Coach Spurrier, you call that your best shot?
Daily Archives: September 19, 2015
Not to mention a Georgia Bulldogs tent and a really classy sign. On that note, I’m out the door, heading up to the Classic City.
You know where to find me today, so if you’re in the neighborhood, please drop by.
For the rest of you, consider this your weekly invitation to a game day thread.
Think happy thoughts, y’all. It don’t cost nothin’.
It occurs to me that the two halves to today’s game are likely to play out about as differently as you might expect. Georgia’s offense versus South Carolina’s defense is going to be largely about which side is more successful in imposing its will on the other. Georgia wants to run the ball; the ‘Cocks want to stuff the run. Somebody’s going to come out on the short end of the stick on that one, but it’s pretty much what we fondly refer to in these parts as old man football.
On the other side of the ball, though, there’s going to be one helluva chess match. Spurrier will throw the kitchen sink at the Dawgs and Jeremy Pruitt is going to have to figure out a way to keep up. I expect to see Spurrier test the middle of the field with his passing game, much as he did last year. I don’t know what Pruitt’s going to come up with as a counter to that (could we see more Roquan Smith, at least on obvious passing downs?), but you know he’s got to do something about it. But Spurrier can’t ignore running the ball, because that’s where more of the strength of his offensive unit lies, and the more pressure he can take off Orth, the better. If Georgia can figure out how to control the South Carolina running game, that’s going to make things a lot more difficult for the OBC.
I also hope Pruitt’s got a game plan to deal with Pharoh Cooper, whom I expect to see lined up just about everywhere today except offensive line and the concession stands (he could probably do a better job there than most of the people manning those).
Bottom line: we’re about to get some real data to check the progress of how both coordinators are bringing their units along.
It’s a huge line we’re looking at for the game, and you can count me in what I expect is the majority that doesn’t expect Georgia to cover. You can also count me in the even bigger majority that will be thrilled with any kind of win today. Beating South Carolina would put the Dawgs at 2-0 in the East and pretty much cut the ‘Cocks from serious divisional contention. If you’re Mark Richt, that’s a good day’s work.
Here’s a really good piece on the strategy behind what Art Briles and Bob Stitt do on offense with what the article calls the “super-spread”.
The super-spread relies on simple math. If a cornerback is defending a athletic wide receiver in a confined area, the receiver will struggle to get open. But the more of the field the cornerback has to defend, the more successful the receiver is going to be.
Let’s say a defense is in man coverage and a corner is trying to defend a receiver that’s lined up five yards wider than normal. If that receiver gets targeted on a crossing route 5 yards downfield, and he has covered 15 yards laterally, the area under the route is 37.5 square yards. But if the receiver is lined up 5 yards wider and gets to the same spot, the cornerback has to cover 50 square yards. Sometimes the receiver won’t get to that same point, but there is more space to work with underneath the route before things get crowded.
Similarly, if the defense is in zone — let’s say cover four quarters, with three linebackers covering across the middle and four defensive backs lined up roughly 7 yards off the line of scrimmage — and two receivers are lined up 5 yards wider than normal, each of the three linebackers have to account for 3.3 yards more, width-wise. If the zone is roughly 5 yards deep, that’s 16.5 more square yards per zone.
That works particularly well when teams need to neutralize talent discrepancies, as was the case in Montana’s first game of the season — Stitt’s first game with the Grizzlies and first at the FCS level — against top-ranked North Dakota State. Though as Briles has shown through Baylor’s rise, having more talented players is no detriment; it just makes the offense that much more effective. Despite having inferior players who were being introduced to a new system, Montana neutralized the Bison defense. After giving up just 280 yards per game last year, NDSU gave up 544 yards.
North Dakota State’s defenders play well against the run and well against the pass, but it is almost impossible for them to play well against both, simultaneously. With the field spread so wide, it is impossible for teams to play zone effectively against a super-spread offense, so teams often opt to play the pass, spreading their defenses out to match the opposing offense. That means many defenses will only put five players in the box to rush the passer and defend the middle of the field.
“It’s an offensive line coach’s dream to get a five-man box,” Stitt said. “If you do the right things in the spread, you’re going to (get a five-man box).”
I said during the Montana-NDS game that in a few years, I could see a Stitt-coached Vanderbilt driving Nick Saban crazy.
The downside to being a world-class prick is that you don’t get the benefit of the doubt, even in those times when you deserve it.
On Sept. 11, one day before Texas defeated Rice 42-28 to win its first football game of the 2015 season, many of the Longhorns’ biggest financial donors gathered in a club area of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
During a meeting of the Longhorn Foundation Advisory Council, Texas president Greg Fenves, who had been in charge of one of the country’s largest state universities for about three months, made a short opening address, then took questions from UT boosters.
The first question from the audience: “Why didn’t Texas give football tickets to the Rice marching band?”
Fenves turned to athletic director Steve Patterson for an answer.
Patterson explained to the crowd that Texas had provided Rice with 300 complimentary tickets to the game, as per the schools’ agreement. It was Rice’s discretion as to how to distribute the free tickets.
When the man who asked the question wasn’t satisfied with his answer, Patterson became agitated and started waving his arms, according to a person in attendance.
“I’m telling you, I talked to the Rice AD,” Patterson said. “I’ll show you the contract!”
The band question was the result of the latest in a string of social media-fueled controversies that surrounded Patterson. A few days earlier, an erroneous report indicated he had changed UT’s policy and was now charging visiting teams for tickets for their marching bands. In fact, six of the 10 schools in the Big 12 had historically charged visiting teams the full price of tickets for their fans and their marching bands. Until the recent construction of smaller stadiums at Baylor and TCU, the four Texas-based schools in the Big 12 had a gentleman’s agreement to provide complimentary tickets for band members.
“The story about the Rice band wasn’t even true,” said the person who attended the meeting. “But people hated [Patterson] so much they wanted it to be true.”
Don’t cry for Steve, Dubai.