Saturday, January 10, 2015

Deal for new OL coach near done?

Schlabach thinks so.
From the McNeese State site:
He constructed an offensive line in 2013 into one of the best in the league despite having two players switch from the defensive side.  Three of the five starting linemen earned all-conference honors - Arinze Agada (1st team), Quentin Marsh and Nick Gorman (honorable mention).  Agada was named the SLC’s Offensive Lineman of the Year, earned SLC All-Academic honors, was named a FCS ADA Academic All-Star, earned first team All-Louisiana honors, and was named to four postseason All-America teams (Associated Press, Sports Network, College Sports Madness, Beyond Sports Network). 

"Obviously", my favorite part of the Schotty press conference

Obviously, a lot of obviously good stuff from yesterday's press conference. But obviously my favorite part had to obviously be this:
Richt: "You'd have to ask my mom on that. We probably had similar careers. I will be honest, there were a couple of things that have come up already that we had to get squared away right off the get-go. Somehow the term Gatorade got brought up and I said we are actually PowerAde here. And then we talked about the game we have in Jacksonville and he did refer to it as the Florida-Georgia game. I said that's rule number two, it's the Georgia-Florida game. Obviously, we think it's a really good fit. We're excited." 
Learn em young Coach.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A "Schotty" mea culpa

Just as I was publishing a look at potential offensive coordinator replacements for Mike Bobo, where I was very skeptical of the one NFL name on the list, UGA and that name were agreeing on a deal. It's almost as if I planned it that way.

Yeh, I didn't think you'd buy that.

Given some time to reflect on my skepticism of the Brian Schottenheimer addition, and having read more on what kind of man and coach he is, I think it's only fair that I offer a fresh(er) perspective.

Because I believe this is a great hire. I think Emerson makes a valid point on his and Estes' reflective podcast - Roper and Bloomgren would've been safe hires for Richt. They both have their strengths and would've been received mostly favorably by fans and recruits alike. But Schottenheimer has the "wow" factor that neither of those other names did. Even if you're still guarded against any optimism (or outright pessimistic), you have to admit Richt pulled this one from left field. The Rams' offensive coordinator had made some speculatory lists, but wasn't thought to be a serious candidate.

And at the time I was glad he wasn't getting much traction as a possibility. Like I said, I was concerned as to how a career NFL guy would fare in the ever important game of recruiting. Whether you liked Mike Bobo on gamedays or not, he had his finger on the pulse of Friday Night Lights in South Georgia. Could a guy like Brian Schottenheimer step in and keep this 2015 class together? Well, it appears so from initial reactions.

I'm really interested to see who Schottenheimer brings in for the offensive line coaching. It needs to be someone who can pull their weight in recruiting, something Friend was doing okay with when he left. People can say that Schottenheimer's name should be enough to impress young players and high school coaches. But that only gets you so far. Because recruiting is a skill. It's something that requires savvy communication and very hard work.

Yes, I think this is a great hire. And if Brian Schottenheimer can make a name for himself on Saturdays in Athens as well as in the eyes of talented young tackle footballers across the southeast and beyond, it will still be viewed as a great hire in the future.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It's Schottenheimer!

I guess the murmurings of Richt looking for an NFL guy were on point. I mentioned earlier today I'd rather have someone with college experience, especially with recruiting. Hopefully the OL coach hire can bring that in.

For now, welcome Coach Schottenheimer!

Coaching search, the binoculars edition

Got family business to attend to in the next couple days, so this could possibly be my last look at potential candidates before one is on board. I've mostly used Dash and Radi's "hot board" to gleen from as they offered a full rundown of potential candidates. Here's some thoughts.

- As I've mentioned before, one of the more intriguing things about this search is fitting two coaching hires into what amounts to three positions - a quarterbacks coach, and offensive line coach, and a coordinator. Maybe even four positions, technically, if you believe there's a chance Richt might hire "co-coordinators".
- Mike Bloomgren's name received a lot of traction yesterday before rumors began to die down. A lot of people aren't sold on Stanford's production last year. I try to frame that fairly, considering the offenses that Bloomgren's stats are being put against. But still, hard to wrap my head around finishing next to last in scoring and total offense in the Pac-12.
- However, those numbers may not be reflective of what he could do in Athens with the talent that is already on the roster. Stanford had a lot of holes missing due to attrition and injuries this season. And I think he'd be a great fit for the offensive line. Plus. I keep coming back to MaconDawg's post on how nicely Bloomgren fits, from offensive style and game planning to recruiting.
- Kurt Roper's name has cooled some, but he is one that has gained an interview. Many are perplexed by his inclusion in the pool. I'm not of of those. The guy convinced Trevon Harris to sign with Florida at the last minute, so he can recruit. And then he used Harris several months later to help amass 418 yards rushing against a very hot Georgia defense, so he can gameplan.
- Being from the Cutcliffe "coaching tree" definitely slides Roper's name in a positive direction for me. And if Richt thinks he's a good fit and can find ways to give Chubb and his Committee room to run, I'm all for his hiring.
- Another Cutcliffe fallen apple is Randy Sanders. The longtime Volunteer assistant has spent his long career in the southeast, landing in Tallahassee after a few years in Lexington. His style suits our current personnel well. And if the news of Jameis Winston seriously considering returning for his junior season are true, then that may be enough to make him take a cut in pay just to alleviate the headache.
- All kidding aside, not sure exactly why Sanders just doesn't wow me. He is a bit older than some other names that have been mentioned. But mostly I think it's the fact that his quarterbacks have never really developed into much, have they? At least until he got to FSU.
- Brian Schottenheimer's name appeals to me very, very little. In fact, I'm only interested to see if Richt brings him in for an interview. Richt has been enamored with NFL experience before, enough so to make me a little uneasy. Schottenheimer might be a great offensive mind, but I have serious doubts as to how well he'd recruit. And Bobo left a void in the southeast that must be filled somehow.
- The person I've been most intrigued with from the start of this is Billy Napier. He's Saban's wide receivers coach and has experience calling plays at Clemson. He's also had a lot of experience as a quarterbacks' coach and is an accomplished recruiter. He has ties to Richt, as his son Jon signed with Clemson while Napier was there.
- What's so compelling to me about Napier? Probably a lot has to do with the fact that he's at Bama, I won't lie. That's not just a Saban thing, it's also a recruiting thing. Georgia has become much more aggressive on the recruiting trails since Pruitt arrived and I bet Napier would fit nicely into the role Bobo left. But it also has to do with the fact that he's young and has experience that would seem to jive with what his predecessor was trying to do (pro style with some spread formations) and the personnel that is currently on roster.

It sounds like at this point only Roper and Bloomgren have been interviewed. I'd like to see Napier get a sit down at least. Regardless, we're either nearing the end or about halfway through. Translation, we may be putting the binoculars down in favor of the microscope soon. So stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What Bradley and McGarity don't get

No, I didn't read Mark Bradley's latest puff piece on his new found amigo Greg McGarity. Doesn't it say more about a washed up columnist at a dying POS newspaper when you don't have to read the garbage to smell the dead fish and rotten chicken bones?

But from message bored posts and elsewhere I can surmise that Bradley still thinks the world of the Georgia AD. He applauds McGarity's sticktoitiveness in keeping ol' Mark Richt's feet to the coals. He especially likes the way the Georgia AD uses a Golden Corral coupon when he picks up the lunch tab*.

But what both of those gentlemen don't get is that this all came to a head at the worst possible time.

Does it suck that Richt's team took a bad Florida for granted, even if the head coach won't admit it? Absolutely. Does it speak volumes that a very good Tech team tried their best to hand Georgia a win and yet a very good Georgia team couldn't claim it? Yes, absolutely. Will Steve Spurrier hit the BBQ joint trails this summer claiming yet another win against a superior Georgia team.

Ok, yes. Now stop.

Ok. However, it is an athletic director's job to either make a move or support the coaches to the very end. It is not an athletic director's job to leave a head coach and his staff to fend for themselves for even a second. Whatever the hell was going on behind the scenes last Tuesday, and whether you like my synopsis or not, Richt was left to answer a question he should not have. No, it wasn't another dumbass radio jock making an ass of himself and trying to get a headline under his belt. This was a question that had to be asked.

And that's unfortunate. Because what that "writer" and his lunch pal don't understand is this is the height of the season for very talented young men looking to help tackle football programs. Those are the players that will decide who gets the hardware and who gets the lesser bowl games. While Bradley was getting McGarity another plate of strawberries and chicken wings from the fudge fountain, Richt was desperately trying to keep some commitments at ease while he prepared for the season finale and then hit the offensive coordinator trail. While they were sipping their unsweet tea from the same straw, Richt was holding his coaching staff together by the skin of his teeth.

Must be nice to throw away money at a glorified food trough and call it "work".

I don't really give a shit what Mark Bradley does. My suggestion however would be for him to apply to Golden Corral as a meat carver. He's evidently good with gristle. But my two suggestions to McGarity are more on point: either 1) do with your mouth what you just did with UGAA's cash and support your coaches, or 2) just STFU.

As for me, I'm not simply sitting in Coach Richt's camp. I'm eternally in UGA's camp. I'm committed to the G, not any personality or supposed wordsmith. I'm a Dawg and Coach Richt is our coach. No, it ain't always sunny and the kicks can be funny. But it's the most comfortable spot I can find.

Go Dawgs!


As Chubb takes over, a look back

After the Belk Bowl someone said to me that Chubb might actually be better than Gurley. My response, which I thought was a foregone conclusion, was that he already is.

And of course that's no knock on Gurley. He's a special back and the kind of player that makes the stadium rise to its feet whenever he gets the ball. You just never knew what he was going to do next.

But Chubb should surpass what Gurley was able to achieve in Athens. Comparing their freshman seasons it's easy to see how one comes to that prediction - one fewer game, three less attempts, yet 162 more yards.

Sure, there are many potential pitfalls, injuries and hurdles in Chubb's future; some of which his predecessor was not able to avoid. But given what we saw this season, the way 27 was able to carry the load time and time again, then provide the exclamation point on the season with a 266 yard outing, it's easy to be even more excited about this running back's potential career than we were with Gurley's two seasons ago.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Gurley tweets goodbye

Not to brag, but my college career was nearly twice as long. But Todd still out-rushed me.

So I call that a win-win.

Dust settles, OC search heats up

Remains to be seen if the suits in Butts-Mehre are on the same page as the football coaches, but they're at least in the same chapter. But no question things are more settled than they were before Friday's news of contract extensions and raises.

So it's a good time to talk about the open positions on the staff, most notably the offensive coordinator search and offensive line position coaching spot that's open. Weiszer runs down some names that have emerged. I would suspect more names will come up as the process of a coaching search requires many leaves to unturn and countless beat guys, ESPN personalities, bloggers, and of course random agents to help along the way. (Which by the way is something the latest Seth and Gentry Show hits on this morning in talking about how certain coaches provide links between Richt and certain prospects.)

So coaching searches are a lot like suspense dramas without anyone getting killed. Usually.

The guys being talked about the most are Kurt Roper, Tyson Helton, and Mike Bloomgren. I'd advise you to read MaconDawg's analysis of each those names as he approaches their experience from all angles. For an instant snapshot I'll simply add that Roper is looking for employment (so he'll come up on many lists), Helton is a fast rising star through the coaching ranks, and Bloomgren seems to have a style that favors a lot of Chubb. Which I really like.

But I certainly don't have a preference as yet. Actually, my preference is in the process of being verified - that we search the nation for the best possible successor to Mike Bobo. To simply hire from within is the Mark Richt we knew ten years ago. I really think that ship has sailed and a job that allows an offensive coordinator to feature Nick Chubb and groom some talented young quarterbacks should bring in many, many names.

Sure, we still may promote someone like John Lilly. But if we do it speaks to the fact that Richt was not satisfied with anyone else he interviewed, and that he's most comfortable with his long time colleague. And it might also point to current staff considerations. For instance, someone like Roper who is looking for a job might be perfectly fine keeping the offensive coaches we have, while someone making a move from a current gig may lobby to bring his own guys.

And that's where the search gets interesting. We have a long way to go, but the questions are already hanging in the fog out there. Is Richt only looking for someone that fits current personnel, both players and coaches? Or is he willing to change the scheme Bobo had all but perfected? We know even after he brought Pruitt in last January Richt still had final say so on some of the defensive assistants. Will he also make final determinations on open position coaching spots?

Because I'd love to have this guy, a current GA, on staff full time as the new offensive line coach. He would bring some nasty to those big fellas that this old Dawg would really enjoy seeing.