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June 20, 2011

Self Scouting? Self Awareness?

After the 2001 season, Mark Richt famously sat down with Homer Smith, former offensive coordinator for a variety of programs, and did some self scouting and self evaluation of the program. The work included clock management strategy and other areas. Regardless of whether or not you feel that it worked* I respected Richt for bringing in an outside look at the program.

One of the things I've wondered many times since 2006 or so...does Richt still seek outside counsel for issues such as self scouting? My guess is no. It's like he's gone through years of just sheer avoidance when it comes to glaring issues. A quality outside expert should be able to talk to you about...
  • Directional kicking and the rudimentary math surrounding this idiocy
  • Evolutions in Strength and Conditioning
  • Scouting 2nd and 10 play calling tendencies
  • And of course...tendencies in the punt return game
Why am I mentioning this? My reaction to Richt's comments last week about great punting and forcing the other guy to fair catch were about the same as Blutarsky's. As in...where the heck have you been Coach? You sent Logan Gray out all those times with absolutely no intention of returning the kick OR going after the block. Just wasted down after wasted down. And why?

All of this goes back to my fundamental issue with the program the past several years which I've mentioned many times:
1. Lack of a sense of urgency -- if you thought you could get fired tomorrow, you wouldn't let problems like those above fester. Now that his job is on the line, innovation returns to Athens.

2. Lack of a Meritocracy -- if a senior or junior is allowed to play no matter how often he is "buddy checked" into the weight room or half asses it in practice, what incentive does an underclassman have to work harder? They'll get the starting job eventually via attrition or graduation. The depth chart becomes the sporting equivalent of royal succession. The same lack of meritocracy allowed Jancek and Martinez to hang around as long as they did. By fixing issue #1 with a pretty obvious hot seat, it's amazing how much work is being put into resolving this one. (Note: This is the real value of Coach T. He busts everyone's balls)

3. Personnel Utilization -- We'll see if this has been resolved, but the most recent example of this in action is the utilization of Branden Smith. Barring injury...any game plan that involves more carries for Carlton Thomas than Branden Smith should be thrown out before it sees the light of day. Hit youtube and watch Smith's run vs. South Carolina as a freshman. You think Urban Meyer, Nick Saban or Les Miles would've had a weapon like that remain so grossly under utilized?

I'm reluctant to be "that guy" with "that blog" who constantly pounds on the negative. And it's not all negative by any means. Plus, I do feel a greater sense of urgency around the program now, but it never should have come to this.

We shouldn't be in a position with such a narrow margin for error entering this season. We have to stay healthy and catch a few breaks early to keep the wheels on the track. While the schedule is easier this year...Boise, South Carolina, Miss State, and Tennessee are all a helluva lot hungrier right now than Georgia was last year.

How hungry is the team now? The sound bytes are nice, but we'll find out in about 75 days. In the meantime, healthy doses of self scouting and self awareness would prevent us from being on such a precipice again.


*We won the SEC in 2002 so I file that conversation in the "what worked" category.


Tony Waller said...

Dead on. I think we all threw up in our mouths a little bit when we read what Richt said.

Anonymous said...

I'm reluctant to be 'that guy' with 'that blog' who constantly pounds on the negative."

I knew 3 sentences in who had written this blog so that should tell you something.

Martin Van Dawgin said...


You continue to be spot on. My biggest gripes of Richt's tenure have to be his horrendous clock management skills and superb ineptitude at utilizing personnel for their maximum benefit.

Cases in point, check the video of the Arkansas game at the end of the half this season. Grantham has to tell Richt to call a timeout at the end of the half so Petrino won't let time expire and chunk it to the end zone. It was blatantly obvious from my point of view that Grantham was pleading with him to call a timeout. Richt was oblivious. I was another -ous - incredulous.

Branden Smith has less of a chance to play corner in the NFL than a snowball has chance in the seventh level. He's basically doing the kid a disservice by not putting him just on offense. No wonder we can't get elite athletes; we just Smith or Samuel 'em.

Eloquence PWD...

Dawg Day said...

Great read, and I fully agree with all.

I have a random question about your blog. I also use blogger, and cannot figure out how to make a hyperlink open up in a new tab. Any quick advice you can give me?


Otto said...

The problem isn't how many carries Thomas gets, but how he gets the ball. He is not going to be successful out of the eye.

CMR has recruited scat backs and tries to run them like powerbacks which may work with a great back like Moreno.

Thomas would be a star under Mullen or Meyer getting the ball in space like they did with Harvin.

If Smith lines up at QB in the Wild Dawg I expect to see a list of plays as long as Gray had which is to say that it could be covered on page.

Pl0we said...

The best thing about CMR is that he owns the North Avenue Trade School.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100%. Great points.

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