Let's end the week with a dip into the ol' mailbag, eh?
Anonymous writes: I wanted to know your thoughts on the lack of 5 star recruits under Richt. I think Richt has done an outstanding job at UGA in spite of only having 9 5-star recruits according to Rivals. FLA had 22, LSU 19, Tenn 17. I think it shows how good of a coach he is to have won more games than everybody except LSU. I know the 5-star player is not always as good as advertised but there are few rated as such and a lot more hits than misses. I just wonder why we seem to sign so few in comparison to schools like Fla, LSU, Ala and Tenn.What's your take?
David: That's sort of a good point. The recruiting services are good, but it's not an exact science. But predicting a 5-star or a 1-star athlete are probably a good bit easier than those 3- and 4-star guys, where you're trying to peg degrees of talent. If a guy is legitimately great in high school, there's a good chance he'll be at least very good in college. And Florida and LSU have had a lot more of those guys recently than Georgia.
Let's take a look at Georgia's five-star guys since 2006:
Matthew Stafford ('06): A rocky freshman season followed by two above-average years then an early ticket to the NFL.
Reshad Jones ('06): A redshirt season as a freshman, a reviled performance in his first season as a starter last year, mixed performances this season.
A.J. Green ('08): Stud.
Richard Samuel ('08): Started six games this year with few impressive moments.
Branden Smith ('09): Playing on offense, defense and special teams this season with bright future.
So of the five Georgia has signed in the past four years, it's been a little more of a mixed bag than you'd particularly want to see from 5-star players, but it's also probably a little early to write off Samuel and Smith still has plenty of time to blossom. So not bad.
The real problem is when you go down a level and look at those four-star recruits. Setting aside last year's class, which is still a way too green to judge, Georgia has signed 38 four-star guys from 2006-2008. We should assume those guys make up the bulk of the talent on Georgia's roster right now, right?
Well, when we look closer, 17 of those players (45%) have never started a game at Georgia. Five players (Chris Little, Tony Wilson, Xavier Avery, Nedaris Ward and Toby Jackson) either never qualified, transfered or never joined the program. Two other players -- Knowshon Moreno and Asher Allen -- are no longer with the Bulldogs after leaving for the NFL. Two others -- Corvey Irvin and Jarius Wynn -- were JuCo transfers and are with NFL teams now, too. Add the season-ending injury to Trinton Sturdivant, and you've got yet another top recruit who isn't helping this year's team.
So add all that up and you get this: 23 of the 39 four- and five-star players Georgia signed between 2006 and 2008 are either not with the team or not making a significant impact this season. So when you're only getting meaningful contributions from about 41 percent of your top recruits over a three-year span, and perhaps it shouldn't be so surprising that this year's Bulldogs haven't been very good.
(BTW, if you're interested, here's the list of 4-star guys who haven't started a game yet: Neland Ball, Logan Gray, Caleb King, Israel Troupe, Quintin Banks, Akeem Hebron, Brandon Wood, AJ Harmon, Dontavius Jackson, Christian Robinson, Cornelius Washington and Nick Williams.)
Meansonny writes: Just a little insight as to why we're so bad on 1st and 2nd down...
Last week, we gave up ANOTHER 17 points off of turnovers.
Off of those 17 points... Tennessee only faced one third down (that resulted in the field goal from our 13 yard line). When we give the other team 2 very important things (field position and momentum), they are going to take advantage with aggressive playcalling. And aggressive playcalling on 1st and 2nd down leads to not a lot of 3rd down attempts.
David: Great point. Many of those touchdown drives haven't needed to go very far, but the point still holds that, outside of the two strong performances against LSU and Arizona State, Georgia did little to slow drives that started on the wrong side of the field.
opsomath writes: I'd like to know what cop would show up to testify against Rennie Curran.
"Primary Objective: Embarrass UGA football program. Secondary Objective: Find donuts."
Long Duck Dawg writes: I agree with you, and I tip my hat to them as well.
Imagine if you're doing everything you can to right the ship (studying hard in the film room, practicing your guts out on the football field, trying to not get pulled over on your scooter by the po-po), and then you have to go sit in front of a bunch of scoop-hungry reporters and answer questions about how sorry you played in the last game, how bad your coach is, how uncommitted the team seems, etc.
I commend the coaches and the team for toughing it out, and for not making any comments sounding anything remotely like they're giving up.
I also commend you for pointing out such a positive aspect of our team. They're showing us that it's not the dog in the fight, but rather the fight in the DAWG.
David: Thanks for the commendation, and I hope most UGA fans can appreciate the accountability of these players who continue to answer questions when most of us would want to crawl under a rock.
Having said that, the real issue here is that we have a new leader in the contest for best commenter name of the year. The Donger need food!
Anonymous writes: david do the players think the fans have turned on them? i assure you we havent! many of us feel like the coaches are lacking.
David: It's probably mixed... there are a number of players who read the message boards and I'm sure they don't like what they see. Jeff Owens gave me a hard time (jokingly) for being overly critical when I talked to him the other day. I was at least pleased he read the blog. But I think the vast majority understand that they're working in a results-oriented industry, and their primary concern is to get some results.
(As a side note, I don't know if he will, but I did invite Jeff to write a counter to any of my stories he thought were unfair. If he does, I'll post it in full on the blog.)
A bit of background on this next email: I asked UGA fans to stop referring to their program as "the laughing stock of the NCAA" because, as a Syracuse fan, I found it offensive. Apparently, however, another Syracuse fan took exception to that.
Anonymous writes: OK lets see how Syracuse and Georgia stack up:
Wins: SU 2, UGA 3;
Scoring Offense: SU 23.0, UGA 25.8;
Scoring Defense: SU 29.5, UGA 30.7;
Turnovers Lost: SU 16, UGA 16;
Turnovers Forced: SU 14, UGA 5;
Penalties/Game: SU 6.3, UGA 9.5;
Kickoff Yards/Return Offense: SU 24.1, UGA 22.8;
Kickoff Yards/Return Defense: SU 19.1, UGA 27.1.
Coach Marrone has our program going in the right direction.
UGA's coach does not.
Who's laughing now?
David: Two things on this...
1.) I offended a Syracuse fan. That's like offending a unicorn. I had no idea they really existed.
2.) Yikes! Of all the bad things said about Georgia this week, this one might hurt the most.
Anonymous writes: I'm calling a moratorium on "throw them under the bus" phrases.
David: What else can we use to describe a coach or player pinning an unnecessary portion of blame for mistakes on an undeserving person? The first suggestion I heard was "Pulling a Willie" but I think that already has some other connotations I'd rather not bring up. I'll suggest "The Blair Walsh Treatment."
So, for example, here's a scenario: You go out to a bar, strike up a conversation with a young lady, while your buddy talks to her friend. You say something dumb, she walks away, and then you tell your buddy he blew it by wearing an ugly shirt.
You've just given him "The Blair Walsh Treatment."
Or, let's say you're at work and you forget to hand in your TPS report on time. Instead of taking responsibility for forgetting to do it, you give your receptionist "The Blair Walsh Treatment" for not making your coffee strong enough that morning.
I think this can catch on.
Traderdawg writes: No problem, we'll just wait the rest of the league out. Eventually they'll come back to playing the old way and we'll be ready for them. Everything comes back around eventually. By 2020 we'll be cutting edge again.
David: Traderdawg is working his way up the rankings of most entertaining commenter. I loved this quip about Georgia's defensive schemes remaining unchanged during Willie's tenure. He also had a great line today about the furlough days for Georgia's assistants: "I'm surprised the OC and DC have to take another day off on Friday after taking the last two Saturday's off."
OK, that last one was teed up and ready for someone. Kudos to Traderdawg for making it happen. After Jay Leno gets canceled, I think NBC should keep you in mind.
Alright, that's it for the mailbag. How about a few links to cap things off?
-- I have a story in today's Telegraph talking about how Georgia's assistant coaches are handling the mountains of criticism this week.
-- Bill Shanks has a column looking how the man at the top is handling the fallout, too.
-- One enterprising Georgian is already looking for replacements for Mike Bobo and Willie Martinez.
-- David Paschall has a feature on what Aaron Murray has been doing to get ready for when his number is finally called.
-- The Red & Black goes one-on-one with Rennie Curran.
-- The Grit Tree looks at the possible future for Willie Martinez.
-- Eddie Bruce tries to put the carnage in perspective.
-- Greg Wilson previews the UGA-Vandy game over at Dawg Bone.
-- No wonder more than 70 percent of Florida State football players listed "Good Night Moon" as their favorite book. (h/t Jim)
-- Now I can't remember who sent this to me (I'm bad at this) but they suggested reading this story on The Onion and replacing each mention of "The Raiders" with "Georgia."
-- General rule of thumb: When a reader quotes Housman in a post, I link to it.
-- Those "Ghostbusters 3" rumors may have been a bit premature.
-- The Live Feed has a look at the relative level of safety each TV show has of making it through the season.
-- And finally, I enjoyed last night's premier of "30 Rock" and I enjoyed this list of 10 important life lessons we've learned from the show even more.