Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Why Can't We Have Our Cupcakes and Eat Them Too?

Kirby Smart made some comments yesterday on why he felt it was important for schools like Georgia to continue to have FCS schools on their schedule.  While Georgia has made major strides in beefing up its schedule for the next decade, as a season ticket holder I would love to see FCS schools eliminated from the schedule.  I understand the importance of helping small schools fund their programs, but couldn't there be another way to do it?  I believe I have a simple answer to this dilemma that would allow big schools like Georgia help fund smaller schools programs and at the same time get them off of the regular schedule.

The solution is to allow schools to replace their spring games with an exhibition game against FCS schools.  The big schools are regularly drawing large crowds to spring games, so simply charge a low amount for tickets with the promise of action that more resembles an actual game.  The revenue made from ticket sales could fund the costs of bringing in a visiting team and then you could play a full, four quarter scrimmage.  Georgia and Florida are playing an exhibition baseball game in Jacksonville this fall on the night before the cocktail party, why can't football have off-season exhibitions as well.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Transfers - Let's Make This Real Easy

The Transfer Portal has been fun to watch, but let's be honest.  It is dumb.  The entire transfer process as it currently exists is dumb.  Why do Justin Fields and Tate Martell get waivers but Luke Ford doesn't?  People will try to explain some complicated reasons, but at the end of the day, whether a person can play immediately or sit out should not be a question.  Here's my idea to fix this stupid process, once and for all.

All college athletes on scholarship should have the ability to transfer and not sit out provided they meet a few simple qualifications

Those qualifications are:

  1. You have never transferred before. - Everyone get's one freebie.  If you have already transferred at any point, then you have to sit out a year.  No exceptions.
  2. You were not kicked out or did not flunk out of your previous school. - Basically, you have to be in good standing with your previous school.  When a school decides to remove an athlete from the team, they got a simple portal (haha) and register that the athlete is no longer part of their program for a disciplinary or academic reason.  Any student athlete who is registered as leaving their previous school on bad terms will be required to sit out one season at their new school.
That's it.  Plain and simple.  No special waivers, graduated players switching to majors their school doesn't have, no lawyers, no sick family members or distance requirements.  Just meet these rules.  And these rules should only apply to athletes on scholarship (at least in sports like football where they get full scholarships).  If you are a walk-on, you should be able to transfer at any time without penalty.

So what do you think?  I am just being stupid or should the answer be something this simple.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Tabula Rasa – The 2019 Georgia Receiving Corp

It was not the headline I was expecting see come across Twitter.  Jerimiah Holloman had always seemed like a stand up and well respected member of the Georgia football team, so when news of his dismissal for a 2018 incident of violence broke on Friday, I was genuinely surprised.  Sure, it sounds like he made a mistake and he is owning up to it, but I agree with Kirby Smart’s decision to kick him out of the program.  Zero tolerance is the best policy in these situations.  Holloman’s loss leaves the Dawgs without their top 4 receivers (and top 5 passing game targets when you include Nauta) from last season.  When you throw in Akhil Crumpton and Jayson Stanley, the Dawgs receiving experience is DeAndre Swift, Charlie Woerner, and Tyler Simmons.  That’s it. But with the best offensive line in the country, anew man calling plays at OC,  and a excellent and experience QB in Jake Fromm, maybe this clean slate will provide the Dawgs the opportunity to really open up the passing game.

While most people immediately point to Demetris Robertson as the person most needed to step up, I think Miami transfer Lawrence Cager actually has the biggest opportunity with the dismissal of Holloman.  Statistically, Cager (21 receptions for 374 yard and 6 touchdowns) and Holloman (24 receptions for 418 yards and  5 touchdowns) were near mirror images in 2018.  Cager’s size (6’5’’ 220 lbs) should also help provide the tall receiving threat that Robertson (6’0’’) will not fill and also help with downfield blocking for the Georgia running back crew (which Holloman excelled at.)  Cager has improved each season at Miami and was projected as a starter before his transfer and if he develops a strong relationship with Fromm, I think he may lead the Dawgs in receiving yards this fall.  Here’s a look at Cager’s 2018 highlights:

Much has been written about Robertson and his potential.  Still just a junior after receiving a medical redshirt for his sophomore season at Cal, we have see the flashes of speed that he posses.  The question is has he finally learned enough about the Georgia pass and running game to be the weapon we expect as opposed to the liability he appeared to be last year.  If my memory serves me correctly,  he had at least two passes that he should have hauled in for touchdowns last season (4th quarter against LSU and in the second half against UMASS).  He clearly has talent and I could definitely see him  in a similar role to Mecole Hardman from 2018.

Tyler Simmons has shown that he has the ability to make some big plays, from a couple of long running scores to a key touchdown that sparked the Georgia offense in the game against Auburn.  I am not sure if he has  the ability to regularly beat SEC caliber defensive coverage, but he is a strong run blocker.  Matt Landers is very big and looked to be able to get open during the G-Day game, but his hands need serious work.  Kearis Jackson and Tommy Bush are still unknowns.  And that leaves the Freshman, where I see an opportunity for three highly rated recruits to really breakout in their first year on campus.

There quite a few examples in recent Georgia history of freshman breaking out and becoming a leading target during their first year on campus.  One example of a freshman stepping up on a team that had lost most of its receiving experience from the previous season was Mohamed Massaquoi in 2005.  The Dawgs had lost seniors Fred Gibson and Reggie Brown to graduation and entered the fall with Sean Bailey as the only known commodity at receiver (Brian McClendon, Mario Raley, Demiko Goodman, and Kenneth Harris were others on the roster, but I would not consider any of them stars).  Massaquoi came in and caught 38 passes for 505 yards and 2 scores.  I think either Dominick Blaylock or Georgia Pickens will have the chance to make a similar impact this fall.  Blaylock could help fall into the role Terry Godwin held, contributing both in the passing game and on special teams.  The much hyped Pickens, who is now on campus and eligible, brings a five star pedigree and expectations that I don’t think we have seen since AJ Green.  If he can step in and contribute half of what Green did in 2008, the Dawgs should be just fine.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Saying Good Bye to THE Coach of My Generation

Posts here at Bubba 'N Earl are a rare occurrence these days.  But given the circumstances of today, I felt it appropriate to dust off the ole' blog. For those of you who know me, I have shared my opinion about the firing of Coach Richt on Facebook. The TLDR version, I'm saddened and shocked but I understand it may be for the best in the long run.

But how I feel doesn't matter, Mark Richt is no longer the head football coach at The University of Georgia. Let that sink in for a minute.  I enrolled in Georgia during the summer of 2000 and was (unfortunately) witness to the final year of the Donnan administration.  So while I may have seen someone else man the sidelines for Georgia since I officially became a Dawg, Mark Richt is the only one that matters.  And that is why some many in my generation are sad today.

We know the legends of the glory days, of Trippi and Hesrchel, of the Junkyard Dawgs and Erk, and finally getting the championship.  But I was born in August of 1981 and the earliest memory of have of Georgia is watching Georgia play Tech during Thanksgiving break circa 1991.  My family is from Ohio and my parents went to Morehead State University, not exactly a football powerhouse. So I grew up with no real allegiance, just a kid watching the games for fun. I got more into football as I approached high school and almost played my freshman year (though a bout with Mono one week into summer practice quickly ended my career).  My high school classmate David Greene led us to the state playoffs in '98 and '99 after we'd gone 0-10 in '97.  So when it came time to pick my school, a good football program factored in my decision to go to Georgia.

So after a Quincy Carter disaster of a season in 2000, Georgia fired Jim Donnan.  Not gonna lie, I was pissed.  I thought it was a bad decision.  In comes Mark Richt, fresh off FSU getting their tails whipped by Oklahoma.  I had no real expectations because back in the days before blogs and tons of coverage, you just didn't know a ton about assistants outside of your own school.  But Richt came in and by that fall had named Greene the starter, so I had a reason to like him.  Things started fine with a cupcake win and then we went up to Tennessee.  We all know what happened - The Hob Nail Boot. The previous generation had Run Lindsay Run, but my generation will always have the Hob Nail Boot.  And we were off to the races.

2002 was magic. From the opening win over Clemson, to the clincher at Auburn, we all thought Georgia was just getting started.  A couple mental mistakes (Billy Bennet misses and a Terrance Edwards drop) cost us a national championship shot, but there was no reason to think there would not be more to come.  Richt beat his old coach in Bobby Bowden in the bowl and it was like a passing of the torch.  We were ready and we had the right man to do it.

And the last two years of my college career were great, but once again we just missed out. We had some of the best players to ever come through, in Greene, Pollack, Thomas Davis, and Jon Stinchcomb. 2005 was another what if year, where if Shockly doesn't go down against Arkansas things may have been different.  But we beat LSU and Stafford was coming.  Things looked bright.

The next ten years went by so fast.  We saw the emergence of Evil Richt in '07 and the blackout.  The program was cool again and we opened at #1 in 2008.  Some more legends came through, like Jarvis Jones, AJ Green, Aaron Murray, and Nick Chubb.  And despite having everything from a losing season to a year where we were 5 yards from the National Championship game, Richt was still the man.  He has been an continues to be a wonderful human and leader of men.   Paul Oliver was at Georgia when I was and hist death hit home for me.  I was so proud to see the establishment of the Paul Oliver Network and I hope it continues.

But now it's over. For my generation, Coach Richt has been the man that we have grown with.  He finally lead Georgia back to the top of the SEC mountain, and for most of us, that was good enough. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Gurley Problem: A Call To Fix a Broken System

It has been almost a year since I posted to this blog, but the events of the last 24 hours have prompted me back into action.  At this point, it looks like Georgia will most likely loose the most talented player we have had since Herschel Walker for the remainder of his junior (and final) season in Athens.  I have gone through all of the same emotions that all Georgia fans have had: shock, sadness, and anger.  It has become abundantly clear that Todd Gurley did break a rule, a greedy son of a bitch got him to break that rule and then got even greedier and ratted him out, and that The University of Georgia (while some people are blaming the University and McGarity for not covering it up) had little choice but to suspend its best player.  But what I write here tonight is not about how I feel the Dawg Nation has been slighted or how we should be taking pitchforks over to the house of the asshole who did this, it is about fixing a broken system that will not fix itself.

Let me say this:

I am not a believer in the idea that college athletes should be paid.  I feel like the scholarships which they receive are adequate payment for the services which they provide to their school.  A full scholarship is worth at least $100,000, and i know plenty of students who left school with more money than that in student loans.  That being said, there is absolutely no reason that scholarships cannot include an additional dollar amount for what i like to call "weekend expenses".  This would include extra cash, loaded onto a debit card, that could be spent on specific items that are not covered by the regular scholarship such as food, gas, and entertainment.  We are not talking about a lot of money, probably something as small as a couple hundred dollars a month.

The second thing that I feel student athletes should be able to do is to make money through autographs and appearances.  The reason student athletes should be allowed to make money in this fashion is because it is totally driven off their individual work and effort.  Unlike these shady situations like the one Gurley got involved in, these appearances and autograph signings would have to be cleared through the administration and could only take place outside of the season during which the sport the athlete participated in took place.

But, as we all know, the NCAA is not going to be giving up even these small concessions anytime soon.  So my question to you, fans and athletes alike, is how to we fix this bad situation in the mean time.  Here are my thoughts:

  • To the fans
    • The only reason that scum bags like this autograph broker from Rome exist is because their is demand for the product they wish to sell.  If you really wish to support these athletes that you love so much, then why are you willing to pay some body on eBay $500 for an autograph that they either got from the player for nothing or that they cut some deal (there by risking the students career) and paid the kid pennies on what they are charging you.  Instead, my plea to the fans would be this: DO NOT BUY AN ITEM AUTOGRAPHED BY A STUDENT ATHLETE UNTIL THEY GRADUATE OR TURN PRO.  I understand you want something cool for your personal collection, but is it really too much to wait until their career is done?  By not buying autographed material from current athletes you actually help them in two ways.  First, you dry up the market that these jerks with their shady deals are making money on.  And second, if you wait until a player is done with school, you can actually show the player your appreciate by putting that money in their pocket.   Be an adult.
  • To the student athlete
    • Until the NCAA changes its rules, you are never going to have the upper hand.  But that doesn't mean that you can't protect the most valuable thing you have and that is your self value.  My biggest piece of advice would be this: DO NOT SIGN AN AUTOGRAPH FOR ANYONE OVER THE AGE OF 12.  Signing an autograph for a kid is one thing, but any adult should be willing to wait for your career to be over.  By doing this, you not only decrease your chances of getting in trouble, but you are also creating a market for your autograph.  When there is little supply and high demand for something, prices go up.  If you hold back that signature until you can do it legally, there will be a lot of people willing to pay a lot of money for it.  Think about it this way:  Are you sick of the fact that schools sell replica jerseys with your number on the back but not your name and don't give you a penny?  If you don't sign any jerseys while in school, no one will have your autograph on a jersey the day you leave.  So, if those people want an autograph, they have to get it legally through you where you can now be fully compensated.  Say the school charges $100 for a jersey.  You sign a deal with someone, they buy 100 of those jerseys and you turn around and sell them at a premium.
  • To the autograph brokers
    • GET A LIFE. Stop taking advantage of kids from poor families and stop messing with the lives of the thousands of people that are involved in the making a collegiate athletic program.  It is not just about one kid, it is about the graduate assistants, the trainers, the ticket takers, and the fans.   Not everyone is out there making a ton of money on these kids, some people actually give a damn.
Todd Gurley was wrong, but so was the system.  Georgia will move on, but this one really hurts.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Plays of the Year 2013: #7- #4

#7 - Gurley Being the Best Back in America

After an amazing freshman season, Georgia fans were anxious to see what Todd Gurley could do on the national stage on opening night against Clemson. It took Gurley only one carry to show the nation why he is the best tailback in the game today:

Unfortunately, the country was deprived of seeing a healthy Gurley perform for much of the 2013 season. An ankle injury against LSU held him out for a few games, but after returning against Florida, he showed why a little Gurley is better than a lot of almost everyone else:

#6 - Murray finds Scott-Wesley to Beat LSU

The early season battle with the Bayou Bengals was marked by amazing quarterback performances from Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray. The two sides trading punch after punch and LSU finally took the lead in the fourth quarter. Murray rallied the Dawgs quickly down the field and Justin Scott-Wesley found an opening in the LSU secondary:

The Dawgs defense would hold up in the end, preserving the 44-41 Georgia victory.
#5 - Shaq Wiggins Makes Vandy's Trick Play Look Stupid

The Vanderbilt loss was ugly. Without many weapons on offense, the team could not find a way to sustain drives and put up points. While the Dawgs would ultimately lose the contest, they were able to lead for much of the game thanks to the play of freshman corner Shaq Wiggins. Trying to catch the Georgia defense off guard, Vanderbilt came out in a strange formation with most of its linemen off the ball. The quarterback tried to make a quick read to his wide receiver, but Wiggins was not fooled. This play marked Georgia's only defensive touchdown of the season:

#4 - Justin Scott Wesley Runs Right Past South Carolina

One of my favorite plays of the last five years was watching Branden Smith take a pitch for a long touchdown against South Carolina in 2009. It was amazing to watch him absolutely burn everyone on the field. In years since, there have been a number of fast players at Georgia but I have not seen a player absolutely torch all of the defenders like Smith did...until the Dawgs took on South Carolina in Athens in week 2. With the Dawgs leading by 4 and facing a third and 13 at their own 15, Murray scrambled away from pressure and found Justin Scott-Wesley wide open around the 45. The Carolina DB was in full stride and should have caught up easily, but Scott-Wesley kicked in another gear and left him in the dust. This pushed the Dawg lead to 11 and helped secure the first win over South Carolina since 2009:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2013 Plays of the Year - #10 - #8

Continuing our look back at the plays that made the 2013 season special, today I present numbers 10 through 8.

#10 -Leonard Floyd Blows Up Godhigh

Coming into the final game of the season, Georgia Tech had scored a touchdown every single time it had a first and goal situation during the 2013 season.  The announcers let the viewing audience know this on multiple occasions and earlier in the game, the Dawgs forced a Tech field goal to break this streak.  In the second overtime, the Dawgs had taken their first lead of the game on a 25 yard TD run by Todd Gurley and were now attempting to become the first team to prevent Tech from scoring at all when starting first and goal.  Tech was once again just outside the Georgia end zone with a 3rd and 2 from the Georgia three.  Tech ran a sweep to Godhigh, but Leonard Floyd was there to blow it up. The Dawgs learned from past mistakes and batted the next play down, escaping Atlanta with a 41-34 victory.

#9 - Gurley becomes Superman, Twice
Knowshon Moreno was known for those "wow" moments.  From the leap against Arizona State to the hurdle against Central Michigan, he had a certain flair for the dramatic. Todd Gurley, on the other hand, has mostly been all about business in his first two seasons.  But late in the year, Gurley would turn two short passes into fantastic, highlight real moments, saying to Knowshon Moreno, "Anything you can do, I can do better...twice."

The first came on a pass from Aaron Murray with the Dawgs already leading Kentucky 7-0:

The second came the next week on another pass, this time from Hutson Mason, that would end the Tech shutout and help get the Bulldogs comeback going:

#8 - Run Aaron, Run

The 2013 Tennessee game will always be remembered as the game that changed our season.  The Dawgs were dominant early but then the injuries began happening and things went bad in a hurry.  Tennessee had come back to tie the game at 17 in the waning seconds of the third quarter, when Aaron Murray took matters into his own hands.  On a perfectly called QB draw, Murray was able to run past a few Vol defenders and was finally dragged down inside the ten after going for a career long run of 57 yards:

Monday, December 16, 2013

2013 Plays of the Year – Honorable Mention

Ahead of Georgia’s bowl matchup with Nebraska (again?!?), I thought I would take a look back at the 2013 season and the plays that will no doubt be on Georgia fans until kickoff next fall.  Over the next few days, I’ll present my list of the top plays of the year.  Today, I’ll begin with a couple of honorable mention honorees.

Honorable Mention – Reggie Davis Sets a Georgia Record vs. North Texas

The only way I can describe the North Texas game is ugly.  It was raining, the Dawgs made too many mistakes, and they let a crappy opponent hang around until the second half.  That being said, there was one play that can only be described as perfect.  With the Dawgs leading 7-0 to open the second quarter, North Texas pinned Georgia at their own 2 yard line.  Freshman receiver Reggie Davis, he of 0 career catches at this point, lined up wide at the top.  Georgia ran play action and Murray, seeing Davis in one on one coverage down the field, let the ball fly.  The speedy Davis easily blew past his defender and caught Murray’s pass in stride at the 42.  No one would catch him.  The result was a 98 yard touchdown, the longest in Georgia history (it also happened to be the 100th touchdown pass of Aaron Murray’s career).

Honorable Mention – Brendan Douglas killing Gamecocks and Gators

Freshman running back Brendan Douglas was just a name buried on the depth chart for most Georgia fans entering the 2013 season.  A longtime Georgia Tech commit, Douglas switched to Georgia after a late offer came in when Alvin Kamara decided to become the ninth running back on Alabama’s depth chart.  But when Keith Marshall was hurting in the second half of the South Carolina game (before THE injury against Tennessee) and Todd Gurley winded from already carrying the ball 30 times, Douglas was called on to help grind out a final drive to bury the Gamecocks.  Douglas responded:

A few weeks later, Douglas once again decided to run over a bunch of opponents, this time it was the Gators:

Honorable Mention – Arthur Lynch Does his Best Knowshon vs. Missouri

If Georgia would have come back to beat Missouri, this one may have been higher.  But because the drive ended with a fumble, it is somewhat forgotten.  Artie Lynch is a big man and watching him hurdle a Missouri defender was impressive.  I think Knowshon would be proud. (got to the 58:40 mark) 


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It's Been a Long Time...

But I'm finally coming back.  Over the coming months, look for a couple of features:
  • A look at the top plays of the 2013 season
  • A game by game review of the career of Aaron Murray
  • Analysis of Todd Gurley's evolution in the passing game and how Keith Marshall plays into this plan in 2014

Sunday, September 8, 2013

He Will Break You

Quayvon Hicks is a bad, bad man.