If you want to know why I have a soft spot in my heart for Mike Leach, one reason is because you never know what he’ll say next.
That immediately brought this to mind.
And that’s the thing. There aren’t that many coaches that can get me to Gram Parsons in one shot like that.
The dodge ball comment on the end is just a bonus.
Here’s a really nice piece from Ed Aschoff that illustrates why it’s so hard to get a handle on what Kirby Smart’s program should be capable of this season.
Here’s the thing:
We think Georgia should be really good this year. Maybe not really good, but SEC East champion good.
Soon, a large contingent of media will likely pick the Bulldogs, who return 10 starters from a pretty solid defense and have a young superstar in the making at quarterback, to win an SEC East that’s still a mess.
You have the Nick Saban clone in Kirby Smart entering his second year as head coach after signing the nation’s No. 3 recruiting class.
Honestly, we (that’s media and your average consumer of college football) keep wanting to believe that when Georgia should win the division it should, well, win the division.
So 2017 leaves us with a red-and-back conundrum. Are we ready to confidently anoint Georgia as the SEC East favorites?
Confidently? Are you nuts?
The truth is we really don’t know and we won’t know for months. Those 10 returning defensive starters to a unit that ranked in the top five of the SEC in scoring, rushing, passing and total defense sounds so enticing. The fact that the sensational running back duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel returned to help uber-talented quarterback Jacob Eason kinda makes us want to pencil Georgia into Atlanta … twice.
But we have to show some restraint and patience.
Restraint and patience are warranted because we’ve been there before without the expected results plenty of times. At some point, you’ve got to cross the finish line if you want to change the perspective.
Make sure you read the quotes from anonymous SEC coaches Aschoff cites. There are plenty of logical reasons to expect a contender this year, but logic by itself doesn’t win titles.
Sure, I doubt this lawsuit has any legs, but the notion that any athletic director would hire Lane Kiffin and expect a normal college football program environment as a consequence baffles me.
I don’t want to make too big a deal about this. Then again, it shouldn’t be underestimated, either.
In each of tight end Jeb Blazevich’s first three seasons at Georgia, he had to adjust to a different offensive coordinator. Last year, there was also a new head coach and a new position coach.
That’s why continuity on Georgia’s offensive coaching staff for the first time since 2014 has lightened the burden entering spring practice, which began on Tuesday.
“It saves me a lot of studying, a lot less stress,” the senior said. “Just time spent away from here learning it. In terms of practically what it can do for the football team, we’re able to take bigger steps forward.”
You can say the same thing about every offensive position group — in fact, even more so for the offensive linemen, running backs and wide receivers who went through multiple position coaches before Smart’s arrival. It’s kind of hard to get into a groove when you have to unlearn some old things as fast as you take on the new.
No, I don’t expect to see Georgia transformed into a top ten offensive juggernaut overnight as a result. I do expect that familiarity should make it easier to progress up the 2017 learning curve, though.
Alabama’s spring practice may have started, but when it comes to media relations, Nick Saban is already in mid-season form.
“But philosophically, I don’t know where you came up with where we go to ball control. That’s not what we do. The New England Patriots threw the ball over 60-something percent of the time, which is more than we threw it. So, where does that assumption come from or do you do what everybody else in the media does — create some shit and throw it on the wall and see what sticks, which is what I see happening everywhere? And the people who scream the loudest kind of get the attention and then we pass some rule that everybody has to live with or some law and the consequences mess up a lot of other things. Do it all the time. We’re doing it right now.”
Saban then went off on a tangent, raising concerns about high school coaches being prohibited from working summer camps, although the NCAA rule to which he was referring was unclear.
Eventually, he got back to his original point.
“It’ll mess everything up,” Saban said. “It’s the way it goes. It’s the way it goes in the world of politics and the way it goes. The same thing with you. ‘We’re going to be more conservative and ball-control offense.’ I never said that. No one in this building ever said that. So where did you come up with that? Did you have a dream about it or what? If we caught some passes in the national championship game — we had guys open — we wouldn’t have had to control the ball. We would have had to score more touchdowns.”
Methinks that Clemson loss hasn’t set too well with the man.
By the way, that Coke bottle’s looking good. Does Saban use the same Coke for each presser, or do they change bottles?
With spring practice kicking off yesterday, there were lots of shiny objects to draw our attention, but I’m most intrigued by a relatively minor issue Smart raised in his presser, that being Riley Ridley’s status after being busted for marijuana possession.
Following his arrest earlier this month, Georgia sophomore receiver Riley Ridley will face “internal discipline” according to Georgia head coach Kirby Smart during his press conference on Tuesday. Smart said that he was disappointed in Ridley, but did not specify the punishment he would receive or his role on the team going into spring.
“He’ll receive internal discipline,” Smart said during his press conference. “I’ll say this, we are very disappointed in his decision and do not condone that behavior and I think Riley is going to learn a value lesson from this mistake.”
Okay, stadium steps and puking. Got that. But what about game suspension? Crickets there.
Now I don’t want to read too much into that. It’s very possible that Smart didn’t want to discuss that which is beyond his control, which is something he’s clearly indicated before about Georgia’s drug policy. But I can’t help but wonder if there’s something going on behind the scenes regarding the charges, something that, in other words, might also explain the reticence about a game suspension. If those go away, it’s a whole new ballgame, so to speak.
It might be worth keeping an eye on Ridley’s fate over the summer is all I’m saying.
So, one year in to Ohio State selling beer in the stadium, it turns out sales generated more than $1 million in revenues and school officials report they actually experienced fewer problems with fans at games this year than in previous years. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Now, if they could just do something about their fans’ taste in cold malty beverages.