Saturday, February 8, 2014

Boomerang Beard follows similar angle as his coach

I like this.
“Sometimes making a decision and living it out are two different things,” Richt said in a statement released Friday morning. “As I’ve mentioned before the same thing happened to me. As a player (at Miami) I told my coach I had decided to leave for what I thought were all the right reasons. But after a few days, I realized it was a bad decision and asked to come back. He took me back and I’m happy Mark will still be a part of the program.”

Friday, February 7, 2014

So...about Ekeler. And then Helow.

Hey, I was at least right about the how quickly it would happen. Although that brings some questions to mind as to the timing of the official announcement, when I look back at how the news traveled for the other two assistant hirings, it pretty much follows the same progression - media leaks that someone is likely the guy, cautionary comments about nothing being official, few days pass, media leaks that the official announcement is imminent, and then the official announcement.

That progression could mean a number of things, such as proper vetting and background checking as well as dotting i's and crossing t's in terms of contracts. But with Ekeler there was a few extra days in there it seems when things appeared to be in a holding pattern. Whether that's because of the last minute recruiting push towards signing day, other candidates or just simple feet dragging, I don't know for sure. But what truly matters is Richt completed the staff with a guy Pruitt wanted and that wanted to be here in Athens too.
Are there any pictures of this guy with
his feet on the ground?

But about the roles of the defensive's quite the shakeup. Or is it? For those of us outside the arena it's just tidier to have things organized in ways that make sense. Sure, it took some adjusting when we went from Martinez's 4-3 base to having two linebackers coaches under Grantham's 3-4. But we made it. 

However now it seems a bigger adjustment having the "regular" inside linebackers and secondary guys, but then one who is in charge of the SAM and the STAR and another who has the defensive front and the WILL. Well okay, if that's the way we just Pruitt.

Organized into neat, understandable categories is nice. But Does it make sense in terms of preparation? Or efficiency in practice? My guess is either Pruitt had designs of this organizational structure as a best practice development, or he's tailoring the staff to their own proficiencies. Perhaps both.

One remaining question that looms, or at least one of the bigger ones, is how exactly George Helow fits in. He was a grad assistant at FSU. He's announced he was leaving and the presumption is that he's following Pruitt. He was even mentioned as a possible assistant early on when names were being bandied about like flies on a porch. If he's going to be a grad assistant in Athens, that brings me back to one of my original questions - how many grad assistants can a program have? I presume four. And if that's true we're losing two of the ones we had from last year.

You may be wondering "Who cares?". But I think it's a bigger deal than some think. Certainly enough to warrant some thought. Kelin Johnson is a great addition to the GAs. I think Helow would be as well.

Regardless, I'm glad the searches for assistants are over. Remains to be seen just exactly what Richt has up his sleeve in terms of special teams. If nothing else, it should add plenty more intrigue to spring practices and GDay.

Most of all, welcome to Coach Ekeler. Everything I've read has been high energy and driven by results on the field. We're glad to have you as part of the DawgNation!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

NSD Review - abundant energy

Was a fun day in Athens. Lots of positives to take away from this year's class; of which MaconDawg points out and covers pretty thoroughly here. Overall I believe we addressed our needs and got the kids signed that we needed to get. For now I'd like to spend some time focusing on the coaching staff and some broader strokes.
  • The biggest thing I took away from yesterday can be summed up in one word - energy. Coach Richt has it and the fan base happens to have it too. Again, what a difference a month makes right? I don't think there's any question that the coaching staff was an exercise in chaos last season. However, yesterday we got to see the new staff all together and there's more cohesion there than we've seen in some time. I mean, Pruitt is living in Friend's basement from Pete's sake! 
    via AJC
  • Speaking of the new defensive coordinator, he wasn't as engaging as I expected him to be. But it was his first time in front of a small representation of the fan base and I'm sure everyone's expectations were set pretty high. Including mine. He had an air of intensity about him for sure. The question I remember him fielding was about bringing back the junkyard mentality. He pointed to a broad spectrum of goals he had for his defense and mostly glossed over the rather mundane question. Then later Sherrer addressed it directly, telling the fella who asked that they would most certainly be getting after it.
  • One of the more intriguing developments yesterday was the fact that Rocker will coach the defensive line as well as the rush end position. The presumption from there is that Sherrer will handle the linebackers while Pruitt coaches the secondary. That leaves the final assistant position to coach...??
  • Special teams. I said we wouldn't have a coach devoted to just this area. And we still may not. Maybe. But it's clear from comments Richt has made since the end of the season and especially yesterday that he has a definite plan and insists fans will be happy with the results. I expect things will shake out as far and the last spot on the staff and what the assignments are within the next day or two.
  • And it was a very young man who specifically asked Coach Richt about hiring a special teams coach. Richt also glossed over this one with a joke about who had set him up to ask it. The head guy appeared as relaxed and engaging as I've seen him in years. It certainly tables any and all discussion about him eyeing retirement sooner rather than later.
  • The lighter side was all Richt either. One of the funnier moments was when Pruitt asked Mike "Big Dawg" Woods where he could get his "hair" cut like that. Almost as funny as when Lilly came forward to field a question on tight ends and first asked that same young man why he wasn't in school.
  • Another thing that was clear yesterday was Richt getting his staff front and center with the microphone. In one sense this isn't a new development. In the time I've been going to Athens for signing day he's always had assistants field questions. But there was a bigger emphasis here yesterday. For instance, he asked the crowd to acknowledge Bryan McClendon's recruiting prowess. And at the end of their time he made sure everyone had had their chance to speak.
Relaxed. Yet energetic. A strange dichotomy. Perhaps most of the relaxed and easy feeling was coming from the crowd. I couldn't help but think how things might have been different had there not been any changes in the staff. Given the way things ended in Jacksonville, it would have been a much different mood on the floor yesterday. But as Blutarsky points out, the staff should be commended on how this recruiting class finished up given the staff changeover. While much of that credit should go to the assistants on Richt's staff, in the end most of it rests on the head guy's shoulders.

If every day is a good day to be a Dawg, yesterday the kool-aid was plentiful. And we were all eager to get a refill.

Coach Richt as Nacho LIbre

Courtesy of BassinDawg, after Coach broke the news on ESPN that he watches the movie quite often.

NSD Review - the videos

Sorry these didn't upload correctly to yesterday's liveblog. My phone's app said they were there, but realized last night they weren't. Still had trouble uploading one of them last night, which is why one is a YouTube and the other is on Vimeo. But anyway, hopefully you got to follow along live. But if you didn't, here is about 8/10ths of the coaches' comments.

(And sorry for the shaking. I had just finished matdrills and was a little weak to be holding a phone up for 20 minutes of footage.)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

National Signing Day Liveblog - 2014

Editor's Note - I just noticed that the videos my phone told me were uploaded were not really completed before I shut things down. I'm uploading them tonight and will have them posted tomorrow for those of you who didn't get a chance to see things live. Good stuff.

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The long road of luring kids to Athens - through endless tape evaluation, talking to coaches, sitting down with mommas, transcript evaluation, unofficial visits, phone calls, texts, officials visits, tweets - finally comes to end today. It's National Signing Day!

If you're reading this, you're probably following along from home, your office and in some Bangladeshian internet cafe. Regardless of where you are there's a lot to read in order to stay on top of all the news. So here are some links to get you started.
  • My first recommendation would be two twitter lists I've created. Here's one specific to UGA Signing Day, and this one is devoted to recruiting coverage in the southeast. I'm sure both will fly along quickly today.

  • Another great click will surely be at where Radi Nabulsi and DJ Shockley will host a live broadcast complete with late breaking news, interviews with coaches and insider information.

  • DawgSports' recruiting player profiles. And also this primer including announcement times for some key targets.

  • BulldawgIllustrated's ongoing coverage is sure to be a hotspot today.

And if you really get bored, you can find some of the fun we got into previously in  2013  2012  2011  2010 & 2009. For now, I'm off to grab some coffee and get on all my red and black! Be back later with some pictures and updates. Go Dawgs!!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Couple more links as I head out the door:

- remember Thomas Davis? Tyler does.

- "Brick by Brick" beginning to sound a lot like "The Process".

Narrowed it down to two y'all.

Humpday Hilarity - bad morning

Given the recent weather, this... a good reminder that your neighbor will always appreciate you de-icing his or her car.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Shock the world. With Butts-Mehre donuts.

As I mentioned earlier, I plan to be at Butts-Mehre tomorrow morning, Time to be determined. And since I remember what it's like to sit in the office on National Signing Day and continually hit the F5 key for eight hours straight, I plan to have some kind of live coverage. At least as much as my phone will allow.

As I've also mentioned, there are better places to get this kind of coverage. I'll have many of them linked up here in the morning. From there I plan to give you some pictures, some updates as well as some video of the coaches' comments. That last part should go smoothly with the app I've downloaded. But if the fax machine jams and the coaches are late coming out to the floor, I should let you know that I'm not delaying lunch!

Anyway, AHD passed this along yesterday. It's an interesting read given yesterday's news that UGA might lose a recruit who really wants to come to Athens. Georgia has had to work along with the admission rules on non-qualifiers before. And schools like Marshall often enter the mix. Remember Kent Turene? And frequently UGA is ridiculed by little brother the engiNerd over this predicament. So I thought I'd highlight the following portion of the article on "special admits":
The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, a watchdog group, has expressed concern about institutions lowering academic requirements for many athletes but not for comparable numbers of other students who might be artists or dancers, or possess other skills.
Some of the schools' records hint at the steep challenges faced by special admits to keep pace when their academic qualifications are notably lower than other entering students.
In March, Georgia Tech issued a news release announcing that the average high school GPA for all students accepted for the fall semester was 3.9.
The academic profile of a group of 21 Georgia Tech special-admit football players from recent years looked much different. They had a combined average high school GPA of 2.19, according to an "athletes historical report" provided in March in response to an open-records request. The players entered the university between 2005 and last year.
Five special-admit men's basketball players listed in Georgia Tech's report had high school GPAs ranging from 2.16 to 2.42. The group's SAT critical reading scores averaged 476, and its SAT math scores averaged 454.
Once at Georgia Tech, the five players' GPAs averaged 2.16. Two were listed in good standing and two were on academic "warning," meaning their recent performance was unsatisfactory. One was on academic probation. Three of the five were still enrolled as of 2011, according to the report.
In a written statement last week, Georgia Tech told The Sun that academic advising and tutoring for athletes was moved from the Athletics Association in 2011 into the Office of the Provost, and is now the responsibility of the vice provost for undergraduate education. "The average GPA of the men's basketball and football teams have risen steadily over that period, and no student athletes have been academically dropped or dismissed from Georgia Tech since Fall, 2010," the school's statement said.
To those that follow this closely, no real breaking news there. Except for Tech fans that make fun of UGA's student athletes' test scores. But it certainly begs the question for which is the better practice: 1) lowering the standards so far that some student athletes can't possibly keep up with their peers, or 2) Richt helping a kid find a prep school or JUCO to work on both his academics and his football skills.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Dawgs

Clemons and Jones vs Knowshon and Champ. Either way, Dawgs on top!

Ekeler as a player. Hardnosed.

Word is he is interested. But there is work yet to do. The last assistant spot might not be filled until late next week.

Until then, I flipped over this video.