Daily Archives: December 17, 2007

Mark Richt may not have closed the borders for recruiting…

but you’d better make damned sure that your papers are in order.

The only thing that made a bigger impression than Georgia having verbal commitments from 10 of the top 22 players in the state is the realization that Georgia Tech has zero.

That triple option had better kick some righteous ass.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Morbid post of the day

It occurs to me that if this guy were an Oklahoma State fan, they’d probably arrange a halftime ceremony on the field to honor his “contribution” to the program.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness

Georgia on offense: does completion percentage matter?

After the Auburn game, I posted something in response to a Mark Bradley article about how Stafford wasn’t an “every-down” quarterback, whatever that means. Here’s what I blogged:

I don’t know if the system makes the man, or if the man makes the system, but it sure seems like Mike Bobo has turned the clock back to pre-Bill Walsh NFL style offensive football – run the ball to move the chains, hope to connect on a half-dozen or so big plays and don’t consider pass completion percentage as a measure of success.

I continue to see posts on Georgia message boards pointing at Stafford’s completion percentage as a chink in Georgia’s armor. All of which has gotten me to wondering how big a deal this may be.

Well, let’s look at the measurement itself first. There’s no question that Georgia’s passing completion percentage is low. At 54.7%, it ranks 98th in the nation. (For some perspective, the next highest ranked school in the BCS is LSU at number 74.)

OK, but how much does that matter to Georgia’s success, or lack of success, on offense? First, take a look at the statistical picture:

  • Georgia ranks almost as low in passing attempts per game as it does in completion percentage, as the Dawgs’ 28.2 apg places them 97th nationally. And look at the splits for Georgia’s passing game. Georgia threw the ball less than 26 times per game when it won; the Dawgs averaged 39.5 passing attempts in their two losses. But even in its 10 wins, Georgia only averaged a 57.9% completion figure – which itself would only rank 66th nationally.
  • Georgia averaged almost 32 points per game in 2007, good for 37th nationally. That may not be OMG fantastic, but it’s better than BCS hotties Southern Cal (#32 in completion percentage) and Virginia Tech (#54 in completion percentage) did.
  • In third down conversion percentage, Georgia ranks 24th nationally, at just a hair under 45%. Again, a respectable number. There are three BCS teams with worse percentages.
  • Georgia’s red zone conversion figure is a stellar 91.49%. That’s fourth nationally, with only two BCS teams sporting higher numbers.
  • Georgia is the 43rd ranked team in the country in time of possession. It’s a decent number, with four BCS teams ranked lower.

All of that says that a crappy pass completion percentage in and of itself (1) doesn’t mean that you can’t score; (2) doesn’t mean that you can’t control the clock or the flow of a game with a respectable third down conversion percentage; or (3) doesn’t mean that you can’t score in the red zone. And, of course, it isn’t an impediment to winning 10 games in the SEC, or appearing in a BCS game.

But if you’re doing all those things well without a good completion percentage, what does that say about your offensive scheme?

… Mike Bobo, despite once being a quarterback, is an old soul when it comes to football.

“He is kind of an old-school guy,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “He’s kind of got old-school mentality. He doesn’t mind smash-mouth a little bit. He loves a strong running game and understands we’ve got to look at personnel and do what we think we can do best. He and the staff did a really good job of trying to figure out what that was and push the right buttons.”

The buttons he pushed were outside runs, quick passes and screens and more runs…

The article notes that Stafford has only 81 completions during Georgia’s current six game winning streak. (Georgia had 86 completions in its first five games this season.) Yet Georgia continued to average around 195 passing yards per game in that time, which figure is close to its season average.

Here’s an insightful observation for you – less passing minimizes the impact of incomplete passes, since there are fewer of them (duh!). The Dawgs’ run/pass ratio this season is 58.12/41.88. (Last year it was more like 55/45.) No doubt some of that was due to necessity being the mother of invention, given the state of the offensive line at the start of the ’07 season, but, if anything, it seems to have intensified as the year progressed, even with the development of the o-line.

In the end, given the personnel and Bobo’s offensive philosophy, I have a hard time seeing why this is an issue that matters, at least this season. If you disagree, I’d be interested in reading your comments about it.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Maize ain’t blue.

A few more thoughts on the Rich Rodriguez hire at Michigan:

First, if this story is true, I can understand some of the bitter feelings in Morgantown right now.

… While the Gazette’s Dave Hickman had the scoop state-wide and nationally that Rodriguez was leaving West Virginia for Michigan, Mountaineer officials weren’t informed of the coach’s decision before he met with his players. The WVU administration wasn’t even informed immediately afterward.Sources confirmed that finally, later in the day, when Mountaineer athletic director Ed Pastilong went to meet with the assistant coaches, a graduate assistant, Mike Parrish, walked up to the AD. And presented him with Rodriguez’s short letter of resignation.

A grad assistant.

And here’s the kicker. The coach even told recruit Terrelle Pryor about the decision before he told WVU officials.

“Add Michigan to my list,” Pryor told Scout.com writer Bob Lichtenfels early in the day. “I just spoke to Coach Rodriguez and he told me he was going to Michigan. He said they made him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Even if you’re unhappy with your bosses, or some of their decisions (which I suspect is some of the motivation behind RR’s move), you still owe them the courtesy of giving timely notice, especially when they’re shelling out a seven figure salary to you.

Apparently, there’s a little bit of a good old fashioned squeeze play in effect with RR’s departure as well.

… Needless to say, WVU officials feel stung. Hours after the news broke, they still were not sure whether Rodriguez planned to coach in the Fiesta Bowl or not.You may ask why it was even a question. Well, the reason is that $4 million buyout that must be paid via Rodriguez. See, the coach’s short letter said he was resigning effective Jan. 3. That’s the day after the Fiesta Bowl.

WVU officials can’t tell Rodriguez to take a hike and not coach for fear of jeopardizing the buyout. And on Sunday, the officials were centered on not jeopardizing that buyout.

“We will be stringent with the contract, the buyout,” said Bill Case, executive director for communications on WVU president Mike Garrison’s staff.

Those contacted in Michigan, of course, expect Rodriguez to begin immediately. (Heck, he’s already started recruiting.)

Why wouldn’t WVU just reassign the guy until Jan. 3?

“The contract very specifically says [Rodriguez] cannot serve as anything other than the football coach,” Case said.

Perhaps by performing duties for Michigan, the contract is voided. But that had yet to be ironed out late Sunday…

That all being said, the statement issued by WVU’s president in the wake of Rodriguez’ decision is equal parts naivete and denial. A few of the choicer lines:

But, unfortunately, over the last two years, I have seen Rich become a victim of a college coaching system driven by high-priced agents that has turned those dreams into just another back-room business deal.

“Victim”? C’mon, dude – he’s getting a $700K pay raise and leaving WVU to go to one of the top ten programs in the country. We should all be victimized like that.

Something is wrong with the profession of college coaching today when a leader’s word is no longer his bond…

which is why we have contracts…

and it does not bode well for the student-athletes who entrust these coaches with their futures.

You know what else doesn’t bode well for those student-athletes? That they can’t transfer to any other D-1 school without sitting out a year, even though that coach is no longer a part of the program. Whose fault is that?

… I challenge everyone in our state and across this country to start looking more closely at the system that we’ve allowed these agents to create, because in the end, it serves no one well but them.

No, it serves the agents’ clients pretty well, too. Damn you, free market!

One last thing is of note to Dawg fans (if you try hard enough, you can find something relevant to Georgia in almost any football story). Whatever else you might want to say about ESPN’s Ivan Maisel, in discussing this story, he wrote something that indicates he’s evidently not from Montana:

… Think of the schools whose tradition is immediately recognizable across the nation: USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, et al.

Uga thinks Ivan Maisel can keep his day job.

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UPDATE: C’mon, admit it – this crossed your mind after you heard the news, didn’t it?

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UPDATE #2: Followed in rapid succession by this thought. (h/t EDSBS)

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UPDATE #3:  And then you thought about this(h/t The Wizard of Odds) 

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Filed under College Football, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Media Punditry/Foibles