Da' Dream Makin' Cold Blooded Sausage

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

So close, yet so far away...

yesterday, we pointed out some of the improvements within Georgia's football program. The lack of arrests for months is certainly a great start that players seem to be getting it through their thick heads that downtown causes problems, alcohol causes problems, and you need to make sure your driver's license is current and not suspended.
But there's a major issue right now regarding player/scholarship usage that shows while Richt may be learning a little, he's still a bit slow in coming around. AJ Harmon recently declared his intentions to transfer, which brings about a multitude of issues. One, is Georgia now sits around 5 scholarships short of the 85 allowed by the NCAA, and that's with a summer left for a little more attrition.
When the S&C changes were made last winter, we said a good sign of improvements would be lesser players moving on as they proved incapable or unwilling of the increased expectations. Unfortunately, Richt likes to play the "I'm better than you" card by not "oversigning", even though that puts his program at a severe disadvatange on the field. We may get lucky and have space for Denzel Nkemdiche, a good looking S prospect who is late qualifying and has a superstar younger brother almost certain to follow him wherever he goes to school. But we only needed one open spot to have room for Denzel, not 5. Just how many kids could have impacted this program, either next year or beyond, that we turned away on signing day because of a supposed lack of room? We're claiming tight numbers on a solid 2012 class too, in spite of the obvious situation where 3+ spots WILL open up sometime between the first Wednesday in February 2012 and when practice starts that August. Why doesn't Richt realize how fluid this situation is, and sign accordingly to give imrpove his program?
Also, the loss of AJ Harmon further weakens an already shrinking OL depth chart, that lost probable starting LT Trinton Sturdivant to another knee injury (and we wish Sturdivant all the best in his future, and health as good as the Lord will allow, whether he wants to go for a guaranteed-to-be-granted 6th year or not). But losing Harmon, as well as Sturdivant, all but assures Bean Anderson will start at either RG or RT. So why again did our projected starting RG or RT spend last year working with Rodney Garner and the DL in practice? What a great way to prepare him for a senior season starting at the only place he's seen the field since arriving on campus. When Bean reminds us how much he struggled understanding assignments and responsibilities as a freshman and sophomore, we'll be glad he spent a year learning the defensive playbook.
Will Friend's current unit now looks like Cordy Glenn, Kentarious Gates, and Ben Jones as locks, with Bean, Chris Burnette, Kolton Houston, Austin Long, Brent Benedict, and Dallas Lee competing for the other two jobs (that is if Glenn, Gates, and Jones get lucky healthwise all season), as none of the incoming FR project to be immediate contributors (Ward and Debell need weight, Dantzler has the size but doubtful he has the feet, and that's if twitter-inspired signs of a problem player don't take him out, maybe Andrews or Long can help inside but both would greatly benefit physically from a redshirt year and are probably not ready to play now unless we're willing to sacrifice their shoulders on the altar of Bartley Miller and Josh Brock). But wait, I've got just the solution for Richt and Friend. We should move Kwame Geathers or Arthur Lynch to the OL for a single season, then move them back to their natural positions within 12 months of their failure to produce with the big uglies. It's worked countless times in the past, and they can share horror stories with fellow linemate Bean, and soon-to-be-a-TB-again Richard Samuel (just wait until Caleb King has another mishap or Carlton Thomas gets crushed working an inside iso in August).

25 comments:

  1. Gee, we've wasted all that time and money looking for and signing assistant coaches when we had you right under our nose! I don't know why we rely on the years of experience and countless hours of research and analysis by the staff when all we had to do is ask you what we need and how to cure the countless ills we're stumbling around trying to fix. Thank God we've found you..hopefully in time!!

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  2. Because all that time and money those coaches have made and spent really worked well the last couple years didn't it?

    And you'd have to be Ray Charles not to see the numerous mistakes Richt and his staff have made with player utilization and scholarship utilization. See Coleman Watson, Brandon Miller, Mike Gilliam, Kiante Tripp, Richard Samuel, and countless others, including Bean, who've wasted years at the wrong positions.

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  3. Sanchez-
    Too bad we didn't get Cam Newton as a TE a few yers ago as well

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  4. Hey, Mr. Sanchez, I feel your pain. In fact, I feel more than your pain from my perch here in deep south Florida Gator Country.

    Yes, we used to own the Gators; now they seem to own us.

    There's plenty of folks around here to remind me that we've played poorly against the Gators since about 1984, including much of my own family.

    Yes, there's plenty to criticize about the Richt era, and, as you guys pointed out yesterday, his 10 year record isn't all it's cracked up to be.

    I pulled out my freshman year's Pandora (the last one that was free). Through it, I recalled losses to Tulane (Tulane!), Tennessee, Auburn, and a butt-licking we sustained at Sanford Stadium at the hands of Alabama (it was worse than the 25-7 final score; I was there).

    We did have a winning season that year and put a licking on Tech. It was a disappointing 7-4 season, though, with no bowl appearance. The next two years were no better (though we did win a very minor bowl game the next year).

    Our great year, my senior year, was the You Can't Spell Sugar without UGA year. Sadly, as the Red and Black pontificated the following January, you can't spell UGly gAme without UGA either. Though we played for a national championship, we didn't play like we were.

    My point is, Georgia's football program has offered more disappointment historically than greatness.

    About the only thing that has truly changed is our erstwhile dominance of Florida.

    Yes we send tons of players to the NFL. But Miami does too. Miami's program hasn't exactly been a national championship contender machine since Donna Shalala's reign there.

    But we've historically missed out on major in-state talent. Four Georgians have won Heisman Trophies; only one of them in Athens (and it was a close thing that we got that one).

    Doubtless Richt has made mistakes that cost us dearly. But unless we plan hiring Spurrier, Meyer, Miles, or Saban who've proved they can win in the SEC, there's no clearly better alternative out there. June Jones III, anyone?

    Hiring a great recruiter who's never been a head coach like Kirby Smart could well be as big a mistake as hiring the untested Ray Goff.

    Dooley's Dogs often lacked the talent pool we have now, though, but played winning football most of the time by being tougher and hungrier than the other guy.

    Coach Richt does seem to get it that this element has been missing the past few years. Maybe I've got on red-and-black shaded glasses while sipping cherry Kool-Aid. But it just doesn't seem to me we're that far off where we need to be.

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  5. I don't think we're far off either anon @2:21, but an inch isn't far, and as Al Pacino once said, "the inches we need are all around us", and they are making the difference between winning and losing.

    I like Richt immensely as a man, and hope beyond reasonable belief that he can succeed as head football coach at the University of Georgia. But that reasonable thing keeps getting in the way of my hope.

    That said, your fear of a return to Goff, or even a winner but not winning enough like Jim Donnan, is a defeatist attitude and will paralyze the program. Of course people can make bad hires, it happens all the time. Ron Zook is a great example of a horrible hire and head coach, but he was able to land enough talent to keep the program respectable (and Georgia has a talent pool capable of doing the same) and his tenure ultimately led to Urban Meyer, which was a pretty good hire. Point being, we might make a miss on the next coach, but as Donnan and Zook showed, even coaches with insurmountable problems have enough talent at their fingertips to win, and we just might hit the jackpot with a Spurrier, Meyer, etc type find that can do things the "Georgia way" and also do it winning championships.

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  6. Mr. Sanchez,

    I don't so much fear recurrance of a Goff or a Donnan as I do not realistically think there's anyone better the Richt on the horizon who'd likely leave where they are to come to Georgia if Richt is gone.

    I think you're suggesting that we may want to take a chance on an unknown quantity who may well turn out to be a huge loser while we wait for the right guy. Instead, why not keep Richt on, even if we (meaning not you and me, but the Athletic Association as the managing arm of the Bulldog Nation) aren't entirely content with Richt's performance this fall (assuming it's not a total disaster, either) until that magic guy who'll fulfill all our hopes and dreams makes himself manifest to us.

    Richt has proved he can be a better-than-competent recruiter (though we've missed too many, as we missed too many under prior regimes). He also knows how to develop quarterbacks, having developed two Heisman Trophy winners at FSU.

    I think Richt has what it takes and knows what he is doing.

    I do think the program as a whole got lazy and behind other SEC programs that got a lot better a lot faster than we did. That problem seems to have been identified and steps are being taken to address it.

    I sure hope they have been.

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  7. One further point.

    I don't blame Richt for Georgia's slide vis-a-vis Florida. I blame him for not setting things right, yet.

    Georgia hasn't dominated Florida since 1983, at the end of Vince Dooley's reign in Athens.

    Neither Dooley, Goff, Donnan, nor Richt has fixed it.

    Richt has received the biggest wake-up call on this matter to date.

    Here's hoping he's answering the call.

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  8. -Anon 4:46

    As fans of the program we also hope Richt can fix it but man we are 11 years in and have seen Florida win 2 titles, LSU 2, Bama one, and Auburn one. Also in the Richt era FL has had 3 HC's, LSU 2, Bama 3, Auburn 2.
    We don't want change for the sake of change but:
    a) its worked for other programs
    b)if it ain't been done in 11 years chances are it won't get done
    c)if we are worse in year 10 than we were in year 2, year 5, or year 7 then most likely we won't suddenly get better than ever in year 11.

    As for other HCs - we are one of the wealthiest programs in the most elite conference in the country. To think we can't lure a top guy to Athens means you see Georgia as no different than say Clemson or Ole Miss. That sort of thinking is what is wrong in Athens......"oh well I guess I could want better but I'm not good enough for better than average." We have to many fans with abused wife syndrome and it disgusts us.

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  9. cc, sorry I disgust you, but I just don't see a "top guy" out there who has a track record beating elite SEC teams who's not already head-coaching in the SEC. If I'm wrong, please tell me who I'm overlooking.

    Yes, we haven't won a national championship since 1980, but Vince Dooley won one national championship in his 25 years at Georgia, that one, sixteen years into his career at Georgia, and that with the best college running back in the history of the universe EVER! True, Dooley should have won at least one before then, in 1968, his fourth year at Georgia.

    We stunk up Dooley's other pre-Hershel shot at a national championship in 1976, Dooley's year 12.

    But, in the same vein, Richt's 'Dogs should have won national championships in 2002 and 2007 if you're playing the "should have" comparison to Dooley.

    Georgia is certainly one of the most profitable college athletic programs in the country, so I'll give you the proposition that we can get almost anyone we want (unlike the Ole Misses and Clemsons of the world). But that still begs the question "Who is it that we want who can win in the SEC better than what we already have?"

    Yes, 2010 was a dawggone frustration, but (I guess unlike you and Mr. Sanchez) I perceive that Richt sees what's been wrong at Georgia the past couple of years and has good ideas how to solve them.

    There's also an element of luck in it, too. Dooley won one national championship with Herschel in the backfield for three years. Even armed with the best of the best of the best for three years, Dooley yielded only one ring.

    Florida, Bama, LSU, and Auburn haven't won national championships since 2001 because they had coach turn-over. They won because (at least in part) because the right coaches for them were available when their coaching was ripe for turn-over.

    Again, what right coaches are available to Georgia now who have demonstrated they can win in the SEC?

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  10. You're not wrong anon, but you're not being realistic. Also, Urban Meyer fits your description as available top coach with proven SEC success. But did Meyer fit your description before taking Florida up a notch? Did Saban before LSU? How about Spurrier after Duke? Richt's resume was pretty light before he got here too. Get my point? You can't expect a proven national championship winner to be out there, but you can more than expect to find one capable of taking your program to those heights.

    Also, Dooley's track record is pretty Jim Donnan-ish apart from Herschel. He'd win 3 out of 4 games most years. He has a few SEC titles, but if we gave Donnan the longevity Dooley had, he could have had similar success imo. He wasn't a bad coach, but I do think most Georgia fans overrate him immensely. He wasn't a great coach, just a good one for a long time.

    And you misinterpret my feelings. I think Richt sees what's wrong. Hell, if I can see it I hope he can and more. I just don't think he's capable of fixing it. He's very reactive in his fixes, and he waits until he's far beyond broke, as we saw with Willie and the D, Van Halanger and the S&C, and he's repeating the mistake again with Bobo it seems. He saw the mistake of not keeping a well stocked OL in 2003 and vowed it wouldn't happen again, only to have it happen again when the 2003 kids moved on in 2007. And looky here, it's happening against as those 2007 kids move in 2011. Seeing the problem and correcting it are two very different things. I think the SEC has gotten cutthroat, and you have to be willing to sacrifice your health, your family, almost everything for the sake of winning. And Richt isn't willing to work 120 hour weeks, or to say "Kathryn, you got the kids for 5 months while I sleep in Butts Mehre", or to risk a stroke/heart attack/indigestion like Meyer did. He's got his limits, and it's becomming a hindrance to success.

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  11. Urban Meyer is simply not available to Georgia. The Ohio State University to save it from the Vest or Notre Dame, probably. But not Georgia. I don't see him fitting in in Athens anyway.

    Florida was really lucky with Meyer's hire out of Utah. There were signs he would succeed in Gainesville, but there was a lot of luck in that choice as well.

    Spurrier was hired at Florida for one reason and one reason only. He hates Georgia. When Spurrier was hired, beating Georgia consistently was Number One on his Objectives list.

    Spurrier's wrath goes back to his Heisman year when we dashed the Gators' national championship hopes. The Gators harnessed Spurrier's spleen to build on their previous five years' success against Georgia.

    Again, it'll be a cold day in Gainesville when Spurrier coaches at Georgia.

    Saban coached in the pros and then at Michigan State before LSU (many of my neighbors will be happy to tell you that the Spartans are an elite program at least as much as Georgia; they're wrong, by the way, but it won't keep them from telling you). Of course, Saban coached at the Dolphins before Alabama, so Saban was pretty much a known quantity even before LSU and certainly when he went to Alabama.

    Sure Richt's head coaching experience before Georgia was none, but he'd developed two Heisman Trophy quarterbacks at FSU and his program had won two national championships under one of the best non-SEC coaches in the land.

    You've mentioned Spurrier, Meyer, and Saban, none of whom are coming to Georgia.

    Who else is on your list?

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  12. You've got some strong revisionist history going there. Saban was far from elite at Michigan St., with records of 6-5, 6-6, 7-6, 6-6, and 9-2. He was far from the proven success he's shown to be at LSU and now Bama.

    Meyer was pretty successful at Utah and before that Bowling Green. He was a good coach and smart hire, and not luck as you say. Plus, he likes getting paid, and would come here if we pay him appropriately.

    And on Spurrier, because he went to Florida is worthless. Dooley went to Auburn, Dye went to Georgia, Muschamp went here, among others. If we offer Spurrier instead of Goff before 89, he never heads home to Gainesville, and the last 20 years are a very different story for the two schools.

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  13. I said folks will tell you Michigan State is an elite program, not that Saban made it so. But my point was that Saban was a known quanity when he was hired at LSU and certainly when he was hired at Alabama.

    Again, Saban would never come to Georgia from Alabama.

    Meyer will never come to Georgia. Take it to the bank. His family is saying he'll take neither TOSU or Notre Dame jobs. He'd go either place long, long before he'd come to Georgia.

    Same with Spurrier. Spurrier would like nothing better than a very public offer to coach at Georgia. He'd very publically take less money at Columbia.

    To deny Spurrier's hatred of Georgia is, frankly, naive at best. His hatred of Georgia is why he was hired in Gainesville in the first place.

    Again, who else you got?

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  14. -Anon

    Welcome to our blog. I assume you are new because you must have missed our one million posts on.
    a) Gary Patterson should be the new HC, or
    b)Mike Leach should be the next HC.
    Of course I am sure you will tell us that TCU and the OC at Key West hi

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  15. Key West High are better jobs.

    You want a replacement that only the three most hated men in Georgia football qualify for, good job on painting us into the Richt corner

    Sorry this broke in half doind it on a new phone with touch screen (not designed for man fingers)

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  16. Thanks,

    I am, in fact, new to your blog and have missed your posts on Patterson and Leach.

    I don't mean to be argumentative with you guys, I'm mostly interested in who you'd replace Richt with.

    Now I know.

    Thanks!

    PS: Good luck with the new phone.

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  17. Anon

    I'm sorry I as well do not intend to be argumentative. We have been making these arguments for months and when we see the same responses its frustrating. We don't think Richt is a bad guy or coach we just don't think he has what it takes for the SEC. Patterson and Leach both appear to be guys tough enough to deal with the pressure of the SEC. We also find ourselves arguing against those who have a "well this is probably as good as it gets"mentality.
    We aren't Clempsun fans we don't live in a fantasy world where we were once the most dominant force in football under Danny Ford. We know Georgia has never been Alabama but we can't just be accepting og mediocrity when we have the ability to be much more.

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  18. Got it!

    There is something amiss in 'Dogland, no doubt.

    Richt has indeed gotten rich (pun intended) beating up on the likes of Vandy, Kentucky, University of Louisiana -- Lafayette, and, of course, Georgia Tech. But so did Dooley before him (add Florida to the Dooley-era patsy list, though).

    The whole program has gotten lazy, it seems to me.

    We miss too many good in-state recruits and our out-of-state recruits seem mostly to come from the same places (Bolles and Plant City, for two examples; thank God for our contacts there).

    Our minor sports scour the globe for talent that can contribute at Georgia. Sweden, Chile, Spain, South Africa, the Caribbean, eastern Europe, Japan, all contribute athletes to Georgia's minor sports programs.

    I know we won't find a lot of football players in those places, but we could probably find another Richard Tardits or two overseas if we started looking.

    We even overlook much of the US. We have a couple of big guys who we've recently picked up out of the northeast who could make huge contributions this year. One of them came to us only because he had to go to junior college in Mississippi.

    I think it was Arthur Lynch who said football players from his neck of the woods don't think about playing for Georgia because they don't think we are interested in them. Surely we can do more to find outstanding talent in places we don't currently look.

    There are a bunch of rocks under which we have not looked that the Alabamas, Auburns, and Floridas of the world aren't looking under either.

    Now would be a good time to be scouring the globe for potential offensive linemen. High school summo wrestlers out of Japan might be worth consideration.

    I'll bet there's some tough-as-nails, tall, skinny, but fast as the wind Maasi in some east Africa international schools who've been exposed to US style football who'd be pleased to get to go to college in the US.

    Even SEC quality cornerbacks wouldn't threaten guys who, when they were ten-years-old and, armed only with a spear, faced down prides of lions to ensure their families' meals.

    Maybe my ideas are just plain stupid, but if I can conjure some creativity for free, it seems to me someone in Athens who's being paid millions ought to devise much better creative ideas than me.

    We seem, too, to sign a bunch of guys out of high school only to learn after we've signed them that they have serious injuries that threaten their abilities to contribute.

    Then we fail to stock our offensive line with enough depth to ensure against starter-injury.

    We have a bunch of NFL-caliber players who rake in the individual accolades, but who don't perform as a team.

    Finally, we don't play with the Junkyard Dog spirit that Erk Russell used to get out of his clearly less talented guys.

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  19. Continued....

    No! I am not at all pleased with the status quo. Especially the status quo against Florida. That impacts my family life living among Gators as I do.

    I do, however, (at least want to) believe Coach Richt has what it takes to win big in the SEC. Has he gotten lazy? Yes.

    He won two national championships at FSU and coached up two Heisman Trophy winners there. He wasn't the head guy there, and, yes, I know the gulf between the SEC and the ACC is vast, but Richt knows what it is to win the big ring.

    I don't know about Leach, but Patterson could be the kind of guy who can do better at Georgia than Richt is doing. But Patterson has neither Heismans nor national championships to his credit.

    If Richt has gotten rich beating the Vandys, etc., though, Patterson's admittedly impressive stash comes from beating a half-step up from Lassiter High School.

    McGarity is giving Richt the chance to put up. Richt has my full, but no where near unquestioning, support. Let's see what he does on the field this year before we feed the Christian to the lions.

    The first two games are key. Lose both of them and the die is cast. Win both and then beat Florida, and Patterson will have to wait for his SEC shot until folks tire of Nutt, Joker, or Dooley.

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  20. Patterson is certainly a known quantity and a candidate to be considered. I again disagree on both Saban and Meyer. Meyer knows the built in advantages of recruiting in Georgia vs having to do so nationally with a has been brand like Notre Dame. Ohio St has a good recruiting base, and strong financial support. They could compete with Georgia on a hire, but Notre Dame could not. If he wanted Notre Dame, he could have had it instead of FLorida, but he knew the advantages working at a large southern school had over the living in the past CHicago area program.

    Saban goes to who pays him most. Currently, that's Bama, and he's been there as long or longer than anywhere else in his career. If Georgia would trump what he makes on the Capstone, you're deluding yourself if you don't think that mercenary would move closer to his Lake Rabun home. But that's pure conjecture because we aren't going to offer the $10m per year it'd take to trump Bama.

    And would Spurrier come here now? Of course not, nor would we want him. But if you think he wouldn't have jumped at the job in 1989, I'd disagree. Attending Georgia did not stop Muschamp from taking the Florida job, nor did his Auburn ties keep Dooley away, among other cross over coaches. To think Spurrier, again not now but in 1989, would have refused an strong offer to coach Georgia is just ignoring what history has shown otherwise time and time again.

    Also, and damn if this isn't turning into a wall of text, but to claim Saban as a "known quantity" before LSU. Well, by that standard, so is Gary Patterson, CHris Peterson, Greg Schiano, Kirby Smart (who's resume is as strong as Richt's was when we hired him), Charlie Strong, and countless others. To claim Saban and Richt as known quantities while in the same breath saying viable candidates are lacking is a stark contradiction.

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  21. On his Florida St days, yeah, Richt knows how to win, but the college football landscape has changed since Florida St significantly, and even some since he won early last decade here. He knows what it takes to win then, but is that the same as what it takes now, or is he willing to capitalize on that knowledge. I assume he knew our S&C program was lacking well before he made the move on Van halanger, or the D was a liability long before sacking Willie. There is a large step between knowing what it takes, and doing what it takes.

    And on your international recruiting idea, it's not a bad idea. Personally I'd set up a training academy in Siberia, cause those Russians can be big, strong, and are tough as steel. But an example like Tardits, who I loved as a young kid, fell in our laps more than was sought after by Dooley. He's a rare exception. And why spend the resources to recruit internationally when the quality of talent in state has shown you don't even have to cross the stateline to fill a national championship caliber roster. The amount of talent in state is sick if we'd identify and land the right kids, and would only need to be complemented by national recruits on a special basis. As Richt said before, paraphrasing, with the amount of talent in Georgia, we don't need to cross state lines except for extremely high level talent.

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  22. Georgia's in-state recruiting problems (I think it's clear we have them) are derived in part from proximity of high level competition.

    Tallahassee is across the county line from Thomasville (home of one of Richt's two Heismans) and Cairo, and near Valdosta.

    Auburn is in Columbus's back door.

    Clemson is, what, one county away from Hartwell and Elberton.

    Gainesville is just down I-75 from Valdosta.

    Knoxville isn't far from Habersham, Toccoa, and places north, at least not how the crow flies.

    Gainesville, on the other hand, is some 320 miles from its nearest SEC competitor (Auburn), more than 100 miles from Tallahassee, Tampa (USF), and Orlando (UCF), and a world away from Miami.

    Considering Florida has about twice the population of Georgia in about the same geographic space, the Gators have a huge population-base and spatial advantage over its SEC competitors. Those contribute to Florida's big in-state to in-state recruiting advantage over Georgia.

    So I think Richt is dead wrong when he says we don't need to cross state lines. It would be different if we did a better job keeping who we want at home.

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  23. Sorry about the wall of text, but I've enjoyed discussing the 'Dogs with you guys (I've been away from Georgia too long to say y'all).

    It sure beats the Gators-Gators-Gators and Buckeyes-Michigan-Spartans that I hear around here all the time.

    Thanks again.

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  24. So you're part of Florida says "you guys"? I guess your not in the northern part of the state.

    And we appreciate the discussion, as differing, yet intelligently and respectfully discussed ideas, are what make this country great.

    But again, while I agree with you that LSU's in state recruiting advantage trumps ours, Florida has to compete against EVERYBODY for their state's talent. Big 10, Big 12, Pac 10, ACC, SEC, everybody goes into Florida looking to poach players and get their speed. It's a highly competetive environment, and they have to compete in state with fellow D1 programs in Miami, FSU, UCF, USF, Fla International, Florida Atlantic, as well as the out of state schools that have their ingrained pockets (like Auburn of dominance). Georgia is recruited nationally too to an extent, but not like Florida. And as you say, Athens' proximity to talent isn't strong compared to often closer schools on our borders, but the state churns out 120-150+ D1 signees a year. We need about 25. And while proximity may not be in favor, it's hard to say some places like Augusta, Waycross, etc which may be closer to other SEC schools, isn't big time Bulldawg Country. The fact of the matter is, Richt is right. We should be able to cherry pick 15 of the top 25 in state, and suplement those with another 10 either in state or out, and talent will never be the problem.

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  25. I live as far south of Atlanta as Atlanta is south of Chicago. And where much of Chicago and Detroit, and all of Cleveland and Columbus (the one in Ohio) winter. It's where all those Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio plates are heading driving down I-75 in February.

    Maybe I'm getting a misleading perception of Georgia's recruiting from way down here, but it seems to me other SEC schools poach a great deal of the State of Georgia's best talent. Maybe you are right that we get most everyone out of Georgia high schools we want. I sure hope so.

    It is true Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and West Virginia, just to name a few schools that have signed players out of here recently, recruit well out of my community, my impression is Florida pretty much gets first dibs on who they want here. Even over the much closer Miami.

    USF, UCF, FIU, and FAU really don't rate much here. FSU has, from time-to-time, hit the jackpot with a great signing here, but Tallahassee is more than 400 miles away and is, at best, a second or third choice school here.

    Miami recruits well on the east coast and in Belle Glade/Pahokee, the NFL's breeding grounds, from which we got Rantavious Wooten. Before Donna Shalala became president there, Miami would pretty much take anyone who could play, no matter what other issues they may have had.

    State-wide, though, I'd have to say Florida is most folks' default first choice.

    The other thing is local high school football is a quantum leap better now than it was just ten years ago. My wife's high school alma mater used to specialize in being the homecoming patsy. They've now won several state titles, even beating Belle Glade-Glades Central for one.

    Maybe Georgia's high school football has progressed similarly as well. I hope so.

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