“I’ve got everything we’ve ever done at Tennessee and Ole Miss.”

David Cutcliffe explains his philosophy in exploiting inexperienced defensive coordinators:

“I’m a big believer in speed. You know long I’ve liked spreading a field. My theory basically is this: Defensive players have continued to get bigger and faster. We’re on the same size field as when we played. Really, the players are nothing like that.

“As you look at attacking a defense, it’s important to lengthen the field two ways. You’ve got to use the entire width of the field, and you have to try to take some form of vertical attack downfield. We’re not what people call ‘spread.’ We are a no-huddle, which I went to the second time at Tennessee. We are trying to find every way we can to run the ball vertically, to run it right at your mouth. In the process of doing that, I love being able to spread it deep with play-action, but we are also looking at how people defend the width of the field. So many young defensive coordinators do such a poor job of doing that. We’re going to take what they give us, still. We just do it a lot faster.”

Boy, do I remember that.

When Cutcliffe went to a three-receiver set before the end of the second quarter in that 2006 game, you could sense that Georgia’s defense was struggling to keep up.  37 second-half points later – the Dawgs had only given up 34 points the entire season before that game – we had our first real clue that Willie Martinez was no Brian VanGorder.

I bring this up because Florida’s sparkly new offensive coordinator is a disciple of Cutcliffe’s.  I’ll be interested to see how he matches wits with a young Jeremy Pruitt and a not-so-young John Jancek.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

26 responses to ““I’ve got everything we’ve ever done at Tennessee and Ole Miss.”

  1. JN

    I’ll never forget that 06 UT game, well, more particularly the feeling I had at halftime. Before that game I didn’t know it was possible have a 10 pt halftime lead and while only experiencing a feeling of dread.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      I had the same sense of dread last season whenever we had an opponent in 3rd and long or backed up near their own goal line. I still shake my head over our bowl game.

  2. David K

    “we had our first real clue that Willie Martinez was no Brian VanGorder.”

    I believe the Sugar Bowl following the 05 season was an earlier sign that Martinez sucked.

    • Turnovers had a lot to do with that. I was willing to cut Martinez a certain amount of slack for not seeing RichRod’s offense before.

      • Moe Pritchett

        I was willing to cut his achilles tendon for not knowing what everyone else in the stadium knew after half time.

    • Bourbon Dawgwalker

      Auburn 2005 was my canary in a coal mine for Willie’s defense.

      • That’s the one I thought people would point to. It would have looked better if one of the coaches had realized they’d left a defensive back with a concussion in the game on that big pass play.

        Plus, it wasn’t the first time a Georgia defense shit the bed in a key game against Auburn.

  3. Bulldog Joe

    That game was when our special teams became a liability instead of a strength. A key turning point.

    Now eight years and counting…

    • Dog in Fla

      The no-hitter was jinxed from the beginning: “Kicked out of bounds. Major mistake on the part of special teams.”

  4. Normaltown Mike

    CMR’s play calling was also a severe handicap in that game. Several times we were backed up against our goal line and put the ball and all the decision making into the hands of an extremely weak QB (I think we alternated JT3 and freshman Stafford).

    The results were dreadful.

    A few dive plays with Sutherland on some of those 3rd and longs and maybe we hold on. It certainly doesn’t turn into the rout it became without poor play calling.

  5. Dog in Fla

    Good point about Mr. Roper’s need for speed. We can only hope that as part of his mission Boom will hamstring him like he did with his other OCs (except for Big Tuna whose hamstrings were already too big when he got to Hogtown). Since Duke hired Cutcliffe on Dec. 14, 2007, what pleases me is that Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt didn’t hire him and Ole Miss didn’t rehire him.

    Alabama Crimson Tide Nick Saban Since 2007
    Arkansas Razorbacks Bret Bielema 2013
    Auburn Tigers Gus Malzahn 2013
    Florida Gators Will Muschamp 2011
    Georgia Bulldogs Mark Richt 2001
    Kentucky Wildcats Mark Stoops 2013
    LSU Tigers Les Miles 2005
    Mississippi Rebels Hugh Freeze 2012
    Mississippi State Bulldogs Dan Mullen 2009
    Missouri TigersGary Pinkel 2001
    South Carolina Gamecocks Steve Spurrier 2005
    Tennessee Volunteers SOD whenever/Butch Jones 2013
    Texas A&M Aggies Kevin Sumlin 2012
    Vanderbilt Commodores James Franklin 2011/Derek Mason 2014

  6. Ugh, I remember them scoring right at the end of the 1st half to make the score respectable (I think that made it 24-14, if we could have stopped them on that drive we would have gone into halftime up 24-7). I had the feeling going into halftime that Richt had shot all the arrows in his quiver as far as plays to disguise JT3’s weaknesses, and I was just hoping we wouldn’t need to score much in the 2nd half. Then JT3 throws a pick deep in our own territory to start the 2nd half. All downhill from there.

    When they scored right before the half I turned to my dad and said “that was a big momentum change there”. Then when JT3 immediately turned it over to start the half, I told him “we’re in trouble now”. That 2nd half was brutal to watch, our D couldn’t get off the field, and our O couldn’t help them stay off the field. Even the one big play we had (the kickoff return for TD), all that did was just put our already gassed defense right back out there.

    Tennessee’s greatest regret since Fulmer has to be not finding a way to bring Cutcliffe back and give him the program. He’s kind of a victim of his own reserved demeanor, you’re not going to win the press conference by hiring him, but my goodness that man can coach. I hope Roper is an apple that does fall far from the tree.

    • Normaltown Mike

      If Bobo was play calling, I think we’ve got a puncher’s chance.

      Though maybe the transition to Bobo that season at the Auburn game was so much sweeter b/c Auburn was supposed to blow our doors off that day and we beat em straight up.

      • JN

        Bobo’s first game calling plays was Yek!

        • Normaltown Mike

          The 2006 “zone read” Auburn game was Bobo’s plan put into action. Though he may not have been the final decision on play calls, the game plan was all Bobo and CMR basically said as much. CMR deferred strategy and scheming to Bobo and the results were apparent, which is why CMR totally turned it over to Bobo for Tech that year.

    • Dog in Fla

      “I hope Roper is an apple that does fall far from the tree.”

      I’m worried. Mr. Roper looks like a bad-ass


    I am not sure what revisiting the 06 UT game has to do with anything, but fire away. I choose to forget that debacle.

  8. Will Trane

    D1 is this far down the road with spread offenses and DC wants to say he was a pioneer in ’06. Damn what a revelation that is. “Run it vertically” and “spread it ‘deep’ with play action” and looking at how “young DC’s fail to play the width”. 2 out of 3 has not changed much for DC. He still has not gotten there. He is just looking at how they young DC’s are playing. Now that Roper is at UF, he just might find out. Maybe he should look back at his bowl game in Atlanta last season. Johnny Football schooled his DC. That is right DC, not genius yet, you are just looking and talking. That is why your sorry ass is still at Duke and not UT or any other SEC football program in any compacity. Get the picture bo-ro!

  9. Will Trane

    DC, speed merchant without any peer. Martinez, the coach who like DB under 5’9″ and D lineman who could not penetrate. How many times did you see DBs play like on that 2nd UT drive. Or how 90 always chased the ball. Have to admit I do not take pain killers watching the Dawgs D after WM left. But it got close in 2013. With little DBs UF blew us away most of the time and sized TB who pops thru the LOS. Take a peek at Sabans DB sizes these past few years. Say it again…must have DB’s at least 6’1″, lean, mobile, and quick to point of attack. 53 yard width and wrong angle, your ass had better be mortoring if you want to make a play [not have the chains moved, yds gained, or TD]. Can not let O-Ts move down field for secondary blocks.

    • Dog in Fla

      “your ass had better be mortoring”

      Brings back memories of what the job foreman told me right before he made me turn in my trowel and leave the job site

  10. 69Dawg

    You can say Cutcliffe was not all that good but he owned UGA’s butt. The beginning of the end for Fulmer was Cut leaving. The offense left with him. UT wishes that they had bit the bullet and let Cut bring his assistants with him and had just ate the buy out on the Lame Kitten guys.