Daily Archives: February 16, 2011

It’s mid-February, and I happened to see his name.

My mind wanders sometimes, if you couldn’t tell.  After checking out the DawgPost projections of Georgia’s 2011 starters I linked to below (and here’s Bernie’s speculation, if you’re looking for more of this), I found myself wondering about one position in particular.

Weirdly enough, I’m intrigued about the coaches’ plans for Bruce Figgins.

A lot of people see “Figgins moved to fullback” and figure he’ll just be a guy they’ll swap in and out with Ogletree as a blocker for the tailbacks.  I’m wondering if Bobo might see this as an opportunity to add another weapon to the arsenal, the H-Back.

The H-Back was essentially a creation of Joe Gibbs, who was looking for some way to, if not neutralize Lawrence Taylor completely, at least reduce his effectiveness.  It’s a position that not a tight end and not a fullback, but a little of both (h/t Tomahawk Nation).

… The term H-back basically means, “motion TE.”  The Skins would typically use 1 RB, 1 TE, 2 WR, and this H-back as their base offensive personnel grouping.    The in-line TE would be a bigger, more blocking-focused player.  The H-back would be a somewhat more maneuverable type, but still a blocking-focused guy.  He would usually line up 1 step behind the line of scrimmage, either outside the in-line TE (double wing,) or outside the weakside Tackle (balanced,) depending on the particular play.  He’d frequently go in motion, either taking the offense from the double wing look to a balanced look, or from a balanced look to a double wing look.  The famous Redskins Counter Trey usually began from a balanced Ace set, and featured the H-back motioning to the strong side, and sealing the backside edge along with the in-line TE, with the backside Guard & Tackle pulling to the playside to lead the running play.

The perception among media hacks is that any TE who catches the ball better than he blocks is an H-back, especially if he wears a number in the 40s (like Chris Cooley and Dallas Clark.)  In actuality, the H-back position was conceived to get a good blocker into position to block an edge defensive player quickly.  It was simply a redeployment of the traditional fullback, strategy-wise.  The FB is usually hitting an ILB, and the H-back would usually hit an OLB…

But there’s more to it than just tailoring (see what I did there?) blocking schemes.  There are all kinds of formation games you can play when you deploy an H-Back, particularly if you’re a team, like Georgia, that has a bunch of talent at the tight end position.  Like this one:

In the previous example, the Titans attacked the Cowboys’ base two-tight end set with a five-man secondary. This was due both to the down-and-distance situation and the strength of the Cowboys receivers. Most defenses use their standard personnel grouping against a two-tight end, two-receiver package, though they may move a linebacker or two up to act as down linemen.

But what happens when the offense shifts into a three-tight end look? Again, the defense’s reaction varies, depending on the down, the distance, and the opponent.

We generally think of a three-tight end formation as a running formation. But the Patriots are unpredictable when they switch to a three-tight end package. Opponents who would normally switch to a 4-4 or 5-3 defense (replacing a cornerback with an extra lineman or linebacker) are reluctant to do so against the Patriots. This benefits the Patriots’ running game, but Bill Belichick’s assistants are very clever about using multiple tight ends as weapons in the passing game as well.

I’ve got no idea if any of this is going through Bobo’s head, but it’s worth noting that we saw him use a lot more motion at the fullback position last season than we had previously.  Anyway, it’s food for thought.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Wake up call in Austin

It’s tempting to read this what-went-wrong article about Texas’ 2010 season and try to draw all sorts of parallels to the dysfunctional year we witnessed in Athens.  Some of that, like the sense of creeping entitlement and the accompanying lack of dedication to offseason conditioning, certainly hits home, but something else cited there reminded me of another high-flying program that fell off the table:

… UT’s recruiters had overestimated the talent of incoming players, particularly on offense. Coaches had resorted more to watching tapes rather than scouring the 1,400 high schools in Texas for the type of players that brought the Longhorns nine straight 10-win seasons.

Shades of Larry Coker.

Just as with Miami, the results were predictable.

… More than one close observer pins the Longhorns’ decline to poor evaluation in recruiting and the pattern that Texas has fallen into of extending scholarship offers before players’ senior seasons, thus severely limiting the amount of data to evaluate.

“The biggest contributor, in my opinion, is they lost their talent advantage,” said one source with deep connections to Longhorns coaches. “There was no wide receiver worth a (expletive). They didn’t have an offensive line that was prepared because of poor development or evaluation.

“Name me a (Longhorns) running back that will play in the NFL. Look at every single running back Texas has. How many did Texas pass over who are going to be NFL running backs? Ten to 15? Would you rather have Kendall Hunter or Tré Newton? Would you rather have Cyrus Gray or Fozzy Whittaker? Christine Michael the next year? You just go down the list.”

So much for winning the recruiting rankings every season.

The upshot is that the Longhorns are changing their recruiting strategy.

A humbling 5-7 season has led to a different approach for Texas.

In recent years, the Longhorns have used their junior day weekends in February to secure most of their future recruiting class. This past weekend, however, only four players committed

There are few things sadder than watching someone squander a great gift.  Texas sits in a recruiting pocket that’s the richest in the country, when you count both quality and quantity.  Pissing away an advantage like that is a good way to wind up unemployed, regardless of how well Brown does in other aspects of his job.  The good thing is that with UT’s resources, it’s fixable.  The bad thing, at least in the short run, is that it takes time to overcome two or three mediocre years of recruiting results, even at a place like Texas.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, Recruiting

Wednesday morning buffet

Hi, I’m Bluto.  I’ll be your server today.

  • Somewhere in this great land of ours, spring practice starts today.  Yay!
  • On the other hand, I’m not sure I want to live in a world where this is possible.
  • The Mike Hamilton incompetency watch continues.
  • Way too early starters projections at DawgPost, if you’re interested.
  • Skip Holtz utters the “g” word.
  • Here we go:  more Charlie Weis-will-wave-his-magic-wand-over-the-Gator-offense speculation.  Isn’t it implicit in this kind of talk that Urban Meyer wasn’t an offensive genius?
  • Here’s a walk through of the contracts Georgia has with its non-conference opponents over the next three seasons.  Well played, Florida Atlantic.
  • And talk about your perverse incentives“South Carolina coaches had better hope their math is correct. They oversigned thinking several of their recruits wouldn’t make it academically. If they guessed wrong, Spurrier could find himself getting ripped…”

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, College Football, Gators, Gators..., General Idiocy, Georgia Football, Recruiting, The Evil Genius, Urban Meyer Points and Stares