The Sunday Blog comes at you after the drive home Sunday morning and a lot of time to think about what went wrong for Jim McElwain.
If we are going to stick to football and not get into the real reason why this escalated into a toxic situation, it’s all about offense and personnel. In some ways, McElwain was no different than Will Muschamp in that he struggled to recruit well on offense and didn’t develop players on that side of the ball. And I believe McElwain also fell into the trap that coaches sometimes fall into which is hiring coaches for their ability to recruit rather than their ability to coach. This has not been a well-coached team this year on the offensive side of the ball. That falls on the head coach and certainly falls on an offensive coordinator who seems to be fighting the urge to do something innovative. I was watching a game on Saturday night and there was a play and I started screaming, “THAT’S WHAT YOU DO ON THE GOAL LINE!” Sorry if I woke anyone up.
One day very soon Jake Fromm is going to be asked to be great. But that day was not Saturday. He completed four passes, one of them to a wide receiver (for a touchdown). But when you are gashing the opponent with the running game, why throw? (Fromm’s quarterback rating was 97.5 on seven attempts; Feleipe Franks had a QBR of 2.5). That might have been the most surprising thing about the game — how easily Georgia was able to get Florida’s defensive line blocked. Georgia ended up averaging 9.4 yards a play and only needed 42 offensive plays to rout Florida.
It was a strange day all around. During the hours leading up to the game, the press box was a collection of small circles of sportswriters every 15 feet talking about McElwain. Unfortunately, we missed the end of the Ohio State-Penn State game. As we were going down for interviews, I was discussing with some colleagues whether or not to elevate Penn State above Alabama (assuming they had won, which it did not). I guess Nick Saban heard me.
My AP ballot was a mess. I filled it out on paper three times before submitting it and I’m still not happy with it. I did have Georgia at No. 2. But the bottom is the difficult part because there are so many teams that have better records than they have had performances. Does that make sense?