Tag Archives: Mark Richt

Tennessee’s coaching turnover in this century is about average for topsy-turvy SEC

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel has made few coaching changes on his staff since his hiring in 2001.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee has had 44 different coaches come through Knoxville since 2001.

That’s a lot, right?

Believe it or not, it’s almost exactly average for the cutthroat league. The average team has churned through 43.79 head and assistant coaches since 2001, according to analysis by David Morrison of the Columbia (Mo.) Tribune.

For Tennessee, the 2001 starting point is arbitrary. Morrison used it for his analysis because that’s when Gary Pinkel arrived at Mizzou. Pinkel and Georgia coach Mark Richt were both hired that year. Not surprisingly, the Tigers and Bulldogs have had the most stable staffs among the 14 teams in the league.

Check out this spreadsheet if you want to see every coach at every school since 2001. Florida leads the way with 56 total coaches. That’s a lot of turnover for a school that won two national championships during this stretch.

The offensive and defensive coordinator positions were two of the most volatile spots in the survey, changing hands eight times since 2001.

Tennessee beat them in that category, with nine coaches responsible for tight ends in the last 13 years: Doug Marrone (2001); Jimmy Ray Stephens (2002); Greg Adkins (2003-05); Matt Luke (2006-07); Jason Michael (2008, TEs); Jim Chaney (2009, also OC); Eric Russell (2010-11, TEs); Charlie Coiner (2012, TEs); Mark Elder (2013-14, TEs).

(Under former coach Phillip Fulmer, the tight ends coach often handled tackles as well).

The entire data-heavy blog is worth checking out.

Josh Malone’s decision is 24 hours away: Will it be Tennessee, Clemson or Georgia?

Josh Malone (photo by 247Sports)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Elite receiver prospect Josh Malone will make his college decision on Wednesday at 1 p.m. noon at his high school in Gallatin.

Some say the race is a dead heat between Tennessee, Clemson and Georgia. Others give Tennessee the edge. (That’s the opinion of the 247Sports Crystal Ball.) Some think Clemson has made a late push. A recent article ($) in which Malone referred to Tennessee’s offense as a “work in progress” and Clemson’s as an “established system.”

Malone has signed financial aid agreements with all three schools, allowing the coaches to have unlimited contact with him in the days leading up to his decision. (The aid agreements also allow coaches to comment publicly about him and how great he is).

Tennessee and its coaching staff have all but camped out at Gallatin over the last few weeks. If they don’t get Malone, it won’t be due to lack of effort. I’ve heard that Butch Jones and his coaching staff have spent more time on Malone than any other player, ever.

Why is Malone important? Coaches hope he can be Marquez North, version 2.0. That is, an instant-impact receiver who elevates the speed, talent and depth of Tennessee’s struggling receiving corps.

Malone is a five-star prospect on Rivals. He falls just short of five-star status on the 247Composite ratings, which use input from all major recruiting services.

What do you think? Vote below. The polls close at noon on Wednesday.

Was Geraldo Orta’s hit on Georgia punter Collin Barber dirty? (.gif)

A frame-by-frame look at Geraldo Orta’s block on Collin Barber in the third quarter Saturday against Georgia.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Georgia punter Collin Barber suffered a concussion after being blocked by Geraldo Orta in the third quarter on Saturday.

The Vols were returning a blocked punt and Barber was charging after the play.

Georgia coach Mark Richt was asked on the SEC teleconference on Wednesday whether he had complained to the league office.

Richt didn’t answer, saying any inquiries he makes to the league are private.

But the reporter who asked the question seemed certain that Orta should have been flagged for a targeting foul. So I went back and watched the video.

The stricter rules on “targeting” now include classifying punters and kickers as “defenseless players” at all times. That means cheap shots, blocks that blindside the punter during a return, are illegal.

So was this a blindside block? From Orta’s perspective, the punter charged toward him. It’s quite possible that the punter’s eyes were focused on the returner, Devaun Swafford, and that he didn’t see Orta until the last moment. But it’s hard to define this as a true blindside block. The would-be tackler was charging toward the ball-carrier. The blocker was in between. Orta didn’t swoop in from the side to obliterate him. He squared up and made a block.

The next question is whether Orta illegally targeted the head. While the punter’s head did snap back violently, Orta appeared to make contact with his forearms to the player’s chest. I wonder if Barber might have sustained the concussion when his head hit the turf?

Concussions should be taken seriously and college football’s crackdown on cheap hits and targeted shots to the head is commendable. But a review of the video makes it hard to find anything Orta could have done differently, short of getting run over by a punter who was charging at him.

Verdict: It was clean.

SEC Media Days: LSU coach Les Miles sounds off on scheduling

Les Miles

Les Miles came prepared to discuss his team’s scheduling challenges.

HOOVER, Alabama — LSU coach Les Miles thinks his team is getting a raw deal in SEC scheduling and he brought some facts to back up his assertions.

LSU and Auburn have played Florida and Georgia more than any other team since 2000, according to numbers quoted by Miles and later tweeted out by his sports information director.

“I liked our tough schedule at first,” Miles said. “I kept waiting for someone else in the SEC to get it. Nobody ever does.”

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