Here are a couple of quotes of note from Mark Richt at his weekly press luncheon reported at Chip Towers’ blog:
Is defense’s play a concern? “It’s a concern. It’s always our number one goal to shut down the run and Vanderbilt is a team that runs. Even the quarterback runs. We need to do better playing at the right pad level. Got to make sure we fit into the scheme of things, everybody in gap. Then you’ve got to tackle. We’re tackling decent but we’re not knocking anybody back. If we could stop the yards after contact we’d do better at stopping the run.”
Any chance freshman Rennie Curran could start at linebacker? “If he didn’t have a concussion this week he would’ve been a strong candidate to start. I’m not going to say it was guaranteed he was going to start, but he was making a strong move in that direction.” He added that Curran should return to contact Wednesday and will play.
Several things caught my eye here. First, what prompted Towers to ask if Curran was being considered for a start? He is one of the two least experienced players in the defensive two deep and, even though I think the kid is a player (and did pretty well against UT, for that matter), he doesn’t seem like an obvious candidate to consider for a start because of that.
The surprise is that Richt thought differently. I hate to say it, but this suggests that things are pretty messed up at linebacker right now.
Fundamentals on defense are lacking – no big surprise there. But it’s still jarring to see Richt check down the list of things that his players aren’t doing properly. After six games, I’m sure he expected much better on that side of the ball than he’s getting. Who gets held accountable – among players and coaches – and how they respond are the big keys for the rest of the season.
UPDATE: Check out Groo’s point in this post –
In fact, it’s worth noting that all four captains for this game – Moreno, Ellerbe, Mimbs, and Prince Miller – are all first-year starters. That’s quite a message being sent.
You’ve got a seven point lead with fifteen seconds left in the game. On fourth down, you elect to play it safe and take a safety instead of risking a punt block.
And this is your reward for all that careful strategery:
You’ve got to love the way the Akron announcers lose it on the call, although the camera work blows.
But this is my favorite part of the story:
… Even the band seemed to recognize the moment, playing a rendition of “Amazing Grace” at a tempo appropriate for a funeral.
I’m not a fan of pro sports, and this article in The Boston Globe by baseball stats master Bill James says not one word about college football, but it’s nonetheless one of the most thought provoking pieces I’ve read in a while.
James ponders a question I don’t think I’ve seen anyone address when he writes
In sports, mathematical analysis is old news as applied to baseball, basketball, and football. Statistical research of player performances has now been routinely applied to improve the results of individual teams. But it has not yet been applied to leagues. This unexplored area holds great promise for sports, and sports fans. Rather than beginning with the question “How does a team win?” – the query that has been the basis of all sports research to this point – what if we begin by asking “How does a league succeed?”
What he wants to explore with that question is how to find a proper balance between the relevancy of its regular season and the excitement of its postseason.
… In every sport, there is an element of predetermination and an element of randomness in the outcomes. Who will win the championship next year is not entirely a crapshoot…
… If the best team always wins, then the sequence of events leading to victory is meaningless…
… On the other foot, no league could thrive, either, if every team had the same chance to win…
Take a look – it’s not a long article, but it will make you think.
(h/t The Wages of Wins)
If you are in need of a laundry list of excuses to feel better after Saturday, Loran’s got your back.
I thought a little musical palate cleanser might be just the thing to lighten the mood in the wake of all the gloomy football talk we’ve subjected ourselves to since Saturday.
This comes from The T.A.M.I. Show, a musical extravaganza (check out that list of performers – all that’s missing are the Beatles) filmed in 1964 for theatrical release.
What you’re about to see is James Brown, already at the height of his powers as a live performer (Michael Jackson, eat your heart out), complete with the robe shtick. It’s an absolutely awesome performance of “Please, Please, Please”, a tour de force in every sense:
Rumor has it that these guys were a little apprehensive about following the Godfather’s act, but as you can see, being the pros that they were, they sucked it up and went on to hold up their end of the deal just fine with this show closer:
We will return to our regularly scheduled programming now…