Daily Archives: March 19, 2021

Today’s question of the day

It’s a fair one.

You take Georgia and Florida out of the mix in the East and there isn’t much left to be impressed with.  If the fifth best team in the West is, say, Ole Miss, is there any team in the East besides the top two you’d place ahead?  I mean, maybe Missouri, but not so much that I’d put money on it.

On the plus side, Georgia gets to play all those schools.

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Filed under SEC Football

Be prepared.

Because if you’re Florida, you never know when that next turnover’s coming.  Practice, boys!

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Filed under Gators, Gators...

What a year gets you

Finally, from yesterday’s presser, a couple of quotes about what we hope will be Georgia’s high octane passing game.  First, there’s what experience brings for developing versatility:

… Last year we weren’t able to be very versatile, because Jermaine Burton was trying to learn one position. Now, we’re training Jermaine Burton to learn both sides. He was the Z last year; he needs to be the Z and the X. There’s so much little things where they are so much further ahead as far as knowledge.

Then, there’s just the whole “getting to know you” aspect to having a spring at all.  You know, unlike a certain spring that was blown up by a pandemic.

What steps has JT Daniels taken since he announced he was coming back to lead, organize sessions with receivers, etc.?
“I think the wideouts like to throw more than any of the quarterbacks. JT does a good job with those guys, but there’s been several Saturdays I’ve stopped in prior to spring practice starting and they’re in there throwing, doing things on their own. They just like to go in there and throw. We didn’t have a lot of sessions, we wanted to get away from football. The NCAA’s given us a lot of latitude with 10 hours now instead of eight hours a week, we get a lot of football time with our players to work, walk-through, and they choose to go throw on their own. Those wideouts really enjoy it, embrace it. I know Carson, Brock and JT and Stetson, all those guys have been out there to throw on their own.

“But JT, he’s a really good leader. I think the fact he’s come back, and he’s had a little more time, he never had a chance to really get to know these guys. He showed up, we’re in Covid, he wasn’t playing, then he was playing, then the year was over. So he’s just now kind of embracing the relationship with those guys.”

If the “Georgia’s offense will be screwed by not having a spring practice” narrative turned out to be a fair characterization of how things turned out last season, it sure seems reasonable to think that a return to normalcy in that regard should pay some very nice dividends in 2021.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Flooring it

SEC StatCat looks at returning SEC quarterbacks’ performance “floor”:

Again, glancing at a passer’s overall production doesn’t necessarily reflect how they operated or what aspects helped see them elevate their outputs. Two passers could be asked to complete the same RPO read, but one could be gifted a potential first round pick while the other is dumping it off to a future salesperson. One passer could be more apt at playing backyard ball and extending plays outside of structure and make up for his lack of passing acumen. The point is, there are plenty of superfluous aspects to the game that can make evaluating a true passer’s ability more murky.

While play versus pressure might set a quarterback’s ceiling, play from pristine pockets often sets their floor. You want a high floor. Because after all, if you cannot produce when everything goes as designed consistently, when exactly can you? Being able to make a play when a design breaks down will always be a desirable trait for quarterbacks, but that ability rarely reflects one’s down-to-down trajectory. Since unpressured attempts present far less variables, and hence excuses, they are better reflections of one’s down-to-down floor. Plus, they are more common. The average SEC passer logged a 23% Pressure Rate this past season.

Like pressures, RPOs and screen snaps are omitted from this parameter. Since RPOs are modern day triple options, their usage are dependent on micro situations; and again, not every team fancies them the same. These throws hardly help project a passer’s ability to operate from the pocket. Screens as de facto extensions of the run game, make the passer’s decision for him. Either way, production on these snaps are mostly outside of the QB’s control. Meaning, any schmo could slide in and execute those concepts. In order for a passer to standout, he’s got to set a decent bar on dropback attempts with pristine pockets.

Here’s how he analyzes JT Daniels’ 2020 efforts:

Screenshot_2021-03-19 Who's Got the Highest Passing Floor for 2021

When I charted JT Daniels last spring, I chose to only watch him against his five hardest defensive opponents over his tenure at USC. Along with not bothering with games against cupcakes where he could pad his metrics, the collection in opponents translated to an average SEC slate that would better help forecast his play where “it just means more”. He projected to be a nickel and dimer more than someone who wanted to break the bank. Though Daniels wasn’t that shy of trying his luck deep as a Trojan, his production was overly beefed up by his underneath completions. Even before his injury, his shots arced high in the air and fell to the turf hard and fast like a dead duck. Though hunting season apparently continued in Athens, he at least gave his guys a stab at those passes unlike his predecessors. Stetson Bennet’s and D’Wan Mathis’ each had Uncatchable Pass Rates of 23.5% and 40.0%, respectively. JTD’s was only 16.7% by comparison. Over the last month or so of the season, Daniels’ homeruns positioned him as one of the most potent passers in college football. He leads the SEC returners in Predictive Points Added/play, Y/A, Explosive Pass Rate, and ADOT. But, the increased focus on the vertical passing game soured his accuracy figures, which allows questions to linger on whether the fireworks are sustainable.

Or, another way of putting it, whether he can clean up his mechanics such that the fireworks are sustainable.  On to his floor:

Screens and RPOs composed about a fifth of Daniels’ attempts. Even though these plays helped secure plenty of completions, their 29.2% combined Success Rate was truly awful. Without them pulling down his passing profile, Daniels already sterling result-based stats entered another stratosphere in our parameter. With only 15% of his attempts occurring under duress, the Bulldog was one of the SEC’s least-pressured passers. Keeping Daniels upright was vital to the downfield passing game. Frequently aided by a sound shield — JTD averaged the SEC’s 3rd-most blockers/clean dropback — the Californian was further goaded into executing Georgia’s deep aerial scheme. His 16.0 ADOT was almost two yards more than the next passer’s in line. Behind that gumption to go deep, Daniels leads the way in Y/A, Explosive Pass Rate, and First Down+TD Rate. The later increased by an insane ten percentage points compared to his overall figure.

Due to his muted play and USC’s way of doing things, Daniels didn’t project to be a potent passer. He overly stuck to modest completions, taking what the defense gave him, and padding his ball placement stats. Ironically based on his five game sample against his most-challenging opponents from his time as a Trojan, he projected the SEC’s top Accuracy% and one of the lowest Explosive Pass Rates. Funny what a change in environment and a chip on your shoulder (and very, very talented pass catchers) can do for a one’s modus operandi through the air. His bottom line was truly fantastic, but you’d have to be a fool to ignore Daniels’ rotten accuracy numbers. Both his raw Accuracy and Depth Adjusted Accuracy clips soured by over four points; Daniels was the only SECer to suffer from such a thing. His backers will surely point to his degree of difficulty as to why his precision faltered. And, they might have a case. Even for someone like me who doesn’t think much of his ability to drive the ball downfield, Daniels finished inside the SEC’s top5 in Depth Adjusted Accuracy (with a top7 raw clip) on clean+dropback attempts  with a depth of target under 15 yards last season. But, I don’t care what anyone tells me. Daniels’ accuracy stats and Interceptable Pass Rate, which fall inside the bottom3 amongst qualifiers, from our parameter all would have represented the conference’s floor in last year’s sample.

The big takeaway there?  “With only 15% of his attempts occurring under duress, the Bulldog was one of the SEC’s least-pressured passers. Keeping Daniels upright was vital to the downfield passing game.”  That tells me defensive coordinators are going to keep selling out to pressure Daniels until Monken proves he’s got the assets to make them pay for that.  (Let’s hear it for those “very, very talented pass catchers”!)  Also, did I mention that Monken’s got to work with his quarterback to clean up his mechanics?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Star, baby.

When you know things are wide open in the secondary:

On Adam Anderson playing STAR and experimenting at OLB…
“Basically when you are an outside backer, you are a STAR. I know that’s really complicated, but in a 3-4 system, you have two outside backers. Well, every snap that we play a 3-4, we have a STAR that is an outside backer. So Mark Webb was an outside backer on 50 percent of the snaps. Well, that’s what Adam Anderson is. If you’re going to rush him 50 percent of the time, would you rather rush Mark Webb or Adam Anderson? You’ve got to build your defense around a structure of what you want to do. They both have great strengths, their strengths are different, and we think that he can help us from a rush standpoint. What we’re experimenting with right now is him having to cover, because he gives us the luxury of playing four DBs instead of five, and it accentuates our lack lack of DB, but it accentuates our strength at rush guys if we’re able to play with him. So we’re challenging him, asking him to do a lot that if we had to play a game tomorrow, we would ask him to do all these things. But we’re trying to teach him and have an open mindset with him.”

Anderson certainly has enough speed not to be a liability in coverage, but that doesn’t mean he’s an asset in coverage.  At least not yet.  But you can certainly see why Kirby is tempted with this.  When you’ve got more depth at outside linebacker than you do at corner, it’s certainly worth exploring the possibility of playing to your strength.  Let’s hope it works.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Indulging your inner mad scientist

  • Tripp (v.) – ruthless continual changing of a player’s position. (h/t Brandon)

Man, I can’t tell you I got a warm feeling from this quote.

Earlier this offseason, Kirby Smart said that he would be willing to try anybody out at corner. That certainly checks out based on where Lovasea Carroll has spent his time so far this spring. The former four-star and No. 6 ranked running back in the 2021 signing class per the 247Sports Composite has been going through drills with Jahmile Addae and the defensive backs since he got on campus in January. On Thursday, Smart opened up on the position change.

“It’s experimental,” Smart said during a Zoom with reporters after the second day of spring practice. “We recruited him as a running back; we’re really deep at the running back position. He’s probably going to be a factor on our team on special teams. We think he’s really fast. He’s embraced the position. He’s made some good plays; he’s made some bad plays. He’s not played this position, so to put him out there and put him on some experienced wideouts and guys who have played a lot of football, it’s probably not fair to him. But that’s how you grow and that’s how you get better.”

Ho-kay.  I guess.

“I’ve been around a lot of good running backs I’ve signed at other places that came to me and said ‘Man, I wish I had played corner based on what these guys are getting played, how many of them are getting paid in the NFL,'” Smart said. “The shelf life of a corner is much longer than the shelf life of a back and there’s a lot more corners active in the NFL than backs. You look at the case of those three guys that worked yesterday, L.C. comes with a lot of the same length, speed parameters and has a lot of the same qualities that those guys have. What he doesn’t have is experience. But he has embraced that role. I would not say it is permanent, I would say it’s a spring experiment and go from there.”

Oh, it’s for Carroll’s best future.  Well, then.

I wonder if they told Mecole Hardman the same stuff his freshman year.  At least they had enough sense to terminate that experiment before it did any real damage.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Kirby’s crutch?

Well, maybe more sounding board than support:

On having Will Muschamp out there…
“He’s probably the guy I lean on the most in terms of coaching the coaches and drill selection and ‘hey, how did you do this? How did y’all do this? Did y’all do this period first? That period first?’ Trying to find new ways to make our program better. I like, a lot, having him out there. I like having him in the meetings because it’s not the skillset of coaching. He’s certainly a competent coach and confident, but it’s a lot more, for me, I know he’s done things a lot of different ways. When you’re out there in between drills or a drill is going on, you walk over there and say, ‘hey, how did y’all do this? Is there a better way? What do you think about this?’ It’s helpful. It’s certainly breeds confidence and it giy,ves (sic) you more ways to do things.”

I hope somebody reminds Kirbs that different isn’t always better.  Especially when it’s coming from a guy who’s been fired as an SEC head coach twice now.

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Filed under Agent Muschamp Goes Boom, Georgia Football

“… we didn’t even know who JT Daniels was.”

For a defensive oriented guy, Kirby Smart seems almost giddy about what his offense is showing him in the early going.

“Since I’ve been here, it seems like we’ve had a really experienced defense a couple of times, and a really experienced offensive maybe that one time Fromm was a (junior), but we didn’t have our wideouts back, so it’s pretty unique to have that much experience on offense,” Smart said. “It’s showed for two days; we’ve been behind defensively and been ahead offensively.”

It’s what we should be hearing, of course, given what’s returning on both sides of the ball, but it’s still a little jarring.  I mean, are we Georgia fans going to be allowed to have nice things this season?

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Filed under Georgia Football

Musical palate cleanser, boom boom edition

No, it’s not Will Muschamp’s walk up theme.

It’s the incomparable John Lee Hooker doing an acoustic version of one of his classics.

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Filed under Uncategorized