Daily Archives: October 27, 2009

I need a lesson in Vol etiquette.

I’m afraid I took Junior at his word when he justified his behavior by claiming it was necessary to generate national attention for his program.

So I pitch in, do my part and give the man the bandwidth he asked for, only to find myself accused of running “the preoccupied-with-Kiffin Get the Picture (have fun being 0-1 versus your class clown)”.  Preoccupied?  Moi? What’s a poor blogger to do?

By the way, while I agree with a lot of Oskie’s rant, particularly about Slive’s heavyhanded attempt to brush aside criticism of the officials, I do find it highly amusing to find the shoe on the other foot in terms of Vol fans (not to mention Coach O) waxing indignant about perceived special treatment the league gives to Alabama.  It seems like only yesterday that I was reading message boards filled with the fevered ravings of Tide fans who firmly believed in the existence of an evil conspiracy between Phil Fulmer and Roy Kramer.

There’s never a black helicopter around when you need one.

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

Mumme Poll results, Week 8

Another week, another swap at the top, by a narrow margin.

Rank Team Votes
1 Florida 305
2 Alabama 304
3 Texas 301
4 Iowa 300
5 Cincinnati 296
6 TCU 294
7 Southern Cal 289
8 Oregon 280
9 Georgia Tech 278
10 LSU 275
11 Boise State 270
12 Penn State 190
13 Oklahoma State 76
14 Virginia Tech 73
15 Pittsburgh 49
16 Houston 18
17 Miami 12
18 Utah 9
19 Ohio State 7
19 West Virginia 7
21 South Carolina 6
22 Arizona 5
22 Oklahoma 5
24 Notre Dame 4
25 Wisconsin 2

COMMENTS

  • Overall, that strikes me as a pretty rational set of results.  As the season grinds on, it looks like there’s a consensus forming around the best 10-11 teams in the country.
  • As there wasn’t a tie until #19, I didn’t list the top five vote totals here, but if you’re interested, no team received a top five vote on all 305 ballots.  The team that garnered the most was Alabama, with 298.
  • The lowest ranked team to receive a top five vote was South Carolina.
  • A total of 30 schools received votes this week.
  • It’s probably not a surprise to those who participated last year, but we lost about 10% of our voters from last week.  Not sure if that’s due to a lack of interest in the poll, or a lack of interest in the way the season has played out.
  • Bias watch:  Georgia Tech showed up one slot lower in Georgia fans’ voting than overall, primarily because Georgia voters love LSU, ranking the Tigers sixth.

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Message to Jacksonville: “We want to put ourselves in the most favorable opportunity.”

Readers here know I have a rule:  when someone says it’s not about the money, it’s about the money.

So don’t kid yourselves, folks, over the maneuvering about the renewal of the deal with Jacksonville for the Georgia-Florida game.

“Going down there was not about the money,” (University of Georgia executive athletic director Frank) Crumley said. “It’s about the tradition of the game without a doubt. These are things they did just to show both schools they wanted both schools there.”

Sure.  It’s all about the love, man.

Here’s how Jax expressed its civic appreciation for those two fine academic institutions:

• The City of Jacksonville will pay for travel for the Georgia football team to fly out of Athens into St. Augustine, Fla. — where the team hotel is located — and fly back from Jacksonville to Athens after the game. That’s worth more than $100,000 per year. Florida is currently picking up half of Georgia’s travel cost.

• Each school will get an additional $50,000 to offset expenses including hotel costs and meals.

• The schools will be allotted an additional 500 parking spaces at lots around Jacksonville Municipal Stadium to give each 1,500 to distribute.

• Control of the marketing assets to the game go to the two schools instead of being split three ways with the city of Jacksonville. Georgia received about $80,000 last year from marketing of the game last year.

Do the math.  Georgia makes more money playing the neutral site game than it does playing home and home.

… Georgia nets about $1.6 million annually for the Florida game, which has been played in Jacksonville since 1933 with the exception of 1995 and 1996 when it moved to the campuses when the stadium was being renovated. A home game in Athens is worth about $2.8 million for Georgia, but the Bulldogs rotate home and away with their SEC opponents.

I can’t wait to see what they squeeze out six years from now.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Is the defensive scheme really the issue this week?

Leave it to Bleacher Report to get me started.  I read this post there suggesting that perhaps Georgia’s woes on defense could be traced not to things like poor fundamentals, but to scheme.  It’s one of those classic write ups in which the author throws out enough verbiage/buzz words to make it sound authoritative, but when you parse it down, there’s not much there.

Like this:

… The problem with the 4-3 defense as it applies to the spread or the option offense is that there isn’t enough team speed.

Spread offenses aren’t usually relying on the run game to pick up yardage. There are a lot more three, four, and sometimes even five receiver sets employed—the tight end is generally a hybrid (meaning he is listed as a tight end but has the speed of a wide receiver).

Unfortunately, reality intrudes:  three of the top four rushing offenses in the SEC belong to schools employing some form of the spread.  And as we’re all aware at this point in the season, the worst rushing offense in the conference belongs to a team that definitely doesn’t run out of a spread attack.

This doesn’t strike me as very observant, either:

… Willie Martinez is still relying on the defensive scheme of Van Gorder because it worked. However, in 2001 when Van Gorder took over as coordinator, the most mobile quarterbacks in the SEC were Tyler Watts and Corey Phillips—neither of whom operated in a spread system.

Now, the Dawgs see the spread at Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Auburn. LSU and South Carolina both have incorporated variations of the spread into their offenses.

It’s a changing league and the Dawgs need to start making some adjustments.

Well, guess what?  Martinez has already done that.

“In our league, more and more people are spreading out (on offense), and I think it’s happening pretty much around the nation,” Richt said. “The more (offenses) spread, the less (defenses) play their Sam linebacker. You could play Sam and play a certain team and play maybe 15 snaps or something. And then if you have two Sams who are ready to play, you are splitting time like that.”

When offenses spread out their formation, defenses have to replace the Sam linebacker with a defensive back, a player who is expected to be faster and better in pass coverage. With a linebacker in the game against a spread offense, Martinez said, quarterbacks and offensive coordinators know the defense will be playing zone defense, giving the offense an advantage.

“They know a linebacker is not going to play man (coverage),” Martinez said. “He’s going to play zone.” [Emphasis added.]

I don’t want to say that scheme per se is overrated, but it’s not as important as fundamentals.  Play your assignments properly, win the battle at the line of scrimmage and tackle properly and you’re generally going to be successful whether you’re doing that out of a 4-3, 3-4 (by the way, “lose the nose tackle”?), 3-3-5 or any other alignment you want to toss out there.  Monte Kiffin slowed Florida down playing classic Tampa Two, while Meyer noted that Mississippi State confused Tebow last weekend playing cover zero.  (Check Chris Brown’s breakdown of those coverages, if you’re interested.)  They both worked because the defenders did what they were supposed to do.  Go back and look at Georgia’s defensive play against Crompton and the UT receivers (if you can stomach it, anyway).  Can you say the same thing?

The thing is that Martinez by and large has done a decent job against Meyer’s offenses.  Believe it or not, Georgia has outgained Florida in three of the past four games.  And that’s with DJ being out for the 2005 game and Georgia being -4 in turnover margin in both the 2006 and 2008 games.

Now, as they like to say in the securities biz, past performance is no indication of future success, but I’m a lot more worried about whether Georgia is going to play a bunch of soft zone against a team that’s not as successful throwing the ball as last year, struggles in the red zone and whose go-to receiver is its tight end than I am about counting how many defensive lineman Martinez lines up with.

For Georgia to win, the defensive line needs to step up with its best game of the season and the Dawgs need to be in the black on turnover margin.  Purely and simply, that’s where it’s all got to start.

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UPDATE: David Hale takes a look at the passing game numbers for both Georgia’s defense and Florida’s offense.  It’s not for the faint at heart.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Tuesday morning buffet

A nibble here, a nibble there:

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UPDATE: Beamer clarifies his remarks.

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Filed under ACC Football, Big 12 Football, Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football

SEC Power Poll Ballot – Week Eight

It’s more of the same this week.  The top and the bottom of the conference are well-defined and the middle is a muddle.

  1. Florida. It’s still a 1 and 1-A situation with Alabama, but the Gators’ impressive depth on defense entitles them to the nod this week.
  2. Alabama. Those kids looked tired at the end of the Tennessee game, so you have to give them credit for sucking it up and making the big play when they had to.  The offense has some work to do during the bye week, though.
  3. LSU. They dominated Auburn.  How much of an accomplishment that is remains to be seen.
  4. Ole Miss. This is a good team if Snead is merely competent.  It could be a dangerous team if the offense would stop turning the ball over so much.
  5. South Carolina. Stopping a two-year losing streak by beating Vanderbilt 14-10 at home doesn’t impress me.
  6. Tennessee. The Vols scored a total of 23 points in their losses to Alabama and Florida.   They beat Georgia convincingly and lost to UCLA.  Excuse me if I’m not seeing a huge improvement over the last three years of the Fulmer regime there.
  7. Georgia. Gotta love that bye week bounce, baby!
  8. Kentucky. Another starter (Micah Johnson) goes down.  Look out, Mississippi State.
  9. Arkansas. The defensive improvement people thought they saw in the Hogs’ last two games was a mirage.  And Ryan Mallett’s first full year reminds me more and more of Matt Stafford, The Early Years.  Bowl eligibility is going to be a closer call than many people thought three weeks ago.
  10. Auburn. Hey, did anybody notice that Paul Rhodes has already matched Chizik’s career win total at Iowa State?  It’s sure getting uglier on the Plains.  Furman will make them bowl eligible, but with two games against ranked opponents and Georgia in Athens remaining, it’ll be a stretch to get more than that.
  11. Mississippi State. Good coach, insufficient talent.  And this team has a tough row to hoe in its last four games.
  12. Vanderbilt. Larry Smith’s last two plays Saturday night were simply brutal.  I know Bobby Johnson believes Smith is the future, but you have to wonder if Mackenzi Adams would have been a better choice on that final drive.  Especially since that might have been the ‘Dores last decent chance for a win this year.

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