Daily Archives: November 23, 2020

TFW you first face your mortality

Classic.

Screenshot_2020-11-23 John Theus on Twitter

10 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Even when you think you know, you don’t really know.

Damn, all those first team reps and the team is still all “not ’til Kirby says so”.

11 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Damn, this is good.

Inject these stats directly into my veins.

When’s the last time a Georgia quarterback generated numbers like that?  (Well, except for the pressure line.)

38 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Observations from the armchair, doggin’ edition

If you’d have told me before the game that (1) Mississippi State would hold Georgia to eight yards rushing; (2) MSU wouldn’t turn the ball over; (3) Georgia’s defense would give up two rushing touchdowns; and (4) Will Rogers would complete almost 80% of his pass attempts, I would have told you… well, after cursing first, I would have told you that sounded like it checked all the boxes for an embarrassing upset loss to a severely undermanned Mississippi State team.

Fortunately for Kirby Smart and his team, JT Daniels chipped in with an epic performance that I doubt anybody saw coming.  I know I didn’t.

Cue the bullet points.

  • I’m not blaming the running woes on the backs.  When he didn’t have defensive players meeting him behind the line of scrimmage, White was able to crank out some good runs.
  • Yeah, MSU was run blitzing like crazy, but that doesn’t explain everything.  That was the o-line’s worst performance in run blocking this season, and it wasn’t close.  The middle of the line, Shaffer and Hill in particular, were awful, as they were routinely beaten off the snap by defenders.  Even more troubling was that they were worse in the second half.
  • Fortunately for Daniels, pass pro was better, although Shaffer’s lack of effort that led to MSU’s third sack of the game was embarrassing.  I’d have pulled his ass after that play, but I’m not Matt Luke.  While the line’s effort may have been uneven, they were shored up by excellent work in blitz pickup from the running backs.
  • Hill is still having issues early in the game with high snaps.  There was at least one occasion I can remember when I was glad Daniels is a few inches taller than Stetson Bennett.
  • Bottom line, there’s plenty to get fixed on the offensive line.
  • Obviously, you don’t gain over 400 yards in the passing game without significant contributions from the receivers and such was the case Saturday night.  Burton had a monster night, but Pickens and Jackson also made nice contributions (aside from those blasted end zone drops).  Robertson made a nice reappearance late in the game.
  • I’m not sure there’s much more that needs to be said about Daniels, other than to take note of his accuracy and his ability to read the field, things that have been sorely lacking before.  I assume time will take care of his shortcomings, not checking out of bad running situations, holding on to the ball a little too long on occasion and a right knee that still appears tender.  (If you doubt that, go back and look at his footwork when he threw the deep balls.  It’s awkward.)  He’s got a real gun, though, as his intermediate pass attempts showed.
  • One more thing — he was brilliant on the one drive when Mississippi State wasn’t playing run over pass, the two-minute drill that led to Georgia’s last score of the first half.
  • Defensively, yeesh.  This team clearly wasn’t comfortable with what Dan Lanning dialed up, as evidenced most obviously by that heated exchange between Rice and Webb after a (fortunately) dropped pass by a wide open receiver.
  • The thing is, I don’t get it.  Georgia came out playing the exact same scheme pretty much every defense has employed against Leach’s offense since the LSU game, and employed successfully.  Georgia gave up more than 100 passing yards than Vandy did the week before.
  • Needless to say, the defense is having difficulty defending the underneath passing game.  It’s been a weakness for a while, starting from the basic problem that Georgia doesn’t have an inside linebacker who’s good in coverage.
  • The problem with playing bend but don’t break defense is that it counts on the opposing offense screwing up on its own, and when that doesn’t happen, the defense allows scores and gives the other team the opportunity to control the clock, which allows the opposing defense to stay off the field for a longer time.  That was huge for a shorthanded MSU team.
  • Not to mention that Mississippi State’s offense did screw up!  If plays had been made on the two potential interceptions, the final result would have been considerably different.  That’s another disturbing mini-trend that started in the second half of the Florida game.
  • Then there’s the other thing I’m genuinely puzzled about:  why is it taking Georgia so long to make defensive adjustments?  We saw the same thing in the Florida game, as the defense was gashed repeatedly by wheel routes.  Saturday night, it was apparent the combination of a three-man rush and setting the linebackers 9-15 yards off the line of scrimmage was an invitation to dink and dunk all the way down the field, something Leach was more than happy to accept, until Lanning finally tightened things up late in the third quarter after MSU had tied the game up again.
  • I know injuries have hurt this defense and I know Leach’s version of the Air Raid isn’t something Georgia’s going to run into for the rest of this season (although most offenses these days use some Air Raid concepts), but the reality is that this team’s pass defense was overrated coming into the season.  With the quarterback situation appearing to be addressed, this is now the biggest flaw Smart must deal with, ironic as that may be for Mr. Defensive Guru.
  • Outside of one bad punt which, unlike the case in the Florida game, didn’t cause any harm, special teams played well.  MSU had zero return yardage and Podlesny didn’t miss any of his kicks.
  • I’ve already dissected Lanning, but let me just say that I love how Monken keeps trucking.  You can bitch about the run calls if you like — do you realize how strange it sounds to accuse a Georgia offensive coordinator of calling too many run plays? — but let me remind you that the final run/pass ratio was 23/38, and that was with a couple of kneel downs to finish the game.  Yeah, Daniels is a talented kid, but somebody had to get him ready to play after more than a year of inactivity and a limited number of reps.  Monken is everything I hoped he would be.  I just hope it all pays off next season.
  • This was not one of Smart’s finest hours.  The reality is that Georgia beat a team that suited up less than fifty scholarship players by only a touchdown, a team that looked more ready to play than his own did.  He got outcoached by Mike Leach.  What saved him in the end was a willingness to go against his gut instinct and let the passing game rule the day.  Had Bennett started, I don’t think we’d be as happy as we are now.

Georgia is in an unusual place.  Many of the assumptions we and the coaching staff had about this season before it got underway have proven to be unreliable.  Strangely enough, though, much of that has led me to a sense of optimism about where things may be heading.  I do think the o-line problems are fixable.  If Kirby Smart can’t address what’s wrong with the defense, well, then, I don’t know who can.  Meanwhile, the burning problem that’s plagued this team since Jamie Newman took an untimely powder looks to be addressed.

Mixed bag?  Eh, maybe.  Even so, I’m looking forward very much to seeing what this team can do this week in Columbia.

43 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Great game, kid. Now, let’s see you do it again.

Yeah, JT Daniels really brought something Saturday night this Georgia program’s been starving for — the deep ball.

Ain’t that the truth.  And he did it over and over again.

The Bulldogs mustered three pass plays of 40 or more yards in the first six games. They had four on Saturday.

“I’m smiling when the ball goes 50 yards,” Salyer said.

There were seven pass plays of 30 or more yards in the first six games. There were five on Saturday to three different receivers — Jermaine Burton, Kearis Jackson and Demetris Robertson — and that’s with George Pickens’ longest catch on the night of 28 yards.

And with two drops in the end zone, I might add.

It was something of an historic performance, as Weiszer notes.

It certainly didn’t keep him from going where no Georgia quarterback has gone in a Bulldog starting quarterback debut with his 401 passing yards.

Nobody had even hit 300 yards passing in his first start going back to at least 2001.

Hutson Mason came the closest with 299 against Georgia Tech in 2013.

D.J. Shockley threw for 289 against Boise State in 2005 and five touchdowns.

David Greene passed for 285 and two touchdowns on 21 of 29 passing against Arkansas State in 2001.

True freshman Matthew Stafford passed for 107 yards without a touchdown against UAB in 2006.

Georgia and its fans can only hope that Daniels showed what’s to come in this Monken offense.

And that’s the thing — can we?  Daniels faced a defense that sold out to stop the run and left him with tons of one on one matchups that he and his receivers were able to exploit.  What happens when he faces defenses that don’t take such an extreme approach?  (Aside from Georgia being able to run the ball better, that is.)

PFF notes the downside to an historic performance.

Not only did Daniels have the most surprising performance of the night, but he might have very well had the most surprising performance of the entire 2020 season.

After struggling in his true freshman season back in 2018 at USC, tearing his ACL in the 2019 opener, losing his starting job and subsequently transferring to Georgia, Daniels finally put together that five-star performance many were expecting from the get-go.

Though it wasn’t all peaches and roses for Daniels to start in Week 12. On his first drive back since his injury in 2019, Daniels looked like the quarterback we saw in 2018 when he put up a 59.8 PFF grade that ranked 118th in the FBS. He threw one right to the linebacker that ended up being a dropped interception, and then the next play took a bad sack that ended the drive.

From that point on, Daniels was nearly perfect. He recorded a 97.0 passing grade following that first series, featuring six deep completions for 232 yards and three touchdowns.

It was a promising debut for Daniels, who quite frankly has never played as well in his entire collegiate career. We still need to see a lot more from him before we proclaim him the Bulldogs’ saving grace, but if Daniels does manage to keep this up, it would be a statistical anomaly.

He really played at a different level than he showed at USC.  Is that sustainable?  I think it is, based on the surrounding talent and Todd Monken, but that may be the romantic in me.  I have to admit, for now at least, it’s a valid question.

45 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Visions of 1984

This might be the most arrogant attitude from a mid-major squad since Danny White showed his ass after UCF’s undefeated season.

Hint:  you won’t be in the top four, BYU.

This is the kind of call that comes back to bite you in the ass.  Play Washington and win, and you just might cement an undefeated season with a CFP appearance.  Instead, you get to keep dragging Sagarin’s 112th rated strength of schedule around like a ball and chain.  Well played.

16 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

Some things don’t change.

I think it’s worth pointing out that quarterbacks may come and go at Georgia this season…

… but Todd Monken’s play design abides.

10 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

A little Dabo’d do ‘ya

Shot and chaser:

The man really doesn’t GAS what people think of him.  I kinda have to respect that, in a weird way.

21 Comments

Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake

When dad is happy, everybody’s happy.

You may not be satisfied with JT Daniels’ first start not coming until this past weekend, but you’re not JT’s father.

“I was out here in August and saw JT in a scrimmage, and you could tell he wasn’t 100 percent,” Steve Daniels said, referring to the Aug. 29 closed scrimmage that Smart allowed parents to attend.

“You could see it in JT’s throws, he wasn’t able to get the same velocity on some of his passes, and that’s one of the things that separates him, is his accuracy.”

… Steve Daniels explained why the family did not second-guess, even though he knew his son was eager to play at Georgia after selecting the Bulldogs over the likes of Washington, Michigan and Tennessee.

“As parents, Ali and I feel blessed to be at a place like Georgia with a coach like Kirby, who put our son’s health first and foremost,” Steve Daniels said. “Kirby didn’t rush him or put him out there too soon, and that’s why you come to a place like this, for this kind of support.

“Look at the support Kirby and the staff gave D’Wan Mathis the year before.”

Gee, I wonder how that plays on the recruiting trail.  And, just maybe, how it should play with the fan base.

44 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

SEC net ypp, Week 9

Another week, another set of net yardage figures in the book.

Here’s the conference order by net yards per play, with the offensive ypp and defensive ypp, respectively, in parenthesis.

As I’ve been doing, I also show the week-to-week change in the net figure (stats via cfbstats.com.)

  1. Alabama:  2.78 (7.92; 5.14) [net change:  +.24]
  2. Florida:  1.37 (7.42; 6.05) [net change:  +.07]
  3. TAMU:  1.15 (6.71; 5.56) [net change:  DNP]
  4. Arkansas:  0.58 (5.92; 5.34) [net change:  +.39]
  5. Georgia:  0.49 (5.58; 5.09) [net change: +.10]
  6. Auburn:  0.41 (5.84; 5.43) [net change:  -.10]
  7. Ole Miss:  -0.14 (7.06; 7.20) [net change:  DNP]
  8. Kentucky:  -0.32 (5.03; 5.35) [net change:  -.57]
  9. Missouri:  -0.63 (5.23; 5.85) [net change: +.23}
  10. Mississippi State: -0.70 (4.71; 5.41) [net change:  -.08]
  11. Tennessee:  -.87 (4.98; 5.85) [net change:  +.22]
  12. South Carolina:  -.96 (5.44; 6.40) [net change:  +.16]
  13. LSU:  -1.49 (5.89; 7.35) [net change:  -.47]
  14. Vanderbilt:  -2.19 (4.96; 7.15) [net change:  +.03]

Here’s the current order for turnover margin.

  • +8:  Arkansas
  • +5:  Alabama
  • +4:  Auburn, Kentucky, LSU
  • +1:  Florida, TAMU
  •  0:  South Carolina
  • -2:  Georgia
  • -3:  Ole Miss, Tennessee
  • -4:  Missouri
  • -7:  Mississippi State
  • -8:  Vanderbilt

And, observations:

  • It was weird last week and it’s even weirder now:  for two straight weeks, the turnover margin numbers have remained unchanged.
  • Don’t look now, but Alabama’s looking pretty stout defensively.
  • For those who think Florida could give the Tide a run for its money in the SECCG, the numbers above say otherwise.
  • Most of the conference is, again, underwater when it comes to net ypp.

3 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Stats Geek!