Daily Archives: October 1, 2010

They ain’t missin’ you at all.

Hmm… I wonder what’s changed.

… Florida hasn’t been nearly as successful running the ball on first down this season. The Gators averaged 6.4 yards per rush on first down a year ago. This season, they’re averaging 3.7 yards per rush on first down through the first four games.

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Filed under Gators, Gators...

Satellite cat fight

Fox and Dish Network are duking it out over broadcast fees.

… Fox Networks is blocking Dish’s access to its Fox Sports channels, FX and NatGeo. The sticking point is rate increases. Dish said they are asking for transmission fee increase of more than 50 percent. Those increases are often passed on to customers in the form of higher monthly subscription rates.

In a press release today, Dish said, “Fox has flatly refused Dish Network’s request to allow customers to continue to watch these FOX channels during the negotiations.”

If, like me, you’re a Georgia fan who subscribes to Dish, is that a potential problem for this weekend?  Not necessarily.

The University of Georgia football game on Saturday night versus Colorado is set to air on Fox Sports South, which would be unavailable if this dispute continues.

But good news, Dawg fans: Dish has come up with a work around. It has made some channels available that most Atlanta subscribers don’t normally get, including Channel 9667, which is Comcast Rocky Mountain. That network is airing the Georgia-Colorado game. In that case, you’ll hear the game from the Colorado perspective but at least you’ll get the game.

As long as Thom Brennaman isn’t on the FSS broadcast team, we’ll manage.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Strategy makes me bitchy.

Again, if you’re looking for a preview for the Colorado game, look elsewhere around the Dawgosphere for plenty of good examples.  Besides, is the bottom line for tomorrow any different that what is was last Saturday – play up-to-your-potential, focused ball for sixty minutes, Dawgs, and you’ll win?

Nah.  Instead I think I’ll spend the rest of this post riffing off Jody’s latest observation about the playcalling:

Play action…Figured I’d follow back up on that.  We threw a LOT more from the shotgun this week.  We called a passing play from shotgun 29 times Saturday, including penalty plays that were lost, sacks, scrambles, etc. and according to my charting, just one used play action.  Under center play calls was a different story.  Of the 10 pass plays called under center, all utilized play action. [Emphasis added.] 3 ended in scrambles and Murray was 4 of 7 on the plays he actually got a pass off.  So in 2 weeks we’ve had 34 pass plays called under center and 31 of them were play action.  I’ve felt for years that it seemed like we never did straight drops but I didn’t expect it to be this stark.

This is the kind of stuff that belongs in Fabris Country, i.e., a stubborn insistence bordering on insanity for doing things in a certain way for reasons which have little to do with success.  And it’s starting to drive me up the wall in the same manner that directional kicking did last year.

Consider that in the opinion of the always brilliant Chris Brown, college offenses have entered

… the age of the tinkerer, where subtle tweaks instead of wholesale changes to offensive or defensive schemes, will be what decide games. The hero coaches will be more Thomas Edison than Albert Einstein, putting spare parts from football’s extensive history to new use…

Tinkering in Athens these days seems to be little more than waiting to see if A.J. Green’s return provides an offensive spark.  (Part of me is going to be pissed off if we suddenly see a fully functional offense tomorrow night.)

Some of the problem may be due to an inability to identify what the coaches have to work with.

“I think Aaron has surpassed our expectations of playing under the pressure, of being a confident young man, (handling) every situation with poise,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “And his ability to make plays probably surprised us more than we thought he’d do.”

Gee, that makes you wonder if Bobo was even watching the Louisiana game while he was standing on the sideline.

But some of it seems to be a genuine inability to engage in the kind of tinkering Chris alludes to.  Consider the formation du jourthe pistol.

… Invented in Nevada, the short shotgun setup – hence pistol – that places the quarterback about 4 yards behind center and a running back 3 yards behind the QB is now being used in varying amounts at Alabama, Arkansas, Duke, Indiana, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and UCLA, just to name a few.

Now the point here isn’t that the pistol is some magic formula to revive a moribund Georgia offense.  As the article notes, the formation hasn’t been an unbridled success everywhere it’s been deployed.  But it’s had enough success that a variety of schools running a variety of offenses have taken steps to incorporate it into their gameplanning.  Enough so that HeismanPundit has gotten all excited about it:

… The Wildcat is soooo 2008.   The Pistol is the new craze in college football… The benefits are clear:  It provides a shot gun look while still allowing for downhill running without telegraphing the direction of the run, as in a normal shotgun with an offset back.  Unlike the Wildcat, the quarterback gets his hands on the ball first, allowing for more passing options.  And preparing for the Pistol is difficult–not many teams run it, so most defensive players haven’t absorbed its concepts yet.

“The Wildcat is so 2008″ observation is a bit of an exaggeration in that it’s still a successful formation which has a different purpose – getting an extra blocker on the field for the runner taking the direct snap – than does the pistol, which is more about deception.  But it’s a mature strategy (fifth year in the SEC) that we’re finally seeing Bobo add to the arsenal.  By that timeline, we can probably expect to see Murray line up in the pistol sometime during 2013.  And run play action out of it.

One last thing.  Watch the Florida-Alabama game, not just because of its importance, but also to see how successful the 5-2 defensive alignment the Gators will deploy is at slowing down Alabama’s power offense.  I’m obviously not putting Georgia’s offense in the same class as Alabama’s, but the underlying philosophies are similar.  Except ‘Bama tinkers more…

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

The NCAA’s unique business model

Dennis Dodd conducts a Q&A with the NCAA’s incoming president in which the primary topic is one A. J. Green.  Most of what’s there I don’t have a problem with, but this exchange raised my eyebrows:

CBSSports.com: I hear all this blowback about, “Why shouldn’t the players make money off a $1,000 jersey?” What is your response to that?

Emmert: “That’s fueled by two fundamental misperceptions. The first is that the universities and NCAA are, quote, making all this money off these things. As NCAA studies have shown in the past and shown again this past year, there are only a handful — literally, you can count them on your fingers and toes — universities in America that so much as break even on intercollegiate athletics.

“The high profile sports of football and men’s basketball generate a good amount of revenue all of which gets redeployed out to support the rest of intercollegiate athletics. The same is true of the NCAA. We get big stories [done about] doing a media rights deal with CBS/Turner and it’s [at least] $8.8 billion and everybody sees those huge numbers and thinks, ‘Oh my God, what are they doing with all that cash?’ As you know, it gets distributed back out to the member institutions. Somewhere around 95-96 percent of all the revenue goes back to the institutions directly or indirectly to support student-athletes.

“The component that is spent on the administration of the NCAA is something like four percent. The first misperception is this notion that somehow universities are making buckets of money. Quite the contrary.”

Maybe I’m missing something, but that sure comes off sounding like the universities don’t want any competition from the players peeling off any of the revenue being earned from sports because they believe they need every penny of that money more than the Greens of the world do.

By the way, four percent of $8.8 billion is $352,000,000.00 – not exactly the chump change Emmert tries to make it sound like.  I imagine the NCAA can run itself just fine on that, with room to spare.

He continues on with his concept of the school-player relationship.

“The second misnomer is student-athletes are student-athletes. They’re not employees. They came to the universities to get an education and participate in their sport. They are not in a position where they should be paid as employees or where they should be benefitting beyond what they get which is an extraordinary set of benefits. I don’t know how you went to school but getting a full-time as students is terrific. They earn every penny of it in their efforts. I get that, of course.

“They are provided with extraordinary opportunities to excel in athletics and should they — for the very small portion that want to move into professional athletics — get an opportunity to do that … we’re preparing them to be successful at it.”

All of that is well and good – except that it’s not completely relevant to the set of facts he’s been presented with.  Green wasn’t asking Damon Evans to stroke him a check.  Right or wrong, he was caught trying to make a buck off of something that in almost any other field would be done without a second thought:  his own name.

Now my point here isn’t to defend Green’s stupidity.  He made a mistake and deserved to pay for it.  I also laud the NCAA for manning the walls to defend the concept of amateurism.  All of that doesn’t hide the strong whiff of hypocrisy that permeates Emmert’s high-minded talk.  Schools and their representatives giving players lectures about the purity of their mission in one breath and in the next participating in the same conduct which they’ve just strongly condemned (and punished!) engage themselves in the kind of “do as I say, not as I do” discipline that inevitably results in the erosion of respect for the very principles they hold out as important.

In other words, if you’re going to solemnly tell an A.J. Green every year when he signs that “Student-Athlete Statement” Dodd pontificates about that the deal a player makes means that he can’t exploit his own worth for personal gain because that undercuts the value the NCAA places on amateurism, you should hold yourself to the same standard as well.

Too bad Dodd didn’t hand Emmert a mirror to look at when he conducted the interview.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Somehow, you get the feeling this isn’t going to end well.

The process to create a new mascot at Ole Miss is drawing to a conclusion and the results are, well, kind of lame.  But, then again, the process itself sounds that way, too.

… Mascot selection committee co-chair Margaret Ann Morgan, a sophomore from McComb, said the committee spent a great deal of time reviewing the potential concepts.

“Since the top five Ole Miss Rebel on-field mascot concepts were identified, the committee has been hard at work with the mascot professionals developing graphic depictions of each,” she said.

“Mascot professionals”?  Now there’s a line of work I bet it’s tough to break into.

But give ‘em credit.  They’ve been weeding down the field.

… A committee eliminated two of the concepts. The Rebel Lion was eliminated because, despite a positive response to the play on the word “Rebellion,” the committee felt that there was not a strong enough Mississippi or Ole Miss connection…

That actually makes sense.  So what did the committee latch onto that does have that strong connection?

… On Oct. 6, the mascot committee will release a poll including artists’ depictions of the Rebel Bear, Rebel Land Shark and Hotty Toddy.

Oh.

WTF is a Rebel Land Shark?

That should make for some fun times in the Grove before games.

Ole Miss faithful, be grateful your committee didn’t come up with a camel.

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Filed under SEC Football