Category Archives: The Body Is A Temple

Whatever happened to…?

For those of you asking about Scott Cochran, he surfaced yesterday with this:

Good for him.  And with the NCAA about to remove caps on assistant coaching positions, his timing couldn’t be better.


Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

Lessons from the pandemic

Next time, I can think of a few conferences that will be solemnly swearing not cancelling games is the new “do it for the kids” take.

[Ed. note:  Don’t make me shut down the comments thread, please.]


Filed under Big 12 Football, Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football, The Body Is A Temple


Arik Gilbert, my friends.

And to think once upon a time a lot of us were worried about his conditioning going into this season.


Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

“Justyn is in a position to make this decision for himself.”

If you think back to last season’s opener, one thing we Dawg fans were reminded of as the game approached was Justyn Ross’ return for Clemson.  He had been one of the best receivers in college football before he lost a season due to a serious spinal injury.  I don’t know about you, but at the time I didn’t realize just how serious his condition was.

What makes his evaluation even more difficult? Ross is attempting to become the first known player to make the NFL with a congenital fusion in his spine.

“Justyn has a condition that is very rare, and to my knowledge, there is no precedent of another high-level American football player with this condition playing football,” said Dr. David Okonkwo, who performed the surgery on Ross that allowed him to return to play. “So we were paving new road as we went through the process.”

FROM THE BEGINNING, there was one glimmer of hope that Ross clung to: the potential for surgery to relieve the pressure on his spine, which would give him a chance to play again. But even then, there would be no guarantees.

Shortly after the diagnosis, the coronavirus pandemic shut down campus and Ross went back home to Alabama. He continued to work out, telling himself the doctors would realize they made a mistake, that he was fine, that he did not need surgery. The hit he took that started all this was nothing compared to harder hits in his career, and nothing had ever happened to him.

Reality said something different. Over the next several weeks, multiple neurosurgeons told Ross they would not clear him to play football, saying the risks including paralysis or even death. Despite that, Ross pressed forward trying to save his career.

Ross’ condition, Klippel-Feil syndrome, isn’t curable.  He and his family became convinced that it was treatable, though.

“Dr. Okonkwo is very confident in what he says, he’s very knowledgeable about his work, so he made us feel comfortable when we met him,” Franklin said. “He never made me feel like he had any doubt in what he could do. So that’s where we got the confidence that OK, we can go ahead and do this.”

Ross had the surgery in June 2020. Okonkwo removed a disc that was pushing backward to free up space for the spinal cord, leaving behind a graft and plate to hold everything together.

“The procedure itself is a very common procedure, but this procedure for this specific reason is very rare,” Okonkwo said. “It is virtually unique to have done this surgery in someone with Klippel-Feil syndrome, who happens to be one of the most talented football players in the United States of America.

It’s that “who happens to be” part where it starts feeling a little creepy.  And speaking of creepy,

Swinney and chief of football administration Woody McCorvey flew to Pittsburgh to be with Ross and his mother, then spoke with Okonkwo afterward.

“I asked him, ‘How did the surgery go?'” Swinney said. “I said, ‘Did you go 9-3 or 6-6? He said, ‘I went 15-0.’ And I said, ‘Well, I like that answer.'”

But Okonkwo also cautioned Swinney, telling him even if Ross did everything right, there was still a chance he wouldn’t be able to play.

Well, Ross did play last season for Clemson, finishing with team highs in catches (46) and receiving yards (514).  All that led him to being projected as a mid-round pick in the NFL draft.  As it turned out, not only was Ross not drafted, he also hasn’t been offered a free agent contract by any team.  Which leads to the uneasy conclusion that NFL teams are more concerned about his health than Clemson or Ross are.

Look, I’m not saying there are any bad people here.  A pro football career was Justyn Ross’ ticket to supporting himself and his family after school and Dabo Swinney is being paid big bucks to win games, something a contributing Ross would help achieve.  It’s clear that plenty of due diligence was done before allowing Ross to play and, in the end, it was his call to make.  Or was it?  The NFL is more of a business than is Clemson, or at least that’s what we’re supposed to think, and it’s a little sad to consider that Clemson was willing to go where 32 other teams don’t appear to be.


UPDATE:  Weirdly enough, this makes me feel slightly better.

I hope everyone involved knows what they’re doing.


Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, The Body Is A Temple, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Making do with what you’ve got

You know, if Metchie and Williams hadn’t gotten hurt, Georgia would’ve won G-Day.  Or something…


Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

Targeting targeting

Everybody hates the penalty format, but it’s not going anywhere, at least for now.  Why?  Because, lawsuits.

While officials this offseason are exploring adjustments to the foul’s penalty, a study released this winter provides a chilling reminder of why the targeting foul exists in the first place: to reduce the risk of concussions. A four-year study conducted by the Pac-12 over conference and non-conference games from 2016 to ’19, shows the risk of concussions from targeting plays was 37 times higher than on non-targeting plays and 49 times higher when the targeting play was upheld. Fifteen players were concussed in 141 plays in which targeting was called—a 10.6% chance of concussion. In all other plays (68,529), players experienced 198 concussions (0.3% chance).

“This study would indicate that what we’re calling ‘targeting’ is the most dangerous plays we need to get out of the game,” says Steve Shaw, the NCAA’s national coordinator of officials. “This reaffirms that the targeting rule itself is the right rule. We’re working to take head hits out of the game.”

The study, published last month in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, further signals why officials will be hesitant to significantly change the rule.

If officials soften the penalty and targeting increases in the aftermath — correlation vs. causation be damned — you know what’s gonna happen.  And so do the suits who would have to hire the defense lawyers.

There is hope, though.

“In the list of complaints about targeting, what I’ve not seen is an effective strategy of managing the same issue through different mechanisms,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey told SI in January. “Relative to targeting itself, it is a well-intended rule that is difficult to enforce and creates controversy and consternation when it is enforced. I’ve seen enough research that it does change behavior.”

In the NFL, the penalty for targeting is at the discretion of commissioner Roger Goodell and normally results in a financial penalty, not disqualification. College football does not have the ability to fine players and, thus, “Playing time is a direct way to assess accountability,” Sankey says.

And you thought you were opposed to player compensation.


Filed under See You In Court, The Body Is A Temple

“We all kind of know, in our hearts, what’s happening in our game.”

In an honest world seeking balance, the issue of how playoff expansion might affect the health of college players asked to suit up for more games would be taken seriously, perhaps to the point of considering reducing the number of games played in the regular season.  That’s how the FCS division handled the tradeoff.

But who are we kidding here?  This is P5 football, baby, and cash is king.  Nobody’s cutting games.  Instead, they’ll go back to the old playbook and make some mouth noises about doing something for the kids that’s really for somebody else’s benefit.

Like this ($$).

“I don’t think (lengthening the season) is entirely negative,” said Dr. Lee Kaplan, the medical director of the University of Miami athletic department and the team physician for the Miami Marlins. “It actually could be a positive because it will deepen our understanding around recover in-season. Your exposures could be the same as the 13, 14-game season right now.”

“At some point, we have to say: Here’s the format, and we’re going to have to adjust to that format,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said last month. “It’s not games. It’s exposures. It’s contacts. So then you think, how can we adjust the game in the modern era to meet a set of different demands?”

You can probably guess where this is headed.

ESPN’s been jonesing for shorter game times for years.  And, now, what a perfect excuse player safety provides!

Aside from providing fans with less product for the same money, the other thing about such a rule change is that it will make comebacks more difficult.  These people are bound and determined to suck all the life out of college football.  But at least they won’t make viewers suffer the inconvenience of having to watch the first five minutes of a game on the Ocho.

When they go to a 24-team playoff, maybe they can offset that by making the quarters twelve minutes long.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, The Body Is A Temple

Bodied language

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips, in discussing his reasons for opposing expansion of the CFP field beyond its current four-team makeup, made a point I’d like to hear addressed by Georgia players:

“We’ve tried to get feedback from [our athletes] and for us, it’s been Clemson,” he said. “They don’t want to play any more games. They don’t. I don’t know what Georgia and Alabama felt like after Monday night, but Clemson student-athletes that have participated, they don’t.”

Somebody ask that at the next player presser, okay?


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

TFW you don’t take the game as seriously as the fans do

Jordan, Jordan, Jordan…

That mulligan sure came in handy, didn’t it?


Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

Natty injury report

Per Jake Rowe:

Injury situations: Both teams are a little more banged up in certain areas and healthy in others. We’ll start with Alabama, which lost star wideout John Metchie at the end of the first half in the SEC Championship game. He suffered a heart-breaking ACL injury after catching six passes for 97 yards and a touchdown.

The Bulldogs gave up 24 points in the first half and Metchie was a huge part of that. It’s no coincidence that UGA’s defense held Alabama to 10 second half points (17 overall due to a Bama pick-six) with Metchie no longer in the fold. The Crimson Tide are also dealing with a number of other ailments.

“Outside of the obvious, like John Metchie (ACL), Alabama’s biggest injury concerns are at cornerback and on the offensive line,” BamaOnline’s Charlie Potter tells Dawgs247. “Josh Jobe could miss another game because of a terf toe injury, and Jalyn Armour-Davis is dealing with a nagging hip issue. The latter started the Cotton Bowl but only played a couple of series. If neither player can go, The Crimson Tide will turn to true freshman Kool-Aid McKinstry and junior college transfer Khyree Jackson. As for the offensive line, two starters exited the Cincinnati game and didn’t return — right guard Emil Ekiyor and right tackle Chris Owens. At this moment I would lean towards both guys being able to go, but we will see how the week progresses.”

It’s also worth noting that Alabama running back Brian Robinson is a lot healthier than he was in the SEC Championship game. He didn’t practice much at all leading up to that game but he certainly looks good now. He lit Cincinnati up for 204 yards on 26 carries in the Cotton Bowl on Friday.

Georgia, overall, is much healthier. Senior left tackle Jamaree Salyer entered the Orange Bowl in better physical shape than he has been all season. He played a huge part in thwarting Michigan’s vaunted pass rush in the Bulldogs 34-11 win. Senior safety Chris Smith is also in a much better spot after sustaining a bone bruise in his knee late in the regular season. He was nowhere near 100 percent in the SEC Championship game and didn’t get the start. It showed, too, as Smith was laboring at times in coverage.

The Bulldogs leading receiver on the season and in the SEC Championship game, Brock Bowers, is a little dinged up. He sustained a shoulder injury in the Bama game but played quite well against Michigan.

Metchie’s absence is critical, no doubt.  He’s still fourth in the conference in receiving yards per game and third in receptions.  It’s worth noting that ‘Bama got a good game out of freshman Ja’Corey Brooks in his absence, though.  That’s what teams loaded with talent tend to do when a key injury occurs.

I am more interested in tracking the status of the two ‘Bama linemen who had to leave the semifinal game early.  I assume they’ll play in a week, but how close they’ll be to 100% is something I doubt we’ll know until the game starts.

Of course, left unsaid is what havoc COVID might wreak between now and then.  I assume both coaches have their teams in virtual bubbles this week.  One good thing is that the weather in Indianapolis isn’t conducive to public events.


Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple