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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

From the Mailbag: Problems With Refs, Coaches, Polls and Predictions

Addressing a few reader comments…

From Gregg in Albany: There has been some confusion on whether the refs in ASU game were a SEC or PAC 10 crew. I am fairly certain they were an SEC crew. Agree? Regardless, it is amazing to me that the SEC, which has the BEST players, most attendance, unbelievable fan passion, and the MOST money, has the WORST officials in college football!!!!!!!!!!!! Simply amazing.

DH: Yup, I looked it up (which I probably would have been wise to do earlier) and the refs were from the SEC, led by Matt Austin and highlighted by umpire Wilbur Hackett. You'll remember Mr. Hackett from this play…

From Anonymous: I also think we are shortchanging the extent of the challenge we had with these 4 teams, each of which basically prepped for us solely all winter/spring and summer and then tuned up with cupcakes (NC State TEN days prior excepting).

Add 3 GREAT college coaches (and Gundy not too shabbby offensively) and that was a meatgrinder opening month.

LSU will be the first game where they haven't prepped for us exclusively. (Imagine, even in Game 4 the opponent had 2 scrimmages and a bye week with a 2 time National Championship winning calibre coach prepping to play us!)

Hunker down even 2 of the next 3 more times and this may get interesting!

DH: This was in addition to my minor defense of the coaching staff in the wake of a particularly negative comment about them, which insinuated Richt & Co. were the worst unit in the SEC so far this season.

I'm not saying Richt, Mike Bobo and Willie Martinez have been perfect this season. They haven't, and they certainly have not always put their players in the best situations for success, but they have faced a particularly tough test, too.

In addition to what Anon writes -- which really cannot be overstated -- Georgia also has used at least a dozen players in significant roles on offense or defense this season who had zero or one career start prior to the Oklahoma State game.

I'm not saying the coaching staff deserves an 'A' for their efforts this year, but they're nowhere near an 'F.'

From Preston Jones' Indifference: Question--can you elaborate more when you say that you don't necessarily agree with some of the choices the staff makes from Sunday to Friday?

DH: Sure, but first off, let me say that we see remarkably little of practice and I'm far from qualified to be a football coach, so my criticisms are really not worth much, and mostly based on speculation derived from the game day results.

What I was referring to with that rather broad comment, however, were the little things that continue to crop up at key moments in close games that essentially have to be based on coaching decisions made long before the game begins. Examples: The focus on penalties during the week, the philosophy to employ directional kicking rather than kicking deep, the desire to limit the number of top players working on special teams, the continued reliance on some struggling veterans rather than giving youngsters a chance, the handling of conditioning, which was supposedly tough but didn't exactly show up during the Okie State game.

There are other examples, but those come to mind quickly. But the upside is that several of them -- such as giving playing time to Marcus Dowtin and Baccari Rambo and giving Blair Walsh a few more chances to kick deep -- seem to be changing.

Again, I'm not saying I'm right on any of these comments. It's just my opinion mixed with my observations. But given the fact that the coaches do seem to be making some adjustments that lean closer to my take on the aspects I've noted, I think there's probably more I'm right about than not.

From Todd: I enjoy reading your blog. I'm a UGA alum who lives in Colorado. I'd like to see some comments about the polls this year. The inconsistency of the voters just begs for a play off in my opinion. Three examples...

1) How is Penn State ranked ahead of Iowa after Iowa crushed them in their own stadium at night?
2) How is USC back in the top ten after Washington loses to Stanford?
3) Ole Miss loses to South Carolina (which isn't a top 25 team now?) and drops to #21. USC loses to a Washington team that was winless last year and only drops to #12?

The polls are becoming laughable. And this is how we want to pick the BCS?

DH: You might also ask how LSU is ranked fourth in the country despite the fact that its fans want Les Miles canned for doing such a terrible job coaching.

The polls are a joke right now, and the worst part is that the ridiculous aspects of this week's rankings will have a carry-over effect the rest of the way. There's no way LSU is where it is now if people weren't just voting based on where the Tigers were in the preseason.

Of course, all this leads me up to a reminder that I'll be a contributing writer on the new Mumme Poll blog. Senator Blutarsky from Get the Picture and the fine folks at 3rd Saturday in Blogtober have set up the Web site, and anyone interested in participating can register and help us find a better way of creating a college football poll.

The first vote will take place after Week 6, and I should have lots more info to share with you in the next few days. So stay tuned...

From Anonymous: First I'd like to say, as a Maconite, that I thoroughly enjoy reading both your Telegraph write ups and your blog. Always highly informative. So thank you for that. Secondly, I'd like to call you out on your Marlon Brown prediction last week saying you "guaranteed" MB's first catch of the year against ASU. What were you basing that on? I am dying to see this kid in action! Thanks again.

DH: Ah, I'm glad someone called me on this. I did guarantee Marlon's first catch during my chat session last week, and sadly, he didn't come through.

My thought process was this: We saw more of Rantavious Wooten against Arkansas, so how far behind could Brown be? Then I figured Georgia should the win over Arizona State wrapped up by the fourth quarter, giving guys like Brown a chance to finally get some playing time. Given that the Georgia coaches have to be as curious to see him in action as many of us are, they would undoubtedly find a way to get him a catch during garbage time.

Well, to say the least, I was wrong.

Joe Cox and Mike Bobo have both given Brown their endorsements, so I'm certain we'll see more of him at some point this season, but at this rate, we may be waiting until Tennessee Tech.

In the meantime, what's a fair punishment for me for not coming through on my guarantee?


w said...

SEC officiating crew. That might explain the no call on the offensive pass interference that should have been called on AJ Greens last big catch. The stiff arm to create separation was obvious.

Anonymous said...

What about the obvious face masking by ASU on the last drive which was not called.

Army Dawg said...

W...I think you are the only person that has that opinion, not even close to being a penalty.

However, video evidence of the Green catch for a touchdown is ignored (still not sure why that hasn't received more attention), an ASU linebacker shoving an official with both hands in the back and no penalty. Either one of these calls made correctly and the ending is not nearly as exciting as it turned out to be. Make the correct call both times and the Dawgs are cruising to the finish line with a comfortable 10 point lead.

Anonymous said...

HA HA! Brown will never play this year if they wait until garbage time because there will never be any.

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