“What I’ve learned about Greg is he’s going to do the right thing regardless of the criticism.”

I see another Greg McGarity PR campaign has been launched.  He’s tough, but often misunderstood.  Just ask him.

“You have to understand that the decisions that you make will always be challenged by everyone,” he said. “Maybe not challenged, but questioned. …I’ve always felt like any decision that’s made is made in the best interest of the institution. Sometimes that’s not in the best interest of an individual or a team or a coach or what have you. …I think sometimes people assume, they guess. They might read what’s on social media and then they form their opinion at that time. A lot of people voice frustration, they don’t understand. We are basically limited at times to talk about it until it’s all over. The hope is people would trust you to make the right decisions.”

The funny thing about this is that events of the past six months have overtaken the concerns about a dysfunctional program many of us had last December.  Immediately after the bowl game, this comment would have had me stewing.  Now, I find that I can’t get worked up about it anymore.  So feel free to keep spinning, Greg.  As long as everyone associated with the program appears to be rowing in the same direction, the rest doesn’t matter to me.

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Dan Mullen has an idea.

Instead of Jim Delany’s blanket ineligibility proposal for incoming freshmen student-athletes, the Mississippi State coach offers something more nuanced to help kids adjust:  Any player above the NCAA’s new core grade-point-average requirement should get five years of eligibility instead of the standard four.

As he explains it, here’s what you’d get with that.

“You might take a freshman and they are being punished for having better grades. They might be forced to play even though they needed a redshirt year,” Mullen says. “One of the thoughts I had was there’s a mandatory academic redshirt year for a certain group of people…well, if you are above that new standard you should get five years of eligibility. Why punish someone who might be forced to have to play?

“Instead of punishing guys for doing bad, why not reward guys for doing good?”

Well, that’s nice, but he’s a coach, so you can figure there’s another agenda lurking in the background.  And there is.

His idea is to counteract the NCAA’s requirement, set to go into effect August 2016, which requires prospective student-athletes to have a minimum GPA of 2.3. If the recruits can’t hit that 2.3 GPA figure but are above the old 2.0 scale, they’d be forced to take an academic redshirt year. The NCAA also raised its sliding scale based on GPA and SAT/ACT scores, and now requires recruits to have completed 10 of their 16 core classes before their senior year.

Mullen imagines a hypothetical scenario in which multiple players have to take an academic redshirt year, and how that’d force other guys into playing time before they might be ready. That’s the impetus behind his push to give those players an extra year of eligibility.

If Mullen’s idea were passed, it could dramatically change the way programs recruit. Schools would still recruit talented players with shaky transcripts, but the benefits of signing a stronger student would be big when another year of eligibility is on the table. It would even the scales a bit for programs with tough admissions standards.

So what he’s really after is more signing flexibility.  That, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  (In fact, if it leads to less pressure on coaches to futz with players’ grades, it’s likely a good thing.)  But the bottom line here is that this is about giving guys like him a lifeline to be able to manage continuing to bring in athletic talent that isn’t so talented in the classroom.  And to the extent that eases the pressure on high schools and high schoolers to bring their academic efforts up to a more serious level, that isn’t such a good thing.

What do y’all think?

10 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

Today’s simple question

Why does seemingly every advanced stats projection of the 2015 season favor Georgia more than we do?

60 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

You can’t get there from here.

The huge jump in Alabama’s COA stipend came as a result of transportation expenses being increased by 42% for in state students and a whopping 75.4% for out of state enrollees.

I guess everybody flies first class to Birmingham and takes a limo from there.

39 Comments

Filed under Whoa oh Alabama

A different kind of happy talk

On the surface, that’s the kind of talk we typically hear in late July as we get ready for the start of preseason practice.  But under the surface, I think it’s indicative of something more important that really is worth appreciating.

Special teams are where you really notice a team’s quality depth.  And because of Richt’s questionable roster management practices over the 2009-2013 period, quality depth was lacking.  How could it not be, with a roster that at one point had fewer than 70 scholarship players on it?  If Richt now observes that there are more athletes on special teams, there’s only one reason for that.

Quite simply, Richt’s got more scholarship bodies to work with.  And that is a welcome development.

There are certainly things Richt’s done that are worthy of criticism.  But he also deserves credit for learning from his mistakes and making the effort to overcome them.  If you’re like me and think that the hesitant way he managed the numbers on Georgia’s roster was his most egregious, then this is a good sign.  It’s talk that makes me happy for the right reason.

102 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“Ibuprofen and Aleve became my best friend…”

Amidst this Dennis Dodd work of praise for Missouri – certainly deserved, although “dominance of the SEC East” might be a bit of a stretch – we learn that Maty Mauk’s poor play last season may have been a result of injury.

Maty Mauk took the needle — several times — last season. Toward the end of 2014, his separated right shoulder ached so much, “Ibuprofen and Aleve became my best friend,” Mauk said.

The junior quarterback has plenty of excuses for last season, but he won’t use them. It looked like he wasn’t reading defenses properly or bolted from the pocket too quickly. He completed less than half his passes in SEC play.

But let’s be historically accurate. There was that shoulder dinged late against Georgia.

“Sitting in class and just having it dangling,” Mauk said, “It was just something that bothered you … It would be hard to get up for workouts on Sunday morning.”

At least Dodd’s not putting the blame for Mauk’s flame out against the Dawgs on his banged-up shoulder.  At least not totally.  So I guess compared to the excuses we heard after the Celebration, we’re making progress.  Of a sorts, anyway.

10 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, The Body Is A Temple

The curse of Herschel

Great piece from the get go (you guys know I’m a sucker for puns, and the header is a good ‘un) about the Georgia running back situation by Matt Hinton.

This is a story about a star running back at Georgia, which means that it is also, on some intrinsic level, a story about Herschel Walker. It’s impossible to avoid: In his three years, Walker so thoroughly embodied the ideal college workhorse that in the three-plus decades since his last carry in a red-and-black uniform, his shadow over the position has only grown. At some point, possibly before he even left campus, that shadow became a permanent feature of the landscape, looming over aspiring recruits and proven commodities alike: The best of the post-Walker tailbacks in Athens include two consensus All-Americans,1 six first-round draft picks,2 and a future NFL MVP, all of whom register in the imagination as mere footnotes by comparison. No broad-shouldered, blue-chip prospect has ever been touted as The Next Rodney Hampton. No fan in the cheap seats has ever been moved by a great run to exclaim, “That kid looks like Tim Worley out there!” No TV producer has ever booked Garrison Hearst or Knowshon Moreno to grant his blessing to the latest heir apparent.

So the bar for what qualifies as a star running back at Georgia is relative, to put it mildly. And before we get around to parsing the bona fides of the current headliner, sophomore Nick Chubb, it has to be said that exultant expectations for UGA rushers over the past few years have tended to produce a lot of false prophets.

I’ll grant you that maybe Matt takes a little artistic license to make his point – I don’t think any of the Georgia faithful, at least when sober, saw Washaun Ealey as the next Herschel Walker – but there’s little question that in general we have a tendency to see if someone can step up and take a shot at filling the myth.  Kinda like back in the days of my misspent youth when we wondered who would emerge as the next Beatles, I suppose.

The most interesting part of Matt’s piece is this chart…

Goodness, gracious. If you look up “workhorse” in the dictionary, Knowshon’s 2008 season is there. (Musa Smith’s 2002 effort is nothing to sneer at either.)

All of which makes what Chubb did last year that much more remarkable.  And it’s a good example of how well Georgia has managed its running backs of late.

So how special can we expect Chubb’s 2015 season to be?  Aside from managing the workload, there’s also an issue of strategy in play.

That may be the case, but even if Chubb and his high-ceiling cohorts are all they’re cracked up to be, the broader question still remains: In an era of efficient, up-tempo offenses and rapidly accelerating scoreboards, is it still possible for a great back, or a group of great backs, to serve as the centerpiece for a championship? On the one hand, college football is not yet “a passing league” in the sense that the NFL is: Although college offenses throw more often than in the past, they still tend to run more than they throw, and ground games in general are as productive as ever. Unlike in the pros, where individual backs have been steadily devalued as short-lived, situational cogs, the every-down workhorse remains a prized commodity in the college game. Still, it’s also been clear for a while that the days of college offenses hitching their wagons to a transcendent talent like Walker or Gurley or Chubb and riding him to a title are long gone unless that type of back is accompanied by a quarterback who can generate some semblance of balance.

Eh, maybe.  Georgia, but for some unfortunate and untimely brain farts, came closer to pulling that off in 2014 than you’d think.  And you’d have to think that with the change at quarterback and offensive coordinator, along with depth questions at wideout, the program is going to try to ride the Chubb train as far as it can.

If that works, then I think Matt is spot on with his conclusion.

Regardless of the final numbers, if under those circumstances Chubb is able to uphold his end of the bargain as the engine of a sustained title run, his place in the most exalted tier of Bulldog greats will be secure.

In other words, we’d be naming the next generation of black Labrador retrievers after him.

96 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics