Friday, August 19, 2011
QUICK THOUGHTS ON THE DAWGS AND SCRIMMAGES
Whenever Coach Richt and his staff put the team though their paces in a scrimmage every member of the DAWG Nation can’t wait to hear how things went. Inevitably many fans will take the first reports of statistics from the scrimmage and attempt to read into the numbers and decipher some nugget of useable information. I know I’ve done it and if you reading this blog, odds are you have too. What’s new here is…I don’t do it anymore. I have just changed how I look at these things.
It is very easy to think scrimmage and equate that to “practice game” but that isn’t always the case. There are many reasons to care about, but not put too much stock in, the reports coming out of any scrimmage. Outside of definitive injury reports, virtually everything else should be taken with a grain of salt. What we read and hear as fans can be twisted virtually any way before it gets to us, either by a coach that wants to relay a specific message through the media to sway public opinion or not divulge some particular information, or by a reporter that writes a recap in a certain way because it might somehow tie to an over-arching storyline that has had legs throughout camp. Now, I do not mean to say that any of this is occurring within our coaching staff or by the fine reporters that do the hard work of following the DAWGS day in and day out. I am merely saying that from the outside, the looking glass that is our window into the world of all things DAWG is heavily frosted.
From being around the game of football in one way or another for the last 28 years and my experience of being on the practice field and sitting in many a coach’s office during that time, I understand that the blanket term “scrimmage” just is not the reality in most cases. More often than not, even within a full 2.5 to 3 hour session, these “scrimmages” are more pointed in their purpose as coaches want to see how their team will react in any number of very specific situations that might come up in a game. Because of this fact and the unavoidable in and out of players that may not be allowed to participate, calling a scrimmage a snap shot of how your team is looking is like taking a photo in the moment only to find out later that your finger blocked most of the lens. In the end, these scrimmage sessions provide us only a partial view and understanding of what’s really happening at best.
If you need further persuasion, just read up on the recent reports that Coach Richt took some advice from Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith about placing even a heavier and more consistent emphasis on situational practices. The thought here being that there are key moments in a game that will almost certainly dictate wins and losses and that those situations should be more heavily drilled. It puts a focus on winning when the money’s on the table, so to speak.
Nation…just like you, I want to hear the latest reports from every practice, scrimmage and if I could get them, meeting. This hunger is what makes Georgia fans and fans of the SEC the greatest in the country. All I’m saying is try not to get yourself too wound up one way or the other at every quick report you see when it comes to the DAWGS progress, especially when it comes to these scrimmages. I think you will agree with me that it is far more important that the DAWGS execute and win “when the lights are on” than when we are collectively standing outside the door and attempting to peer through the key hole.