Daily Archives: September 23, 2015

Housekeeping note: places to go, people to see, things to do…

And so, good people, I must take my leave of you for a few days.

Instead of being wowed by Southern’s marching band on Saturday, I’m jetting off to the West Coast, where I’ll be drooling over vintage Porsches at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  Sucks for me, I know.

I’m flying out this afternoon and not returning until midnight Sunday, which means it’s probably unwise to expect a whole lot of posting from me in the meantime.  (But some, yes.)

I’ll try to keep an eye on the place, as best I can.  Behave, you scamps.



Filed under GTP Stuff

The POP pass and the ineligible receiver downfield rule, a grumble

I don’t blame the folks at Roll Bama Roll for being peeved about this:

In the aftermath of Alabama’s loss to Ole Miss on Saturday, discussion has been rekindled around the POP pass and its exploitation of the ineligible receiver downfield rule. For those unfamiliar with the current rule, offensive linemen are allowed to be no more than three yards downfield at the time a forward pass is released. Having an arbitrary window like this makes it difficult for the officials to police, as the difference between three yards and four yards can be difficult to ascertain depending on the official’s angle. This inspired a failed rule proposal in the offseason to remove the three yard window and adopt the NFL rule, which allows linemen to advance no more than one yard before the pass is thrown. Proponents of spread offenses argued for better enforcement of the existing rule as opposed to a rule change, suggesting that such a rule change would take an exciting play out of college playbooks.

The rule may not be bullshit, but enforcement of it, as we all know, is close to a joke.  (So much for adding that eighth member to the officiating crew to better keep up with action on the field.)  So, if they’re not going to get serious about it on the field, what to do?

The article suggests expanding what can be reviewed by the replay official to include penalties dealing with time and space.  Eh, I’m not sure what college football needs is another reason to slow the game down.  Brian Cook offers a different approach:

… it might be better to do away with the rule altogether and just call offensive pass interference on any lineman who hits or impedes anyone other than a defensive lineman on a pass play beyond the line of scrimmage. That might be more enforceable—and the penalty would be much stiffer.

Interesting… but I’m not sure why officials would be any more willing to enforce this than the three-yard rule.  Plus – and I know this is nitpicking – in an age of multiple fronts with outside linebackers that jump back and forth between the first and second level, how do you decide whether someone is a lineman on a given pass play?

Bottom line is that it’s sad we’re at a point where we know enforcement of this rule has been a failure and yet nobody expects anything to be done about it.  Well played, Steve Shaw.


Filed under SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

How to know when an offense is starting to click

It’s a pretty good sign when Nick Chubb and Malcolm Mitchell ponder whether Georgia’s passing game or running game should bear the brunt of opposing defenses’ attention.

… Through three games, defenses have loaded eight defenders in the box and forced Lambert to win with his arm. By making South Carolina pay dearly, defensive gameplans could suddenly be altered.

“I think they’ll have to spread it out more on defense because they can’t keep packing the box with eight people,” Chubb said. “It leaves two corners and a safety. Our wideouts are doing a great job. Malcolm Mitchell is making plays. Reggie Davis, Terry Godwin, Isaiah McKenzie, they have to respect those guys, and respect Greyson a lot more than what they saw from the first two games. We’re getting very balanced and that’s a great thing.”

Chubb has seen more than his fair share of eight-man boxes and would be thrilled to see it shrink some.

Mitchell, on the other hand, is OK with things staying the same. After all, the running game is still racking up yards with Mitchell not having to worry about being double covered.

“You hope to get singled up because it gives you more opportunities,” Mitchell said. “The ball can be placed at many different places. When you have more than one person on you the window’s very small. So you got single coverage, it’s an opportunity for you and the other guy to compete and say who’s better than who.”

They’re both right, of course.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

The genius of PAWWWLLL’s schtick

What I appreciate about this piece at Al.com that details the reactions on the Finebaum show to the fragile vessel that is Auburn football today is the way it mixes opinions from sage pundits like Bruce Feldman with the keen insight from regular joe callers like Charles from Reeltown in a way that makes them all sound as if they’re on the same level.

Although I’m not sure what that says about whom there.


Filed under PAWWWLLL!!!

Bookmark this page!

Bill Connelly has managed to generate a page that has advanced statistical profiles for every 2015 FBS team. (Georgia’s, if you want to see an example, looks like this.)  I am in awe of what that took to do.

It’s a terrific compliment to Marty’s yeoman work at cfbstats.com, and I recommend you keep track of it.  Unless, you know, you couldn’t care less about that whole stats thing.

For the rest of you, Bill’s page is here.


Filed under Stats Geek!

Bob Bowlsby sweats it so we don’t have to.

The Big 12 Commissioner wants to make sure you hear it from him first.

But his most eye-opening comments came in relation to ongoing legal battles about what athletes can receive while playing college sports and the recent effort to allow Northwestern University scholarship football players to unionize — an effort that ended last month when the National Labor Relations Board decided not to accept jurisdiction over petition to let those players organize.

“I’m glad the unionization process has cooled for right now,” Bowlsby said. “But the fact is — and it probably will be in the sport of men’s basketball — there will be a day in the future when the popcorn is popped, the TV cameras are there, the fans are in the stands and the team decides they’re not going to play. Mark my words. We will see that in the years ahead. We saw some of it for other reasons in the ’70s, but I really believe that we aren’t finished with the compensation issue or with the employee-vs.-student issue.”

Wow.  That sounds pretty imminent.  Should we be very worried?

Bowlsby later said he doesn’t think such an action is close to happening, “but the tension in the system isn’t going to go away anytime soon.”

Oh.  Well, it’s a concern, anyway, right?

That point was re-emphasized later in Bowlsby’s presentation when he spoke about a recent visit he made to a college class that happened to include a men’s basketball player. Bowlsby said he ended up asking the player whether he felt like an employee, and the player responded that he did.

Bowlsby said he asked the player why he felt that way, and Bowlsby said the player replied, in part: “My time is not my own. … I don’t have any control over where I go, what I do, how I work out, how long I work out, what I eat, where I eat. … That sounds like an employee to me. … I’m grateful for what I’m getting, but you asked me if I feel like an employee — and I do.”

Bowlsby then added: “I’ve thought about a lot since then and I’m going to ask that question of others as I go around. … In the end, I guess it doesn’t really matter what the courts say about employee status if the student-athletes feel like they’re involved in a situation where they lack control over what it is they can do or can’t do — and Lord knows we’ve got lots of rules that govern them from a grade-point standpoint and from a name, image and likeness standpoint. I probably would have felt differently if I still was on campus, but in listening to student-athletes, in some ways we’re putting them in untenable situations.”

Asked after his presentation whether he was surprised by the athlete’s comments, Bowlsby told USA TODAY Sports: “Yeah, I was surprised. Because of how frank he was. I don’t know that it alters the bottom line for me, but it certainly gives me more to think about.”

So, yeah, sucks for you, but I’m not gonna lose any sleep over it – that’s all you got here, Bob?  Man, that’s a real crisis.

There’s a part of me that thinks he’d be happy if there were a player strike in hopes the public would blame the kids and by extension make folks like Bowlsby look better.  Major league baseball showed that crapping on the product is always a winning marketing strategy.  I’m not surprised that what passes for keen intellect among the people running college sports would think similarly.


Filed under Look For The Union Label, The NCAA

‘You finally got that 300-yard game…’

Seth Emerson has a good piece on what’s changed for Greyson Lambert.  Lambert, not too surprisingly, says not much.

People in Virginia are still keeping an eye on Lambert too. Last Saturday, as his historic game was unfolding, the reaction among Virginia and ACC watchers could be summed up thusly: Where was this last year?

“It’s not like these types of performances weren’t in me last year. It’s just a lot has to happen,” Lambert said. “Like coach (Mark) Richt’s been saying, for the O-line to do their job the way they did it and kind of dominate the line of scrimmage. And for there not to be just a drop. A lot of stuff has to happen. It’s not like I did something spectacular. The whole offense did something spectacular that game, that doesn’t just really always happen. It was a full offensive effort to get that stat.”

However, even he acknowledges there has been some adjusting.

Regarding his mechanics, Lambert said there were only “little tweaks here and there” since his Virginia days. Mostly, he had to work on taking snaps under center, since Virginia was so shotgun-oriented. So Lambert has put in a lot of work refining his drops, footwork and ball-handling that comes with taking snaps under center.

Schottenheimer also worked with him on getting more legs into his throws. Lambert described it as “a little more bounce with my hitches.”

But it’s the next thing he says that’s most telling:  “I guess it just comes from experience and trust what I see,” Lambert said.

The mental aspect of trusting the system and the talent had to be a hard thing for Lambert to accept, given his surrounding cast last season.  But he appears to have done so, with bells on.  That wasn’t merely a big jump in his mindset from year one of starting to year two.  It was a big jump from week two to week three.  Good on Lambert to absorb that so quickly… and great on Georgia’s coaches to bring him along so well.  Now, keep grinding, y’all.


Filed under Georgia Football

It’s a fantasy, alright.

It looks like college sports has found its next crusade.

How to legislate the participation of collegiate athletes and staff in fantasy leagues turned into a hot-button topic Tuesday as NCAA Division I athletic directors met in Dallas.

With the legality of daily fantasy sports being examined by lawmakers at the state and federal levels, Oliver Luck, the NCAA’s vice president of regulatory affairs, told athletic directors that the NCAA feels fantasy leagues fall under its gambling rules. NCAA Bylaw 10.3 stipulates that an athlete who is found to have participated in any gambling activity, in any sport, college or pro, will lose one year of eligibility.

Of course, the devil’s in the details, since the feds don’t define daily fantasy as illegal gambling.

Plus, money.

Scott also said the Pac-12 Network would not accept ads from DraftKings or FanDuel, but Pac-12 spokesman Erik Hardenbergh later clarified to ESPN.com that it was, in fact, still running daily fantasy advertising within its game broadcasts, including this weekend.

Yeah, this is going to end well.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

For his next trick, Nick Saban announces a cure for cancer.

Hey, remember when Nick pushed for that 10-second substitution rule ’cause he was all concerned about player health and stuff?

Saban said the committee’s study of no-huddle teams revealed that an average of four snaps per game came within the first 10 seconds of the play clock. The threat of it, though, puts a limit on how a defense can adjust, Saban said.

“You’re not really affecting how they play, but what keeps you from being able to ever take a defensive player out, whether he’s hurt, pre-existing condition, whatever it is — is the fact that they might snap the ball,” he said. “So you can’t do anything. You’ve got to call timeout to get a guy out. And if you tell a guy to get down, that’s really against the rules, and they boo him out of the park.”

Well, somehow he’s managed to put aside his qualms.  With a vengeance.

Alabama averaged nine more offensive plays per game in 2014 than it did in 2013. Last week, Alabama ran 100 plays to Mississippi’s 65.

Through three games, Alabama has run 249 plays — one more than Oregon (!), and more than spread programs such as Texas A&M (234), Arizona (231), California (227), Clemson (225), Texas Tech (218) and Auburn (188).

It’s a miracle!


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics

Agent Muschamp just got a little dumber.

It’s getting buttah and buttah on the Plains, as Gus announces that stud defensive end Carl Lawson will miss “an extended period of time” because of a hip injury.

Somewhere out there, Ellis Johnson is nodding and smiling.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands