Daily Archives: December 4, 2018

“… what they share in common is toughness, effort, and finishing their blocks…”

Here’s something a few years ago I never, ever thought I’d see.

The Joe Moore Award for the Most Outstanding Offensive Line Unit in College Football today revealed the selection of three finalists for this year’s national honor, announced The Foundation for Teamwork, which has presented the unique award since 2015.

Finalists in the running to be named the top collegiate O-line in the country include (in alphabetical order) *No. 1 Alabama, *No. 5 Georgia, and *No. 4 Oklahoma.

Those are the three best lines I’ve seen this season, for what it’s worth.  Georgia’s certainly earned the consideration.

Georgia Bulldogs (11-2)

  • Georgia is averaging 7.3 yards per play this season, fifth most in the FBS this season and the highest mark in program history. The Bulldogs have gone three-and-out on just 9.6 percent of drives, fifth lowest in the FBS – and averaging 3.27 points per drive, fourth most in the nation.
  • The Bulldogs have averaged 6.4 yards per rush on first and second down, most in the SEC and fifth most in FBS. Georgia racked up 250 rushing yards in eight games this season, tied with Georgia Tech for the most among Power-5 schools and tied for fourth most in FBS, trailing only Army, Navy, and Memphis.
  • Georgia’s line has allowed its passers to complete a program-record 68.6 percent of passes and post a 1.6 percent interception rate, the third-lowest mark in program history. Bulldogs passers have been especially effective when opponents blitz, posting a team passer rating of 200.4, third highest among FBS teams with at least 25 pass attempts against the blitz.

Offensive line coach: Sam Pittman

Head coach: Kirby Smart

All that from a line riddled with injuries.  That Sam Pittman may be a keeper, guys.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Thoughts on the fake punt

Like pretty much everyone else watching the play unfold in real time, my reaction was your basic WTF?, Dawgs.  (Part of the reason for that was that CBS went into the play just before the snap after a replay, so there wasn’t the opportunity to watch it unfold.)

However, after hearing both Kirby’s explanation for the call and Saban’s acknowledgement that, indeed, there was an uncovered player for Georgia at the start of the play, my feelings are more nuanced.

In fact, I’d say especially after reading this, I’m ready to back the initial decision to fake the punt.

Did the play look familiar? It should have; Georgia used it in the 2012 SECCG game against Alabama and it worked on 4th and 10 from midfield. Alabama played both plays in a defense “safe” formation. Smart referenced that on ESPN’s SportsCenter late Saturday night.

“We know their punt safe,” Smart said. “It is the same punt safe from the time I was there. We had a guy eligible that was not covered. Georgia six years ago in the SEC Championship ran it against Alabama to perfection. We snapped the ball late, they recognized it, and had that not happen, we had D’Andre Swift uncovered. But the linebacker picked him up late and we were not able to get it to him.”

That’s sort of amazing, if you think about it.  ‘Bama gets burned on a formation and six years later hasn’t changed it, even against someone who coached there when it went down the first time.

Kirby wasn’t coy about his game plan, telling the sideline reporter before the opening kick that he knew Georgia had to keep mixing things up to have a chance to win.  The momentum had shifted in Alabama’s favor and Smart thought being aggressive in that situation was the right move, especially because knowing Alabama’s tendencies in that situation made it a lower-risk decision.

So far, so good.  Unfortunately, that “so far” is a killer.  Execution killed the probability of success.  Georgia took too long to get the play off and Alabama shifted its coverage so that there was a man on Swift.  The play was doomed at that point.

The flaw, then, wasn’t the original call.  It was not having a safeguard built in if Alabama caught on.  Somebody should have known to call a timeout — there were still eight seconds left on the play clock when the ball was snapped to Fields — when the open receiver was covered.

It’s a damned shame.  That would have been the stuff of legends had they pulled it off.

182 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Remember, it’s what’s on the front of the jersey that matters, right?

Lots and lots of business decisions:

College football’s hottest growing trend could reach a record number this month during bowl season for players announcing they will not play in their teams’ final game for in prep for their pro careers.

Before cries of selfishness hit a fever pitch, know these are all calculated decisions and most are made after conversations with their coaching staff. In short, football is a business and these potential early-round selections are protecting their investment.

In recent years, Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey made waves by electing to stay in warm-up gear on the sideline during premiere games and the number of players sitting out this bowl season is expected to exceed double digits.

Fournette and McCaffrey were injured when they made their calls.  We’re beyond that phase now.

Somebody should draw a Venn diagram with one circle comprised of amateurism romantics who strongly believe that players turning pro are fairly compensated for their play with the preparation for the next level they receive and the other of people who believe the kids skipping exhibition games to being the process of entering that stage are selfish little bastards.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness

The end of another era

Remember all those denials just a few weeks ago about Corch’s future at Ohio State?  Yeah, well…

To say the man leaves a complicated legacy is an understatement… not to mention it’s only 50/50 that it’s time to even consider his legacy.

By the way, one of Meyer’s daughters played volleyball at Georgia Tech.  Just sayin’.

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Filed under Urban Meyer Points and Stares

Sometimes, these posts write themselves.

I’m just going to throw this tweet out there and leave it to you clever folks to make thoughtful suggestions in the comments.

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Filed under Georgia Tech Football

For Jimmy Sexton, there are no road blocks, only temporary detours.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “There are no second acts in American lives.”

He obviously never met Hugh Freeze, who is suddenly one of the hottest commodities in college football, at least based on what turned up on my Twitter feed yesterday.

I can’t say I’m sure about all four, but Auburn, FSU and Tennessee would all appear to be players.  Plus, we all remember that Saban tried to hire Freeze last year, but was blocked by Greg Sankey, who evidently hasn’t changed his stance.

Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Mike Locksley is the favorite for the head coach vacancy at Maryland. If Locksley leaves Alabama, Enos and Freeze would seem like replacement candidates Nick Saban would consider. Saban reportedly tried to hire Freeze last offseason, but SEC commissioner Greg Sankey dissuaded him.

SEC rules include language stating that an SEC school’s president or chancellor must consult with Sankey before considering hiring someone who “participated in activity that resulted, or may result, in a Level I, Level II or major infraction.” The Ole Miss recruiting scandal under Freeze’s watch would seem to qualify.

Ah, Liberty.  Now that’s where it gets interesting.

This afternoon, Liberty head coach Turner Gill announced he is retiring.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my retirement from coaching,” Gill said in a statement. “In the summer of 2016, my wife Gayle was diagnosed with a heart condition. Both Gayle and I wanted to be here to help Liberty through their transition and we are so glad to have done so. We have come to the realization that it is now time for me to step away. I can’t put into words how much this coaching staff, support staff and the players mean to us. We are so thankful for President Falwell, Becki Falwell and Ian McCaw and their support during our time here. They, as well as all of those mentioned, have been and will continue to be blessings in our lives. To God be the glory!”

Immediately speculation began that Hugh Freeze would be the choice to succeed Gill. Freeze has a well established connection with the University and its leadership.

In January Freeze gave his first public talk there.

So we asked the question: is Hugh actually a legitimate candidate? The response we received from a source connected to Liberty is that the school has already advanced the discussions. A source tells FootballScoop Hugh Freeze is indeed a strong candidate at Liberty.

As a private university, Liberty has the ability to move fast here.

How fast?  With Art Briles’ old boss at Baylor as AD and Jerry Falwell, Jr., who’s been quite forgiving of sexual peccadilloes when it suits him as Liberty’s chief, I’d say warp speed fast.

What I don’t know is if Freeze wants to settle for a stretch as a head coach at an independent, or sees the easier path back to the big time as an OC at a P5 program.  Either way, you know Sexton is on the mother.  And that means there’s some hapless AD about to get rolled.

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Filed under Freeze!, Jimmy Sexton is the Nick Saban of agents and is Nick Saban's agent