The next time somebody tells me I’m using too small a sample size to make a statistical point, I’m going to outsource the response to Big Game Bob.
Category Archives: Big 12 Football
Wakey, wakey, football fans.
- Texas, Willie Lyles is standing by, ready to offer his services in a time of need.
- Jadeveon Clowney is hurting. If Georgia finishes out the season ahead of South Carolina, brace yourselves an updated version of the “Tebow was injured in the 2007 Cocktail Party” excuse from ‘Cock fans.
- Epic onside kick fail in the Duke-Tech game.
- After Harvey Updyke’s asshole unpuckers yesterday, he sends a little bravado Johnny Manziel’s way.
- Tommie Frazier is a bit miffed with Bo Pelini’s defense.
- Against Oregon, Tennessee gave up the second-most yards in a single game in program history. Safety Brian Randolph’s conclusion? “We didn’t play up to our standard today.” I suppose that’s true in a way.
- Johnny Football vs. Johnny Rotten.
- Johnny Football vs. Nick Saban.
- Alabama’s coaches and players have no hard feelings about one of the stupidest penalties in college football. I wonder if they’d feel the same way had they lost.
A junior Sports Media-Multimedia Journalism major at Oklahoma State University manages to come up with something that, if true, is way more damaging to the OSU program than anything Sports Illustrated has managed to piece together so far. (And far more colorful, language-wise.)
The third chapter of SI‘s Oklahoma State exposé doesn’t exactly tell us anything we didn’t already know goes on at almost every big campus in America.
But, hey, we’re about to learn tomorrow that football players have sex just like the rest of us do.
When Sports Illustrated is about to release a bombshell of a story alleging “…academic improprieties; inconsistent monitoring of drug use; payments to players by coaches and payment by boosters for work not performed; and a hostess program providing recruits with sex” and the best you can do in response is apologize to other programs and supporters, you’re admitting you’re pretty much screwed, at least in the court of public opinion.
And how about this tepid response from Mike Gundy, who supposedly is personally involved in some of the claims?
“ … I’m going to guess that once we get all the information and we see what’s out there, then our administration and the people inside will look at it and we’ll see where we made mistakes and we’ll try to make ourselves better and we’ll correct it and then we’ll move forward. And I would hope that there will be some of it that we look at and say I’m not sure one way or the other based on what’s out there.”
That’s not exactly “I’m a man!” type bluster there.
Where this goes from here is hard to say. Luckily for the school, most of the story centers around things that happened far enough back in time to escape NCAA sanctions. The interesting thing to keep an eye on is if there are any ramifications for Gundy personally… and Les Miles.
UPDATE: “I’m a man!”, indeed.
One of the signature moments of Gundy’s nine seasons as coach came in September 2007, when he staunchly defended quarterback Bobby Reid at a postgame press conference. A columnist for The Oklahoman had questioned Reid’s maturity, and Gundy responded by shouting at the writer, “He’s not a professional athlete, and he doesn’t deserve to be kicked when he’s down.”
Johnson (Reid’s onetime roommate), Mickens, Shaw and wide receiver Artrell Woods say Reid was a professional athlete, though. They say that Reid had received money earlier in his career, when he was the starting quarterback. (Now an offensive administrative assistant at Oklahoma State, Reid denies receiving money while a player.) By the time of Gundy’s rant in 2007, Reid was no longer a starter, and Woods says Reid’s bonus money had dried up. Says Woods, “They cut his ass off.”
As I mentioned the other day, Mark Richt seems to think so.
“I understand the need for speed, so to speak,” Richt said. “I think everybody needs to be in place, in a good football position, ready to go, within reason. If teams are not substituting fast enough because they’re not organized, that’s their fault. But if you’re highly organized, you’re running your guys on the field and they’re not even set when the ball is snapped, I think that’s the thing that might need to slow down just a tad.”
He fleshed that out a little more when he was on the ESPN set earlier this week, as you can hear in this clip. His concern was with inconsistent officiating. Interestingly, both Miles and Sumlin agreed with Richt on the matter.
And now you can add Ellis Johnson to the mix.
“If both teams are not lined up, then you’ll find out who got there fastest, I guess,” Auburn’s defensive coordinator said Tuesday. “In some cases, it’s not football. But I think that when the referees are consistent, then the defenses have no disadvantage. I think in the early years with the speed-up offenses, the officials — especially in the SEC, because they didn’t see it very much — they weren’t as good with the consistency of the mechanics. And I think that they’ve gotten better, and probably we’ve gotten a little bit more accustomed to it on defense.”
Johnson sees no problem with an offense trying to run as many plays as it can — in fact, he said he likes it. What he could do without, however, is offenses snapping the ball before the defense has had time to set up.
“I’ve seen it snapped so fast the offense isn’t lined up,” he said. “So I don’t know what you’re trying to prove there. But the pace to me is part of the game, and I think it is good when you challenge somebody else from a conditioning and toughness standpoint. That’s part of the game.”
Johnson’s solution is to regulate the time between snaps:
“I’d want a minimum of five seconds, three seconds, whatever,” he said. “When that ball is put on the ground, you will not snap it for five seconds. If you can’t get lined up by then, then tough.”
Another possibility, suggested by the Big 12′s Bill Snyder, would be to add another official who would be tasked with monitoring substitutions.
“With the fast-pace offenses, one thing that’s been happening is offenses are running wide receivers 200 miles an hour 85 yards down the field,” Snyder said. “Then four new guys come on and are ready to go right now, and your defensive backs are 85 yards away from the line of scrimmage trying to get back — and they’re snapping the football.”
According to the rules, defenses are given time to substitute when offenses substitute first. But as officials scrambled to get in position before the next snap, Anderson said they often would miss those offensive subs and fail to give the defense the opportunity to sub, too.
“That was my recommendation, that the eighth official would be somebody who could pay attention to that,” Snyder said.
The conference has adopted Snyder’s recommendation for the extra official, but not for the same purpose exactly.
Instead, the eighth official will be charged with spotting the ball as quickly as possible after each play.
“Relative to the pace, I hope the presence of the eighth official will allow us to allow the game pace to be dictated by the teams on the field, to where we’ve removed officiating from it,” Big 12 officials coordinator Walt Anderson said. “We don’t want to artificially speed the game up or slow the game down. Within what the rules are, we just want to be sure they’re fairly being administered.”
Should make for an interesting experiment, one that I’m sure other conferences will be watching closely. I bet Steve Shaw and Mike Slive are going to be subjected to further intense lobbying from the coaches after this season on this issue.
Boom, who’s coached in both conferences, had this to say about the recent spate of Big 12 braggadocio about the SEC:
But Muschamp, who led the Gators to an 11-2 record last season, made it clear that he sees a fundamental difference between the pass-happy Big 12 and the more physical nature of the SEC, the league that has produced the last seven BCS national champions. That difference, said Muschamp, makes it difficult for finesse teams to match up against SEC foes that feature a downhill, two-back running game.
In the SEC, that is the majority of the title contenders.
“The thing about our league that I think is a little different is you have to prepare for the two-back set. You can’t do that in a week,” Muschamp said. “That’s a physical style of play. You’ve got to understand how to fit the power, the counter, the direct runs, the north and south runs, which are an issue if you haven’t done it and your guys aren’t used to it. I think you saw us wear some people down last year because of our physical style of play.”
In the Big 12, where the majority of teams rely on one-back spread offenses, the power running game is less prevalent. Wide-open passing games keep “constant pressure on the defense” and create plenty of headaches, Muschamp said. But they make for an easier weekly defensive adjustment than a power running game, in Muschamp’s estimation, if that is not a team’s base offense.
I do think we’re at a point now where there is more offensive diversity in the SEC than there is in the Big 12. Some of that, ironically, is due to the SEC being a bigger conference. (It’s ironic because Stoops’ argument that his conference is better balanced than the SEC gets its strength from the fact that it has four fewer teams.) There’s also some irony in that two SEC teams – Kentucky and Texas A&M – are running spread attack offenses straight out of the Big 12 from where their coaches came.
I don’t know if that alone makes the SEC the better conference, but I do agree that it poses a bigger challenge for SEC defensive coordinators over the length of a season. Of course, that’s not exactly an entirely new observation.
Mmm, mmm good…
- Now it’s time to worry: KC Joyner loves the Georgia offense.
- Methinks the Big 12 has an inferiority complex.
- Florida hasn’t had a receiver with over 600 yards since the 2009 season.
- Phil Steele says the talent level is not a 49-0 difference between Auburn and Alabama.
- Chris Brown thinks college football needs a better box score. I heartily agree on the average starting field position stat.
- Mark Richt has lost control of the hot seat meme.
- John Infante writes if the NFL is really serious about academic eligibility, it ought to go all in.
- Guess who wants to be on ESPN’s College GameDay?
- Life after football for the Zooker. That’s almost as strange as Woody Widenhofer working in a tollbooth.
Fill up, peeps.
- And with this news, it’s official: SEC Media Days has jumped the proverbial shark.
- But if you’re still interested, here are a few questions that might come up there.
- If the O’Bannon plaintiffs are still hunting for a current player to add to the lawsuit, here’s their guy.
- Scarbinsky craps all over the memories of Trooper and Luper. 2010 seems so long ago now, doesn’t it?
- Ole Miss let an ineligible player appear in six games last season, but will suffer no penalty for that. Fear the NCAA’s “strict liability”!
- Shakin The Southland takes a retrospective look at the last five recruiting classes of several Southeast schools.
- Over at Blatant Homerism, Allen Kinney uses Kliff Kingsbury’s recent comments as a jumping off point for an analysis of red zone defense in last year’s Big 12.
- Groo has some interesting thoughts about Brendan Douglas and what Georgia might have in store at the fullback position.
- MaconDawg does a nice job fleshing out that Chris Brown post about Georgia’s passing concepts, the shallow cross in particular, I linked to the other day.
Texas Tech coach (and former TAMU offensive coordinator) Kliff Kingsbury got some attention for his “I’ll change my approach if Saban will change his” interview earlier this week. It’s a fair point, but I thought this was the more interesting part of the discussion:
Kingsbury said the style of play, especially in the Big 12, where half the teams averaged at least 76 plays per game, has changed what it means to play good defense.
“There are some really good players in the Big 12 on defenses, but yards per game is through the roof. That’s just the nature of the game,” he said. “If Alabama or LSU or those guys faced these offenses all the time, each and every week, it would be different. That’s just a fact.
“We’re big on being great in the red zone, holding people to field goals and creating turnovers. I think the yards are going to be up there. It’s just the way the game is set up these days.”
That, of course, begs the question of how Texas A&M did in those categories in its maiden voyage through the SEC. The answer is not so great. Per cfbstats.com, the Aggies sported the 8th best red zone scoring defense, the 8th best red zone touchdown percentage defense and finished 11th in the conference in turnover margin.
Also worth checking out as an example is LSU’s total defense game log. In losing at home, the Aggies managed to run an insane 94 plays on offense, by far the most of any LSU regular season opponent. But their average yards per play number was mediocre. (Going minus-five in turnover margin also didn’t help.)
But here’s the thing – every offense that LSU faced after A&M managed a better yards per play number than the Aggies did. And it was considerably more for the rest of the regular season. So the question is did playing that non-stop attack take something physically out of the Tigers’ defense in the next few weeks or did it expose some weaknesses that other offensive coordinators took advantage of? Given that the next two schools LSU played ran very different and much slower paced offensive schemes, I tend towards the former, but in any event it’s a noteworthy pattern.
Now I don’t want to push this too far, because it’s a limited sample size I’m reviewing here. But maybe the way we should be looking at this is to realize that in his own way, Manziel was as much a beast last season as the ‘Bama offensive line was. There’s more than one way to skin a defensive cat, in other words.
All that being said, I still think Kingsbury is full of it if he really believes Big 12 defenses are as good as those in the SEC.