Daily Archives: March 26, 2009

Competition at kicker?

Coach Richt didn’t take too long to do something with Dexter Moody’s scholly.

Junior college kicker Brandon Bogotay has signed a letter of intent with the University of Georgia football team according to an announcement Thursday by Bulldog head coach Mark Richt.

Bogotay, a native of San Diego, Calif., competed as a freshman at Grossmont College (El Cajon, Calif.) in 2008 and was named to the Southern Conference’s All-Conference First Team. He finished 15-of-23 on field goals, including a long kick of 52 yards, and was listed at the No. 3 spot on the California Community College Athletic Association’s list for most points scored kicking last season with 72.

“We’re excited to have Brandon joining our 2009 signing class and look forward to him competing on our kickoff, field goal, and extra point teams,” said Richt.

I believe in some circles that’s referred to as “message sending”.  We’ll see how Walsh responds to the challenge.

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UPDATE: Marc Weiszer has some more details about Bogotay – and some video!  Groo adds some info on his kickoffs here.

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Filed under Georgia Football

A kindler, gentler Kiffin watch

Now this is nothing if not weird.  Yesterday I was pondering a post about Junior – yeah, I know, that’s not weird for GTP – but one that would be stripped of any references to his last two months’ worth of antics or snarky comments about his body of work with the Ray-dahs.  In other words, I wanted to see what kind of substance there was to Kiffin’s days at USC when he ran the Trojan offense and to determine what sort of scheme he might be bringing to Knoxville.  I even mosied over to the invaluable Trojan Football Analysis site to see what I could dig up there.

So imagine my surprise and pleasure when I came across this post by Chris at Smart Football, who started with the same interest I had, but would up doing a far better job of putting the picture together than I ever could.  God bless the Internets.  I say that he does a better job because he also takes the time to incorporate what Jim Chaney, UT’s offensive coordinator, did in the same role at Purdue.  The whole thing is insightful and well worth your time.

Here’s Chris’ early upshot as to what he thinks we’ll see on the field from Tennessee.

… don’t expect an Urban Meyer or Rich Rodriguez style spread offense, but neither should you expect the old West Coast Offense either. The formations will likely be basic one-back ones, though with a mixture of four- and five-wide, but with the ability to “get big” with tight-ends and fullbacks when the situation allows. In other words, they will be multiple.

Okay, that’s fine, but will it work?  That’s where things get a bit dicier, at least from a predictive standpoint.  Chris is inclined to give Kiffin and Cheney the benefit of the doubt – two guys who succeeded at the college level, at least – when he writes

… other than his stint in Oakland (where offense goes to die, just ask Randy Moss) Kiffin sports some some fairly impressive offensive credentials, i.e. his years at Southern Cal first under Norm Chow and later as co-offensive coordinator with Steve Sarkisian. To aid him in bringing potency to the offense is the Vols’ new OC, Jim Chaney, who is best known as the offensive whiz who brought basketball-on-grass to Purdue (along with Joe Tiller and Drew Brees). Chaney is most recently of the St. Louis Rams with Scott Linehan, but, much like Kiffin’s time in Oakland, the less said about that the better.

On the other hand, HeismanPundit has a much lower opinion of Kiffin’s abilities as a coordinator.

… he will bring a complicated pro-style offense to Tennessee that the players will struggle to learn.  He hangs his hat on his work with the 2005 USC offense, but that offense was built by Norm Chow and comprised of players who were already developed.   A close look at that season reveals a lot of unnecessary struggles and some questionable calls, including the decision to keep Reggie Bush on the bench for the crucial 4th and 2 against Texas.  And ultimately, that team could not win a title despite having maybe the greatest offensive talent ever.  The 2006 USC offense was inconsistent and anemic despite being loaded with talent.

I thought I’d take a look at some the numbers the Southern Cal offense generated from 2004 (the last year that Chow was the offensive coordinator) through 2006 (the two years that Kiffin ran the offense) to see if any patterns emerged that might shed some light on Kiffin’s ability.  I looked at points per game, total yardage and yards per play, the numbers as well as the national ranking for each, and here’s what I came up with.

Year PPG Ntl. Rank Tot. Yards Ntl. Rank YPP Ntl. Rank
2004 38.2 6 5838 9 6.3 6
2005 49.1 2 7537 1 7.5 1
2006 30.5 18 5094 24 5.9 26

Those 2005 numbers are pretty hellacious, aren’t they?  But that drop off in 2006 is noticeable, as well.  My feeling is that’s what happens when your starting backfield, including two Heisman Trophy winners, depart.  (I’ve seen some mention of the fact that a large part of the blame for the decline in ’06 was due to the injuries that were racked up at the fullback position, but in light of Chris’ comments about the reliance on a lot of one back sets in Kiffin’s formations, I tend to discount that a good bit.)  Nobody looks as smart when the talent level drops.

It’s probably not fair, but HP’s comment about the disjointed nature of the playcalling in the MNC game against Texas brings to mind an unfortunate comparison to the surgical precision Chow brought to the title game the year before – with that same backfield that ran up those great numbers under Kiffin.

All of which indicates to me that his is a system that’s talent-dependent.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Kiffin’s certainly brought in the horses to go out and get skilled players.  But Knoxville this year ain’t the Los Angeles of 2005; the Vols are woefully short at quarterback, offensive line and wide receiver at present.  Nor is that the kind of thing that gets fixed rapidly, as Tennessee fans will find out next year when it looks likely that Kiffin will be starting a true freshman at quarterback.

So you’d think that down the road if the recruiting is as special as it’s costing, there’ll be an uptick.  There are two things to keep in mind, though:   how patient are they in Knoxville and how much more formidable are SEC defenses than those in the Pac-10?

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Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Strategery And Mechanics, The Blogosphere

Read all about it.

This looks like a fun read.

“Behind the Hedges: Big Money and Power Politics at the University of Georgia,” written by the late Rich Whitt, a former Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner, examines the internal power struggle between Adams and athletics director Vince Dooley and how the controversy resulted in the split between the Board of Regents and the UGA Foundation. By all accounts, Adams is made out to be the bad guy.

If you want a little taste of what the book covers, here’s a link to the table of contents, per Amazon.  Chapter 5 ought to be a hoot and a half, all by itself.  And check out the blurbs on the back cover – none too flattering (about the school, not the book).

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UPDATE: Hoo, boy. (h/t David Hale)

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Filed under Michael Adams Wants To Rule The World

Maybe necessity is the mother of re-invention.

I think it’s a common feeling amongst the Bulldawg faithful that sooner or later a Richt-coached team will play in and win a BCS title game.  Programs that win roughly eighty percent of their games don’t grow on trees and you have to figure that a level of success like that pays off eventually.

But after you read this column by Bruce Feldman, it may give you some pause for thought about that.  College coaches like Richt may be facing the football equivalent of the ticking biological clock.

… Almost all the coaches who have won BCS titles have done so in their first four years at their programs. Look at the list:

  • 2009 Florida: Urban Meyer’s 4th year
  • 2008 LSU: Les Miles’ 3rd year
  • 2007 Florida: Meyer’s 2nd year
  • 2006 Texas: Mack Brown’s 8th year
  • 2005 USC: Pete Carroll’s 4th year
  • 2004 LSU: Nick Saban’s 4th year
  • 2003 Ohio State: Jim Tressel’s 2nd year
  • 2002 Miami: Larry Coker’s 1st year
  • 2001 Oklahoma: Bob Stoops’ 2nd year
  • 2000 FSU: Bobby Bowden’s 24th year
  • 1999 Tennessee: Phil Fulmer’s 7th year

You will notice that the coach on that list with the most seniority is Richt’s mentor, at 24 years.  But from there, the amount of time spent as head coach drops significantly, as no other man on the list had a decade of service under his belt before winning the title game.  Mark Richt, as we all know, is entering his ninth year as the Georgia head coach.

Feldman goes on to speculate as to some reasons why the spoils tend to go to the recently hired victors.

… To me that is reflective of a couple of factors: 1.) Coaches who come in bringing a new energy to a program can have huge success; 2.) In many cases they’ve inherited situations with programs that have the talent base but are eager for a change in direction. (Some players initially will respond better to a hard-line staff. Others to a “players’ coach”. Either way, the shift can be the key.) 3.) Successful coaching staffs can get stale over time and players/recruits, just like fans, can be swayed by the next new thing around and they want to be part of a fancy turnaround project.

That sounds like what the UT athletic director tells himself every night before he falls asleep.  On the other hand, see if any of this resonates with you:

… That also leads to the flip side to this thing. I’ve always thought that coaches, like most other professionals, get better with added experience, but there are certainly other elements that can fly in the face of that: People do tend to get complacent; the message might no longer be fresh; maybe a coach’s enthusiasm isn’t quite what it once was when there was more determination to prove you belong.

Hi there, 2008!  That being said, Richt ain’t no dummy, and when you read stuff like this

…His idea to fix things is going back to the same attitude he had when he was a first-year coach at Georgia. No detail is too small. No practice is too physical and no mistake is too minor.

In other words, no cutting corners.

“In a lot of ways, we just want to make sure we have a focus on detail,” Richt said. “I remember the very first practice here. We took the coaches and the trainers and the managers, and we went onto the practice field and got the clock going and the horn blowing and we stood where we were going to be for flex and then the horn blew and we transitioned to where we were going to be next and the managers transitioned and the trainers transitioned.

“So when the kids came out, we were organized. We were ready. We’ve got to get that kind of mentality back, not leaving any detail for chance.”

… it makes you think that he’s already reached the same conclusion that Feldman did.  And is determined to do something about it.

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