Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Jeremy Pruitt: Most Valuable Coordinator and More...

Georgia assistant coach and Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is one hot commodity. He is being attributed for many positive changes around the Georgia football program. For example, he is the reason the Bulldogs have changed the way they practice and the way practice is now set-up and conducted. It is said that some of the new hires UGA has made in the football operations department are a direct result of his input. He is being credited as the reason Georgia is much more aggressive in recruiting, offering the elite high school athletes much earlier than they had in the past. It is known that he is a huge reason kids want to come to UGA, and not just kids on the defensive side of the football. Coach Pruitt is a big reason the Dawgs now will remain in Athens on Friday nights before home games instead of having to ride 45 minutes on a bus from a night spent outside of Athens. He is also named as the catalyst for the University finally moving forward with the construction of a long overdue indoor practice facility. He is definitely the Big Man on Campus at the University of Georgia. Since all of these factors are significant reasons for Pruitt's MVP status, doesn't it make sense that Georgia must do whatever they can to keep him wearing Red and Black? With that being said, if Mark Richt, Greg McGarity, and the administration at UGA feel as strongly about Jeremy Pruitt as the Bulldawg Nation does, they have to play all of the trump cards to keep him. Bring out the checkbook again and make him the highest paid coordinator in college football, and by a long shot. In this area, be like Pruitt is with his job, and be proactive and aggressive. Don't drag your feet with this man. Pay him big and pay him now. I don't like the concept of  "coaches-in-waiting" because it never seems to work out, but assure him he'll be the head Dawg when Richt decides to retire. Make it legal and put it in writing. Yes, Pruitt is that crucial to the success of the Bulldawg Program. Read the Georgia blogs, read the articles from the UGA beat reporters, read recruiting news concerning the Bulldawgs, listen to high school prospects, and in all of these Pruitt's name will be mentioned at some point. Other schools will come after Jeremy Pruitt, they will come sooner than later, and they will come hard. Georgia must make it tremendously hard for him to leave.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Now "Infamous" National Letter of Intent

The 2015 recruiting season and subsequent signing day have brought to the forefront the inadequacies of the National Letter of Intent. It is true that this "contract' is heavily weighted in favor of the universities. The recruit is locked in, locked up, and locked down. It is now argued that current day players, generally speaking, sign with a particular school because of developed player-coach relationships, as opposed to signing with the school and program itself. This year in particular, coaching changes at signing day have left several high school players feeling betrayed. This feeling is intensified once the letter of intent has been signed because now the player is bound to that school. There is no question that the process of signing high school athletes to "scholarships" needs to be changed. There is some/much tweaking that needs to be done. Why not do away with "Signing Day" as we know it now. Allow high school seniors to sign a letter with schools any time after Labor Day of their senior year through January 31st. That signed document could be worded to give the student-athlete an "out" option upon certain circumstances that might occur at the school of his signing (such as head coaches position coaches or coordinators leaving) up to the date of his actual enrollment. It could also be worded to protect the validity of a four year commitment by the school. I'm certainly not a lawyer, but I could see a viable document created in a reasonably simple way that would be fair to both the institution as well as the individual. But in reality, is anything simple these days?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

If Tony Ball Bolts for LSU, UGA Should Call Hines Ward!

As we speak, University of Georgia Wide Receiver Coach Tony Ball is a finalist for that same position vacancy at LSU. It is rumored that it could be Ball's job if he wants it, not only as a change of scenery but also as a nice bump up in salary. When Georgia revised the titles and pay grades of several coaches after the 2014 season, Ball's position was not included in those pay hikes. Read in to that what you'd like, but the fact remains he is now exercising his options. For my unsolicited and unwarranted opinion on what the Bulldogs should do if Ball does indeed depart, I think Mark Richt's first call should be to former Bulldog and Pittsburgh Steeler great Hines Ward. With his resume he would certainly be a viable candidate, even though he has no college coaching experience. I can only guess here, but I would see wide receiver recruits jumping at the chance to play for a guy with Ward's credentials. Hines Ward may have bigger and better things going on right now, but he should be UGA's first call. It never hurts to ask...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Ray Guy: Wearing That "Gold Jacket" With Pride

Ray Guy is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is deservedly  the first and only punter inducted into the Hall and wearing the "Gold Jacket". A product of McDuffie County, Georgia and Southern Miss University, Guy could have been a professional in either one of two other sports had he taken a different athletic choice. He was that good in baseball and basketball, as well as football. Congratulations tonight Ray Guy! I'm proud to know you, and proud for having the opportunity to compete in the same Georgia high school region as you when you were at Thomson High School. You put the "special" in special teams play at every level you competed in. As you said in your induction speech, the road was often difficult, but now your journey is indeed complete. And what a special journey it was! Thanks, Ray.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Jonathan Taylor: "De-Committed" to the G.

The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the bus go round and round , all through the town. Yea, the bus keeps rolling and players who can't get their act together keep getting off the bus. Jonathan Taylor is just the latest casualty in a seemingly growing list of Georgia players who continue to get themselves in multiple offenses that go against player behavior standards. Taylor is now free to take his football talents and behavior imperfections to any school in the country he so desires. Even to a rival school in the Southeastern Conference. I wish those guys were never given that option. But Mark Richt puts absolutely no stipulations on where a dismissed player can and cannot transfer to. "You're free to go", means you're free to go. Anywhere. To me, players like Jonathan Taylor are just the same as verbally committed high school recruits who "flip" their commitment to another school. Taylor has just de-committed from Georgia. He is no longer a Dawg. He's another casualty, another deflection, another former player who very well might line up against Georgia one Saturday in the future. But Taylor will never again be a Dawg. Maybe just a low down dog, but not a Dawg, and certainly not a "Damn Good Dawg"!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

DirecTV: You Need the SEC Network...NOW!

Yesterday,  Cox Communications joined Dish Network as carriers of the new SEC Network. With those two in the fold, that still leaves DirecTV as the major abstaining provider. We are now looking down the barrel at one month before the new network airs, and I'm expecting DirecTV to take us to the very end before completing their deal with the new network. I have no insight as to the politics of such dealings, so I have no explanation as to why the satellite giant and the SEC Network would drag this out and make no assuring announcement regarding a partnership. However, there is one thing to which I am sure: the good-ole-boys of the South who live and die for college football will drop DirecTV in a heartbeat if it's the difference between missing an SEC game or seeing it.  Come on DTV, the stakes are high and kickoff is looming large.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Duck Commander: In the Bowl business...

The Independence Bowl has a new name and a new six year sponsor. It was announced on Wednesday that The "Boys with the Beards" from Duck Commander will be the face of the Louisiana post-season game. Should be interesting, right Uncle Si?

Barry Switzer: A "Jimmy The Greek" type comment?

Barry Switzer says he would never recruit a white quarterback. When I read that I immediately thought of the comments made by Jimmy The Greek that got him fired from CBS years ago. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Jim Boeheim: You'll Never Get That Call at Cameron...

Welcome to Cameron Indoor Stadium Jim Boeheim. (Or is that Cameron Hatbox, or Cameron High School Gym, or Cameron Coach K Crycourt?). Now that you and your Orangemen are in the ACC, you better get used to getting the shaft there. Your good buddy Coach K has all the officials in that conference so intimidated that you probably couldn't find a single one with the guts to call that a blocking foul on the Blue Devils, as opposed to the charge that was called against Syracuse. Duke didn't win those 30 straight games at home because they were better than all their opponents, they won a few of them because their opponents were playing 5 against 8. You don't always have to be the better team when all the major calls go your way. Isn't that right Coach Cryzyzewski?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Georgia Bulldogs: Post-Clemson Observations...

Now that we've had time for the dust to settle and the nerves to calm down a bit, not to mention the frustrations, I've been thinking about a few observations regarding Georgia and their opening game loss to Clemson. These revelations come after reading a lot of  Dawg blog comments, as well as talking to members of the Bulldawg Nation:

  1. Georgia continues to be one of the worst tackling major college football teams on the planet. This isn't just a one-game hiccup, this has been going on for several years now. I'm certainly not a football coach, so I don't know if the problem is fundamentals, strength & conditioning or whatever. Nevertheless, this problem is real and needs to be remedied quickly. What's the deal here, and will it ever improve? Why do we fail to wrap guys up and tackle well?
  2. I have spent many years wanting Mike Bobo to commit to the running game, only to be frustrated to the point of giving up. Saturday night he commits fully to the running game, but between the tackles with a tailback built to run outside the tackle box. Not to mention against a defense that stacked the interior defensive line to the max. We go super conservative when we had a realistic chance of putting some point margin between us and the Tigers. I know we were concerned about burning up some clock, but our play calling really left a lot to be desired. What am I missing here? Keith Marshall only needs a crease with his speed, so why not bounce him outside? Then it's third and long and Clemson sends the whole house after Aaron Murray.
  3. I'm not saying we are right or wrong in the way we discipline/punish our players. However, if we continue to schedule formidable opponents such as Clemson on opening day with key Dawg players serving suspensions, we will always place ourselves at a distinct disadvantage. We hamper ourselves EVERY single year in this regard. The name I have heard mentioned the most since Saturday night is Josh Harvey-Clemons, a player who never saw the field due to being suspended. I'm not commenting on the validity of the suspension, only on the way it severely handicapped the Georgia defense. Harvey-Clemons would definitely have been a difference maker. I would go so far as to say his presence in the defensive backfield would have been enough to swing victory over to Georgia's side. I realize that is speculative, but what is your opinion?
  4. Finally, a fifth year starting quarterback must play like a fifth year starter. Murray did not do that. The loss isn't on him, but he has to know where the play clock is located. And he has to read the thing! Right or wrong?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

If You Sign, Don't Be Asinine...

The Johnny Manziel case continues to be all over the sports news universe. I suppose it will be until the final verdict is rendered. Did he get paid for signing his autograph on hundreds of items? If he did, he is violation of NCAA regulations, and his college football career could be all but over. But today we aren't talking about the player Manziel in particular, but the system itself overall. Colleges make millions of dollars from the names of their athletes, as well as the individual numbers these amateur athletes wear on their uniforms. Yet, in spite of that fact, the athlete himself is not allowed to benefit from his fame at all, at least not monetarily. Is this right? No. Could it be challenged, and perhaps changed? Yes. Will it be? Not anytime soon. In the meantime, college athletes better be aware of the perils that await them. Their sea is full of money hungry sharks ready to lure them in. With the rules as they are, the athlete can't make a dime, so he/she just better play the game on the field. Anything beyond that has to be charity.