Daily Archives: July 7, 2011

Offensive genius: does the coach make the players, or the players make the coach?

Sometimes I just have to take the bait.

… Florida intrigues, but as much magic as they enjoyed switching offenses under Urban Meyer, the trick might not work the same way with Will Muschamp who is running the same mundane pro-style offense as Ron Zook. That didn’t work out so well.

Really.  Here’s a chart of Florida’s scoring over the last eight seasons, along with its conference rank in that department:

Year PPG Rank
2010 29.3 8th
2009 34.7 2nd
2008 45.2 1st
2007 43.1 1st
2006 28.8 4th
2005 28.4 4th
2004 33.8 1st
2003 31.1 4th

Brian’s narrative might make sense if Meyer’s first year at Florida was 2007, but of course that wasn’t the case.  The reality is that the Gator offense took a modest step back in the first two years of the post-Zook era, and that outside of 2007 and 2008, overall scoring production is fairly consistent throughout both coaching regimes.

And what was the deelio about those two seasons?  Oh, yeah.

… That’s a pretty clear trend line there. What happened between 2007-09? Those would be the years when Tim Tebow was the starting quarterback at Florida. There’s a slight uptick in the rushing numbers from 2005 to 2006 — when Tebow would sometimes spell Chris Leak on running plays — before the number shoots up in 2007. The passing numbers slip a bit in 2008, in part because of an increased emphasis on the run, but overall, things are going pretty well.

Then, Tebow leaves for the NFL, and things head downhill fast. The rushing offense returns almost to its 2005 form. The passing offense craters along with it. That leads to a dramatic decline in total offense and a predictable result in the scoring offense category. Though, in fairness, the scoring offense had declined by about eight points a game from 2008 to 2009.

cocknfire cites Dan Mullen’s departure as being a reason for that scoring drop.  The only thing I’d add is that the departure of Percy Harvin after the ’08 season most likely contributed to that as well.  All of which makes it hard to argue with his conclusion.

… When Tim Tebow was there, Meyer was an offensive genius who managed to craft an offensive machine. When Tebow wasn’t on the Florida sideline, Meyer seemed to struggle to put together a game plan that played to his team’s strengths. Maybe it’s time to acknowledge that the two are probably connected.

And that may actually be good news for the Gators.  Florida’s never going to be subpar from a talent standpoint.  What those numbers suggest is that as long as the offensive coordinator isn’t subpar, the scoring will rank in the upper tier of the conference.  So Weis doesn’t have to be a genius to get improvement.  He just has to be better than Addazio.  That doesn’t strike me as being a particularly high bar to get over.

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The upside to not having a life

Driving home yesterday, I was listening to Pollack and Bell on the radio.  Bell was applying his usual clown car shtick to the “Coach Richt is too nice/spiritual to be a good head coach anymore” meme that’s all the rage these days while Pollack was pointing out that the Mark Richt he knows is a very competitive guy.

Then Pollack went on to talk about Brian VanGorder.  BVG at Georgia was as intense inside at work as he was on the field, doing the whole cot in the office thing.  One story Pollack told is pretty revealing.  BVG prepared for a game against Kentucky by reviewing the game film of every match Kentucky had played, with one left to go, against Louisville.  For that late night film session, VanGorder invited defensive players to join him to watch the tape.

Kentucky ran 74 plays from scrimmage in that game they watched.  According to Pollack, VanGorder correctly called 70 of the 74 plays, based on down, distance and formation.  Not too shabby.

I wonder if Martinez ever did that.

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