Daily Archives: July 9, 2008

Summertime, and the schoolin’ is easy…

Chip Towers dribbles out some info he picked up on his trip to Athens:

  • Stafford “… appears to be in the best condition he’s been in since he’s been at Georgia. All I could go by was looks but there was virtually no sign of the pudginess that’s always been part of Matt’s physique. He actually looks taller…”
  • Marcus Washington sounds optimistic.  “Marcus is recovering from shoulder surgery after injuring it again in spring practice. Originally he was expected to miss the whole season but he told me Tuesday he’ll be coming back in October.”

It looks like Chip is taking up some of Ching’s slack this summer.  Good for him…

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UPDATE: This exchange comes from Towers’ Q & A with Prince Miller.

Q: Is there any kind of motto or creed you guys live by in the secondary?

A: Don’t get beat deep. That’s pretty much the only thing we live by.

As the acronym goes, KISS.  That’s what they pay Coach Martinez the big bucks for.

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Filed under Georgia Football

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Rodriguez caves; West Virginia “settles” for the $4 million it was seeking in its lawsuit.

I say RichRod caves, but it’s more likely that it was pressure on others that brought this mess to a resolution:

… One key that triggered a settlement appeared to be the pressure brought by WVU to depose Michigan President Sue Coleman and Athletic Director Bill Martin. There was a hearing scheduled in Michigan this afternoon on WVU’s attempts to force the two to testify under oath what they knew about the hiring of Rodriguez and the buyout clause in the contract with WVU.

You really have to wonder whose bright idea it was to push forward and fight on this.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness

When will the spread option jump the shark?

From HeismanPundit, on The Top Programs in College Football:

… Urban Meyer has helped transform the SEC from a conference that used to run neanderthal, run-head-first-into-a-brick-wall offenses to one that is not afraid to spread the field and air it out.

From Sunday Morning Quarterback, on Mid-Major Monday: ¡Viva la Bone!:

… the current promulgation of the spread/spread option was based on the early, experimental success of Randy Walker, Joe Tiller, Hal Mumme, Mike Leach and Rich Rodriguez at schools with serious deficits in talent, much like Georgia Tech’s in relation to the rest of the ACC and the BCS leagues as a whole. This is part of the same cyclical struggle: as the optimal window begins to close on the subversive deception of the spread and spread option, the great talent-maskers of the last two decades, the pendulum will begin to swing the other way — while Texas, Florida, Michigan, Auburn a cavalcade of first-rate recruiting powers are taking the “defend the entire field and the running quarterback” concept mainstream, less talented teams that relied on surprising defenses with the unfamiliar week after week must begin looking for a new edge.

That’s the thing about innovation:  it tends to begin on the fringe.  Schools that couldn’t match up on talent – particularly depth of talent – found help in offense schemes that leveled the playing field somewhat in two specific ways, as SMQ notes.

First, while depth might be an issue for these teams, it’s not like they were completely bereft of talented skill position players.  Running a spread scheme gave these teams a chance to isolate these players in space which provided opportunities to exploit better defenses in ways that more conventional offensive schemes might not be able to employ.  It’s an effective way to maximize the effect of limited personnel resources.

Second, there’s the novelty factor.  When you run the only offense of its kind that your opponents are likely to see over the course of a season, and those opponents only have a week or two at best to prepare for what you’re going to throw at them, that lack of familiarity can help to level the playing field, as well.

But what happens in a conference like the SEC where teams like Florida aren’t using the spread to equalize differences in talent levels and where, in one form or fashion, it’s becoming the offense du jour?

Now admittedly, I’m being somewhat provocative with my post header here – when you’ve got a QB like Tebow who was born to run the spread option, you’d be crazy not to deploy it – but as the spread, er, uh… spreads, it gets easier to defend as defensive coordinators refine concepts and personnel to go after it.

And that may already be happening.  Florida, which led the conference last season in scoring at a 42.5 ppg clip, saw its offense held to 17, 24 and 23 (remember, one score against Georgia came on a pick six) points in its three conference losses to the three schools that finished one-two-three in scoring defense in the SEC.

So how will a more finessed approach to moving the ball hold up in the SEC?  I’m particularly interested in seeing what happens at Auburn in the next couple of years.  Tony Franklin is essentially importing Mumme-ball to the Plains, with a few wrinkles added (utilizing a running QB being the most signficant).  This year, he’s got a throwing quarterback with a bad shoulder and a running quarterback who isn’t a consistent passing threat.  Will Auburn move the ball more on offense than it did last year?  And if it does, will that translate into more wins?

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Filed under SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics, The Blogosphere

In which our author says something nice about ESPN…

Yeah, there’s a lot you can knock about the WWL – and God knows, we’ve all done it – but I’ve gotta say this:  at least they’re pitching in to deliver the product when we need it.

… Last season there were 64 televised games on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday nights of opening weekend. For 2008, the number of televised games has jumped 13% to 72 and the addition of three games on the sabbath (including a Governor’s Cup battle between Louisville and Kentucky) leaves me wondering if I’ll leave the house that weekend.

Amen, brother.

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Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil

Fark of the day

Courtesy of EDSBS

Damn, that’s good.

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Filed under Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, The Blogosphere