Daily Archives: October 25, 2019

Kirby gets his wish.

The other shoe I expected to drop after the announcement of the Jacksonville extension:

According to athletic director Greg McGarity, Georgia plans on introducing legislation at next May’s SEC Spring Meetings in Destin to allow schools to host recruits at in-conference neutral site games.

This would be done on a rotating basis. For example, if approved, each school would get to host recruits at the game when they’re the designated home team.

Currently, schools are allowed to leave tickets for recruits, but all prospects must sit in the stands.

Losing a recruiting weekend every other year was one of head coach Kirby Smart’s biggest concerns.

“It wouldn’t take the place of on-campus visiting, but perhaps it would be something where we could have a host tent and see if something like that could work,” McGarity told UGASports. “Again, it wouldn’t replace the on-campus visit, but still allow each school to host recruits at the game.”

Hopefully, McGarity has sufficient good will built up at the SEC Bank from acquiescing to Auburn’s scheduling wishes to get his way here.  Hopefully.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

Four more years

It’s official.


UPDATE:  You will be shocked, shocked to learn that more money is involved.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

Eyes in the sky

An interesting Q&A from today’s Seth Emerson’s Mailbag ($$):

How much do you think not having multiple guys with experience game-planning and calling plays on the offensive side of the ball has contributed to the lack of creativity and explosiveness? The two previous seasons saw 3 coaches on the offensive staff who had such experience. And perhaps, more importantly, there were two people in the press box, (James) Coley/(Jim) Chaney last year and (Jay) Johnson/Chaney the year before. Johnson went to the field last year after NCAA implemented a rule about non-full time assistant coaches in the press box. Perhaps losing Johnson was a bigger blow than anyone thought. The more experienced sets of eyes on things, the better.

Casey C.

There may be something to that. Georgia does have another analyst with play-calling experience: Shawn Watson, who called plays at Pittsburgh the past couple years and has 37 years of coaching experience. But he’s not in the press box, per NCAA rules, so while last year it was Chaney calling plays with Coley next to him, this year it’s Coley with Todd Hartley next to him, and while Hartley may well someday become a coordinator, he doesn’t yet have play-calling experience. Watson can help in game-planning. But it’s not quite like the past couple years when you had Chaney, Coley and Johnson, who was quite a coup for Georgia: The only reason Johnson was available in 2017 was the entire Minnesota staff was let go very late in the cycle. Smart wisely scooped him up, and he was a big help to the staff over the next two years, and Mel Tucker saw that, too, which was why he hired him to be Colorado’s offensive coordinator. (Johnson has slightly improved Colorado’s offense this year, going from 94th to 76th nationally in yards per play.)

So is Georgia’s offense suffering from a brain drain, or is it just a transition issue, or is it not the coaching at all? You can’t say for sure, not being in the meetings, and I don’t have any intel to indicate that. You do have on-field performance, and that’s an incomplete picture right now. The next few weeks will be very key.

I don’t know, either.  Coley isn’t inexperienced, either in terms of general playcalling, or in the specific setting of Georgia (he sat in the booth with Chaney last season).  As Seth points out, though, Coley has only Hartley, who’s never called plays before, in the booth with him.  How much that impacts in game analysis and playcalling is a question for which answers could legitimately run the gamut.  (I also wonder if the lack of experience in the booth makes it harder to push back on Smart’s in game decision making for the offense.)

Your thoughts?


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

The glass isn’t half empty.

For those of you who think I’ve been too harsh on Smart and Coley lately, let me just say there are plenty of stats out there that illustrate that this Georgia team is a very good one.

Here’s a sampler of a few that I’ve taken off Twitter:

Fromm has been a productive passer this season.  Generally speaking, offensive efficiency has been among the conference’s best.  The offensive line has done well above average work protecting the quarterback.  The receivers have done as good a job of holding on to Fromm’s passes as any group in the SEC.  These are all unequivocally good things.

The fly in the ointment?

Georgia’s passing game isn’t taking the top off opposing defenses.  That play action stat is particularly telling:  Fromm’s percentage of 8.62% is well below the conference average.  And that’s been Georgia’s bread and butter in its pass attack for… well, seemingly forever.

This gets back to playcalling, in my humble opinion.  I don’t know why the coaches have chosen to compress the field for Fromm, but it’s clearly limiting his game.  It’s not that Georgia’s bad offensively.  It’s that right now, the whole is less than the sum of its parts.  To me, that’s a fixable thing in the bye week.

By the way, for all the talk about havoc rate, note that the defense continues to do what Kirby’s defenses have done since he walked in the door.

A Smart-coached defense is going to make you earn every point.  An offense has to work it all the way down the field.  The funny thing is that Smart’s got his offense playing the same way now.  As long as Georgia’s screwing up on offense less than the other team, that should work.  When it doesn’t, that’s how you get South Carolina.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

So, how special are Georgia’s special teams?

Spence and I had a lengthy email discussion yesterday that led to me review Georgia’s special teams stats.  Some of what I learned may surprise you.

To begin with, I’d summarize the general impression of the performance of its special teams this season as (1) great from Blankenship, outside of the South Carolina game; (2) inconsistent from Camarda; (3) modest, albeit somewhat limited, work from Georgia’s coverage teams; (4) very poor from both return teams.

Brian Fremeau tracks special teams performance and here’s what he says about Georgia’s:  (1) 17th overall; (2) 8th in field goal efficiency; (3) 111th in kick return efficiency; (4) 86th in punt return efficiency.  Kickoff coverage efficiency is a mediocre 74th and punt coverage efficiency is a somewhat better 49th.

Those stats, in other words, reasonably track what we’ve seen on the field.

By the way, the one truly surprising stat that Brian’s numbers don’t hint at is what Camarda’s done.  Believe it or not, Georgia is fourth nationally in punting average, at 47.82.  It’s also 28th in opponents’ punt return yardage per game.  Those are both somewhat tempered by the fact that the Dawgs don’t punt very much and have only allowed four returns in seven games.

Okay, so there’s all that.  The question is, how much have Georgia’s special teams affected the games?  From an advanced stats point of view, here’s what Fremeau’s numbers show, game by game (against FCS opposition only):

Screenshot_2019-10-25 BCF Toys - 2019 Game Splits

It’s the last four rows you want to review.  The story they tell is that Blankenship’s kickoff work has been great, except for the Kentucky game, when it was almost as bad as the first five games combined were good; that kickoff returns have been a black hole for almost the entire season; that, outside of his work against Notre Dame, Camarda’s been solid (in fact, you could say he’s shown serious improvement in his last two games); and that the punt return game has provided little, if any, support.

For all the bitching about Coley, then, it seems that Fountain has managed to stay below the radar, even though his area has contributed less to the season than has either the offense or defense.  Indeed, that lack of support should be magnified as Georgia embraced a field position game against Kentucky (a contributing factor, I would say, to the offense’s poor showing in the first half).  It was also a factor, although certainly not the only one, as to why all the yardage Georgia racked up against South Carolina didn’t translate into many points.

One other strange thing worth noting here is that, contrary to what you might expect, Georgia’s biggest red flag when it comes to scoring efficiency is that it’s been terrible producing points when starting from a short field (defined as outside its own 40-yard line) — 103rd — where you’d think that poor special teams play would have less effect in that setting.

All told, what this seems to suggest is that while special teams play hasn’t cost the Dawgs a game yet, it’s hard to point to a single game where the net result has led to a positive effect on the outcome.  In fact, if there’s a common thread throughout, it’s overall inconsistency.  As we’ve heard him speak out decisively about the offense and defense this week, I’d love to hear if Kirby has a take on this part of the team’s performance.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

A different kind of cannon shot

It appears that Greg Sankey’s whining isn’t resonating in Columbia, South Carolina.

I tell you what — for all his faults, if Boom gets in a fight with the SEC over officiating and calls a spade a spade in the process, I’ll take back every snarky thing I’ve ever said about him.


Filed under Agent Muschamp Goes Boom, SEC Football

The turnover swag battle just got lit.

SMU is winning.


Filed under Stylin'

Musical palate cleanser, crossfire hurricane edition

Fascinating background story on legendary Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller on the 25th anniversary of his death, from his half-sister Judith (yes, that Judith Miller) here.

Jimmy’s regard for the group, and especially Keith Richards, was mutual. Their initial collaboration resulted in rock ’n’ roll magic, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” a song whose lyrics were inspired, quite literally, by the sound of a gardener’s rubber boots stomping through mud outside Keith’s cottage at Redlands where they had been up all night. Jagger had been awakened by the splash of Jack Dyer’s galoshes. “What’s that?” Mick had asked. “Oh, that’s Jack,” Richards had replied. “Jumping Jack.” The rest is rock history.

Jimmy’s six-year collaboration with the Stones resulted in what many critics regard as the most fruitful in rock history. Writing in Rolling Stone in May 2018, reporter/critic Jim Merlis called Jimmy’s five albums with the Stones—Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street, Goats Head Soup—not only the Stones’ best work, but four of the “greatest rock albums of all time.” (I would probably not include Goats Head Soup in that list.)

Merlis wrote that my brother had brought out the best in the band in two ways. First, Jimmy had encouraged experimentation. When the band played the demo for “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” on a mono cassette, for instance, and Richards said how much he liked the distorted sound of his acoustic guitar overloading the tape, Jimmy suggested that they record the guitar part that way.

So they did.


Filed under Uncategorized