Daily Archives: July 29, 2016

Sometimes, it’s not that complicated.

Here’s a solid look over at Ole Miss blog Red Cup Rebellion at the NCAA rule that might wind up hanging Hugh Freeze.  But in the end, you don’t really need to know the details.  You just need to know his conclusion.

At the end of the day, the NCAA can do whatever the hell it wants.

Purty much.



Filed under The NCAA

“I will now pull for South Carolina to win every game but one…”

Thanks for everything, Columbia.

Although, it seems like Spurrier kinda quit pulling for South Carolina last season, now that I think about it.




Filed under The Evil Genius

“The challenge of conservative offense”

Another nice Ian Boyd piece about Minnesota’s offense last season here.  Key graphs:

Bill Connelly’s “five factors” make it pretty clear that without explosive plays it’s very difficult to score. Programs like the one utilized by Minnesota tend to make explosiveness a later priority for the offense after beefing up the defense, avoiding negative plays or turnovers, and winning the field position battle.

The only problem with this approach is that it’s actually fairly difficult to build an offense that’s really good at avoiding negative plays or turnovers. These teams face heavy roster turnover every season and are plugging in 20-year old college students, after all.

Moving down the field with steady gains is difficult and mastering a run game system AND a timing-based, West Coast passing system for accomplishing that aim just raises the difficulty level of playing mistake-free football. This is why many schools with less resources have had more success with systems built around the constraint theory of offense where every component of the system directly builds off other parts.

The West Coast passing game and power run game are both designed to do the same thing and neither are specifically designed to punish defenses for scheming to stop the other on a given play. Executing either well enough to stay ahead of the chains, much less regularly generate explosive plays, requires developed skill and cohesion across the offense. So a team that features both is forced to spend a lot of time on each to develop the necessary mastery.

Maintaining an efficiency-based approach in the run game requires either fielding five massive linemen that can cover up opposing defensive linemen and prevent penetration, which requires recruiting big bodies and honing technique over years of development OR putting a major emphasis on double teams to ensure that the offense can clear the first level. Either way, you usually need seasoned veterans to do it well.

The needed execution in the passing game is dependent on receivers and quarterbacks that are in sync, on time, accurate, and have reliable hands. If you have those traits the receivers don’t have to be great athletes and the quarterback doesn’t have to have a cannon arm, the design of the concepts will do the heavy lifting. If you have those traits and then some speed, then you’re cooking with gas.

As I’ve mentioned before, Georgia’s offense went from averaging 6.79 yards per play in 2014, which was the seventh-best number posted in college football that season, to 6.03 yards per play last season, and dropped to fortieth nationally.  The offensive scheme didn’t change, so to what can we attribute the decline?  I can point to several factors:

I know that some of you like to harp on Chubb’s injury as the key, and no doubt it was a serious set back.  But let’s not forget that Georgia lost the services of Todd Gurley for much of the 2014 season, too.

Georgia didn’t have a deep passing game in either of the last two seasons, but managed to have a far more productive offense in 2014 because it was more efficient.  That was because Mason had a higher completion percentage than Lambert, because the offense was able to take care of business on third-down and because Georgia took advantage of all the little things that go into having the best starting field position rating in the nation.  Richt had his management flaws that season, but his overall game plan for the season did a good job of recognizing his team’s strengths and weaknesses and working them both to maximum effect.

That wasn’t the case last year, and it took an embarrassing loss in Jacksonville to make Richt realize that the 2014 formula wasn’t working.  I would argue the seeds for that lie in the above quote:  “The needed execution in the passing game is dependent on receivers and quarterbacks that are in sync, on time, accurate, and have reliable hands.”

There wasn’t a lot of returning talent in the receiving corps in 2015 and there wasn’t a starting quarterback who knew the new coordinator’s system ready to step in.  Add in the uncertainty in August about the coaches being unable to settle on a starter until late in camp, and it’s easy to see why things didn’t turn out as smoothly.

Fast forward to today.  The concern I have is one of history repeating.  A lot of the conditions that existed in August, 2015 exist again in August, 2016.  Are Chaney and Smart better able to recognize that and game plan accordingly?  We’ll start finding out in about a month.



Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

“Dedicated to the mission”

Mark Richt may be gone, but the Paul Oliver Network lives on.  And that’s a good thing.


Filed under Georgia Football, Life After Football

“This is a very high-value lawsuit.”

Word comes that the parties to the suit filed by the parents of Derek Sheely, the football player who died from concussion-related injuries, have reached a settlement.

The Board of Public Works approved the state’s part of the deal Wednesday. The three-member panel voted in favor of the proposed $50,000 payout to the family of Derek Sheely, who died in 2011 after he collapsed on the practice field from a traumatic brain injury.

The Maryland attorney general’s office became involved because the family filed a $1.6 million lawsuit that named three state employees — two coaches and an assistant trainer at Frostburg — among the defendants.

While the state financial settlement is relatively small, the potential reach of the case is significant.

The lead defendant is the NCAA, the governing body for college athletics in the United States. In recent years, the NCAA has come under fire for its reluctance to impose rules on colleges and universities for recognizing and preventing potentially lethal concussion-related injuries.

If you’ll recall, this is the litigation that brought out the NCAA’s callousness to an unprecedented level, which is saying something.  Even the grand poobah admitted that.

By settling, the NCAA and the other defendants can avoid the publicity of a high-profile trial. Among those who could have been called to testify was NCAA President Mark Emmert, who said in a deposition in the case that he had not heard of second-impact syndrome.

The family contends that the NCAA has known of the syndrome’s danger since the 1990s.

Emmert told Congress in 2014 that the NCCA made a “terrible choice of words” when it contended in the Sheely case that it had no legal duty to protect student-athletes.

What’s worth keeping an eye on here is the remedy that the two sides are in the process of fashioning in the settlement.  It’s not about the money, apparently, as there’s only $50,000 being paid and Sheely’s parents aren’t keeping that.

The $50,000 settlement with Maryland would go to a foundation named after Derek Sheely.

Among the changes the Sheelys have sought are a ban on certain football drills, limits on practices, and suspensions for coaches who violate rules that protect athletes’ health. They have also called for more education about concussions, and for NCAA investigations in cases such as their son’s.

Is the NCAA really prepared after all this time to put some real teeth into practice protocol?  I have no idea, but will note this was announced yesterday:

The NCAA football oversight committee recommended Division I football programs hold only one “live-contact” practice per week.

The current guidelines, which are not enforceable rules, allow two live practices per week. The new guidelines announced Wednesday will take effect this season.

I’m sure you know the difference between a recommendation and a requirement.  So do college coaches.


Filed under See You In Court, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

The hateful eight

I guess you can file this under “a stopped clock is right twice a day”, but even though I don’t want to see any further playoff expansion, Paul Johnson is on the mark to argue that if college football is going to head down that road — and it will — the powers that be should at least make the selection process more objective than it currently is.

“I’m an old guy – I came out of the I-AA deal where, if you won your conference, you went to the playoffs,” he said. “I just think you could take more of the subjectivity out of it.”

Johnson was highly successful at Georgia Southern, which won four national championships in Division I-AA (now FCS) playoffs. The FCS playoffs now includes 24 teams, beginning on Thanksgiving weekend, going three weekends into December and concluding in January.

Johnson’s solution would give automatic berths to the champions of the five power conferences – the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC. The highest-rated champion from the other five conferences (American Athletic, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt) would also get a bid, as would two wild-card teams.

“At least only the wild cards would be subjective,” he said.

Admittedly, I would get a kick out of one thing that would happen in the wake of Johnson’s proposal being adopted.  Big 12 expansion would turn out to be a complete waste of time and effort.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs