Reading Year2′s early assessment of this year’s Florida team, I’m struck by how similar the problems he sees the Gators facing to what we’re fretting over in Athens. Take this passage, for example:
… Chris Rainey earned rave reviews at running back in the spring, but every other guy at the position was either hurt or running track. The offensive line is talented but not deep, and it only has two guys with any real starting experience. Perhaps the biggest reclamation project is at receiver, where there are just nine scholarship guys for the fall. Of them one has a bad case of the drops (Deonte Thompson), one can’t stay healthy (Andre Debose), one is a true freshman (Ja’Juan Story), and most of the rest have played sparingly.
Sound familiar, Dawg fans? There’s more where that came from. Basically, you can swap a few weaknesses around here and there, but the song remains pretty much the same for both teams. Except for one thing: Aaron Murray vs. John Brantley. What a difference a year makes, eh?
This post has absolutely nothing to do with college football, but there are times when I feel a need to share the truly weird with you and I think this qualifies.
Yeah, that really is Patti Smith on Law and Order: CI. Evidently she’s a big fan of the series. Never would have put the two together, but I guess that’s just part of life’s rich pageant.
Honestly, I’m not trying to obsess over HP’s comments in defense of his now infamous “10 Worst” head coaches list, but little things keep popping up which serve to make me want to rebut his arguments. For instance, here’s what he had to say in response to my point that Florida’s change to a pro-style offense might prove beneficial as a contrarian move in a conference where more and more defenses are gearing up to stop spread attacks:
… As to the point I had made earlier, I definitely saw that as a possibility in the trend line. But it hasn’t happened yet. Teams are not rushing to go to the pro style offense. It could turn out well for UGA, but why wait to find out? No one really knows. As for Alabama’s offense, it really isn’t a true pro style offense. It is a simple, one-read, grind-it-out offense that utilized spread elements at times. Its beauty is that it does a few things and does them VERY well. This is not a characteristic of pro style offenses, that rely on multiple reads, blocking assignments, audibles, and complex nomenclature and large playbooks.
Now I know what you’re thinking: isn’t he criticising Florida for the very thing he says teams aren’t doing? But that’s not where I’m going here. Rather, it’s his observation that ‘Bama doesn’t run a pro-style offense. You’ll understand why that clicked in my brain when you read this quote from Julio Jones about the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive scheme:
… The Falcons’ offensive attack is not foreign to Jones.
“I recognize everything,” Jones said. “It’s the same pro-set that we ran at Alabama. Matt and all of the other guys, the other receivers, are helping me out as well.”
Um… one of those characterizations is not like the other.
My point here isn’t to play gotcha so much as it is to wonder about how we see these things. I look at Alabama and see a pro-style offense being run with a few wrinkles tossed in. HP’s description, as you can read, is quite different. Is that merely a matter of emphasis, or is it more profound than that? Is the vocabulary for what we’re discussing inadequate? You tell me.
Matt Melton does a statistical take on something that should make you slap your head and wonder why nobody else has done the same thing before (and apologies if you’re that someone and I’ve failed to find you):
… I decided to take a look at how crowd size affected home field advantage in 2010. I didn’t look at any particular telling stat (penalties, yards, touchdowns, etc.), I simply looked at whether or not the home team won, and then what the crowd size for that game was. I then, very unscientifically I might add, divided the crowd attendance into ranges of 10,000 and calculated the winning percentage for each range. The results are summarized in the table below.
Now before you start jumping up and down, Matt acknowledges there’s a certain chicken-and-egg aspect to this. The better programs tend to be bigger draws. So that you see winning percentages climb in almost-virtual lockstep as home crowd size increases may be attributed to either factor. (There’s also sample size as an issue, something that’s often a problem when you’re looking at a statistical base being generated by only 120 participants.)
But here’s where it gets interesting. Matt then filters his results through the point spread and finds that there’s correlation up to a point: “As the crowd size inched north of 50,000 or so, the added fans provided no real boost to the home team’s hopes of covering the spread.” And it’s his last chart that’s worth a look.
That’s only the data from one season, but if that’s a breakdown that plays out as a trend, he’s right. Appreciative gamblers everywhere ought to tip their caps in his direction.
Remember the game “I can name that song in X number of notes?” I think the SEC East is playing a variation of it.
I’ve previously noted how many players under the 85-man limit Florida and Tennessee are going into the season. Now it seems that Georgia wants to play that game, as well.
Brent Benedict, a redshirt freshman offensive lineman from Jacksonville and a former five-star recruit, left the team due to “personal reasons,” head coach Mark Richt said in a news release on Sunday. Benedict (6-foot-5, 312-pounds) was slated to back up Chris Burnette at right guard. He signed as a tackle…
… Georgia is now down to 13 scholarship offensive linemen, five of whom are true freshmen who just arrived on campus (not including Nathan Theus of Jacksonville, who signed as a long snapper). Incoming freshman tackle Xzavier Ward is also expected to miss the season with a knee injury.
Georgia still looks to be able to assemble a starting five on the o-line. But the depth picture is shakier than ever, if it’s possible to be shakier than non-existent. Some incoming freshmen will need to grow up in a hurry.
Interesting side note from the AJ-C article: “Indications are there has been some differences over how much and what kind of off-season training he should be doing as he prepared for his first active season on the field.” Belue fleshes that out with more specifics.