Daily Archives: September 7, 2016

“Unfortunately, it had to get there for Alabama and Coach Saban.”

Ed Aschoff talked to Maurice Smith after his big game against North Carolina and asked him why it took so long to get from Tuscaloosa to Athens.

Smith, who was pretty candid after Saturday’s win, said Saban’s hesitation to originally release him to Georgia stemmed from concern of Smith sharing Alabama’s defensive playbook from the spring — after Kirby Smart, Alabama’s former defensive coordinator, had already left for Georgia — and in case Alabama played Georgia in the SEC championship…

There’s a fine line between sweating the small stuff and paranoia and the Sabanator blew right past that.  The odds that Smart and Tucker couldn’t figure out Alabama’s defensive playbook from the spring in the dark with their eyes shut tight are slim at best.  (Hell, Schumann probably put most of it together before he left.)  Not to mention if Georgia were indeed to face Alabama in the SECCG, at that point, Smart and staff would have a dozen games’ worth of tape from which to analyze the ‘Bama playbook.

Besides, the idea the Dawgs were chasing Smith so hard had more to do with getting an extra edge on Saban than it did needing to add depth to their defensive backfield looks particularly silly now after Smith’s game Saturday.

It would be interesting to ask about this at the next Saban presser, but I suspect the Coke bottle ain’t talking about it.

15 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules

Oh, to be young and in Louisiana…

Except when LSU loses.

A new study points to an even more disturbing pattern of haphazard justice: In Louisiana, juvenile court judges appear to have issued harsher punishments following an unexpected loss by the Louisiana State University football team. And disproportionately, those longer sentences fell on black children.

LSU economists Ozkan Eren and Naci Mocan came to these conclusions after studying more than a decade of state court data. In a draft of their paper, released this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, they show that the Louisiana judges sentenced children differently during the football season, depending on how well LSU had played the previous weekend.

If I were a Louisiana criminal lawyer with a juvenile defendant, I guess I’d be doing anything I could to get a continuance this week.  Thanks, Coach Miles!

43 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment

Have towel; will travel.

Shit, I can’t believe I forgot there’s a special reunion on the Plains this week.

Like I said, special.

12 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

Is there such a thing as a post-game hype video?

23 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“Fire Larry Fedora.”

David Wunderlich’s Five Factors review of the Georgia-UNC game isn’t particularly complimentary of the Tar Heels’ head coach.  He basically wonders about the same thing I do, which is why Carolina didn’t run the ball more.  (Not that I’m complaining, mind you.)

In any event, it’s hard to argue with his takeaway about Georgia.

And as for the quarterbacks, I can still imagine them splitting time for a bit. Lambert’s lack of mobility allowed UNC to tee off with the blitz, but Eason is far too willing to go for low percentage deep throws instead of checking down to something safe. As the freshman matures and learns the craft, he’ll take more and more snaps until the job is his. With Nicholls State and Missouri’s weak offense on deck before the showdown at Ole Miss, I think we’ll see plenty more of both guys as they show what they can do.

In any event, it’s safe to say that Georgia had the best Week 1 performance of any of the East’s three contenders and the best in the conference behind Alabama and maybe Texas A&M. Quiet optimism for this team is perfectly fine, but the jury’s still out on the offense until it faces Mizzou in a couple of weeks and on the defense until it goes against the Rebels the week after that.

That Ole Miss game should be quite a revelation as to what kind of team Georgia is this season.

21 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

It takes a village to master the details.

I got an email from a reader who saw something bigger in Georgia’s last scoring play Saturday night.

How this staff is different.  

Why did Lambert come in for the final “gotta have it” series?  We couldn’t figure it out…When Eason was in, the UNC defense had to back off to a nickel or dime, but when Lambert was in, they packed the line.  Surely we’d play Eason to open it up for Chubb.

Lambert in, tight formation, and UNC packs the box.  Chubb’s getting the ball and everybody knows it.  Predictably, there are 10, maybe 11 UNC players in the box.  So what’s going on?  Chess game.  Blocking scheme.  Execution.  Speed.   And a pancake by the tight end.  All to free up our world-class back to get to the second level.  Only there isn’t one.  Because they saw our quarterback and rolled everybody up.

We sent Lambert in to get them into the formation we wanted.  Pulled tackle, pancake, and pursuit can’t get through the trash.  He gone.  Ballgame.

This won’t be the last time we out-coach or out-prepare somebody.  Not with this staff.  Somewhere there’s an offensive video assistant who put this on our OC’s desk.   This is what we can expect with an enlarged football staff in this model.  Quite a change from years prior.

I’m not smart enough to know whether or not we used this blocking scheme before this play.  But I bet this play was planned for this scenario.

I don’t doubt they fully intended to run Chubb there and run him again and again.  In fact, before the series started, I said to my friend sitting next to me that at some point if Chizik kept loading the box more and more, the risk he took would be to have no one left on the next level if the blocking opened a hole for Chubb to run through.  But let’s face it, we saw that same kind of thinking work just as well in 2014, too.

Which is not to say I disagree with the reader’s overall assessment of the new staff.  It’s just that I found my evidence for that in another area.

Sometime during the first quarter, I found myself studying Georgia’s sideline.  It’s a purely subjective observation on my part, but that place looked more crowded than I remember it being in years past.  That brought to mind something I wrote in a post after Richt was terminated.

If you watched any of the Iron Bowl broadcast this past Saturday, as I did, you might have noticed a discussion Gary and Verne had about the number of staffers Alabama had up in the coaches booth.  Lundquist was certain it was fifteen and damned if it didn’t look like it when the CBS camera panned the booth.  That room was crowded.

I mention this story not in a fit of jealousy, nor to condemn another program’s wasteful spending.  Rather, it’s a perfect example of what the Georgia Way is up against.

Now, spending isn’t an answer in and of itself.  You’ve got to spend in a way that makes your program better.  Kirby Smart came out of an environment where a large support staff was a means to an end, that end being organization and attention to detail.  As I keep saying, one game is an exceedingly small sample size, but if there’s anything to be encouraged about with regard to regime change, it’s one specific thing that kept brushing me in the face as the game progressed.

Things were under control.

Think about it.  Despite a constant flow of players being substituted on both sides of the ball, Georgia never was dinged for an illegal substitution penalty.  (North Carolina was.)  The only unplanned timeout Smart had to expend was due to Eason failing to pay attention to the play clock, an understandable error from a kid playing in his first college game.  I don’t recall any time management issues that wound up biting the Dawgs in their collective ass.  Smart was animated, but never lost his emotions, as the more experienced Fedora did, resulting in a penalty that led to the safety.  And, yeah, I think having those new bodies around contributed mightily to that.

I’ve harped on what I strongly believe was Mark Richt’s Achilles heel, a failure to stay on top of details consistently.  I don’t want to say that one game proves the program has moved past that, but it sure gives me reason to be optimistic it has.

78 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

The Gus Bus needs a new owner’s manual.

Malzahn acknowledges that his three-quarterback rotation was a flop against Clemson.

My only question is whether he had to review the game tape first before reaching that conclusion.

12 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

Things open up; things close down.

Okay, it’s not like the AP Poll is gospel, but check out the way Georgia’s schedule the rest of the way looks now:  only two ranked teams left, Ole Miss and Tennessee, both in the high teens, and seven straight games to close out the regular season against teams outside the AP top 25.  Talk about your rapidly calming waters.

On the other hand, and despite the inviting regular season schedule, the odds for Georgia winning the national championship have actually declined since the season started.  Which is Vegas’ subtle way of saying, “Georgia ain’t played Alabama, PAWWWLLL”.

36 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Sometimes, the numbers do tell the story.

David Hale, with some relevant stats:

* North Carolina’s defense blitzed on one-third of its dropbacks against Georgia, a big change from the aggressiveness the Tar Heels showed last season when they blitzed less than 20 percent of the time.

* UNC averaged 4.7 yards before contact per rush, seventh-best in the Power 5. Makes you wonder why the Tar Heels didn’t run it a bit more often.

* A brutal stat for UNC: Mitch Trubisky was 0-of-8 on throws of 15-plus yards. The deep ball was North Carolina’s bread-and-butter last season, completing 44 percent of such throws with 15 touchdowns and just four picks.

That first stat may explain a little about why Georgia looked out of sorts in allowing four sacks by the Heels’ defense (for comparison’s sake, remember that the Dawgs averaged a little over a sack allowed per game in 2015).  It’s a trend Pittman and Chaney should expect will continue.

As for the latter two, North Carolina’s offensive game plan, as I mentioned yesterday, left something to be desired.  Trubisky’s inconsistency throwing the deep ball didn’t help, but it was weird to see Fedora make some excellent adjustments at the half by going to his strengths on offense that resulted in Carolina’s best drive of the day, only to turn around and abandon them for the rest of the game.

13 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Kirby Smart, ladies and gentlemen… he’ll be here all week. Try the veal.

This is pretty funny in print…

There were 23 college football team this past weekend that weren’t able to kick a touchback. Georgia was one of them. There were eight teams that had at least six kickoff attempts, and failed to force a touchback. Georgia was one of them.

That wasn’t by design, head coach Kirby Smart made clear on Tuesday night, when asked what his philosophy was on kickoffs, and if he’d prefer someone boot it through.

“What do you think?” Smart said, interrupting the reporter. “What do you want?”

I don’t want anything, the reporter replied.

“Well what would you want?” Smart persisted. “If you were coaching what would you want?”

I’d want somebody to kick it out of the end zone.

“Well me too. That’s my philosophy,” Smart said. “You know anybody?”

… but it’s even better watching the clip (dial it up to about the 3:20 mark to hear the exchange).

As Seth notes, Kirby’s making a good point here — if he had someone who could generate touchbacks on kickoffs, he’d be using him.  In the meantime, all he’s got is a smile.

25 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football