Daily Archives: September 22, 2020

COVID strikes again.

And it isn’t some lowly mid-major backing out, either.

Week 15 just got a little more crowded, methinks.

12 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, The Body Is A Temple

Next time, pay attention.

A couple of interesting tweets from Hutson Mason today…

I know some blamed the coaches for not taking the time to review coverage dos and don’ts in that situation with the two knuckleheads who ruined what should have been one of the greatest comebacks in Georgia football history, because their play was so dumb it had to be chalked up to faulty coaching.

It turns out you can lead a horse to water, but…

47 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

What’s in store for Georgia’s defense Saturday?

You know, it’s worth mentioning that Georgia won’t be the only team trotting out a new offense in Fayetteville.  Sam Pittman’s offensive coordinator is Kendal Briles, who is Art’s son and runs the old Baylor offensive scheme.

If you want to get the baggage part of the story out of the way first, yes, Briles has been carrying it, as evidenced by his resume since leaving Waco.

Including his final season at Baylor, Arkansas will be his fifth school in five years. Since leaving Waco, Briles had one-year stints as the offensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic, Houston and Florida State before landing the same job with the Razorbacks under first-year head coach Sam Pittman.

He keeps getting jobs for one reason.

Despite not being anywhere long enough to establish sustained success, Briles has been in charge of some dramatic Year 1 turnarounds.

As illustrated in the graphs below, the Owls, Cougars and Seminoles each saw a jump in scoring and total offense – as well as yards per play and the SP+ offensive rating – with him calling the shots.

So, whatever he’s running has worked.  What, then, is his scheme?  It’s not the Air Raid.  Instead, as Ian Boyd explained in his 2013 primer about Art Briles’ philosophy, it’s a spread scheme designed to do a little of everything.

And it’s not the air raid. It’s not the run ‘n’ shoot. It’s not just a spread offense. It’s a blend head coach Art Briles has been cooking up for decades now…

Baylor’s hybrid offensive approach essentially combines many of the greatest tactics in offensive football into one cohesive and simple package.

First is Baylor’s employment of the spread offense. Baylor’s spread is more intense than most, with even the inside receivers lining up outside of the hash marks. Most every team in college football utilizes some aspect of spread tactics, but everything Baylor does is built around spacing out defenses so that individual matchups can be hammered.

On the outside, speed is king. Baylor sends every receiver vertical early and often in every game. In particular, they love that most defensive schemes match safeties or linebackers in coverage against their slot receivers, so they make a habit of using play action or vertical routes. That makes safeties have to turn and run with 4.4 sprinters like Reese.

Who supports a safety in that task? By definition they are already the support players, the last lines of defense, the reinforcements. Briles attacks them first.

The Bear attack to the middle of the field is all about power. Right guard Desmine Hilliard weighs 330 pounds. Preseason All-American left guard Cyril Richardson weighs about 340. Baylor’s run game is primarily based in inside zone and power-O blocking. Meaning, defensive linemen are constantly getting blocked at an angle or by double teams coming straight at them.

Baylor then pairs these running concepts with quarterback reads. Bryce Petty can either throw a perimeter screen or quick pass or keep the ball himself, based on his read of “overhang” defenders. These are the players who are being stressed to choose whether they’ll align outside to run down a screen pass or inside to fill an interior running play. Read-option concepts guarantee those defenders are always wrong.

Of course, Baylor also has some of the best play-action as well. Old school, new school, it’s all there in Waco.

The point is to spread defenses out to an extreme, make quick reads and exploit the numbers.  And they go fast, too, which makes adjusting and substituting harder.  (That’s probably going to drive Kirby crazy Saturday.)

Here’s how what Kendal Briles calls was described at a Nole blog last year:

The Briles offense is among the more unique schemes in football. Some have dubbed it “The Veer and Shoot”– a reference to Art Briles’ experience playing in the Houston Veer offense under Bill Yeoman in the mid-70’s. I personally find “spread iso” to be more fitting of the scheme’s general philosophy.

The offenses’ primary objective is to use spacing to create one-on-one matchups for receivers while also dictating favorable box numbers for a varied run game. The offense operates at a hyper speed, regularly having one of the faster tempos in the nation. Plays are run within 15 seconds of each other, often leading to confused defenses and coverage busts. This is honed during practice, which is conducted at an even faster pace.

Coaches often tout their tempo and attacking mindset. In Briles’ case, it’s not lip service. This offense is one of the more aggressive mindsets I’ve seen in football, at any level. The stated purpose of the offense is to try to score on every snap. Whether it’s the regular deep shots, the tempo or going for it on 4th down, the foot rarely if ever comes off the gas. At its peak, the offense isn’t just among the best in the nation, but aggressive to the point it plays mind games with opposing defenses.

Briles is flexible when it comes to personnel, but there’s only so much he can do in that regard considering Georgia’s defensive prowess.  Speed at linebacker, a dominate defensive front and a secondary that can handle single coverage is going to make for tough sledding. That being said, Arky’s offensive line is decent and he’s got one of the best running backs in the conference in Rakeem Boyd.  We’ll see how Smart and Lanning handle it.

 

32 Comments

Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Strategery And Mechanics

“My gut tells me if they play games, they’ll get their full payment.”

If you want to tell yourself the POTUS saved Big Ten football this season, knock yourself out.  Personally, I’m going with the Big Ten Network.

Restoring the football season also bolsters the other major arm of the conference’s television revenue package, the Big Ten Network, which it operates in partnership with Fox. Without football (or fall sports more generally), BTN would have struggled badly for programming, and advertising as well.

In the conference’s current media setup, it pulls in $440 million from external partners, but also more than $100 million from BTN-specific revenue. Restarting football strengthens that revenue stream once again.

And all this puts advertising dollars back on the table as well. Crakes estimated the conference might see 60-70% of that revenue restored to what it would have been under normal circumstances.

The article estimates that if the season can be played, that’s worth somewhere in the range of $40-60 million to Indiana.  That ain’t chump change, especially now.

Yeah, I think the conference made the mistake of thinking it was leading the charge to close down the season.  But once it saw that several of its peers weren’t following, the it wasn’t going to walk away from millions it badly needs.  The Big Ten isn’t a suicide pact.

14 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football

In your heart, you know he’s right.

I know it’s a foolish hope on my part, but I really wanted this season’s scheduling format to leave a mark.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

That sucks, Greg.

The justifications to do so look weak to me, considering.  The SEC is likely to have one or two teams that don’t lose more than a single game in 2020, so the schedule isn’t going to keep the conference out of the CFP.

As for keeping bowl season safe for the Mississippi schools, I think it’s time to start lobbying the NCAA to drop the six-win requirement.  The lower bowls are nothing but broadcast fodder for ESPN anyway, so why not just look for entertainment wherever you can find it?  Personally, I would love to see how upper-tier mid-majors do against lower tier ACC schools.  Even better, give me an Arkansas-Vandy bowl game so we can see which team is the conference’s worst.  I’d sure watch.

Waiting twelve years to visit a cross-division stadium is a joke.  Allowing players to miss facing certain SEC opponents during the course of their careers is, too.  Playing cupcake games doesn’t make up for it.  A conference in name only isn’t much of a conference.  Listen to Saban and fix it, fellas.

60 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

So, what are we getting on offense Saturday?

Jake Rowe:

Todd Monken will make his debut as UGA’s offensive coordinator and Matt Luke will be in his second game as the offensive line coach with a different group than he had earlier this year in the Allstate Sugar Bowl win over Baylor. The Bulldogs are also in transition at running back and tight end.

Simply put, as it relates to the offensive side of the ball, we’ve never really seen anything like this UGA team. Whether that’s a good or bad is yet to be determined but the offense is new and most of the players are new. I’m on record as saying I think the Bulldogs could scuffle a little early in the season. In fact, I fully expect inconsistency and struggles. Combine no spring drills, fewer practices in the preseason than normal, and all the new faces and it’s hard to expect anything else.

That’s not to say that the Monken-Mathis combination can’t find it’s groove early on. Much stranger things have happened but it takes an eternal optimist to expect that…

Sam Pittman:

“Well, the great thing that we have is we have our own offense, so that will help us prepare a little bit closer than if we were just a totally 12-personnel team and go downhill and hit you in the mouth. So, I think that part of it has helped us prepare a little bit, and then certainly we have different segments of scout work right now that we’re trying to prepare for – the different schematics and the different quarterbacks that we may see. Therefor, you won’t get as much reps against what they’re certainly going to do than you would to prepare for everything. So, that’s always the thought behind not naming your quarterback, all those things. One is you probably don’t know who it’s going to be yet. And two, the opponent has to prepare for two or three like we’re doing for Georgia, right now.”

Kearis Jackson:

I know some of you think Monken should keep the playbook shut against the Hogs and show nothing to future opposing defensive coordinators.  Unfortunately, I don’t think Monken has that luxury.  There are a lot of kinks that have to be worked out and the only way that’s gonna happen is to use at least some of the new playbook.

It’s not just Monken, either, as the above quotes indicate.  Matt Luke brought in his own vision of line play and I would assume Faulkner has provided some input as well.  Between that and the new personnel, there are a lot of moving parts that will need time to mesh and going up against one of the weakest teams in the conference is as good a time to start working on that as any.

So, no, I don’t expect to see them throw out the kitchen sink Saturday, but I would be surprised to see a straight replay of last season’s scheme.

6 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Larry Scott, a man for his time

How do you know when you’re watching an Olympic-class shitheel at work?  Paying out performance bonuses to high level employees approximately one month before half the staff was laid off or furloughed is a fairly ordinary shitheel move.

What elevates it to the truly spectacular is moving up the bonus payment schedule so that it came before the layoffs.

“I have no idea why they changed the schedule, but I was surprised,’’ one networks employee said. “I was just told, ‘Heads up, bonuses will be paid at the end of the week.’’’

A conference spokesperson said the payment timeline was accelerated to coincide with salary reductions for the highly-paid employees and because — with furloughs and layoffs possible if the football season was disrupted — the payments could be used to “support the retention of key employees.”

Yeah, I’m sure losing key employees during a pandemic shutdown was a real risk.

If Larry Scott has a bottom, I don’t think we’ve found it yet.

1 Comment

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football

Transfers **are** for coaches.

Kirby kind of gives the game away here.

On the issues of facing a staff that has such familiarity with the program…

“I don’t know that there are real issues, to be honest with you. I don’t put a huge premium on them having been part of our organization. I look at it as, they’re coaching their team and we’re coaching our team. There’s not a lot of trade secrets in football. You have to be able to block, you have to be able to tackle, you have to be able to communicate on the field.  We have a different offense than we had last year and a lot of the connection to our program was through the offensive side of the ball with Coach Pittman.  I’m not looking at it as those guys that were here last year being an issue for us there. They’re doing the best job they can to prepare their team and we’re doing the best job we can to prepare ours.  It usually boils down to what the players do on the grass, not what we do as coaches.”

If that’s the case for coaches who were involved in schemes and game planning, just think how much weaker the argument is for players who transfer.  There aren’t any dark secrets.  There’s just the element of control.

And while I’m on the subject, this is some weird bullshit.

Graf is also reporting that Kentucky has a “gentleman’s agreement” with Auburn that Gatewood will not play on Sept. 26 as a way to show thanks for Auburn’s cooperation with the waiver request. That part was not confirmed but it would be a very interesting turn of events…

That’s one way to put it.

2 Comments

Filed under Transfers Are For Coaches.

Third time’s a charm.

Shot.

Chaser.

Even Booch and SOD managed to win their openers.

You know, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings in the slightest if Boom managed to pull off an upset Saturday.

6 Comments

Filed under Agent Muschamp Goes Boom, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Musical palate cleanser, look out for the mic stand edition

I don’t know what I love more about this clip, the way Ronnie Lane and Ron Wood have to duck out of the way as Rod Stewart flails that mic stand, or the boss way Wood handles his cigarette.

The song and performance aren’t half bad, either.

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized