“This is a joke”

Joe Alleva was simply dripping with respect for Florida and the SEC office as a result of the Hurricane Matthew postponement.  Dudes, some advice:  next time you want to wail on conference folks, use a private email account.

Next league meeting should be a blast.


Filed under SEC Football

Are the times really a-changing?

Skip the underlying tone to the Schultz piece I linked to yesterday and focus on the point he was making, that Georgia has changed its drug policy protocol in response to Kirby Smart.  Is there a case to be made for that?

Look at a couple of dry descriptions of the night’s events.  First, from Marc Weiszer:

Police searched Patrick’s dorm room in which he and Smith were on the night of the incident after a resident assistant reported smelling marijuana.

They found a fake can of Arizona strawberry iced tea with a hidden compartment, but marijuana wasn’t found in the can. Patrick admitted to keeping marijuana in it when he had possession of it, but said he did not have any on that night.

Police found other items identified as drug paraphernalia including a “smoke buddy, tobacco gutted from cigars and rolled in a paper towel and lighters and towels rolled up and pushed against door cracks.  Both players admitted to smoking cigars that night, but not marijuana.

And this, from Jake Rowe:

Police did, however, find tobacco gutted from Black N’ Mild cigars and a container in which Patrick admitted he used to stash pot whenever he has it. Had the drug test been positive for Patrick, he’d have been in line for a four-game suspension due to it being his second offense. It would have been Smith’s first offense and just a one-game suspension for him.

However, as Rowe puts it, police on the scene “… weren’t able to find a testable quantity of the substance and neither player was arrested.”

So, despite some questionable surroundings, there was no arrest and no admission of guilt.  Add to that one more thing.

“After receiving an incident report last week, we determined that neither Roquan Smith nor Natrez Patrick had violated any Athletic Association rules that would require suspension,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said in a statement. “This included drug testing, which was negative for both student-athletes.”

To summarize then, we have a situation where despite circumstantial evidence indicating drug use, the police don’t arrest football players and Greg McGarity, who, if you’ll recall, once was the mastermind behind a decision to drug test student-athletes returning from spring break, gives both a clean bill of health.

Okay, I concede that’s not the typical Georgia Way response to which we’ve been accustomed to seeing.  But is it the sign of something bigger, a new drug policy era at Georgia?  And is it something for which Kirby Smart is responsible?

With regard to the latter question, it’s not as if he’s claiming responsibility.

“I’m a team player when it comes to policy, and I believe in doing what the team theme is, which is what our athletic association has been so far,” Smart said in his press conference on Monday. “Do I think that we live in a society that’s a little bit different now than it was back whenever? Sure, I do. But I also believe in what we have, and we know and accept the rules that we’ve been charged with.”

Those comments don’t indicate total agreement with the policies in place at UGA, but it doesn’t appear as if Smart is on any sort of policy-changing mission. Thus far he hasn’t been heavily affected by it as the Bulldogs head coach.

If I accept that at face value — and also thinking back to comments he made in a similar vein when he was hired and first asked about Georgia’s drug policy — it’s hard to see Kirby taking on a crusade here.  Which means if we’re considering Schultz’ charge seriously, that what’s happening is a more subtle evolution of policy that’s being directed by McGarity, or somebody over McGarity, and acceded to by Jimmy Williamson.

Maybe that’s so.  But taken together, it’s a bridge a little too far for me to cross after only one such incident.

That being said, the most believable part for me is the chickenshit hypocrisy behind that kind of approach, if true.  Rather than being forthright about the reality that Georgia’s drug policy is out of step with the rest of the conference to the detriment of the program, nibbling at the edges with incidents like this lets the school maintain its righteous public stance while allowing players to stay on the field as many of its peers do.  Toss in the likelihood that such a dichotomy will result in student-athletes receiving more favorable treatment than mere students and you’re looking at some real weaseling by the administration should this indeed be the new road the school is traveling on.

I can’t say we’re there yet, though.  What I can ask is, if Schultz is on to something, what happens if the change doesn’t help the bottom line, so to speak?  And what sort of reaction can be expected if Morehead and McGarity decide to take another shot at convincing the SEC to adopt a uniform drug policy?


Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

“This game’s a lot more important to me now than it was back then.”

Seeing as he was an integral part of one of Georgia’s most unexpected victories in the Cocktail Party series, it’s interesting to hear that take from Kirby Smart about Saturday’s game.

Mindful of Woody Allen’s wisdom regarding success, if anyone can sell a team on the importance of showing up to play, you’d have to think Smart is in a unique position to do just that.

There are also attitudes like that of Isaiah McKenzie, who’s clearly stung by the ending of the Vanderbilt game.

“All I could think about that whole week was what could I have done to get that 1 yard,” McKenzie said. “But I wouldn’t say there wasn’t much to do. I could have probably dove or did something. At that time in the moment it wasn’t going through my head. It was just, ‘Get the 1 yard.’ It just hurt me I could have probably done something different, like jump or stretch my arm out. It’s just a thought.”

With that play in his head, McKenzie wanted to “rush the bye week” so that Georgia’s next game could come quickly. And the Bulldogs’ upcoming contest will be incredibly important to bounce back in, considering it’s against archrival Florida.

This team will have had two weeks to get ready to play Florida.  It’s not like they don’t have a chance, either.  The Gators imploded against a Tennessee team that scored less points against Georgia and held Florida’s offense to fewer points, as well.

On the other hand, it’s not as if Florida’s strained itself against weaker opposition, unlike a certain team I could mention.

It’s time to get your collective shit together, Dawgs.


Filed under Georgia Football

College lives matter?

Interesting quote here:

Washington State receiver Gabe Marks provided a thoughtful response when asked why there are fewer college football players involved in the protest movement started by Colin Kaepernick.

“College football players are more, if you could believe it, they’re more of a number than NFL players are even. You know what I mean?” Marks said. “The NCAA and schools kind of like can monitor everything that college athletes do. Twitter and stuff like that. It would be kind of scary if you are a college athlete and you tried to take a stand and then the athletic director or something like that, or your coach comes and says, ‘Hey, what are you doing? That’s super un-American,’ or something like that.

“You’d probably be scared of the consequences that could be enforced on you at that point and a lot of guys in college and in the NFL don’t really want to get into the trouble of it, you know what I mean? Because it’s a pretty big stance you take and there’s a lot of backlash that comes with that. Kids don’t want people hating them, let’s be honest. A grown man has more of a ability to be just like ‘Whatever, I believe what I believe in.'”

Leverage and control, baby.  That’s what college football is all about.  And that’s why what happened at Missouri last year generated the reaction it did.


Filed under College Football, Political Wankery

“Other than that, we’re in pretty good shape.”

What’s the over/under on how many of Florida’s defensive starters nursing injuries don’t return this Saturday?


Filed under Gators, Gators...

Urban Meyer asks, “what about the children?”

When it comes to a proposed early signing period, let no one say Corch’s heart isn’t in the right place.

“I hear the reasoning is because there’s so many de-commitments,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said in September about early signing periods before the Division I Council passed the oversight committee’s proposal in early October. “So because 17-year-olds are de-commiting, let’s give them a legal document so they can’t de-commit. That’s not very smart. Young people have a right to choose where they want to go to school. Period. Let them de-commit 100 times.”

Urbs may have heard that reasoning, but apparently he hasn’t heard the facts.

De-commitments and flip-flopping by highly touted recruits gets a lot of attention, but it is still relatively uncommon. The survey showed 82 percent of football signees verbally committed prior to signing. Of those, 90 percent signed where they committed.

Pesky things, those facts.

Of 55 NCAA sports, football is one of four that does not have an early signing period.

According to the NCAA, 25,316 Division I student-athletes signed a national letter of intent in 2015-16. Of those, 18,103 had the opportunity to sign early and about 66 percent did.

“Why are we treating football players different from all the other students that come to us?” Eichorst said. “There’s no good answer for that.”

Good question, but I’ve got a better one.  If the NCAA is so concerned about transparency, why not give kids and their parents the right to consult with a legal advisor before signing a national letter of intent, so they might have the opportunity to know what they’re getting into before they sign?

Hey, maybe you can have too much transparency.  Eh, maybe Corch and Saban are playing bad cop to the NCAA’s good cop here.  I mean, let’s not forget this little drop:  “And what we constantly hear from our coaches and others is often times I spend more time recruiting my next class than coaching my current.” 

Then again, maybe it’s just about protecting the lazier recruiters.


Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA

When the Pirate chooses a captain

Really, this is awesome.

“I thought, ‘What is this captain stuff?’ Everybody around here can be their own captain. I’ve got assistant coaches to be their captain. The coach tells them what to do anyway,” Leach said.

“My experience with team captains, as far as really taking the team on their shoulders, hasn’t been incredibly great. It’s typically good kids where nothing happens. They’re out there just trying to do their job and play the best they can, but the notion of a bunch of captains inspiring everybody is difficult to do and unrealistic. It doesn’t really happen very often.”

“So then I thought, all the guy really does is the coin toss. And then I decided one of the most screwed up things about this country is in order to do anything, to cross the street, we have a committee. So I figured screw the committee, we really only need one guy. And he’s gotta be smart enough to either call ‘heads’ or ‘tails.’ That’s it,” Leach said.

“So then I thought, ‘Should I get the biggest guy on the team or the littlest guy on the team?’ And then I thought, ‘Jamal Morrow was on The Price Is Right and was fairly lucky and went to the final round and almost won the sucker.’ He was closest to the price but he was over by like three dollars. The other person’s under by like 60 dollars, but since he’s over he loses. So I figured Jamal Morrow’s a lucky guy, plus he’s got pretty good energy to him, so why not Jamal Morrow?

“And then Jamal Morrow goes out and did have an amazing knack for winning the (coin) toss. He wins it almost all the time. I’m serious about this. I don’t know what his record is, but it’s something incredible. But I don’t even really care about that because one way or the other you get the ball one half or the other, except one time when I played Nebraska. Morrow had a funny tendency to win, and then I’m thinking, ‘I don’t want to sit here of and think out a new guy to do it.’ So Jamal Morrow has gone out there for the coin toss for about two-and-a-half years and quite honestly done a tremendous job in my opinion. And then we got on a roll and I liked it even better.”

The Nebraska reference is to a game when Leach decided to kick off to start both halves.  ‘Cause that’s how a pirate rolls sometimes.


Filed under Mike Leach. Yar!