Given the discussion we had yesterday about Isaiah McKenzie’s practice habits as a reason to keep him off the field and the names involved, this may be the most perfectly timed NFL story, something I normally couldn’t care less about, I may ever present to you. Enjoy.
Daily Archives: November 16, 2015
Pretty much your no-brainer there.
Take it for what it’s worth, but this is from Mr. Conventional Wisdom’s post today:
I don’t pretend to know what is going to happen with Richt. I do know the decision hasn’t been made and won’t be made until after the Georgia Tech game on Nov. 28.
The amount of background chatter from the athletic department to the media this season seems unprecedented to me. It’s another reason I don’t think the hire/fire decision on Richt is going to change much of anything at B-M, regardless of which way it goes.
Man, what a beautiful day for a football game.
The funny thing about the game was something that struck me as I was leaving – it was a lot like last year’s, except the offense wasn’t as efficient. Auburn got off to an early lead, but the defense slowly gained traction and then took control in the second half. Georgia forced enough turnovers to get through the rough spots and special teams showed up… boy, did special teams show up.
On to the bullet points.
- The greater Auburn/Opelika area needs to up its fried chicken game seriously. I mean, it’s game day with an early start, and the first four places we tried were either not open or had just gotten to the point of frying up some food for lunch. Fortunately, we stumbled across this place and all was well. Best part was walking in to see a couple of guys walking out with a huge order and finding out that one of them owned eight Zaxby’s franchises.
- I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting old and decrepit, or because both schools are suffering through disappointing seasons (probably both), but in three-plus decades, this was by far the nicest I’ve ever been treated in Auburn. Folks were genuinely friendly before and after the game.
- That video board is freakin’ huge. You have no idea until you see it in person.
- This was the first game all season when Carter, Floyd and Jenkins all showed up and played their collective asses off. When you can get pressure on the passer without having to resort to blitzing to do so, it sure makes it a lot easier to be Jeremy Pruitt.
- The defense had problems with contain in the first half. Several players, namely Bellamy and Ganus, seemed to be mesmerized by the fly sweep coming from the left side of the defense. Bellamy didn’t play much after the early part of the game and Ganus shook it off to turn in a solid second half, which were two big reasons the defense tightened when the Dawgs needed it.
- Malkom Parrish, bad ass. It’s a real pleasure to see how much he’s coming on this season. He’s gonna make some 2016 preseason All-SEC teams.
- I could be wrong about this, but it seemed like the front seven did an excellent job controlling the run game, once it got going. The number of times I saw members of the secondary making tackles declined as the game went on – a very good thing.
- Could there have been a better sign of karma than Ricardo Lewis fumbling the ball on the goal line when Auburn was trying to claw back into the game?
- Special teams, special teams… what can I say? Outside of Reggie Davis’ fumble, it was close to a flawless day in that department, and even then, the Dawgs recovered. No missed field goals, no unwanted touchbacks on punts (way to go, Collin Barber), coverage work that wasn’t any worse than decent, another solid performance from Brice Ramsey, who managed to handle a tough punt out of his end zone with complete aplomb. And, of course, Isaiah McKenzie.
- Watching his punt return develop was a thing of beauty. You could see him read the coverage and know where he wanted to go while the ball was in the air. No hesitation. But what really made the play was the best blocking on a return I’ve seen from Georgia all season, starting with the first block that was artfully thrown in a way to avoid a block in the back call. All in all, just a treat to watch. And, boy, did it take the air out of the Auburn crowd.
- I know Malcolm Mitchell did the right thing to cover the onsides kick, but, damn, did I have visions of what Georgia did to Lou Holtz on one of those a long time ago.
- If I had to describe Georgia’s offense in one word, that would be easy: inconsistent. And that was the case in all departments – coaches, players, execution, playcalling… you name it. A perfect example was Georgia’s second drive, which started out beautifully and Schottenheimer mixed the run and pass nicely and got terrific play out of several players. The pass to Payne out of play action was textbook. And then came the two-yard line and all of that was tossed out the window. Questionable playcalls and bad execution by Lambert on the fourth-down pass and Georgia came away empty-handed.
- There was stuff like that all game. Lambert threw deep to Mitchell, who got open… but slowed down on a well thrown ball. Mitchell got open deep, Lambert saw him, but couldn’t get enough on the ball to prevent Auburn’s secondary from adjusting and defending the play. On the other hand, the timing on McKenzie’s fly sweeps literally couldn’t have been any better. Impeccable.
- The offensive line was on again, off again, too, although I though the play from both tackles was better than I’ve seen most of the season. Theus did a nice job run blocking, and Wynn… well, all I can say about him is that I think I only heard Carl Lawson’s name called one time. That ain’t bad, friends. But it’s also clear this team misses Andrews. And by that I don’t mean his leadership. Kublanow got beat badly several times; the pressure on the backfield I expected from Georgia’s left side came instead from Auburn’s defensive tackles.
- Every week that goes by, I find myself more and more impressed by Sony Michel’s toughness. What he’s being asked to do with a bad hand and what he’s delivering… it’s something.
- Lambert didn’t make a single throw that made me wince, which is progress, I guess. But it’s depressing to see him still lock onto receivers and miss guys open in coverage. He made Auburn’s pass defense look a lot better than it is. I’d say Malcolm Mitchell won’t ever see as much single coverage again, but, really, with the way the offense is playing, if I were an opposing defensive coordinator, why not? The odds are I won’t pay much of a price for it.
- I saw where Jeff Schultz referred to that Branden Douglas 20-yard run on that abomination of a drive that had Georgia looking at a 3rd-and-41 as window dressing, but it was actually one of those hidden big plays that allowed Georgia to keep Auburn pinned deep in its territory. It paid off, too.
- It was a better game for Schottenheimer than some, mainly because they’ve tossed out chunks of the playbook and tried to avoid doing things they can’t do. (It would be nice if they do that with the shotgun on third-and-one next.) The Dawgs didn’t turn the ball over, and in the grand scheme of things, that was enough to secure the win. So there’s that. But amassing less than 250 yards against one of the SEC’s poorer defenses isn’t exactly a badge of honor. Color me unimpressed.
- Pruitt, though, continues to do an impressive job deploying an effective defense while developing green players at the same time. One wonders what Georgia’s defense might be capable of next season… assuming he’s back, that is. His second half adjustments were excellent.
- As for Richt, I’ll probably get some snickers for saying this, but I thought that was his best coaching effort of the season. His team showed up and didn’t lose their heads during a disappointing second quarter. His gameplan (not talking about playcalling, but the overall approach) was well thought out and was properly executed. He did his homework about what Auburn was capable of and made sure he had the offense and defense prepared to deal with the Tigers strengths and weaknesses. He ditched any semblance of a hurry-up offense because he wanted to burn as much clock as he could. And he did. His call to go for it on fourth-and-four early on was gutsy, even if it didn’t pay off. Sure, he was a little lucky to be facing a team with a worse starting quarterback than his and the decision to insert McKenzie in as a punt returner was fortuitous, to say the least. But if luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, then all the more reason to give Richt credit.
Bottom line, this was the kind of game Georgia has wanted to play for the last two seasons – control the clock, win the turnover battle, hold field position. Last season that formula worked more often than not; in 2015, not so much. But Saturday, for once, the sun did shine on a Dawg’s ass.
I like drivin’ in my truck.
The de-evolution of Georgia’s passing game, in three bites:
- Passing yards per game, August/September: 233.5
- Passing yards per game, October: 179.3
- Passing yards per game, November: 93.5
Yards per attempt have declined by more than half over that time, but November’s passing rating is actually higher than October’s (although no great shakes at 113.91), mainly because there are no interceptions this month. When you get down to it, that’s probably the way the coaches are judging success throwing the ball right now.
And mid-major schools with shitty football programs tend to charge their students a lot of money to subsidize them.
The Panthers, now in their sixth season, haven’t given fans much reason to celebrate. In the 2013 and 2014 seasons, competing at the highest level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the team recorded just a single victory. Average attendance last year was among the 10 worst in the NCAA’s top level. Yet Georgia State’s 32,000 students are still required to cover much of the cost. Over the past five years, students have paid nearly $90 million in mandatory athletic fees to support football and other intercollegiate athletics — one of the highest contributions in the country…
… At Georgia State, athletic fees totaled $17.6 million in 2014, from a student population in which nearly 60 percent qualify for Pell Grants, the federal aid program for low-income students. The university contributed an additional $3 million in direct support to its sports programs. All told, those subsidies represented about three-fourths of the athletics budget.
Georgia State is far from an outlier. Last year, sports programs at 47 other public colleges reviewed by The Chronicle and HuffPost were even more dependent on fees and other institutional support as a percentage of their athletic budget.
I’m sure this makes sense to somebody. I’m just happy I’m not someone who’s taken out student loans to pay for athletic fees.
This past week is the perfect rebuttal to all the idiots in the media who waste time fretting over the selection committee’s rankings in November.
It’s also a good reason to cull teams from my ballot, which is getting leaner and meaner… with more to come, I suspect.
- Notre Dame
- Ohio State
There. That didn’t take long at all. (Although, yeah, I’m keeping an eye on Iowa and Oklahoma State.)