Bang your head against the wall.

In a perverse way, I have to tip my cap to Heisman Pundit. He’s been taken to task in several quarters for his insistence that Florida’s win in the BCS title game is a complete validation of his “Gang of Six” theory (which in essence boils down to offensive scheme matters more in college football than anything else), including this bludgeoning by Michael Elkon that is so devastating in its thoroughness that I was almost embarrassed for HP after I read it. Almost.

Perhaps a lesser man would have slunk away, changed the subject, something. Not HP, though, who’s back with another essay on the subject – “The Spread Spreads” – in which he continues to insist that the reason Florida’s point production in Meyer’s two years in the SEC has been middling is because Meyer has deliberately chosen to hold things back:

… If the spread works, why did it only score 21 points against SEC teams? Well, I think the answer is clear: it didn’t need to score more. How long should a man’s legs be? Answer: Long enough to touch the ground.

… Going into most conference games, Meyer knew that the other team couldn’t score against his defense, so why open things up? He played the percentages.

This all ties back in to HP’s overarching theory about the SEC being a conference (with a couple of exceptions in Meyer and Spurrier) full of offensive coordinators who believe the game should still be played with leather helmets.

But – thank God! – help is on the way for the millions of souls who despair over the current state of SEC football. According to HP, the SEC is going to have no choice but to play catch up with Meyer’s exotic spread offense. Fortunately, the process has already started at LSU, where “… the issue has apparently been settled in Les Miles’ mind.”

Les Miles? Well, count me as convinced.

Never mind that LSU has outscored Florida’s offense (both in SEC and seasonal play) in the two years that Meyer has been the head coach. Or that LSU and Ohio State were both in the NCAA top 10 in scoring in 2006.

Never mind that in ’06, when Meyer had more of his players like Tebow and Harvin to run in his offense, Florida’s point production in the conference actually declined from its ’05 numbers.

Never mind that Meyer saw fit to score 42 and 62 points against the two non-conference teams on Florida’s ’06 schedule that the Gators shut out. So much for “playing the percentages”.

Never mind that HP doesn’t bother to explain why SEC coaches will respond to Meyer’s offense as he suggests, even though they apparently never responded like that to Spurrier’s introduction of the “Fun ‘n Gun” (which was an immediate scoring sensation, by the way) to the SEC seventeen years ago.

“Forget it, he’s rolling.”

 

Urban Meyer is a genius. Resistance is futile.

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6 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, The Blogosphere

6 responses to “Bang your head against the wall.

  1. Heismanpundit

    The great thing about Google Alerts is that, every once in a while, it allows me to happen upon some of the more remote corners of the blogosphere. You know, places like the ice planet Hoth in Empire Strikes Back.

    And so I have been made aware of this particular response to my positions. Hope triumphs over experience once again, as for the umpteenth time, I find that a couterargument can’t be made without first misrepresenting my points.

    First off, the Gang of Six is not a theory. The Gang of Six is a group of schools that, at the time, I recognized as running the most advanced offenses in college football. Being in the Gang did not mean you were going to go undefeated. It meant that you were running one of the most advanced offenses in college football.

    Now, I put significance on these teams because I posited that the things they do on offense are likely to exert a lot of influence on the rest of college football. I believed that they would not only influence other offenses, but also defenses as well. In one of my supporting entries for this note, I followed the evolution of offensive football from the Single Wing to the T-Formation to the I-Formation, Wishbones, Single-Back pro sets and various versions of the Spread.

    The point was that the game is about cycles and offenses evolve because of defenses and defenses react, thus creating another round of innovation.

    The Gang of Six are my teams that I see as the culmination of this particular cycle of offensive evolution. Eventually defenses will adjust and they will not be as effective. They are already adjusting as we speak. But this will create a counter-adustment by the offenses and so on and on.

    Okay, now that this position is clear–it should be clear now, right?–even the most reasonable person should acknowledge that it is a perfectly sound observation on the nature of the sport. Unfortunately, so many sub-par intellects on the blogosphere took issue with it, that it remains a controversey to this day. Sadly, this continues for various reasons: everything from just stubborn refusal to acknowledge the facts to jealousy to a desperate attempt to make a name for oneself by trying to disparage a successful blogger.

    Okay, now onto the particular points of this piece:

    YOU: This all ties back in to HP’s overarching theory about the SEC being a conference (with a couple of exceptions in Meyer and Spurrier) full of offensive coordinators who believe the game should still be played with leather helmets.

    >>>A lot of people acknowledge this. A few years back I called the offenses neanderthal, not far off from when Ivan Maisel ths year called the SEC offenses Cro-Magnons-like. Again, we are talking about scheme, not production. This is a very fine point and not everyone can grasp it. Including you, I guess.

    YOU: But – thank God! – help is on the way for the millions of souls who despair over the current state of SEC football. According to HP, the SEC is going to have no choice but to play catch up with Meyer’s exotic spread offense. Fortunately, the process has already started at LSU, where “… the issue has apparently been settled in Les Miles’ mind.” Les Miles? Well, count me as convinced.

    >>>>Well, it should convince you. A major SEC program is not hiring another SEC offensive coordinator. It is going outside the conference and choosing an OC who runs a style similar to what Florida runs. If that doesn’t convince you that there is change afoot in the SEC on offense, well, then you can’t be convinced.

    YOU: Never mind that LSU has outscored Florida’s offense (both in SEC and seasonal play) in the two years that Meyer has been the head coach. Or that LSU and Ohio State were both in the NCAA top 10 in scoring in 2006.

    >>>thus proving my point about you not being able to grasp the difference between scheme and production. You are looking at WHAT teams do and I am looking at HOW they do it. There is a difference.

    YOU: Never mind that Meyer saw fit to score 42 and 62 points against the two non-conference teams on Florida’s ‘06 schedule that the Gators shut out. So much for “playing the percentages”.

    >>>So much for reading what I wrote. I specifically wrote that Meyer played the percentages IN CONFERENCE. Against lousy OOC competition of the kind that Florida and the rest of the SEC plays, there was no need to play it safe.

    YOU: Never mind that HP doesn’t bother to explain why SEC coaches will respond to Meyer’s offense as he suggests

    >>>That’s nonsense. My reason why has always been clearly stated. SEC teams will respond because if they don’t they will be left behind.

    YOU: even though they apparently never responded like that to Spurrier’s introduction of the “Fun ‘n Gun” (which was an immediate scoring sensation, by the way) to the SEC seventeen years ago.

    >>>You are right. They did not respond then and look what happened: Florida dominated the SEC They will not let that happen without a fight this time. And so you see, just two years after the introduction of the spread, LSU has responded. Do you think that Miles chose Crowton by coincidence? Why not hire another Jim Bob as his OC? No, he wanted the spread.

    And so, we see, that pretty much all of your response is bilge. You say I didnt tell you why the SEC would adjust to Meyer and I can ask the same thing of you. Tell me why you think the SEC won’t adjust. Tell me why the SEC didn’t adjust to Spurrier the first time (I hold that they did, toward the end).

    The fact of the matter is this: Two years ago I pointed out six teams that were doing offense better than anyone. I posited that these teams would enjoy success far above their talent levels if they continued to do what they were doing. Two years later, Florida won the national title, Louisville and Boise were in the top five and Cal was a 10-win team. The successes of these teams will be very influential on emerging programs and even some powers. This is an exciting time for college football, mostly because of the changes and innovations that are taking place on offense. This does not mean that defense isn’t important or that talent isn’t important. It just is what it is.

  2. HP, I appreciate you and that rather large chip on your shoulder dropping by to respond. I don’t know why you needed Google Alerts to find my post, as I sent a trackback to your post when I wrote this, but so be it.

    I’m not sure why my post generated so much of an ad hominem response from y0u – if I get the gist of the first half of your comment, I’m both desperate and stupid – but I would like to take the time to answer some of the more substantive points raised in your comment, because much of what you’ve written stems from a complete misunderstanding of what I’ve posted.

    I’m being generous when I write that. The truth is that in defending yourself you are often guilty of the sin that you accuse me of – misrepresentation (where did I ever suggest that you asserted “being in the ‘Gang of Six’ meant a school would go undefeated”?).

    Thus, you try to make this an argument that “(t)he point was that the game is about cycles and offenses evolve because of defenses and defenses react, thus creating another round of innovation.”

    Well, duh. But that’s not what I was calling into question. I simply don’t buy your argument that Florida’s success in the BCS title game somehow demonstrates that Meyer’s spread attack has significantly impacted the SEC. To date, that hasn’t borne out by the facts.

    Nor I did post anything about Cal, Boise State, Louisville or any other team not in the SEC. So you’re being disingenuous when you try to stretch my argument into a more broad statement than I made.

    Further, you’ve engaged in some rather silly reasoning to support your point of view – the silliest being that Urban Meyer deliberately held his offense back against SEC opponents because he knew that he wouldn’t need to score much. What D-1 coach in his right mind makes a decision like that? Especially when he’s got a kicker who couldn’t make a field goal to save his life during the regular season?

    Let me respond to some specifics:

    LSU’s hiring of Crowton is not the precedent setting event you so badly want it to be. I’d give your argument here more credence if Miles had actually fired Jimbo Fisher – whose offense was the most productive in the SEC last season – in order to replace him with Crowton, but, of course, that’s not what happened. By the way, you elevated Saban into the Meyer/Spurrier pantheon of coaching geniuses in your post, but Saban had Fisher as his offensive coordinator at LSU and tried hard to get him to join him at ‘Bama. How do you explain that?

    My comments with regard to LSU and OSU’s point production weren’t made to denigrate scheme. Rather, I question your logic that Meyer didn’t need to open things up against an SEC opponent, but did against the Buckeyes, even though both offenses were equally prolific. I’d still like to hear your explanation of that.

    For someone who dishes out the sarcasm, you have a surprising inability to sense it when it’s directed at you. My comment that SEC teams hadn’t apparently adapted to Spurrier was just that – a reaction to your position that most SEC offenses are stuck in the past. That implies you don’t believe much changed since the “Fun ‘n Gun” hit the conference. Otherwise, you’ve contradicted yourself.

    For the record, I think the conference has changed dramatically in the wake of the Evil Genius, and if you’d taken the time to read some of my other posts here on the subject, you wouldn’t have had to waste the time asking me about it. There is such an emphasis on speed on defense in the SEC these days due to Spurrier that Meyer’s task (in your eyes, at least) of remaking football as we know it won’t be easy. And that’s how it’s played out so far, whether you care to admit it or not.

    As for bilge, anyone who argues with a straight face that Florida has enjoyed success “far above its talent levels” has a far more intimate familiarity with the term than I’ll ever have.

    Contrary to what you wrote, I do recognize the difference between scheme and production. Where you and I part ways is that I don’t elevate the former over the latter. Judging from the comments at your blog and at other blogs, I don’t think I’m the one that’s in the minority on this.

    Of course, it could just be the case that everyone but you is stupid and desperate.

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  4. Heismanpundit

    well, come on, your misrepresentation is clear from the getgo:

    —….his insistence that Florida’s win in the BCS title game is a complete validation of his “Gang of Six” theory (which in essence boils down to offensive scheme matters more in college football than anything else)

    I never said it was a complete validation of the Gang of Six. I said it was a complete validation of my assertion two years earlier that Florida was set to be the next great power in college football and would dominate the SEC. And for you to say that my point about the Gang of Six is in essence that scheme matters more than anything else is yet another misrepresentation. Furthermore, you give huzzahs to a post that itself is a huge distortion of my positions. You said you were ‘embarrassed’ for me and so on…and yet you wonder why I come here with a chip on my shoulder?

    I never said that Crowton being hired at LSU was a precedent. Clearly, it is not, as Meyer already has brought the spread in. But what I noted is that bringing in Crowton is in direct response to the success of the same system at Florida.

    I am embarrassed for you at such a lame response.

  5. C’mon, HP, you can do better than that. I said I was almost embarrassed. :)

    Seriously, you write a post entitled “The Spread Spreads” wherein you argue that other SEC coaches will either have to adapt to Meyer’s revolution or fall by the wayside. You then cite Miles’ hire of Crowton as evidence that that trend has begun – never mind the fact that LSU’s offense has outperformed Florida’s in the two years that Meyer has been in the conference.

    The “precedent” to which I refer isn’t running the spread; it’s reacting to Meyer in the way you describe. In your mind, Miles would be the first at that, would he not?

    By the way, one thing about Crowton’s hire that would not be a precedent, or even highly unusual, as you assert, is that he comes from outside the conference. As I pointed out in a post that’s linked above in these comments, currently only five of the twenty two men who are either SEC head coaches or offensive coordinators came to their positions directly from SEC schools. Why no response from you on that point?

    As for your insight about Florida being the “next great power”, I hate to tell you, Bear Bryant called that shot decades ago. Florida should be a power, regardless of the offensive scheme run there. That’s true particularly now with its two biggest in state rivals flagging (one reason why Meyer’s recruiting has been so spectacular these last two years).

    This is what you’ve posted here – “The fact of the matter is this: Two years ago I pointed out six teams that were doing offense better than anyone. I posited that these teams would enjoy success far above their talent levels if they continued to do what they were doing…” What I say in response to that, with regard to Florida, is that the jury is still out.

    Contrary to what you write, under Meyer, the Gators don’t do offense better than anyone else in the conference. They don’t even do it as well as they did under Zook’s mediocre regime, with many of the same players.

    You have attempted to rationalize all the evidence contrary to your assertion by insisting that Florida’s offensive mediocrity in the SEC is the result of design, a proposition that’s ludicrous on its face and unsupported by any facts that I’ve yet to see you produce (is there a single quote from Meyer you can cite to confirm that?). You repeat the same formula with Crowton’s hire. Can you find a single quote from Miles that says he’s done this to counter Meyer’s offensive success?

    And as for your backtracking about the importance of scheme, please. You are the guy who wrote that incredible post in the wake of Georgia’s shellacking of Boise State in ’05 about “being wrong for the right reasons”. If I’ve misinterpreted your position on scheme and the “Gang”, all I can say is that I’ve got plenty of company on the blogosphere.

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