Eat your heart out, college football.
Category Archives: Transfers Are For Coaches.
Between Clay Travis’ laughably bad record as a gambling tout (there was a blog that used to run a weekly feature betting exactly opposite from Clay’s picks and won season after season) and a business model built on the basis of insulting its readers’ intelligence, I have little use for Outkick the Coverage, but this take on Kirby Smart’s approach to the transfer portal is so insane I have to share it with y’all.
It’s always frustrating to lose a player to another school, and the University of Georgia has certainly been taking it on the chin as of late.
The latest setback is former Tennessee linebacker Henry To’o To’o, who had his eyes peeled on going to Georgia for quite some time. However, To’o To’o has since decided to go another route, and he will spend his Saturdays for the next few years playing for Alabama, not the Bulldogs.
Losing To’o To’o is a big hit for Georgia, a program that simply has to get more with the times and figure out why young men around the country are using the transfer portal to go to other schools.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart says that he still believes that players, in some regard, should come to you – that you shouldn’t have to go out and work to get players to come to the school.
“I would rather not use the portal because schools like Cincinnati and Georgia shouldn’t have to. You should be able to go out and recruit the right kind of guys,” Smart said.
It’s a very conservative approach by Smart and his staff, but one that is simply failing right now. Georgia just isn’t getting the players through the transfer portal that they need.
You know, except for little things like Georgia’s starting quarterback and Tykee Smith, that’s a perfect point you make there, bub.
By the way, To’o To’o is a solid player. He’s also one that Georgia didn’t have real interest in because he doesn’t fit with the scheme Smart and Lanning run in this day and age.
… Meanwhile, offenses are dominated by run-pass option schemes and mobile QBs, making the blue-collar, inside-the-box linebacker something of an anachronism. Faster, smaller guys have largely supplanted bruisers.
“It’s a different world,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “You’ve got to have guys that can cover. Everybody now is looking for a little different [type of] guy.”
What’s fashionable at linebacker in 2021 is the hybrid player — a guy who can rush off the edge, hold up against the run and cover a slot receiver downfield, all with equal precision. Defensive coaches are looking for the speed of a Corvette and the utility of a Jeep.
To’o To’o showed at Tennessee that he’s an excellent run stuffer, but not so great in pass coverage. Georgia’s been there, done that with other inside linebackers. Making him the poster boy for Georgia’s transfer strategy is bizarre, to say the least.
Josh and Graham are back with some tape and insights from G-Day. Come for the transfer portal rumors and stay for the break downs.
Essentially, the latter will explain the former. In other words, as you watch, remember that Georgia needs at least six contributors in the secondary to hold up against pass-happy offenses. As of now, do you see six who qualify as such?
So… a question.
Think the SEC is about to end its ban on intraconference transfers? Nick Saban does, apparently.
Yeah, I know G-Day is G-Day, so the passing explosion doesn’t mean so much in the vast scheme of things. That being said, I didn’t see a shutdown corner emerge. And I did see a fair number of receivers make plays.
Here are some sobering numbers about Georgia’s secondary.
Outside of Auburn, where Mike Bobo stubbornly calls plays, the SEC is a passing conference and the better defenses have better secondary depth. We’ve already seen Georgia bring in one experienced defensive back in Tykee Smith. There are more to come, I feel like. Maybe Smart decides he can roll the dice on one freshman starting cornerback, but two? Nah, no way. And those numbers say the two-deep needs to be… well, deep.
What we saw on G-Day was a combination of green, talented DBs and experienced ones who’ve had the chance to be significant contributors before this season but, for whatever reason, never showed out. All told, do you think after watching the tape that Smart and Lanning are standing pat with what they have rolling into the opener against Clemson? I’m not feeling it.
Watch the portal. Especially now that one-time transfers are free.
So, the NCAA now permits one-time free transfers, and most conferences have followed suit in permitting players to freely transfer to schools within the conference. The SEC, though, is not one of those conferences, at least not yet. There’s a puzzling note about that from Rivals’ Mike Farrell.
… but I’ve also heard an odd rumor about the intraconference transfer rule for the SEC. Apparently a player who just left an SEC program was told by the school that if he wants to go to another SEC program he’s going to either have to sit out a year or it will cost that SEC team two scholarships to land him. This is a cryptic preview of what the SEC could decide, although I don’t buy the two- scholarship deal at all. And I highly doubt the one-year sit out rule because the SEC is never going to put themselves at a competitive disadvantage in anything football, and that would hurt them a bit.
Or will they? Another source told me that the SEC wants to set the bar for intraconference transfers and make it nearly impossible because the conference would essentially be a madhouse in the portal. By putting deterrents in place they avoid cannibalism of the conference as well as likely force the other conferences to eventually follow suit. After all, the word from the SEC will be that if you want to win national titles this is the conference you go to and we don’t need the intraconference mess to keep it that way.
Other than sheer arrogance, it’s hard to see how this makes sense. The note is in reference to former Tennessee star Henry To’oto’o, who, needless to say, is wanted by several other programs, both inside and outside the SEC. He’s certainly going somewhere other than Tennessee, which means there’s no deterrence factor in play, so what interest does is serve the SEC for To’oto’o to decide on, say, Ohio State?
So, just how deep a hole has Tennessee found itself after the talent drain that came after Pruitt’s departure? Historically speaking, pretty damned deep ($$).
I surveyed our college football staff at The Athletic and the closest examples are Baylor in 2016 and Penn State after the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Obviously, Tennessee’s issues are nothing like that, but the coaching change combined with immediate eligibility for transfers led to a perfect storm of talent drain.
Even with a free transfer after a tragic scandal, Penn State lost only about half the total number of players Tennessee did. The Nittany Lions managed to win 15 games the following two seasons but didn’t hit double digits until the fifth season after the scandal, which was James Franklin’s third season at the helm.
Even Baylor didn’t lose these kinds of numbers. The Bears lost seven players from their 2016 recruiting class and Matt Rhule basically had to rebuild the 2017 class from scratch.
If you’re a Georgia fan, there’s only one possible reaction to that.
It just so happens that when you’re a linebacker in the transfer portal, nowhere is located in Knoxville.
“I definitely noticed the linebacker group don’t have that much depth,” Mitchell said. “I definitely paid attention to that. I definitely feel like I can come in and help the defense right away.”
Heupel’s staff, led by first-year linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary, has made it clear to Mitchell that he should have every opportunity to play a major role in Tennessee’s defense from the moment he arrives on campus.
“They never said a specific linebacker position, but they definitely said it’s basically going to be on me to mess it up,” Mitchell said. “Basically, I’m starting when I come in.”
Gotta admit, “Have a pulse? You start tomorrow” is an effective sales pitch. Luckily for Tennessee, it’s not a one-shot offer.
Believe it or not, Georgia is losing another member of the secondary.
Let’s see… subtract the 1, carry the 5…
Unless Kirby is about to pull some new faces out of the portal. Which I’m pretty confident he’ll do.
Jahmile Addae is going to have a stressful August, methinks.
There’s always something to fill the ol’ chafing dishes.
- As expected, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors ratified the adoption of a measure that will allow athletes in all sports to transfer once without sitting a season. The gold rush is officially on!
- Last night, the Florida legislature passed a bill delaying the start date of its NIL law by one year.
- The SEC announced the coaches’ appearance schedule for this year’s edition of Media Days.
- Does the news that Bank of America Stadium is changing its field from grass to artificial turf in time for Georgia’s opener make anyone the least bit nervous?
- This is what a house cleaning looks like.
- Danny White wants a full Neyland Stadium sooner rather than later: “For our fan base, we’re asking for everyone to consider getting vaccinated.” One slight problem with that — “… the state of Tennessee is fifth nationally as far as the fewest percentage of residents to receive at least one vaccine dose. The Volunteer State, according to the same survey, also has the fifth-highest percentage of residents who are still uncertain whether they will get vaccinated.”
- Dennis Dodd itemizes all the potential road blocks an expanded college football playoff would face. To which I can only retort, “but all that money!”.
- Apparently this was said with a straight face: “LSU interim President Tom Galligan said Friday night that administrators were looking for some additional way to discipline Ausberry that would be meaningful to him and decided on not allowing him to attend football games for the upcoming season.”