Daily Archives: May 18, 2020

But muh receivers, a continuing saga

For those of you who would like to drop kick Cortez Hankton right out of Athens, there is this to consider:

Those were the two true freshmen.

Maybe they and Cager (okay, maybe Robertson, too) were just better than the rest of the wideouts.

20 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Jamie Newman’s context

I’m not here to say what exactly Georgia is gonna get with its graduate transfer quarterback, only to say that what Todd Monken plans to do with Newman is likely to be vastly different from how Wake Forest deployed him.

In Wake Forest’s vertical passing scheme, 68.2% of Newman’s yards came at the point of the catch. Reminder, the highest clip among the nine SEC returning qualifiers was Jarrett Guarantano’s at 61.6%. Paired with the bombs away attitude, the Demon Deacons’ run game followed an extended mesh read scheme, which is rather peculiar to say the least. But, we aren’t here to dig into that chestnut. The point is, Newman was asked to shoulder quite a bit of Wake Forest’s run game. By the traditional volume stats, he accumulated the 14th most rush yards among D-1 quarterbacks. Furthermore, running the ball in a tiresome scheme paired with chucking it downfield at an insane clip rarely begat efficient numbers. Route tags were common off of these as 14.3% of Newman’s attempts were off RPOs. Screens were inexistent. Being winded from all the heavy lifting certainly played a toll in his numbers failing to take off. And as Wake Forest precipitously began to lose their best pass catchers to injury, Newman’s numbers remained unsatisfactory against his best opponents. Georgia will undoubtedly ask him to play differently. But there’s no denying those troubling stats against his hardest opponents.

How much of those 2019 stats can be attributed to scheme and how much to Newman is a question we don’t have an answer to.  But it goes without saying he won’t be utilized in a similar fashion this season, nor will Georgia’s offense be quarterback-centric to the same extent as Wake Forest’s was.

Here are some stats (via cfbstats.com) from last season to ponder:

  • Total plays:  Wake Forest 1055; Georgia 940
  • QB runs:  Newman 180; Fromm 38
  • QB throws:  Fromm 385; Newman 361
  • Percentage of total plays:  Newman 51.3%; Fromm 45%

In terms of rushing attempts, Jamie Newman was Wake’s leading rusher; Jake Fromm was Georgia’s fifth.  It’s pretty much a certainty that Newman won’t come anywhere near having the most rushing attempts on the team this year, which likely means a decline in total play percentage.

Will a better surrounding cast mean he’ll be a better quarterback?  We don’t know that.  What it will mean, though, is that he won’t have to shoulder nearly the same amount of the load as he did in 2019.  Hard to think that won’t help.

10 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Living in a post-“the spread spreads” world

The always astute Allen Kinney reiterates a point I blogged about earlier.

The spread really started to take root as a way for outmatched teams to overcome physical disadvantages in the trenches. The scarcest prospects in football are elite defensive linemen, specifically defensive tackles, and they tend to congregate at powerhouses.

Playing stacked teams on their terms with traditional personnel groupings and formations didn’t make sense for middle- and lower-tier programs. Spacing out players, leveraging advantageous one-on-one matchups and moving the action outside the tackle box helped level the playing field, metaphorically speaking.

Those days are over. The upper crust is now playing the same game as spread teams. The knock-on effects beyond offensive style are significant.

Instead of building their programs around the idea that they will see a “pro-style” offense every week, the Alabamas and Ohio States are organizing as though the spread is the norm. They are recruiting spread personnel and scheming to both run their own offense and to stop it. Consequently, a Texas Tech or a Northwestern no longer benefit from playing style the elites eschew.

The playing field has been leveled, just not in the way that the spread pioneers intended.

So, where do things go from here?  In the absence of rules changes (hello, RPOs!), Allen suggests a little contrarianism might be in store for some programs.

More likely, teams on the lower rungs will look to revert back to manball-ish styles of play. A consensus is forming around the idea that the best path to defending the spread is flooding the field with hybrid defenders along the lines of the 3-3-3 scheme dreamed up by Iowa State defensive coordinator Jim Heacock. The trade-off: taking some size off the field.

That may create openings for underdogs to push around opponents using heavier personnel and downhill rushing attacks. At the very least, opposing defenses may be forced to abandon their base schemes and lineups to handle sets with two and three tight ends. For example, consider what Kansas State is doing now under Chris Klieman and how that played out versus OU in 2019.

Throwback styles won’t generate eye-popping statistics and impressive headlines. For overmatched teams that can’t afford to play sexy and hope to win, though, they may still be the way forward.

To which I can only say:  eh, maybe.  Allen is suggesting that for overmatched teams, not elite ones.  With regard to the latter, I don’t think a slugging style of offense is going to succeed in this day and age without being coupled to a top-flight defense capable of slowing down spread offensive attacks.  And even saying that, isn’t that what we had in Georgia last season?  How well did that work out at crunch time?

You can tell me all you like that last season’s LSU offense was generationally exceptional.  The problem with that take is that the Tigers didn’t finish first in yards per play last season.  That would have been Oklahoma.  And Alabama was tied with LSU in that metric.

You can also tell me that Georgia’s problem at the SECCG was an offense that saw it ypp production drop a full yard from 2018.  Except Georgia dropped that SECCG, as well, to another dynamic Alabama offense.

I know I’m singing a different tune than the one I used to warble.  The main reasons for that are alluded to in Allen’s post.

Everything about the football landscape is pushing college coaches toward the spread. It’s proliferating at the high school level, and 7-on-7 passing leagues are booming in the offseason. Prep quarterbacks are training year-round with passing gurus. Rules have tilted dramatically in favor of offenses. As such, the “blocking and tackling” of football are now spread skills and concepts.

Equally importantly on the college level: The rules are undeniably hospitable towards RPOs.

The undertow at this point is too strong, I believe, for a traditional ground and pound offense to maintain its footing.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so.

I’d love to hear Kirby discuss this.  Maybe we’ll hear more once we see how Georgia’s offense looks in 2020.

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Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

Business as usual

Shot.

“Hoping the coaches themselves and their agents have the ability to recognize what we’re all dealing with nationally and internationally, which impacts every facet of our business and hoping that even in the most successful situations there’s a recognition of that and find a way to work together: Can we do an extension with no pay increase and those type of things?’ Ingram said. “’We want you to be here and we want you to be our coach. But goodness sakes, look at what we just dealt with from this past season whenever that is.’ I’d like to think there will be an understanding.”

Chaser.

There’s definitely an understanding, alright.

************************************************************************

UPDATE:  Well, shit, Brett.  Didn’t realize it was April 1st.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness

Moar bets

BetMGM has posted new spreads on a bunch of college football games.  Georgia has five games among those:

Sept. 7: Georgia 17.5 over Virginia (Atlanta)

Sept. 19 Alabama 7.5 over Georgia (Tuscaloosa)

Oct. 10 Georgia 7.5 over Auburn (Athens)

Oct. 31 Georgia 3.5 over Florida (Jacksonville)

Nov. 7 Georgia 12.5 over South Carolina (Columbia, S.C.)

Nov. 28 Georgia 24.5 over Georgia Tech (Athens)

The general impression there is that the spreads appear to be tightening.  Well, except for the game in Tuscaloosa.

Some other games of note, at least to my puzzled mind:

Clemson plays at Georgia Tech and is a 23.5-point favorite, which is fairly close to the spread in the Georgia game.  Similarly, Virginia travels to Clemson, which is favored by 26.5; not really sure how that explains the spread in the Georgia-Virginia game.  Even weirder, South Carolina is a 23.5-point underdog at Clemson.

The World’s Greatest Meteor Game lands in Knoxville this year.  Florida is a 6.5-point favorite.  Alabama also travels to Tennessee and the Tide is favored by 14.5.

LSU travels to Florida, where it is a 2.5-point underdog.  LSU is also a 2.5-point underdog at home when it faces Alabama.

Mississippi hosts the Egg Bowl; it is favored by 3.5 points.  The Iron Bowl is in Tuscaloosa.  ‘Bama is a 13.5-point favorite.

Thoughts?

(h/t)

15 Comments

Filed under What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

Their best and brightest

They’re talking about letting replay officials work games virtually this season due to the coronavirus, which makes sense, given that replay officials are largely older, retired former on-field referees.  That’s not really what I want to highlight in this post.

This quote from Steve Shaw, on the other hand…

“Today, the model is you work on the field until you’re kind of at the part where you’re ‘used up,’ so to speak,” Shaw said. “Then you transition to replay.

That explains so much.

8 Comments

Filed under College Football

Your Daily Gator is a winner!

In the transfer portal… with a guy who couldn’t break into the two deep at Georgia and two others who have “an injury history and must sit out pending appeals, but they’re the type of talents that can transform an offense if everything goes right.”

Remember, the Portal Master™ cannot fail.  He can only be failed.

Florida might not quite be recruiting at the level of their SEC East foe Georgia, but Mullen is scaling the gap through creative measures…

Florida, like everyone else, had its losses. The departure of offensive guard Chris Bleich (Syracuse) hurts the program’s depth up front. They also lost four-star freshman tackle Issiah Walker Jr. to the portal, the second season in a row a top 100 freshman departed Gainesville before playing a snap.

And this is supposed to be a favorable article.  Yep, you can feel that gap closing every day.

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Filed under Gators, Gators...

The quarterback whisperer

This is why they pay Gus Malzahn the big bucks.

It’s easy to see why every new Auburn quarterback is a Heisman contender before he throws his first pass.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands