Daily Archives: August 14, 2014

Garbage in, garbage out.

One of the complaints about the BCS computer formulas was that the machines weren’t allowed to take margin of victory into account, presumably because the little fellows couldn’t distinguish between legitimate dominance and a team just trying to run the score up to impress the voters.  The problem with doing that was that it skewed the ratings.  Like it or not, margin of victory is an indicator of relative excellence.

So now that we’ve overthrown the tyranny of the machines and allowed humans, with their much greater ability to appreciate deliberate manipulation of scores, does that mean they’ve done away with that silliness for the selection committee?

Get outta here!

  • Principles.  The committee will select the teams using a process that distinguishes among otherwise comparable teams by considering:

    • Conference championships won,

    • Strength of schedule,

    • Head-to-head competition,

    • Comparative outcomes of common opponents (without incenting margin of victory), and,  [Emphasis added.]

    • Other relevant factors such as key injuries that may have affected a team’s performance during the season or likely will affect its postseason performance.

Now, admittedly, this could be bullshit, and likely is.  But that they’ve gone to the trouble to codify it makes it hard to take the results any more seriously than we did with the BCS rankings.

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15 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Hope floats.

I hate to rain on anyone’s parade, but this ain’t right:

Last October, a Tennessee team with a first-year head coach and lots of talent went head-to-head with Georgia before Georgia was irreparably broken.

Wait, what?  Georgia lost Keith Marshall early and then watched Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley fall by the wayside during that game.  Oh, and that was after Todd Gurley and Malcolm Mitchell didn’t suit up in the first place.  I guess all that wasn’t irreparable because Georgia still managed to win.

I give UT credit for making a game of it – and the injuries don’t excuse the pitiful performance of the defense and special teams that day – but the author notes that Aaron Murray was frustrated.  No shit.  That tends to happen when you’re handing off to two true freshman running backs and wondering where all your top receiving options disappeared to.

That game’s not close if Murray was playing with a full deck on offense.

52 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football

Give me just a little more time…

You’ll be shocked, shocked to learn that the NCAA and its co-defendants are asking for an extension to respond to the Shawne Alston and Martin Jenkins antitrust scholarship lawsuits.  Why?  Well,

In a filing late Wednesday night, the NCAA and the five major conferences cited the recent Ed O’Bannon ruling before the same judge as the reason they need at least 30 days to respond. The NCAA and the conferences “have been reviewing the Court’s ruling in that (O’Bannon) action to assess its possible impact on the allegations and claims — as well as the Defendants’ anticipated joint motion to dismiss such claims — in this action,” according to the filing by a Pac-12 attorney.

Yeah, who could have foreseen the court would rule as it did in O’Bannon?

Then, again, considering how feebly the defense witnesses came off in that trial, I wouldn’t be in a hurry to get back in a courtroom, either.

1 Comment

Filed under The NCAA

One step past swinging a pickaxe

Here’s a fascinating piece by Chris Brown (no surprise, that) on Chip Kelly’s impact on the NFL.  He’s only been in the league one year, but he’s already exercising an outsized influence in a place that lives to copy cat.

But it’s not just his play calling that’s getting followed.  There are a couple of other items that Kelly’s been closed mouthed about that others are trying to emulate.  One of those is how the Eagles use sports science.  Brown lists what we know about that:

• While coaching at Oregon, Kelly began investing significantly in sports science, both by bringing in outside consultants and by developing in-house expertise and technology. He built principally on research first conducted for Australian-rules football.

• Many of those studies, which have since been expanded to cover a range of sports, used heart rate, GPS, accelerometers, and gyroscope monitors worn by players in practice to determine how to train for peak game-day performance3 and how to prevent injuries.4 These studies also tracked the movements that players made in games5 so teams could mold practices and training to what players did on an individualized and position-by-position basis.

• When Kelly arrived in Philadelphia, the Eagles invested huge sums into their sports science infrastructure, and Kelly hired Shaun Huls, a sports science coordinator who’d worked for the Navy Special Warfare Command for nearly five years, training SEALs and focusing on reducing the incidence of their noncombat injuries.6

• Kelly’s team uses the latest wearable player-tracking technology, and his staff monitors the resulting data in real time to determine how players should train and when they become injury risks. “On an individualized basis we may back off,” Kelly said recently. “We may take [tight end] Brent Celek out of a team period on a Tuesday afternoon and just say, because of the scientific data we have on him, ‘We may need to give Brent a little bit of a rest.’ We monitor them very closely.”

Does it work?  Well, as Brown notes, the Eagles finished last season with the second-fewest injuries in the NFL.  And, perhaps as importantly, the players sound like they believe in the regime.

Would it translate to college ball?  Don’t forget where Kelly came from:  “We used the same formula at Oregon and I spent a lot of time on how to go about it, how we think you should train, and it worked for us there and it worked for us here.”

How ’bout Athens?  I have no idea, but do find this comment worth noting:

Kelly’s chief commitment isn’t to running a no-huddle offense; his goal is for the Eagles to be a no-huddle organization. For Kelly, the benefits extend far beyond the effect on opposing defenses. “One of the benefits we have from practice and the no-huddle offense, where every period is no-huddle, is our second and third [teams] — and I’ve gone back and charted this — get almost twice as many reps as other teams I’ve been at when you’re sitting in the second or third spot,” explained Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis, a longtime NFL veteran. That has a recruiting benefit when it comes to attracting backup players, which in turn helps the Eagles discover hidden gems. “If you’re [second or third string], you want to be in our camp because you get more reps than anyone else,” said Kelly. “Because of the reps we get in practice, our guys get a chance to develop a little more. You go to some teams and the threes aren’t getting many reps — they are losing time compared to our guys.”

That does sound a bit similar to how Richt and his staff have reconfigured reps in practice this preseason.  So maybe there’s hope elsewhere.

19 Comments

Filed under The Body Is A Temple

Simple? I like simple.

Let’s hope Pruitt’s emphasis on creating turnovers pays off.

Moore said Pruitt is doing a great job with individuals breaking down what they need to do with the ball in the air.

It can be seen on the practice field at Georgia this preseason.

“Go attack the ball! Go attack the ball!” Pruitt called out to the defensive backs in a recent practice drill. “Hands on top. Go get it!”

Freshman cornerback Shaq Jones has heard a lot of that: “Basically, what Coach Pruitt is telling us is just to attack. Just attack every play.”

That didn’t translate to any interceptions in Georgia’s first scrimmage, but there was a forced fumble recovered by the defense.

“We’re stripping at the ball when we’re going against the offense, we’re ripping it out,” cornerback Damian Swann said. “We’re trying to make it habits where we can create turnovers, where we can get the offense the ball back so they can go score or we can take the ball and go score with it. That’s one of the keys to winning in this league, you’ve got to be in that top bunch when it comes to takeaways.”

What I like about Pruitt’s approach is that it’s not just about stripping the ball.  It starts with players doing their fundamentals properly.

“If you want to create turnovers you have to practice turnovers,” Pruitt said on the day he was introduced as Georgia’s defensive coordinator. “There’s more to it. You can put yourself in position to finish on an interception but you’ve got to actually catch the ball, you’ve got to watch it all the way to the tub. When the ball is on the ground you’ve got to secure it, you’ve got to get your hands underneath the ball and you’ve got to recover a fumble. There are a lot of details to it that I think get overlooked.”

Those details are being taught in practice by Pruitt on a daily basis.

“That’s something he really emphasizes playing the ball, but right now we’re just really focusing on getting lined up and following through with our assignment,” walk-on safety Lucas Redd said. “The rest will take care of itself. We’ll be able to play the ball because we’re going to be in the right spots once we have a better idea where we’re supposed to be lined up.”

And even at Florida State, where Pruitt inherited a talented defense, his emphasis on takeaways had an immediate impact:  “In Pruitt’s one season at Florida State, the Seminoles tied for second in the nation with 35 turnovers gained a year after they ranked 66th with 21.”

If nothing else, it’s hard to see how things could be any worse in that department than they were last season, when Georgia ranked second to last in the SEC in turnovers gained.

Speaking of last season, they’re keeping it real in Louisville(h/t CardDawg)

49 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

I got ‘yer SEC Network PSA right here.

Confused about where the SEC Network is being shown by your carrier?  Here’s a handy finder you can use to find the channel.

And here’s what the programming looks like for the first two weeks.  (Basically, stay off the SEC Network at 3PM, and it won’t be too bad.)

18 Comments

Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football