Daily Archives: September 24, 2019

Manball by any other name…

Screenshot_2019-09-24 Bill Connelly on Twitter Btw, another note about UGA I enjoyed InTheBleachers on bomani_jones's pod l[...]

Agree or disagree?

By the way, here’s Bill’s advanced stats take on the game:

Hard for me to argue with any of those bullet points.



Filed under Georgia Football

Flat on the Flats

You know, I feel like I’ve been remiss somewhat by not celebrating The Citadel’s epic win over Georgia Tech — okay, more like the Jackets’ epic loss — as much as I should here.  So, allow me to make some amends by noting the historical track record of P5 teams that fell on their face against FCS foes.  (HINT:  It ain’t pretty.)

Between 1999 and 2018, a span of 20 seasons, there have been 36 power-conference teams that have lost to FCS opponents. Of the 36, 22 went on to win three games or fewer.

You don’t say.  Tell us more.

Were Tech to follow suit, it would rate among the least successful in many years. Since the retirement of Bobby Dodd after the 1966 season, Tech has won three games or fewer seven times, five of those seasons occurring in the 1980’s.

At Georgia Tech, you can do that.

There is some hope for the most optimistic Tech fans. Of the 36 teams visited by FCS defeat, eight still managed to make bowl games in the same season. The shining model is Virginia Tech in 2010, which lost to James Madison (the Hokies were playing on short rest after losing to Boise State on Labor Day night) before going on to win the ACC and playing in the Orange Bowl. (Apologies to Jackets fans who would rather not look to Blacksburg, Va., for inspiration.)

However, it is interesting to note that the coaches of all eight of those teams were well into successful tenures at their schools (including Michigan’s Lloyd Carr, Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer and Washington State’s Mike Leach) and most faced elite FCS opponents, suggesting the results were indeed blips. Tech’s situation does not include the former and does not appear to include the latter.

Good thing Geoff’s got that seven-year deal.


Filed under Georgia Tech Football

Today, in officiating

There are times when I think the biggest value to running RPOs is that they take as much advantage of referees not being able to follow everything on a play as they do of forcing defenses into making premature decisions.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

Everything was fine, up until then.

I mentioned earlier that it was likely one reason Smart felt comfortable letting Rodrigo kick that field goal — you know the field goal I’m talking about — is that his defense to that point had done a superlative job limiting Book’s ability to operate in short-yardage situations.

… The Irish finished with just 46 yards rushing on 14 carries, barely 3 yards a pop, with a long gain of just 9 via scramble by QB Ian Book. Still, their reluctance was mostly a matter of necessity. Situationally, they struggled throughout to stay ahead of schedule re: down-and-distance, keeping Book in obvious passing downs. Through the first 3 quarters, ND ran just 1 play on 2nd-and-short (less than 5 yards to go) and 0 on 3rd-and-short, a situation it didn’t face until well into the final quarter.

If only the secret sauce had lasted for the next drive…


Filed under Georgia Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, Strategery And Mechanics

That extra bye week timing

Georgia sure can use the week off.


Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

What D’Eric King hath wrought

If you saw my post about it yesterday, apparently Houston’s starting quarterback, along with another starter, has made a decision to take a redshirt for the rest of the 2019 season and come back to play next year.

Now, step around the possibility that nothing would stop King from changing his mind in December and jumping into the transfer portal to find a grass is greener spot for his talent.  Let’s assume this decision is a real thing.  Where does that have the potential to take things?

Well, it takes us to the college football equivalent of tanking.  And if you’re a head coach with leverage who can get his star players to buy in, why not?  You’re being paid to win championships and if you do that on occasion, the fan base is likely to forgive you for the dips in between.  (I’m looking at you, Auburn.)

Too bad if you’re a fan buying season tickets, but, then again, we live in an age when taking a bullet for the team is becoming expected behavior for the fan base at big programs.

All I can say is that it sure is a good thing we don’t yet live in a world of professionalized college sports.


Filed under Transfers Are For Coaches.

“He wasn’t afraid of the moment.”

That might be the epitaph for Jake Fromm’s Georgia career.

One thing I’m really curious about after watching the replay is why the coaches didn’t trust Jake more in the first half against Notre Dame when the defensive scheme begged him to put the ball up deep to take advantage of an aggressive alignment designed to clog running lanes.

If it were due a lack of trust in receivers still fairly new to the offense stepping up, okay, maybe, but it’s not like Cager and Robertson didn’t look awfully sure-handed when called upon.  (For that matter, Pickens probably would have been productive had the refs enforced pass interference.)

I saw a quarterback Saturday night who was extremely accurate with his throws, even those with some distance on them, and a defense that was ripe for the deep ball.  I’m not buying the narrative that forcing Fromm to throw longer passes is the way to shut down Georgia’s offense because the playcalling isn’t taking the bait.  But I sure would love to see that narrative tested more often.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Dress for success

Shorter Mark Wiedmer:  If Phil Fulmer wanted to show a real sign of confidence in Jeremy Pruitt, he’d wear a suit.

Knoxville sure is a strange place these days.  Not that I’m complaining.


Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, The Glass is Half Fulmer

Muddle in the middle?

Georgia’s in pretty good company here:

When I turn to Brian Fremeau’s 2019 points per drive chart, the story’s a little different, though.

Screenshot_2019-09-24 BCF Toys - 2019 Points Per Drive

Georgia’s finished the previous two seasons fourth in Brian’s measurements.  That’s been driven by some very consistent stats across the board.  Notable here is the showing in points per drive when Georgia starts outside its own 40-yard line, a very below par 108th.  Note that most of the teams listed ahead of the Dawgs there are managing to score at a rate better than five ppd, while Georgia is at 1.80 ppd.

I can’t really chalk that up to red zone issues.  Georgia has converted 15 of 20 drives starting inside the opponent’s 20-yard line into touchdowns, which is 27th nationally, and its overall red zone percentage is 95%, good for 14th.  Those are both slightly ahead of last season’s rates.

So, overall, the team appears to be top ten in defensive efficiency and good at scoring on a deeper field, but has some issues with scoring efficiency on shorter ones.  Why that’s the case is intriguing.  I’m not sure there’s one specific reason, looking at the play-by-plays.

  • Against Notre Dame, they started one drive on the Irish 24 after the Wilson interception.  That drive stalled after a personal foul was called on Shaffer and they couldn’t cover a 2nd-and-17, settling for a field goal.
  • Arkansas State:  one drive started at the UGA 47 and stalled at the ASU 12, resulting in a field goal.
  • Vanderbilt saw Georgia start a drive inside Vanderbilt territory and turn the ball over on downs when it didn’t convert a fourth-and-one at the Vandy 17.  Another drive that started on the UGA 46 stalled when Kearis Jackson fumbled deep in Vanderbilt territory.  A third drive started on the Vanderbilt 39 and ended with a Blankenship field goal, when Georgia couldn’t convert a third-and-one.  Georgia had another drive that started inside Vandy territory ending in a field goal with a little over two minutes left in the game.

You can argue this comes from a small sample size, but here’s a strange fact, nevertheless:  against FCS competition, Georgia has yet to score a touchdown on a drive of less than 60 yards this season.  I don’t know whether that’s significant — after all, they’re undefeated and clearly there are plenty of stats that bear that out — but it is what it is.

And what it is to me is a little weird that a team would be more efficient scoring from eighty yards out than from less than sixty.  (Before you ask, it’s not big plays:  Georgia only has two plays of 50+ yards on the books through four games.)  This will probably sort itself out as the season wears on, but, still, it’s curious.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“You don’t really know what’s inside you, in life or football, until you get tested.”

I’ll say it again — you and I may not think Kirby’s manball approach is appropriate in all circumstances, but it’s hardwired into his DNA.

But a hard-fought game against the Irish will go a long way in building comfort and confidence in those situations for this year’s squad, particularly for players who haven’t been in that spot before.

“You look inside yourself when you get tested, and there were some guys that had to look inside themselves,” Smart said. “They had not been tested like that. How are they going to respond? They came out fighting.”

I don’t think it’s merely the case that if his team runs the gauntlet into the CFP at year’s end that Smart will turn around and point to how they held up when things got tight at the end against Notre Dame.  I think it’s something he is happy to verify in the here and now, regardless of how the rest of the regular season plays out.

Best get used to it, in other words.  If nothing else, you can’t accuse him of not forging a team identity.


Filed under Georgia Football