Daily Archives: March 4, 2021

Where politics and football intersect, it just means more.

Of course this is happening.

Within the marble halls of the Mississippi State Capitol, the topic of college football is never far away.

Home to two of the SEC’s plucky underdogs, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, legislators here are always striving to make up ground on neighboring states that have more historic football powerhouses. In fact, last summer, lawmakers replaced their state flag after the NCAA and SEC banned the Rebels and Bulldogs from hosting athletic championship events in a state whose flag brandished the Confederate battle symbol.

Nine months later, another piece of college sports-themed legislation is working its way through this building. This time, a bill that would grant Mississippi college athletes rights to earn income from their name, image and likeness (NIL).

Some legislators here are even pushing through the bill despite their own opposition to it.

Why?

Crootin’.

“I don’t think any state is happy about this legislation, but we’re seeing this as a necessity,” says C. Scott Bounds, a Republican member of the Mississippi House of Representatives who’s helping oversee the bill’s journey through the state’s legislative process. “We don’t want to lose a competitive edge in recruiting, both athletically and academically, especially against those in the Southeastern Conference.”

Duh.

Screenshot_2021-03-04 States Try to One-Up Each Other in Race to Adopt NIL Laws(1)

I’m not sure what Georgia’s waiting for, to be honest.  After all, Alabama’s already got three (!) NIL bills in the hopper, scheduled to go into effect a couple of months after the governor signs.  Plus, “Alabama’s bill gives athletes the option to participate in NIL or receive $10,000 a year from the school.”

16 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery

Something else for the offseason

A couple of posts today linked to other posts that led me to consider another issue that might need correcting.  First, here’s something else from David Wunderlich’s piece:

There is a growing consensus in the NFL that sacks are a quarterback stat. Which is to say, they have more to do with how well a quarterback deals with pressure than about how well the line pass blocks.

That line of thinking is solid on the pro level, where the distance between the best and worst offensive lines is not tremendously far. It is probably not as true on the college level where there can be a wide chasm between good and bad lines. There also can be a wide chasm between how well quarterbacks with varying degrees of experience deal with pressure in college, so it may be hard to separate it all out.

But what about on the same team when there’s a quarterback change mid-season?

I ask, because I noticed on JT Daniels’ stat page at ESPN that he was sacked ten times in his four starts.

Screenshot_2021-03-04 JT Daniels Stats, News, Bio ESPN

Sure, maybe you can give him something of a pass in the bowl game, because the o-line was reshuffled.  But Georgia allowed twenty sacks in its ten games last year, so Daniels took half of those playing in two fewer games.  Some of that no doubt can be chalked up to aggressive schemes by opposing defensive coordinators, but some of that has to rest on Daniels’ shoulders, too.

37 Comments

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

“So who’s the next Mac Jones?”

Bill Connelly, laying out the stat porn this morning ($$):

Top 10 in 2020 Total QBR after Nov. 20 (min. 3 games):

1. Mac Jones, Alabama (96.8)
2. Zach Wilson, BYU (89.8)
3. JT Daniels, Georgia (89.1)
4. Brock Purdy, Iowa State (88.1)
5. Max Duggan, TCU (87.9)
6. Logan Bonner, Arkansas State (87.4)
7. Justin Fields, Ohio State (86.5)
8. Jayden Daniels, Arizona State (86.3)
9. Matt Corral, Ole Miss (86.2)
10. Sam Howell, UNC (84.7)

But wait… there’s more!

Daniels was able to stretch the field in ways that Bennett could not. While Bennett and D’Wan Mathis combined to complete just nine of 34 passes 20+ yards downfield, Daniels attempted nearly as many such passes in his four games (27) while completing 12 of them for 472 yards and four touchdowns. Raw QBR on these passes: Daniels 98.1, Bennett 62.1, Mathis 3.4.

And this is what should really get your juices flowing.

This variety and upside came in handy in the Peach Bowl… Rendered mostly inefficient, UGA leaned on raw explosiveness to get the victory. Only a few teams have the tools to do that consistently, but the Dawgs are one of them.

Hubba hubba.

9 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Florida’s offensive line, then and now

Did Florida’s offensive line improve last season because it was better or because of Kyle Trask?  David Wunderlich explores that question here.

There is real evidence to back up the idea that they could run the ball a lot better in 2020 than in 2019 despite losing Lamical Perine to the NFL. That’s clearing a low bar for sure, but the line did improve at run blocking. It’s just that the ROI on passing was tremendously high with how well Kyle Trask was playing, so it made sense to throw a lot.

Okay, but Trask is gone now, likely succeeded by Emory Jones.  So what should we expect in 2021?

The change at quarterback also bodes well for improvements. Emory Jones has been above six yards per carry in each of the past two years even without adjusting for the few sacks he’s taken, and mobile quarterbacks do tend to take fewer of them. I don’t know that UF has a nation-leading line in the offing, but getting back to 2018 levels is probably doable.

Ultimately it’ll come down to coaching and execution, but the 2021 offensive line has a real chance to be the best unit in three seasons. For Florida to avoid a speed-bump of a year, it’ll need to be.

I don’t think it’s much of a surprise that Florida’s offense is going to need a good year on the ground out of Jones to be successful.  I know some of you aren’t impressed by Jones, but he’s the kind of quarterback Mullen’s made good use of over the course of his coaching career.  He’s got experience in the system, runs the ball and throws just well enough to keep defenses honest.  Will that be enough to carry the mediocre o-line?  We’ll see.

46 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators...

It was almost like playing for the national title.

Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury is totally on board with Coach 404 because the Jackets lost to NC State.

No, really.

Instead, it was Tech’s 23-13 loss at N.C. State on Dec. 5. That was a game in which the Jackets were without 10 “Above the Line” players, including running back Jahmyr Gibbs and three top defensive ends. Stansbury said that it wasn’t certain that the game would even be played until about noon that day, hours ahead of the 4 p.m. kickoff.

“I mean, it was just crazy,” Stansbury told the AJC in a recent interview.

Despite the obstacles, the Jackets outgained the Wolfpack 412-397. The two totals were above Tech’s total offense average for the season (389.9) and well below its average for total defense (459.3).

Tech was done in by 12 penalties (a persistent problem last season) and back-to-back possessions in the second quarter in which it was stopped on fourth down inside Wolfpack territory. Despite that, the Jackets were down seven points in the fourth quarter, with one possession in the quarter for a chance to tie, to a team that finished 8-4.

“Literally, we went toe to toe with them, late in the season,” Stansbury said.

Your football team, losing to a mediocre ACC squad?

35 Comments

Filed under Georgia Tech Football

“Circumstances rule the portal.”

247Sports 2020 portal rankings show JT Daniels tied for first… with Cade Mays.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a trade I’d make every day of the week and twice on Saturdays.

16 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Transfers Are For Coaches.

“The fact that we don’t all agree on our school song doesn’t mean that we don’t all belong.”

Someone needs to explain the First Rule of Holes to Texas AD Chris Del Conte.

The football players said athletics officials, in a meeting with the players after the Oklahoma game, referenced emails from donors who said the protests could impact their job prospects after graduating. At least one other player, former defensive back Caden Sterns, made a similar claim in a tweet on Monday but declined to be interviewed.

“They said y’all don’t have to sing it. But y’all have to stay on the field. Y’all have to go over there and at least show fans appreciation for coming out and watching you guys play,” said junior linebacker DeMarvion Overshown in a Tuesday phone interview.

Athletic Director Chris Del Conte said Wednesday he had not heard donors or alumni had threatened job opportunities, adding that he was concerned that players had that impression. He denied players were forced to stay on the field.

“We simply asked for their help — no one was forced or required to do so,” he said in a statement.

The old Jerry Maguire “help me to help you” shtick, I guess.

A second player, who was on the team during the 2020 season, shared a similar recollection of the meeting with the Tribune. That player asked not to be named, for fear of retribution by the university and donors. He said it was Del Conte who told players that donors were unhappy and threatening to pull financial support.

“He kept saying these guys provide this for you. … He was mentioning, ‘We have donors talking about pulling out money from the south end zone [stadium addition project], stopping their donations,’ the second player said.

Overshown declined to name the athletic officials, but the second player said it was former head coach Tom Herman and Del Conte who relayed the donor sentiments.

Del Conte denied that he had said any such statement or that donors had relayed those comments.

“I never said this, nor would I say this to a student-athlete, and I’ve never heard it from any donors or alumni. My message has consistently been about unity. I’m disappointed if anything anyone else said to our student-athletes caused them to feel this way. That concerns me,” he said in an emailed statement. “I’ve talked to several student-athletes about this and am happy to talk to anyone to let them know that this is not true. I’ve only seen our alumni work to support our student-athletes.”

Except for the ones who sent the threatening emails, that is.

“I do want to clarify that I have had many conversations with our head coaches outlining my expectations that our teams show appreciation for our university, fans and supporters by standing together as a unified group for ‘The Eyes,’ while we work through this issue,” Del Conte wrote in his weekly message to fans at the time.

There’s no way this is going to end well.  The only question left for the administration is which group it’s more comfortable ignoring.

79 Comments

Filed under Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

Totally blitzed

Interesting data set, and an even more interesting question to ponder:

I suspect that worked a lot better against teams not named Alabama last season, but still… how much does Lanning dial back to protect an inexperienced secondary?

10 Comments

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

You know playing blind man’s bluff is a little baby’s game.

It’s always exciting to witness the birth of a new college football tradition, so I’m pleased to bring you the latest thing from the program that brought us such greats as proper shower hygiene and inspirational trash cans.

Opportunity is nowhere.  Especially when you can’t see it.

17 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Phil Steele’s projected 2021 AP Top Ten, preseason

It’s an exercise he goes through every spring, and he’s been ten for ten the last three years.  Here’s his prediction for the first top ten list of this season:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Georgia
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Ohio State
  6. Texas A&M
  7. Notre Dame
  8. North Carolina
  9. Iowa State
  10. Cincinnati

Is ESPN’s coverage of Georgia’s opener going to be so over the top that it’s a turnoff?  Asking for a friend…

19 Comments

Filed under Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water