Daily Archives: December 2, 2011

He’s only going because they said he was anyway.

I thought Dan Mullen was better with misdirection than this:

The Penn State-following Rivals.com affiliate is reporting that Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen will interview for the right to follow Joe Paterno on Monday. He denied reports from earlier this week saying that he was close to a deal with PSU, claiming that rivals were planting them in the press to hurt his recruiting.

If he is interviewing at PSU, he better hope he gets offered the job, because otherwise if he thinks recruiting is rough now, wait ’til he sees what other coaches do with this for material.

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7 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Purgatory in Urnge

One has the feeling Da’Rick Rogers is an energy vampire.

Bullet dodged, Georgia fans.

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UPDATE:  This has to be a relief.

The issues surrounding Rogers will have no impact on the field this year as the Vols, at 5-7, are ineligible for a bowl.

36 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Does Georgia have the horses?, part five

[NOTE:  This is the last of the series.]

Ah, now we come down to it, the final match up of note:  Mike Bobo vs. John Chavis.

We’re all familiar with the formidable numbers LSU’s defense has generated this season.  And Chavis is certainly no stranger to coaching stout defenses.  The thing is, as Phil Steele’s chart shows, it’s not like Chavis dominated Georgia’s offense during his time at Tennessee.  He’s had his good years, like 2004 and 2007, but he’s also had years like 2003 and 2005 that weren’t.  (Even 2006, which was a UT win, doesn’t look so hot:  the Vol defense gave up yards and points to a Georgia team initially quarterbacked by JTIII.)

My point here is simply that it’s not a superior scheme that’s got LSU playing defense the way it is this year; it’s talented, well-coached players being properly deployed that’s doing the trick.

Some of the success is situational.  This is a team that has had the lead in its games for most of the season – big leads, often.  And that’s reflected in the breakdown of defensive rushing stats by quarter.  In the first half, LSU’s opponents have run the ball a total of 226 times.  That number declines to 164 in the second half.  But you can’t explain it all with that, for LSU’s opponents also pass less in the second half.  That tells you LSU’s offense is doing its job controlling the clock once the Tigers lock into a lead.

So some of what Bobo needs to happen to be successful (running 70+ plays) is dependent on Georgia’s defense getting LSU’s offense off the field.  But I don’t think that’s the key for Georgia’s offense tomorrow, at least not based on what the stats say.

For that, take a look at the Georgia situational passing stats.  There’s a number on the page that should jump up and slap you in the face.  It’s 184.38.  That’s Georgia’s passer rating on first down this season.  It’s an incredible number when you look at the breakdown:  65.5% completion rate, 17 to 4 TD/INT ratio and 10.12 yards per attempt.    Bobo’s boys have kicked some serious ass on first down.  (By comparison, LSU’s first down passer rating is an above average 153.80.)

And if you’re becoming a believer in the double positive, first down is also Georgia’s biggest down for explosive passing plays.  Corch would describe first down for Georgia’s passing offense as a big deal, in other words.

As for LSU’s passing defense on first down, it’s what you’d expect.  Good.  No, make that really good.  Opponents have been limited to a first down passer rating of 87.86.  Given that the Tigers’ defense also holds opponents to an average of 2.55 yards per rush on first down, you begin to understand where all that stoutness comes from.  Simply put, they win first down.

Something’s gotta give here, obviously.  If LSU can shut down Georgia’s passing game on first down, I’m having a hard time seeing how the Dawgs can compete without Grantham pulling off the defensive coaching job of the season.  (And even then it’s a tall order, because you’d also have to count on Georgia winning the turnover battle and not having any special teams hiccups to avoid disaster.)

It’s safe to assume that Chavis isn’t stupid and that passer rating has already got his attention.  It’s what LSU’s defense does to counter Georgia’s first down success that’ll be interesting to watch.  And what Bobo does in response.  That first Aaron Murray no-huddle look to the sideline had better be rewarded with a good answer.

27 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

I can’t quit you, baby.

In the course of being hired at Arizona, Rich Rodriguez brought up playing Michigan.

9 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, Pac-12 Football

Youth will be served.

But they’re so young!  That’s the rallying cry you hear from Knoxville to Auburn to Gainesville to explain disappointing 2011 campaigns.  There’s some truth to it, but there’s also an SEC outlier.  Guess who?

Auburn played the most true freshmen in the SEC this season with 17 and was second nationally to Texas’ 18. Tennessee was tied for fifth nationally with 15 true freshmen playing. Florida and Georgia were tied for eighth nationally, each with 13 true freshmen playing.

I blame Bobo, of course.

16 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

Does Georgia have the horses?, part four

Sorry, but with LSU looking at a possible undefeated season which would include SEC and national titles, I can’t help but revisit Heisman/College Football Pundit’s spectacularly wrong assessment of Les Miles as the worst college football head coach in America.

1. Les Miles, LSU — You could put a potted plant on the sideline at Tiger Stadium and get the same results Miles has gotten for LSU.  And there would probably be better clock management.  Selling his soul to the devil in exchange for wins in close games puts him over the top here.

What makes that especially delicious is that the potted plant’s success this season is significantly attributable to one of the smartest moves of his coaching career, ditching offensive coordinator Gary Crowton and his complexity-for-complexity’s sake system for a much simpler power football scheme.  LSU has an identity on offense.  It doesn’t screw up as much as it used to.  And it’s become a much more efficient scorer.

It’s a contrarian approach in a college football world of spread attacks.  And in the land of defenses built to stop the spread, the power football offense can be king.

Which is why we Georgia fans need to be careful as we beat our chests saying things like LSU hasn’t faced a balanced team like the Dawgs this season.  Because the truth is that Georgia hasn’t seen an offense like LSU’s this season either.  (The closest was probably South Carolina’s, but even there, the Gamecocks ran a zone-blocking scheme and not the straight ahead power stuff we’ll see Saturday.)

As a certain head coach we know puts it,

“Their goal is not to trick anybody,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt, whose team will face the Tigers this weekend in the SEC championship game. “Their goal is to line up and play real sound football in all three phases and basically physically maul you — wear you down and wear you out, make you quit. They’ve been able to do it most every game they’ve played.”

They’ve got the big, physical line and the deep backfield to do that.  But they’ve got other personnel that contribute to that, as well.  Rueben Randle will be the best receiver on the field tomorrow (even if Georgia gets the edge in receiving based on depth); he’s the most formidable wideout the Dawgs have seen since Alshon Jeffrey.  Both of LSU’s quarterbacks complete a higher percentage of their passes than does Aaron Murray and while they’ve combined to throw 13 less touchdowns than Murray, they’ve also combined to have a better TD/INT ratio than he does.

And don’t sleep on Jordan Jefferson’s ability to run.  He’s LSU’s fourth leading rusher.  Against Arkansas, they used the option brilliantly during the early part of the game when he couldn’t get untracked throwing the ball.

These guys don’t screw up much on offense.  Their job is to wait for the other team to do that and then capitalize.  And then pound the other team’s defense into the dust.  They’re damned good at it.

There’s only so much Todd Grantham can control.  If Georgia’s offense and special teams commit their share of errors, it’s going to put an enormous amount of pressure on the defense.  That didn’t work out so well in the fourth quarter of the South Carolina game when Lattimore took charge and never let go.  But if the Dawgs can stay away from making mistakes, LSU may indeed find out about what that balance we’ve been bragging about means.

One thing’s for certain, though.  It’s final exam time for those vaunted changes in the Strength & Conditioning program.  Strap it on, boys, and show us they’re for real.

81 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Wit And Wisdom From The Hat

Keeping up with the big boys

One other thing about Wazzou’s hire of Mike Leach worth keeping an eye on:

… But an influx of money from the Pac-12’s new television contract may have changed the fortunes in Pullman, allowing Washington State to afford a proven winner.

Leach went 84-43 at Texas Tech before his firing two years ago. He replaces Paul Wulff, who made a Pac-12-low $600,000 per year and went 9-40 in four years, including 4-8 this season.

Washington’s State’s television revenue in 2012 will go from about $4 million to more than $16 million thanks to the $3 billion deal signed by Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. And the new revenue-sharing model puts Washington State, which is in remote eastern Washington, on a more even playing field with Pac-12 programs like Stanford, Southern California and Oregon. Arizona recently signed Coach Rich Rodriguez to a five-year deal worth about $10 million to replace Mike Stoops.

“For traditionally smaller-revenue schools, percentage-wise it’s going to be an astounding leap in their revenue starting next year,” Scott said Wednesday in a telephone interview.

Leach’s salary quadruples that of Wulff’s.  He’s also been given a much larger budget for assistant coaching salaries than his predecessor’s.  All because of TV money… regular season TV money, that is.

Two things about that.  First, Jimmy Sexton is happy.  More revenue means more money for schools to throw at coaches.  More competition over coaches’ salaries is never a bad thing for an agent.  Second, it’s just another sign of how the gap between the mid-majors and the rest of D-1 continues to grow.  WSU has had its share of success at times, but it’s not what you’d call a powerhouse program.  It sure gets to spend like one now, though.

And it’s not sharing the loot with San Jose State any time soon.

4 Comments

Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football