Monday, November 30, 2015

Well, Here We Go...

Strange mix of emotions today.  It’s sort of like getting dumped but realizing you could now ask that other good looking girl in 3rd period out.  But she could say no.  Or she could be a psychopath.  And maybe it was just about to get better with your ex, but you’d be dating since 9th grade and she’s the only girlfriend you’ve had in high school.  That was the day.

But it’s over.  And I knew it.  I knew it in Jacksonville.  I went to every game this year, and what I can tell is that it just wasn’t fun.  You guys tha know me, know I live for it.  Saturdays in the fall are my vacation, and being a dawg fan, especially a road dawg, took more work than I can ever imagine.  We had almost nothing to cheer for.  We nearly let a terrible vandy team beat us.  We lost terribly to UT, after being up by 21.  We were embarrassed in Jax.  We couldn’t hardly do anything in Auburn, only to do less in Atlanta.  5 worst road games I’ve ever attended in a season.  All season long, we had one fun night against the cocks.  That was it.  1 game to cheer and feel really good.  And the fanbase knew it.  Our fans were listless and numb leaving Everbank.  It was a morgue.  We had been to a funeral.  My wife said it.  It felt different.  I knew after the other 50 losses we could turn it around.  After that one, I was finally not as convinced.

I wanted Richt to stick around.  I thought holding the team together was masterful.  I wanted Eason and the recruiting class and Chubb back.  I wanted him to get another shot.  But, I get it.  I’ve had enough staff members to know that if you know…you gotta make the move.

I’m not sure I trust McGarity, but we have to.  But, for some strange reason, I trust Kirby.  I can say that Herman is no different from Kirby.  He’s been a head coach for 1 season.  Would it make you feel better if Kirby had just finished up a one year stint at Houston at 10-2.  Probably.  But that doesn’t really mean anything.  Just because it’s an easy hire doesn’t mean it’s wrong.  If Kirby comes here, it’s because he wants to be here.  It’s because he WANTS to do at home.  It’s because he wants to build something we’ve never seen.  I think he knows how.  Listen, guys, he’s learned from the most remarkable coach that we’ve probably ever seen in SEC history.  From 2008-2015, this is Bama’s regular season records:


We’ve never seen anything like it.  It is a run only comparable in recent memory to Bobby at FSU and Osborne at the end at Nebraska (but even Osborne’s stretch wasn’t that long).  Kirby has seen first hand how to win in THIS LEAGUE up close and personal.  And he’s our guy.  We have seen the implants into the conference that are pretty good coaches that take a while to catch up.  Kirby won’t feel the pressure of 100,000 people in stadiums and Momma’s living room because he lives it every day.  I don’t know if he’ll be a good tactical coach on gameday, but I know he’ll load us up with talent like never before, have a mean, lights out defense and run a pro-style offense like the one that has produced the last two RBs to win Heismans (in about 2 weeks).  

How would I feel about Muschamp as DC?  I don’t know.  He’s an embarrassment, but I trust Kirby.  Kiffin was an embarrassment, but you haven’t heard a peep since he went to T-town.  That’s the kind of ship I expect Kirby to run.  Herman doesn’t excite me just because he’s got a year’s experience.  I have no idea if he can recruit South GA.  I know Kirby can.  Dantonio or Brian Kelly excites me, but I don’t think we’re going THAT expensive.  So let’s have mama call.  He might be our Spurrier.  It might bug him to no end to see us lose and he might do anything to fix it.

But I want it to be fun again.  And it just wasn’t fun this year.

Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

5 Year Breakdowns of the CMR Era

Was just thinking about how those middle 5 years were a trainwreck for Richt, at least feeling that way, so I looked at the data.  If we somehow make it to 10 wins (and that’s no given with this offense – our best bet is to end up in Outback or Citrus vs. Iowa…they can’t score either).  But, if we do, this is how the 5 year segments shape up.  One of those is not like the other.  The middle five also included some of our worst QBs.  If we had HAD a functional QB this year, it’s not unreasonable to figure that we might have matched the win total.  This year has been sad and strange, but you can’t look at these 5 like the previous 5 if we somehow pull off 10 wins.  It’s simply nothing to sneeze at.  Also, fun fact:  all 3 SECCG Richt has lost has been to 2 national champions and other played for the national championship only to lose to another SEC team.  Tough luck.  

1st 5 years
52-13 = 80%
David Greene (Freshman-Senior)
DJ Shockley (Freshman-Senior)
Joe Tereshinski III (1 game) (Junior)

Four 10+ win seasons
3 SEC Champ. Games
2 SEC Championships

2nd 5 years
44-21 = 67.7%
Joe Tereshinski III (Senior)
Matthew Stafford (Freshman-Junior)
Joe Cox (Freshman-Senior)
Aaron Murray (Freshman)

Two 10+ win seasons
0 SEC Championship games
0 SEC Championships

3rd 5 years
50-17 = 74.6%
Aaron Murray (Sophomore-Senior)
Hutson Mason (Senior)
Greyson Lambert (Junior)
Faton Bauta (Junior) (1 game)

Four 10+ win seasons
2 SEC Championship Games
0 SEC Championships

Monday, November 16, 2015

I'm not ready just yet...

I’m not ready to write this guy off.  A kid he benched who he turned to with his career on the line who came through.  A kid we offered a scholly to about 5 days before signing day in late January 2014.  A kid that was too short for everyone else.  A kid that has gotten in trouble a few times and was suspended for the bowl game.  An embattled coach.

We have seen him go from young innovator to grandfather.  He was once old enough to be their fun uncle.  Now he is plenty old to be their dad.  

But more than anything, no one, and I mean no one, can keep a team from falling apart like Mark Richt.  We don’t fold.  In 2006 when we should have struggled to get to a bowl after losing 4 of 5, we rallied to beat our rivals at the end of the season, both of them ranked.  In 2009 when Cox was a mess and we headed to play the triple option against top 10 Tech at their house (the only time in Richt’s tenure I was just going because I go, but thinking we’d probably lose to them)...he set his jaw and we won the state.  In 2010, when we lost 4 straight!!!  We somehow, somehow made a bowl with a freshmen QB.  In 2014, when our star was suspended, we rallied the troops and won AT Mizzou and AT Arkansas.  In 2015, when we can’t do much of nothing right and this team has all the makings of a 6-6 or 7-5 team, we won’t go either of those.

We made horrific hire in Schotty, but we made a darn fine one in Pruitt.  We also groomed a cocky, young ex-QB into one of the finest OCs in the nation.  Mike Bobo was 30 when he was handed the reins.  And I’m just not ready to write him off.  I’m not sure David Shaw can do better.  I’m not sure that Justin Fuente can do better.  I’m not sure Kirby Smart, Art Briles or Gary Patterson can do better.  I’m not sure Mark Dantonio can do better.  I’m not sure anyone can do better.  There comes a time in programs when you are sure that someone else could do better.  I’m not sure we know that.  I’m as disappointed as heck about October, but that month should have done us in.  It should have done Richt in, and he’s rallied the troops in a pretty incredible way.

And he’s done it with Nick Chubb on the sidelines…and his QB in Seattle.  If I had told you before the season these things:

·       Bama will be Chubb’s last game.
·       Our QBs are way worse that you think.
·       Schotty is the worst hire Richt’s ever made.
·       JSW will not play a down.

How do you feel about the season?  Do you see 9-3 with those realities?  He deserves blame for the schotty hire, but I also think he gets a chance to fix it.  You can fix an offense real fast in college football.

It is ridiculous of Christian UGA fans to think we shouldn’t fire Richt because ‘there’s more the winning.’  He gets paid to develop men and win.  There are great Christian coaches all across the landscape winning and molding young men.  For me, that’s not an issue when thinking about whether he should stay.  I’m just not sure he’s done, by a longshot.  I’m not sure that he can’t win a championship.  I’m not sure that we don’t have Tom Osborne, Vince Dooley or Bobby Bowden on our hands.  

Charlie Ward changed FSU.  1 player.  They went from good to great.  

I was less certain than ever walking out of Everbank, but this team has no business being 7-3 with two winnable games to go…and here we are.  And I’m not sure if the head coach isn’t the reason that we actually won the 7 we won.

Monday, November 9, 2015

We're off...but not that far off.

So, sitting there on Saturday night watching ball and thinking…

·       I think Clemson would get smashed by Bama.  They’ll break DeShaun.
·       Watching FSU/Clemson is good football.  It looks like SEC football.  They play one of those a year in that league.  We play them nearly every week.

Bama has beaten LSU 5 straight times and 7 of 9.  How come no one is talking about that?  Richt is 3-2 vs. Les and 1-1 in the dome against him.  Bama is beating everyone, but we’ve held our own vs. the Bengals.  

I am angry about what happened in Jax.  I’m angry I took my boys out of school on Friday, paid for a hotel, got them excited about their first cocktail party and they saw that.  I’m angry we hired an OC who doesn’t clearly understand the college game.  I angry we started Faton Bauta.  I’m angry.  I have NEVER thought the Richt regime was over until walking out of Everbank last week.  I told my boys I thought they’d seen the end of an era.  They may have.  The events of the week made it seem even more inevitable.  But the thing about College Football is that you really do HAVE to play the next play, and sometimes you can make up your mind about teams, players, coaches, programs…but they get to play the season.  And tonight I sit in a very gray world instead of black and white.

·       Mighty Memphis and their hot name coach lost by 25 to Navy today.  Is he ready to handle the Triple Option…because the DC he brings with him will have to play it every year in the most important game of the season.
·       Ole Miss dropped to 5-3, losing to a below average Arkansas team.  Freeze made some atrocious calls in the game, and his team made critical mistakes.
·       Dantonio and Mich. St. lost to a terrible Nebraska team, probably knocking them out of any playoff conversation.  It’s still feasible they win that division with a win over Ohio St.
·       TCU and my golden boy Patterson lost by 20 in Stillwater, and they have the best QB in the nation by a mile.

We are an experiment in futility on offense.  I think a good bit of that has to do with an extremely bad hire we made at OC.  I’d be interested to see who had a hand in all the wildcat stuff this week in the meeting rooms.  We’ll never know.  We are also challenged at QB.  This is no secret.  I have no doubt that Bobo would have made Brice, but he might have also led the league in INTs and cost us 2-3 games.  We are also missing Nick Chubb.  And if I’d told you in August that Nick’s last game would be vs. Bama, you’d have said the rest of the season sure wouldn’t be as fun.  We were scared of Knoxville after Bama with Nick, guys.  We are play 28 freshmen in the secondary.

I don’t see a world where Pruitt goes and Schotty stays.  The howling would be too loud.  I also don’t see a scenario where they both go.  Hard to imagine Richt is allowed to start over without us totally starting over.  But, But, But….these last 3 games do matter.  With Ole Miss’s loss, the rest of the season could get interesting in pecking order.  MSU has Bama, Arky and Ole Miss.  Ole Miss has LSU and MSU.  If Florida beats FSU and LSU wins out, they’re both 11-1 and have a very good shot at making the big 6 bowls.  One would probably go peach and one would go sugar.  MSU and Ole Miss could end up with 3-4 losses, maybe both with 4.  That means, and I know you haven’t really thought about this, that there’s a very good chance that if we go 9-3 we’re going to the Citrus Bowl.  Are we going to fire a coach that goes 9-3 and goes to the Citrus Bowl vs. Iowa, Michigan, Michigan St. or Ohio St?  I made the John Cooper analogy, and it’s spot on.  But that seems crazy.  Perhaps we’ve already made up our minds, and that might be healthy.  

But, it’s hard to imagine that these last 3 games don’t matter.  If this team can get to 9-3, that might be a magician’s work.  So, if we play with heart, beat Auburn, Southern and Tech…you’ve got Eason coming in…you’ve got Chubb coming back…maybe we can convince Keith to stay in school and play one more season (looks like he can still play SEC football)…fire schotty…keep Pruitt?  Are we really, really, really ready to blow that up?

And what if we give play-calling to Lilly and hire a QB guru?  What if we hired George Whitfield, Jr.?

And I like Dabo a lot, but when Mark Richt had a decent QB and some tailbacks we beat him by 21…just a season and a half ago.

I’m glad I don’t have to make the decision.  Whatever decision it is, don’t think that McGarity isn’t thinking those exact same things.  We could be as close as we’re going to get under Richt, or we could be mighty close to breaking through.  And there are no guarantees out there. Unless we’re paying $7 million.  Then there might be some guarantees.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

John Cooper & UGA

The name, the point of reference is John Cooper.

·       He coached 13 years at Ohio State, from 1988-2000.
·       He was 111-43-4
·       70.25% Winning Percentage
·       3 Big 10 Titles
·       2 Sugar Bowls and 1 Rose Bowl
·       3 Citrus Bowls and 1 Outback Bowl
·       Two 10-win seasons, Three 11-win seasons, One 9-win season (He coached in an era of 11 regular season games, so nine wins is like 10 now).
·       4 of 13 seasons in which they lost 2 games or less
·       5 Top 10 finishes

·       Zero National Championships
·       3-8 Bowl Record
·       2-10-1 vs. Michigan
·       OSU fired him after an 8-4 season in 2000 (8-3 in regular season)
·       They hired Jim Tressel and won the 2002 Natty, played for it again in 2006 and 2007.  Won it again in 2014 under Meyer.  Went 12-0 in 2012 under probation and 12-0 in 2013 and would have played for it again if not for a Big 10 Champ. Game loss.

That’s the hard part for me, but OSU is THE point of reference for us.  Talent-rich state, great tradition, can’t beat a rival.  When they hired Tressel in 2001, their last national championship had come 33 years earlier, in 1968.  Cooper had been outstanding.  In an era of 11 games and no conference championship games, he averaged 8.54 wins per year.  With 12 regular season games, that average would be 9.13 wins per year, not counting the potential for seasons for another win in the Conference Championship game.

Cooper was a good man.  He is in the College Football Hall of Fame, as well he should be.  But Ohio State could be more than 9-3 every year, and they made probably the toughest coaching call in the last 30 years in the sport.  When they fired Cooper in 2000, he was 3 seasons removed from an 11-1 season in which they won the Sugar Bowl and finished #2 in the nation in 1998.  It wasn’t enough.  As of right now, they’ve lost 1 regular season game in the last 4 years.  We’ve lost 12.  

John Cooper is the point of reference.  Ohio State is the model.