Daily Archives: October 24, 2019

Outside the box

alfred_e_neuman

I’m worried.  You’re worried.  ESPN is worried.

Something’s wrong with Georgia’s offense. The line isn’t playing up to par, the running game has been inconsistent and wide receivers haven’t been doing a great job getting open. Jake Fromm, who has been as steady as any quarterback in the country the past three seasons, isn’t himself. He threw three interceptions against South Carolina and then followed it up with 35 yards passing against Kentucky. Granted, it was raining and the Bulldogs beat the Wildcats, but it was a subpar performance. Down the stretch, and especially against Florida, the Bulldogs need to start scoring points in order to carry this team back to the SEC title game.

You know who’s not worried, of course.

Kirby Smart has explicitly stated that he’s confident in the Bulldogs’ offensive structure and that his team just has to continue to get better. His players seem to have the same opinion.

“I would say there’s no reason to worry because, if you look at the South Carolina game, we had almost 500 yards of offense,” Graduate tight end Eli Wolf said of the offense. “It was just one thing led to another, we turned the ball over and the turnover margins is one of the biggest stats for winning and losing games. Kentucky, it was a monsoon, it was raining, it’s hard to throw the ball in those conditions. We made the run game work and we came away with a win, so I don’t know what more you can ask for from an offense than winning SEC games. We hold our standards to a high standard and we’re never pleased, but I’m not concerned. I like where we’re at and I think we’re going to keep getting better.

Wolf makes some fair points, I suppose.  But he doesn’t really have an answer for Jake Fromm’s season to date.  Fromm’s passer rating in 2019 is now 152.18, the lowest of his career.  It’s even more concerning when you break it down against P5 opponents:

  • 2019:  128.88
  • 2018:  162.73
  • 2017:  162.24

Sure, the three picks in the South Carolina game don’t help, especially considering that they weren’t totally his fault, but the real problem appears to be yards per attempt, which have declined precipitously this season.

  • 2019:  6.7
  • 2018:  8.6
  • 2017:  9.3

And that comes despite his completion percentage being at an all time high.

  • 2019:  66.1
  • 2018:  65.6
  • 2017:  62.8

That is what being forced to play inside a box looks like.  That’s on Coley.  And that’s why Georgia’s offense has looked constipated of late.

Maybe we’re right to be worried.

115 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Stating the obvious

I’m not trying to pile on Brian Herrien today, but here’s another quote of his to chew on:

“I mean this is football. You cannot just run outside in every play. In the SEC, everybody is fast,” said Herrien. “Even the defensive line is fast, the tackles are fast enough to catch you running outside.”

Okay, cool.  Now, can you do run up the middle into a stacked box every play?  Asking for a concerned friend.

16 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

“But Todd Gurley or any of these scholarship athletes would be penalized if they did the same.”

Seth Emerson does the Lord’s work and interviews Georgia representative Billy Mitchell ($$), who plans on introducing a bill in the next session that would essentially replicate California’s recently passed Fair Pay to Play law.  I’m not going to repost the Q&A — that’s what subscription fees are for, folks — but there are two things worth sharing with you here.

One is that Mitchell insists he’s already done the legwork to assure Emerson that his bill will have bipartisan support (“But to your point, no question about it this will be bipartisan legislation.”).  Given the way the legislature has acted in the past to provide support to Georgia football combined with the threat posed by surrounding states emulating California’s work, I never really doubted that, but if you were skeptical, there you go.

The other is that this sounds so damned reasonable:

My emphasis is this: We want to have good, wholesome sports. But as you know, we have so many student-athletes that come from financial backgrounds that the temptation to leave school early and not really take advantage of a college education, or the temptation to do certain other things that would get them penalized as a star scholarship student-athlete, is far too great. We need to be able to compensate them in some way. Do we need to make them millionaires? No, that’s not the intent of this legislation. But we need to put them on parity, I believe, with other scholarship students.

It shouldn’t be that hard to find a middle ground here.  Except, of course, that one of the parties isn’t acting in good faith…

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UPDATE:  More grist for the mill…

Ain’t no way our state government’s letting that go unanswered.

48 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery, The NCAA

Of all the tight ends in the world, Georgia’s are certainly some.

This, my friends, is the very model of a modern college offense.

Georgia’s offense has come under scrutiny in recent weeks. The Bulldogs average 234.4 yards passing per game, but they haven’t produced many explosive plays through the air. Wolf’s 24-yard catch is the longest play for the tight ends so far. None of them have recorded a touchdown.

But don’t try to tell the tight ends they’re not involved in Georgia’s offense. On the contrary. The fact is, they’re on the field a lot for the Bulldogs. They often utilize two of them at once and they’ve even had three in the game when tackle Cade Mays lines up at the position in an overloaded set.

They’re a vital part of the Bulldogs’ run-blocking scheme.

“Perimeter blocking for a tight end, if you can do it, is a mismatch because there tends to be smaller bodies out there on defense,” Wolf said. “So, if you can cover them up with a big body, it gives our backs more room to run. Inside we have to hold our own, too, and it forces the defense to play a heavier personnel, which can be a mismatch there, too. So, there’s a lot you can do and we feel like there’s a lot of different things we can do to help the team.

“I’m just happy to be on the field and getting a lot of snaps.”

If there’s nothing else we can say about this season, it’s at least that the staff has finally driven a stake through the heart of the “this year, look for the tight ends to be really involved in the passing game” narrative.

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UPDATE:  This should come as no surprise.

Screenshot_2019-10-24 Dawgs show more 12 Personnel in UK win – Bulldawg Illustrated

39 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Playing up to the standard

I know, I know, human nature being what it is, but why is it we continue to hear the same excuse ($$) emanating from our program when a talented Georgia team hits an unexpected road block?

“I feel like most of the time those things happen to us it’s because we got complacent. I don’t feel like we should have lost those games,” said senior tailback Brian Herrien, who has been here from the start of the Smart era. “The fact we did it wakes us up. It makes us realize that just because we’re Georgia doesn’t mean we’re going to win. We’ve gotta come out and play, just like they came to play.”

It was frustrating enough to hear during the Richt era, in part because it felt like the staff never really took the steps needed to snap the team’s focus into place on a consistent basis.  But Kirby Smart is supposed to be the guy who has this relentless drive:  “I’ll be dead honest with you, I am focused on our team, making sure our team is trying to improve and get better in every facet of it and that’s my single-minded focus.

I’m not whining here, although if you want to accuse me of composing another one of my existential posts, you may be getting closer to the truth.  What I am doing is asking a basic question:  how can you fix a recurring problem until you know the underlying cause for its existence?  Or is this something we should simply expect to crop up once a year in the Smart era and is subsequently treated, like weeds in a garden?

34 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Musical palate cleanser, satisfied edition

As a general concept, the idea that a semi-anarchic band like The Replacements would release a reissue album almost sounds like an inside joke.  That they would choose their Don’t Tell A Soul record — surely, most ‘Mats fans wouldn’t rate that 1989 release any higher than, say, fourth or so on the pantheon of their work — as the subject for the reworking only feels like a reinforcement of that.

But it turns out there’s a method to their sort of madness here.  The band was never happy with the final production (per Westerberg, “It sounded good until the label brought in people to mix it to make it sound like everything else on the radio”) and luckily for us, somebody found the original mix of the sessions and used that to release what turned out to be disc one of Dead Man’s Pop.

The overall sound, as you might expect, is cleaner, making the band’s expression easier to reach.  Here’s my favorite cut, “Achin’ to Be”.

The second disc is, well, kind of crazy.  It’s a bunch of raw takes, emphasis on the word “raw”.  There are a couple of cuts where Tom Waits joins them for some what I expect was (very) early morning work under the influence of certain ingested materials.  I like this one, but your mileage may certainly vary.

But the real reason to grab DMP is disc three, which is a live recording from one stop on the band’s tour promoting Don’t Tell A Soul.  I’ve got plenty of Replacement bootlegs, and, sad to say, between poor recording quality and/or the band not showing up on a particular gig, they’re a real crap shoot.  Fortunately, that’s not the case here, and, boy, there’s some brilliant music that reminds me why this band was so vital when it ran.

Take this version of my favorite ‘Mats tune, “Unsatisfied”.  I love the raw bravado of the original — the protagonist has a clue that life’s not fair, but is unbowed, even if that comes across as the result of ignorance of what he’s up against.  The live version is that same guy on the other side of the wall.  He knows he’s beat, but he still can’t quite give up.

Breaks my heart.

That these guys weren’t bigger than they were is understandable in a way — Westerberg’s personal demons, combined with the rest of the band’s frailty and volatility made that pretty much an expected outcome — but it’s still a shame.  DMP doesn’t make up for that, of course, but it’s still a welcomed addition to the ‘Mats catalog.  Go get it.

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Filed under Uncategorized