Monthly Archives: August 2007

Oh, and one more thing about tomorrow…

I know I’m going to have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach the first time I see Fedora call that (*@^#)%@# bubble screen.

I only hope that we see someone (Reshad Jones, maybe?) come flying up from the secondary and level the receiver immediately after the catch. (Second choice would be having a corner read the play and step into the flat and intercept Reid.)

Somebody needs to pay. We deserve it.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Hello!

There weren’t a lot of highlights in last night’s SEC opener, but this surely qualifies:

Keep in mind, that’s a receiver hitting a safety… whew.

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More thoughts on Georgia’s opener

First, some (not so seemingly) random factoids.

  • Outside of Bowman, OSU’s receiving corps is green. Bowman is the only wide receiver on the roster with a touchdown reception.  (The TE is somebody to watch, though.)
  • Oklahoma State hasn’t defeated a nationally ranked non-conference opponent on the road since a 31-17 win at Washington 22 years ago. But, OSU has won 15 of its last 18 nonconference games, including bowl matchups.
  • In wins last year against South Carolina, Auburn and Georgia Tech, the Bulldogs did not allow touted receivers Sidney Rice, Courtney Taylor and Calvin Johnson to amass 60 yards combined. They held Johnson to two catches for 13 yards a year after holding him to two catches for 14 yards.
  • Safety Kelin Johnson is Georgia’s only returning player who had an interception last season. Starting defensive ends Marcus Howard and Rod Battle combined for two sacks last year. Brandon Miller is the only linebacker who has started a game.
  • Under Richt, Georgia has not lost a regular season game to a non-conference opponent.  Ever.  As in 25-0.
  • None of OSU’s defensive linemen have started a D-1 game before.

It’s tempting to look at the game tomorrow and focus on Bowman, Stafford and the green Georgia secondary and predict a shootout, but I think that for the Dawgs to win, they’ve got to be successful at running the ball and controlling the Cowboy running game.  Running the ball lets them keep the OSU offense off the field and takes pressure off of the young, untested offensive line.  Limiting the OSU running attack forces Reid to pass to a group of wide receivers that, outside of Bowman, are inexperienced.

I think Richt wants to do every thing he can to control the pace of the game.  The over/under on the game is somewhere around 55-56.  Barring something crazy happening (like Georgia going +6 in TO margin), I think there won’t be more than 45 points scored combined.

What the factoids tell me is that (1) Richt knows how to control a regular season game with an OOC opponent; (2) OSU hasn’t shown the ability to win this kind of a game in a very long time; (3) Martinez knows how to nullify a big threat at wideout; and (4) Georgia’s inexperience at offensive line may not be quite as big an issue in this game as we fear (although Bobo expects it to be tested with a good deal of zone blitz).  I lean towards Richt getting his way.

ESPN’s Bruce Feldman describes Oklahoma State as a more talented Kentucky, which sounds about right.  And, before you say “Georgia lost to UK last year!”, remember that the Daws outgained the ‘Cats in that game.  The loss resulted from Georgia being -1 in TO margin (including a pick of a spectacularly bad throw by Stafford inside the Georgia 5) and Andy Bailey missing two FGs.  If Coutu had played and Stafford had been just a little more mature, you’re looking at a final score of 26-17, Georgia.

And that’s about where I see things coming out tomorrow.

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Some thoughts on Georgia’s opener

David Ching has a post up at his blog analyzing Oklahoma State’s offensive performance from 2006. After sifting through it, I’m not sure I’m on board with all of the conclusions he draws from the data.

Here’s what he takes from the info:

* Much has been made of OSU’s averaging 200 rushing and 200 passing per game last year, but they actually only accomplished that three times — versus Nebraska, Division I-AA bottom feeder Missouri State and an Alabama team playing with a lame duck coach.
* So with all of THAT said, here’s an important distinction Bryan made in his analysis:
*** Against top 50 defenses, Oklahoma State averaged 175 rushing yards and 177 passing yards, good for a total of 352 total yards per game.
*** Against defenses ranked 50th or worse, OSU averaged 236 rushing, 223 passing and 459 total.
*** That’s a pretty substantial difference. How big of a difference? Louisiana-Monroe averaged 350 yards per game last year. West Virginia averaged 460.

As to the first point, so what? I don’t think a competent offensive coordinator (which Fedora is) goes into every game thinking he has to get 200/200 rushing/passing yards to have a successful game plan. You take what a defense gives you. Over the course of a season, that kind of balance on average would seem to be a good indication that you’ve got a clue about what you’re doing. If it wasn’t that big a deal, more than two teams (which finished #2 and #7 in scoring, BTW) would have accomplished that.

Now as to the rest of that, doesn’t it seem pretty intuitive that an offense would do better against weaker defenses than it would against the better performing ones? The more relevant data would be to show whether OSU’s offense did better against the defenses it played than did other opponents. (Matt’s numbers would suggest that to be the case, at least for OSU’s conference games.)

Taking a look at the other side of the coin, I ran a similar analysis on Georgia’s 2006 defense. Here’s the breakdown, leaving out 1-AA WKU:

Team/Rush yds/Pass yds/Total/NCAA offense rank

  • S. Carolina/126/67/255/20th
  • UAB/69/94/163/95th
  • Colorado/173/140/313/102nd
  • Mississippi/156/87/243/111th
  • Tennessee/115/268/383/36th
  • Vanderbilt/101/190/291/52nd
  • MSU/64/234/298/103rd
  • Florida/156/163/319/19th
  • Kentucky/147/204/351/31st
  • Auburn/136/35/171/76th
  • Georgia Tech/146/42/188/67th
  • Virginia Tech/42/147/189/99th

Against top 50 offenses, Georgia’s defense allowed 113.25 rushing ypg, 213.75 passing ypg and 327 total ypg. Against the rest, the figures were 110.88 rushing ypg, 121.13 passing ypg and 232 total ypg. That pretty much parallels the results of Ching’s data. (Although perhaps it’s noteworthy that OSU’s yardage numbers change almost equally on passing and rushing, while Georgia’s differ almost completely in passing alone.)

And for what it’s worth, OSU over the course of the season faced a defense ranked on average as the 52.25 best in D-1. Georgia faced on average the 67.58 best offense in D-1.

That all being said, I do think Ching is on more solid ground when he posts

Let’s keep in mind here that Georgia loses a lot of key defensive players this season. Let’s also keep in mind that, after finishing 49th in total defense in Mark Richt’s first season in Athens, the Bulldogs have finished no worse than 18th in any season since. They were eighth last year, one of three times they’ve been eighth or better in Richt’s six seasons. I’d be shocked if they weren’t a top-20 total defense again this year, despite the youth.

I would be too. The question is, though, will they play like a top 20 defense tomorrow?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, The Blogosphere

First impressions: LSU/MSU

Overall, no major surprises, just a few smaller ones.

Mississippi State

  • I honestly don’t know why it hasn’t dawned on Sylvester Croom at this point that his offense doesn’t work. Whether that’s due to scheme or personnel – or, more likely, a combination of both – is arguable, but what isn’t is that this is what he’s had going on for several seasons now.
  • They really are in awful shape at the QB position, with Henig and a true freshman as the top two options.
  • The defense looks competent by SEC standards (that’s a compliment). But it’s gonna be ground down game after game by the incompetency of the offense.

LSU

  • Early Doucet looked impressive. The rest of the offense, not so much. There may be some real issues with the right side of the offensive line.
  • It’s hard to judge given the quality of the MSU offense, but LSU’s defense looked pretty stout. Dorsey is impressive, to say the least.
  • I liked the decision to go for the TD at the end of the first half. Given the way the MSU offense was performing, it wasn’t that big a risk. Weighing that against the chance to knock the legs out from under the Bulldogs, it was the right call to make.

****************************************************************************

UPDATE:  Yrrch.  Methinks the Good Ship Croom is starting to take on water at an alarming rate.

(h/t Dawg Sports)

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Hurtin’

One reason for some guarded optimism going into Georgia’s opener is that, for once, the Dawgs haven’t been bitten too badly by the injury bug – Coates’ ACL being the one bad item, although he’s at one of the deepest positions on the team – unlike several other SEC teams that are already looking at fallout from injuries to key starters.

As the saying goes, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

(h/t Best of the SEC Blogs and AOL FanHouse)

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Opening night!

"Overture, curtain, lights!
    This is it. The night of nights.
    No more rehearsing or nursing a part.
    We know every part by heart!
    (cane flip)
    Overture, curtain, lights!
    This is it. We'll hit the heights!
    And oh, what heights we'll hit!
    On with the show, this is it!
    (character procession)
    Tonight what heights we'll hit!
    On with the show, this is it!"

Yes, it is.

There are eleven games on the slate tonight, with four involving top 25 teams. On paper, nothing looks like a particularly compelling matchup, but we’ve got LSU at Mississippi State to tune into tonight on ESPN.

Of late, the series has been lopsided, to say the least. I don’t see that changing tonight. Miles already has his eyes on the BCS voters and I think he sees this as an opportunity for his team to make an early statement. LSU should cover the spread easily.

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“Some people…”

In this week’s Mailbag, Stewart Mandel takes a page out of the George Bush debate playbook.

You know how the Prez likes to take that whole straw man approach to justify some grossly unpopular stand or policy he wants to push – “Some people…” W will say, “some people think it’s OK if the Jihadis take over the entire world… but I say that’s wrong and that’s why I’ve got to be allowed to spy on anybody I want to without a court looking over my shoulder…” [Ed. note - It seems it's necessary to point out that this "quote" is presented as a rhetorical device and doesn't represent an actual statement by GWB.  Please see the links in the comments for actual straw man arguments made by the President.  Sheesh.]  Never mind that these “some people” only exist in the mind of his speechwriters, he’s gonna roll with it regardless.

Well in much the same way, here’s what ol’ Stew’s got to say about Georgia’s opening game:

Having heard non-stop for the past eight months how undeniably superior their conference is to all others, it’s time for the Southern powers to back it up. In addition to Cal-Tennessee, the conference hosts two other high-profile matchups in Week 1: Kansas State-Auburn and Oklahoma State-Georgia. After all that bragging, I’m going to be highly disappointed if I don’t see at least three-touchdown margins in both.

Er, um, pardon me, but exactly who has been bragging? Mark Richt? Damon? Matt Stafford? (We know it’s not the offensive linemen – Searels has them under a gag order.) Not that it matters; this is just a convenient excuse for Mandel to write about the Dawgs any way he feels is justified should they win by a margin he finds insufficient.

This is what passes for expertise from college football pundits these days, I suppose…

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Jerrell Powe’s desperate race against time

The Jerrell Powe saga continues with the NCAA ruling that Powe can remain in school at Ole Miss,  and receive financial aid for that – but is not eligible to play football this season.

Needless to say, those with a vested interest in seeing Mr. Powe on the field for the Rebs this year are wondering what’s the point in letting him attend but not play:

… in a statement released by Ole Miss, athletic director Pete Boone said the university is appealing because Powe has a better chance of acclimating to college if he is allowed to play.

“We think it’s important for Jerrell to be a part of the team,” Boone said in the release. “In our experience, the support that Jerrell would receive from teammates and coaches would help him succeed in the classroom.”

Now there’s a novel concept.  One wonders if it’s just the case with Powe, or if Pete Boone – another AD channeling Albert Schweitzer – believes it’s a more universal rule of thumb.  I have to think it’s more a case of the latter, because the school doesn’t have any real experience with Powe (what’s he been there, a week?) to base that conclusion on.

But if that’s the case, why would the University of Mississippi ever suspend or expel a kid from the team?  In Boone’s experience, all that would do would be to hurt the kid’s chances to get an education.  Extending the logic further, wouldn’t it be a good idea for the school to insist that all of its at risk students play sports to get that same valuable support?

Rhetorically speaking, of course.

Sunday Morning Quarterback has the last word on this:

Such pure humanitarianism is only possible motivating factor for the university, which has obviously admitted a student whose qualifications – the ones entirely invalidated by the NCAA – are woefully inadequate; according to the Association, Powe’s coursework verges on non-existent, but he apparently will remain at Ole Miss until he finds a way onto the field, come hell or high water, or, I dunno, bad knees. This is the kind of academic environment Steve Spurrier can appreciate.

Man, I hope those knees hold up.  Powe may never get the education he’s after otherwise.

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Don’t let the smooth taste fool you.

With the first game comes the first tailgate.

With the first tailgate comes the first cold beer of the season.

Which brings me to a brief plug that ESPN’s Pat Forde made in his column for a microbrewed beer called Old Chub. His description of it as “a revelatory Scottish Ale brewed in Lyons, Colo., and, heretically, distributed in cans. But don’t let the aluminum fool you: It’s a fabulously rich ale that would make great tailgate consumption…” is spot on, although I don’t think you have to wait until October to enjoy it.

One other notable point about Old Chub: it’s a high gravity beer, with an alcohol content of 8%.

If you prefer hoppier tasting brews, that’s OK. The same brewery has the answer for that in Dale’s Pale Ale.

I’ll usually bring a six-pack of each to Athens. (No, I don’t drink by myself.) Between the taste and the convenience of cans – don’t be a snob about that – they’re the best tailgaiting beverages I’ve consumed. Highly recommended.

Old Chub, the beer… as opposed to old chub, the beer drinker

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