Richt’s message to coaches: Keep it simple

 It’s Friday and, as always, we are going to leave the floor entirely open for you. You may raise any topic as long as it’s clean. I’m getting ready to head to Destin for next week’s SEC Spring Meetings. We will join you from there on Monday.

Here are five topics to get our Friday conversation going:

1. Richt’s marching orders to coaches: Keep it simple. Jeff Woolverton of 790 The Zone and I taped an interview with Georgia coach Mark Richt yesterday that is scheduled to run today on the “Brandon and Woolvey” show between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

www.790thezone.com

In that interview Richt said something that I am hearing from more and more head coaches these days.

Richt told me that when his staff reassembles this summer to prepare for preseason practice, his No. 1 message to them will be: Keep it simple.

I’m paraphrasing here, but Richt’s point was that as offensive and defensive schemes get more and more complex, coaches have to be careful not to overload  players with more information than they can process and still play at full speed. If you do that, the players spend too much time thinking about what they are supposed to do and not using their athleticism to make plays.

Bobby Petrino gave the same marching orders this spring to his defensive coordinator, Willy Robinson, whose unit was dead last in the SEC (401.15 ypg) last season.

Richt’s hope is that this philosophy will positively impact two problem areas.  Georgia’s defense only forced 12 turnovers last season (2 fumbles, 10 interceptions). Georgia also committed 105 penalties in 13 games.

George O’Leary told me a long time ago: “Football is a simple game. It’s coaches who make it complicated.”

 

2.  SEC Commissioner Mike Slive earned his $1 million bonus: The SEC’s 15-year, $3 billion television contract with CBS and ESPN has put the conference on a good financial footing for the foreseeable future. The SEC’s presidents recognized that recently and rewarded him with a $1 million bonus. Folks, trust me when I tell you that this man has earned every bit of that bonus.

First of all, the TV contract took some vision and some guts to pull off. Slive hired Chuck Gerber, one of the best TV guys in the business, to help negotiate the deal. The deal got done in August of 2008, right before the bottom fell out of the economy. The timing could not have been better for the SEC.

Since he arrived in July of 2002, Slive has shown strong leadership through a number of issues. He put a stop to conference members turning in other conference members to the NCAA. He read his football coaches the riot act last spring when some of them were sniping at each other in the media. He instituted a no-tolerance policy on complaining about officiating. When Urban Meyer violated the policy, Slive fined him $30,000. You don’t mess with the former judge.

And as Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News points out, he deserves most of that bonus for simply putting up with Lane Kiffin for a year.

http://blog.al.com/kevin-scarbinsky/2010/05/scarbinsky_slive_earned_every.html

Did I mention that the SEC has won four straight national championships in football?

Yep. The commish worked hard for that bonus. His current contract runs through July 31, 2012.

 

3. Only in the South: I often get asked about the big difference between the South and other parts of the country when it comes to college football. Here’s another example:

A Southern politician can cut the arts. He can cut school lunch programs. He can cut the size of the state’s work force. He can cut just about anything he needs to. But Bubba, don’t ever-EVER-joke about cutting the salary of the head football coach of the state university.

Tim James, a Republican candidate to be Alabama’s next governor, got into some hot water during a campaign stop when he joked about cutting the $5 million salary of Alabama coach Nick Saban.

Fact No. 1: James played football at Auburn as did his father, former Alabama Governor Fob James. Fob James, in fact, was Vince Dooley’s roommate at Auburn.

Fact No. 2: Saban led Alabama to a 14-0 record and the BCS national championship last season.

Fact 3: If you are an Alabama politician, when in doubt, don’t forget Fact No. 2.

As Paul Finebaum points out, James compounded the gaffe by not laughing it off as a verbal misstep from an Auburn man. James should have gotten in the car, driven to Tuscaloosa and begged Saban for a photo op.

http://blog.al.com/press-register-sports/2010/05/finebaum_nick_saban_gaffe_coul.html

James should know that even if he becomes governor, he will still be only the second most powerful man in the state.

 

4. Cross, Stallings reach the College Football Hall of Fame: Congratulations go out to my CBS College Sports colleague Randy Cross and former Alabama coach Gene Stallings who were named to the College Football Hall of Fame on Thursday. Cross played on a Rose Bowl team at UCLA and then had a 13-year career with the San Francisco 49ers. He lives in Atlanta.

Coach Stallings won a national championship at Alabama in 1992 and won 70 games in seven seasons with the Crimson Tide. Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez was the other coach named to the Hall of Fame.

The rest of the players in the new Hall of Fame class included: Clarkston Hines, WR, Duke (1986-89); Dennis Byrd, DE, N.C. State (1964-67); Ronnie Caveness, C, Arkansas (1962-64); Ray Childress, DL, Texas A&M (1981-84); Sam Cunningham, RB, Southern California (1970-72); Mark Hermann, QB, Purdue (1977-80); Desmond Howard, WR, Michigan (1989-91); Chet Moeller, DB, Navy (1973-75); Jerry Stovall, QB/HB, LSU (1960-62); Pat Tillman, LB, Arizona State (1994-97); Alfred Williams, LB, Colorado (1987-90).

Tillman passed on a pro football career to enlist in the military in 2002. He was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2004. His induction will be an emotional one.

The 12 players and two coaches will be inducted during ceremonies in New York on Dec. 7.

 

5. Think Rich Rod wishes he had taken the Alabama job?:  Rich Rodriguez had an opportunity to become the head coach at Alabama in 2006.  Instead he stayed at West Virginia and in 2007 took the Mountaineers to a No. 2 national ranking and to the brink of playing in the BCS championship game. In 2008 he became the head coach at Michigan. He is not having a lot of fun.

This week Michigan self-imposed a series of penalties after admitting to four major NCAA rules violations. It reprimanded seven people, including Rodriguez, who has posted seasons of 3-9 and 5-7 in Ann Arbor. Most of the rules violations dealt with excessive practice time, really a misdemeanor in the grand scheme of things. But when your football program has been pristine forever, it’s a tough pill for the school to swallow.

Understand that Rich Rod has made some enemies since he got to Ann Arbor. For 40 years, starting with Bo Schembechler in 1969, Michigan has done things a certain way. Rodriguez does things his way. That has gotten him sideways with some powerful folks.

But let’s be clear on this: These NCAA violations will simply be the pretext to ease him out the door if Michigan doesn’t show some kind of significant improvement on the field this season. If Michigan beats Ohio State (which it won’t), all is forgiven.

 

Hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend.

 

Please follow me on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/MrCFB

416 comments Add your comment

GeezusDawg

May 28th, 2010
8:27 am

Musashi

May 28th, 2010
8:32 am

Good blog Tony and congrats to the HOF class of 2010. If Rich Rod has another bad season he’s out like a fat kid in dodgeball.

TommyJack

May 28th, 2010
8:33 am

Ah, the doldrums.

Mikey

May 28th, 2010
8:36 am

Tony, what’s the over/under for Urb having a stroke on the sideline when things don’t go right this year?

Joey

May 28th, 2010
8:48 am

So the self -imposed penalty for a “misdemeanor in the grand scheme of things” is two years probation? It must be a little bigger deal than you’re stating, Tony. And the NCAA could add to the penalty if it deems necessary.

Yoda

May 28th, 2010
8:48 am

TB…how the heck does a coach with Stallings record get into the Hall of Fame, especially if you consider that he helpped Bama get thrown on probation for the Langham mess.

Greensboro News & Record

May 28th, 2010
8:49 am

……………….NESBITT for HEISMAN………………

Hap

May 28th, 2010
8:49 am

Enjoy the oil stench tony.

DP

May 28th, 2010
8:50 am

As an Alabama grad and fan, I would like to thank Rich Rodriguez’s wife for not wanting to come to Tuscaloosa. Michigan fans have my sympathy.

New Gator Fan

May 28th, 2010
9:02 am

The Gator offense keeps it simple. And they win rings.

D B Cooper

May 28th, 2010
9:02 am

How is it that Rich Rod got it done at WVA and cant at Mich? Any insite Tony

Gator Mike

May 28th, 2010
9:03 am

Tony,
Great article.
Hope everyone has a super weekend!

Go Gators! Go SEC!

gdawginkalamazoo

May 28th, 2010
9:08 am

#3 Hilarious. James better hope that there are more Aubies in Alabama than elephants. In that case he wins. If not he should just quit now.

RichRod has to do one of two things this season. Win 8 or more games. Or win whatever AND beat OSU. Not a lot of happy Michigan fans right now. RichRod will be gone if he doesn’t accomplish either one. In that case look for a traditional Michigan man to be back in the HC spot. My guess, might be Miles if Carr ever vacates his corner office. I think Miles has been slowing declining at LSU so the fans will want him to leave instead of just taking flight like some former LSU coach.

Paddy

May 28th, 2010
9:13 am

Rich Rod won’t win at UM, even if hed had the 4 Horseman and the Black Watch defense!

gdawginkalamazoo

May 28th, 2010
9:13 am

DB Cooper, Big Ten versus Big East.

SimpleDawg

May 28th, 2010
9:19 am

Ol’ Fob won the Governor’s Office even though The Bear backed Bill Baxley……but Fob still had to curry Bear’s favor to be accepted in certain powerful circles….and so will the son have to suck up to Satan.

Rich Rod has been a disaster at Meechigan. He should’ve stayed at WVU, but his ego overpowered his intellect. He’s committed mistakes in the football program, and he’s a real magnet for bad business deals.

“Football ain’t hard….if you’re a football player.” W. W. “Pudge” Heffelfinger

Mike

May 28th, 2010
9:22 am

Barry Alvarez is the top coach going into the Hall of Fame in this class. What he did at Wisconsin is mind blowing. Going to the worst program in the conference and in three years taking them from 1-10 to Rose Bowl champions then adding two more Rose Bowl wins and doing it with high grad rates in admirable. Finishing 3-0 in BCS games and doinng something at a place that hadn’t won a conference title in 40 years before he got there is quite something. He is a class act.

Dan

May 28th, 2010
9:28 am

kalamazoo – then how did he spank UGA in the Sugar Bowl and Oklahoma in the Fiesta (although he wasn’t coaching that team because he had taken the Mich. job a few weeks earlier).

Reptiles Rule

May 28th, 2010
9:28 am

Mikey…what the chances of Urban having a stroke on the sidelines?? About the same as Mark Richt winning a National Championship. And I believe Slim just walked out the door……Stay classy my fiend!

ATLBadger

May 28th, 2010
9:34 am

Topic #3 is just sad. I guess in the South, football will always be more important than everything else that goes on at schools…

UT96

May 28th, 2010
9:35 am

I think it’s a smart move on Richt’s part to keep it simple. It really does all boil down to fundamentals-blocking and tackling.

Rational Citizen

May 28th, 2010
9:36 am

I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend. Today, in light of current events, I’m going to switch it up. Instead of advocating the myriad benefits of the legalization of marijuana (which, by the way, Tony, you have yet to chime in on), I’d like to say a few words about the need for our country to address our addiction to oil.

It is my belief that the sooner we begin a serious transition to alternative energy the better off we will all be. We currently send hundreds of billions of dollars overseas every single year in order to feed our addiction. Alternative energy, while by no means a cure-all for our energy needs, will allow the U.S. to create jobs in America that cannot be outsourced to other countries.

Our current policy is short-sighted, and is only benefiting oil companies and their shareholders. We give over $14 BILLION dollars a year in corporate welfare to an industry that boasts 3 of the top 5 most profitable companies in America. Instead, we should be investing in R&D for alternative energy. It may make only a dent initially in our energy needs, but the more energy we can create here in America will generate jobs and American profits. The energy may be more expensive, but that money will be recycled through OUR economy, and not sent overseas so that Saudi princes can buy hooker and yachts.

We all need to make sacrifices. It may be painful in the short run, but it’s the only viable long-term solution for our country.

RAMBLE ON!!!

May 28th, 2010
9:39 am

Of course with UGA football players, you better keep it simple.

Hunter

May 28th, 2010
9:41 am

Interesting article on BCS sleepers – check it out and let me know what you think.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/397847-two-potential-bcs-sleepers

UT96

May 28th, 2010
9:42 am

Rich Rodriguez, much like that jerk off Kiffin, is just a bad fit at Michigan. First prediction- He will be gone at season’s end.

Yoda

May 28th, 2010
9:44 am

Who let Al Gore in here? Rational Citizen….you do know that this is NOT the Op-Ed blog, right.

UT96

May 28th, 2010
9:44 am

Rational Citizen, you’re making way too much sense. The government will never go for it:)

Rational Citizen

May 28th, 2010
9:47 am

Yoda, go back and read the first line of Tony’s article. Go back and read the first line of Tony’s article every Friday for the past year. I realize that this is not an op-ed blog. That is why I wait patiently until Friday to slap you all in the face with some truth.

Bawney Fwank

May 28th, 2010
9:47 am

What’s the chance of “Mikey” ever growing up and maturing into a man?

Obvious

May 28th, 2010
9:49 am

Tony the part about not cutting the football coaches salary, is why the south is at the bottom of every educational evaluation. Vandy is college football, Georgia, Florida, Alabama………….. is just semi-pro.

UT96

May 28th, 2010
9:51 am

Rational Citizen, also, the money the Saudi’s are getting from us is ebing used to fund terrorist groups. They are no friend of the United States.

#2 BAMA FAN

May 28th, 2010
9:51 am

Coach Stallings is a fine man and gentleman who deserves in being in the College Football Hall of Fame. Yes Alabama is lucky Rich Rod is not coaching the crimson tide and very very lucky to have
Saban as coach. Rational Citizen you make a good point with the alternatice energy story!! RTR

Duh Chicken or dee egg

May 28th, 2010
9:51 am

It cant be obvious when you have your head up your arse!

Give Wildlife a Chance

May 28th, 2010
9:53 am

Please refrain from purchasing any BP products until they clean up their mess.

UT96

May 28th, 2010
9:53 am

#2 Bama Fan, agree on Stallings-definitely a great man.

RAMBLE ON!!!

May 28th, 2010
9:54 am

King Obama and BP:

Both have spent almost 1 trillion dollars in just over 1 month, to create 20,000 temporary jobs.

ALL HAIL KING OBAMA!!!

RAMBLE ON!!!

May 28th, 2010
9:57 am

That’s right, don’t buy BP so they can go Ch. 11 and leave us the tab.

Buy Exxon!!!

no, better yet, buy Fina and help support King Chavez!!!

leland

May 28th, 2010
9:57 am

Dear Mr. CF–no wonder the coaches want to keep everything simple. The players get so mixed up they don’t what to do. I feel for ‘em.

Also, thanks for letting us know that Randy Cross lives in Atlanta. I had no idea, I had no idea.

Your pal, Leland

Yoda

May 28th, 2010
9:58 am

#2 BAMA FAN….uh does 89-70-1 look like Hall of Fame credentials?

The #1 Key to UGA's Season

May 28th, 2010
9:58 am

Keeping it simple, the key to UGA’s season ain’t about penalities–Florida got flagged for 95 and had a strong year and Richt is 25-2 when committing 10+ penalties. The key is not turnover margin, several teams finished in the top 20 there, and went 5-7.

The key is scoring margin. If you’re up by 25, penalties, turnovers, bad calls, don’t matter because you have a margin for error.

No other stat matters.

To win the SEC, the Offense needs to average 30+ points a game, the defense needs to average less than 14 points a game.

Richt’s 3 best years, scoring marging was +17, +14, +13. Last year’s scoring margin was +3.

Bama & Florida were up around 20+ points a game average scoring margin last year.

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 28th, 2010
9:59 am

#2 BAMA FAN

Stallings was a great coach indeed. Anyhoo, congrats on Bama beating Ole Miss. Auburn will face them today which should be fun since Auburn swept them last week. Bama will face either Vandy or Florida.

Auburn will still be set for the baseball playoffs. Either a number 1 or 2 seed I believe.

War Damn Eagle!

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 28th, 2010
10:00 am

RAMBLE ON!!!

Chavez owns Citgo, right? I always make it a point to avoid Citgo. If my car was on empty I’d rather pay to call a tow truck than to stop and fill up at Commie Co.

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 28th, 2010
10:02 am

“Both have spent almost 1 trillion dollars in just over 1 month, to create 20,000 temporary jobs.”

Little known fact: The Census jobs are interesting. Did you know, that census workers are hired and fired and hired back again within days, so that the Obozo administration can go out and talk about job creation?

It’s true.

kgator79

May 28th, 2010
10:06 am

Mikey….

Dont worry! Meyer will be just fine and ready when the season starts to show all of Florida’s rivals that he is good to go.

RAMBLE ON!!!

May 28th, 2010
10:10 am

Forrest, you are correct about both, sorry, my bad.

I have a question for you. Who would you believe first, a retired Rear Admiral or a Chicago Politician?

…can we last till November?

Mike

May 28th, 2010
10:11 am

Takeaways took the Saints from worse to 1st in one year.

Their defense was aveeage statistically but the best in 1 way:
TAKEAWAYS

The defensive staff preached takeaways all the time, that’s all people heard.

The defense tracked the number of times the football was touched by:
1) tips
2) strips
3) knock downs
4) interceptions
5) punched

gdawginkalamazoo

May 28th, 2010
10:14 am

Dan, because RichRod had two special freshmen on his team that nobody was familiar with (Slaton & White). Richt and his DC didn’t prepare very well for those kids. And he just out coached Richt in that game. The fake punt was a great and gutsy call. And Oklahoma has a history of choking in the big games under Stoops when they shouldn’t.

Athens

May 28th, 2010
10:15 am

Keep it Simple, stay away from Shreveport.

Charlie Bama

May 28th, 2010
10:16 am

Did Tony ever give Auburn the 2004 ‘Most Improved’ trophy? Seriously. I’m not adding anything to this blog until he does that. Otherwise the general creativity and perceptiveness of commentors & contributors will stay down in that Lee County hayseed family bucket. So testy!

gdawginkalamazoo

May 28th, 2010
10:18 am

Dan, and those WV kids played great games. Credit to those kids most of all.