Daily Archives: August 21, 2012

Spurrier on Georgia: right for the wrong reasons?

Bill Connelly’s preview of South Carolina is posted here.  It’s worth a read, even if Bill thinks the Gamecocks’ future this season is uncertain (hint:  the threat of regression to the mean rears its ugly head in an area or two).  What I’m intrigued about, though, isn’t the overall picture, but the inferences that might be drawn from certain factual points he lays out.

Take this bit about South Carolina’s great running back:

South Carolina rode Marcus Lattimore to a huge win over Georgia, and he saved them in an upset bid by Navy. Then they got incredibly average totals from him for four weeks and struggled. Then they lost him for the season and, in terms of overall quality, didn’t regress at all.

This, about Alshon Jeffery:

The Gamecocks saw significant regression from their No. 1 receiver, Alshon Jeffery, whose games generally fit into three categories: 1) Dominance (he caught nine of 12 passes for 233 yards against Georgia and Nebraska), 2) Short Stuff Only (he caught 13 of 19 passes versus Mississippi State, Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida, but for only 77 yards), and 3) Disappearing Act (he caught four of 13 passes for 63 yards versus Vanderbilt and Clemson).

And, finally, this about the defense:

The uncertainty does not stop on offense. Despite a mediocre run defense (49th in Rushing S&P+, 88th in Adj. Line Yards), South Carolina fielded a wonderfully successful defense primarily because nobody could throw the ball on them. The Gamecocks ranked fourth in the country in Passing S&P+, and they were absolutely devastating after the first couple of weeks of the season.

That’s not an understatement.  A look at last year’s game log of SC’s defensive passer rating reveals only one game all season where the Cocks didn’t show up:  Georgia, which posted a 175.98.  All the slagging Aaron Murray took for his turnovers in that game obscures the fact that he was the only quarterback who ripped that defense (South Carolina held nine teams under 100 last season; check out Kentucky’s passer rating).   It’s the mother of all outliers.  Honestly, the Georgia game colored my perception of the Gamecock defense.

Bottom line – the Dawgs played the Bizarro ‘Cocks last season.  The question I’ve got is how much of that was due to suspensions (“I sort of always liked playing them that second game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended.”) and how much of it can we chalk up to timing?  Georgia fans have always felt that playing South Carolina early in the season meant Georgia was getting its best punch, although to Spurrier’s credit, his team has played more formidable late season ball in the past two years.  Lattimore’s and Jeffrey’s numbers would seem to suggest that factor was still in play.  Is it reasonable to wonder if a game later in the season might tone the offensive numbers down somewhat?

Ah, you say, but it’s the opposite story with the Carolina passing defense.  The low point was in that second week Georgia game.  True.  But, first, it’s still an effort that’s seriously out of line with what was accomplished the rest of the year (although you can argue the ‘Cocks didn’t see many above average passing attacks besides Georgia in 2011) and, second, a few things have changed since then.

Consider it a red flag, then, that a defense so reliant on its pass defense must replace its best defensive end (Melvin Ingram: 15.0 tackles for loss, 10 sacks), its best defensive tackle (Travian Robertson: 8.0 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks), its most successful attacking linebacker (Antonio Allen: 9.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, four forced fumbles), and its top three cornerbacks, including star Stephon Gilmore (four interceptions, seven passes broken up). Is there star power returning? Absolutely. But when you have a rather one-dimensional defense, and you lose a lot from that dimension, it is cause for concern.

I’m like Bill in one regard; I don’t know exactly what to expect from Spurrier’s team this season.  As Bill points out, for all the ups and downs, South Carolina’s story in 2011 was that it was able to keep on keeping on.  But I’m wondering if the move to the sixth week of the season might give Grantham’s defense a leg up and wind up being the real scheduling story of the 2012 edition of the SEC East.

Some better special teams play wouldn’t hurt, of course.



Filed under 'Cock Envy, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Beware. Mike Bobo has something up his sleeve.

Malcolm Mitchell lets the cat out of the bag.

“I remember all the plays from last year,” Mitchell said. “They just can’t call one of the ones that they recently made up.”  [Emphasis added.]

Missouri, you’ve been served.  Unless Mitchell meant “made up” literally, in which case he’s the tip of the spear of a disinformation campaign designed to confuse Georgia’s enemies.  Wheels within wheels, people!


Filed under Georgia Football

Coaches make the best doctors.

Call this a self-inflicted wound.

The Gamecock program announced Monday that senior cornerback Akeem Auguste underwent a “procedure” on an injured right thigh muscle Sunday and is out indefinitely. He will be re-evaluated in four-to-five weeks, but there is no timetable for his return.

Auguste had already missed much of fall camp with what had been called an injured groin muscle, but was cleared to return to practice Friday. According to The State reporter Josh Kendall, after initially saying he would hold Auguste out until Monday even after his clearance, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward OK’d Auguste to take part in Saturday’s scrimmage.

Auguste aggravated his injury during the scrimmage, leading to Sunday’s procedure and minimum of four weeks off. Auguste will miss at least the Gamecocks’ season opener at Vanderbilt and September home dates vs. East Carolina and UAB, and very likely their SEC home opener against Missouri.

Oops.  My momma said to always trust your first instinct.

Any bets on whether they get him back for the Georgia game?


Filed under 'Cock Envy, The Body Is A Temple

Tuesday morning buffet

No Pop Tarts on the menu, I’m afraid.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Media Punditry/Foibles, Recruiting, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA

Again, with the My 100

It’s a quasi-regular annual feature here at GTP:  my list of 100 things I hope to experience/enjoy this season.  And yes, there are repeats from previous lists, because some pleasures are timeless.  Feel free to add, subtract or nit-pick in the comments.

  1. Seeing how those Big 12 offenses hold up in the big, bad SEC.
  2. Will Muschamp, reminded of how it feels to be on the losing end of the Cocktail Party.  Again.
  3. Mike Bobo, avoiding blame.
  4. The comebacks of Justin Hunter, Knile Davis and Marcus Lattimore.
  5. The first emotional presser Corch has at OSU.
  6. A year without uniform gimmicks for Georgia.
  7. A good night game, HDTV and a glass of Woodford Reserve at my side.  Ahhhh.
  8. Seeing if Junior can hold up coaching the number one team in America.
  9. Seeing if the NCAA can hold up watching Junior coach the number one team in America.
  10. FIAR, B!
  11. Denard Robinson vs. the Alabama defense.
  12. Brian VanGorder and Willie Martinez, together again.
  13. Jarvis Jones’ improvement.
  14. Popeye’s fried chicken.
  15. Tyler Wilson’s toughness.
  16. Thursday night football minus Craig James.
  17. September home games at night.
  18. Seeing if the “SEC – Year of the Quarterback” meme has legs.
  19. West Virginia’s offense laying waste to most Big 12 defenses.
  20. Most Big 12 defenses laying waste to Charlie Weis’ offense.
  21. The Georgia-South Carolina game.
  22. Calibrating the temperature of SOD’s hot seat.
  23. Big John Jenkins’ improvement.
  24. Referring to the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party as the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”.
  25. Seeing if Dorial Green-Beckham lives up to the hype.  (That can wait until after Missouri’s second game, though.)
  26. Watching the excitement of the Washington State fan base grow during Mike Leach’s inaugural season.
  27. The first cold beer at the first tailgate of the season.
  28. The warm feeling I get when Georgia’s defense steps on the field.
  29. The warm feeling I get when I’m reminded that this is Michael Adams’ last year on the job.
  30. Finding out if last year’s Auburn offense was Malzahn’s fault, or the quarterbacks’.
  31. The patented Spurrier visor toss.
  32. Life after RGIII, Andrew Luck and Kellen Moore.
  33. Mark Bradley explaining Paul Johnson’s genius after the Virginia Tech game, regardless of the outcome.
  34. The next thing Mark Richt loses control over.
  35. Aaron Murray’s footwork.
  36. Uncle Verne’s chortle.
  37. Kickoff strategy under the new NCAA rules.
  38. Seeing how much Jim Grobe can squeeze out of Wake Forest.
  39. Geno Smith and Logan Thomas, for different reasons.
  40. Georgia surviving the suspensions.
  41. The over/under on the number of catches Georgia Tech’s leading receiver has this season.
  42. Checking to see if Paul Petrino successfully covers in his brother’s absence as offensive coordinator.
  43. Contemplating how much Gator fans reminisce about the good ol’ days with John Brantley taking the snaps.
  44. Russ, in another season as Da Dawg.
  45. More commemorative bourbon bottles.
  46. The Army-Navy game.  Just like every year.
  47. TCU and Gary Patterson stepping up in class.
  48. The next clever wrinkle in offensive strategy.
  49. John L. Smith’s first sideline meltdown.
  50. The losing coach’s presser after the Florida-Tennessee game.
  51. Auburn-Georgia, along with every other historical rivalry the powers that be managed to keep their grubby hands off.
  52. The number of comments Spurrier makes about the schedule after the loss to LSU.
  53. Vanderbilt’s Sanford Stadium welcome.
  54. Seeing if FSU can avoid underachieving.
  55. The development of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.
  56. Finding out how many decent teams there are in the Big Ten this season.
  57. Jadeveon Clowney, middle linebacker.
  58. The last in-broadcast Penn State observation of the year.
  59. A strategically located Porta-Potty with a short line in Jacksonville.  (This will always be on my list.)
  60. The inevitable Clemson meltdown.
  61. Malcolm Mitchell’s healthy hamstrings.
  62. Thursday, August 30, 2012.
  63. Rocky Long, taking the plunge on avoiding the punt.
  64. The Montana Project.
  65. A general decline in BCS complaining.
  66. Another all-SEC matchup in the national title game, bitches.  Just because.
  67. The pregame flight of the Auburn eagle.
  68. The public vote by vote breakdown of the last regular season Coaches’ Poll ballots.
  69. Koulton Houston being cleared to play.  Finally.
  70. Watching to see if Greg Mattison took any lessons away from his stint as Corch’s Florida DC that are applied in this year’s Michigan-Ohio State game.
  71. Barkevious Mingo.  Because I love saying the name.
  72. The Notre Dame Bowl Watch – with that schedule, it’s going to be a lengthy one.
  73. My fellow Dawg and Gator travelers on the highway to the WLOCP.
  74. The clarion call of CBS’ intro music.
  75. John Theus making Jarvis Jones proud.
  76. Watching drunks play beer pong.
  77. The successful return of 344-Fullback.
  78. College bands.  I’ll take ’em over the piped-in stuff all day long and twice on “Zombie Nation”.
  79. The last five minutes of this season’s most embarrassing upset.
  80. Seeing Charlie Strong’s reaction if Louisville wins a conference title.
  81. Josh Harvey-Clemons, putting the star in the star position.
  82. Ralphie.
  83. Bill Snyder working his magic again.
  84. Friday morning breakfast at T-Rays in Fernandina Beach.
  85. The anguished cries from the Arkansas fan base to bring back Petrino if the program falls out of the double digits win zone.
  86. The smile on Mark Richt’s face as he explains to the media at the SECCG presser about winning the East with 69 recruited scholarship players.
  87. The variety of offenses on display in the Pac-12.
  88. Wisconsin’s import a starting quarterback approach, minus Paul Chryst.
  89. That first cool, crisp fall afternoon in Athens.
  90. The Red River Rivalry.
  91. Marshall Morgan successfully kicking his first field goal under pressure.
  92. Missouri’s home crowd for its SEC opener.
  93. Will Muschamp’s warm welcome to College Station, Texas.
  94. Any tailgate playlist with James Brown on it.
  95. Political wankery kept to a minimum.  (That’s definitely a hope, not an expectation.)
  96. Figuring out whether Ellis Johnson misses South Carolina more, or vice versa.
  97. Cornelius Washington lives up to potential, spends entire season kicking some righteous ass.
  98. November 3rd:  Oregon vs. USC and Alabama vs. LSU.
  99. Seeing if Mike London can keep things going in Charlottesville.  (A win over Va. Tech would be nice.)
  100. Finding out how much of a difference that schedule really makes.

It won’t be long now.


Filed under College Football

Every fan base has ’em.

Morons, that is.  Georgia is hardly immune.

A person claiming to be a UGA fan recently called one of the team’s top football recruits to clarify the status of his commitment to the Bulldogs.

The ill-advised contact between the “fan” and the prospect and the story behind it instantly went viral on Twitter, and ignited heated discussions on a UGA team website and Rivals.com’s national message boards.  It also created some speculation that UGA may have to report an NCAA secondary violation — even though UGA appeared to have nothing to do with the phone call, and the unidentified person claiming to be a UGA fan may be a fan of another school.

Sadly, the school is having to waste resources verifying that no secondary violation occurred.

And this is why I don’t get in the recruiting weeds here:

“Here’s all I know,” said Steve Patterson, publisher of UGASports.com. “One of my guys contacted me and said there was somebody on DawgVent saying they had been calling prospects of UGA. As we all know, that’s against NCAA bylaws, which are very encompassing when it comes to things stuff like that …

“The site staff removed the post. Then after that, the guy went on and on about how could do that if he wanted, and [to heck with] the NCAA. Then the guy sent some harassing emails to our staff. They contacted me and asked what to do, and I said blacklist him and have him contact me. That’s the last we all heard of it until he made some other posts around the Internet.

“He threatened to say he was going to call prospects, and then call Coach Richt and say we instructed him to do this, which is absurd…”

Sounds like somebody needs to find another hobby.  Or get laid.


Filed under General Idiocy, Georgia Football, Recruiting