Daily Archives: September 13, 2012

So dumb, I have a hard time believing it.

I posted yesterday about the Mississippi State defensive players figuring out Auburn’s play calling signs and wondering whom that made look dumber, Frazier or his coaches.

Now I’m wondering if it’s even worse than I thought it was.  Check out this quote:

“My teammates and I got into [Frazier’s] head and that’s one thing I’m going to do every game if you’re on offense against me,” said Lawrence, who turned in a team-high 10 tackles Saturday with one sack. “He would call out the signals and I’d tell everybody what the play was and he’d get that confused look in his face.”

Does that mean what it sounds like?  Were the MSU players announcing the plays publicly in advance such that Frazier heard them?  If that’s what he means, and nobody on the Auburn sideline adjusted for that… geez, that’s bad.  Seriously, I hope I’m misinterpreting here, because I have hard time believing that anybody playing or coaching SEC ball could be that out of it.

If I’m not missing something, then I may have to revise this.



Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

Today’s moment of waaaaaaah

Boy, talk about your quote rife with irony:

“I don’t think anybody should have a right to pick and choose in today’s day and age,” [George] O’Leary said…

Or chutzpah.  Yeah, that works, too.


Filed under Notre Dame's Faint Echoes

Is the Air Raid experiencing some turbulence?

I’m sure most of you saw how Florida shut down Texas A&M’s offense in the second half of their game.

… In the second half, the Aggies averaged 2.8 yards per play, and managed just one play that gained 10 yards or more. All six of Texas A&M’s second-half drives ended in punts, including four “3 & outs.”

What you may have overlooked is how slow a start they’ve gotten off to at Washington State.

Washington State failed to score even a single touchdown in its season-opening defeat, but the Cougars’ offensive aimed to get in sync and put up some gaudy numbers against their FCS opponent. Unfortunately for the offense, Eastern Washington took a page out of BYU’s defensive game plan and frustrated Washington State’s offense throughout much of the game.

For an offense returning the majority of its core from the 2011 season that saw the Cougars average 342 passing yards/game, the 247 passing yards (227 if you include sack yardage) accumulated on Saturday was another early-season disappointment. Eastern Washington countered the Cougars’ Air Raid attack by consistently dropping eight defenders while rushing just three. Eastern Washington found different ways to disguise its fronts before flooding the passing zones with defenders, sometimes opting to go with just three down linemen, other times going with a fourth who would drop into coverage.

Don’t be so quick to dismiss that as “oh, it’s Washington State”.  As the post indicates, it’s not as if Mike Leach didn’t inherit some talent on that side of the ball.  The Cougars were ninth in the NCAA last year in passing offense.

No, the issue here may be something else.

The bread and butter of Mike Leach’s offenses over the years have been short, high-percentage passing plays that often act as a replacement for the running game. In the opening two weeks of the season, both BYU and Eastern Washington have consistently rushed just three defenders, flooding the short passing zones. On Saturday, Eastern Washington consistently dropped a defensive tackle into the short hole to disrupt Leach’s renowned short crossing patterns. Cougars quarterback Jeff Tuel (before leaving the game due to injury) consistently struggled to find open wideouts in these eight-man zone coverage, and was often forced to scramble for short gains.

To counteract these eight-man zones, Washington State eventually had to do something that had to drive Mike Leach crazy: commit to the running game[Emphasis added.]  In a stark contrast to Leach’s offensive philosophy, Washington State ran the ball a startling 27 times, not including sacks. Contrary to last week’s running performance, one in which Washington State rushed 13 times for just 17 yards, the Cougars found moderate success on the ground this week rushing for 128 non-sack yards (4.7 per carry).

Look what happened to TAMU’s running game in that second half:  less attempts, significantly less yardage and a much lower ypc average.

Now, true, we’re still dealing with small sample sizes here.  Leach thinks his team’s problem is with execution and he deserves the benefit of the doubt.  But we all know that good defensive coordinators adapt.  It’ll be interesting to see if the trend continues in how these offenses are defended and, if so, how the play callers respond.

It’s worth noting that Leach disciple Dana Holgorsen may have a step on the master in that regard.  His West Virginia team currently ranks fourth nationally in rushing offense (with a ridiculous 9.46 ypc average).


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

Thursday morning buffet

There’s a wee Irish tinge to the offerings today.

  • The Dawgs enjoyed a good bit of success running out of four-wide sets against Missouri.  (In fact, I think the TD pass to King came out of a five-wide, empty backfield set.)  Will the offensive line be strong enough for Georgia to keep on doing that?
  • If you believe that the biggest difference between the SEC and the rest of college football is the quality of the defensive linemen, then this story will make complete sense to you.
  • Mars needs women, but colleges need men.  Football, testosterone and Stanford.
  • Tyler Wilson looks like he may be ready to show up for Alabama.  The question is whether his offensive line will do the same.
  • Mark Richt has lost control of LSU’s academics.
  • Notre Dame’s move to the ACC – and the news that it will schedule five games a year with that conference’s members – means it’s got some scrambling to do on the scheduling front.
  • Jim Delany whistles in the dark about the move, even though it’s likely to impact teams in his conference fairly significantly.  (And even though Delany wanted the Irish for the Big Ten.)
  • And Ivan Maisel thinks the move signals the death knell of Notre Dame’s independence.
  • ACC votes to bump exit fee to a whopping $50 million immediately;  FSU voices displeasure after voting against the change.


Filed under ACC Football, Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Big Ten Football, College Football, Georgia Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

‘Will, you need to chill out. This is going to get you in trouble.’

The Mississippi State recruiting story is looking worse by the day.  The only reason I’d rate this Pat Forde piece at DEFCON 3 is because Charles Robinson’s name doesn’t appear on the byline.  But you figure that’s a shoe that’ll be dropping soon.

Generally, though, it’s not good when you’ve got somebody producing receipts and mentioning direct contact with the head coach and the athletic director.

It’s interesting that the booster in question is from Roswell, Georgia, though.  Makes you wonder if he had any in state time with Sheldon Dawson during his recruitment by the Dawgs.


Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

Boys, you’re not in the Big 12 anymore.

Here’s the real “Welcome to the SEC” message from last Saturday night’s game:

Both teams combined to run the ball 74 times, but the officials only called holding once. The refs let them play…which makes me wonder if this will be a trend in the SEC.

Such innocence.

The disillusion that’s going to set in after Mizzou’s first Penn Wagers-officiated game is going to be sad to see, I’m afraid.


Filed under SEC Football

Kiffin watch: still Junior after all these years.

The problem for the Laner is that Pat Haden doesn’t appear to be the enabler Mike Hamilton was.

As of Wednesday night the ban was lifted after a discussion was had with USC athletic director Pat Haden. Policy or not, there is such a thing as bad publicity when it involves banning media interaction.

“I am happy to say my football practice ban was lifted after talks with Pat Haden and area sports editors. Practice policy talks continue,” Wolf tweeted Wednesday night.

Pat needs to get with The Plan.


Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin