from the players. And the first time you hear, ‘That brace saved me today,’ you know it’s doing something.”

Yeah, who you gonna believe, your players or lying studies?  Welp, except your players ain’t all that convinced, either.

“I really don’t know if they work or not, but rules are rules,” Clemson lineman Mitch Hyatt said with a shrug. “I just wish they weren’t so irritating.”

Players’ gripes about the braces run the gamut: Many do not like having to show up to practice 10 minutes early to put them on. Some do not like how the braces feel. And just about everyone does not like their distinct odor after several months of practices and games.

Pierschbacher also took issue with the entire brace aesthetic, describing them as “robotic,” and complaining that “you don’t feel all swagged out like you should” when wearing them.

Tyrone Crowder, who plays guard for Clemson, said he had never worn braces in high school and was “not that stoked” when he arrived at the university and was told that he had to use them in practices.

“I actually don’t wear them in games because I just can’t,” he said. “When I don’t wear them, I feel like I’m flying around. When I do, it’s like my legs just get so tired.”

Shut up, kid, and suit up.


Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

What Georgia fans are hoping for over the next month

Last night’s title game had a distinctive Georgia undercurrent to it.

Outsourcing is a bitch.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Now that the first year is in the books…

I’m curious to hear from you about something.

If the spectrum of expectations for Georgia’s 2017 season runs from “another throwaway season” at one end to “great leap” at the other, where do yours fall?


Filed under Georgia Football

“He just believed in his process.”

If you think Kirby Smart overextended himself during games by involving himself in every aspect of game management, you need to read this New York Times story about Nick Saban during games.  It explains a lot.

Saban himself would most likely attribute most of his success to his teams’ talent, which is annually among the best in the country. But even Saban credits his in-game decisions to pregame preparations. He has a small army of talented assistant coaches at his disposal — in addition to the nine allowed under N.C.A.A. rules, Alabama employs a special assistant, nine staff members in operations or personnel and at least eight “analysts.” The group included for much of the year five men (not including Saban) who have led a top-tier college football team of their own.

Which is to say: Saban delegates, but only to a strictly defined degree.

“Coach Saban is very hands-on in every part of our program,” the Tide’s first-year defensive coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt, told reporters recently, “from the weight room to the nutrition to all the way down to, you know, what we’re going to wear to this press conference.”

Sound familiar?

The difference, of course, is that Saban isn’t the guy who’s surrounded himself with a new cast of coaches.  Nor is he the guy who’s in his first year as a head coach at a school with an athletic administration whose management motto hasn’t exactly been “all in”.

If you’re Kirby Smart, that’s what on the job training gets you sometimes.


Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules