Daily Archives: September 25, 2008

Spreading the spread some more.

Chris has a post up at Smart Football worth reading (just like anything else he posts there) about how we’re entering the next era of the spread option, or, as he calls it, the “rise of the terrible spread team“.

I forecast this day some time ago, but this year’s college football season has wowed me with the number of just awful spread teams. Now, there’s some good ones: Florida has great talent, and just about every top team has some kind of “spread” element to their gameplan. But there’s a ton of just awful spread teams. This topic deserves a much more in depth treatment, but the basic gist is what I forecast a few years ago: the offense just isn’t an equalizer anymore, but instead more of an amplifier. If you have great athletes you can isolate them in space, but if you don’t then you’re just giving them one-on-one matchups they can’t win and asking your quarterback to play perfect or you can’t win.

But the biggest reason is simply that everybody is doing it and there’s just not much novelty to it. And it’s not like you can fool a defense with some dizzying array of spread formations when each guy on defense played against spread teams for four years in high school and every week in college. That said, this also makes the cries from these teams and their coaches that there’s a “steep learning curve” with their spread offense ring rather hollow. How much different is it to tell guys to line up differently and read the defensive end on the zone-read? There’s lots of teams who successfully do that who use it only sparingly; it’s unconvincing when teams that rely heavily on the zone-read and zone options claim that they need more time to teach it.

That gets back to something I posted before.  LIke him or not, Urban Meyer is a smart guy.  He’s already anticipated this.  That’s why he’s put such a heavy emphasis on speed guys.  The coaches in the SEC and elsewhere that are just now jumping on the spread bandwagon as it mainstreams are still a step behind.

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Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, The Blogosphere

First thoughts on Alabama-Georgia

The Quad has its preview of the game posted and it hits most of the highlights, but I’m not sure I agree with the main point:

This is going to be some match-up Saturday night. Knowshon Moreno of Georgia vs. Bama’s defense. The issue is going to be the youth of the Bulldogs’ offensive line vs. Cody and the rest of the Bama defense.

Don’t get me wrong.  Cody is going to be somebody to watch, as will how the Georgia offensive line holds up for the ground game.  But I think the key to the game is going to come from the two quarterbacks.

Which is why I really like this post from cocknfire over at Garnet and Black Attack.

… It’s also, though, fair to say that the running games could essentially cancel each other out. If Alabama plays to its rankings on run offense and defense, and Georgia plays to its rankings on run offense and defense, both of these teams will pile up impressive but not slobber-inducing ground yardage on the run. It shouldn’t shock us to see, for example, 125-150 yards and a touchdown or two on the ground for both teams.

I think this one is going to boil down to which playmakers in the passing game step up.  And that’s why it may very well turn out that all the hype over the Julio Jones-A. J. Green showdown is justified when the dust settles.

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UPDATE: ESPN’s Bruce Feldman thinks shutting down Moreno is the key to watch.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Boo hoo.

This is a story that should be eerily reminiscent of an unhappy evening for Georgia fans.

The news is not getting any better for Tennessee’s beleaguered football program. Top quarterback prospect Josh Nunes of Upland, Calif., has opened up his recruitment and is no longer solidly committed to the Vols.

Nunes is rated as the sixth best quarterback prospect in the country by ESPN.com. He cited travel concerns as the chief reason for opening up his recruitment and plans to take more visits before making a decision.

Nunes was in Neyland Stadium last Saturday for Tennessee’s 30-6 loss to Florida. The Vols were roundly booed several times by their fans…

I can see how traveling more than half way across the country to hear fans boo the team you committed to might be grounds for second thoughts.

It takes me back to the worst half of football I’ve ever witnessed in Sanford Stadium.

Legend has it that Jason Campbell decided on the spot that he wasn’t going to Georgia because of how our fans booed as the teams left the field at halftime.

But look at the bright side, UT supporters:  Georgia wound up with David Greene as a consolation prize.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, The Glass is Half Fulmer

Time, time, time… see what’s become of me.

USA Today surveys the wreckage from the new clock rules and comes up with this completely unsurprising conclusion:

Games are 14 minutes faster and have eight fewer plays than last year.

Super duper!  The NCAA is thrilled because… well, because nobody’s shown up yet with pitchforks and torches to storm the castle.

But Rogers Redding, the NCAA’s secretary-rules editor, said he has heard no groundswell of opposition to the new rule even with the decrease in plays.

“It’s been amazingly quiet,” he said. “Certainly, there’s not been a firestorm of any kind.”

Which I guess makes Urban Meyer chopped liver.

“I’m not a fan of the clock rule,” said Meyer. “I feel like they are cheating the fans (and), more importantly, the players. The players need more plays.”

Maybe he needs to give Redding one of those patented point and glares for emphasis.  Humor aside, this is a pretty telling stat if you ask me:

… Florida statistics show since 1974, the Gators have had only 10 games (out of 413 played) in which they ran 55 or fewer offensive plays. Two of them have come in their three games this season, with 54 against Tennessee and 55 against Hawaii.

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Filed under College Football, The NCAA

Black is the new black.

Over at AOL Fanhouse, Pete Holiday looks at the blackout for this Saturday’s game… and can’t suppress a yawn.

… Note to bloggers and reporters everywhere: we get it. Georgia’s going to be wearing black jerseys and that’s, like, totally a big deal because, like, what color shoes are they going to wear with that? And how can Alabama even possibly beat them — they’re 2-0 in those jerseys, y’all!

We understand. Really. Now can we talk about football?

Pete misses the point here, I think.  Sometimes, boys just want to have a little fun.

Athens — He might not admit it, but Georgia coach Mark Richt responded Wednesday to the video leaked Tuesday from Alabama’s practice in which a strength coach tells the team the Bulldogs are wearing black because they’re attending their own funeral.

Richt walked into the team-meeting room for his post-practice briefing Wednesday wearing a black hat, black shirt and black shorts. “I’m going to a funeral,” he said with a mischievous grin.

Naturally, a reporter asked if he was responding to the Alabama video.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he quipped.

Evil.

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UPDATE: Dang, what has gotten into this guy?  He’s letting his inner stand-up comedian go this week:

… Later when he was asked about Crimson Tide punt returner Javier Arenas, Richt said: “He’s very good. Have you seen his highlights?”

That came after Arenas was asked this week about Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno.

“What about it,” Arenas told the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertister. “Have you seen some of my highlights?”

Mark Richt:  we just think we know him.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The Blogosphere