Daily Archives: September 24, 2010

Mississippi State: the non-preview preview

I’m starting to get into this format of not doing a formal preview, mainly because there are so many good ones out there being done by other Dawg bloggers that it seems redundant.  So, again, I’ll just leave you with a series of stats, possibilities and observations from which to draw your own conclusions.

  • Maybe tomorrow night comes down to which team gets the first offensive line to function decently.  Doesn’t this sound familiar?  “Protection has broken down, blitzes have not been picked up and, most importantly, there’s been a communication breakdown. The result has been seven interceptions and zero touchdowns during the last two games by State’s quarterbacks.” Well, except for the seven interceptions.
  • Which is one reason I like Georgia’s chances – as dysfunctional as the offense has appeared at times, it still sports a better body of work than this“MSU does not have a quarterback ranked in the SEC’s top 10 in passing efficiency — Chris Relf and Tyler Russell combined for five interceptions last week at LSU — and hasn’t produced a 50-yard rusher in two weeks.” Ugh.  It sounds like Mississippi State is missing Dan Mullen’s offensive genius as much as Florida is.
  • I don’t want to get too snide about offensive genius, though, not after Jody did some counting during the Arkansas game and came up with this cringe-inducing stat“What’s up with our play-action?  If we’re under center, we’re going to be running play action.  Saturday we had 24 pass plays called under center.  Of those, 21 were play action and the other three were 3-step drops.  In shotgun though, of our 14 attempted passing plays, only 1 used play-action.” Good grief, no wonder Murray was getting smacked around.  I’m guessing that Manny Diaz has somebody on staff who can count, too.
  • At least Georgia’s secondary will be able to look a bunch of receivers directly in the eye this week.  “Of the 6 WRs they have on their 2-deep, only Leon Berry is an upperclassman.  Only 1 of their top 6 stands over 6-0, Chris Smith, and he’s averaging only a catch per game.” After the last two weeks, that’s got to be a relief.
  • What a surprise!  Both defenses want to create more turnovers.
  • One little thing to watch is Georgia’s kickoff return game.  MSU ranks eleventh in the conference in opponents’ kickoff return yardage, and by a pretty good margin.  Those Bulldogs are noticeably worse in that department than either South Carolina or Arkansas, so perhaps this is the week for Brandon Boykin to get untracked.
  • Something else to keep in mind – going into the third quarter, Coach Mullen is doing something right with his halftime adjustments on offense.  Mississippi State has scored touchdowns on each of its first second-half series this season.  None were cheapies, either:  75 yards against Memphis, 63 yards against Auburn and 81 yards against LSU.  (And since MSU got the ball first each time, I’d suggest that if Georgia wins the toss, the Dawgs elect to defer.)
  • When you’re relegated to Fox at 7 PM, you don’t get the cream of the crop, broadcast team speaking.  Bob Rathbun and Tim Couch – be still, my heart.
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Filed under Georgia Football

Buy your cupcakes from some place you can trust.

Virginia Tech chose to shop for a FCS opponent at the Colonial Athletic Association store.  Big mistake:

… But then there’s the Colonial Athletic Association, home to seven teams in last week’s FCS top-25 coaches’ poll, including UMass and James Madison. Since 2006, its average point differential in games against FBS teams is minus-15 points, a relatively competitive figure when compared to the overall average. CAA teams have 10 victories over the FBS over this span (including wins over Virginia, Virginia Tech, Northwestern and Duke twice), compared to 19 for all of the rest of the FCS.

Clearly this is not a conference to be taken lightly – which is exactly what Virginia Tech did by playing James Madison just five days after the Hokies lost to Boise State.

By the way, check out those conference all-time records against FCS schools.  How stunningly bad does that Ole Miss loss to Jacksonville State look?

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Filed under College Football

Take a hint, son.

The Wall Street Journal takes a look at Alabama’s aggressive use of the medical scholarship rule or, depending on your point of view, the Tide’s bad run of luck with players who’ve suffered career-ending injuries.

Me, I can’t get too worked up about it – it’s within the rules and it’s not exactly a big secret at this point – but the illusion that it’s these players’ decision is pretty laughable.

… Mr. Griffin said that he was surprised last month when the football staff told him he had failed a physical. At that point, Mr. Griffin said, Mr. Saban sat him down and asked him what he wanted to do besides playing football. He said that Mr. Saban floated the possibility of a medical scholarship and asked if Mr. Griffin was interested in student coaching.

When God sits there and tells you to your face that it’s time to think about becoming a student coach,  it’s not hard to read between the lines about your future in Tuscaloosa.

(h/t Oversigning.com)

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules

The hidden game

Year2 takes a look at the yardage that doesn’t show up in the total offense/defense stats.

We all know about total yards and total defense, but teams rack up other kinds of yards through a football game.  For lack of a better term, I’m calling them “Other Yards” today. The formula is simple:

Other Yards = Punt Return Yards + Kickoff Return Yards + Interception Return Yards

If you look at his chart of the SEC, you’ll see that some of the information he’s gathered is more useful than other parts there.  Alabama is last on the list, for example, mainly because it’s deep in the hole due to kicking off a lot more than its opponents have.

Still, it’s interesting to tie his data in with our old friend, yards per point.  It’s reasonable to figure that teams which have an advantage in punt return net yardage, turnover margin (reflected to some extent in his net interception yardage numbers) and net penalty yardage are going to wind up being more efficient scorers, because all of that translates into more advantageous field position.

So here’s how the SEC ranks in order of yards per point after three games:

TEAM POINTS YARDS YPP
Florida 103 957 9.29
Kentucky 133 1492 11.22
LSU 86 969 11.27
Georgia 85 1022 12.02
Alabama 134 1626 12.13
S. Carolina 96 1177 12.26
Arkansas 106 1451 13.69
Ole Miss 89 1238 13.91
Auburn 96 1380 14.38
Tennessee 80 1158 14.48
Miss. St. 70 1083 15.47
Vanderbilt 52 867 16.67

It’s early, and every school has played at least one cupcake, so the numbers are a little better overall than we’ll see by year’s end, but if you’re looking for an explanation about how Florida’s offense can look so pedestrian, yet still score enough to get out to a 3-0 start, it’s because they haven’t had to strain themselves so far.  Same thing with LSU.  Auburn, however, is making Gus Malzahn earn his keep.

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Filed under SEC Football, Stats Geek!