Some strategery stuff

A couple of unrelated pieces caught my eye.

First, there’s an article posted at that, misleading headline set aside, explores how the NFL is adapting spread and single wing features that have proven successful on the college level to its own game.  The hero worship of Meyer is overdone, and the author muddies the waters with regard to the spread and the wildcat, but there’s a lot of good stuff there.  And Meyer, to his credit, is an interesting read when it comes to x’s and o’s.

He really nails the dilemma the pros face when they look at deploying their quarterbacks as runners.

… That’s why Meyer thinks White could be a game-changer in the pros; not only a different sort of weapon at quarterback, but one in a very different place relative to quarterbacks and the salary cap.

“Everybody’s concern is the guy is making $27.8 million,” Meyer said, referring to a typical franchise NFL quarterback. “Are you really willing to get him hit like that?”

Meyer hopped off his couch and stood in the middle of his office, assuming the bent throwing position a quarterback works from in the pocket. It’s in that position, he reminded, that quarterbacks like Brady and Carson Palmer have suffered devastating, season-ending injuries the last few years, as defenders rolled into a lead leg that was planted to throw the ball.

Elsewhere, I’m sure that many of you have read this depressing post by a Navy blogger regarding Paul Johnson’s offense by now.  It’s depressing because it uses much from last year’s Georgia-Georgia Tech game to illustrate its points.  Chris at Smart Football distills things down even further by noting that a lot of Johnson’s genius is related to his skill as a playcaller.

I’m not going to argue against that – the tape doesn’t lie, you know – but it’s only fair to point out that this was an offense that sputtered on occasion last season, including the game it played after it faced Georgia.  I’ll be interested to see what Chris has to say in a promised future post about defending Johnson’s flexbone, but all things being equal, give me a dominant defensive line that can penetrate, affect the offense’s rhythm and pound a running quarterback, and I’ll take my chances.

Come to think about it, that worked pretty well against Florida in 2007, too, so maybe this stuff does tie together more than I thought.


Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Strategery And Mechanics, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

14 responses to “Some strategery stuff

  1. The Realist

    Assignment football is still how you defend the option. But, mixing up the assignments so the offense doesn’t know who to block is the key (as one commenter pointed out). If the safety is always the key on the pitchman, then guess who the offense has to block?

    I believe WillieMart played the same base defense with the same base assignments the entire game. Not only that, but his scheme counted on 100% tackling from a team that had poor tackling (aside from a few) all season. If you have been plagued by missed tackles, then why would your scheme rely on making one-on-one tackles in the open field? If you can’t line up and punch ’em in the mouth… figure that out and try something different. As thebirddog pointed out, Willie never adjusted. Aaaahhh! Such terrible memories rehashed.

    Such is life. I wish I was a fly on the wall in one of those film study sessions.


    • Melinda

      Yeah. And he covered an ineligible receiver at the line too. Which wouldn’t have been bad if the defender hadn’t covered him as an eligible WR AFTER the snap, taking himself out of the play altogether. Willie Martinez got outsmarted in the second half. Poor play sure, but WM flat got out-schemed.


  2. 81Dog

    I dont think we got “outschemed” by the delicate genius, Paul Johnson. I think we just got outplayed. Give credit to the nerds for continuing to battle, and give no credit to our guys (especially our D and special teams) for sloppy play in the second half, including some fumbles. We got beat, we didn’t get “genuised.”

    Pepper Rodgers trounced UGA in bad weather in Athens in his first year, too. A few years later, he had to sue GTU to get paid what he was owed on his contract when they fired his ass. The half life of gratitude is pretty short over there…….don’t buy any green bananas, Mini-Skipper.


  3. baltimore dawg

    aside from the excruciating pain of watching the game again, the last few days’ discussion of uga-gt 08 has been very illuminating. here’s my question, though, about that sequence of two plays and the blocking of the safety by the near slotback on the second: does switching the play side (of the same play in this case) carry a different blocking assignment for the slotback, or are the navy blogger and chris suggesting that johnson ran in special instructions between plays to block the safety? or did the slotback simply block the wrong man on the first play?

    maybe there’s an obvious point here that i’m missing that makes these questions irrelevant. i’m asking because it seems to me that the answers matter to the paul-johnson-is-a-genius narrative that has been taking shape since that game.


    • To answer your question, I dunno. I remember at the time I was in the stands watching the game that Tech was having a lot more success running that play to the wide side of the field than the short side. Maybe the blocking assignments were a function of that.

      The other thing I remember was that Ellerbe was a shell of his former self. He simply couldn’t move well. Combine that with Jones’ inability to tackle and you’re playing nine-on-eleven ball. That’s tough against any offense.


  4. Mike In Valdosta

    The position is called “safety” not “risky” for a reason. Just saying


  5. Macallanlover

    Bingo Senator! The absolute best way to disrupt an option is penetration along the line. Without it you must have near perfect execution of assignment football and not miss tackles. As noted above, we didn’t get outschemed last fall, our players didn’t execute in the 2nd half. UGA’s defense was very effective in the first half. In the second, we missed two key tackles, turned the ball over, and squandered a solid lead.

    This offense is primarily effective because you don’t see it often enough, and is difficult to emulate in practice unless you have recruited players with those skills. If it came progressively more difficult to stop each year as the Navy supporter alledges, this offense would not have gone out of style in the 80s. It is however a good idea for teams like Navy, Air Force, and GT that have difficulty competing with top quality athletes toe to toe. A little slight of hand is necessary and occasionally you will catch someone napping. I remember Air Force coming very close at Neyland a few years ago and piling up huge yardage. Even GSU put up over 300 yards ruhing against us in Sanford. Our guys have to pay attention.

    I don’t think Willie was surprised by anything he saw last year from GT, but I bet he was very disappointed with the play of our LBs and DBs in that last 30 minutes. Time our fans held our players more accountable for poor effort/execution and stopped laying it all on the staff.


    • The Realist

      The coaches choose which personnel is on the field. If the players were loafing, then it is up to the coaches to find them a place on the pine. Bench them just to prove a point. Then, maybe it won’t happen again.

      The DT’s were in the backfield the entire game. That’s why Tech couldn’t run the dive. All of their big plays were around end where they could get one-on-one matchups… and sometimes one-on-none.

      The special teams miscues and turnovers were significant, but you don’t give up 400+ yards rushing on special teams.


  6. Macallanlover

    Sorry, I don’t buy the “coaches choose which personnel is on the field”. That would excuse every single mistake ever made in sports and assign zero responsibility to any player. Setting aside the lack of healthy, experienced players UGA had at the end of the season, should the coaches know in advance when the safety will miss a tackle? After all, those same players made those plays in the first half. And if they miss that tackle, throw that INT, fumble that punt, do we pull them off the field, and if so, for how long? And where do we draw the line, was it poor recruiting, conditioning, etc.?

    These players are about 20 years old as an average, afforded great facilities, and highly paid coaches to prepare them with playbooks, film, skull sessions, etc., why can’t we hold them accountable when THEY screw-up? An occasional mental or physical mistake is OK, it happens to all athletes, but let them take the blame. Willie didn’t forget to wrap his arms around the runner, and he didn’t “unlearn” what this young man has been taught for over 10 years. Our players were in the proper position, they didn’t execute. The same plays were stopped earlier in the game. Was it loafing, lack of focus, I don’t know but I am sure the problem was on the field. Was it 80% plyer and 20 % coaching, or 90/10, or was it the same player each time? Or was it even the same player each time, or did some one else contribute? I don’t know but football is the ultimate team game so responsibility is shared by ll to some degree. On UGA message boards it tends to all be assigned to coaches. I don’t see this much on other teams’ message boards…until teams start failing to meet fans’ expectations. At which time it is never the unrealistic expectations of some fans, just the coaches fault. (Don’t mean this all for you, but it ties in with what makes a couple of the UGA boards hard to take.) I think our defense will be our strength this year, but that will not stop the attacks of a committed few zealots.


  7. Bill

    The thing that would scare me if I were a Dog fan is that Johnson’s system was successful despite having a horrid O line. They got “blown up” last year so many times and Tech still won 9 games. And as you can see, CPJ is loading up on O Lineman in recruiting.

    Senator, you can rationalize all you want but the fact is the guy can flat out coach. He coaches on the fly and makes real time adjustments better than anyone in the country.

    And as long as he is at Tech, you guys are gonna have your hands full. If Tech’s admin is smart, they will cancel all other sports at the school and pay CPJ whatever he wants. This one hire “leveled the playing field” in this rivalry.


  8. Bill

    I apologize. Maybe I need to rephrase what I mean. If you do believe that CPJ is in fact a good coach, then his system being “figured out” is not the only key to beating a CPJ led team.

    You do seem to focus primarily on his system. And while that is a significant part of what has made him a successful coach … it is not the only thing.


    • Bill, all I can do is point you back to this point from my post:

      Chris at Smart Football distills things down even further by noting that a lot of Johnson’s genius is related to his skill as a playcaller.

      He’s a gifted offensive coordinator. How many ways do you want me to say that? 😉