Fan talk: Losing Rodney Garner, and does Mark Richt take bowl games seriously enough?

How will Rodney Garner leaving for Auburn impact UGA recruiting? (Curtis Compton / AJC)

How will Rodney Garner leaving for Auburn impact UGA recruiting? (Curtis Compton / AJC)

What are fans buzzing about? Well, let’s get straight to some Junkyard Mail to find out. …

Randy Powell writes: Bill, I was shocked to see that after all these years Rodney Garner is leaving UGA. It seems like a lateral move, other than a pay hike, but I suppose I can understand the lure of returning to his alma mater. From our standpoint, just how disruptive do you think losing Garner will be to Georgia’s all-important recruiting class? And who do you think Coach Richt will tap as Garner’s replacement?

While there’s no way losing your recruiting coordinator in the midst of recruiting season can be seen as a plus, Garner leaving for Auburn is not likely to devastate Georgia’s incoming class. I think our Michael Carvell has a pretty good take on this situation. He notes that while Garner was considered one of the best recruiters in the business 10 years ago, his impact with the team’s current recruiting class was limited, especially after UGA hired Daryl Jones as director of on-campus recruiting. And while Garner’s work generally has resulted in strong classes at UGA, he’s been criticized in some corners for the lateness with which Georgia approached some key in-state talent. Also, Mike Bobo, Todd Grantham and Bryan McClendon are the Dogs’ ace recruiters, with Mark Richt a superb closer. As Carvell says, where the loss of Garner might be felt is with UGA’s defensive line targets, particularly Montravius Adams and Toby Johnson, since he would have been their position coach. Georgia apparently will hire a new DL coach to replace Garner. As for who will take over as UGA’s recruiting coordinator, a strong contender would be tight ends coach John Lilly, who did the same job at Florida State. McClendon is another possibility. While Bobo is one of Georgia’s strongest recruiters, I think it likely he’ll stay put as offensive coordinator.

Murphy Townsend writes: To what degree does Richt’s tweet about allowing the team to play wiffle ball instead of practice concern you? It concerns me somewhat, considering UGA’s fairly flat bowl performances under Richt (’01 loss to B.C., ‘03 and ‘04 scares to overmatched Big Ten teams, ‘05 obliteration at the hands of WVU, ‘06 close win vs VT, and the bad losses of ‘10 and ‘11). The comment reminded me of the story that came out of the ‘05 Sugar Bowl practices where Chester Adams sang a Christmas song which excused the team from a practice session; we all remember how that game worked out. After that loss, Richt said he would approach bowl preparations differently, but the team has since underachieved in bowls with a couple of exceptions. It seems that Richt views bowl games as exhibition games, which they are essentially, except for the fact that people spend a lot of money to go on bowl trips (my family included).  Also, I’m sure that the players do have fun on these trips, but if truth be told, it would seem that they would be willing to put in more serious preparation in order to send their senior teammates out with a win and to close the season out on a positive note.  What are your insights on this issue?

Amid some rainy weather, Richt let the team play wiffle ball last Sunday in place of practice to provide a break from the monotony of post-exams practice, much in the same way he usually does in August with a trip to the swimming pool. With no classes, it’s been pretty much all football for the players most of the past week and this was seen as a team-bonding experience. Also, bowl practices are considered a time to start preparing for next season, especially with the younger players, so getting another win is not the only thing on the coaches’ minds. Still, you’ve raised an interesting question about whether Richt puts enough emphasis on winning the bowl games. While a bowl trip is supposed to be a reward for the players, ending the season with a pair of losses like last year wouldn’t be good for the general morale of the program. Some coaches are all business all the time, but Richt isn’t one of them. And that’s not likely to change.

Blair Walsh has had a terrific rookie season kicking for the Vikings. (Associated Press)

Blair Walsh has had a terrific rookie season kicking for the Vikings. (Associated Press)

Travis Hill writes: Merry Christmas Bill, Hoping our boys play like champions in the upcoming bowl game. Other than our run defense the main thing that concerns me is our field goal kicking. It is still all over the place. You think Richt or one of our assistants could go visit Blair Walsh’s kicking coach for a few pointers? Our staff seems like they just cross their fingers and hope it all works out in the end sometimes.

Considering the success Minnesota Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer has had in turning Walsh around after his disappointing senior season at UGA, I think perhaps Richt might do well to consult with him, especially if Georgia’s head coach really does plan on taking over coaching the kickers, as he suggested earlier this season. Priefer quickly diagnosed Walsh’s main problem, saying he was rushing his kicks at Georgia, and the results speak for themselves: With the Vikings, Walsh has set team records for field goals of at least 50 yards in a game (three) and a season (eight). He is 29-for-32 on the season, a 90.6 percent mark that makes him a possible Pro Bowl or All-Pro candidate, and his 119 points is a Vikings rookie record. So, yeah, I think a visit with Priefer sounds like a good idea!

Mike Darnell writes: Bill, Is it possible that Jarvis Jones would pose such a financial risk to an NFL team that he would not be drafted? The fact that USC’s medical team did not clear him to play has to mean something plus the big money associated with the NFL is a different ballgame altogether.

I think Southern Cal’s medical team simply blew it with Jones. UGA wouldn’t have cleared him for play if there was any residual problem and he’s held up well the past two seasons. I’m sure any NFL team thinking about signing him will have him checked out thoroughly but I’m sure just about any of them would be fine with the “risk” considering what an outstanding talent he is.

Keith Coggin writes: Mr. King, I hope you’re doing well. I really enjoy reading the Blawg, good work. I was hoping you could shed some light on the lack of playing time for Ken Malcome, especially in the SEC Championship game as we were running power. I don’t know the stats but [Todd] Gurley took the majority of the snaps against a big strong defensive corp. It seems to me that would have been a great way to keep Gurley fresh especially in the fourth quarter. What do you think?

Ken Malcome isn't happy with the amount of playing time he's gotten. (University of Georgia)

Ken Malcome isn't happy with the amount of playing time he's gotten. (University of Georgia)

Thanks, Keith. I think you’d have a hard time convincing me taking the ball out of Todd Gurley’s hands and giving it to Ken Malcome would be a plus, though I think Keith Marshall perhaps should have gotten a few more carries against Alabama. Malcome is a decent back, but he’s third-string at Georgia for a reason. As for Malcome’s recent comments that he was “not too happy” with the playing time situation, I liked what Mike Bobo had to say: “Well, if he wants more playing time he’s gotta prove it on the practice field. … The best guys are gonna play, really, regardless of age.”

Paul Krueger writes: Hey Bill, I have a new wrinkle for our offense that should be called the Wild Gurshall, in which we would direct snap the ball to Gurley and then run the option pitch to Marshall. I think they should debut it for the bowl game against Nebraska. Who would you tackle? How would you cover it?

I’d be surprised to see any new wrinkle like that installed for the bowl game, though a formation like that would certainly be pure Dawg porn for the fans! But I’m not sure it really would play to Gurley’s strengths as a running back.

Daniel Smith writes: Hey Bill, would like to get your input on something. With another record breaking year on his resume, do you think Bobo will get a substantial raise? He is making $335,000 every year. That’s cheap for a coordinator in this league. You surprisingly don’t hear about any offers to Bobo publicly. Will UGA bump him up to or over $500,000 to keep him around significantly longer?

Yeah, I’d say Bobo, one of the lowest-paid offensive coordinators in the conference, is due for a big pay raise next season. He may drive fans crazy sometimes, but Bobo is a big reason the Dogs have one of the nation’s best offenses.

Jon Herring writes: Bill, I was at the SEC championship game and I have to say it was probably the most exciting game I have ever witnessed.  Not the best mind you but definitely exciting (a Georgia win would have made it the best). Cutting to the chase, do you think there might be a controversy in 2014 where one of the SEC division winners would decline to play in the SECCG because a loss in that game could knock them out of the 4 team playoff? I know it’s far fetched but the logic makes sense. Just like Georgia was penalized for winning the east, playing in the SECCG, and then losing where it kicked them out of a BCS bowl, I could see a scenario where there would be more risk of losing the game and not making the playoffs than playing in the game.  An SEC championship is great but a National Championship is greater, IMO. Thoughts?

I don’t believe a team has the option of declining to play in the conference championship game, nor do I think it likely any team would consider doing so even if it could. But I do think the SEC, which had to pressure the Capital One to take Georgia this year, needs to do some more work in protecting the loser of its title match, and probably will.

That’s it for now. Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!

Got a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

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81 comments Add your comment

Dawg Fud

December 21st, 2012
10:55 am

Wish Garner well but the recruiting program does not hinge on his abilities. He has been “threatening” to leave every year for about 7 years now.

Dawg Fud

December 21st, 2012
10:57 am

…..and would really love a solid, proven DL Coach for Christmas. One that could prevent 350 yds rushing in the SECCG.

BigDawg

December 21st, 2012
11:19 am

CTG will get the best possible candidate!!

SSIgator

December 21st, 2012
11:28 am

“I was shocked to see that after all these years Rodney Garner is leaving UGA.”
____________________

The one UGA player who is probably glad is Barcardi “Speedbump” Rumboy. He is still pulling the cleats out of himself from the Eddie Lacey’s of the world he has tried to tackle after they blew through the UGA D-line.

SSIgator

December 21st, 2012
11:32 am

“With no classes, it’s been pretty much all football for the players”
_____________________

No wonder St. Markus Rectumus gets all of those “good” recruits. UGA – where you don’t have to go to class, just play ball.

Bad Dawg, Bad Dawg

December 21st, 2012
11:34 am

The Georgia Tech football team place 35 players on the dean’s list for the fall term, including 23 scholarship players. This at Tech…..Dawgs arrest record in off season?

SSIgator

December 21st, 2012
11:41 am

“Georgia was penalized for winning the east”
_________________________

I guess that means they were “penalized” by having to play a SEC West team? Yeah, you are right. I bet UGA would liked to have skipped that part altogether.

Go Dawgs

December 21st, 2012
11:45 am

Hey SSIgator… you do realize it is Christmas break? I’m pretty sure the Gaytor players don’t have to go to class during the Christmas break!

SSIgator

December 21st, 2012
11:46 am

“You surprisingly don’t hear about any offers to Bobo publicly”
______________

. . . or privately, or any at all for that matter. Wonder why? Coaching?

Tech's Parks & Recreation major

December 21st, 2012
11:47 am

We all know that GT offers a Parks/rec major and it does require knowledge of math with determining the cost of a cubic yard of concrete for fence post holes. It does require math for being able to discern difference in 2×6s vs 2×8s. Also, one needs to read the load tables that determine loads for beams, needed to span the width of swing sets in Atlanta’s public parks,etc.

TECH men the right stuff they are. A MYTH !!!

Go Dawgs

December 21st, 2012
11:50 am

. . . or privately, or any at all for that matter. Wonder why? Coaching?
——————————————————————————————–
UGA had the best offense in the SEC this year. Did slightly better than UF offensive coordinator!

DogDawg

December 21st, 2012
11:54 am

Maybe after all the yards allowed on the ground vs GA Southern & Alabama, Rodney was “encouraged” to return to his alma mater.

SSIgator

December 21st, 2012
11:54 am

Like the softest schedule didn’t have any bearing on that? Snork.

Go Dawgs

December 21st, 2012
11:56 am

Like the softest schedule didn’t have any bearing on that? Snork.
————————————————————————————-
It didn’t hurt! Either way, our offense was pretty good this year. Way way better than Floriduhs! I will take Bobo and Murray over Pease and Driskell any day of the week! What’s snork? Lol

Bill King

December 21st, 2012
12:08 pm

SSIgator: UGA is on break for the holidays, like every other school. And you know it.

Gene

December 21st, 2012
12:08 pm

The real question is, can Auburn control the behavior of Garner’s recruits? Check the police blotter for Richt’s success.

7576DAWG

December 21st, 2012
12:08 pm

Notre Dame Bowl record since 1995:

1995—lost by 17
96——lost by 5
99—– lost by 18
2001—lost by 32
2003– lost by 22
2004– lost by 17
2006– lost by 14
2007– lost by 27
2008– won by 28 to Hawaii
2010– won by 16 to Miami
2011– lost by 4
I am still ticked off about Notre Dame having one good year since 1995 and the National Media embrace them like Notre Dame was still in their hay day years. The wins in 2008 was after a 6 lost season and 2010 win was after a 5 lost season . If Oregon or Kansas State had not lost they would be playing Notre Dame for the National title instead of the SEC winner. Kansas State wouldn’t have played for a Big -12 Title and Notre Dame wouldn’t have played for anything.
How can the SEC ever be treated fair in a lousy 4 team play off knowing somebody is going to get beat in the SEC Championship game and probably fall to 5 TH to 7 TH like Georgia did.
We need at least an 8 team play off to expose impostors like Notre Dame and the Big -12 declared winner.
The team that should be playing for the National Title this year is the SEC winner against Oregon. This year I thing the teams in the top eight all deserve a chance to redeem losses during the season. We want the best team in America at the end of the season as our winner. The system doesn’t allow for a team who got much better as the season went on but an eight team play off would probably include them or a two lost team where the second lost was for the Conference Championship. TEAMS SHOULD NOT BE PENALIZED FOR PLAYING IN A CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP.

robodawg

December 21st, 2012
12:11 pm

You know Kiffin must be cursing the USC medical team after the kind of season they had.

A person SMART enough to know.....

December 21st, 2012
12:13 pm

What happened?

A person SMART enough to know.....

December 21st, 2012
12:20 pm

Tech’s Parks & Recreation major
December 21st, 2012
11:47 am

We all know that GT offers a Parks/rec major and it does require knowledge of math with determining the cost of a cubic yard of concrete for fence post holes. It does require math for being able to discern difference in 2×6s vs 2×8s. Also, one needs to read the load tables that determine loads for beams, needed to span the width of swing sets in Atlanta’s public parks,etc.

TECH men the right stuff they are. A MYTH !!!
=================================================

Do you have a LINK to the Parks & Rec degree you are talking about?

Walker

December 21st, 2012
12:29 pm

I think this will give Georgia a chance to Bring in a great coach and Recruiter. Rodney has been around to long and has threatned to leave for years. He is not the best coach and we can bring in someone younger and with better skills at communicating and evaluating talent. Rodneys handling of Lawson and some others proves we need some new blood at that position. Good luck at Auburn and hope you can work through all their problems. They are probably looking at some probation and other things before they are a factor in the SEC. It will be a while before they get back to a SEC Championship Game. I feel sorry for the players they have and who they are recruiting over the next few years.

bill arp

December 21st, 2012
12:36 pm

Did you really go to the ‘dawg porn’ line? wow.

As far as playing a little wiffle ball instead of practicing on a rainy day, I don’t mind it at all. As long as it’s not the baseball team. That bat in wiffle ball will cause some serious timing issues!

Shoulda went with the ole ‘fake the spike and throw to the end-zone’ at the end of the SECCG.

seabass

December 21st, 2012
12:37 pm

I heard a national commentator say this morning he was still a sucker for a feel good story, like Notre Dame winning the national championship.The only SEC team I would not pull for in the NC game is Florida…. But I would before I pulled for Notre Dame.

7576DAWG

December 21st, 2012
1:04 pm

I think Saban wants that third National Title real bad before he turns the program over to Smart so I think Notre Dame will get Sabans best. Notre Dame does have a great coach but they will have to out play Alabama’s Offensive line and those power backs . Even though Notre Dame is suppose to have a great Defense they haven’t had to prove that for 60 minutes like they will against Alabama. Alabama learned after the Texas A&M game that you only hurt yourself when you don’t play to your strengths and Alabama’s number one strengths this year is their Offensive Line which makes their Quarterback and their running back look great.
This could be Sabans last College game so I think he go’s out with a bang and wins this game by no less than 18 points.
If Georgia beat Nebraska they will end up in the top 5 which is a great year when they did lose 2 games.

A person SMART enough to know.....

December 21st, 2012
1:26 pm

The new Recruiting Coordinator needs to be the UGa champion coach………….Suzzane Yoculan is the ONLY UGa coach to regularly win Championships. She has more Blzz than any coach currently on the football staff.

Go Vols

December 21st, 2012
2:23 pm

If you’re a DAWG fan, and you don’t think Garner’s loss was significant, you’re kidding yourself.

Look what happened at Tennesse after he left.

We had recently won a NC (something UGA will never do under Richt).

His departure had an immediate impact on us in recruiting. We no longer signed the quality of athletes to compete in the SEC, and it’s been down-hill ever since.

Just sayin’…

Left Coast Dawg

December 21st, 2012
2:35 pm

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/complete-list-georgia-football-players-nfl-200500434–ncaaf.html

I hope the new DL coach can match the productivity of Garner – 10 current NFL players/former UGA DL

BKbroila

December 21st, 2012
2:38 pm

Go Vols….so, Garner’s departure was the reason you guys havn’t won a NC since 98? Get real…It may cost us a recruit or two, but he hasn’t been happy since CTG was hired as DC…he is also a big reason for the departure of Smart and VanGorder….there has been friction between he and several staffers at UGA for some time…I think UGA will be fine without him…It’s not like Bobo, Ball and Lilly weren’t holding their own in recruiting…Grantham has run circles around him in recruiting the last 3 years and Richt can seal the deal as well as anyone….Go Dawgs…

Left Coast Dawg

December 21st, 2012
2:40 pm

Vols, while Garner will be missed, he wasn’t the reason your program sunk….not even close.
Also, it’s easier to predict the past than it is the future, comments like yours about Richt are moronic. If and when Richt does win a NC, what will you say…..how about predicting that for us. Better yet, until your program is relevant again, how about save us from the useless babble.

SSIgator

December 21st, 2012
3:15 pm

Oh, and for all of the UGA fans that like to check in on how there old nemesis, UCF, is doing, they are on TV tonight at 7:30 pm in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl. Ah, the memories. I guess UGA fans will be pulling for Ball State.

Skitty Fritty

December 21st, 2012
4:04 pm

SSIGator:
Maybe one day, UF will get to experience the Georgia Dome under Muschamp.

Skitty Fritty

December 21st, 2012
4:05 pm

SSIgator:
Don’t worry, there is always next year.

Justin

December 21st, 2012
4:31 pm

It’s “Capital One,” not “Capitol One,” as this blogger has incessantly misspelled it.

dawgster

December 21st, 2012
4:39 pm

Wow…SSlGator got called out by Mr.King……what a piece of work you are Gator…I think from now on I will,and I hope other dawgs jump on board with this….just call you SSiGatorNoClass…Hey that sounds pretty good for such a troll…Let me see Coach Richt 2-0 against Muschamp…interesting….wait…here it comes…it was all due to your 6 turnovers…of course there wasn’t another team out there helping you with those turnovers was there SSlGatorNoClass

oakwood dawg

December 21st, 2012
5:05 pm

SSIGaytor–May I remind you that we beat you last year and this year and we will beat you next year. If we played you again this year we would beat you by at least by 2 touchdowns. We own you now. You know it and all gaytor fans know it. Hoping Louisville beats you by 1 point with 1 second left on the clock. NOTHING GREATER THAN A GAYTOR HATER!

DAWG84

December 21st, 2012
5:58 pm

Hey Go Vols….maybe you should be more worried about UT winning 6 games each season than you are about CMR winning a National Championship. When your team is as bad as yours, you probably shouldn’t be on here taking shots at other SEC programs. How bout those Commodores!

Vince Doodley

December 21st, 2012
7:57 pm

UGA could always hire Trooper Taylor.

Draggin' Fly

December 21st, 2012
8:17 pm

@ Go Vols: if I were you, I’d be more concerned about Tennessee hiring the thrice fired Willie Martinez than where Rodney Garner is going.

DawgNole

December 21st, 2012
8:58 pm

We’ve had excellent recruiting classes for years. Guess we’re about to find out how much of a role Garner played in bringing those blue-chippers to Athens.

Stump

December 21st, 2012
9:06 pm

Hire Brian Van Gorder to coach up the dline, the dude can coach defense.

Stump

December 21st, 2012
9:08 pm

Garner can’t coach, the dline got run over by Tenn, KY, GA STHRN, GT, AND BAMA.

JB

December 21st, 2012
9:08 pm

Just watched the full 6:53 presser introducing Garner. didn’t mention UGA, Richt, KMA or anything. The bad blood between him and Grantham must be true.

Stump

December 21st, 2012
9:09 pm

I bet he was sort of forced out the way his dline has given up so many yards. I mean 79th in rush defense, pretty bad.

Bet cha Grantham wanted him out. He was never the guy Grantham brought in anyhow.

JB

December 21st, 2012
9:11 pm

Dawgs only have 2 of the top 10 players in Georgia committed. Maybe we needed some new blood also. He will attract some of the talent he brought to UGA there.

JB

December 21st, 2012
9:13 pm

He said in the presser his wife took the kids to an Auburn game this year and showed them around and wanted their reaction to the place. Thought that was interesting.

Tom

December 21st, 2012
9:15 pm

Former AU Coach Terry Bowden said…

“So I hired Wayne Hall. One week on the job, Hall came in with a ledger of players who have been paid, who paid the money, how much money and when it was paid. He said we’ve still got 9-12 players that we’re paying $600 per month”.

“We paid then $12,000-$15,000 to sign. We sign about four every year that we pay.(Former assistant coach RODNEY) GARNER paid most of the players. He was paid when he was a player at Auburn.(Stacey) Danley is the assistant compliance guy, and he was paid when he was a player. I broke the rules. I said pay it off, and it will never happen again”.

Hall said “OK, but you will change your mind.” Katherine came to Auburn as my assistant, but she worked for Colonial. We were real close. I told Lowder “We have cash all over.” Lowder said “I told Wayne not to collect more than we had to have to pay the players.” Wayne had a safe in his house wherehe kept the money. Within two weeks of me being hired they told me about paying Jelks.

Nothing was done without Lowder knowing. I will go under oath and say that Lowder looked me in the eyes and said, “I didn’t want Wayne to collect more money than we needed to pay the players.” I was hiding a dirty secret. We were paying (star running back and current Washington Redskin) Steve Davis and his cousin the fullback.

JB

December 21st, 2012
9:15 pm

Bobo gonna have to go against his tendencies next year against AU. Dawgs pretty much run a scripted offense based on field position,down and distance.

JB

December 21st, 2012
9:18 pm

Cam said this season the biggest difference in college and the NFL… They take taxes out of your money in the NFL

JB

December 21st, 2012
9:22 pm

Probably burned Garner up that Grantham was running the defense and the Dawgs ended up 79th Nationally against the run…..and Grantham was making $ 850,000…..to his salary of 300K after 15 years on the job.

JB

December 21st, 2012
9:24 pm

Looks like Auburn is going “all in” with the ole Mafia that knows where the bodies are buried.