Daily Archives: October 15, 2020

Don’t mess with Texas.

Old school, baby.

I have the feeling this won’t end well, both in terms of the message being sent in college football’s woke era to the players (how will they enforce it, anyway?) and also in terms of the message the AD is sending about the head coach by directly dictating to the players.



Filed under Political Wankery, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

Yes, it’s been a while.

If this doesn’t make you chuckle, there’s something wrong with you.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules

Throw the damned ball, Monken.

Jake Rowe has a good list of key matchups for Saturday’s game here.  It’s personnel oriented, and that’s why I think it’s missing what might be the biggest matchup of the day, Todd Monken versus Pete Golding.

I think that’s a face off that will have an even larger impact on which side comes out on top than will the Lanning/Sarkisian battle, simply because I expect ‘Bama will win some of those and Georgia will win some.  But after watching replays of Georgia’s and Alabama’s wins from last weekend, I think there’s a shortcoming in the ‘Bama defense that Monken has the opportunity to exploit all game.

I’ve already discussed aspects of it in other posts this week, but to sum it up:

  • Alabama’s pass defense is vulnerable to passes over the middle of the field.
  • Stetson Bennett likes throwing to the middle of the field, and, more importantly, has been successful doing so.

Add to that, Nick Saban’s bout with COVID means he’s leaving Pete Golding out on an island to defend Georgia’s passing attack, so to speak, and I think that puts Monken in a position to make some real hay in the passing game.

Spend a few minutes watching The Battle Hymnal’s Alabama preview, and I think you’ll get a pretty good idea of what I mean.

Monken doesn’t run a variant of Art Briles’ Baylor scheme, as Ole Miss does, but that doesn’t mean he can’t find creative ways besides lining up wideouts next to the sidelines to create open space to give Bennett some easy pitch and catch opportunities.  In fact, we’ve already seen plenty of that in Georgia’s first three games.  After watching those clips, it’s not exactly crazy to picture an open tight end running down the seam, playing pitch and catch with Stetson.

Now, I don’t expect Georgia to go all Air Raid Saturday.  Not that it needs to:  Ole Miss ran the ball almost twice as often (57 carries) as it threw (29 passing attempts) en route to gaining 647 yards against that vaunted (once-vaunted?) Tide defense.  Those are numbers that ought to warm the cockles of Kirby Smart’s stern heart.

And as far as pace goes, Kiffin got a lot of credit for going into hyperdrive last week, but if you look at the number of plays Ole Miss has run versus the number Georgia has, you might be a little surprised.  On the season,

  • Georgia:  239
  • Ole Miss:  231

Georgia ran more plays against Arkansas than Ole Miss ran against Alabama.

The opportunity is there.  In fact, I’ll go on record right now saying that if the Dawgs can generate an effective passing game, they’ll win.


Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

The NCAA, making changes

The NCAA’s Division I Council has been a busy beaver this week.  Here’s what the members voted on:

  • All winter athletes in NCAA Division I sports will be given an additional year of eligibility.
  • All football programs will be allowed to compete in bowl games — regardless of their records.
  • “The council intends to propose new rules that would dictate how athletes can make money from their names, images and likenesses and a new rule that would allow all athletes to transfer one time without having to sit out a season.”

That’s an ambitious agenda.  Some of that has fairly significant lasting impact on college athletics.  For an outfit that has trouble walking and chewing gum at times, you can’t help but wonder how smooth the sailing for all that will be.


Filed under The NCAA

“Scoring is up, but why?”

Bud Elliott has a really smart piece up exploring some of the reasons behind why scoring in SEC games has increased significantly (16% over 2019) so far this season.

Surprising, though, it’s not so much because teams are moving the ball much more on a per play basis.

While points might be up 16 percent per game, yards are not up in the same amount. In fact, SEC teams are averaging 5.96 yards per play in 2020, which is only about 4.5 percent higher than last year.

And the median yards per play has not increased at all. It’s actually gone slightly down, from 5.44 to 5.43.

So points are up 16 percent but yards per play are up just 4.5 percent. The points are not all coming from offenses being better at moving the football, though it is part of it.

He finds a bunch of other factors in play that have contributed to the scoring gain.  Here are some:

  • Pick-Sixes per game have doubled.
  • The SEC is throwing more.
  • Teams are playing faster.
  • All four new head coaches are offensive-minded and embrace pace.
  • More close games mean more teams are trying to score for longer.

One thing that hasn’t changed, surprisingly, is that there aren’t more explosive plays.

The rate of 20-, 30-, 40-, and 50-yard plays per game has stayed almost exactly the same year over year. And on a per-play basis, explosive plays are actually down. So the idea that teams are bombing it over the top more, or breaking more explosive plays, is simply not true.

Teams have been more efficient on early downs, though. 

Teams are having more success in early downs, however, which is a major component of being a successful offense. Tennessee had done an amazing job of avoiding long down and distance situations until it faced Georgia, shown in Every SEC Game Reviewed: Week 6.

“Tennessee had a success rate of just 19 percent on passing downs (second and eight plus, third and five plus). And it faced 21 of them, which is huge. Tennessee had to avoid those long down and distances by using its big offensive line to stay ahead of the chains, but Georgia physically whipped the vaunted Tennessee line at the line of scrimmage. Tennessee had just two yards per carry without sacks and finished with negative rushing yards when including sacks in, of which there were five.”

At least until they haven’t.

Read the whole thing.


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

Dunkin’ on Dan

McGarity confirmed yesterday that the attendance plans for the Cocktail Party won’t change, despite Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ invitation to fill the stadium.

That caps a disappointing week for Dan Mullen, who foolishly sought a scapegoat — besides third-and-Grantham, I mean — to explain his team’s loss at Texas A&M and came up with fan attendance.

Meanwhile, a certain other SEC head coach wasn’t having any of that nonsense.

Florida coach Dan Mullen, whose staff he said Wednesday had two assistants test positive, had called for Florida’s “Swamp” to be packed for Saturday’s game before it was postponed.

“He respects the importance of listening to the medical professionals,” Stricklin told ESPN.com. “Coaches sometimes say things that are outside of their area of expertise. … Dan is really good at calling ball plays.”

Georgia coach Kirby Smart was asked Wednesday if he would be OK with the attendance increasing in Jacksonville or staying at about 25 percent.

“I’d have to say that’s an SEC decision as a conference,” said Smart, whose team plays at Alabama Saturday. “I’ve got a lot more on my plate right now than thinking about that.”

The best thing about needling the Portal Master™ is that it takes so much less effort than the work he has to put into needling others.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

It’s Jimmy Sexton’s world, and we’re just living in it.

USA Today is out with its annual survey of D-1 head coaching salaries and it’s a sign of the times that the outsized numbers for many don’t even surprise me any more.

But this still does:

Buyout clauses are still booming. This year, at least five coaches would be owed $30 million or more if they were fired without cause by Dec. 1, led by Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher ($53.1 million). And more than half of Power Five coaches (33) have buyouts of $10 million or more.

“Prudent P5 athletic director” is an oxymoron.


Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Stetson’s story

Two great pieces this week worth your time, about Georgia’s starting quarterback:

  • Mark Schlabach looks at how Bennett got to where he’s at today.
  • Bruce Feldman ($$) writes about the common thread between Bennett and Alabama’s Mac Jones.

Bennett’s dad is something else, and I mean that in a good way.  Read ’em both.


Filed under Georgia Football

Moar and moar gappin’

Hey, remember just a few months ago, when Florida and Tennessee fans were chirping about how their programs were flat-out dominating 2021 recruiting?

Good times.

Screenshot_2020-10-15 2021 SEC Football Team Rankings(1)


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Recruiting

A most fastidious coach

Kirby Smart, in discussing up-tempo offense, sounds like he’s channeling his inner Miss Manners.

“You create sloppy play when you go (up) tempo. That’s no offense to Ole Miss and that’s no offense to Alabama. I see it with us. Somebody goes tempo, it gets really sloppy. At times, offensively, we’ve gone tempo, and it gets really sloppy. I think you just have to be aware that that can happen.”  [Emphasis added.]

A quote like that really makes you understand why they wouldn’t let Fromm run more up-tempo stuff last year, even though he was clearly more comfortable doing so.  Such is life with a neat freak.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics