Daily Archives: April 9, 2008

Welcome to the SEC, kid.

From Mark Schlabach’s article today on Gator RB Emmanuel Moody:

… The Texas native is even struggling with Florida’s stifling heat and humidity.”It’s hot out there, you know?” said Moody, a native of Coppell, Texas. “I’m used to the humidity and heat in Texas, but I’ve never been in heat like this.”

Dude, it’s early April. Wait ’til you get to two a days in August. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Here are a couple of quick stats to chew on:

All told, Florida’s tailbacks accounted for only 25 percent of the team’s rushing yards in 2007. The Gators’ quarterbacks and receivers also scored 85 percent of the team’s rushing touchdowns.

No pressure, no worries, mon.

“When coach Meyer recruited me, he told me Percy and Tebow were running the ball a lot because they felt like they didn’t have the tailbacks,” Moody said. “I’m not coming in here saying I’m going to be the quick fix, but I came here with the expectations that I can really help out in that area. We have great backs, even though they say there isn’t a lot of production. There are great backs here at Florida. The reason why there hasn’t been production, I really don’t know why.”

Maybe it’s the **cough** scheme. But no matter, Florida’s offensive brain trust already has a Plan B in place.

You guessed it.

… Mullen said Tebow might run the football as often this coming season, even though he probably was hit more often than any quarterback in the country in 2007.

“Tim can take those hits, but you just don’t want him to take those big hits,” Mullen said. “Part of what you want to do is save him and keep him fresh for when he needs to run. As a quarterback, any hit you take standing in the pocket can ruin your day. I think he’s really more protected when he’s actually running the ball because he’s delivering a lot of the blows instead of taking them. I think one of the things we need to do is make sure he doesn’t carry the ball all the time in the first half. If we can save his carries, as the game moves on and if we want to kill the clock in the fourth quarter, then he’s fresh and not worn down from carrying it so much in the first half.”

I suppose that means it’s OK for Superman to get hit standing in the pocket in the first half… so he’ll be fresh in the second half. Gentlemen, start your engines.

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UPDATE: According to this spring practice report in the Gainesville Sun, Plan B is looking better and better.

1. Has a feature back emerged at tailback?
Answer: Finding the guy this spring was a priority, but it hasn’t happened. Senior Kestahn Moore has provided his usual workmanlike effort and done a solid job holding onto the football, which means he’ll probably be sitting on top of the depth chart at the start of two-a-days. Southern Cal transfer Emmanuel Moody was considered by many to be the favorite to emerge as the feature back, but he has struggled with the offense and is still behind. Brandon James and Chris Rainey have shown real flashes, and have had an opportunity to work with the No. 1 offense. Mon Williams is coming on strong down the stretch and is solidly in the mix now.

What’s next: The search for a marquee tailback will continue in August, with all five tailbacks competing for the starting role.

Prediction: Moore isn’t flashy, but he’s going to be a tough guy to beat out. He’ll probably be the No. 1 guy, but the way it looks now, the Gators are going to have a tailback by committee. James and Rainey are playmakers and potential game-breakers and have earned touches next season.

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Filed under Gators, Gators...

An early look at an early look

As we get closer to the start of the 2008 season, and Georgia fans start playing “what if?” and “can they do it?” games in our heads, it’s worth contemplating not only the Dawgs’ schedule (certainly formidable, but not without its breaks), but also what other schools – and, perhaps more importantly, how many other schools – will be in the mix to play in the BCS title game.

With that in mind, take a look at something posted today at Sunday Morning Quarterback in his early peek at Southern Cal (not the Song Girl in the bikini):

Not to overstate the point, but USC has played 30 games against ranked teams since 2002 and it’s record (26-4) is not the most impressive point of the portfolio. That would be the average margin of victory in those games, which is just shy of 19 points. Six straight BCS bowls is one thing; five blowouts is something else…

Ahem. That’s not too shabby. (Georgia’s record over that same time is a respectable, but not spectacular, 18-11.) It’s fair to say the Trojans know what they must do to have a shot.

On top of that, USC’s schedule this season is quite solid, with no games against 1-AA opponents. In fact, USC doesn’t play a school not in a BCS conference in 2008. I’m hard pressed to think of another national title contender in recent memory that can make a similar claim. That should make for a good deal of credibility with human voters and computers when it comes time to start with the BCS calculations.

Still, it’s worth remembering that these guys have spit the bit in each of the last two years, with inexplicable losses to feeble conference opponents that kept them out of the big game. So never say never. But realistically, at this admittedly early vantage point, if the Trojans can get past Ohio State and Arizona State, which figure to be their two biggest matchups of the season, you have to like their chances to get to Miami.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Georgia Football

“We won’t go to it if it’s not a good deal.”

That’s Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson talking about the no-huddle offense. (h/t AOL FanHouse)

The Sooners are weighing the idea of incorporating the no-huddle into their offensive game plan because they believe it leads to more plays.

The top eight college football offenses in 2008 ran versions of a no-huddle. Four of those — Missouri, Houston, Texas Tech and Tulsa — ran more than 1,000 plays (OU ran 975). Tulsa (1,126) and Missouri (1,112) led the nation in total plays.

The coaches see a good side to it…

Wilson said quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel took the analogy of average teams using the no-huddle and spread offenses to level the playing field against more talented clubs one step further.

“What if you’re a pretty good team?” Wilson said. “Maybe you can get farther ahead.”

Said Heupel, “It gives you more opportunities. It’s like fast-break basketball. Up and down. You know, Billy Ball. Get as many shots as you can.”

… and a down side to it.

One concern Heupel had, though, was that Bradford might be tempted to speed things up too much.

“Because you’re playing at a quicker tempo at times,” he said, (a quarterback needs) to make sure you still play within your comfort level and you don’t get into hyper speed and all of a sudden things get outside of your comfort level and you’re not seeing things on the back end and you’re making poor decisions and you start pushing things a little bit.”

And a warning from Wilson: “A lot of no-huddle teams a lot of times don’t play good defense,” he said. “It’s not that you get in a game and go three-and-out. I think it’s the way you practice. It’s hard to practice. So we’re trying to find a balance in a way that we can have defensive improvement.”

Last year, there were thirteen D-1 teams that ran more than 1,000 plays on the season. In order of total offense, they were:

  • Tulsa (1)*
  • Texas Tech (2)
  • Houston (4)
  • Missouri (5)*
  • Oregon (10)
  • Central Michigan (21)*
  • Memphis (23)
  • Kentucky (24)
  • LSU (26)*
  • Purdue (27)
  • Boston College (33)*
  • Central Florida (45)*
  • TCU (64)

*played 14 games

As you can see, for the most part, all of these teams were successful moving the ball. As for their defensive prowess, they were all over the map. Only three schools were in the top 20 nationally in total defense, while three were in the bottom 20. Most of the schools had defensive rankings that would best be called serviceable, clustering around 50-70 in the national rankings.

Also, two of the teams on the list (Central Michigan and Central Florida) allowed more plays on defense than they had on offense. And for all but two of the schools, the differential between the number of plays they ran versus the number of plays they defended was less than six per game. A cursory inspection of the link to the NCAA total offense stats shows the average gain per play is around six yards, so for most of these schools, you’re talking about a difference of less than 50 yards per game.

In other words, it’s hard to say these stats shed much light on how much difference the no-huddle made last year.

But here’s the thing: every one of the thirteen schools on that list finished with a winning record.

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Filed under College Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

More love

CFN’s Matt Zemek explores the question of who is the best active coach yet to win a national championship, and concludes that

… The top four coaches in college football, right now, are Pete Carroll, Jim Tressel, Bob Stoops, and Richt. The first three men have won a national title. The fourth man is the best coach who hasn’t yet held the hardware. This season might change things, but even if it doesn’t, Mark Richt is to be accorded a level of respect that few other active coaches can match. He might become the next Bill Self, but remember that Self was pretty good even before the Kansas Jayhawks cut down the nets a few days ago. Win or lose, Georgia is very fortunate to have its current head coach.

Far be it from me to argue with him, but, again, we should realize that it’s the nature of the media to keep building this narrative as the ’08 season approaches. How Richt, his coaches and players handle the attention and the pressure that will come with it will make for a compelling story in and of itself.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles