Daily Archives: October 16, 2015

When your bark is worse than your bite

Here’s a nickname I bet they wish they could take back.

But Leonard Floyd hasn’t felt like Floyd in awhile. Neither have Jordan Jenkins or Lorenzo Carter, the other members of the edge rushing trio that was supposed to be the strength of Georgia’s defense this season. Instead they’ve combined for five sacks in six games, and as a team Georgia only has nine sacks, better than just two other SEC teams.

Jenkins has been held back the past few weeks with a groin strain, and is unlikely to play Saturday against Missouri. He still leads the team with three sacks and nine quarterback hurries. Floyd and Carter are the bigger disappointments, and it’s not that they’re coming close on sack chances: Floyd has only been credited with five QB hurries, and Carter has two. Davin Bellamy, another member of the quartet that nicknamed itself the “Wolf Pack,” also has two hurries.

As Seth points out, it’s not like they haven’t had opportunities to, um… hunt.

… Georgia has actually forced opponents into 95 third-down chances. (That’s compared to 62 third-downs for Georgia’s offense.)

The Dawgs are currently next to last in the SEC in sacks.

59 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

The secret to his success

I have no doubt that Jim Harbaugh’s early success at turning around a moribund Michigan program is going to have people scratching through what he does there to see how much of it can be emulated elsewhere.  The answer is probably not as much as those people hope, because a lot of what Harbaugh’s done is simply to get his players believing they can succeed, but I bet this is something that catches the eyes of some.

“A lot of people are trying to explain,” linebacker Joe Bolden said. “I would say finishing. Just being able to finish football games.”

Or even halves. Last season, seven Michigan opponents scored in the last two minutes of the first half. Four scored in the last four minutes of the second half. Bolden believes this year’s team began to learn to finish in the spring, when Harbaugh held four-hour practices.

A quarter-century ago, the NCAA instituted the four-hour rule: no football-related activity could last longer than four hours a day. That includes meetings, conditioning, practicing, you name it.

“His idea was, why spend any of that in the meeting room? We need to get better on the football field,” defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said.

Linebacker Desmond Morgan said he learned the first week that the key to surviving a four-hour practice is simple: Don’t look at the clock. He and the rest of the Wolverines learned something else. If you can finish a four-hour practice, if you can maintain focus and be as mentally sharp at the end as at the beginning, then a three-hour game should be no problem…

The next big thing.  There you have it.

64 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football

In praise of Mark Richt (about something)

One thing the man deserves unabashed credit for…

And two of those losses came in games where Georgia battled a once in a decade player and blew a late lead on a freak play.  Not too shabby, in other words.

45 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football

“We really need to force ourselves to get them in the ballgame…”

Mark Richt wasn’t talking about his tight ends there, even though as a group they’re on pace for the fewest catches in a season since he became the head coach.

Assuming the Bulldogs make a bowl game and continue on their current rate, the position will finish with 23 catches and 312 yards over the course of 13 games.

In 2007, the tight ends finished with 24 catches and 307 yards as well as three touchdowns. The current crop of tight ends have zero this season.

Richt got a little testy earlier this week when the dip in production at the position was brought up.

“The reality is we have progression reads and we are gonna throw it to this guy if he is open and if not we will throw it to that guy,” Richt said. “And sometimes the tight end is open we throw it to him and sometimes he doesn’t.”

Given the reputation that preceded Brian Schottenheimer’s offensive strategy, that’s another one of this season’s little surprises.  Whether that’s on the offensive coordinator or the starting quarterback, though, I can’t say.

In any event, what Richt was referring to by that quote in the header is a completely different group.

Georgia feels it has a lot of talent at wide receiver. So why has one guy caught almost three times as many passes as anyone else?

Part of that is because it’s Malcolm Mitchell, a fifth-year senior who quickly gained the trust of transfer quarterback Greyson Lambert. But part of it is because most of the options are true freshmen.

It’s time to get those guys involved more, the coaches acknowledge.

That’s not a bad thing in and of itself, but it begs a couple of questions.  First, as we know, it’s not like Georgia’s running a ton of plays on offense.  If you’re going to give these kids more touches, whom are you taking them from?

Second (and perhaps more significant), when Richt goes on to say the freshmen receivers need to play, “Because that’s really the only way they’ll develop”, is he hinting that the staff is beginning to see this season’s purpose as more developmental than they did in August?  I’ve said all along that Richt’s been trying to balance the need to get his young talent game experience with the goal of winning the SEC East for the first time in three seasons.  Is this an indication he’s reconsidering whether those are still worth balancing?

30 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Otter’s advice to Jeremy Pruitt

Bill Connelly writes something I’ve wondered about, too.

I didn’t really have concerns with the defense, though. I thought the run defense would improve, and it has. And with what I figured would be an epic pass rush, I figured the raw athleticism in the secondary could overcome a lack of huge experience. It hasn’t, at least not consistently. The pass rush has been strangely passive — the Dawgs aren’t sending their outside linebackers at the QB as much, either because they aren’t getting there or they want to help protect a struggling secondary…

Yeah, that’s working well.  Dropping guys like Floyd and Carter into coverage hasn’t made a dent in stopping Georgia’s last two opponents from making hay throwing the ball.  Coker and Dobbs have looked too comfortable.  Send those OLBs.  If you’re gonna go down, you might as well, as Mike Bobo once put it in another context, let ‘er rip.

Or, as a great American once said [if you don’t already know this scene is NSFW, shame on you]

“I got news for you, pal.  They’re gonna nail us no matter what we do.  So we might as well have a good time…”

Besides, if it helps the defense get some of its swagger back, it may very well turn out to matter.

29 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Just like the weather…

… everybody talks about execution, but nobody does anything about it.

Coach Mark Richt and his offensive staff went to the game film Monday night to break down every third down this season after the Bulldogs managed to convert just 4 of 14 in a 38-31 loss at Tennessee last Saturday. That left the Bulldogs with a miserable 29 percent conversion rate on the season, just 18 of 62, which ranks 124th of 127 teams nationally.

Quarterback Greyson Lambert said the team had an extra focus with one more practice period than usual Wednesday to work on the issue. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said he talked about it “at length” when he met with the quarterbacks.

“We do need to put a bigger emphasis on third down,” Greyson Lambert said. “I think we’ve been doing that … Most of it comes from executing. That’s kind of the magic word we’ve kind of been saying a lot lately.”

There is no easy fix, however, for three-and-outs and having to punt.

“I think there’s a million different reasons why,” tight end Jeb Blazevich said. “We just have to figure out the one that works and the one that works for us.”

Georgia’s problems have come a season after the Bulldogs were eighth in the nation on third down at 49.7 percent.

Quite a drop there, peeps.

Execution has been so bad at times that Lambert can’t even bring himself to say it.

On third-and-10 or more, Lambert is 12 of 17 for 165 yards, according to cfbstats.com. Lambert on third-and-7 to 9 is 2 of 10 for 12 yards and on third and-4 to 6, he is 0 for 7.

Even he can’t explain that head-scratcher.

“I don’t really know how to answer that one,” Lambert said. “I guess it just kind of comes down to that word that starts with an (execution). I don’t really have an answer.”

The dreaded “E” word.

78 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Sometimes, it pays to stay up late.

If you didn’t stay awake for the Stanford-UCLA game, you missed this:

And check out David Shaw’s reaction.

Classic.

23 Comments

Filed under Pac-12 Football

You had one job to do last night, Auburn.

Fortunately, you did it, even if it wasn’t pretty.

Georgia has been disappointing, no doubt, but so has the neighborhood, with the glaring exception of Florida (and lest you forget, the Gators managed a whopping 14 points against a Kentucky defense that made Auburn’s offense look formidable at times last night).  If Georgia beats Missouri and Florida loses to LSU tomorrow, then the Cocktail Party has a good chance to be the setting that determines the East’s participant in the SECCG – unless you think Tennessee is ready to beat Alabama, that is.

The other good news from last night is that both teams have sieves for secondaries.  I don’t think Lambert’s gonna have the willies facing either defense.

The bad news is that both teams threw the ball fairly well.  Facing Georgia’s secondary, their quarterbacks aren’t gonna have the willies, either.

22 Comments

Filed under SEC Football