Daily Archives: March 28, 2016

“I knew about Frank Beamer.”

Excuse my heresy – and, yes, I know that much of Georgia’s special teams play could stand any sort of improvement – but are we making a little too much out of Beamer Ball?  Read carefully what its namesake had to say about his son’s position in Athens.

Now Georgia has one coach with a special teams coordinator title.

“I think it makes a statement,” said Frank Beamer, who was at UGA for a coaching clinic on Friday. “You’re going to have an offensive coordinator, you’re going to have a defensive coordinator and now if it’s one-third of the game, you probably should have a special teams coordinator. I think that, No. 1, makes a statement to your team, and No. 2, if someone is concentrating in that area, you’re concentrating on a third of the ballgame. Generally, that’s the quickest way to win and the quickest way to lose.”

Virginia Tech and Beamer Ball became known for special teams play. The Hokies blocked 67 punts, 41 field goals and 28 extra points under Beamer dating back to 1987 and scored 55 special teams touchdowns including a 67-yard punt return in his final game as coach.

“At a time when we were having a lot of success blocking kicks and returning kicks and so forth, I think it became a time when things changed within college football,” Frank Beamer said. “Ten years, 12 years ago, I think you could outcoach people in special teams. I don’t think you can anymore. Most people have taken a different look.”  [Emphasis added.]

Those diminishing returns in special teams coaching are reflected in some of the Hokies’ stats.

Between 2000-08, Virginia Tech blocked an average of 4.9 kicks a year. Between 2009-15, the Hokies blocked an average of 1.9 per year.

Now, again, I’m not trying to toss out a lot of cold water here.  Special teams appeared to be a real hit-or-miss proposition over the past few seasons, so an upgraded level of attention and organization certainly can’t hurt.

Reading between the lines, though, the times appear to have caught up with Beamer Ball to some extent, at least in part, probably because of the emphasis on upgrading special teams personnel that we’ve seen from coaches like Urban Meyer.  And as we saw from the past couple of seasons, upgrading personnel was an idea that Mark Richt had begun to adopt, albeit belatedly.  That makes me wonder how much of an improvement we should expect to see out of changes in tactics.

27 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Today, in strained political analogies

Feel the Bern:

For Bernie Sanders, superdelegates are “kind of like” college football recruits, his campaign press secretary remarked Monday.

“I think what’s important to remember here is that superdelegates are kind of like football recruits,” said Symone Sanders in an interview with CNN’s “New Day.” “You know, they say they are coming but until they have signed on the dotted line and they’re in practice, you don’t know that they’re all the way with you and that they’re on your team…”

Hoo, boy.  If Nick Saban suddenly shows up as an advisor to the Sanders campaign, I guess we’ll know why.

By the way, Bernie, you know they say to win over recruits, you have to start by winning over their mamas.

6 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery

Starting field position: it’s kind of a big deal.

In 2014, Georgia was eighth in scoring offense nationally, at 41.3 ppg.  Last season, the bottom fell out in that department, as the Dawgs’ scoring dwindled to 26.7 ppg, good (bad?) for 85th.

As far as the contributors to that decline go, you can point your finger in more than one direction.  But here’s an area in particular worth noting.  Check out this chart from Brian Fremeau that graphs points per drive by starting field position over the period of 2007-2015:

points20per20drive

Pretty obvious correlation there.  Now, consider that Georgia fell from first in Brian’s field position efficiency ratings in 2014 to 63rd last season.  (Also, note which teams were 4th and 5th in 2015.)

Field position is affected by a number of factors:  turnover margin, 3rd down efficiency, special teams all come to mind.  None of those were exactly areas of real strength for Georgia last season.  How much of that can the new staff focus on and fix may give us a real clue about Georgia’s chances to put more points on the scoreboard in 2016.

12 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Just because they are doesn’t mean we should be.

I’m going to let Jason Butt have the last word on the change to Georgia’s Open Records law I posted about last week, because it’s eloquent enough to leave things there.

Exercising additional secrecy in government is a scary thought. Sure, this involves Georgia athletics and the average fan, who probably doesn’t care a whole lot about the subject, might even think this is a great idea because now reporters have a much longer time to possibly discover NCAA violations or any other dirt that could sully the reputation of the program.

But if it can happen in athletics, it can happen with any government sector. Now that athletics departments are possibly exempt from the three-day guideline, what’s next? This isn’t a football story, really. It’s more so dealing with the right of the public to know how its tax dollars are being used.

State Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, was either duped or knowingly lied on the House floor late Tuesday night.

“At that recruiting time of year they get absolutely inundated with people wanting to have that recruiting information, and it’s not a level playing field because Georgia, our athletic associations, are private in and of themselves, and they don’t have that capacity, so this just allows that type of level playing field,” Ehrhart said.

That’s just wrong.

It’s the kind of embarrassing sports take that would get you laughed out of a backyard barbecue because it has no basis in fact. No recruiting reporter uses an abundance of open records requests to find out who Georgia is recruiting. Those reporters find that information out by talking to players themselves, high school coaches and the college programs recruiting the players. Fans can track where recruits are visiting by following them on Twitter. It’s that simple.

And while claiming this as a need for secrecy, the SB 323 amendment allows all intercollegiate documents — not just recruiting ones — to be delayed for 90 days.

So if you’re among those who admit Ehrhart’s excuse is hogwash but supports this amendment, you support a lie. Think about that for a moment. This amendment’s design is to delay and limit information to the media and to any taxpaying citizen of Georgia afforded the right of filing an open records request. This isn’t a specific privilege the media has. We all have it. And in this case, Ehrhart and state Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, both misrepresented the amendment’s intention on the House and Senate floors.

And if they weren’t intending to mislead folks, they need to take a refresher course in sports because what they were sold in the most minor of backroom deals makes no sense. Cowsert presented the amendment to his fellow state senators, with the majority agreeing on it. In doing so, he pitched the recruiting angle, and 30 of his colleagues agreed that this bill, in a heated legislative session featuring many way-more-important bills, was necessary without review.

As much as I care about Georgia football, it offends me to see elected officials take advantage of fans’ passion to vote for something that isn’t in the public’s interest.  If Rep. Ehrhart was duped, what’s everyone else’s excuse?

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UPDATE:  Though when I see a StingTalk message board thread header like “GA Congress Passes Kirby Smart Cheating Protection Bill”, I have to admit that maybe there’s more stoopid going around than I thought.

37 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery

How green was my quarterback.

I told someone the other day that if Kirby Smart elected to start Jacob Eason on Day One of the 2016 season, it was an indication that the staff had decided to write off winning the East in return for building the program for success in the following season.

There’s a pretty solid rebuttal to that, though.

Following Will Grier’s unexpected one-year suspension in October, Florida won the East without a reliable quarterback over the second half of the season, an indictment on a weak division as much as it was the Gators going 3-1 against SEC competition without him.

The East isn’t exactly a bastion of excellence this season, either.  Every team except for Tennessee will either start someone at quarterback who wasn’t the opening game starter last season or has a new head coach.  And I’m not sold yet on Tennessee, for that matter.

So, another reader poll for you today – could Georgia overcome the impediment of starting a true freshman quarterback and still make an appearance in the 2016 SECCG?

Comments, as always, are welcomed.

51 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

Having it both ways

Ah, the noble Mark Emmert speaks.

USA TODAY SPORTS: Is it a healthy discussion, regardless of the cases and then what people are seeking and disputing, is it a healthy discussion?

EMMERT: Having this debate and discussion via lawsuits is, of course, challenging in many ways. It means it’s hard to have a conversation, even you and I, because we have all of these lawsuits over here. But I think it is healthy for society, for the country, to stop and say, ‘What do we want college sports to be? Do we want this to be about students who are playing games they love, some tiny portion of whom are going to play professionally but the vast majority percent of whom are not? Or do we want them to be professional athletes who are playing as employees of the university? Which of those two models do we want as a country? I obviously have a strong view on it. And we believe that most people feel the same and in virtually every case the courts have agreed with our view that this is about student-athletes playing other student-athletes, not employees playing employees. But it’s perfectly appropriate and understandable that the world wants to have that debate and discussion.

That’s mighty generous of him.  Allow Jay Bilas to retort.

You know, it’s a lot easier to get pissed off about the hypocrisy when I leave Kirby Smart out of the discussion.

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UPDATE:  As David Wunderlich observes, once you go down Emmert’s road that these are students playing a game they love, as opposed to contract employees – and David reminds us that the NCAA doesn’t recognize the scholarship as a binding contract – it’s pretty hard to come up with a defense of transfer restrictions.

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Filed under The NCAA

“The game of football starts when you hit somebody.”

Somebody asked for this, so here’s offensive line coach Sam Pittman at the office.

11 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football