Posted on: May 17, 2011 4:08 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
A pair of reserve linemen for a pair of top-25 programs have made their decisions to transfer official today.
Perhaps the more potentially important of the two comes at Georgia, where offensive tackle A.J. Harmon has elected to leave the Bulldogs for "personal reasons." The junior and former Parade All-American missed the team's bowl loss to UCF on academic suspension, but had been considered a candidate for the vacant starting richt tackle position this past spring camp.
Though Mark Richt indicated that job would be going to senior Justin Anderson, Harmon would nonetheless have been a backup at worst--and given the rate at which the Bulldogs' offensive line starters have been injured in recent years, he might have seen spot starting duty sooner rather than later. His departure might not be devastating (certainly nothing like the ACL tear to certain starter Trinton Sturdivant), but it does nothing to help a unit for whom depth was already a concern.
"Personal reasons" also struck today at Penn State, where backup defensive tackle Brandon Ware texted the Patriot-News that he would be seeking a transfer to "a lower level" school for the 2011 season. One of the top players in Pennsylvania for the class of 2008, Ware redshirted and has struggled to find the field for the Nittany Lions. What was expected to be a breakthrough 2011 season was derailed when he was reportedly declared academically ineligible for this fall, resulting in the departure.
As with Harmon, players like Devon Still and Jordan Hill mean that Ware's absence might not be immediately felt. But given Ware's immense potential if he could have kept his grades in order and his weight in check, the loss stings all the same.
Posted on: May 15, 2011 2:27 pm
Edited on: May 15, 2011 2:29 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Could the SEC be headed towards a showdown over oversigning?
Mike Slive has promised the league will "take a look" at stronger measures to address the issue during its annual spring meeting, and you don't have to squint to see two factions forming as regards that "look": one featuring coaches like Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier (amongst others) who have defended their use of "grayshirts," and one with Florida president Bernie Machen and Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity who would like to see it prohibited.
So where does Mark Richt's allegiances in this potential battle lie? If McGarity's position didn't already make them plain, his comments to a Greenville (S.C.) gathering of Bulldog alumni this past week put them beyond all doubt:
"If you sign a class, you can only bring in as many as you have room for, so let's say you have 85 on scholarship and let's say you have 15 seniors graduating. Well, there's only 15 more spots for 85, you can sign 25 guys, by rule, and in February you can sign those 25 guys," Richt said. "Now, by the time that season starts, you may have more attrition, five more guys may leave for whatever reason, may go pro, transfer, so let's say you're down to 20.Of course, with his very next breath, Richt admitted that he had "talked to a kid about grayshirting" before Signing Day, in the unlikely event the Bulldogs roster remained too full for fall enrollment. (He said that despite those discussions, the Bulldogs' recruits had all "come in with their class.") It'd an admission that illustrates how difficult legislating change would be for Slive and proponents like Machen. How do you write a rule that differentiates between the kind of agreed-upon-by-all-parties scenario Richt describes, and a case like LSU's Elliott Porter, who last August was asked to move out of his LSU dorm room after Les Miles ran out of scholarships?
We're not sure. But given his vehemence, it sounds like Richt will be perfectly happy to see Slive and Co. try ... or simply do away with grayshirting all together.
HT: the AJC.
Posted on: May 9, 2011 7:29 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Running back Washaun Ealey will transfer from Georgia, the school announced today. Georgia has granted Ealey, a junior-to-be from Stillmore, GA, an unconditional release, so he's free to join the school of his choice for the 2011 academic year.
"Washaun and I have had several conversations in recent weeks," said head coach Mark Richt in a statement released today. "We both have come to the conclusion that a transfer to another institution would be in his best interest."
Ealey had been the Bulldogs' leading rusher in 2010, tallying 811 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground in 12 games while splitting time with junior tailback Caleb King. Neither back was particularly effective, and Georgia went 6-7 in a season that had started with much, much higher hopes.
Unfortunately for Ealey, he fell out of the good graces of Richt and the program in February, and he was suspended from the team for what ended up being 18 days. His return was scarcely better, as injuries kept him out of all but four spring practices. That led to this surprising statement from Richt at a booster meeting two weeks ago:
“Washaun has a ways to go still to show me that he deserves to start or even play right now,” Richt told the room. “He has a ways to go in my book. We’ll see. I love him, though.”
At the point of a coach making public statements like that, a transfer seems almost inevitable, and that's what we got here. There's no telling as yet where Ealey's headed; often, players transfer closer to home, but seeing as how Ealey's from Stillmore, he can't really get much closer than Georgia. Also, there's no indication if he's going the FBS or FCS route. Being that he was a starting tailback, it seems like there's no shortage of FBS teams that'd like to get him in their backfield, but the real issue is whether he'd rather play one year of FBS ball or two of FCS -- especially if there's no guarantee that he'd start at an FBS school.
Ealey's transfer paves the way for King to take over the starting RB role, but highly touted freshman Isaiah Crowell could make a major push. If Crowell's good enough to overtake King in Week 1, look out: Crowell could make a Marcus Lattimore-style impact on the SEC this year.
Posted on: April 28, 2011 12:25 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Back in February, Georgia running back Washaun Ealey was suspended indefinitely by the team after he missed an early morning disciplinary run. The kind of disciplinary run your coach makes you do after you've broken a few team rules and gotten arrested for a hit-and-run accident along with driving on a suspended license. Well, coach Mark Richt reinstated Ealey to the team in time for spring practice, giving him the chance to work his way back into his coach's good graces, but Ealey hurt his hamstring after only four practices and sat out the rest of the spring.
Which allowed every other running back on the Georgia roster to loosen Ealey's grip on the starting job, and judging by the words of Richt at the Augusta Bulldog Club meeting on Wednesday night, I don't think Ealey's going to get it back.
“Washaun has a ways to go still to show me that he deserves to start or even play right now,” Richt told the room, including Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He has a ways to go in my book. We’ll see. I love him, though.”
Well, I suppose it's better to be loved on the bench than hated on it, but it doesn't sound like Georgia's leading rusher in 2010 is going to get much playing time in 2011. Richt also went on to say that the position is wide open, as Ealey competes with guys like Caleb King, Ken Malcome, Carlton Thomas and incoming freshman Isaiah Crowell.
Maybe if Washaun brings some adorable bulldog puppies to practice like Crowell had on signing day, Richt will begin to forgive him.
Posted on: April 27, 2011 5:49 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
With all six spring games completed, we wrap up spring practice in the SEC East, team by team. In alphabetical order:
FLORIDA: When spring began, we said the Gators might have the most interesting offense in the country. Urban Meyer's former spread-option death machine, destroyed and rebuilt from the ground up, by none other than Charlie Weis, in the image of the steady no-frills pro-style attacks Will Muschamp saw work for old boss Nick Saban, as piloted by 2011-or-bust quarterback John Brantley? That's quite the storyline they've got going there.
But the Gators will have to hope it's a story that will be rewritten come the fall. While no one was expecting the offense to look like Weis's old New England Patriot attacks after three weeks of practice, no one was expecting it to put on a 13-10 spring game universally panned as a hideous eyesore, either. Brantley went an ugly 4-of-14 after missing his first six passes, the leading rusher was a walk-on defensive back, and the entire offensive output for the game amounted to 340 yards.
Much of that can be pinned on a wicked rash of injuries that took out most of the offensive line, an entire stable of running backs, multiple receivers, etc.; encouragingly, much of it can also be pinned on a rampaging defensive line led by Sharrif Floyd, Dominique Easley and Ronald Powell, all members of Meyer's loaded 2010 class and all looking posied to make good on their five-star hype. But the bottom line is that much of it can also be pinned squarely on Brantley, who Muschamp and his other coaches universally lauded for an excellent spring but who showed little of that alleged improvement when playing in public.
Does it matter? Give him a solid summer and a solid fall camp, and it may not. But until Brantley proves he's something other than what he's appeared to be since the moment Tim Tebow left -- in over his head -- skepticism is in order.
GEORGIA: The biggest question entering the most critical spring of Mark Richt's spring tenure concerned the Bulldogs' biggest players: could their offensive line bounce back? When you have Aaron Murray, Orson Charles, a fleet of talented (if still unproven) receivers, and eventually Isaiah Crowell, if you have a line, you're going to have a heck of an offense.
There was good news and bad news on that front, the latter a devastating torn ACL suffered by fifth-senior and projected starting tackle Trinton Sturdivant. But there were positives, too, namely a terrific spring from potential All-SEC center Ben Jones and guard-to-tackle position switch Cordy Glenn. G-day primary tailbacks Ken Malcome and Caleb King combined for 69 yards on 12 carries, a not-so-shabby 5.8 yards per-carry. Overall, the line was impressive enough this spring that senior Justin Anderson -- billed as a potential starter on the OL -- has been moved to defense.
The Dawgs had themselves a fine spring on the defensive front as well, with newly bulked-up nose tackle Kwame Geathers the talk of the Bulldogs' spring camp and converted safety Alec Ogletree providing a big boost the linebacking corps. The secondary is unsettled and one of those aforementioned receivers needs to emerge as a go-to target for Murray, but if the improvements in the front seven and offensive line aren't mirages, the Bulldogs wil be back in the thick of the East race all the same.
KENTUCKY: Consider it a successful second spring for Joker Phillips and the Wildcats. We noted that with nearly all of the major players from 2010's surprisingly effective Wildcat passing game gone, Phillips would want to make rebuilding that passing attack around junior quarterback Morgan Newton priority No. 1 in spring camp. And though we'll have to wait until fall to see the finished results, for now it looks like Mission Accomplished: Newton had a terrific spring, capped by a 23-of-44, 256-yard, three-touchdown performance in the Wildcats' Blue-White Game.
Things weren't perfect: the Wildcat receivers were plagued by drops, and a defense still adjusting to new co-coordinator Rick Minter's aggressive schemes paired several big plays with several breakdowns. But with Newton cementing himself as a reliable option under center and a veteran line paving the way for new tailback Raymond Sanders to average better than 7 yards a carry, there's far more optimism for the Wildcat offense coming out of spring than going in.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Whatever storyline you might have constructed ahead of time for the Gamecocks' spring, it was always going to overshadowed by the continuing Stephen Garcia circus. Until Carolina receives a definitive word one way or the other on Garcia's return (though as we wrote earlier today, that return seems likely), the team is going to be in something close to suspended football animation. The lack of developments aside from Garcia was only enhanced by the fact that so many of Carolina's key players -- Marcus Lattimore, Alshon Jeffery, Stephon Gilmore, an offensive line with four returning starters -- are known commodities.
That said, the Garnet-Black Game showed that if Garcia doesn't come back, the Gamecocks won't be totally lost at quarterback. Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson combined to go a productive 23-of-40 for 344 yards (though Thompson threw a pair of picks), and on an offense with weapons like Lattimore, Jeffery, and tailback Kenny Miles (43 yards on just 6 carries in the spring game), "productive" should be enough.
The downside: those passing numbers came against a Gamecock secondary that got routinely torched in 2010 (FBS 97th in pass defense). Garcia or no Garcia, more improvement in that secondary will be necessary to take Carolina back to Atlanta.
TENNESSEE: Entering spring, the road to improvement for the Volunteers was clear: get stronger, more physical, better along each line of scrimmage, then let the Vols' cadre of up-and-coming skill position stars -- led by sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray -- do the rest.
The Vols made plenty of headway on the first part of that equation; the White team earned a dominant victory over the more starter-heavy Orange in the Vol spring game thanks in no small part to a bruising run game led by second-string tailback Raijon Neal; defensive linemen on both squads were able to get consistent quarterback pressure; and offensive lineman Alex Bullard and defensive tackle Daniel Hood won the team's top awards for spring performance. Both lines remain so young that there's still a long way to go to SEC dominance, but it seems unlikely they'll be pushed around the way they were at times in 2010, either.
But as for the other part of the equation, stay tuned. Bray went a miserable 5-for-30 quarterbacking the defeated Orange side, with Derek Dooley suggesting afterwards that perhaps Bray had been overconfident. Bray is expected to take a major step forward in his first full season as the Vols' starter, but if that step winds up as minor as the spring game proposes it might be, all the line improvement in the world won't push the Vols back into relevance in the SEC East.
VANDERBILT: When you finished last season dead last in the conference in both total offense and total defense -- and you are Vanderbilt -- any kind of improvement in any area will be music to new coach James Franklin's ears. But fortunately for the 'Dores, they saw some green shoots in two positions that have been partocularly troublesome the past few seasons.
One is quarterback , where previously scattershot senior Larry Smith completed 16-of-26 for 233 yards and a touchdown, leading his Black side to a 19-7 win over the Gold. The other is the defensive line , where defensive tackle Colt Nichter recorded a pair of sacks and defensive end Kyle Woestmann collected a sack and an interception. But when you're Vandy, you'll take whatever you can get.
"The big thing," Franklin said, "is that we stayed healthy."
For the same review of the SEC West, click here.
Tags: Aaron Murray, Alec Ogletree, Alex Bullard, Alshon Jeffery, Ben Jones, Caleb King, Charlie Weis, Colt Nichter, Connor Shaw, Cordy Glenn, Daniel Hood, Derek Dooley, Dominique Easley, Dylan Thompson, Florida, Georgia, Isaiah Crowell, James Franklin, John Brantley, Joke Phillips, Justin Anderson, Ken Malcome, Kenny Miles, Kentucky, Kwame Geathers, Kyle Woestmann, Larry Smith, Marcus Lattimore, Mark Richt, Morgan Newton, New England Patriots, Nick Saban, Orson Charles, Raijon Neal, Raymond Sanders, Rick Minter, Ronald Powell, SEC, Sharrif Floyd, South Carolina, spring practice, Stephen Garcia, Stephon Gilmore, Steve Spurrier, Tennessee, Tim Tebow, Trinton Sturdivant, Tyler Bray, Urban Meyer, Vanderbilt, Will Muschamp
Posted on: April 20, 2011 3:06 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
All twelve SEC head coaches jumped on board a conference call to talk about their Spring Practices. Here's a few notes on what each coach said.
Les Miles, LSU
On senior quarterback Jordan Jefferson:
"He gets it out of his hand so quickly now and goes through his reads much quicker," Miles said. "There's much less hesitation in his decision-making process. I also think going into your senior year, there's a want to have a great senior year, and the leadership position is something your quarterback must embrace.
Miles also said that new offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe has been a major help for all of the quarterbacks on the roster. Backups Zach Mettenberger and Jarrett Lee pushed Jefferson this spring and will continue to do so in the fall, which makes the team better.
Will Muschamp, Florida
On quarterback John Brantley this spring:
"I’m really pleased with his poise, leadership and habits off the field studying what we need to do to be successful,” Muschamp said. “He’s got the ability and we’re very pleased.”
On Brantley's tough spring game:
“I don’t think in the spring game John had much of a chance,” Muschamp said. “I was behind him and saw it coming pretty fast, too.”
Muschamp made Florida's policy on grayshirting very clear, in that they don't do it period. He also mentioned that Javares McRoy transferred because he wants to play with his brother and Chris Dunkley left because, "sometimes things don't fit." All the injured Florida players should be healthy and ready to go this summer.
Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
"Well, we like the way the rule is now because we actually sign four or five guys that are on the bubble of qualifying. This year we've got about five that haven't quite done it and probably three that won't make it," Spurrier said. "We could not sign all of our guys which was embarrassing for us a little bit and for them. Sometimes time heals a lot of wounds. It appears that one guy in particular will be able to sign and come with us when all the freshmen report. Our state education is.. a lot of them are borderline of qualifying or not. It's helpful for the University of South Carolina to be able to oversign."
Spurrier touched on suspended quarterback Steven Garcia, which you can read more about here. It's the Old Ball Coach's 66th birthday today and he said he was teeing off with Boo Weekley at a pro-am this afternoon. Spurrier was upbeat on current quarterback Connor Shaw, even joking he "is from our planet," in contrast to Garcia.
James Franklin, Vanderbilt
On the challenge at Vandy:
"I love the word daunting. To me, it's an opportunity, it's a challenge," Franklin said. "Just like everything else in life, it's how you look at it and perceive the situation. The way myself, this staff and this program looks at it, we have a chance to really do something special."
Franklin said the team stayed healthy for the most part this spring which was key because of depth issues. The spring was mainly about laying a foundation and the head coach felt they did that.
Derek Dooley, Tennessee
On the fan base being more united with some stability in the program:
"I hope fans see a coach who wants to be here and appreciates the tradition and the history of Tennessee football and has a good systematic approach on and off the field," Dooley said.
The head coach also said his honeymoon was over with the fans and that it ended at kickoff of last season. Dooley dismissed some of the struggles of quarterback Tyler Bray in the spring game because of the way he performed throughout the spring. He briefly touched on the 'Dooley Rule' that was implemented requiring a runoff of time in the last minute of a game on a penalty and said that it makes the game better.
Nick Saban, Alabama
On meeting with players to evaluate their progress:
"We go over a player's strengths, weaknesses, things he needs to work on, academic circumstance, personal issues, problems, leadership things he can contribute," Saban said. "It's pretty comprehensive to sit down and talk, sort of develop a plan for what that person needs to do to be successful personally, academically and athletically."
Saban discussed the quarterback battle between Phillip Sims and A.J. McCarron, including the possibility of playing both. Saban mentioned walk-on defensive back Ranzell Watkins as one player who is in the competition for a starting job because of his hard work this spring.
Bobby Petrino, Arkansas
On the QB battle between Tyler Wilson and Brandon Mitchell:
"I think they still have a long way to go," Petrino said. "They both have great leadership qualities but they have a ways to go to do their job well so they can lead by example first."
Petrino said the Spring Game was one of the most attended in history and was a big deal because it was televised. He was pleased with figuring some of his offensive line out this spring and thought his defense showed off the veteran unit's maturity. Petrino mentioned having four good receivers will help the offense tremendously no matter the quarterback.
Houston Nutt, Ole Miss
On QB Randall Mackey's spring:
"I thought Randall Mackey had an outstanding spring," Nutt said. "You can see why he was a junior college All-American quarterback. He can really spin the play and buy some time, he has some escapablity and is very accurate. We knew he could be in the shotgun but he got up under center much better."
Nutt said Mackey was ahead in the quarterback derby but nothing is finalized until this fall. He thought the few seniors on the team really stepped up and showed great leadership. Nutt also liked the way the defensive tackles got better as the spring went on and felt they also became more physical. He labeled Wesley Pendleton as the surprise of the spring.
Mark Richt, Georgia
On spring practice overall:
"I think we got better, we practiced with the right amount of intensity," Richt said. "We competed well, guys were competing for jobs, competing in offense versus defense."
Richt said the offensive tackle situation is fluid and still up in the air and the third guy could end up playing both left and right tackle. Richt said he wouldn't ban social media for his players because he knows it's such a big part of their lives. "They sacrifice enough with the amount of time they put in," he said. Richt did mention that it would be an issue if a guy is irresponsible with it. Richt wouldn't comment on the locker room thefts that occurred a few weeks ago.
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
On the quarterback position:
“The competition, to me, is wide open right now,” Mullen said. “Chris Relf, obviously, did a great job this spring. I don’t know if he separated himself from all the other guys but he also has the experience and has played in the game and has done nothing to not be our top quarterback at this point going into the summer.”
Mullen didn't comment on any of the injuries on the team. He mentioned that since there were so many young players, it was good to get some practice time with them and they did a great job. He said the defense won't really change with the departure of Manny Diaz but that they would try a few new things. Mullen said he doesn't have a top-flight wide out but the group overall is very solid.
Gene Chizik, Auburn
On the all the distractions around the program:
"We only focus on one thing and that's what we can control,' Chizik said. "We know we're doing everything the right way and feel good about the direction of the program. We don't pay attention to any outside distractions."
Chizik thought there was an eagerness to learn from the younger players on the team but they have a long ways to go. He wanted the quarterbacks to be more consistency and will be a battle into the fall. Incoming quarterback Kiehl Fraizer will be in the mix as well.
Joker Phillips, Kentucky
On what he's gotten out of spring football:
"I've really been pleased with the progress of our team defensively," Phillips said. "I'm really pleased after 14 practices that we're getting the best personnel on the field and we're unitizing some of our better people."
Phillips liked the development of the quarterbacks and feels they can be a better passing team in the fall. He said they're in "desperate need" of somebody stepping up on the perimeter at wide receiver and being a playmaker.
Tags: A.J. McCarron, Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Bobby Petrino, Boo Weekley, Brandon Mitchell, Chris Dunkley, Chris Relf, Connor Shaw, Dan Mullen, Derek Dooley, Florida, Gene Chizik, Georgia, Houston Nutt, James Franklin, Jarrett Lee, Javares McRoy, John Brantley, Joker Phillips, Jordan Jefferson, Kentucky, Kiehl Frazier, Les Miles, LSU, Manny Diaz, Mark Richt, Mississippi State, Nick Saban, Ole Miss, Phillip Sims, Randall Mackey, Ranzell Watkins, SEC, Steve Kragthorpe, Steve Spurrier, Steven Garcia, Tennessee, Tyler Bray, Tyler Wilson, Vanderbilt, Wesley Pendleton, Will Muschamp, Zach Mettenberger
Posted on: March 10, 2011 1:42 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at Georgia , who begins spring practice today.
Spring Practice Question: Is the Bulldog offense ready to make a push up front?
Entering 2010, the biggest reason Georgia was supposed to be the biggest challenger to two-time defending SEC East champion (and heavy 2010 favorite) Florida was, not coincidentally, their biggest players. Led by veterans like bookend senior tackles Clint Boling and Josh Davis, the Bulldogs boasted the nation's most experienced offensive line . With highly-regarded (and well-compensated) OL coach Stacy Searels leading the unit, the line was believed to be the SEC's best.
Entering 2011, things are very, very different. That line fell far short of the advance hype, with the Bulldogs finishing a disappointing 10th in the SEC in rushing (ahead of only Vanderbilt and Tennessee), doing nothing special in pass protection, and even seeing Searels juggle the lineup late in the year. Though the line wasn't the only problem, it also did precious little to help as Georgia scored 12 points or fewer three times (all losses) and finished a mediocre 56th in the country in total offense. Following the disappointment, Boling, Davis, Trinton Sturdivant (who eventually replaced Davis) and guard Chris Davis all graduated. Searels accepted the same position at Texas. And the advance hype will almost certainly move on to some other team this offseason.
But that doesn't mean it's too late for the Georgia line to get Mark Richt to another SEC title game. For starters, there's still plenty of talent on hand even after the departures, starting with senior center Ben Jones (pictured, a 2009 All-SEC pick before being overlooked last year), 325-pound senior guard Cordy Glenn, and junior guard Kenarious Gates, another player who ascended to the starting lineup late in the year. After seemingly tuning out Searels last year, the Bulldogs will have a new voice in their ears in new coach Will Friend. And maybe most importantly of all, the remaining Bulldogs will have the sting of last year's failures -- rather than an offseason of praise -- fueling them. If Georgia's spring practice shows that the line is enjoying the proverbial addition by subtraction and looks poised to make good on the hype a year late, the rest of the SEC should look out.
Add all of that to a defense that seems certain to improve in the second year of Todd Grantham's 3-4 scheme, in a division that's as wide open as any in the SEC's recent memory, and the tools are there for Richt to forge a championship season out of even the miserable ashes of 6-7. But they won't do much good without a huge step forward from the offensive line, and that's where Bulldog fans' primary focus ought to be this spring.
Tags: A.J. Green, Aaron Murray, Ben Jones, Chris Davis, Clint Boling, Cordy Glenn, Florida, Florida, Georgia, Georgia, Isaiah Crowell, Josh Davis, Kenarious Gates, Kris Durham, Marcus Lattimore, Mark Richt, Marlon Brown, Orson Charles, Rantavious Wooten, SEC, Spring practice, Spring Practice Primer, Stacy Searels, Tavarres King, Tennessee, Texas, Todd Grantham, Trinton Sturdivant, Vanderbilt, Will Friend
Posted on: March 10, 2011 12:58 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
A whole host of explanations have been floated over the past few months for Georgia's 6-7 disaster of a 2010 college football season, from a shoddy temporary weight room to bad fourth quarter luck to poor coaching from Mark Richt and his staff to plain ol' "not that good."
But few of those explanations have carried the kind of force that junior linebacker Christian Robinson's does. Speaking with Chris Low, Robinson blamed the 2010 collapse on a lack of leadership in no uncertain terms (emphasis added) :
“We’re holding each other accountable and have the right kind of attitude,” Robinson said. “I think we’ve eliminated some people maybe that were cancerous , whether it was people who graduated or might not be here anymore. We’ve become a team of guys that want to be here and want to do well for Georgia.”Obviously, that's some awfully strong (and not particularly sensitive) language Robinson's wielding. But is he wrong? The reason there's been so much speculation regarding Georgia's season is because in some ways, it defied explanation; for a team with supreme talents like A.J. Green, Justin Houston and Clint Boling to go under .500 with their freshman quarterback generally excelling and the Bulldogs statistical profile perfectly intact (UGA finished fourth in the SEC in both yards per-play and yards per-play allowed) doesn't make much sense.
So the leadership void is as good an explanation as any. And if Robinson's correct that that void has been filled, Georgia could find themselves returning to the conference title conversation in a hurry.