Daily Archives: March 5, 2017

Just. Shut. Up.

To those of you who fervently desire for me to quit blogging about a subpar game day experience, I have a proposal.  I’ll stop discussing it if you can get Greg McGarity to quit making comments like this one:

He said part of the problem with the disgusting state of the restrooms on game days is all the ridiculous things people try to flush down the toilets, which causes them to overflow.

Next up in the blame game:  lengthy concessions experience due in part to fans using condiments in ways they weren’t intended to be used.

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62 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

More than one way to ball control

Ian Boyd asks one of those great skin the cat questions here.  He starts with this:

As someone who watches a great deal of Big 12 football, I’ve slowly started to develop a certain degree of skepticism about what exactly teams gain from a “ball-control” approach to offense. At times it seems that these teams are playing with one hand behind their backs by refusing to attack the opposing defense with calls designed to produce explosive plays.

What’s more, if one team insists on operating at high tempo, how much control can you really exert over the game by trying to go slow when you’re at possession? I’d see box scores where Baylor would possess the ball for only 20 minutes or so and still drop 40+ points and over 500 yards of offense. Is there really any use to possessing the ball longer and being more plodding if the other team still has enough time to score lots of points and to do so quickly?

To find some answers, he looks at five successful up tempo teams from last season and five slow-paced ones.  From the data, he draws three conclusions.

Running the ball to burn clock doesn’t give you an edge in the possession battle.

The way to run more plays than your opponent is by throwing the ball.

The effects of tempo on explosiveness for either offense or defense seem fairly negligible.

From those he gets to a conclusion that’s of interest to me.

There seems to be two ways to protect your defense that each work well.

One way is to protect them from having to defend a large number of plays from your opponent by taking your time, running the ball, and limiting the total number of plays run in the game by either team. This style requires a good defense to begin with though because you can’t maintain a slower pace if you give up quick scoring drives from your opponent early in the game.

The other way to protect a defense though is evidently to throw the ball around effectively, draw your opponent into a higher scoring shootout where they may not be able to maintain drives efficiently, and then run up a higher number of plays as a consequence. We could call this the New England method, given that this is partly how the Patriots have taken down their opponents in recent seasons. With a combination of ball-control, passing, and high numbers of plays run you can exhaust a defense more than a ground and pound team could.

It’s long been the perception that the way to wear a team down is to smash into them over and over again but the benefit of passing plays is that you force DL to try and race past OL in the pass rush, you force the entire defense to sprint more as they pursue the ball all over the field, and you prolong the length of time that a play takes up because passing plays are slower developing. If you run enough passing plays the opposing team’s legs will be mush.

Overall it seems that using slow-paced offense worked to the benefit of teams like K-State and Stanford in 2016 but it’s less obvious that this is the only way to approach ball-control or protecting a defense.

It’s obvious where his heart lies and it’s just as obvious to me as a Georgia fan that Smart wants to take the first route.  It’s an option that works, and, again, as a Georgia fan, I don’t have to go back very far in time for evidence of that.

Georgia’s 2014 team finished seventh nationally in offensive yards per play, ran the ball more than 63% of the time and limited total plays in a game to less than 140.  All of that helped a defense transitioning from Grantham to Pruitt and noticeably lacking personnel wise in the secondary still finish seventeenth nationally in total defense, which was a significant step up from 2013’s 45th in that category.

I would probably add that if you’re going to go the control the tempo/limit the plays approach, turnover margin and field position are also keys to success.  2014 was a banner year for Georgia in that regard:  4th nationally in turnover margin and first in Football Outsider’s field position ratings.

The implosion in Jacksonville did a lot to mask it, but in terms of maximizing results out of his team’s talent, Richt did a fine coaching job for the rest of that season.  Smart could do a lot worse that trying to take a few lessons from what Georgia did right then.

17 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Mr. Conventional Wisdom explains.

You might remember a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that the NCAA Football Rules Committee was pondering yet another tweak to the targeting rules.  Just because I mocked the seemingly annual ritual of doing so doesn’t mean there wasn’t a certain logic behind the effort.

NCAA associate director Ty Halpin, the liaison for the rules committee, said ejecting a player is “a pretty expensive deal” if targeting isn’t certain. Halpin said the “vast majority” of targeting flags thrown on the field should be confirmed, but there’s a fairness issue to consider for players.

“We still want to the official to throw the flag there,” Halpin said. “But if replay says there’s a little bit of contact on the shoulder and it’s more because the player adjusted and it wasn’t a dangerous attempt by the player delivering the contact, then maybe that player deserves to stay in the game. It’s a reasonable thing to go with.”

Then again, when has it ever been said of the NCAA that it does reasonable well?  And, sure enough, the Rules Committee’s latest announcement omits any mention of changes to the targeting protocol.

Why so, you may ask, in the face of much chatter about why a modification would have been sensible?  Tony Barnhart, whose water carrying for the powers be does have its occasional usefulness, is more than happy to tell you.

“There are two sides of this argument,” said Rogers Redding, the NCAA’s national officiating coordinator. “The coaches say don’t kick a kid out of the game if you don’t have video confirmation. But the commissioners can say that we’re backing away from away from a rule that has made the game safer.

“The game is under such attack right now. It’s going to be an interesting decision. I think there might be a third argument that says we should just leave it alone and let it soak for another year.”

… Players, coaches and fans – all have an agenda. Players want to play, coaches want to coach them and fans want their team to have their best players on the field. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But the people who run college football – the commissioners and other stakeholders – have a different perspective. They must look out for what is good for the game. And limiting the ever-expanding liability issue is an important part of protecting the game.

Ah, the good of the game.  The noblesse oblige of the Delanys and Sankeys never ceases to humble.  Tell us more, Mr. CV.

I had a conversation with a commissioner several years ago about this subject. I pressed him on the targeting rule and why ejections needed to be a part of it. His response: “Someday I’m going to be sitting in a court of law and will be questioned by a plaintiff’s attorney. He’s going to ask me if I did everything I could to make the game as safe as it could possibly be. The answer to that question had damned well better be ‘yes.’ “

If this aspect of the targeting rule isn’t changed, that will be the reason.

“For the commissioners, nothing right now is more important than player safety,” Shaw said. “If we’re going to err, we’re going to err on the side of player safety.”
As long as these assholes run the show, they’ll never run out of think-of-the-kids excuses for covering their own arses.

4 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

Drug tests? Yeah, he failed a few.

Luckily for Tim Williams, Nick Saban didn’t have time for suspensions.

NFL teams have been well aware for months about what Alabama pass rusher Tim Williams admitted to the media on Saturday: that he failed multiple drug tests while he was at Tuscaloosa.

Williams said he failed “a few” tests in his four years at Alabama but would not confirm what drug the positive tests were for or exactly how many he failed…

Despite the multiple failed tests, Williams was never suspended. But he was forced to sit out the first half of the Kentucky game last season for the misdemeanor gun charge.

And you think Nick Saban doesn’t have any standards.

[Insert Georgia Way comment here.]

34 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules