Dean Legge wrote this article on Dawg Post. It’s behind a paywall, and I was convinced to spend a dollar to read it. I want my dollar back, and I’ll explain why. In short, Legge appears to have set out to prove a preconceived conclusion and in doing so only used information that supported his version of the story while leaving out the rest. Criticism to follow:
Legge manages to gloss over the injury of Nick Chubb (Heisman frontrunner at the time), and the departure of David Andrews (who has started at center for the Patriots since his rookie NFL season) like those two things had no effect on the 2015 season. I find that mesmerizing. Those two personnel losses don’t excuse the season, but shouldn’t they at least be submitted to evidence? Not to mention the stone cold fact that former UGA offensive coordinator Mike Bobo barely left a shred of quarterback talent in Athens after taking the head coaching job at Colorado State (that could also be blamed on head coach Mark Richt, but it’s certainly not Schottenheimer’s fault).
For example, quarterback Brice Ramsey was ineffective under three different offensive coordinators, and Faton Bauta couldn’t hold on as a starter even after transferring to Colorado State in order to play for Bobo (who recruited him to Georgia out of high school). Greyson Lambert got benched at the University of Virginia yet after transferring to Georgia he still managed to outperform both Bauta and Ramsey on the field. He even started the season opener for Kirby Smart in 2016 with Ramsey still on the roster. What does that tell you? Answer: Lambert was the better quarterback of the three. In order for you to make a case to the contrary you would have to completely ignore all of their in game performances.
Never forget that Lambert set an NCAA single game completion percentage record that still stands and also signaled the beginning of the end for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina. That’s at least one thing to hang his hat on. Ramsey and Bauta never accomplished anything that even begins to approach that level of success. In any event, this is just one of many examples of Legge making his way through the article with a complete
lack of disregard for context.
Speaking of Ramsey, I don’t understand Legge’s constant hinting that he should have been starting all along in 2015. He references Ramsey entering the Alabama game in the second half, but omits the pick six that he threw on his first pass attempt. Ramsey went on to complete one pass on six attempts that included yet another interception. That means he completed more passes to the opposing team than to his own receivers. How do you not bring that up? That’s irresponsible journalism. The kid threw 6 interceptions to 4 touchdowns during his career which, again, spanned three different offensive coordinators.
As for Ramsey’s time as Georgia’s punter (which Legge seems to scoff at), that was actually a smart move by Richt’s staff. If you do a little research you’ll see he had the highest punting average on the team and ranked 8th in the SEC out of 14 teams. That’s pretty solid production especially considering that, Collin Barber, who served as Georgia’s primary punter in 2015, was dead last in the conference in punting average. I don’t mean to hammer Ramsey, the kid did whatever was asked of him. That includes sticking around for another year to add quarterback depth in 2017. He’s was a DGD, but he was never going to be a successful SEC quarterback regardless of who was coaching him.
To further my critique of the linked article I’m not too keen on journalists allowing quotes from player interviews to do the heavy lifting when it comes to painting a full behind the scenes picture. Certainly player perspectives matter, but a lot of the criticisms cited by Legge don’t seem to make sense.
For instance, he has a handful of quotes from players who were perplexed by the lack of playing time given to former 5-star running back prospect Keith Marshall, who never seemed to fully recover from a 2013 knee injury. I’ll admit I wondered the same thing about Marshall’s low number of carries in 2015, but the players went on to say that the coaches were upset that Marshall wasn’t practicing. The defense for Marshall not practicing was that he was hurt. Okay, that’s fair enough, but if he was hurt and wasn’t practicing then why would they expect him to play in the games? I don’t understand the point Legge was getting at with these quotes.
He also quotes one player who claims the team disconnected from the coaching staff after the Florida loss. That seems a little strange considering Georgia managed to run the table over the last 5 games of the season while scoring at least 20 points in 4 of the 5 contests. The offense wasn’t exactly lighting it up, but two of those wins were on the road against rivals. That’s not nothing (Granted it embarrassingly took an overtime period to beat Georgia Southern).
To be clear, I am in no way suggesting that Schottenheimer was at all superior to Bobo, or that he should have been retained, but he was only in Athens for one season. Let’s think back a few years. I can only surmise that a surplus of good will built up over time allowed Mike Bobo to retain his job after the 2010 season when UGA went 6-7 and failed to score a touchdown against UCF (your father’s UCF, not the one that beat a 10 win Auburn and claimed a national title in 2017).
As a thought experiment imagine a scenario in which Bobo was let go after that abysmal season. What would players from that team have said looking back three years later? Good things? I doubt it. Heck, ask them now. They probably still wouldn’t have many positive memories from 2010.
In Bobo’s defense the 2010 defense was well… indefensible whereas the 2015 defense was one of the best in the country, and that definitely matters. Plus, Bobo rebounded and produced some fairly prolific offenses in the years that followed (although rational minds disagree about the effectiveness of those offenses against ranked opponents, but I digress).
Finally, and perhaps most egregiously, this article is riddled with typos, bad sentence structures, and grammatical errors. On separate occasions Legge misspells the names “Keith” and “Schottenheimer.” How does an author misspell the name of the subject of an article? That comes off as a face palm error for a publication with a following as large as Dawgpost. Furthermore, some of Legge’s sentences omit entire words altogether. For instance:
“’I don’t (sic) what got in their heads,’ said one offensive starter.”
I can make out what the sentence was supposed to be. It appears he left out the word “know.” I don’t mean to be a jerk or split hairs but if you’re going to ask people to pay a dollar to read your work (AND $14.95 TO RENEW MONTHLY!!!) you should at least hire an editor. I’m certainly not Noah Webster when it comes to grammar and spelling, but I’m also not asking for your money. I wouldn’t insult you like that.
-But if you’re feeling generous I’ll send you my Venmo.
Update: Upon further reflection the idea that selective player commentary somehow proves that a 20 year veteran NFL coach was unqualified to coach at Georgia is patently ridiculous. At least give readers some insight from named professionals with college coaching experience.
Schottenheimer’s year in Athens was definitely worthy of criticism, but the convoluted opinions of former players to go along with commonly held fan notions about play calling in Jacksonville is about as bush league as it gets.