Monthly Archives: October 2010

As the corching staff turns…

Mergz hits on an interesting point about Florida – they’ve broken up the band.

Coaching staff 2006 Florida Gators

• Urban Meyer – Head Coach
• Steve Addazio – Tackles/Tight Ends
• Stan Drayton – Running Backs
• Billy Gonzales – Wide Receivers
• Chuck Heater – Recruiting Coordinator/Cornerbacks
• John Hevesy – Centers/Guards
• John “Doc” Holliday – Associate Head Coach/Safeties
• Greg Mattison – Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line
• Dan Mullen – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
• Charlie Strong – Assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers

Three of those men are now head coaches in their own right, with Strong at Louisville, Mullen at Mississippi State and Holliday at Marshall. Gonzales is at LSU, and Mattison with the Baltimore Ravens. Hevesy went with Mullen to MSU.

That leaves Addazio, Drayton and Heater from a staff that won the BCS title only a couple of years ago. Only 3 of the 9 assistants remain.

Or, as he more succinctly puts it, “What remains is Meyer and the coaches that, for whatever reason, haven’t been seen fit to be hired away by other programs.”

What remains to be seen is whether Georgia’s staff is ready to take advantage of the changed circumstances.

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Third and Grantham

Everyone has noticed the defense’s woes on third down – you’d have had to have been blind not to get smacked in the face with them during the Kentucky game – but the situational passing defense stats at cfbstats.com are especially maddening.

Opposing teams are completing 65% of their passes on third down, 7-9 yards to go.  They’re doing even better on third down and 10+ yards to go, when they’re over a 72% completion rate.  If you look carefully, you’ll see there’s not another situation on the page where opposing offenses have a higher completion rate than that.  That’s insane.

Just as crazy to see, check out the defense’s performance on third down, 4-6 yards to go, though:  7-22, 114 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs.  That works out to a 48.08 passer rating.  That’s shut down defense.

It almost makes you think they ought to let the back pick up a few yards on that second down draw play.

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UPDATE: Here’s Richt’s explanation for what’s happening.

“Mostly our inability to squeeze the quarterback in the pocket. We’ve allowed him to get out of the pocket either on QB run situations or scrambling situations to where he can buy a little more time and put more pressure on our coverage. Then the back end, our defensive backs and linebackers, especially in zone coverage, we’ve not been disciplined enough once the quarterback does buy that extra time we’ve been too quick to try to go sic him when he hasn’t even crossed the line of scrimmage. Or we’ll go jump a guy in the flat who is one yard past the line of scrimmage, still maybe seven yards away from the stick and just go aggressively try and stop the play right there instead of hold off the curls, the square ins and then break on the ball if the quarterback crosses the line of scrimmage or if he throws it out in the flat, whatever it might be. I think that’s been our biggest problem.”

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Mumme Poll, Week 8

Rank Team Votes (Top pick)
1 Auburn 89 (37)
2 Oregon 88 (48)
3 Missouri 86 (1)
4 Michigan State 86 (0)
5 Boise State 83 (3)
6 TCU 83 (1)
7 Alabama 80 (0)
8 Wisconsin 73 (0)
9 Utah 53 (0)
10 Oklahoma 43 (0)
11 Stanford 37 (0)
12 Ohio State 34 (0)
13 LSU 26 (0)
14 Nebraska 21 (0)
15 Arizona 8 (0)
16 Florida State 4 (0)
17 Virginia Tech 1 (0)
17 Oklahoma State 1 (0)
17 Arkansas 1 (0)
17 Mississippi State 1 (0)
17 Baylor 1 (0)
17 South Carolina 1 (0)

COMMENTS

  • Looks like we’ve got a stubborn anti-Oregon voter out there again this week.
  • We like Missouri a lot more than the coaches do (they have the Tigers at #8.)

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Tuesday morning buffet

Lots to sample today:

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Filed under College Football, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, SEC Football, The NCAA

A contrarian thought on Florida’s bye week

It’s a popular theme this week – that bye week the Gators are enjoying will give them the opportunity to retool their sputtering offense.

“It’s a little bit more of a mystery than if you had played them before the open date,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “When you have an open date, you do have time to make change, and maybe a little bit more of a radical change, if that’s what you choose to do.

“We’re not 100 percent certain about what we’re going to see, but it’s hard to change everything. We’ll have a basic idea, but I’m sure coach Meyer and his staff are going to have some interesting twists for us to deal with that we probably won’t get a chance to practice a lot because I’m sure it will be some things that will be brand new for us.”

After consecutive losses to Alabama, LSU and Mississippi State, Meyer said he spent the off week evaluating the offense’s execution and making sure his players’ assignments suit their capabilities.

“I’m not going to share much with you, but we have modified quite a bit,” Meyer said Monday. “That’s something I’m not going to obviously say, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do,’ but things are modified…”

Now the smartass in me wants to know why Corch feels the need to rejigger the plays or scheme since you can’t improve upon perfection, and there’s also this quote from his starting quarterback:

Brantley, who ranks 10th in the SEC in passing efficiency, said: “We’re still running the same plays. We’ve got great plays. We just need to execute them.”

So maybe this is all just head games, trying to get Grantham to bite on the play fake, so to speak.  Although the idea that Florida has to resort to something like that to get an edge seems out of character for the mighty Gators, doesn’t it?

“A-ha!”, smart Dawg fans say, though:  “but what about 2005?”  That was the year, you may recall, that saw a tearful Urban Meyer after a remarkable loss to LSU (the Gators lost despite being plus-5 in turnover margin) use the bye week to construct a power formation offense that Florida trotted out for two early scoring drives that were the difference in a 14-10 Georgia loss – the idea being that the bye week changes were responsible for the Gators coming out on top.  (Never mind that Georgia outgained Florida on the day.)

Let me suggest an alternate theory for the crime.  Take a look at this chart I’ve compiled as to the five Cocktail Parties of the Meyer era:

YEAR SCORE P. RATING BYE?
2009 41-17, UF 102.01 N
2008 49-10, UF 113.04 N
2007 42-30, UG 206.27 N
2006 21-14, UF 65.71 Y
2005 14-10, UF 88.44 Y

That’s Georgia’s passer rating and Florida’s bye week status listed there. Anything stand out to you?

For Georgia to have a chance on Saturday, I don’t think Aaron Murray has to play the game of his life.  Just hitting his season average in passer rating will be better than what the Dawgs have gotten out of their quarterbacks in those four losses in the last five years.

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UPDATE: Paul adds some bye week thoughts of his own.

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Well, that answers that.

Why is Florida struggling on offense? Simple.

Meyer says problem is execution, not play calling. “We don’t have a bad play. I don’t allow that.” #GatorsMon Oct 25 19:30:09 via HootSuite

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In case you were wondering…

Per Steele, Georgia has been favored three times in the Cocktail Party during the Richt era:  2002, 2003 and 2004.  Georgia managed to cover the spread only once in those three seasons.

Overall, though, Georgia under Richt is 4-4-1 ATS against Florida (1-3-1 against Meyer, though).

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Monday lunch buffet

Not too spicy…

  • Anybody surprised that Charlie Strong’s Louisville team is improving?
  • College kickers end up coaching themselves.
  • Whatever Justin Houston did to prepare himself last week, he needs to clone it for this week.
  • CBS’ coverage of Cam Newton’s coming out party did boffo ratings, up 27% from CBS’ comparable coverage of a Tennessee-Alabama game last year.
  • Man, they’re busy throwing everybody under the bus in Austin.
  • We’re not the only ones with crazy dreams about winning the division.
  • The Orlando Sentinel’s Gator Twitter feed is pure comedy gold today:  (1) “John Brantley said Chris Rainey has changed as a person.”; (2) Meyer on watching Cam Newton: “It’s really hard.”; and, of course (3) “WR Chris Rainey day-to-day. Is eligible. Meyer said would know Thursday if would play vs. #Georgia.” C’mon, Corch, the suspense is killing me!
  • Weather conditions for the Cocktail Party look good:  mostly clear, with highs in the mid-upper 70’s.

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Poor Gators, the bye week, desperation and other thoughts: it’s going to be a weird week.

Let’s face it, these are the strangest vibes going into Jax we’ve felt at least since 2004.  And even then, it was strange only because we knew the Zooker was a dead man walking after he got Croomed.  This year we’ve got Corch riding a three-game losing streak – and a rising from the dead Mark Richt sounding… well, sympathetic:

… Richt, speaking a day after the Kentucky win, drew the parallel between Florida’s potential makeover and his own team’s. He said he expects to see some “interesting twists” from the Gators given the open date.

“I’m sure they’re doing some soul-searching and trying to find some answers, too,” Richt said. “They have time to change their course a little bit. I’m sure that’s what they’re focusing on right now.”

I don’t know if that approach is gonna work on Saturday, but it’s a helluva lot better than bitching about the weather or stealing Grambling’s uniforms.

As I mentioned in a comment, Florida’s bye week doesn’t bother me so much tactically – if Meyer and Addazio want to give Trey Burton (on the season, he’s a true freshman who’s 1-2 passing with an interception) a bigger role at quarterback, fine; that’s playing into Georgia’s strength on defense and messing with John Brantley’s head at the same time – as it does in the way that former Gator offensive coordinator Dan Mullen describes.

“Any time you have a bye week, the biggest thing is you have the opportunity to get your guys healthy and get them back on track and if you need to make some tweaks it gives you a little extra time to do that.”

Jeff Demps hasn’t been 100%.  The Gators also get Chris Rainey back (what a coincidence, hunh).  They also got the chance to rest an offensive line that’s been badly banged up.  All of that concerns me a lot more than seeing Trey Burton in the shotgun.

Another thing to consider about the Cocktail Party is that it’s an SEC East elimination game for both teams.  The loser will be saddled with its fourth conference loss.  If that’s Georgia, it’s means that the Dawgs lose the head-to-head tiebreaker to both the Gators and the Gamecocks (which, at 4-2 won’t have more than four losses at season’s end).  If Florida loses, even if it comes back with a win against South Carolina, it will still finish behind a 5-3 Georgia (yeah, right), a 5-3 South Carolina or lose the tiebreakers to South Carolina and Georgia if all finish 4-4.  With that much at stake for both, I doubt you’ll see either head coach resorting to further showy emotional appeals/fake juice to motivate their teams.

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To dream the improbable dream

You tell me which is weirder, Georgia opening as a three-point favorite over Florida, or Chris Low projecting the Dawgs to play in a New Year’s Day bowl game.

Anybody who claims they saw either coming after the Colorado game is a damned liar.

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