Evidently Mike Leach is not a morning person.
Daily Archives: October 10, 2017
Check out who’s got Pro Football Focus’ top SEC offensive grade this week.
Two Georgia o-linemen on a best of the week list? Be still, my heart.
Bert, showing ass:
There’s also been a drastic dip in production running the ball over that same time. Arkansas is averaging 4.2 yards per carry over the past two seasons. The Hogs averaged more than 5 yards per carry during the first three seasons under Bielema.
The obvious difference between then and now is a new offensive line coach. Sam Pittman left for the same position at Georgia following the 2015 season. Kurt Anderson arrived from the Buffalo Bills and took over the unit. Things clearly haven’t been the same since.
But Bielema insists this is not a coaching problem. Instead, he’s looking at a lack of productive players as the reason for the downfall of Arkansas’ offensive front.
“I think, obviously, a coach is only going to be allowed to coach at a level of what his personnel is,” Bielema said. “It gets frustrating, but I think there’s some guys we recruited three or four years ago that just haven’t developed into what we want them to be.”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t recruiting and player development part of coaching?
And what a coincidence that Pittman’s change of jobs has led to a drop in run production at his old school and improvement at his new one…
Dennis Dodd, for some reason, goes concern trolling over Georgia’s latest verbal commitment.
Fields’ arrival begs the question: Why is he coming to Georgia in the first place? Two quarterbacks with starting experience and plenty of remaining eligibility await.
“It doesn’t make sense to me,” Simmons added. “Fromm doesn’t have the same NFL upside as Jacob Eason, much less Justin Fields, but if Fromm keeps winning at this clip it’s hard to imagine him getting beat out.”
Maybe — perish the thought! — Fields doesn’t believe he’ll be the guy who transfers. Besides, if he redshirts, a possibility he doesn’t exclude, and even if Fromm is the man for four seasons, he’ll be gone by the time Fields is a junior. There’s also the chance that Fromm suffers the same future as Jacob Eason’s present.
Bottom line, you can’t predict the future. But this should make for a nice negative recruiting thing for other coaches to email Fields between now and signing day.
In August, I never thought Isaiah Wynn would get any postseason All-SEC recognition, but things change.
He’s having a helluva year.
Ian Boyd explores the blocking system that’s letting Nick Chubb be Nick Chubb.
Chubb’s vision and cuts, combined with his power and burst through the hole, make him the perfect back for inside zone. He can power through interior gaps, bounce runs to the edge if teams load up the middle too much, then make the most of his runs once he’s in open grass. Much of the rest of the Georgia offense is built around what they can do around this main concept. They’re killing with it and it’s all working.
It’s impressive what Chaney and Pittman are capable of when they stop being morons, eh? (Make sure your sarcasm meters are turned on, please.)
Back in the day, there was a recurring feature at the blog called Dawg Stat Watch. It was an attempt on my part to track certain performance levels of the team during the Richt era that appeared to be consistent measures of the years when Georgia won the East. I wound up having to abandon the DSW, because conference expansion and the rise of spread offenses throughout the conference made many of the old standards obsolete.
I’m not here to resurrect it now, but I do want to share what I think is a useful set of spreadsheets.
Click on those lists and you’ll be impressed with the way Georgia is excelling across the board. Even more impressively is that the Dawgs are doing it without being particularly dominant in field position differential (Alabama’s net number verges on the obscene). Much of that can be chalked up to that ‘Bama is +12 in turnover margin, while Georgia is +1. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself here, but if it turns out those are the two teams that face off in Atlanta, if you’re looking for an area where Georgia has to avoid disaster in order to have a chance, that’s a big one.
In the meantime, we’re just through week six. Sift through what’s there and enjoy.
I shared the observation yesterday that the Vanderbilt game may secretly be Kirby Smart’s favorite as Georgia’s head coach because it was his team’s best expression yet of his “impose your will” approach to winning football. Matt Hinton adds to that by noting the growing consistency of this year’s team.
Back when he was a fixture on ESPN, Lou Holtz spent a significant chunk of his allotted air time lecturing viewers on his most fundamental rule: In college football, you get a different team every week. It was a trope that could apply in one sense or another to almost every team, every season, and even if you tended to think of “Dr. Lou” as more of a senile uncle than a fount of wisdom, in this case the old hand was onto something.
While we often think of teams as static entities, with predictable strengths and weaknesses, in fact they’re more likely to be wildly unpredictable…
The exceptions to rule — the Alabamas of the world, assembly-line productions built to deliver the same machine-like performance, week-in and week-out — are rare, almost unheard of, and seem even more impressive compared to the up-and-down reality of the rest of the sport. Which brings us, finally, to the team in 2017 most deliberately and (so far) successfully built in Alabama’s image: Georgia, an outfit that has not only achieved a fully realized identity in Kirby Smart’s second season as head coach, but continues to look more like its ideal self with each passing week.
“Machine-like performance” sounds kind of dull — or, at least it might be once we get past the novelty of winning every week — and, yeah, this offense isn’t built on a dazzle factor, but it is impressive to see a Georgia football team go out week after week in control of its emotions and fundamentals. That’s what’s lifted up a program that’s always had enough talent to succeed, but not really excel, over the long haul.
Not that I’m trying to get too far over my skis here. That I’m labeling 6-0 as a novelty should be an indication we’ve got a ways to go before we can say the assembly line is on anything close to automatic pilot, but in the meantime, this is fairly heady stuff.
In advanced-stat terms, it’s first in Defensive FPI and fourth in Defensive S&P+. Offensively, the combination of a road-grading line and a five-deep rotation in the backfield has consistently imposed its will, so much so that freshman quarterback Jake Fromm has barely had an opportunity to exert himself beyond the occasional play-action strike to mostly wide-open receivers on the other side of beleaguered, eight- and nine-man fronts.
Against Vandy, the offense scored on seven of its first eight drives, yielding 45 points in a little over three quarters before letting its foot off the gas — i.e., exactly what a legitimate national contender should do to Vandy, the third week in a row Georgia has dispatched an ostensibly respectable opponent in thorough, Playoff-worthy fashion. The same can be said for their only close call, as well, a 20-19 triumph at Notre Dame in Fromm’s first career start that looks even better now than it did at the time; at the moment, an upset in South Bend is on the short list of the best wins by any team this season, and it was only the first step for a group that’s found its stride over the subsequent month.
“… exactly what a legitimate national contender should do to Vandy, the third week in a row Georgia has dispatched an ostensibly respectable opponent in thorough, Playoff-worthy fashion.” When’s the last time you saw somebody write that about a Georgia team without thinking it was an overreaction?
Nah… but maybe just enough of it.
A few hours later, in response to the play — Eason’s 10th since getting injured — a fan wrote this on a message board: “Skinny (Eason’s nickname) looked like he was standing there thinking about a beer and some (expletive) up in the third row.”
On a separate discussion board, another fan wrote: “Anyone else OK with Eason transferring now?”
“Yep !! He gone,” someone responded.
Last year, Eason’s calm demeanor was viewed as a “clutch” gene. This year, some fans perceive it as a lack of infectious energy when he is on the field.
For some, success isn’t sufficiently enjoyable unless you can kick somebody down while you’re chest bumping. That’s not something I’ve only observed in Eason’s case, either.