Daily Archives: March 22, 2019

Today, in amateurism

Remember, kids, it’s what’s on the front of the jersey that counts.

The NCAA graciously thanks Zion for his service.

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Filed under The NCAA

“People think balance means 50-50. Balance is not 50-50.”

If you buy Kirby’s argument ($$), that’s certainly true for Georgia’s offense.

… That all depends on what your definition of balance is. And here’s the key: Georgia, by its own definition, has already been balanced for most of the past two years. Even if the numbers would say otherwise.

Nobody rushed the ball in the SEC more than Georgia last year (567) or the year before (670). That’s skewed a bit because of the blowouts; when Georgia played more close games in Smart’s first year, the Bulldogs had the fourth-most rushes in the league (533).

But if you take just the first three quarters of games last year, Georgia was still run-heavy: Excluding the fourth quarter last season, Georgia ran the ball on 59 percent of its offensive plays and passed on 41 percent, making it one of the 30 most run-heavy teams in the FBS in the first three quarters. According to Sports Info Solutions, Georgia ranked 29th in highest run-play percentage, with Kentucky (64 percent) and Mississippi State (61 percent) the only SEC teams who ran it more in the first three quarters.

For comparison’s sake, the FBS average is to run it 55 percent of the time over the first three quarters.

Call it boredom, call it curiosity, but I decided to take a look at some numbers.  During Smart’s first three seasons, here are the average offensive plays per game run:

  • 2016:  70.69
  • 2017:  65
  • 2018:  65.93

Overall, that averages out to a tick over 67 plays per game.  55% of that number is about 37.  So, what is Georgia’s won-loss record over that time in games when the offense threw the ball at least 30 times?

  • 2016:  3-3
  • 2017:  0-1
  • 2018:  1-3

Believe it or not, my point here isn’t to make a causation argument, or even one of correlation.  (For one thing, Seth is right to note that Georgia had to pass more in Smart’s first season than in the following two because it played more close games in 2016.)  Rather, it’s to note the obvious:  this is how Georgia is built.  It’s Smart’s philosophy.  It’s how Georgia’s recruited.

Most relevantly, it’s worked.  In the last two seasons, the Dawgs are 23-1 when they throw less than 30 times a game.  (They only threw it 29 times in the debacle at Auburn.)  Sure, there’s not much doubt they could throw the ball with success more, as Fromm has a number of games with passer ratings north of 200, but there’s something to be said about a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach.

Kirby feels balanced.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“There is going to be a day of reckoning.”

Okay, first of all, this is a dumb comment.

“If anybody thinks we can hold on to this model, which has probably never worked as intended, they’re dreaming.”  [Emphasis added.]

Dude, you’re dreaming.  The schools and the NCAA are fighting tooth and nail to preserve the status quo precisely because it is working as intended.  At least for them, and for them, that’s all that counts.

That being said, this, if representative, should be an unsettling narrative.

The public increasingly agrees. A 2017 Seton Hall Sports Poll found 60 percent of people think a scholarship is sufficient compensation for college athletes, down from 71 percent in 2013. Forty percent believe athletes are exploited by not sharing in the revenue they generate, the highest number in the poll’s 10 years.

The NCAA may ignore a lot of things, but when it comes to cash flow, that’s one eagle-eyed bunch.  I imagine there’s concern over losing the narrative in the court of public perception, but the problem comes in devising a feel-good strategy to overcome that.  The NCAA doesn’t do proactive well.

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Filed under The NCAA

Gator turnover

David Wunderlich looks at Florida’s roster evolution under Dan Mullen.  It looks like he’ll still be coaching another year with more starters signed by McElwain than by him.

Dan Mullen didn’t inherit as great a bounty in his second stint in Gainesville.

He began with only 21 of 22 starters being Jim McElwain recruits from Game 1 thanks to Ole Miss transfer Van Jefferson taking a starting spot. By Game 3, it was 20 of 22 thanks to true freshman Trey Dean taking over for the injured Marco Wilson.

Then when the calendar turned to October for the LSU game, it was 19 of 22 thanks to West Virginia graduate transfer Adam Shuler earning the starting role at defensive tackle. UF didn’t release an official depth chart for the Peach Bowl that I can find, but if it had, the count would’ve been down to 18 of 22 with Ohio State transfer Trevon Grimes stepping in for the injured Tyrie Cleveland.

Looking ahead to Mullen’s Year 2, and the count probably shifts anywhere from a 15/7 McElwain-Mullen split to as high as 13/9.

David’s right that Florida’s 2006 season is the gold standard for them.  Meyer famously won a national title with Zook’s recruits.  The problem for Mullen is that he’s coming in after two straight staffs didn’t exactly kill it recruiting offensive players.

One of the remarkable things about all this is that something similar happened before. Recently. McElwain had to turn over almost the entire offensive roster quickly because of how bad of shape Will Muschamp left it in.

Looking at the first depth chart of McElwain’s second year in 2016, only four offensive starters were Muschamp signees: LT David Sharpe, C Cam Dillard, TE DeAndre Goolsby, and WR Brandon Powell.

Mullen did a good job with what he inherited last season, but without consistently better recruiting, Florida is going to have a tough slog getting back to the top of the division.

Competition only takes a guy so far.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Recruiting

More and more, it’s looking like…

Ah, it’s the old siren song of Georgia’s offense.

The qualifier remains that “Georgia is going to be Georgia,” but it’s starting to sound like the Bulldogs are going to throw the football more in 2019.

The Georgia players are all excited about James Coley taking over the offense from Jim Chaney. The consensus is that more of the playbook will be used, and more balls will fly through the air.

The Bulldogs had the heaviest run ratio of any non-option team in 2017, and last season Georgia lead the SEC in rushing.

But Coley could be a game-changer calling plays.

“His first instinct would be to throw,” Bulldogs senior tight end Charlie Woerner said Thursday. “Just knowing him, every G-Day game (Coley) is the offensive coordinator on one team, and Chaney is on the other, and you look at the stats and it’s a lot more pass-heavy on Coach Coley’s team than Chaney’s.

“Chaney is just a little more old-school running the ball, which I didn’t mind that either, but (Coley) likes to throw more than Chaney.”

Junior receiver J.J. Holloman agreed following Thursday’s practice.

“I’m confident that he will throw the ball a lot more, and we’ll have more explosive plays to look forward to,” said Holloman, UGA’s leading returning receiver.

Keep telling yourselves that, kids.

23 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

“The Wolfpack want to drive as much revenue as possible while remaining fan friendly.”

Well, don’t we all.

It’s just funny how it seems like there’s a lot more thought put into being wallet friendly…

Old Hat came back with ideal price points for different areas of the stadium to ultimately allow NC State to optimize revenue, donations, and capacity. One key finding from the survey data was that fans understood NC State’s price points, as they were consistent with other entertainment options in the area. Of the 4,500 responses received, only 27 mentioned ticket price as an area that needed improvement at NC State.

… than fan friendly.

Most comments in the fan survey were related to overall fan experience. For example, some fans mentioned difficulties finding their way to certain parts of the stadium. That direct feedback helps Hargis and NC State craft policies that better adapt to their consumers’ needs.

“We, as employees, really know our way around the stadium, as do a lot of our season ticket holders,” Hargis remarks. “But for our single-game ticket buyers, it could be more difficult. So putting up some additional signage might be a good opportunity for us, as well as adding some concessions options for fans with more specific dining preferences or allergies.”

“Wolfpack fans, you may pay more, but at least you’ll have an easier path to finding your seat” doesn’t sound like the kind of sales pitch that will encourage fans not to stay home to watch, but, then again, I’m no marketing guru.

Does college football sound like it’s in trouble a little?  Sure does to me.

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Filed under ACC Football, It's Just Bidness

Today, in where are they now

In Faton Bauta’s case, it’s back in Athens.

Former Georgia QB Faton Bauta, now an assistant at Monmouth, was among coaches observing Thursday’s practice.

I wonder if he tells kids at his program, “do as I say, not as they did”.

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Filed under Georgia Football