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Georgia’s Richt Warns About Dangers Of Football Early Signing Period

gfx-they-said-it4For years there has been an assumption in the press that most football coaches would fall all over themselves to rubber stamp an early recruiting period for their sport.  But that has not been the reaction to word that the NCAA will soon discuss creating just such a window.

Speaking to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, here’s what Georgia’s Mark Richt had to say:

 

“I always say, ‘Be careful what we ask for’ because I don’t know what that will do to our recruiting calendar.  I think there’s some sanity to it right now.  I think if everybody plays by the same rules, then it’s good as it is.  I’d be afraid to change it.  I don’t want to turn the regular season into such a recruiting frenzy that you can’t even coach your team on a weekly basis.  I enjoy coaching football, too.

I think if you moved the signing date up, I think you push more official visits to the football season.  Sooner or later, they’ll say, ‘We don’t want all these official visits during the season.  Why don’t we move them to the summer?’  Then we’ll have official visits in the summer, and no one will get any time away.  Not me, not our assistant coaches, not the kids, not the high school coaches, and not the families.  Where does it end?”

 

That’s just one concern.  Stanford’s David Shaw voiced another and his concerns make as much sense as Richt’s:

 

“What’s going to happen is, if a kid wants to change his mind late after the early signing period, he’s going to appeal and that appeal is going to go through because the committees that decide those appeals, they always give in toward the student-athlete.  So you have a kid that might be 16 going on 17 that commits and then really has a chance to think about it and changes his mind and we’re going to try to hold him to it.”

 

The NCAA’s consideration of an early signing period for football appears to be very real.  But the devil is in the details, as they say.  And the more one compares the pluses — some coaches won’t have kids flip on them late — versus the minuses — no downtime for coaches and players, committees to rule on signed kids who want to flip, a tougher landscape for coaches at academic schools and at schools with little in-state talent — the more the negatives appear to outweigh the positives.

The official MrSEC.com verdict on this idea?  It’s unnecessary.  Don’t do it, NCAA.

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After Half A Season, Fans And Media Not Happy About New Targeting Rule

gfx - honest opinionThe NCAA’s new targeting rule is living up to it’s billing.  Back on July 22nd I wrote that it “will be the most controversial rule change in ages.”  Well, we’re just halfway through the 2013 season and already lots of folks are saying that the rule needs to be changed.

And just wait until we reach November, when conference titles and spots in the BCS title game are on the line.  The worst is clearly yet to come with the new 15-yards-and-an-ejection penalty.

The push to alter the new rule will be led by coaches this offseason.  For all the fan and media outrage, if coaches and their ADs get behind a change, a change will likely come.  Georgia’s Mark Richt — whose voice may carry more weight because he seldom raises it — was stung by the rule in Saturday’s loss to Vanderbilt (see the second link above) and he would like to see it changed.  He’s already got an idea for fixing this well-meaning but difficult-to-call penalty:

 

“My guess is (video reversals) will be one of the biggest topics, the hottest topics, on this rule.  Whether or not you’re going to review it to let a guy stay in the game because you don’t think it was targeting, (then) you might possibly take the penalty away (as well).”

 

Makes sense.  Such a move wouldn’t change the fact that players need to avoid targeting-style hits on their foes.  And that type of alteration would be deemed “fairer” by fans, media and coaches alike.

However…

If the NCAA opens the door to review judgement call penalties, there’s no telling what will come next.  You’d better believe some would clamor for interference calls to be reviewed.  Then holding calls.  Then all calls.  Do that and the officials on the field will be so gun-shy about tossing flags and being corrected by an eye in the sky that they’ll not properly do their jobs.

Yes, that is probably an overly strong usage of the “slippery slope” argument, but allowing booth reviews on judgement calls would be a large step.  It’s one thing to check and see if a player’s foot landed in bounds or out of bounds.  It’s quite another for a booth official to overrule a ref on the field because one thinks a kid was targeting and the other doesn’t.  Video evidence — hard, clear evidence — can be used to overturn fumble calls and juggled catches.  It would simply be a matter of opinion as to whether or not a player intentionally targeted another player or not.

Look, I’m in favor of that change and a booth official already has the power to “un-eject” a player based on his opinion of a hit.  But when it comes to waving off a flag based on nothing more than opinion — “I don’t think he meant to do it” — that’s a big step.

Unfortunately, big steps are necessary when a well-meaning rule is so poorly written that no one is really sure what will be deemed as targeting from week to week and game to game.

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With Dirt Being Thrown On Brown, Florida’s Muschamp Mentioned In Connection With Texas Job

Barring a major turnaround in Austin, most folks seem to think that Texas coach Mack Brown is as doomed as Davy Crockett at the Alamo.  So where might the Longhorns turn for a replacement should the plug be pulled on Brown’s administration?

According to Paul Finebaum via Twitter, one Texas insider tells him that Florida’s Will Muschamp (and ex-Brown assistant) and Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart could be potential candidates if Brown walks away (or is shown the door).  Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com — the Rivals site covering Texas — also told Finebaum that the Horns could go as high as seven or eight million dollars per year for Nick Saban.  Finebaum’s response to that:

 

finebaum-texas-saban-tweet

 

Meanwhile, Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com has tossed out the name of Georgia’s Mark Richt as well (among many others).

Interestingly, Alabama fans might be more attached to Smart — even after last Saturday’s performance at Texas A&M — than Florida and Georgia fans are to their head coaches.  After any loss, the “can’t win the big one” talk starts anew in Athens.  And Gator fans aren’t showing up at The Swamp or even for BCS bowl games like they once did.

But while we’re looking around the SEC for potential Texas candidates, let’s throw out the name of another man who’s shown he’s not afraid to change jobs quickly.  If Gus Malzahn somehow manages to win a surprising number of games at Auburn this fall, don’t be shocked to see his name kicked around in connection with the Texas gig.

And while the odds of it happening are a million-to-one, what better way for Texas to steal some of the spotlight back from Texas A&M than by nabbing Aggie head coach Kevin Sumlin?

For now it’s all talk and speculation.  If Texas can muster eight wins this year, Brown will likely return in 2014.  But if losses continue to mount, expect to hear more talk about Saban (silly), Smart, Muschamp, Richt, and others.

 

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Florida Gives Will Muschamp $250,000 Raise

will-muschamp-tight-smileFlorida football coach Will Muschamp is getting a raise that will put his salary to just under $3 million a year.  The Florida athletic department confirmed the deal Friday on a contract that runs through 2017.

In two seasons at Florida, Muschamp is 18-8.  The Gators are coming off an 11-2 campaign in 2012.

Muschamp is now the league’s seventh-highest paid coach.   Alabama’s Nick Saban,  LSU’s Les Miles, South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier, Georgia’s Mark Richt, Arkansas’ Bret Bielema, and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin all make more with Saban topping the list, pulling in more than $5 million a year.

 

 

 

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UGA’s Richt: “Twitter Has Gone A Little Crazy In Recruiting”

gfx - they said itAh, Twitter.  Dumbing down our society 140 characters at a time since 2006.

The boom in Twitter usage and in social media in general has — as you know — led the NCAA to attempt to rewrite its rule book in recent months.  With new forms of electronic communication popping up just about every day, college sports’ governing body has decided it wants to stop monitoring and counting every tweet, text and Facebook post.  Who can blame it?

Coaches like Georgia’s Mark Richt were ahead of the curve on Twitter, in particular, using it as a means to sell their programs one short blast at a time:

 

“Twitter has gone a little crazy in recruiting.  Direct messages to kids are legal.  And Facebook, there’s still a lot of communication going on through Facebook.  But we just talked the other day — I personally need to get more involved on the direct messaging on Twitter because that’s where a lot of them are solely doing their social media communication…

There’s just so many people communicating that way, and following your program that way.  And it’s the way to put really positive content out on our program, let people have a little bit of an inside feel on what’s going on here at Georgia, and what might be going on in my life or whatever — not that I do a lot of that.”

 

Richt told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he manages his own account and does not farm it out to someone on his UGA support staff.

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SEC Headlines – 12/14/12

Quicky headlines today…

 

SEC Football

1.  Twitterers react to the SEC’s decision not to suspend Alabama’s Quinton Dial.

2.  Eleven of the 26 players on the FWAA All-America team are from the SEC.

3.  Todd McShay’s latest mock draft for ESPN has 15 SEC players going in the first round of the NFL draft.

4.  A Pac-12 officiating crew will handle the BCS Championship Game between Alabama and Notre Dame.

5.  Arkansas has released the contract information for its new assistants, including new O-line coach Sam Pittman.

6.  Chick-fil-A Bowl officials are hoping for big TV ratings from LSU-Clemson matchup.

7.  Georgia’s Mark Richt is still answering questions about not spiking the ball in the SEC title game.

8.  UGA backup tailback Ken Malcome is “not too happy with (the) situation” at running back.

9.  Kentucky has hired Chad Scott and Vince Marrow as assistant coaches.

10.  Mississippi State fans can take their cowbells to the Gator Bowl.

11.  The Bulldogs are already boning up on Northwestern game tape.

12.  Tennessee has confirmed all its assistant coaching hires but one.

13.  Texas A&M has a number of options when it comes to replacing ex-offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury.

14.  Kevin Sumlin could choose to promote from within for the spot, too.

 

SEC Basketball

15.  Tennessee knocked off unbeaten, #23 Wichita State last night 69-60 in Knoxville.

16.  LSU will open its road schedule at Boise State tonight in the Taco Bell Arena.

17.  Suspended Tiger point guard Anthony Hickey did make the trip to Idaho, but his status “remains to be seen.”

18.  Ole Miss will host East Tennessee tonight at the Tad Pad.

19.  Florida coach Billy Donovan won’t rule out jumping to the NBA someday.  (Presumably for longer than a week.)

20.  Wimp Sanderson’s son, Scott, will take his Lipscomb team to Kentucky tomorrow, but Papa won’t be in attendance.

21.  Vanderbilt’s Kevin Bright is finally getting used to American hoops after playing in Germany.

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Spurrier And Richt Talk Up “Huge” Game Between UGA And USC

Georgia comes in ranked #5 in both polls.  South Carolina is #6.  ESPN’s “College GameDay” is coming to town, too.

So how do you describe Saturday’s rivalry game in Columbia?  In a word… huge.

 

“It’s a huge game.  We all know it.  Georgia is a very good team.”

– South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier

 

“It’s a big, big game right now.  When you start playing this deep into the conference season and you’ve got two undefeated, it’s huge.”

– Georgia’s Mark Richt

 

See?  Huge.

Carolina opened as a 2.5 point favorite but the line is up to 3 at this point.

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Coaches Speak – Week 3 SEC Roundup

 

 

WOW Evening Headlines – 9/5/12

QB Connor Shaw to be gametime decision for South Carolina vs East Carolina
WR Cobi Hamilton expected to start for Arkansas vs Louisiana-Monroe
Georgia’s Mark Richt won’t name RB starter vs Missouri… or say who’s suspended
Tennessee walk-on WR Jacob Carter given scholarship after 1-catch performance vs NC State
Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu officially enrolled as student at LSU, hopes to play in 2013
Keep up with SEC news everyday at MrSEC.com

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Georgia’s Richt At The Podium – 7/19/12

Finally.  Just one more session to go and that’s with Georgia’s Mark Richt.  Expect questions about Isaiah Crowell, preseason expectations, his job status with a new contract, etc.

Also expect Richt to be laid-back as ever…

* Richt called it a “blessing” to be going into his 12th season at Georgia.

* Richt said the fact that so many veterans looked at the NFL and then chose to come back speaks well for the type of leadership his team can have this year.

* Asked if he’d rather play seven games at home or pay a big non-conference foe on the road, the coach said long road trips really “take a lot out of you.”  He said, “I’d like to have 12 home games if I could.”  What’s a coach going to say to that question?

* “I hope the media’s right” in their picks “this time,” Richt said.  He also said his team hasn’t done a thing yet.

* Richt was asked about new LSU quarterback and ex-UGA QB Zach Mettenberger and said he’s known him since he was a little “peanut.”  He said he hopes he wins every game he plays unless he’s up against Georgia.  Classy comments.  He also said Mettenberger would be competing for the starting job if not starting if he were still in Athens.  (Richt dismissed Mettenberger after an off-field incident.)

* The coach said that he thinks UGA is capable of winning the East Division each year.  He also said after Year One he felt that way which was a small bone tossed to Jim Donnan.

* Just got another “we” remark from a “media” member.

* Asked about UGA’s drug policy and if he’s lobbied for a uniform policy in the SEC, Richt said no.  He said he feels it’s up to the institution.  “I do think we’re doing the right thing for Georgia” he said of the Dawgs’ strict policy.

* Asked about interviewing at Missouri years ago, he said he didn’t turn down Mizzou and that the Tigers picked Gary Pinkel as the best man for that job… and they were “obviously correct.”  Can this guy give a non-classy answer?

* Richt said he wouldn’t have a problem with a commissioner being able to fire a coach.  (Yeah, but 99.9% of fans would.)

* The coach says Malcolm Mitchell will start out as a defensive player and then play more offense as the season goes on.  Richt said he went back and looked at Champ Bailey’s two-way stats while he was at UGA and found that he played more than 100 snaps per game after the first three games in a season.  He doesn’t know i

* Richt said he won’t update anything on suspensions today.

* Richt says quarterback Aaron Murray loves preparing for games as much as enjoys playing.

* Short and sweet.  Not a lot of questions for UGA’s coach.  Just 20 minutes.  Couldn’t be that folks are already leaving Hoover and headed home could it?  Nah.

 

Our overall grade of Richt’s “performance” based on comfort, friendliness, openness… we’ll give him a 5.  (Either we were easy this year or folks were much better.)  Richt answers what you throw at him and always seems to take even tough questions in stride.  He’s Ward Cleaver, Jim Anderson, Mike Brady, Cliff Huxtable.  If you had to pick a neighbor, deacon, or dad, Richt would be high on the list.

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