“You rarely see dropped balls on this field.”

Unless you’re feeling particularly masochistic, I would advise you to avoid reading Bruce Feldman’s piece ($$) on LSU’s preparation for the SECCG.  It’s thoroughly depressing from a Dawgs perspective.  But there are a couple of little tidbits in there about Joe Brady, the guy Orgeron brought in to invigorate LSU’s offense, worth sharing.

One, here’s something Brady did in an attempt to fix a problem with the Tigers’ passing game:

Brady, who also coaches wideouts, has been creative at hard-wiring his players’ hands and minds. During downtime at practice, he will gather some of the receivers in a circle for the football version of pepper, where he’ll fling a tennis ball randomly at each from five feet away while calling out a play, expecting each to respond with his assignment while making the grab. A year ago, LSU ranked No. 96 in FBS in catch percentage, dropping almost 16 percent of catchable passes, according to Pro Football Focus. After an off-season spent catching thousands of passes in spite of all sorts of obstructions, the Tigers rank No. 8 in catch percentage, and that drop rate is down to less than 5 percent.

Baglio says, “That’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.”

I’m not suggesting that everything translates over neatly between football programs, but apparently there are detail-oriented exercises that can lead to improvement.  I’ve got to believe that someone as obsessed with details as Kirby Smart appears to be can find a few fixes of his own this offseason.

Oh, and did you catch that “also coaches wideouts” reference?  Here’s what Feldman was referring to.

“See Joe right there?” The head coach pauses the film and triggers the laser pointer at Joe Brady, the Tigers’ 30-year-old passing game coordinator standing by some of the LSU defensive backs. “See where Joe’s at, right? He makes sure those coverages are exact. He works his ass off. He is friggin’ making sure that them dang coverages are exactly how he wants them…”

The passing game coordinator was working with the defensive backs on coverage.  Again, I know it’s his bailiwick and I’m not suggesting that Kirby has to slavishly copy what works for another program, but, damn, there’s nothing wrong with having a fresh eye look over things.

The big lesson from the piece is that after a few shots at head coaching, Orgeron has finally reached a place where he’s comfortable hiring people and giving them room to operate.  Obviously there’s a happy medium there — his one-year run with Matt Canada was a disappointment, to say the least — but look at the results when you get the right people and let them do their jobs.  Good things can definitely happen.

14 Comments

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14 responses to ““You rarely see dropped balls on this field.”

  1. RangerRuss

    Apparently Ed O is much smarter than folks thought. I know Kirby is a smart man. It’d be a shame if he’s as hard headed as often he seemed this year. I suspect he knew the deficiencies of his team better than any of us and actually did a great job with the offensive personnel on hand. If he hires and develops coaches as well as he recruits the Dawgs will be in good shape in the future. It’d be a shame to see Kirby only reach his potential after being released for standards at UGA and winning it all at one of our rivals.
    As Gary Sinise said in The Stand,”Country doesn’t mean stupid.”

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    • McTyre

      Agreed. I’m not convinced that the Kirby-changing-his-offensive-philosophy that’s in order is schematic or hiring a savant OC. The 2017 team was boatracing good-great competition without having to throw it around like LSU-Joes Edition and Bama-Tua Edition. My 2 cents is that Kirby needs to open his mind to QBs who can make good decisions and throws AND run occasionally (read option, short yardage and when the pocket collapses) . . . and
      and devalue a bit the coach-at-the-LOS part of the job description. One could argue this is one area where Kirby’s chess-playing tendencies have compromised his ability to attract elite QB talent. Pocket passer versus dual threat spread QB is a false alternative.
      The second area where Kirby needs to adjust offensively is to hire an OC with the experience and bonafides to talk Kirby out of in-game control over O play calling that’s unsound. I suspect that Coley offers less resistance to this than did Chaney given the latter’s linger track record of play calling, play design and gameplanning.

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      • Russ

        Your last point was why I was hoping Bobo would be coming home. I figure he could stand up to Kirby. Of course, that may be the exact reason Kirby said he never talked to him about a job here.

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  2. The other Doug

    Does anyone know UGA’s “pass catch percentage”? Obviously that would be an interesting stat.

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  3. Salty Dawg

    From your lips to the Kirbster’s ears! I hope he will be open to hiring some people that have valued insight into helping our offense. And I mean peeps who have the cred to back it up, even if they stay for just a year. Coach O got it right this season. Can’t wait to see how LSU fairs next year without the Joes.

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  4. Salty Dawg

    Not sure on how to post this from SEC Shorts on You Tube, so sorry if the link is screwed up but it’s worth watching!

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  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    Why is it always somebody else?

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  6. CEPH

    From the mouth of a damn good coach, “poor assistant coaches will get you fired” Steve Spurrier. So when his assistants didn’t perform he replaced them. Kirby took the easy way out. Instead of going through the trouble of interviewing coaches and maybe just maybe coming with some new ideas he just promoted from within when he had someone available.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. W Cobb Dawg

    Brady (and Burrow) will be gone for bigger & better opportunities soon enough. So we’ll see if Coach Oeaux can replicate the 2019 success.

    Kirby’s only in his 4th season. Yet two former assistants are HCs (Tucker, Pittman), with another two hired away as OCs (Chaney, Johnson). Not to mention Sherrer left to become a DC. Where’s Orgeron’s coaching tree? Other than hitting paydirt with Brady, I’m at a loss to name anyone who’s substantially benefitted by being one of his assistants.

    I’m as disappointed as everyone else at how the season wound up. But Kirby is an excellent coach, who’s best years are definitely ahead of him. Is there really anyone contemplating that we’d be better off with Orgeron instead of Kirby for the long haul?

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    • California dawg

      I don’t think anyone is arguing Kirby is a bad coach. There’s certainly no one else I’d rather have as an HC for the University of Georgia right now. He is at a bit of a crossroads after this season though – will he demonstrate a willingness and ability to adapt and adjust his philosophy and our offensive coaching staff so our offense isn’t the trainwreck it was this year? If he does then I agree his best years are absolutely ahead of him.

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    • DawgPhan

      I can’t wait to take my kids over to athens and show them all the coaching tree champions trophies. Maybe get lunch at Cali-n-titos after.. great day.

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  8. Russ

    I read and linked to this earlier in the week. Great article, but yeah it’s depressing that it’s not about us. Hopefully Kirby reads it and learns from it.

    So maybe coaching DOES factor into it? Imagine that.

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  9. 123fakest

    I hate WRs. How can you justify a scholarship when you’re dropping nearly 20% of catchable balls.
    Go play defense.

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  10. David

    Meanwhile, Todd Hartley is busy yelling at reporters after his offense managed to score TWO WHOLE TOUCHDOWNS against Florida.

    The comparison to how Burrow looked this year vs how Fromm looked this year proceeds along analogous lines.

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