Daily Archives: July 5, 2013

Jeff Driskel’s just keeping his options open.

I happen to think Driskel signing a contract with the Red Sox is a giant nothingburger, but if Gator Nation wants to get even slightly nervous about the news, I’m okay with that.

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Filed under Gators, Gators...

Fun with win totals

I usually save my SEC win predictions for the end of summer camp, when I’ve got a decent picture of likely starters, so if you’re looking for an earlier discussion on the matter, Jerry Hinnen’s post will have to suffice.

It’s filtered through Vegas over/under win totals, so if you think scheduling is outsized in his analysis, that’s a good reason why.

Then again, it’s hard to argue with this:

… has anyone actually looked at the Tide’s Charmin-soft schedule? Unless Virginia Tech is a revelation or Gus Malzahn is a wizard, it’s a three-game season: at Texas A&M, vs. Ole Miss, vs. LSU. The Tide have byes before the Aggies and Tigers, and bracket the Rebels with Georgia State and Kentucky. So a 3-0 sweep seems more likely than not, and the heavy extra payout on the over makes this an even easier call.

Although note that Steele finds Alabama’s schedule tougher than most do.

I do find Jerry’s leanings on Florida’s and Georgia’s win totals interesting, given that of the key games for each he points to for each, Florida’s looks tougher, yet he turns ever so slightly in the Gators’ favor on getting that tenth win.  As for the third leg of the SEC East’s triumvirate, both Steele and I think Carolina’s schedule is tougher than Jerry does.

Anyway, I thought this would be a fun topic for discussion… so discuss.  How do you see those win totals playing out?

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Filed under SEC Football

“Stop recruiting these beasts up front and we won’t run as many plays.”

Texas Tech coach (and former TAMU offensive coordinator) Kliff Kingsbury got some attention for his “I’ll change my approach if Saban will change his” interview earlier this week.  It’s a fair point, but I thought this was the more interesting part of the discussion:

Kingsbury said the style of play, especially in the Big 12, where half the teams averaged at least 76 plays per game, has changed what it means to play good defense.

“There are some really good players in the Big 12 on defenses, but yards per game is through the roof. That’s just the nature of the game,” he said. “If Alabama or LSU or those guys faced these offenses all the time, each and every week, it would be different. That’s just a fact.

“We’re big on being great in the red zone, holding people to field goals and creating turnovers. I think the yards are going to be up there. It’s just the way the game is set up these days.”

That, of course, begs the question of how Texas A&M did in those categories in its maiden voyage through the SEC.  The answer is not so great.  Per cfbstats.com, the Aggies sported the 8th best red zone scoring defense, the 8th best red zone touchdown percentage defense and finished 11th in the conference in turnover margin.

Also worth checking out as an example is LSU’s total defense game log.  In losing at home, the Aggies managed to run an insane 94 plays on offense, by far the most of any LSU regular season opponent.  But their average yards per play number was mediocre.  (Going minus-five in turnover margin also didn’t help.)

But here’s the thing – every offense that LSU faced after A&M managed a better yards per play number than the Aggies did.  And it was considerably more for the rest of the regular season.  So the question is did playing that non-stop attack take something physically out of the Tigers’ defense in the next few weeks or did it expose some weaknesses that other offensive coordinators took advantage of?  Given that the next two schools LSU played ran very different and much slower paced offensive schemes, I tend towards the former, but in any event it’s a noteworthy pattern.

Now I don’t want to push this too far, because it’s a limited sample size I’m reviewing here.  But maybe the way we should be looking at this is to realize that in his own way, Manziel was as much a beast last season as the ‘Bama offensive line was.  There’s more than one way to skin a defensive cat, in other words.

All that being said, I still think Kingsbury is full of it if he really believes Big 12 defenses are as good as those in the SEC.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Can Ted Roof work his magic?

That, friends, is actually the question Sports Illustrated asks about Georgia Tech’s new (old?) defensive coordinator at its website’s front page at the link to this article.

I know Mike Bobo certainly hopes so.

This is how the piece represents Roof’s halcyon days on the Plains:

For all of his movement, however, this is worth noting: Roof’s defenses have delivered at virtually every one of his stops. At Auburn, the Tigers’ ninth-ranked rushing defense helped limit Oregon to 19 points in the BCS title game — 28 points below the Ducks’ season average.

The reality at Auburn was a little less magical than that – 68th nationally in total defense in 2009 and 76th in scoring defense (good for 11th and 12th, respectively, in the conference) and 60th in total defense/53rd in scoring defense the next season (both were 9th in the SEC).  (Stats via Marty, of course.)

Then came 2011.  A truly magical season.

On December 8, 2011, Roof accepted the defensive coordinator position at the University of Central Florida. The move came after Roof led Auburn’s defense to one of the worst statistical seasons in the program’s history. Auburn’s defense finished the 2011 regular season 78th in the nation, allowing 405.8 yards per game. The previous yards-per-game high for an Auburn defense was 389.1 in 1979.

Roof’s three Auburn defenses yielded 107 points to Georgia, an average not much better than the now maligned Al Groh achieved in his two games coaching against the Dawgs.  This year, Roof will be weaning Tech’s 3-4 personnel off the old system and back into a 4-3.  We’ll see what gets delivered in Atlanta on November 30th.

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Filed under Georgia Tech Football