Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Quick Gander at 2017. The Time is Now.

-Tennessee plays LSU & Bama
-Florida plays LSU & aTm
-South Carolina plays aTm & Arkansas
We play Auburn and Miss. St.  The time is now boys.
BTW, did you know Florida opens w/ Michigan in Arlington next year?  But, they have an all-timer home schedule:  Tennessee, LSU, aTm and FSU all at home.
We better get those tackles figured out.  With a sophomore Eason and Nick and Sony back, it’s hard to imagine not making it to the Benz as anything other than a colossal failure.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The NEW Georgia Way

The crying over the Toneil Carter saga is laughable to me.  I said it years ago (and I say the same thing about Dabo now) – Richt is too good of a man to compete at the highest level in the new CFB climate.  Dabo doesn’t want to do satellite camps.  Okay, see how that works the next 5 years for you.
But values in collegiate athletics are all relative.  Some will lament what Kirby did to Carter as cold blooded.  Um, what did you think we were getting in a head coach?  But, I’d guarantee you that Kirby would say his highest value is to do what he believes is in the best interest of the organization no matter who is left in the fray?  And it’s a predicament in the modern era of CFB.  The kid can leave you at the altar the first week of February but the school can’t do the same?  Recruiting is ugly.  Bottom line. 
But, we soon forget that Richt and crew were banned for a while at Carver-Columbus because Garner pulled a scholly offer…just like Kirby had McGee pull this offer.  I think you’ll just see Kirby do it more often.  Richt would do the disinterested girl thing most often and just stop contacting a kid rather than flat out tell them the offer was pulled, hoping they’d just decommit, which they most often would.  Which do you think is better?
This is the dilemma for the Dawg fan.  I adored Richt, but we saw what that got us.  It got us 5th best recruiting classes in the SEC and walking out of Everbank repeatedly with our tail between our legs.  And I never felt like, “At least we have a higher standard.”  There is a level of cut-throatedness in this business that is ugly, but it depends on how you look at it.  Do you feel more comfortable giving in to a family in Texas who have never really done a thing for UGA at the potential expense of thousands of donors and fans because you wanted to do the right thing for a kid?  Or do you feel more comfortable jilting that family for the good of the current team, fanbase and long-term interest of the program.
Those that would want to paint the issue as a 2-sided issue disregard the very complicated nature of the process.  Who among us is willing to sacrifice a position of need (say LB or DB) to make a kid happy at a position that is not one of need (like RB, right now)?  Which promise is greater?  The one you made in a living room to a kid or the one you made at a podium to put the organization first?
It’s hard to say what’s right and what works, but we’re about to find out the next 2-3 years.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Shifting Winds

This week might prove to be the most culture changing week in Georgia football.  The general consensus (even in my brain) is that we are THIS close.  Perhaps we are.  Perhaps we have been.  But the lesson for me this week is that I made a promise to myself:  2016 forever changed me. 
Since Ray Goff and the early ‘90s, we have signed fairly elite skill talent.  Hastings was the #1 recruit in America and joined a class with Garrison.  We signed Zeier a year later.  But Zeier spent most of his career with a defense that couldn’t stop people.  We had Terrell behind a line that couldn’t block.   We couldn’t win the SEC with a team that had AJ, Knowshon and Stafford.  Murray scored 30 over and over and couldn’t score enough most of his career.  We just put Sony and Nick behind the worst OL I think I’ve ever seen us have.  We have signed elite QB after elite QB, beginning with Eric Zeier.  This is the GA way.  The next skill player will save the day (because we saw it happen in 1980).
But the lessons from the ‘80s (and recent trends in Tuscaloosa) point to a different way.  In ’80 we lost our starting center, but had enough depth the carry on.  My daddy always talks of the ’83 season, full of seniors who had been recruited to join Herschel.  Herschel was gone and we basically didn’t have a tailback, and went 10-1-1 and beat #2 Texas in the Cotton Bowl – because we could flat out block.
Several things happened this week that are NOT the Georgia Way.  We signed a stud JUCO LT.  We had 4 stars forego the draft.  We lost a stud QB recruit.  We wait on an absolute beast OL commitment today.
We may or may not get Wilson today, but things are changing.  I’m sold.  It’s all about the defense and the offensive line.  I love offensive skill players.  That’s not where you win games.  You need play makers.  But, in 2012, in that dome, would you have traded Murray, Gurley, Marshall and our WR for McCarron, Lacy, Yeldon and their WR?  No.  Murray was better and Gurley was better, by a fair margin.  They had Cooper, but we had a deeper WR corp.  But their OL and Defense beat us into submission.  Bama has gone to the playoff for 3 straight years with Blake Sims, Jake Coker and Jalen Hurts (who has been phenomenal, but isn’t in Eason’s stratosphere).
The formula is different, guys.  The formula isn’t the formula that we have thought it was for 25 years.  That’s a sea change.  That formula is up front on O and on D.  The formula is creating a team culture in which kids don’t want to leave early without reaching their fullest potential personally and team-wise. 
BTW, the quarterback thing is kind of fascinating to me.  Do you think there’s something about QBs that’s different from other positions that really feel a kind of pressure/fear to go to the in-state school and deliver?  I do.  Texas was 2 years removed from a natty when Stafford came to UGA.  Murray was a perfect fit for Meyer and they were coming off a 2 natties out of the last 3 years, and he’d have been redshirted Tebow’s senior year.  Eason surely saw the things Peterson was doing in Seattle behind the scenes.  He went on a visit there.  And we fumbled Deshaun, but I don’t know if it would have mattered.  Maybe Lawrence reconsiders a year from now if Dabo is in Tuscaloosa, but it just seems that QBs kind of want to get out more than other positions.  That kind of fascinates me about Fromm, because nationally it really breaks the mold. 
Things are changing, guys.  We’ve got to change, too.  I get excited about skill player recruits, but we’ve seen what that gets us.