Daily Archives: December 11, 2006

Jimmy Clausen, 2007 Heisman Trophy candidate


I wonder if he’s emailing the article to other recruits.

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Filed under College Football, General Idiocy, Jimmy Clausen - Boy Wonder, Media Punditry/Foibles

The envelope, please

Since the Dawgs have handed out their awards at the Gala year-end banquet, I’d like the opportunity to hand out a few of my own.

Most valuable (non)player. Easy call – Brandon Coutu. If he doesn’t get hurt, Georgia beats Vandy and Kentucky, is 10-2 right now and playing on New Year’s Day.

Dumbest play of the year. Unfortunately, there were lots of worthy candidates for this award. I looked hard at Daniel Inman here, but I think you have to consider his entire body of work to judge him, not merely one play. Stafford’s pick throwing from the end zone in the Kentucky game almost got my vote here, particularly because he had been warned by MR in very clear terms not to turn the ball over literally moments before he threw the INT, but he’s a freshman. Mikey Henderson’s fumble on his first punt return in the Western Kentucky game was in the running, but, heck, he redeemed himself with another return that he didn’t showboat on.

In the end, I chose Tony Taylor’s dive into the endzone in the Tech game. What really made his the DPOTY was (1) that Tra Battle had been flagged for the exact same infraction in the Auburn game, which penalty led to an Auburn score; (2) that Taylor had just scored a touchdown on what would surely go down as one of the most memorable plays in Georgia history and it was a moment that didn’t need any additional flavoring; and (3) that Taylor’s a senior who should know better. Dumb. Really dumb. As the cliche goes: son, act like you’ve been there before.

Biggest little play of the year by a Georgia player. As I mentioned in a previous post, Ray Gant’s sack of Cox on the first defensive play of the Auburn game was the spark that re-ignited the defense (particularly the pass rush) in the Auburn and Tech games. I reserve the right to change this pick if the defense goes back in the tank against Va. Tech, of course.

Biggest little play of the year by a Georgia opponent. Mansfield Wrotto’s motion penalty in the 3rd quarter of the Tech game moved the Jackets from a 2nd and goal at the three to a second and goal at the eight. Instead of running Choice, who gouged the Georgia defense all game, Chan & Co. elected to put the ball in the hands of the ever reliable Reggie “Dog” Ball, who proceeded to let Paul Oliver abuse the AA Calvin Johnson on two successive pass plays in the end zone. Tech settled for a field goal instead of a TD – and lost by three points.

Best play of the year. (tie) I had to give the nod to both freshman quarterbacks on this one. Joe Cox won the Colorado game with a TD pass to Martrez Milner; Matthew Stafford won the Tech game with a TD pass to Mohamed Massaquoi. Both plays were gorgeous. My favorite thing about Cox’s pass was his body language as he lined up under center – you could tell when he checked off he knew he had the play. Stafford’s pump fake to set up Tech’s defense was fantastic, especially because it meant he knew how much time he had against Tenuta’s defense to get the ball out of there.

Assholes of the year. My only non-player award, this one goes to every fool in Sanford Stadium that booed MoMass during the Mississippi State game. I only hope that every one of those jerks had the decency to blush when he caught everything in sight at the end of the Tech game. They probably didn’t.

The “blood and guts” award. Believe it or not, this one goes to the offensive line. Yes, I know it was an up and down season and that they probably had more to do with another loss in Jacksonville this year than any other area of the team. But when you consider how much Inman had to play this year, the fact that these guys finished second best in the conference in sacks allowed (only 15) and run blocked well enough to allow the offense to finish middle of the pack in the SEC deserves a tip of the cap. Nick Jones in particular was a rock. That being said, if I never have to anticipate a referee’s call of “Number 72” after seeing a flag on the offense again, it’ll be too soon.

I’m not interested in giving Inman a lifetime achievement award. But perhaps his name deserves to be added to the Bulldawg lexicon in some form or fashion. What should it mean if you accuse a player of “pulling an Inman”? Feel free to comment with your suggestions…


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Florida rotates.

I like reading College Football News.com. I appreciate the job those guys do – how easy can it be to come up with something to write about on college football during the first week of June? – even more now that I’m trying my hand at blogging.

That being said, I think that Zemek’s Monday Morning Quarterback piece today, in which he argues that “(a)nother major development in the coaching world this season came from … Urban Meyer, who used two quarterbacks in a way that generally worked…” comes from someone who’s letting his admiration for Meyer get in the way of analyzing what really happened.

First off, let me say that Meyer, who’s taken his team to the BCS title game in his second season, is certainly deserving of praise, but not because of his offense. The Gators became the first team in SEC history to make it to the SECCG without scoring 30 or more points in a single conference game. Florida is where it is because of defense, special teams and Meyer’s whining/politicking (he’s good at that, by the way).

Not because of the offense. And certainly not because of the quarterback rotation. Zemek seems to know this on one hand, but on the other, he just wants to gush about it accomplishing something:

The whole point of the Chris Leak-Tim Tebow rotation system was to create certain tendencies, only to then break them, while also having the added benefit of being able to coach the other quarterback when on the sideline. By giving Leak and Tebow specific packages and assignments, Meyer and Mullen gave defenses two sets of expectations early in games whenever Leak or Tebow would step onto the field. Later in games, Meyer and Mullen could break tendencies with these quarterbacks. When Leak would unexpectedly run or Tebow would unexpectedly pass (Tebow’s jump-pass against LSU was a trend-busting, horizon-expanding goal-line play call from the 2006 season), defenses would suddenly become uncertain… at least, that was the goal for the Florida braintrust. On a few occasions, this approach did enough to produce crucial touchdowns in Gator victories. Yes, it never consistently gelled for sixty whole minutes on any single Saturday, but it managed to score enough points to get the job done. Coming one year after a disastrous season for Florida’s offense–in which Leak looked downright lost at times–this was a considerable achievement for Meyer and Mullen.

Scoring enough points to “get the job done” is a “considerable achievement”? Talk about setting the bar high. Boy, that Tebow jump pass was something, wasn’t it? How come Zemek doesn’t mention how dysfunctional that rotation looked in the second half of the Georgia game, where the coaches kept inserting Leak in on third and longs repeatedly because Tebow couldn’t move the offense on first or second down?

But then we get to the big point:

Going beyond this one season, though, here is the larger significance of Meyer’s plan, implemented on game days by Mullen: while prevailing conventional wisdom has long held that a quarterback shuffle is a bad thing, it’s this columnist’s belief that the future of offensive play calling lies in these planned QB rotations. It was none other than that great trail blazer, Steve Spurrier, who first introduced this idea to the college football consciousness nine years ago.

Say what? Well, Zemek’s glad you asked:

With strong-armed but weak-minded sophomore quarterback Doug Johnson struggling at the end of a trying season, Spurrier rotated Johnson with senior signal caller Noah Brindise against a powerful Florida State team that entered the Swamp as a considerable favorite intent on reaching the Bowl Alliance championship game against Nebraska. By being able to coach Johnson on the sideline when Brindise was on the field, and by giving a steady senior some of the game reps while reducing the workload of the shaky sophomore, Spurrier found more continuity and productivity on offense than he ever could have hoped for. A brutal month of bad offense from mid-October to mid-November suddenly ceased to matter, as Florida’s new-look offense came up with big plays throughout the course of a 32-point effort that knocked the Seminoles out of the title tilt… In NCAA ball, the limited attention spans and frail psyches of quarterbacks (not to mention any other players on a team) are conducive to fewer reps and more detailed coaching. Planned in-game quarterback rotations lead to better coaching and an accordingly enhanced ability of quarterbacks to execute specific plays in specific situations.

Allow me to retort: no way, pal. Spurrier used his quarterbacks all through 1997 like Kleenex – once one wasn’t getting the job done anymore, it was on to the next one in the box. There was nothing new about his approach to the FSU game.

As I read this, I kept thinking of that scene in Annie Hall where Woody Allen is stuck in a movie line behind some guy who’s opinions are getting on Allen’s nerves. You know the moment:

MAN: … I happen to teach a class at Columbia called TV, Media and Culture, so I think that my insights into Mr. McLuhan, well, have a great deal of validity.

WOODY ALLEN: Oh, do you?

MAN: Yeah.

WOODY ALLEN: Oh, that’s funny, because I happen to have Mr. McLuhan right here. Come over here for a second?

MAN: Oh–

WOODY ALLEN: Tell him.

MARSHALL McLUHAN: — I heard, I heard what you were saying. You, you know nothing of my work. How you ever got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing.

If what Zemek says about Spurrier is accurate, then this season would have been the perfect opportunity for the Evil Genius to put that into play. He had two QBs this year with disparate styles and abilities that started in Newton and Mitchell, yet he never did what Zemek says he pioneered. Mitchell played until Spurrier lost confidence in him. Then Newton played until Spurrier lost confidence in him. Then Mitchell played until… well, you get the idea. (Newton finished the year as a safety.)

The funny thing is that Zemek goes on to list a bunch of teams that could have benefitted from play-to-play/series-to-series rotation (including Georgia!), but doesn’t mention South Carolina. Hmm…

Far from being an idea whose time has come, this frequent rotation of QBs thing struck me as nothing more than a means of placating a heralded freshman quarterback and dealing with the reality that the accomplished senior quarterback really wasn’t a good fit for Meyer’s offensive philosophy. But, hey, if Florida runs a QB rotation with Tebow and someone else next year, I’ll certainly give Zemek credit.

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Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football, Tim Tebow: Rock Star

Alabama coaching search, redux

No, I’m not posting to kick a dead horse. At least not the one everyone else is abusing.

I just want to point out that there is one good thing about this mess: Mal Moore sure has given the college football pundits of the world plenty of material to work with.

Along those lines, you’ve got to love Dienhart’s column today. Here’s what he has to say about the ‘Bama search:

… While Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban has said “no” a few times, I still hear the Tide will continue to come after him.

After that, who knows? Cal’s Jeff Tedford has had his name tossed in the mix, but that seems a stretch. In fact, there’s some talk that if Tedford bolts anywhere it could be to Oregon with Mike Bellotti stepping into the A.D. chair in Eugene. But, maybe Tedford feels he has taken Cal as far as he can and could be frustrated by delays in facility improvements.

Some I talk to mention Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden. It may not be a crazy notion. His act has worn thin in Tampa, and he could be enticed by the fact college jobs now pay a pretty penny. Remember, Gruden considered the Notre Dame a few years ago.

And another name won’t go away: Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey. I had his name mentioned to me several weeks ago by a few sources. It’s hard to argue with his resume.

Word is Tulsa coach Steve Kragthorpe won’t leave for any ol’ job. Well, this isn’t any ol’ job. His name still rarely comes up for this post in discussions with my sources. But that could change.

Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe has told me numerous times he isn’t interested in leaving his job. I have no reason not to believe him.

Lastly, there’s Arkansas’ Houston Nutt. He has had a wandering eye in the past and supposedly could be interested in the Bama post.

The other names I hear seem more like second-tier options: Navy’s Paul Johnson, Houston Texans assistant Mike Sherman. I was told at one time by a source that Johnson would “walk to Alabama” if given the chance to coach the Tide…

Good Lord. I think I’ve figured this out. Dienhart plans to name drop every coach in America in his columns as a candidate for the Alabama job (and, given the pace at which Moore is going, he’ll probably have the opportunity to do so).

The odds are decent that he’ll be right sooner or later…

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, Whoa, oh, Alabama