Monthly Archives: March 2013

You never know who might be reading your Twitter feed.

Somehow, I can’t imagine this exchange ever taking place between Aaron Murray and Mike Bobo.

About these ads

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Filed under Gators, Gators...

Joe Cox would like this post.

Chase Stuart, in a post about pick six rates in college, compiles this chart:

Year
 Pick 6
INT
Att
 INT Rate
 Pick 6 Rt
2012    159 1532 54545     2.8%     10.4%
2011    159 1490 51339     2.9%     10.7%
2010    159 1589 49776     3.2%     10%
2009    158 1537 49872     3.1%     10.3%
2008    162 1606 49828     3.2%     10.1%
2007    167 1711 52993     3.2%     9.8%
2006    163 1569 46011     3.4%     10.4%

You know what’s striking there?  In an era of ever more wide open offenses, interception rates have declined.

There are some good quarterbacks and coaches out there these days.  Vince Dooley may have to revisit his mantra of what can happen when you throw the ball.

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Filed under Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Giving back to the school

Now here’s a story that deserves more attention. Kentucky is embarking on three major on-campus building projects, none of which involve funding from the state legislature.

  • A $65 million renovation and expansion of the Gatton College of Business and Economics. The $65 million project will be initially funded with $25 million in gifts and $40 million in agency bonds, approved by the legislature.
  • The $100 million construction of a Science and Academic Building. The 263,000 square foot building will be funded by agency bonds and is the result of a partnership with athletics unlike any other in the country. UK Athletics will fund 65 percent of the building’s debt service ― or, in total, about $65 million.
  • A $110 million renovation of Commonwealth Stadium and the Nutter Training and Recruiting Center. The project ― which will add suites and club seating, while improving the fan experience throughout the stadium ― will be paid for by agency bonds and funded through the construction of suites. UK already has a waiting list for suites.

Note that second item carefully.  The athletic department will fund almost two-thirds of the cost of an academic building.  As The Business of College Sports (h/t Kristi Dosh) puts it,

The first thing that stands out is an athletic department building announcement, particularly one from a major program, being included in an announcement of general university projects. Yes, all of the projects were approved on the same day but it is rare to see a university present such a united front with its athletic department. Keeping with that theme, the second bullet point contains an incredible nugget: the athletics department will fund over half of the cost of a campus building completely unrelated to athletics. In fact, all three projects will be funded by the university without the use of state funds. The project is being called BBNUnited. BBN, of course, stands for Big Blue Nation, the common nickname for Kentucky’s fan base. While many athletic departments donate money to their university (often to the general scholarship fund), very few make the sort of commitment that Kentucky has.

This is the sort of creative funding I expect to see more and more of as the era of dwindling state financial support for state universities gets into full swing.  We’ll see plenty asked of a college athletic department, like funding a major stadium expansion with its own resources, and even more given.  (“In addition to support of the new Science and Academic Building, UK Athletics contributes millions of dollars each year to academic scholarships and programming. In fact, in total, UK Athletics spends more than 25 percent of its revenues back on campus for university needs.”)

All of which leads me to ask Jim Delany another question:  how many Division III athletic departments fund construction costs for a $100 million Science and Academic building these days?

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

The ACC’s emerging split personality

Coach K has had it up to here with this football crap.  It’s time for the ACC to get back to its roots – from being a mediocre football conference that cares about the sport to being a mediocre football conference that cares about basketball.

For all these schools that have joined, it makes us the most powerful basketball conference, I think, ever.  And I hope our league is able to understand the assets that we’ve accumulated and what it does to the assets we already have. I think if positioned properly, it sets us apart from anybody.  And we shouldn’t look at where football is or whatever.  We have the best assets as a result of Louisville, Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame, and the assets we have — we’re joining together.  I mean, we better know how to make use of it.  [Emphasis added.]

Now the interesting thing about this round of conference expansion is that in Duke and Louisville the ACC has two of the few programs that make more money on their basketball programs than they do on their football programs.  So when Krzyzewski goes on to say this…

I think (it’s a matter of) how you use your assets, how we position them TV‑wise. Does our conference develop its own TV network? Where we play the tournament — when do we play the tournament?  How do we position our regular season?  How do we have the teams play schedules that are worthy of being considered for NCAA consideration? In other words, (we need) to take a real close look at our league with the new members and say: Why are we different, why are we better, and how can we be the top league?

And if we don’t do that, then we’re negligent, to be quite frank with you. We’d be negligent. We’d miss out on a great opportunity. These schools shouldn’t be coming in just because we want to do football.  Our league was founded on basketball, and that doesn’t mean football isn’t important. It is important. I like it. I want it to be great. But I want ACC basketball to be the best. And we have a chance to do that again.

… it’s not crazy.  It’s revealing.  This is what a man who resents the direction the conference took when it expanded to twelve schools and split into divisions says.  And even though I’ve never been a fan of the man, there’s a certain amount of fuzzy nostalgia in that I find appealing.  But, then again, I’m not the AD at FSU, Miami or Virginia Tech.  If I’m any of those folks, I’m not going to welcome the possibility of that mindset being embraced in the league office.  (And if I’m Jack Swarbrick, I’m going to keep a careful eye on developments, that’s for sure.)

It’s hard to say how much effect Krzyzewski’s position will have, but it will be interesting to see what happens if Maryland is able to significantly reduce its exit penalty of $50 million.  If it does, Coach K may be giving another roots speech sooner than he expects.

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Filed under ACC Football

Spring practice video

Take a look.

Is Theus getting a look at left tackle?  Interesting.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“He’ll be one of the 11.”

For my two cents, the most interesting story of the spring and summer isn’t about any of the players, like it was last year.

It’s about Todd Grantham and how he’s going to adapt to all the personnel changes on Georgia’s defense and to the offensive variety in the conference – or, more specifically, what steps he takes to design a defense that can handle smash mouth running games better than what we saw in the SECCG.

Last year was all about coping with the suspensions and the complacency that appeared to set in early in the year.  Assuming those aren’t problems now (I know, I know), this year’s job is more about being the defensive mad scientist who schemes to get the right guys in the right places at all times.  That’s Grantham’s mantra about getting the best eleven on the field at any given moment in a game.

There are already a couple of stories along those lines that we should keep close eyes on.  The first is the move of John Taylor to a 3-4 defensive end.  While he’s working there exclusively now, it sounds like it’s more about creating personnel options on the defensive line:

The 6-foot-4 Taylor said he’s in the 325-to-330-pound range. He’s working behind Garrison Smith. He said defensive coordinator Todd Grantham came to him before spring practices about wanting him to learn end. Grantham told reporters prior to spring practice that Taylor and John Atkins were “multiple guys” that could play end or nose.

“Coaches thought it was the best fit for me,” Taylor said of playing end. “We’ve got a lot of nose guards coming in. We’re going to need some people on the outside. Coach said he moved here so I can make some plays.”

That’s a big defensive end, peeps.  In fact, that’s a defensive end who outweighs the guys at the nose by 20-30 pounds.  But it’s also a clear indication that Grantham’s intent is to have some serious beef on the field in the post-Jenkins/Geathers era.  It’s just that size may be in different places than it has been.  (Along those lines, remember that if Jordan Jenkins and DeLoach are the outside linebackers, Georgia’s linebacking corps will be bigger than last year’s, too.)

The second story isn’t about getting bigger.  It’s about getting Josh Harvey-Clemons on the field as early and as often as possible.  Right  now, he’s a classic tweener, so that isn’t as easy a task as it sounds.  What to do if you believe the kid is too talented to stay off the field?  You create something that makes use of his skill set.

The dilemma with that has been Harvey-Clemons appears too rangy and raw for safety, and too small (about 215 pounds now) for linebacker. So you solve that problem by forcing him into the lineup and molding a position for him – a position that might match up well with the offense played by Georgia’s first two opponents.

Throw away for a moment the normal visions of a 3-4 defense (three defensive linemen, four linebackers and four defensive backs.) When Harvey-Clemons is on the field, Grantham could instead utilize a 3-3-5 formation: three linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs. Harvey-Clemons will basically be a third safety on the field. Freshman Tray Matthews is very likely to be at free safety, and either Corey Moore or Connor Norman will most likely be the third safety.

The fortunate thing for Georgia, as Emerson smartly notes, is that this is a strategy that matches up neatly with the opponents on the early part of Georgia’s slate.

Clemson plays a spread offense and normally lines up at least three receivers. So Georgia figures to be playing a lot of nickel defense in that game anyway. South Carolina, the second-week opponent, will play three receivers a lot too. Not as much as Clemson, but the Gamecocks will also flex out their tight ends. And both the Tigers and Gamecocks have mobile quarterbacks, so it wouldn’t hurt to have a bigger, faster guy on defense who could spy on him, rather than a second edge-rushing linebacker.

Cornerback Damian Swann pointed out that two years ago Georgia had a package with Alec Ogletree as the nickel cornerback. The Bulldogs used that against Auburn, as well as some other isolated times.

“Josh is a guy who has the athleticism to play that nickel back. And he’s long,” Swann said.

I’ve got no idea how this plays out, of course, and neither does anybody else. But how personnel get sorted out on the defensive side of the ball between now and September bears watching.  What Grantham comes up with is likely to define Georgia’s 2013 season.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

John Jancek, fundamentally speaking

You may have noticed that Tennessee’s defense sucked last year.  Evidently things haven’t gotten off to a swimming start in spring practice either.  This should not be a concern, because Tennessee’s defensive coordinator has a proven track record that goes back years of fixing bad fundamental play.  No, really:

This isn’t necessarily cause for alarm.

Jancek noted this isn’t the first time he took over a defense that needed to improve its tackling. He previously worked as a defensive coordinator or co-defensive coordinator at Cincinnati, Georgia and Central Michigan.

Now that’s a bit rich.  Jancek showed up in Athens after VanGorder’s departure. Tackling, like most other fundamentals, was most definitely not a problem before Jancek began his coaching stint in Athens.  But tackling, like most other fundamentals, deteriorated almost as soon as he started working with the linebackers.  It never got better.  Which is how Jancek found himself let go by a head coach who’s famous for his loyalty to staff.

And let’s not forget that his co-defensive coordinator at Georgia again works with Jancek.

The best thing Tennessee’s defensive staff has going for it in 2013 is that it’s replacing a group that was much, much worse than what Jancek followed in Athens in 2005.  Unlike then, there pretty much isn’t anywhere to go but up in Knoxville.  But none of that changes Jancek’s performance during his time here.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Florida, high and low

John Pennington has written a post about SEC parity that serves as a pretty good retort to Bret Bielema’s Big Ten bravado.  One point in particular jumped out at me:

When you think of the best football programs in the nation, Florida probably comes to mind.  But the Gators have lost four or more games six times in the last 13 years.

Pennington sees that as evidence of how tough the SEC is, and that’s a fair observation.  Also, to Florida’s credit, let’s not forget a couple of national titles tucked in that time frame.  But the other thing that indicates is a level of inconsistency that, to my mind, is surprising, given the advantageous recruiting base the Gators start with year in and year out.  How much of that can you pin on the coaching?  The Zooker is responsible for half of those sub-par years by his lonesome, Corch gets credit for a couple and Boom’s got one, too.  (For comparison’s sake, Spurrier had two four-loss seasons in twelve years at UF.)

Nothing snide meant here – let’s face it, the first comeback a Gator fan can throw at me is that Florida hasn’t had a losing season in any of those thirteen years, which is something we at Georgia can’t claim.  I’m just wondering if the SEC is really that tough or if Florida’s program has underachieved a bit.  What do y’all think?

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., SEC Football

You’re not in the Big Ten anymore, son.

I guess Bret Bielema thinks this is a clever argument, but…

“The reason the SEC is talked about all the time is one team, because of their dominance. But I didn’t come here to play Alabama. I came here to beat Alabama.

“You can take Saban’s record when he was at Michigan State and when he was a coach in the Big Ten and put it against mine, and he can’t compare.”

The SEC finished with four teams in the top ten last season.  I can’t wait for somebody to start comparing Bielema’s and Saban’s SEC records after this season plays out.

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Filed under SEC Football

Friday morning buffet

The tidbits, the tidbits!

  • So how’s that whole Dream Team thing working out?
  • Malik Ramik Wilson progresses at inside linebacker.
  • Of all the lists I’ve seen, this is certainly one of them.
  • Mike Gundy almost left Oklahoma State for Tennessee because of non-conference scheduling.
  • Tony Barnhart wants you to know something:  “The SEC West is the toughest division in the toughest college football conference in America. This is not debatable.”  They don’t call him Mr. Conventional Wisdom for nothing, folks.
  • Florida State’s DeMarcus Walker claims Alabama jammed him up with the NCAA.  Is there anything to that?  John Infante says the Tide had the means, but there’s no way to know about the motive.
  • Todd Gurley was banged up at the end of last season… not that you could have known from his production on the field.
  • Jeez, this is a creepy story.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Big 12 Football, Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, The NCAA