Daily Archives: August 11, 2017

“Confuse and clobber”

Ian Boyd takes a look at how teams like Appalachian State have married sets with fullbacks and tight ends to spread offenses.  Check out this quote from Appy State’s head coach, comparing what he ran against Michigan in that infamous 2007 upset and what the Mountaineers do on offense now:

“The game has evolved since then,” Satterfield says. “Most everyone is doing some version of the spread now. The defenses have tried to catch up, and to a certain extent, they have, by putting more speed on the field. We’ve kinda gone back to running the football and a little bit more slowing the game down and limiting the offensive possessions for the other team, and that’s helped us since we moved up to the FBS level. But the game is always evolving.”

Boyd explains how schools like ASU find personnel to fit what they do now.

It used to be that when people thought about prototypical football players they thought of guys like running backs and fullbacks. Elite, physical runners and big, burly blockers who lived for the contact of the game. But nowadays the game is increasingly dominated by QBs that can process and make decisions under fire and then deliver the ball down the field through the air to receivers who are processing and making decisions on the fly.

It’s not too terribly difficult for a program like Appalachian State or NC State to load up with multiple solid running backs, nor to find blocking fullbacks and tight ends. It’s even possible to find really good ones because they no longer have as much value at the bigger universities that are only looking for TEs that can run routes.

There could probably be some advantage gained by recruiting good tailbacks and then using something like the I-formation, which is no longer common at all, to feed them the ball. That and great defense is more or less how San Diego State has been winning the Mountain West the last few years. However, that’s not what these teams are doing. Instead they’re utilizing even more old school sets like the old Wing-T combined with modern shotgun, pistol, and spread-option tactics to feature multiple ballcarriers at the same time.

Not only are those players and tactics accessible for a smaller school, but they have the added benefit noted by Satterfield above. Running simpler, up-tempo offense was always properly the purveyance of the blue blood programs. The philosophy of an up-tempo spread is truly to determine the game’s outcome by giving your own, well-drilled athletes as many opportunities as possible to out-execute their opponents while the spacing of the spread raised the stakes of every play.

Slowing the game down, limiting possessions, and trying to win through scrappy execution of unique tactics is much more an underdog strategy and the “confuse and clobber” offenses aim to do just that.

I’ve always been an advocate of contrarian thinking when it comes to offensive strategy.  If defenses gear up to defend spread attacks by going faster and leaner, then a power offense should find personnel mismatches to exploit.  That coaches already running spread offenses are embracing some of those tactics is another reason to love the variety that college football breeds out of necessity due to a lack of parity.

It’ll be interesting to see how Georgia handles the ASU offense, not to mention how Smart deals with Satterfield’s slowing the game down to limit Georgia’s offensive possessions.

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34 Comments

Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

Go deep

This is a strange criticism.

Smart was then asked why the secondary’s play has frustrated him through the preseason.

Smart had a simple response to the question.

“Well, it’s when the other team throws the ball real far down the field and then the other team catches it, and we don’t make the play,” Smart said. “It concerns me. That’s it. I wouldn’t say it’s often. But if it happens once I don’t like it. Right? You don’t like big plays. It’s good for the offense to make some of those…”

The reason I find it strange was because preventing the big pass play was one of Georgia’s strengths last season.  The Dawgs were second in the conference in opponents’ pass plays of more than 20 yards and third in more than 30 yards.  There’s only one defensive back from last season who’s gone, Maurice Smith, and while he had a great 2016 season, it’s hard to think he was the sole reason for success.  (Besides, it’s reasonable to think the front seven, with another year under their belts, are likely to be even better contributors this season.)

So, are we supposed to accept this as a sign that the receiving corps is a greater threat this year?  Is this Smart’s way of motivating his returning defensive backs?  Or is somebody just grumpy on general principle?

Then again, maybe they’ve done such a good job of fixing the red zone problems that Kirby’s moved on.

21 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“This is not professional sports.”

Hey, if I were a college football head coach and realized that the market for my services was inflated because of artificially cheap labor costs, I wouldn’t want to pay the players, either.

73 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

“They got one shot. It’s all they got.”

Ken Blankenship, you’ve been warned.

Heading into Saturdays’ first preseason scrimmage, Georgia football coach Kirby Smart may not know just yet who his punter or kicker will be this season…

Smart called the competition between Rodrigo Blankenship and Wofford graduate transfer David Marvin “really tight” at both field goals and kickoffs.

“Those two guys are neck and neck, competing with each other,” Smart said. “But it’s still early.”

Sure hope Rodrigo can keep his dad in check.  Probably not as much as Rodrigo does, though.

14 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Still adjusting

Apparently Shaq Wiggins has yet to fit in to the “culture” in Knoxville.

I’m not sure if that’s a knock on him, or to his credit.

12 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Nick Chubb, not too shabby

Pro Football Focus takes a look at Nick Chubb’s 2016 season and discovers it wasn’t that bad.

  • After having his 2015 season end prematurely due to three torn ligaments in his left knee, Chubb returned to play 433 snaps in 2016 and recorded an overall grade of 81.8, which is No. 5 among returning SEC running backs. Chubb’s average of 3.6 yards after contact per rushing attempt was also tops among all SEC backs with 200 plus carries.
  • One thing that Chubb has been able to do throughout his collegiate career is make defenders miss. As a true freshman, Chubb had an elusive rating of 108.5 after forcing 69 missed tackles on 237 touches. Even this past year after returning from his knee surgery, Chubb forced 40 missed tackles but didn’t force them as efficiently as he’d done prior to the injury.  [Emphasis added.]

Jeez.  Just imagine what a fully healthy Chubb might be capable of this season.  Then imagine it with a competent offensive line.

25 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

So, how much juice does Huntley Johnson have?

Put it this way:  he’s apparently the impetus behind the feds opening a second Title IX investigation related to the Callaway case… an investigation of the school.

8 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators...