Daily Archives: August 10, 2012

Mark Richt has not lost control of the roster numbers. Yet.

(In case you can’t tell, I’m having a lot of fun with a certain meme today.  But I digress.)

Mark Richt isn’t worried about having less scholarship players on the roster than any school this side of Pennsylvania.  And he’s right about this.

“I think just watching our special teams work, the amount of depth we have right at this moment, I think we’re fine,” Richt said. “Because again, the bottom line is you can only bring 70 guys on the trip. And the reality is most every year, two, three or four of those cats are walk-ons anyway. So you might have 65 scholarship guys traveling that are ready to play football in an SEC game.”

But – and as “buts” go, it’s a ginormous one – there’s a caveat.

The key is avoiding injuries, as Richt went on to say.

“If you’ve got a lot of injuries you’ve got issues, of course, but we’ve been pretty fortunate in that area going into this camp,” Richt said. “We’ve had a few things. I don’t think we’ve had anything that might end anybody’s season. We’ve had some things that might keep a guy out awhile. You know, concussions, pulled muscles, things like that. But it’s been pretty good.”

Better hope your luck holds out, Coach.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Mark Richt has lost control of the Honey Badger.

On the bright side for Dawg fans:  if there’s a rematch in the SECCG, Georgia’s special teams just got a lot better.

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Filed under SEC Football

Mark Richt has lost control of the hot seat meme.

SI.com‘s Holly Anderson was gracious enough to include me in a blogger round-up of coaches on the hot seat going into the season – no, not because Richt’s on one today, but to answer a question about why much of the Atlanta media seems to have a hard-on about bad boyz in Athens.  (And, okay, because it was a good excuse to trot out everybody’s current fave Richt meme.  See post header.)

I’m happy my whole answer made it in there, except for a cheap shot I took at AJ-C blog commenters.  Anyway, let me know what you think about my response.  It’s pretty timely in light of yesterday’s post about Chuck Oliver, no?

32 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Kiffin watch: same ol’ Junior

The Laner lies about his Coaches Poll vote, gets called out by USA Today for lying and offers the lamest excuse imaginable.

Kiffin told USA TODAY Sports by phone Thursday night that he didn’t think the quote misrepresented his vote. By saying what he did, Kiffin said he meant that he wouldn’t vote USC No. 1 if he were in the media or coaching another team. Because of NCAA-imposed scholarship restrictions, USC is operating with 75 scholarship players, 10 less than the regular maximum of 85.

“We have less players than everybody else,” Kiffin said. “So looking at it from the outside, I wouldn’t (vote USC No. 1). Did I? Yeah, I did. That’s not based off of 75 vs. 85. That’s based off of (USC players) Matt Barkley, T.J. McDonald and Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. When everybody has the same record, I can’t go into a meeting with our players and have them say, ‘You put that team and that team ahead of us.’ That’s why I did that.”

Yep.  He did it for the children.  Because he’s that kind of guy.

I hate to admit it, but I may have found the first opponent that’s going to make me root for Notre Dame in a game.

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UPDATE:  Yeah, I’d say this classifies as chutzpah.

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Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin

Todd Grantham and the “hybrid defender”

“Hybrid defender” is a term Chris Brown uses in this Grantland piece.  And no, he doesn’t mention Georgia’s defensive coordinator by name.  But there’s a certain association between the two, nevertheless.

In response, Jimmy Johnson’s edict — that speed on offense must be matched with even more speed on offense — has been adopted by defensive coaches at every level of football. Those hybrid offensive players are being met with hybrid defenders.

Fittingly, one of the present-day models of Jimmy Johnson’s philosophy is in Dallas. DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys’ standout defensive end/linebacker hybrid, is the latest in a long line of ‘tweener ends/linebackers who are as likely to rush the passer as they are to drop into coverage…

DeMarcus Ware.  Isn’t that the guy…?  Yeah, that’s him.  Sure, there’s some name-dropping going on in recruiting with that, but it’s also what Grantham is honestly hunting for.  Brown again:

Instead of taking high school safeties and making them linebackers, coaches are taking athletes who can hit and play pass coverage, and simply letting them make plays. That means everything from blitzing the quarterback or stuffing a running back in the backfield to running step-for-step with a tight end or slot receiver. NFL coaches have begun referring to this as their “big nickel” package, which is a bit misleading because “nickel” is a term invented to describe some smaller part of a team’s overall defensive game plan. The reality is that just as NFL offenses rarely line up with two true running backs, NFL defenses rarely line up with three true linebackers. Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu were the two best safeties of the last decade or so, but their successors — in body type, athleticism, and playmaking ability — may not play safety at all. Regardless of the position at which he’s listed, he’ll likely be a linebacker in a safety’s body.

I read that and the first name that popped into my head was Josh Harvey-Clemons.

Harvey-Clemons, rated by many the top football prospect in Georgia last year, thinks he can make safety a permanent home.

“I feel like I can play safety. I really like safety,” he said on Thursday. “Especially learning from Shawn Williams and (Bacarri) Rambo, taking what they’re showing me, and what they’re teaching me, I can really do good things here at safety. But if it’s meant for me to play linebacker, I’m ready for that too.”

He hasn’t done any research on whether anyone that tall has ever played safety.

“It makes it a lot harder for quarterbacks if you’ve got a 6-5 safety back there,” he said.

The Valdosta native is also being taught the so-called “star” position.” It’s basically a nickel back who guards the flats and zones.

And when Chris writes this…

Defensive coaches are absolutely not inventing new defenses to feature these players. You see a few unique sets, like the 3-3-5 stack or TCU’s 4-2-5, but most coaches are simply introducing these hybrid players and their multifarious skills into existing schemes.

If a coach runs a 4-3 “under” — four defensive linemen, three linebackers shifted into an “under” look — he stays with the same playbook but swaps out a defensive end for an “elephant” hybrid end/linebacker or a SAM linebacker for a hybrid-safety type. With those changes, what was once staid and predictable becomes more difficult to scheme around. There’s less certainty about who’s rushing and who’s staying in coverage. These athletic hybrid defenders are allowing old defensive coordinators to maintain the basic systems they know while learning a few new tricks in the meantime.

… I’m immediately drawn back into the way Grantham emphasizes getting his eleven best players on the field at a given time over scheme.  But it’s not a simple “Jimmies and Joes” vs. “Xs and Os” dichotomy in play there.  For want of a better word, his approach is a hybrid.  He wants the personnel flexibility to combat the varied offensive sets and attacks he faces each week.

Read Chris’ piece in its entirety and let me know if it hits you the same way.

24 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

So. What about Arkansas?

Edward Aschoff asks the question that I’ve struggled with more than once in the last two years as a voter in the SEC Power Poll Team Speed Kills hosts:  Is Arkansas overrated?

The Hogs proved better last year than I thought they’d be, no question about it.  They get both LSU and Alabama at home this season, which can’t hurt (they split those two games in 2010).  Aschoff thinks they deserve their top ten ranking, but I’m not so sure.  As good as a lot of the skill position talent is on offense, there are question marks on both lines.  And as for the new defensive coordinator “bringing a more aggressive style to Fayetteville”, isn’t that what they say about all new DCs?  Besides, a lack of aggressiveness wasn’t really Willy Robinson’s big problem last year.

The biggest question, of course, is how they adjust to Bobby Petrino’s departure.  That Petrino was able to grab big time head coaching jobs in spite of the massive amount of personal baggage he toted with him should be seen as a tribute to his coaching ability.  He was as good a playcaller in college football last season as there was.  Maybe there’s enough talent on the staff to make up for him no longer being there, but that’s something we’ll have to wait and see.

The schedule’s favorable, with only four true road games, a non-conference slate with Rutgers as the toughest opponent and Kentucky as the other draw from the East.  Eight wins seem to be the floor.  Can Arkansas split the four remaining games with Alabama, LSU, South Carolina and Texas A&M?  That’s what the Hogs will need to do to finish in the top ten.  Stay tuned.

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Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal

“You’re going.”

I fully expected this ESPN piece on Corch to be your typical eye-roller.  Instead, I read it and found it profoundly sad.  This, in particular, is as good a summary of the man as you’ll see:

This is the difficult calculus of Meyer’s future, of any Type A extremist who longs for balance. They want the old results, without paying the old costs, and while they’ll feel guilty about not changing, they’ll feel empty without the success. He wants peace and wins, which is a short walk from thinking they are the same.

Anybody think things will play out in Columbus any differently for Meyer than they did in Gainesville?  I have a hard time seeing it.

Another coach is on the phone, asking for advice about a player who got into trouble. Meyer gives his honest answer, a window into the murky, shifting world of big-time athletics, into how nobody emerges from the highest level of anything with every part of himself intact.

The first year at Bowling Green, Meyer tells him, he’d have cut his losses. His fifth year at Florida, when he needed to win every game, he’d have kept him on the team.

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Filed under Urban Meyer Points and Stares

Not fade away.

Skip past the first minute or so of this clip (the first thirty seconds are particularly cringe-worthy) and you’ll find a fun segment in which Aaron Murray and David Pollack discuss the art of the fade pass.  Murray certainly knows his stuff.  If he can just recall what he knows about footwork in the heat of the moment, he’ll be fine.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics