Daily Archives: October 8, 2009

Hanging’s too good for ‘em.

Mike Slive gives us a little of the ol’ soft shoe.

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive says there is no reason to have a “public hanging” when game officials make bad calls.

He says the SEC has an accountability system for officials and if somebody is not good enough they won’t stay. The commissioner says he’s “just never felt that a public hanging in the square” will make better officials.

It ain’t the game official whose hide we want, Mr. Slive.

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12 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Balance is nice. Scoring is nicer.

I know I’m probably going to come off sounding like an ass in this post, but here’s a quote from Mike Bobo Joe Cox that distills my concerns over his Mike Bobo’s playcalling this year:

… Georgia heads to Tennessee, where defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin will be focused on adding more misery to the Bulldogs’ rushing attack.

“They like bringing down safeties into the box and being able to have that extra run support,” Cox said. “A lot of times they’re lining up saying, ‘You’re not going to run the ball. You’re going to have to beat us throwing the ball.’

“That’ll be tough because you want to have a balanced game plan. We’re just going to have to find ways to open up holes for the run game against all their looks.”

I’ve never coached.  I’m just a blogger with an opinion.  But since when did having a balanced game plan become the end instead of a means?

The playcaller’s job isn’t to be balanced.  It’s to call plays that generate yards and points.  If by running a balanced attack you can keep the defense on its heels to accomplish your goal of scoring, that’s great.  But sometimes you’ve got to settle for taking what the defense gives you.  If your opponent is going to play with eight or nine in the box – Lord knows we’ve seen plenty of that this year – you’ve got to take advantage of that and attack the defense where it’s short-handed with the pass.

I understand that sometimes the execution of the players comes into play.  If Cox isn’t in sync with his receivers, that leaves Bobo with tough options.  But that doesn’t explain the perplexing playcalling we’ve seen in almost every game in ’09, starting with Oklahoma State, where Bobo gets in a groove, slices up a defense for a score on an impressive drive… and then proceeds to fiddle around for a few series.

I posted after the OSU game that it struck me as if at some point in the first quarter Bobo realized he didn’t like the ratio of run/pass plays he’d called even though they had worked and just started calling plays to balance the ratio.  There have been moments I’ve felt like that in almost every game this year.

It’s great that Richt has enough confidence in his assistants to give them the room to operate.  But similarly to Fabris, you wonder if this encourages stubbornness in the face of reality.  And the reality right now is that the Georgia running game isn’t very functional.  Saying that your offense “has to open holes” isn’t a solution; it’s a hope.  Or, you could say, a means to the end of having a balanced attack.

38 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Penalize this.

I’ve always admired exhaustive number crunching about things that I’m too lazy to pursue myself, so you should take a couple of minutes to read Dean Legge’s piece on Georgia’s history with penalties.  When you boil it down, there are two things to take from his article:

  1. Georgia’s penalty rate, particularly in nationally televised games, has accelerated in the wake of the 2007 Florida game.
  2. Georgia’s penalty rate has absolutely no impact on wins and losses.

Given the second data point, that means I really shouldn’t care.  And with regard to the rate itself, I don’t.  However (and you knew there was a “however” coming, didn’t you?), there’s a larger point of concern that can’t be brushed off merely by referencing Georgia’s record.  I think Legge’s on to something in his conclusion.

Do the officials have something against Georgia? That’s a question that can no longer be dismissed off hand considering the celebration penalty the Bulldogs suffered the other day – That call cost Georgia the game. But, that is an unanswerable question. Are the officials out to get Georgia? That seems a little too strong. Are the officials more likely to throw a flag on Georgia than they have been in the past? Yes. The numbers don’t lie. Since the 2007 Florida game officials, particularly in nationally televised contests, have only failed to flag Georgia for a personal foul once. Georgia didn’t have a personal foul called against them in the two games before the 2007 Florida game or in three of the four before it. Georgia fans like to remember the celebration during the win over Florida in 2007 – they are not the only ones. The officials seem to remember it, too – nearly every Saturday.

To be absolutely clear, I don’t think the fix is in, or anything like that.  But I do think there’s a heightened sensitivity for officials about Georgia games.  And I do think it’s detrimental, although not in the wins and losses department.

First of all, while there’s no doubt that the personal foul on Green chafes especially because it came against my team at a crucial moment, it’s not like I (as is the case with many others) haven’t bitched about the inconsistent way in which the excessive celebration penalty has been applied in college football before last Saturday.  It’s a widespread problem, plain and simple.

It’s obvious that the officials on the field have little guidance about how to make that call – on the one hand, you’ve got Rogers Redding’s bs about how “We tell our guys not to go looking for this stuff”, and on the other you’ve got these same officials being shoveled into “combines” where they’re made aware of the NCAA’s desire to emphasize sportsmanship issues.  Redding, as much as he’d like to, can’t have it both ways on this.  It’s made a bad situation worse.  And when you combine that with a sensitivity about calling Georgia games, well, it’s almost surprising that it’s taken so long for something like the Green situation to surface.

But even scarier to consider is Alem’s hit on Caleb King.  Again, I am in no way suggesting that the officials deliberately chose not to call a penalty in that situation in order to punish Georgia, but I can’t help but wonder if it in some way is a consequence, albeit an unintended one, of focusing too much attention on the kids in red.  In other words, if you’re more concerned with making sure that one team doesn’t cause problems than you are about anything else, it’s only natural that, sooner or later, that anything else is going to slip by.

It’s a tough enough game for officials to supervise as it is.  College athletes over the past few decades have only gotten bigger, stronger and faster.  I realize that can be hard to keep up with in every occasion, so why make the task even more difficult?

I obviously have no proof that anything like this is going on, but if Redding has a shred of professional integrity, he ought to realize that even the perception that Legge’s stats create is damaging.  If nothing else, there’s a need for another “combine” where he sits his officials down and addresses this.

51 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, The NCAA

Two Kings crowned.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist using a header like that.

In addition to Caleb, Tavarres King also suffered a concussion in the LSU game, although no one knows when that happened.

Marlon Brown, come on down.

6 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

What did he know, and when did they know it?

In the wake of his suspension, here is what Dez Bryant posted on his Facebook page:

“This is why I’m suspended…..I went to Deion sanders house ….and the NCAA found out…..they ask me if I been to his house I told them no…I thought it was a violation…but it wasn’t… so I told them I went to his house… I lied to …them and I shouldn’t have….and I’m not suspended for the rest of the season….I’m sorry osu!!”

Which reads a little differently than his formal statement, but so be it.

As Deion Sanders said, the kid panicked.  What’s strange about that is that I’m not sure why.  It wasn’t like this was some very recent development, or that the school didn’t know about the relationship.

… Sanders said he was asked two years ago to mentor Bryant because of his difficult past; his mother served time in prison on a drug-sale conviction. Sanders said that before he started mentoring Bryant, he called an Oklahoma State assistant for approval.

“When Dez is late to class, the coach calls me,” Sanders said. “When Dez doesn’t show up for this, the coach calls me.”

Given that, you would think OSU would have been proactive enough to let Bryant know what was and what wasn’t an NCAA violation in that setting.  It’s certainly to no one’s discredit that they were trying to give the kid some support.

But it’s the timing that interests me.  It’s a two-year relationship that the NCAA started digging into last summer, according to Sanders.  So when did the NCAA and, in turn, OSU realize that Bryant had lied to investigators?

… Though he was not in uniform for OSU’s last game, Bryant still led the team out of the tunnel and onto the field against Grambling State.

Wednesday’s dismissal makes you wonder if Bryant actually was held out of that game because of a lie, and not because of a bad hamstring.

Like I said, interesting…

2 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

Mama tried.

And while we’re on the subject of lexicons, it’s time to realize that “Mustained” needs to become a verb.

Really, this is descending into self-parody.

With USC quarterback Mitch Mustain buried on the depth chart, the junior is considering another way to use his arm to get playing time.

Mustain said he is thinking of becoming a pitcher for the USC baseball team next spring.

“I’ve kind of missed baseball,” Mustain said. “It’s been six years since I played competitively.”

Mustain said he had a 0.90 ERA the last time he pitched in high school and spoke to USC pitching coach Tom House several times about playing baseball.

“I’ll figure it out in the next month,” Mustain said…

… Mustain said he did not anticipate his status with football changing.

“I think I’ve tried everything,” he said. “I’ve done all I could.”

4 Comments

Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Mustained

Death of an insult

It’s a sad day, SEC fans, as the conference announces a new affiliation with the Gator Bowl.  That’s not the sad part, of course.  It’s that the move precludes the conference from maintaining a relationship with the Independence Bowl, which moves on to match up schools from the ACC and the Mountain West.

And that eliminates the word “Shreveport” from the lexicon of SEC mockery.  Nothing says “gee, your program sure is mediocre this season” quite as efficiently as referencing that Louisiana metropolis.

You will be forever in our hearts, Shreveport.  Take care.

5 Comments

Filed under SEC Football