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Georgia Plays Clemson in Four Weeks: Why Tajh Boyd will Struggle against Georgia’s Defense


Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd has played in 34 career games.  In 28 of those games he has posted the following combined statistical passing line:

496 completions in 792 attempts for 6,774 yards, 64 TDs and 24 INTs.

Got all that?  Those numbers yield a total efficiency number of 155.08.

In his six other games he has compiled this statistical line:

122 completions in 197 attempts for 1,279 yards, 9 TDs and 4 INTs.

That generates a passer efficiency number of 127.48.

Is that spread significant?  Yes.  The first efficiency number would have ranked 16th in the country last season.  The second number would have ranked 73rd?

You know what my favorite part of this random data comparison is?  The six games in which Boyd was considerably less impressive are Boyd’s six career games against SEC defenses.

Georgia’s defense is still an SEC defense.

That’s all I got/

Andrew

If you’ve missed out on any portion of the Clemson Countdown of Insults, the archive is as follows:

A Further Examination of Mark Richt: The Blind Side, SEC Media Days, and the Case for the Career Coach


Jennifer Rohner stops by to share her thoughts on Mark Richt’s tenure and the need for longevity in college football.

 

I love the movie The Blind Side. There’s just something so warm and comforting about it. Not only does it share an inspiring message about family, loyalty, and charity, it does so through the language of my favorite spectator sport. And all with a Southern flavor. It’s a perfect tide-over for these moments late in the offseason (like now, for example) when one doesn’t think they can wait another second to watch a real, live, honest-to-God football game being played. You know, the point where all of the preseason speculation and off-season player hoopla has become as tiresome as the Harlem Shake and you find yourself wanting to just get on with things, already. That’s when a dose of football cinema can serve as a breather from what gets to be a grating fixation about games that won’t happen for several more weeks.

One sequence of scenes in said film always makes me laugh. It’s the part where our hero Michael Oher is being mercilessly recruited by every high-profile big-name in the SEC. We are treated to a parade of SEC Head Honchos, all playing themselves (with amusingly limited acting ability, considering the roles they’ve been cast in) and all begging to recruit the story’s desperately sought-after lineman. I realize the movie is four years old and that it details events of nearly a decade ago, but looking at those montages one can’t help but notice one thing. Not one–not one!— of those coaches featured still holds his position anymore. (At least not at the advertised school.)

There is a conspicuous absence in that hullaballoo of SEC Celebrity Coaches. And as irony would have it, he is the only one who is still in charge of his program today. He’s the most tenured football coach in the conference (at least until Mizzou joined last year). None other than Mark Richt.

(Not that I think he was left out deliberately.  According to the book on which the film is based, Mark Richt’s actual pursuit of Mr. Oher was brief. The book states that he was recruited by Georgia, but Mrs. Tuohy graciously and early on told Coach Richt that Georgia was not on their list. He just as graciously thanked her for her time and went on his way.)

Last week provided another Offseason Night’s Dream in the form of SEC Media Days. While everybody’s attention was grabbed by the audacious Johnny Football, the elegantly mundane A.J. McCarron, and the brashly overconfident Jadeveon Clowney, little was said about the Georgia coalition. Leading the low-key pack was Coach Richt, demonstrating his inimitable way of quiet leadership, confidence, and (some might say) downright dullness.

Looking at both of these paradigms–a slightly older football film and a slew of fresh SEC Media Buzz–reminded me of something I’ve felt strongly about for a long time. Longevity and excellence need to go together as much as possible in this game. The craziness that has become the CFB universe creates the need for programs to have experienced and tenured leaders at the top. Leaders who have been long-invested in their troops to and can lead the Charge of the Light Brigade. These kinds of leaders are becoming fewer and farther between these days.

I believe it’s time for the return of the career coach: the mentor-in-chief who becomes the institution, the elder statesman, and the pillar of the school.  And out of all the active SEC Football Leaders today, Mark Richt stands the best chance of becoming the steady force that could guide his program with excellence and consistency for years to come.

I don’t care if he didn’t set the world abuzz last week with clever antics like Australian Accents or bold assertions on controversial issues like player stipends. Things like that work for Les Miles and Steve Spurrier. Let them be them–I’d be disappointed if they didn’t live up to their personas. But Coach Richt also does what is right for him, and for the program. And in my opinion he always has.

Coach Richt has been through a lot with the Bulldog Nation. From returning the program to national attention in the early 00’s to merciless calls for his head a mere three years ago, then bringing us back to the national title mix all over again, he has continued to keep something of a Southern Gentleman/Churchillian resolve.

As far as I’m concerned, that says something about what SEC football should be about–loyalty, tradition, and ultimately enduring excellence. Of course, the longer you hang around any given school, the greater your chances are not only of taking a program and flying with it, but also running the risk of stumbling, falling, and incurring the wrath of all-too-often unforgiving fans. It takes a hearty soul to stay around and withstand all that. (Even Chris Fowler implied this at the beginning of his interview with Mark Richt this week, saying that head coaches in the SEC  “aren’t supposed to last thirteen years”.)

How many Bear Bryants, Vince Dooleys, Bobby Bowdens, or Eddie Robinsons are there in the CFB world anymore? (The best example I found of such longevity was Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech, having led the Hokies since 1987. After him very few come even close, from what I could determine). Call me a crazy old traditionalist, but in the world of College Football today, often wrought with arguably misplaced priorities and unnecessary scandal, not to mention just plain absurdity (let’s face it–stories about college football players with imaginary dead girlfriends should NOT be turning up on TMZ), a little bit of stability would seem to be in order.

It takes time and dedication, though, to build these kinds of football dynasties. And there will always be a lot of peaks and valleys, even for the best of them.

But in our quick-fix, want-it-now, push-the-easy-button world, tenacity and resolve often becomes lost virtues. Football, like all sports, can be a useful metaphor for life. At its best it can be not only an impressive display of elite athletic prowess and mental perseverance, but also can relay important life lessons through the parables of downs for players and fans alike. But to subject it to the whims of impatient supporters and relentlessly scrutinizing and naysaying media can shift the focus away from the original ideal.

Sure, if a guy isn’t getting the job done at the helm, isn’t the right fit at the right time, or in some way dishonors the program, it might be time for him to go. I’m certainly not saying that it’s OK to stay in a bad situation (as all of us Georgia fans know that at the time, both Ray Goff and Jim Donnan needed to go). But when you have a good thing going, something that is good more often than it is bad, like an overall happy marriage or a solid friendship, it is probably worth keeping. Even through some rough patches.

(As all of us ladies know, if you have the right guy, keep him!)

Unless, of course, as fans we are more interested in the immediate gratification in winning over the big picture of a perennially successful program. Which, unfortunately, is going to include some losses and even frightfully bad seasons from time to time (even for y’all, Crimson Tide Nation).

Coach Richt has stayed with us all these years, sticking to his principles, and even at times taking on the press and being a strong leader when it has been warranted.  He’s someone who stands a good chance of becoming the next great elder statesman of SEC Football. I am by no means saying that Saban, Spurrier, or Miles couldn’t do exactly the same thing where they all are now. In fact I hope they do. I’m just saying that when it comes to consistency,  lack of volatility, and simple tenure, Coach Richt is pretty hard to catch.

I would love nothing more than to see him stay around long enough to recruit generations of ‘Dawgs to come and bring them into the continuing chapters of one of the most storied–and stable–programs in the country.

You may say I’m a dreamer…..but I strongly suspect I’m not the only one!

What do you think? Do you think your current coach has what it takes to stick it out and build a true and long-lasting football dominion? Think any of the newer coaches will stay around indefinitely and become the next Bear Bryant?  I’d love to hear from you!

Next time….I will be investigating some of the auxiliary aspects of SEC game days!

–Jennifer Rohner, Chief Culture Correspondent

@jennifer_rohner

Breaking: Kolton Houston Cleared to Play for Georgia


Kolton Houston via Twitter

@KoltonHouston75: It took me 22 years to get the best birthday present but the NCAA finally gave me my eligibility! #HoustonIsFree

Can you say #blessed ????

Rants from SEC Media Days: Spurrier, Clowney, Les Miles, Johnny Football and You


With SEC Media Days now complete here are three things that I want to rant about.

Steve Spurrier opened SEC Media Days by wearing a face that matched his own tie.  Via.

Steve Spurrier opened SEC Media Days by wearing a face that matched his own tie. Via.

Johnny Manziel and the dichotomy of being a 20-year-old celebrity.

There was no neutral ground for Johnny Manziel at SEC Media Days.  You loved him or you hated him.  He was praised for displaying the same confidence and composure that that won him the Heisman Trophy while being peppered with questions under the spotlight.  He was critiqued for showing too much arrogance.  There was no middle ground.

As much as I hate making the comparison, he matched Tim Tebow’s ability to polarize a room – and more universally, the internet.  At the very crux of all the Manziel chatter is the predicament that he finds himself in.  The issue is not the Manning Passing Academy.  The issue is not underaged drinking (alleged).  The issue is not what his family can and cannot afford.  The issue is this: Johnny Manziel is twenty years old and he is famous.  Really, really, famous.  Really, really twenty years old.

He’s the most popular college football player on the planet and one of the most famous figures in his sport’s history.  But he’s twenty years old.  He was the youngest player ever to win one of the most prestigious awards in all of sports, but he’s still young.  His fame and his age are not two mutually exclusive characteristics.  They are very much coinciding.

People struggle to comprehend how Johnny Football can claim to be a “normal” twenty year-old college kid while describing the highlights of his offseason as, “Meeting Drake backstage at his concert in Toronto before flying to Cabo for Spring Break and later getting to chill with LeBron James.”  At first glance, maybe those two concepts – the “normal young kid” notion and the “rock star” persona – disagree with each other.  But maybe, just maybe, slightly deeper thinking can explain the paradox.

Could it be that when Manziel refers to himself as a “normal” college kid he really means, “I’m doing what any other college kid would do if he/she was given my opportunities.”  Because that’s a statement that I can rally behind.  As Daniel Palmer said on the podcast on Wednesday, “Give me his arm, his talent, his fame and his family’s money and things get way worse for me.  And I’m 28!”

We live in a controversy-driven culture.  The internet had exacerbated that problem.  But if you can’t see that Johnny Manziel is equal parts normal kid and celebrity, then you have less common sense than society seems to think he has.

“But,” you may say, “Look at A.J. McCarron?  He is humble, quiet, well-mannered and always out of the spotlight.”

All of that is true.  A.J. McCarron, however, does not have a Heisman Trophy.  A.J. McCarron is not bankrolled by a wealthy family.  This is not intended as an insult, but A.J. McCarron doesn’t have Johnny Manziel’s charisma or personality either.  McCarron is humble and polite.  Manziel dominates a room.  These are two different quarterbacks from two different backgrounds who behave in two different ways.  I’m not going to condemn one for being wrong and award one for being right.

Manziel’s social life is capitalizing on his opportunities.  For McCarron he capitalizes with National Championships.  Each is true to himself.  You could make a darn compelling case that each is living the better life.

 

 Is anybody else over Jadeveon Clowney?

I stand by everything that I have ever said about Jadeveon Clowney.  He’s a beast.  He plays his position better than any player in the country plays theirs.  He’s scary.  He’s not human. But good gracious his legend is growing awfully out of control.

I wrote a few weeks ago that I didn’t think Clowney would live up to the offseason hype.  My reasoning: the hype is darn-near unparalleled to begin with for a defensive player, his defense lost a lot of talent and teams may be able to scheme better for him and he doesn’t put up statistically monstrous games on a consistent level.  Those are admittedly nit-picky criticisms but when we’re dealing with hoopla that is unprecedented (and I think we are for a defensive player), sometimes it takes some controversial disputing over minuscule points to disqualify someone.

I learned one thing when I wrote that article: NOBODY TALKS BAD ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA’S BELOVED BABY JADEVEON!!!.  NOT NOBODY, NOT NO HOW!!!!

First of all, the guys more than capable of defending himself.  Secondly, I don’t think anybody is really talking trash about Jadeveon (he’s the only one doing that).  Thirdly, just because Jadeveon is a once in a generation talent at the collegiate level does not mean he’s above reproach:

  • He has a tendency to take plays off.
  • He struggles at times in run defense.
  • He is not the most attractive fellow in the world.

All-SEC teams were voted on during Media Days.  Twenty people did not vote for Clowney on the First Team.  Outrage ensued.  Do I think Clowney is First Team material?  Absolutely.  Was I surprised that he wasn’t a unanimous choice?  Somewhat, but things are rarely unanimous these days (remember, we love controversy).

People went absolutely nuts about it.  Even former Georgia Bulldog turned hater David Pollack weighed in on Twitter saying, “All 20 of the 240 media members who didn’t vote Clowney First-Team All SEC, should never be able to vote again.”

Really, D.P?  Never vote again?  Isn’t that a little strong?  Keep in mind, this is a Pre-Season vote.  The goal of the vote is to predict what will happen this year.  I can think of a number of reasons why someone could conceivably think Clowney wouldn’t finish as one of the two best DEs in the league:

  • Maybe somebody saw a rising star at the DE position while covering the beat trail for his/her college team this Spring.  Maybe somebody is saying, “That kid can be better than Jadeveon Clowney.”  I bet the folks at Ole Miss are hoping Robtert Nkedkdmfdmdsfeche (spelling?) can be.
  • Maybe a voter has heard something about Jadeveon’s offseason workouts.  Yes he’s reportedly run incredible 40 times and benchpressed entire planets, but maybe he’s been letting off the gas a bit.
  • Maybe somebody sees the way he plays and says, “For some reason I think all of his flailing and jumping over blockers is going to get him hurt.”

I’m not saying that I agree with any of the things I listed above or that I’ve heard any such inklings, but I haven’t seen what every voting Media member has seen either.

Jadeveon Clowney is great.  But South Carolina fans – and now fans in general – are putting a hell of a lot of pressure on him.

 

Les Miles is a Gift

Les Miles is an absolute treasure to college football.  He dropped knowledge on the unevenness of SEC scheduling in a very non-Spurrier way (meaning he had facts that weren’t simply demonstrative of his team’s fortune or misfortune).  He spoke eloquently about his coaching staff, players and other personnel.  He spoke with an Australian accent for a spell (seriously).  He talked about Twitter, the United State of America and the Harlem Shake.

Les Miles was great.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

Replacing South Carolina’s “Ace-in-the-Hole”


At the end of the 2012 season, Ace Sanders broke the hearts of Gamecock Nation by forgoing his Senior season to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.  Now, Gamecock fans everywhere have been wondering, “Who will replace Ace?”  It’s a very logical question, but not entirely for his receiving yards.  On the season, he had 45 catches for 531 yards.  However, he led the team in receiving touchdowns (9).  Even with that, you can think, “Okay, that’s manageable.”  Then you look at his work as a Punt Returner.  That’s when you say, “Oh $%!t”  Ace brought life to the punt returns that had been absent for almost ten years (2003 vs. Florida was the last punt return touchdown prior to the 2011 season).  Last season, he lit up the field on punts, amassing a team record 429 yards on 28 returns with two touchdowns.

Now the question is on everyone’s mind.  Who will take his place?  The answer is not simple.  One person will not replace Ace Sanders.  Even if you try Bruce Ellington at punt returner, you still need someone to take his place in the offense.

Let’s start at the receiver position.  I predict Busta Anderson to fill in. (Dude’s Note: McEachern High School whassaaaaaaaaaaap?)  I know, I know.  He’s a tight end, but as Andrew and I discussed briefly on the DudeYouPodcast a few weeks ago, he is a great receiving tight end.  He will assert himself as one of the best tight ends in the nation and look to the Patriots to draft him to replace Aaron Hernandez in the 2014 or 2015 draft.

Now, to fill in as a punt returner.  This is much more difficult given our lackluster special teams play since the Holtz Era.  So, instead, I am going to give a short list of possible replacements that could at least manage the returns.  I don’t expect anyone to build the statistics that Ace did.

Nick Jones would be my first choice.  He has similar size and speed to Ace (Ace: 5’8″ 175 pounds; Nick: 5’7″ 174 pounds … These are their height/weight according to the South Carolina Athletics Site) and he has good moves to avoid the tackles.  Do I think he’ll bulldoze through Mizzou like Ace did?  Probably not, but I do think he would be a good returner.

Incoming freshman, Pharoh Cooper, is expected to get a look this fall.  His senior season in high school was electric.  He dominated as a returner.  He has elite quickness and moves.  My only concern is translating the high school skill into SEC skill.  Not many athletes can translate immediately to the SEC as a freshman with only fall camp under their belt.

Lastly, another incoming freshman I am extremely high on, Jamari Smith.  I have a feeling if he gets a shot, he’ll prosper.  He ran away from defenses for 2800 yards in Florida 8A Ball.

Altogether, I think the Gamecocks will be okay if, and only if, someone steps up as a punt returner.  I hope they don’t make Ellington the punt returner for the sole reason he already returns kickoffs and is a huge part of the offense.  I’m eager to see who fields the punts this year, August 29th is closing in Gamecocks!

It’s great to be a Gamecock!
JB Signing out!

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