Daily Archives: September 23, 2019

The next stage

Some of you guys are just gonna love this.

King is a senior, so if he graduates, he can transfer where he wants without having to sit.

Looks like Oklahoma may have their quarterback for next season.  Too bad for Houston now, though.

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UPDATE:  Bidness decision.

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UPDATE #2:  Aaaand… the law of unintended consequences.

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UPDATE #3:  One last chance for Holgo?

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UPDATE #4:  Welp, here’s a turn of events I didn’t see coming:

Of course, there’s nothing stopping them from changing their minds later.

27 Comments

Filed under Transfers Are For Coaches.

Envy and jealousy, night time is the right time edition

With the news that the Tennessee game in two weeks will be on ESPN at 7PM, comes this tweet from Groo that made me laugh out loud.

35 Comments

Filed under Envy and Jealousy

Another happy ending

Is Knoxville the most crime-free city in America, or what?

10 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Crime and Punishment

“Again, it’s a non-issue. It happens in college football all of the time.”

Shot.

Kelly gave a terse response when asked about the fake injury in his Sunday conference call:

“Owusu was evaluated for a concussion. He was brought to the tent. So, that’s hard to be booing at a young man who suffered an evaluation for a concussion.

“Quite honestly, Georgia doesn’t play very fast, so I found that to be quite interesting there would be a number of questions on something like that.”

Chaser.

To paraphrase a saying, it’s better to remain silent and be thought an asshole than to speak out and remove all doubt.

58 Comments

Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes

Observations from the 35, Notre Dame edition

Move over, Texas A&M.  College football’s real 12th man was in Athens, Georgia Saturday night.

I can’t say I really noticed much difference in the pre-game electricity out in the parking lot from other big games, but once inside Sanford Stadium, hoo boy.  That crowd was tanned, rested and ready thirty minutes before kickoff.  Nor did it need any encouragement once the game commenced.  I still say the last eight minutes of the fourth quarter in the 2013 LSU game is my gold standard for home crowd noise, and while I won’t claim that level was surpassed Saturday night, I will insist that it was sustained for a much longer period in this game.

It clearly had an effect on the visitors, too.  Given how well prepared Notre Dame looked in all other facets — somebody used their bye week to excellent effect — it was a surprise that a team that’s certainly appeared in its share of big road games seemed so ill-equipped to handle what that Georgia crowd threw at it.

Give yourselves a collective pat on the back, Dawg fans.  You earned it, in spades.

  • Georgia played a game against the seventh-ranked team in the country, down two starting cornerbacks, lost its starting offensive left guard mid-way and didn’t play its starting offensive right tackle until the second half because of injury concerns.  And won.  Team depth ain’t a myth, peeps.
  • I don’t know if they were over-hyped for their first real opponent of the season, or because it was a night game, or what, but the Dawgs were clearly off their game in the first quarter.  That was most apparent in offensive blocking, which was, for wont of a better word, shoddy.  I saw more missed blocks in the first quarter than I’d seen in the first three games, combined.  It was most apparent when Georgia ran screen plays that were consistently blown up because Notre Dame players were left free to make tackles — and they didn’t miss.  Biggest offenders in that regard were Mays, surprisingly, and Wolf.
  • Early on — okay, for most of the first half — Georgia had problems with Notre Dame’s game plan on both sides of the ball.  Kmet hadn’t played prior to Saturday night and Georgia’s defense clearly wasn’t prepared for how to handle him.  Notre Dame’s focus on getting the ball out of Book’s hands quickly also negated Georgia’s desire for havoc.  Meanwhile, Georgia’s offense stalled because the Irish committed all sorts of numbers to the line anticipating the run  (a couple of times, I counted ten men within five or six yards of the line of scrimmage, with only a safety back) and Georgia found its short game regularly stuffed.
  • That being said, the coaches made two adjustments at halftime that paid big results:  using tempo on offense to open up Notre Dame’s defense and jamming the Irish receivers at the line (and then bracketing Kmet downfield).
  • That being said, Smart abandoned much of that for much of the fourth quarter and let the momentum slip away as a result.
  • It was not a night when the coaches trusted a lot of freshmen, for whatever reason, but those who played on offense and defense made contributions.  Pickens blocked well (and should have been the beneficiary of at least one pass interference call).  Blaylock had a couple of nice catches.  Smith didn’t have a sack, but came up big on ND’s last play of the game.  But no Zeus or Stevenson was a bit puzzling to me.
  • The offensive line’s struggle with numbers in the first half maybe wasn’t that surprising.  But it gained significant traction in the second half, partly due to a change in the playcalling, and also because Wilson was a significant upgrade at right tackle over Mays.
  • Cager and Robertson had big games at wideout.  The former has really impressed me over the last two games with his blocking and receiving and may be turning into this year’s version of Wims.
  • You can only keep D’Andre Swift down so long.
  • Brian Herrien continues in his role of unsung hero.  Reliable, quicker than he’s given credit for sometimes and a good receiver, he used all of that to turn in another valuable game.
  • Fromm had another one of his patented “not everything shows up in the box score” kind of games.  His back shoulder throws to Cager were as good as anything Aaron Murray dialed up.  He showed toughness on his runs.  He didn’t let himself get rattled when Notre Dame’s pressure forced his timing.  He is the glue that holds Georgia’s offense together.  (It was also kind of funny to watch his protest with the ref when the second ND defender took a seat after a play.)
  • There were two stories on defense.  The biggest one was the way the rest of the secondary stepped up when Stokes left the game.  Reed played out of his mind and LeCounte may have played his first game where I didn’t seem him whiff on a tackle.  Divaad Wilson rose to the challenge, to say the least.
  • The other story was the fantastic game Tae Crowder turned in.  He’s had a knack for being in the right place at the right time all season, but against Notre Dame, he consistently finished what he started.  His tackle to blow up that screen pass was perhaps the best defensive play of the season.
  • The other great defensive play of the night, worth its own bullet point, came on Reed’s interception, which was the result of playing a flea flicker to perfection, first with a perfectly timed blitz that affected Book’s timing, then, Reed’s complete awareness of how the play unfolded, capped off by the athleticism it took to take the ball and finish in bounds.
  • Notre Dame’s running game was shut down.  Some of that, to be fair, could be credited to two of its top backs being out, but Georgia’s speed had a lot to do with it, too.  Still, if there’s one thing I was puzzled by, especially considering how good a game ND’s offensive coordinator called, it was how little Ian Book was asked to do running the ball.  (That’s not a complaint.)
  • All that aside, it was incredibly disappointing watching Notre Dame’s offense rip down the field after Georgia’s last score.  Why the DBs started giving Claypool and Kmet cushions in coverage after the good job they’d done bottling them up is something to question.
  • Rodrigo Blankenship was money.  The rest of Georgia’s special teams was a check that bounced.  Simmons’ fumbled punt made the game closer than it should have been (and he was shaky on his first fair catch, too.)  Blocking on punt returns was ineffective.  Cook’s decision to run out the kickoff to start the second half was ill-advised.  So was Blaylock’s decision not to field a punt.  Camarda looked like someone who played tight in a big game; his last punt could have been the prelude to a disaster had the defense not bailed him out.

Georgia was outplayed at times and was definitely outcoached.  What it wasn’t was out-athleted, and that’s why it prevailed.  I know Kirby’s happy with the win — hell, so am I — and he’s happy that his team manballed just enough to get it done, but this was not one of the staff’s finest hours.  Still, it’s not every day you beat a top ten team.  In that kind of setting, survive and advance will always work for me.

82 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“I’m not crazy at all about the law.”

Athletic director math is the best math.

Donati estimated that TCU spends approximately $100,000 on each student athlete every year, factoring in everything from tuition to room and board to medical expenses.

Of the approximately 525 student athletes on campus, Donati said, you could count on one hand the number that actually exceed the $100,000 from a media value perspective.

“So we’re going to change all the rules for 525 other kids because of three? I think that’s crazy,” Donati said. “Ultimately what’s going to happen is if you have to provide more resources for this, it’ll absolutely crush your Olympic sports. I hope that’s an Armageddon situation, but every year we inch closer to that.

To summarize, the dude (1) admits there are kids on the roster being denied compensation they would earn in a more open market setting; (2) claims the school “spends” money on tuition/scholarships; and (3) pretends that the school would be spending money on third party endorsements.

And the NCAA wonders why it can’t win antitrust suits.

(h/t)

32 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

A quick statistical snapshot

Per cfbstats.com:

The Dawgs are better than Alabama in every one of those statistical categories, if you’re looking for a benchmark.

They’ve been no slouch offensively, either.  Even though LSU’s offense has been the talk of the conference so far — deservedly — Georgia sports a higher yards per play number than does LSU.

Georgia also leads the SEC in offensive plays of 10+ yards and is second in defensive plays of 10+ yards.

All in all, that’s a picture of a pretty good team.

19 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

A box office smash

Georgia-Notre Dame was berry, berry good for CBS.

Even if not quite as good as you-know-what.

Compared to last year’s primetime SEC game on CBS, Alabama-LSU in week ten, overnights fell 7% from a 6.7. The 6.2 ranks sixth out of the past nine primetime SEC games on CBS (dating back to 2011). Each of the other eight pit LSU against Alabama.

There’s something about life (or, maybe, the lack thereof) in Tuscaloosa.

5 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes

“A non-threatening Tennessee is good news…”

I can’t say I agree with every word of Pete Thamel’s evisceration of the current state of the UT program, but I don’t strenuously object to any of it, either.

21 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

That call, a moot point. (This time, anyway.)

Smart’s conservative playbook with the lead also included the decision to kick a 43-yard field goal on fourth-and-1 with 6:54 remaining rather than leaning on one of the nation’s best offensive lines and Swift, who runs violently and submits to tacklers infrequently, to get one measly yard.

Smart acknowledged it could have been a controversial call. The field goal put Georgia up 23-10, and the thinking was that it would take two Notre Dame touchdowns from that point to beat them. Of course, even if Georgia had gone for the fourth down there and failed, the same math would have applied.

“We want to be a dominant team in the fourth quarter and break people’s will and win the line of scrimmage,” Smart said. “That’s what this team is built on.”

Dan Wolken, USA Today

Had Kirby guessed wrong in that situation, and Notre Dame gone and punched it in for the winning score on its last possession, his decision to kick the field goal there would have risen to the status of, say, Mark Richt’s call not to spike the ball in the 2012 SECCG.  Instead, it’s reduced to an academic discussion.

DawgStats makes an impassioned argument that playing for the first down was the right decision then.

ESPN had it 96.6% on 3rd and 10. Then jumps to 98% after kickoff with 6:54 to go. I like those odds, but 42 yard FG is anything but a sure thing and only increased 2%. EVEN WITH THAT FG, our odds went DOWN after the kick off.

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I cannot find a College Win probability calculator, but using the Pro Football Calculator and adjusting % accordingly. A first down conversion gets us to 99.5% win percentage EVEN IF WE DON’T SCORE.. A field goal increased odds to 98.5%. A first down is more valuable than a FG.

Screen Shot 2019-09-22 at 10.35.54 PM.png

Blankenship was 2 for 2 on the night, and 7 for 7 on season. But, coming into the season, Rod was 9 of 13 on kicks between 30 and 49 yards.

Dawgs, since 2017, are 7 of 9 in 4th and less than 2 on the opponents sided of the field. A conversion on that play runs more clock, and gives us chance to kick a closer FG or even completely ice it with a TD.

All true. I even told myself as I was sitting there waiting on Smart’s decision that analytics would say play for the first down, not the field goal.

But I wasn’t really upset when Kirby went the other way then.  Indeed, I sort of understood his thinking.  A field goal would force Notre Dame to drive the field twice in less than seven minutes against a defense that had dominated the game in the second half.  And Blankenship has been essentially automatic all season.  You also wonder how emotions would have been affected at a very critical time had Georgia come up short on a fourth down conversion.

(As an aside, I also can’t help but wonder if Brian Kelly’s decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 on Notre Dame’s second drive of the game was in the back of Smart’s mind there.  Had Kelly elected to kick and ND been successful then, the calculus of that particular moment would have been quite different.  But I digress.)

I have to confess, though, the real reason I wasn’t that upset with the call to kick the field goal is because I was already irritated by Georgia’s abandonment of tempo when it got the ball back after Reed’s interception.  Georgia’s offense had been gashing what looked like a tiring Irish defense when it went hurry up in the second half.  Smart’s decision to slow things down with eleven minutes left in the game (!) was questionable at best to me.  But, then again, I’m not a former defensive coordinator.

Even Notre Dame’s touchdown that cut the margin to six didn’t change Georgia’s approach on offense.  As valuable as a first down might have been at the seven-minute mark, it would have been at least as valuable when Georgia got the ball back with three minutes to go.  Instead, the Dawgs continued to hunker down in that comfortable shell they’d pulled over themselves.

Kirby’s assembled a wonderfully talented and deep team.  That’s ultimately what won him the game Saturday night.  But that “break people’s will” streak in him is going to cost him a game at some point this season.

57 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics