Saturday, January 18, 2014

The i in TEAM

Life is about individual decisions. All decisions have consequences. Some consequences affect more than the individual.

h/t Mac

Friday, January 17, 2014

Coach Olivadotti, you are more than welcome.

Proud to have been a small part of helping young Kasyn and her family fight her illness. Thanks certainly wasn't necessary, but is always very much appreciated.

Dawgs are flipping the script!

So the sun can shine on our ass. Hmmph.

Hey, it's Friday! Let's ignore the bong in the corner and do something really fun, as well as street legal. Reading (and feeling) all of the positive vibing the last few days got me thinking...what are the most favorable coaching moves/non-moves of the young off season? Then I added favorable early departures to the NFL, especially since Georgia has no one in that boat for the first time in many years. These moments can be fleeting, therefore they must be celebrated!

So I've ranked them below. I originally aimed to stay away from ones that were directly related to Georgia. But then Toddy started tweeting again.
Give us one number greater than the number of
times you've ever won in Jax Will? ... Good! Very good!

So eff you towel boy!
  1. Louisville goes grantHAM. As pleasant surprises go, this is up there with that time my soon to be bride sent me to Vegas with my best friends, $10,000 cash and a wink. Except that actually never happened. But the former actually did.
  2. Muschamp avoids pink slip. Heady, bold move by Jeremy Foley. Well, not so much heady as bold. Regardless, Georgia fans are gratefully pinching themselves.
  3. Texas hooks Charlie Strong. This one is almost tied with Muschamp's vote of confidence. Because the worst thing that could happen for the WLOCP, would be for Florida to have a vacancy while Strong's agent is antsy.
  4. Missouri loses Josey/Kony. These early departures, coupled with wrecking ball Michael Sam leaving, make our second trip to ColaWest much easier.
  5. Big chicken flew the speed traps. Jadeveon Clowney had a disappointing final season. But I leave him (as well as fellow early departure Bruce Ellington) here because it's worth mentioning that much like Mizzou, South Carolina will look much different next year having to replace Connor Shaw and Chaz Sutton.
  6. VANDY SHAKE UP!! Minor tremor in Nashville. Franklin gave us some fits. But all in all his impact on the series between Georgia and Vanderbilt stayed true to history - some tight games, an occasional blowout for the Dawgs, and a mind-numbing loss once in a blue moon. 
  7. Saban brings KiffBaby home. It's a match made in blogging heaven. Even though we'll never hear from Kiffin, he'll be there...doing things that make our keyboards dance brilliantly.
  8. Paul Johnson survives and advances. With that second half turd he laid on North Avenue this year, he vaulted well past Reggie Ball, Chan Gailey and Dave Braine as my all time favorite engiNerd.
  9. Sammy leaves Clempson for greener weed pastures. And his replacement won't have Bahj Toyd to throw to him either. 
  10. Arkansas State hires Trooper Taylor. Not directly related to Georgia (unless McGarity schedules the Red Wolves sometime soon...PLEASE!!) but college football is better off with the one, the original towel boy.
Suck it Grantham!

Honorable mention to Auburn having to actually get on the bus and come to Athens for the first time in a while. And also to Tennessee for ordering more mortar as they construct their little wall, brick by brick. Baby steps HillBillys. Baby steps.

So what did I miss completely, and what do you see higher or lower?

Layla's gon' be pissed!

HillBillys getting so jacked up for Third Saturday in October you can almost smell the Franzia.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tracking planes (vol 1 of ??)

Wonder who it picked up?

Maybe this guy:

While UCF coach George O’Leary managed to avoid the traditional Gatorade bath after the Knights’ stunning upset win in the Fiesta Bowl, Tyson Summers did not.
The linebackers coach was given, what seemed to be at the time, the unenviable task of calling the plays for UCF’s defense against the nation’s top offensive team in the country in Baylor. The Bears came into Wednesday night’s game leading the nation in total offense (618.8 yards per game) while scoring more than 50 points per game this season.

Would Belin come back to Athens?

So Pruitt is looking for a new staff, including a linebackers coach or two that can help with special teams as well. We've seen that guy on the sidelines before right?

AHD reminded me of this yesterday - the Carolina Panthers fired Warren Belin last year. He was just retained as Wake Forest's linebackers coach after serving in the same capacity in Winston-Salem last season. Of course, as new Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson points out, Belin is a Demon Deacon at heart:
“There’s a guy who played here, who has great love of Wake Forest,” Clawson said. “I mean, this is his school.
“In the recruiting process you could just get a great sense of his genuineness, not just for the players in the program and the recruits, but for his genuine love of Wake Forest. And Warren was a guy who I was able to connect a lot of dots with. A lot of people I know well know Warren well, and in coaching it’s a small fraternity.
“People I really like and really respect, they told me their feelings about Warren. And I spent time on the road with him in recruiting. I thought if Warren was somewhere out (there), I’d be trying to get him to Wake Forest.”
But how much does Belin love his alma mater? I'm sure Pruitt has plenty of names in mind. I remember seeing Belin at the 2011 GDay a couple months after he left Athens for the NFL. He was there with most of his family, I assume to watch his former players and catch up with friends. Now I wonder if his name might come up in Richt's old rolodex.

Pruitt's scheme vs. his personnel

That's just one of the more interesting comments among some good nuggets in this Morning Show interview with ESPN's David Hale. (Remember him, right?) He has some first hand insight on what they saw out of Coach Pruitt in Tallahassee this past season in terms of scheme, player development, recruiting, and just about everything else you might want to know about your new defensive coordinator.

During some down time today, give it a listen.

The Pruitt presser

Missed most of this yesterday, so I'm pasting these in here because I've just enjoyed watching them. Good stuff.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

(UPDATED) Olivadotti heading back to NFL

Pruitt may get to hire a whole new staff. I hate to see Coach Olivadotti go, but glad he and his family are landing somewhere that is familiar.
Inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti is heading back to the Washington Redskins, where he spent 11 years before joining Georgia's staff in 2011. Olivadotti is taking a position on the defensive staff under new Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, who has retained Jim Haslett as defensive coordinator. Olivadotti and Haslett worked together in 2010.
That leaves Coach Wilson, who is still a candidate for the defensive line position at Southern Cal. We should know something on him soon I would suspect, one way or the other. Wilson is supposed to travel up to North Carolina on Friday with Richt to visit Lamont Gaillard in Fayetteville.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

UPDATE: is reporting that Wilson has accepted the USC job. So Pruitt is starting from scratch here.
A source has informed @coachingsearch that UGA d-line coach Chris Wilson is heading to USC. Done deal.

Read more here:

Jeremy Pruitt, a hearty welcome

Still a little in shock. Mostly because I doubted it could happen. But also because I just couldn't put together a scenario where Athens would be attractive as a lateral move. Just off a national championship season...heavyweight in the mostly meek ACC...2013 Broyles Award finalist. Versus, inheriting a new roster for the second time in as many years...going against SEC teams loaded with future NFL arms and legs.

The wife (like myself) was still trying to wrap her mind around it late last night. It wasn't about money. And Pruitt isn't running from a bad situation professionally. He just wanted to be here. Perhaps a lot of that had to do with his old teammate Will Friend. Perhaps it's just like ol' Joe Waterloo reminded me - Athens is just better than anywhere else.

Regardless, I wanted to look at what we have in place now. As well as some of the questions that linger. But before we dive into that, here are some stats I pulled that likely made Pruitt pretty attractive to Richt from the get-go:
Opponents' pass efficiency - Georgia, 84th ... FSU 2nd
Turnovers - Georgia, 109th with 15 ... FSU 2nd with 35
Redzone defense - Georgia 86th ... FSU 24th
3rd down defense - Georgia 66th ... FSU 10th
Tackles for loss - Georgia 50th ... FSU 22nd
Sacks - Georgia 28th ... FSU 30th

Florida State's talent aside, pretty staggering considering that was with his first coordinating gig. It also speaks to Pruitt's willingness to embrace a challenge.

Now some thoughts and questions.
  • What happens to Olivadotti and Wilson, the lone defensive staff holdovers from Grantham's regime. Wilson's name has been out there since Sunday's news and Olivadotti has only stated that he wasn't moving to Louisville. We will certainly get some clues, if not outright answers, at Pruitt's first press conference this morning.
  • I'd like to see both retained. I'd also like to see Pruitt work closely with the defensive backs. Will be interesting to see how the staff is structured.
  • And that brings us to the base defense. I mentioned earlier this week that I wasn't concerned about moving back to a base 4-3 if necessary. But Pruitt obviously has been groomed from Saban's defense just as Grantham had. Yet another reason this was such a great fit for both parties.
  • The recruiting angle is worth noting as well. Three weeks before signing day (and the window for communication reopening tomorrow) makes the swiftness of the hire important. I'm not the one to delve into recruiting much, but the early temperature check from both current targets and commitments has been from good to outstanding.
  • The guy held Clemson to 14 points! On the road!
  • And the national championship game is one I wish I had recorded. My two takeaways from that game now, in hindsight, is that Malzahn had Pruitt's number early on. But after halftime was a much different story.
  • As Scarbinsky mentions, Famous Jameis made the winning throws at the end, but the Seminole defense made those throws meaningful. Auburn's third down offensive stats - two first downs off of 45 yards and 12 plays.
I'll close with a snippet from that same piece:
Pruitt gets it, though sometimes you have to listen carefully to appreciate it. During a media appearance before the BCS Championship Game, he was asked about Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall's improvement throughout the season in running the read option, especially in deciding whether to keep the ball or hand it off.
Pruitt said he believed a good number of those plays weren't true reads but were preordained calls. That's the kind of attention to detail that matters in a coordinator.
It may feel like I'm putting too much emphasis on one common opponent. But I think the point is important here. Auburn only scored seven more points against Georgia than they did FSU. But in the end the Seminoles did enough to win. And that's what it's all about.

Richt's thank you note

I'm going to get to Coach Pruitt. Promise. But today needs to start off this way...

For everyone who has doubted Coach Richt's level of commitment...for those of us who have wondered if he could pull this kind of hire off...for those who believe he is past his days of effective were wrong, we were wrong, and it seems as though those guys were dead wrong.

The easy hire was Olivadotti. And he might have been the right one, eventually. The easy path was "continuity". But that would've only lead us to dark days, quickly. Instead, Richt and McGarity went right to work, zeroed in on the only man on the face of the Earth that has the 2012, 2013 and 2014 national title rings.

This time around there were no messy and all too public negotiations that led to messy and all too public turndowns. This time, even as fans remarkably forgave their lost son and dreamed up all kinds of scenarios where things would really be different this time!!, the moves were calculated and private in a different direction. Richt had a vision for what his team needed and he went out and made it happen.

And while there is much left to prove on the field, today we can take a breath and celebrate a giant, impressive and definitive step in the right direction. Because there was a sinking feeling, a great big fat elephant turd of apathy, that was settling in on the program. A week ago we were fresh off a disheartening and lethargic loss to Nebraska to close the season. And worst of all we were stuck with Todd Grantham, essentially a dead coordinator walking; a guy who had lost his audience - fans, fellow coaches and most notably his own players. Meanwhile, Jeremy Pruitt was getting sized for yet another BCS ring. And here we are in a scenario where everyone is happy. Fresh start for Grantham and Georgia; Richt got the guy he wanted and for a price that makes everyone content.

Yes, it's a fresh start to the off season. Fans are revitalized and now looking forward to GDay again. More importantly, the players are revitalized and eager to prove themselves. And they have their head coach to thank.

We all do.

Humpday Hilarity - a lunar farting

h/t Mac

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New DC search - day two (Pruitt is the man)

Multiple news outlets are reporting it now. But the AJC (which I slammed earlier this morning, you're welcome!) was first in reporting that FSU defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt (who I practically dismissed as a candidate this morning as well, you're welcome!) is Mark Richt's next defensive coordinator.
Jeremy Pruitt, defensive coordinator for Florida State during its national championship run this past season, is expected to accept the same position at Georgia, multiple sources told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Pruitt, 39, was said to be in Athens Tuesday, where he met with Richt and other members of Georgia’s staff.
Pruitt did outstanding work at Alabama. And his work this season in Tallahassee stands up easily by its own merit.

[UPDATED] New DC search - day two (Kirby farted)

You Kirbyheads are about to go crazy.

Also, while I have your attention, check out what Tyler says about FSU's Pruitt. I can wrap my head around that name either. On my phone so linking is hard, but try this [ ] or check the blog roll to the right.

UPDATE: Pruitt has some gas too evidently. What do we know anyway?

New DC search - day two (deep breathing)

Now's about the time we come to grips with the fact that not only has the job vacancy for defensive coordinator for the Georgia tackle football team not been posted yet, but neither has the job vacancy for the defensive backs coach for the Georgia tackle football team. Add to that the fact that legally speaking, McGarity and/or Richt must interview at least three people and you suddenly realize that this isn't going to be the episode of speed dating that you had hoped for as you eagerly waved at the exhaust pipe on Todd Grantham's Ryder truck.

OMGwhy hadnt we just brough kirby back home you guys!! We losing recruits I bet like mad and [illegible rambling....] need him to shut down these boarders. Like yesterday; [more illegible ramblings]

So we come to recall what this was like four years ago, as Richt searched for a replacement to Willie Martinez and subsequently Jon Fabris and John Jancek. It took time. You'll even remember that those openings came within days of the close of the regular season on North Avenue. And still it wasn't until the middle of January when a decision was made.

Of course, some of that delay was due to bowl prep, most of it due to NFL playoffs. But it still took some time to work through. Enough to make everyone overly antsy. Because if there is one thing that festers over time it is rumors.

ButtNekkidDawg just tweetd that Bobo and Smart were seen at Georgia Square Mal eating dippin' dots. DONE. DEAL!

And rumors can have a way of one upping each other, usually for mercenary purposes.

Sh*t, I took 101 english with Kirbster so jus waiting on him to text me back an I'll update y'all........... [insert random, ill-suited emoticon]

We make fun of that guy that knows someone that's only separated from THE HOT NAME by seven other people. But it's times like these that anonymity can be so damn alluring.

Don't know about some of you older folks, but it's enough to make me think back fondly to a time before twitter and even message boreds. We got our news at the end of the driveway a couple hours before dawn. We frantically flipped to the Sports section to see if what that guy at the office the day before had said about Vince Dooley was true. Was he really retiring?

Then again, I certainly don't miss paying the AJC for their garbage. So perhaps we have evolved in some ways. Bradley and his band of merry idiots not named Terence get their breaking news the same way we do...

Hey BatCaveDawg20875109237, any updates on what your saying about Wilie Matrinez coming back to athens? I thought he did a decent job for most part.

...from the internet. And that won't happen until the short list has been vetted and processed.

So in the mean time, breathe deeply. Remember to get up and walk around some; get the blood flowing to parts of your body other than your fingertips. Silence can speak volumes about what we know and what we don't.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday's Meatloaf - Grantham, like a freight train...GONE!

So I sat down to type out this post yesterday afternoon and all of a sudden my phone blew up. Joe Schad sent out a tweet and suddenly it was Christmas morning anew. Only better. Tis better to give than receive, and boy did we give away a big one!

"They're gonna pay you how much to have
my hemorrhoids removed?"
Of course, we have the Mormons to thank. Well, the Mormons and Terry Saban. How is that? Well, BYU beat Texas back in September in such spectacular fashion that it started a whirlwind of Mack Brown out at Texas rumors. Then Mrs. Saban visits Austin and tells her husband "Hell no!" And then the Longhorns hire Louisville's Charlie Strong. And then Bobby Petrino gets on his knees, then his belly to slither back into his old gig. And then!....THEN! He does something completely irrational and professionally irresponsible.

No, worse than hiring a leggy volleyball player and propping her up on his Hog. He hires Todd Grantham. The guy that made Vad Lee into a four quarter Heisman candidate. The guy with the towel boy that couldn't stop the guy with our former defensive back under center. The guy with more dog houses for his players to sleep in than I've seen in sixteen years of marriage. The guy that had become a cancer within his own team room; to the point that when he contacted his bosses to let them know he was talking with Petrino, all they had to say was - "Welp. Ok." Then hung up and got back to their Words With Friends game.

"Buyout" can have triple the point value if played correctly. No, this ain't no temporary, typical, tearful goodbye.

I think it's important not to dismiss the positives of the last four years. In many ways, this last season's defensive regression greatly overshadows what were some good seasons where we saw renewed energy and enthusiasm on the defensive side of the ball. Unfortunately, somewhere of late, Todd Grantham lost his fellow coaches on the staff. And then he lost his own players. And when that happens, some measure of change is necessary.

For Grantham, it was too easy to take the bump in pay and just leave. Don't blame him one bit. I'm happy for him and his family. I'm happy for Georgia fans. And most of all, I'm happy for the players.

Today's Ingredients
- Not a large serving today. But some very tasty portions in here. Grab a plate.
- Groo looks back at Grantham's tumultuous career and then forward at his departure's ramifications.
- LugnutDawg was as surprised as the rest of us with yesterday's news. But took some time to compile a list of names.
- Blutarsky adds some thoughts on the Grantham news as well.
- Greg looks at the rumor of Kentucky's DB coach leaving to join Richt's staff.
- Over at Georgia Sports Blog, PWD researches David Gibbs and Tyler adds his wish list for the DC candidacy.
- Good defense and making good at the charity stripe have Coach Fox's squad sitting atop the SEC. Here's Hoop Dawgs analysis on the 2-0 start.
- Lakatos leaving kind of reopened the wound of the secondary woes this past season. I thought this summarization of the personnel by DudeYouCrazy was spot on.
- "Well, bye.Marshall recaps the week that was in his weekly Sunday post.
- As season recaps go, I think Jack has the best perspective. Fun read. But is it weird that #4, and what ended as a loss to Auburn, is my favorite?
via "The Walking DET", artwork by Jeff Rich
- And oh yeh, Shaq Wiggins was arrested early this morning for speeding on a suspended license. So when Dorial Green-Beckham has his charges dismissed, we'll be atop the Fulmer Cup standings for sure!

To wrap this up, as we were settling into our off season hibernation spots, Jason and the rest his squad were shipping off as of last Wednesday on the USS Taylor. These are the guys that fly badass helicopters and specialize in anti-submarine warfare. They're stationed in Jacksonville and Jason is a big Dawgs fan. I know they'll be working their tails off (figuratively) in the Black Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Baltic Sea the next few months before heading back home this summer. To their friends and family, we wish great comfort in their absence.

And I know you'll join me in thanking them for their service abroad. Glad there are no required 4am ESPN game telecasts to watch the Dawgs like there were in Japan for the 2012 season. We're just thankful there are brave souls like y'all out there that really and truly Get After That Ass each day. So in the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, I'll end with this - "A good navy is not a provocation of war. It is the surest guarantee of peace."

The rest of you grab a mop and swab the deck. Y'all made a helluva Monday mess in here.


New DC search - day one (the "real" candidates)

Having looked at some names that are a stretch and at least one that is a longshot, let's look now at a list Emerson compiles for us.

First, he mentions (via Bruce Feldman) that Richt has already contacted David Gibbs (son of coach Alex Gibbs) from Houston. The Cougars defense was very opportunistic in his first season there. They grabbed a whopping 43 turnovers on the season, 18 fumbles and 25 interceptions. The downside though is the 415 yards per game allowed. Still, Gibbs is a respected defensive coach that has seen time in both the NFL and college ranks. And he has experience in the South from both playing and coaching at Auburn. While with the Tigers his defense was in the top ten and led the SEC in sacks.

But I think a more likely candidate from Emerson's list is current inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti. Both he and defensive line coach Chris Wilson will at least get some measure of consideration. Olivadotti (along with his predecessor Warren Belin) has done a remarkable job revamping the inside linebacker position and repairing the damage done by John Jancek in the previous regime. Olivadotti's well respected, but he's never served as a coordinator. Although it is certainly preferable to land someone with experience at the coordinator position, if the search goes past the "short list" Olivadotti could quickly become the best candidate for the position.

In the very least let's hope Coach Olivadotti is retained, along with Wilson who did a good job turning around Georgia's run defense this past season.

Lastly, it's worth some thought as to whether the new coordinator brought aboard will need to be a "3-4" guy or not. Transitioning back to a 4-3 base could be tricky, but not nearly the arduous task it was to go to the 3-4 four years ago. In fact, I believe we have the personnel to go in either direction. For Grantham's system to work (out of the base package) you had to have a true nose tackle; a big, strong body to anchor the middle of your defense. Although we see more and more nickel sets to defend modern day offenses these days, we have the bodies to run a 4-3 defense if that's the direction Richt wants to move.

In other words, I don't see the previous defensive mindset and current roster playing a factor in the search for a new defensive coordinator. And that is a good thing, as Richt will be able to consider any and all names that come up and across his desk.

Like the man said last night, "The best is yet to come! Go Dawgs!"

New DC search - day one (the elite candidates)

Pat Narduzzi.

He currently makes under $600,000 in B1G country. He received some flirtations for head coaching positions in the last few weeks. He won the Broyles award as the nation's top assistant this past season.

There's definitely no guarantee he'd take a lateral move, even for more money. From what I hear he's pretty happy in East Lansing. But his defense was the best in the nation this season. Just as impressive, in the Rose Bowl, when Stanford lined up and dared the Spartans to stop them, Narduzzi's guys did just that. One of the lasting images for me this bowl season was of Kyler Elsworth (a fifth year senior starting in place of Max Bullough) stuffing the Cardinal on that fourth and one to seal the win. He's a great coach who knows how to get the most out of his players.

So, I would make him my first call. I wouldn't be afraid to pay him what it takes to get him on I-75 South. Soon.

Narduzzi says no? Ok, some others I would have on the shortlist:
  • Randy Shannon. Currently the Arkansas LB coach, former Miami head coach. Knows recruiting down here as well as the defensive side of the ball. Pretty thoroughly on both counts I might add.
  • Kirby Smart. Yes, I dismissed it in the earlier post as absurd. But as far as active defensive coordinators out there, he's a better option than some I've read. He's a hell of a recruiter. And a change might bring out the best in his abilities.

New DC search - day one (the absurdities)


He went down that road. And Richt extending his hand and was ignored. Sure, it's bygones under the bridge but I'd bet Richt burned that road map four years ago. Then again, never say never. Especially when talking about bygones under bridges. Still, I'm leaving Kirby in this post because I think it'll take more money than he's worth to get him to Athens.

I mean, what exactly has he proven as a defensive coordinator? The move makes more sense for Smart than it does Georgia.

And then, really? Muschamp? That guy was defensive kryptonite back in his playing days. And he's only become more lethal to success on the field as a coach.

In short, there aren't any serious former player defensive coordinator candidates for UGA because there aren't any successful ones out there. Muschamp's success was fleeting, what little there was of it. And what exactly has Smart done (on his own) to live up to his own name?

Let's move on people.

Sunday, January 12, 2014