If A.J. Green’s jersey cost Georgia its 2010 season, I think that’s due more to how it screwed up game prep over the first third of the season than how the team played on the field without him. But that’s me.
SEC football changed when Urban Meyer took his coaching talents to Gainesville.
A league that had won just two BCS titles between 1998 and 2005 suddenly figured a few things out. Mainly, it realized that it’s not enough to just roll the ball out there on the field and expect superior talent to overcome your opponent.
Players mattered, sure, but so did plays.
It’s almost quaint to think back to the many observers who scoffed at the notion that the spread offense would thrive in the SEC. But a couple years into the Meyer tenure, the verdict was in and crystal clear. And most of the rest of the league quickly followed suit.
In 2006, only one team in the league scored more than 30 points per game. A year later, six teams averaged over 30 points per game. By 2010, seven teams did so, with 10 overall averaging 29 or better. And most of them did so by utilizing some sort of spread, or sprinkling in variations of it as part of their offense. Even normally-stodgy Alabama found success running plays out of the Pistol, Wildcat and passing spread formations. [Emphasis added.]
See what he did there? When you get to the point that you label every offensive formation that isn’t a pro-set as some variant of the spread, you’ve rendered the term meaningless.
I previously explored Florida’s scoring history under Meyer in this post.
… I wanted to see if I could find any connection between a team playing disproportionately well or poorly in the fourth quarter (as compared to the rest of the game) and their performance the next season. What I assumed I would find is a connection in which teams’ performances in the first three quarters carried over. That’s evidently not the case.
I grouped teams together based on how different their Q4 S&P+ was from their overall S&P+. The categories you see are as follows:
-20 or worse: Q4 S&P+ ranking is at least 21 spots worse than their overall S&P+. Obviously in Georgia’s case, they qualify both on defense (23 spots worse) and offense (69).
0 to -20: Q4 S&P+ Q4 ranking is 0 to 20 spots worse.
1 to 20: Q4 S&P+ Q4 ranking is 1-20 spots better.
21 or better: Q4 ranking is at least 21 spots better.
What I expected to find was that the “-21 or worse” crowd improved the next year. I found the opposite. [Emphasis added.]
I likes a little blogger pong as much as the next guy. Kyle King’s answers to a couple of questions I raised last week…
So here’s what I’m wondering this morning – if Georgia walks out of the Dome on 9/3 with a win, is it going to be brushed off, much like the 2005 results were? Will a Georgia win be seen as saying more about Boise State than Georgia?
Senator Blutarsky (July 27, 2011)The answers to the Senator’s questions, obviously, are: “Yes” and, “Yes.” Actually, the answers to the Senator’s questions are: “Hell, yeah” and, “Well, duh,” but we try to maintain a respectful tone around these parts.
Simply stated, the Boise St. Broncos stand to gain more by beating the Georgia Bulldogs than the Bulldogs stand to gain by beating the Broncos. This, by the way, is unbelievably, comically stupid, but that does not make it any the less so. Boise State has been demonstrably the better program in recent years, and the undeniable distinction in schedule strength attendant to playing in the SEC as opposed to the WAC does not change this fact in the slightest.
… raise a question in response that I think is best addressed in a reader poll.
Keep in mind that going into the Kickoff Classic, Boise State is expected to be anointed with a high preseason ranking – somewhere between fifth and tenth, I expect – and Georgia, um, not so high. The Dawgs may quite possibly enter that game not ranked in the top 25, in fact. So here’s my question: if Georgia wins, what will the pollsters say about the two teams? After all, if a Dawgs win is merely seen as a confirmation that Boise State is still a lesser program than an SEC squad coming off a losing season, shouldn’t the Broncos be severely punished in the polls for that perception? The thing is, that’s a long way down after just one game.
… One of the biggest mistakes for those learning the game of football is to fixate on the minutiae of various “brands” of defense. Tying oneself to the dogmatic thinking and going-through-the-motions of “how we’ve always done it” without understanding the rationale of how it all works creates an intelligence rut that becomes a liability. Defenses exist to defense an offense – they do not exist within vacuums. On every play you’re defending something the offense is doing to advance the ball. For this reason, defenses aren’t static entities – they must respond (adapt) to the stimuli they are presented with. You will hear people declare, “we are a 3-4 Quarters defense” or something to that effect. That’s great, but there is a reason a defensive concept is employed on a given down, and there is no catch-all defense available.
Remember, Mark Richt didn’t hire Todd Grantham because he woke up one day and said, “dayum, I want to run a 3-4 scheme on defense.” Grantham became the defensive coordinator because he convinced Richt that he knew how to construct a defense which could stop offenses; it just happens that the vehicle Grantham relies upon for that is a base 3-4. (Emphasis on the word “base”: Georgia played out of its base 3-4 less than half the time last season.)
That doesn’t mean there wasn’t a transitional cost in the hire. Personnel needs between the 3-4 and the 4-3 differ and any time you change the base scheme your defense lines up in, there’s going to be a period of uncertainty that good offenses are going to exploit until you show that you’ve got things figured out (***cough***wheel route***cough***).
But it still boils down to recognizing what the opponent’s offense is showing you on any given play and coming up with a specific, successful response to shut it down. That may not sound like rocket science, but given Georgia’s difficulties handling third-and-long last season, it’s not the easiest thing in the world, either. Here’s hoping Georgia’s defenders prove more consistent on that front in Grantham’s second year.