Daily Archives: October 7, 2010

Change I can believe in.

Praise the Lord… and Greg McGarity:

One of the changes new Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity hopes to make is to cut out some of the “canned music” at Sanford Stadium and create a more “traditional” atmosphere for Bulldog football games.

“So many institutions, I think, maybe go overboard in all this pre-programmed music,” McGarity said. “I’m pretty much a traditionalist, a conservative. If the band’s there, I want to hear the band playing. I think our fans do too.”

I sure do.  Yeah, I know I’m a old middle-aged fart.  Sue me.

And this really nails it, as far as I’m concerned:

“But it’s something I’m going to start paying attention to a little bit more now that I’m getting used to a lot of things,” McGarity said, “as far as, ‘How is the event presented?’ … Some schools just will wear you out. It’s so loud and annoying, you say, ‘Well, am I at a pro game or am I at a college game?’ I would like to see it run in a more traditional way. I guess it’s just probably being respectful to the college game instead of maybe veering off to the pro approach.”

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Filed under Georgia Football

The art of the sack

Here’s a comment you don’t see every day:

Matt Simms considers himself a pro when it comes to taking a sack. The Tennessee quarterback has a little experience having been hit with 18 of them in five games.

“I know it sounds weird, but I really think I’ve kind of mastered how to take a sack and just protect my body and protect the football,” he said. “Really, most people would think you try to tense up and kind of ball up your muscle, but really you kind of relax and let your body go, really to be honest, and not try to brace yourself by putting your hand out or bracing the fall.”

Let’s hope he gets plenty of opportunities to polish his technique Saturday.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Maybe this is just what the doctor needs to order for Athens.

(h/t EDSBS)

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Filed under The Body Is A Temple

A look at Grantham’s defense through orange-colored glasses

A detailed look at what Grantham’s 3-4 scheme entails, along with some strategies to attack it, is posted over at Rocky Top Talk.

There’s some good stuff in there, although I’d quibble with his “natural response” solutions towards the article’s end, simply because Grantham hasn’t stayed in a 3-4 when faced with three and four-receiver sets this season.  As he said to Fletcher Page,

… I would say it’s probably been about 60-40 in favor of 3-4. Some of that’s based upon situation of the game, personnel, types of plays they’re running, things like that. So we’re always going to be multiple in what we do. We’ll work to put the players in the position to be successful.

I’m not sure how much of Georgia’s problems on defense are purely scheme-related right now, anyway.  I’d put a lot more of it on this:

… Georgia has some mitigating factors here. The first is simply personnel turnover (which we ought to understand better than most right now), but it’s likely equally to do with a shift from the 4 lineman-base Martinez used to the 3-4 Grantham prefers. However, even as a 3-4 it does some things differently. This is a new defense that we’re seeing, but fortunately this is still a new defense for Georgia, too.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Everybody ❤ A. J.

Mel Kiper sure loves him some Green:

… Like SEC defenses since Green stepped on the field as a true freshman at Georgia, Colorado was helpless against him. Any rust acquired during the time off didn’t show, as Green caught seven passes for 119 yards and a pair of touchdowns. While he’s developed his route running and underneath game, Green continues to be the best downfield threat in the college game. Georgia may struggle, but it’ll be hard to take Green’s stock down with the team’s fortunes.

So does his quarterback.

… Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray explained the difference with Green in the game.

“When (defensive player) are making their reads, they’ve gotta say, ‘Hey I gotta make sure I know where A.J. is.’ That split-second right there, that opens up a running lane, that allows the running back to get out there and get to the safety a little faster,” Murray said. “It really does open up other people to make plays.”

And he wants to do more.

The Bulldogs also need a punt returner, with Branden Smith out with a concussion. Green has been getting reps, along with Logan Gray, Carlton Thomas and Derek Owens.

Despite the injury risk, Green wants the job.

“I would love to do that,” Green said.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Third and Willie

It’s no secret that Georgia’s biggest problem on defense is third down conversions.  Currently the Dawgs are 89th nationally and last in the SEC in opponent third down conversion rate.  When you break that down, it’s even worse:  toss out the Louisiana game, and the Georgia defense is allowing other teams to convert half of their third down plays into first downs.

The situational stats on pass defense are depressing.  The defense has allowed an opponent passer rating on third down of 135.72.  Teams are an incredible 15-21 passing on third down and seven yards or more to go, with no interceptions.  The rushing defense on third down is better – in fact, other than a slight propensity to get burned on third and 4-6 yards to go, it’s held up pretty well.  But overall, it’s pretty obvious what teams are successfully doing to move the chains on the Dawgs.

Still, I had hope for Saturday, because as bad as Georgia’s been stopping teams on third down, Tennessee’s been worse converting third downs.  The Vols rank 117th nationally and 11th in the SEC (good old Vandy is last, natch) in third down conversion rate.  Unfortunately, they may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on that.

Nearly converting half of its third downs Saturday against LSU wasn’t enough to move Tennessee out from 117th in the nation in conversion percentage.

But it was a boost of confidence, coach Derek Dooley said, a push in the right direction caused by more productive first and second downs.

UT was 7-of-15 on third downs against LSU. Take away a third-and-27 in the second quarter, and the Vols averaged third-and-5 on the other 14 possession downs. Against UAB, when the Vols were just 2-for-15, their average teetered toward third-and-10.

On third-and-6 or longer this season, UT is 2-for-46.

“It’s unbelievable,” quarterback Matt Simms said. “We couldn’t do anything on third down against UAB but for some reason against the best defense in our conference we came up big and made plays.”

Though the distances were mostly shorter, the No. 1 reason behind the Vols’ success on third downs Saturday was nearly unanimous among Dooley and UT’s players.

The return of wide receiver Gerald Jones provided a spark to the offense and a trusted target for Simms in the biggest times of need. Three of Jones’ five catches came on third downs and all were long enough to move the chains…

Two keys for Georgia here.  First, Tennessee’s best passing down by far is on first down.  Simms’ percentage isn’t the greatest, but his yards per catch is much higher there than on any other down; he’s also thrown for five TDs on first down without a single interception.  UT settles for smaller gains and hasn’t had a touchdown throw on second or third down all season.  So Grantham needs to find a way to limit the damage on first down throws.  The other key?  The one thing Tennessee’s offense is worse at than converting third downs is protecting the quarterback.  Justin Houston, come on down.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football

“We rest on Sundays.”

Well, now that you mention it, maybe that whole everybody’s-got-a-bye-week-before-they-play-’Bama thing was a little overblown, right, Nick Saban?

“I know somebody is going to ask about bye weeks, so let’s clear this up for the year,” he said. “Everybody out there assumes that having a bye week is an advantage. And I’ve always answered the question saying I don’t know if it is an advantage or a disadvantage.”

To back up his point, Saban cited research done within the program concerning teams coming off an open date. Looking at the past five seasons, the other 11 SEC schools have a combined record of 29-29 coming off bye weeks, Saban said.

“I’m not saying I’m right and you’re wrong, but the statistics kind of prove it is not an advantage or a disadvantage,” Saban said. “It probably depends a lot on the circumstances.”

I think that’s right.  You could give Vanderbilt a month off before playing the Tide and it wouldn’t make any difference.  The most obvious way a bye week can help is if it gives a team the opportunity to get an injured player or players back for a key game.

By the way, does it surprise anybody that Saban actually took the time to research the subject?  Not me.  I’m just curious if he did it before the scheduling snafu was brought to the SEC’s attention or after it became clear that nothing much was going to be done about it for this season.

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules, SEC Football

Okay, so we’re all agreed on this.

I asked yesterday if the players were starting to feel the anger that’s bubbling up from the coaches and some former players about Georgia’s slow start.

Well, maybe they are.

“We’re pissed off,” Charles said Wednesday. “That’s our thing right now. We’re pissed off right now. We’re 1-4. We’ve got a lot of fans saying this, a lot of fans saying that. And I mean, we just want to make everybody happy. We want to be happy.

“We’re tired of walking around the locker room, quiet, coaches yelling at us all the time for no reason, because we’re losing. So we’re just going out there and to get our respect back. We’re pissed off right now.”

And just to be clear:

“I’m speaking for everyone at Georgia,” Charles said.

There hasn’t been a singular fiery speech by one player, the tight end added, because everyone feels the same way.

Great.  Now just show us you mean it Saturday.

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UPDATE: It’s not exactly on point, but Orson’s choice of words brings to mind the greatest breakup song ever written, Tonio K.’s “H.A.T.R.E.D.”  (Warning – some NSFW language.)

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Filed under Georgia Football