Daily Archives: June 15, 2009

Looking forwards and looking backwards

Citing a Mark Bradley post that in turn quotes from an ESPN pay site is no doubt one the greatest sins I’ve ever committed at this blog, but the info that he quotes is too interesting to ignore (unlike Bradley’s own commentary in the post).

• “Last year, Stafford had plenty of weapons to utilize, but he was always on the run. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Stafford was drilled 93 times last season, up from 77 as a sophomore. Because of that, a Georgia offense that still managed 31.5 points per game [third in the SEC] was too star-driven. [Offensive coordinator Mike] Bobo admits that Stafford had a tendency to [focus on] his most reliable players while on the run.”

• “While the previews will say the Dawgs get back seven starters on offense, Bobo contends they get back eight … and that’s just on the offensive line. ‘We actually have eight guys back [on the O-line] that have started games for us, and we can move them around if we have to,’ Bobo says. Because of that, he thinks [Joe} Cox will be able to get more options involved. And he'll need to. 'Right now, we really have just one proven playmaker, but it's not how we'll play where we're just tossing it to [A.J. Green]; you’ll see us spread it around.’ ”

That’s one reason I think the criticism thrown Stafford’s way is a bit unfair.  ’06 was just a chaotic year on offense (of course, the QB situation was part of that) and ’08 saw an offensive line that was discombobulated frequently, as the quarterback hit numbers indicate.  There were a number of games where we saw what happened when Stafford didn’t trust his pass protection – not only the reliance that Bobo mentioned, but also Matt’s tendency to let his mechanics slide.

But I also think that affected Bobo’s game calling.  Listen to the way he sounds now.  Give that man a line that can block and protect and I believe he’s confident enough to make the offense work.  And I have to think some of that stems from what Bobo sees in Joe Cox.

On a somewhat related front, I think Coach Richt may be overstating his case about the questions Cox faces at the helm this year.

… But while Cox may be a bit unfairly judged by what Shockley accomplished, Mark Richt thinks that his current quarterback has actually had it a bit easier than his old one did.

“If you remember, Shockley’s last game he played a lot in was Georgia Tech on a cold, wet day, and he didn’t play very well,” Richt said. “So there was a lot of people, a large contingent of fans who were like, ‘This kid can’t do it.’ I think Shockley came into the season with more doubters than what Joe’s coming into the season with, in my opinion…”

Apples and oranges, if you ask me.

As a backup to Greene, Shockley was inserted into games far more frequently than Cox has been during his career.  So I’m not sure which engenders less confidence among the faithful, playing relatively frequently with plenty of ups and downs, or simply not seeing the playing field in a meaningful way other than for a couple of quarters during a period when it was clear the staff wanted to go with the true freshman.  Not to mention that Richt is looking for very different things from Joe than he was from DJ in order for the offense to function successfully.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Mmmmmm… cupcakes.

The Wiz takes the ball from the Birmingham News’ Jon Solomon and runs with it.

The addition of a 12th game in 2006 has been nothing short of a scam perpetrated on fans. While paying customers were hoping for great intersectional matchups, big-time athletic directors and coaches saw something else.

Add a cupcake opponent to the home schedule, get an easy victory, make millions for the department and keep those rollover contracts in working order. Fat City! Who cares if the spring scrimmage was more competitive than the cupcake that was added to the schedule? If a team can go 4-0 in nonconference play, a mere 2-6 mark in conference gets you to 6-6, the magic record needed to earn a postseason berth to some outpost like Shreveport.

To top it off, those fools behind the BCS formula won’t penalize you for playing a team from Division I-AA. So why not schedule two games against I-AA opponents?

That passage highlights two perverse incentives built into the system.  One, the need to schedule weak sisters is greater for marginal teams that must hit that absolute number of six wins to become bowl eligible than it is for the schools challenging for a BCS slot which have to be more careful about constructing a schedule that doesn’t weaken their resumes too much in the eyes of the voters and computers.

On the other hand, the Wiz is right when he notes that there’s no outright penalty in the BCS formula for scheduling multiple 1-AA opponents (although, again, there is that risk of being perceived as playing too weak a schedule).  But there is one for the marginal schools, which can only count one such victory towards the bowl eligibility totals.

If that sounds somewhat contradictory, that’s only because it is.

What this all really adds up to is further ammunition for the position that D-1 football shrinking itself into an 80-school alignment of power conferences makes more and more sense.  Done right, that would provide the framework to jettison these games that generally satisfy no one other than the head coaches and athletic directors who want them.

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Filed under College Football, The Blogosphere

What a friend we have in Johnson.

A former Florida running back now coaching high school football in Broward County told me one time that you have to have your fair share of thugs to win college and NFL football games.

Joseph Goodman, Gator Clause, June 10, 2009

I hate to say it, but I don’t doubt that’s a popular attitude, and not one confined to Gainesville, Florida, either.  Although I’d qualify it by saying that a certain type of, um, marginally lawful person is required.  A starting thug, if you will.

So color me less than impressed with this “ride with a cop” deal Urban’s come up with to combat the negative PR his program has received lately.  It’s window dressing – something that Meyer can reference when he gets that pesky preseason question from the media about whether his program is out of control.

Although I do have to admit to being somewhat gobsmacked by this admission – “We are by no means perfect.” (And yeah, judging from the rest of his quote, that’s the imperial “we” he’s using there.)

Of course, Meyer doesn’t need to be perfect, as long as this guy is.

… Huntley Johnson isn’t on the University of Florida‘s payroll. He’s not on the UF football program’s payroll, either. But the Gainesville-based attorney might just be the Gators‘ most valuable player other than Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow.

Johnson is the go-to Gator for UF football players who find trouble with the law. He has handled 23 of the 24 football-related legal cases the Orlando Sentinel documented during Meyer’s four years as Florida’s head coach.

And he pretty much is.

… Sentinel research shows that of the 23 cases handled by Johnson, 21 resulted in dropped charges, a plea deal or pre-trial deferment plans that help first-time offenders avoid charges after fulfilling court-ordered stipulations.

The remaining two cases are unresolved, including sophomore cornerback Janoris Jenkins’ arrest two weeks ago on charges of affray and resisting an officer. Eight felony cases have been reduced to misdemeanors or thrown out of court.

“As far as the legal aspect, he’s the [team's] MVP,” said Cecil Newton, the father of former Gators quarterback Cam Newton.

Awesome.  When’s he getting his own page in the media guide?

Don’t get me wrong here.  Most schools have their own version of Huntley Johnson running interference.  It’s just that it seems they haven’t been able to combine sanctimony and volume in the way that the Gators have lately.

And I’m not sure if any are as fortunate to be located in a jurisdiction where local law enforcement seems so darned understanding.

… State Attorney Bill Cervone, who talks to Johnson almost daily, said his office might expedite investigations of football players to avoid amplified media coverage, but athletes are not treated differently than other students.

“Many of these cases just aren’t that severe and don’t take that much time to investigate,” Cervone said.

It’s nice when a plan comes together like that.  Go Gators!

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Gators, Gators...

Monday morning buffet

No Dawgbone makes this a lot harder to whip up for you guys.

  • “I call shotgun.” It’s always good to put a face with a badge, don’t you think?
  • You never know when an extra eighteen inches might come in handy.  Although I’d hate to explain to a TSA screener what that device is used for. (h/t Whatever)
  • I’m sorry, but when did Lindy’s become a poll?  (And how convenient for Odum to neglect to mention Steele.)
  • And while we’re on the subject of polls, consider what Erk had to say about ‘em.
  • More tales of economic fairness:  Proud Mountain West Conference member San Diego State is having problems negotiating a lease with the city of San Diego because “City officials estimated that it lost more than $300,000 combined on Aztecs games in 2006 and 2007 because of poor attendance.”(h/t The Wizard of Odds)
  • Smart Football has some thoughts about Urban Meyer’s back-to-the-future move to the I-formation.
  • Sports lobbying:  it’s the American Way!
  • Over at fanblogs.com, some thoughts about BCS eligibility and potential conference realignment.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Crime and Punishment, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, It's Just Bidness, Media Punditry/Foibles, Political Wankery, Science Marches Onward, Strategery And Mechanics, Urban Meyer Points and Stares