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Post The gap between recruiting and coaching

Wednesday November 4, 2009

The endless coaching vs. talent debate seems to resolve itself. If it’s coaching, there you go. If it’s talent, it’s still on the coaches to recruit better talent. JUST WIN GAMES. See? Simple. But the discussion carries on. Tommy Tuberville, visiting in Athens, maintains that the bad luck of losing top players early to the NFL and relying on a lot of young players has taken its toll on the Georgia program. Chip Towers and David Hale point out that Georgia has recruited well enough to expect to be competitive with teams like Florida.

I’ve started and stopped this post several times. 1 – it seems silly to quibble over something so arbitrary to begin with as recruiting rankings. 2 – I don’t really disagree with what Towers and Hale are saying. Georgia should be getting more out of its talent. 3 – Every "yeah, but…" in this discussion comes across as nit-picking and excuse-making. I can’t help it.

One frequent complaint about recruiting rankings is that they aren’t readjusted based on the players that actually show up in August. You’ll usually hear this gripe from fans of schools with lower-rated classes after a blue-chipper that earned their rival a higher ranking fails to qualify. Happens every year. To avoid belaboring the point, I’ll start and stop with one position. There are four defensive ends who signed with Georgia and counted in those recruiting rankings that would likely be starters right now. None of them qualified initially out of high school.

  • Brandon Lang: Lang is currently a senior at Troy and is projected as a high NFL pick in 2010.
  • Clifton Geathers: Geathers, brother of current Bulldog Kwame, is currently a starter at South Carolina.
  • Corey Moon
  • Toby Jackson

Even if you’ve never heard of Moon or Jackson (just ask your favorite recruitnik to fill you in), there are at least two proven guys on that list who would make someone like Justin Houston struggle to break the starting lineup. It’s no surprise that the defensive end position has been such a glaring issue for Georgia over the past three seasons; the coaches were counting on those pieces to be in place. Yes, it’s the job of the coaches to recruit prospects who stand a chance at qualifying. Yes, other schools have nonqualifiers too. Bad luck? Maybe. One position doesn’t tell the whole story or absolve the coaches from their role in the state of the program, but it does help explain some of the disconnect between recruiting rankings and what we see on the field.

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