Monthly Archives: November 2013

Math? Nobody said there’d be math!

The AJ-C surveys the stats for Georgia and Georgia Tech and concludes that the “numbers suggest close game”.  Eh, maybe.

The paper is hanging a lot on the fact that Tech sits at a lofty 16th nationally in total defense – hey, Ted Roof’s on the Broyles watch list! – but that ranking is a trifle misleading in that the Jackets have faced not one, but two 1-AA offenses this season.  Now that’s not totally their fault, as they had to deal with a last-minute scheduling hole created by conference expansion, but it’s still the hand they’ve played this season.

So guess what happens when you look at the total defense rankings against only D-1 opponents?  Georgia Tech drops to a still solid, but less impressive 29th.

But even that doesn’t tell the real story.  The real story is that Tech’s defense has been on the field for fewer plays than all but one team in the country.  That’s because Georgia Tech’s offense does a very good job keeping the defense on the sidelines.  This brings me to something that drives me crazy, people who argue that time of possession is a meaningless stat.  It’s not meaningless if dominating it is part of a team’s philosophy, which is clearly the case with the Jackets.

And it’s a big deal when you look at how defenses rank in the context of yards per play.  Georgia Tech is decidedly mediocre by the standards of that metric, at 5.81, which ranks 77th nationally.  How do I know that’s mediocre?  Because Georgia is 66th, at 5.55 ypp.

The offensive story is a little more lopsided, perhaps surprisingly.  Despite all the injuries which have plagued them, the Dawgs still rank 14th nationally in total offense against D-1 teams; generating about seventy yards less per game, Georgia Tech ranks 56th.  It’s not explained by the number of plays each offense has run – Georgia is 68th and Tech is 105th, but GT has played one less game against FBS teams than Georgia, so when you average it out, the Jackets have run about one play per game more than Georgia.  It’s chalked up to offensive yards per play, as the 10th-ranked Dawgs average an entire yard per play more than Georgia Tech.

All of which suggests rather loudly to me that the biggest key to Saturday’s game is Georgia Tech keeping Georgia’s offense off the field as much as possible.


Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Stats Geek!

The difference between wanting to look smarter and wanting to win

Dan Mullen showed some cojones in last night’s Egg Bowl.

Then, in overtime, came the boldest decision of all: on fourth down with the ball on his own 3-yard line, Dan Mullen decided to go for it. Everything in college football overtime conventional wisdom says to kick the field goal and avoid allowing the other team to win with its own kick. But Mississippi State defied the wisdom, and the once-injured Prescott plunged into the end zone for the go ahead touchdown.

Of course, all he’s got to show for that is an upset win over the in state rival.  That hardly compares to this:

Tech people walked away from that game feeling good about themselves, which never happens when Tech loses to Georgia in any sport. But it happened this time. It happened because Techies, who pride themselves on brainpower, were tickled at having outsmarted Big Brother.

OK, I know what you Bulldogs are saying. I’ve read the responses to this little missive from late last night. To paraphrase the stance of (some) Georgia folks: “If Paul Johnson is such a genius, how come he lost to Mark Richt again? Isn’t the name of the game to win?”

Well, yes. But there can be honor in defeat, especially when the defeat is so hard-fought and cleverly wrought.

Whatever gets you through the night, I guess.  I still think I’d rather have the W, but then maybe I ain’t that smart.


Filed under Georgia Tech Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

“The way it happened kind of reminded me of the Final Destination movies.”

Malcolm Mitchell tells Chip Towers he’s at as much of a loss to explain the rash of injuries the team has suffered this season as anybody else.

Q: So if I’m counting right, that’s seven knee injuries for the Bulldogs this season. Any thoughts that the team’s practice and training methods could be making guys more susceptible?

A: “I have no idea. That question comes up from everyone. For me, I just think it’s a freak accident that happens to somebody on every team. I just happened to be the person it happened to. Keith got hit. He’s been having knee problems all the way through. Justin, freak accident, just running and turning. I watched his and I don’t even see how that happened, and his was a lot more serious than mine was. He had other stuff done. Aaron’s happened when he was just running. You watch the play and you’re like, ‘where did it happen?’ Final destination, man.

“Our training program is the best it’s been since I’ve been here. Maybe it’s other things; maybe it’s not. I mean, everybody doesn’t do the same thing in the weight room or in conditioning. So you can’t blame it on that set-up. Everybody does something specifically for their position. Aaron works with Sherman (Armstrong). I don’t work with Sherman, Jay doesn’t work with Sherman or the person that I work out with. You can’t connect the dots to the weight room. And we’ve been doing basically the same practice routines since I’ve been here. So it has nothing to do with the way we practice or the way we’re lifting. Maybe there’s something we need to add? Or maybe it’s just freak accidents.”

It’s been a “shit happens” season.  Glad to see he plans on coming back next year.  Hopefully regression to the mean will be good news for the 2014 team.


Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

Impatience is a virtue.

Sounds like we’ve got a starting quarterback and an offensive coordinator who have some getting used to each other issues to work out.

Old habits die hard.

“(The offensive line) knows that I like to keep things going a little quick,” Mason said. “It’s not like Oregon, but I just have a tendency from playing at Lassiter (in Marietta) where were we up-tempo and no-huddle offense, so just by my nature I’m a little faster than Aaron (Murray).”

… Not so fast, said offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, whose play-calling has helped the Bulldogs to average nearly 38 points an outing despite being without key starters. Bobo likes being able to control the tempo and change it to best suit the game situation.

“He’s maybe a little faster than Aaron is in practice and that might be just a little bit of his background and Lassiter,” Bobo said. “We’ll still control the tempo that will give us the best chance to win the ball game.”

We keep getting little hints that Mason’s got a headstrong side to him.  To some extent, I like that.  Aaron Murray casts a pretty big shadow over the quarterback position and Mason needs to show some firmness and demonstrate he’s his own man, capable of directing a talented offense.  As long as it doesn’t conflict with what Bobo’s trying to do, that can work.  Just need to make sure both have their oars rowing in the same direction.


Filed under Georgia Football

The late decided schematic advantage

Will Muschamp’s first offensive coordinator is throwing in the towel on his offensive genius reputation.

The wheels are in motion for Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis to bring in an offensive coordinator following this season.

The Journal-World reported Wednesday afternoon that KU offensive line coach Tim Grunhard would step down after Saturday’s 11 a.m. season finale against Kansas State, and Weis confirmed the report Wednesday evening in a statement.

“Sunday, Tim Grunhard is stepping down as offensive line coach so he can spend more quality time with his family,” said Weis, who revealed that Grunhard’s replacement had already been hired but would not be announced until that coach “becomes available.”

Sources have told the Journal-World that Rice offensive coordinator John Reagan, a former KU assistant on Mark Mangino’s staff, will be hired to serve in the dual role of OC and O-line coach and bring his offense to Lawrence.

I never knew that “more quality time with his family” is a euphemism for “Tom Brady made me look a lot smarter than I really am”.

Fear not, Jayhawk Nation!  Weis can now turn his talents, such as they are, to leading the Kansas program to greatness.

The move would free up Weis to focus entirely on running the program as head coach, a role that entails recruiting, motivating players on the field and in the classroom, instilling discipline and challenging assistants in a variety of ways.

I know I’m pumped.



Filed under Charlie Weis Is A Big Fat...

The sound a 1-11 record makes.

Georgia Tech needs about eighteen different things to fall into place for it to have a shot at playing in the ACCCG (aka, Jim Donnan’s “The World’s Smallest Outdoor Cocktail Party”), so it can get its arse whipped by FSU and finish up another five-loss season in a relatively minor bowl game.  In other words, life is still Chantastic on the Flats.

But there’s still a chance to make chicken salad out of chicken shit, if you’re Paul Johnson.  You can beat your hated in state rival for the first time since W was still in office.  You’d think that would be a pretty big deal, no?


So I asked Paul Johnson if beating Georgia would make this season special.

“I think that the Georgia game is a very important game,” he said. “Clearly, we want to win the game. But you need to get away from this (mindset of a) one-game scenario that it defines your season. It plays a part in it, but one game doesn’t define your season. I don’t care who it is. Do we want to win the game? Yeah, but I don’t know that it changes us wanting to win the ACC by wanting to beat them. You’re still disappointed if you didn’t do that.”

A long way of saying no.

This is why you can’t have nice things, Georgia Tech.  Johnson’s not being asked if he’d trade a win over Georgia for a division title.  He’s being asked if the Georgia game is a big deal.  That he feels the need to hedge his answer says that he’s not willing to accept the cost of a loss in a rivalry game.  Which makes him beaten before he’s started.  And don’t think an attitude like that doesn’t filter down to the players.

Jeff Schultz says Tech wins Saturday, in part because:  “While Georgia players are saying all of the right things, I’m just not sure this game is that big of a deal to them.”  If he really believes that, then he doesn’t get the rivalry anymore than Johnson does.  I guarantee you Mark Richt disagrees with both of them.


Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football


I got a ton of emails and other inquiries about whether I’d seen this piece about Aaron Murray.  It’s been widely disseminated, but on the odd chance that some of you haven’t read it, please take a minute to do so.  I can’t think of a more appropriate day to post the link.

It’s okay if you choke up a little as you read it.  I know I did.


Filed under Georgia Football