Or, you know, it could just be that Lincoln Riley is a flaming arsehole.
Daily Archives: March 24, 2021
Argh, just argh…
Yeah? So what’s the bad news?
UPDATE: Subtle, George.
This week, we continue the musical theme for the Playpen, but it’s a twofer.
First, from reader Jason:
So I grew up playing the piano. The “piano-forte” – literally “soft-loud” because the player could control the volume based on how hard the keys were struck was invented in the 1700’s, and those musicians who have stood the test of time, were first and foremost masters of that instrument: Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, Debussy, et al. The guitar, and especially the electric guitar, were invented in the century where we have lived. What musicians from this era will survive and be called “classical” music in the year 2200?
My first thought would be someone like Miles Davis, but honestly, I have no clue.
Speaking of classical music, though, I got a hoot out of this:
Make sure you scan through the entire thread, because it’s great. How many of you got your first exposure to classical music through cartoons? I know I did.
Good Lawd, this was fast.
What exactly do you have to do for Nick Saban to sour on you before you even coach a down in a game? I’d say too much Tennessee for comfort, but Booch managed to last in Tuscaloosa for three years.
Before you pin Amarius Mims’ name to the starting offensive line, keep in mind that his head coach has a general skepticism about true freshmen being SEC-ready.
“Young being mid-year it’s hard to tell,” Smart said recently when asked if he can tell who had taken full advantage of winter workouts. “The biggest discrepancy in our mid-year enrollees and our young players is usually strength at point of attack. They’re just not strong. I’m not gonna call names but we’ve got a lot of guys out there that are mid-year enrollees that are maybe talented enough, but they’re not ready to take on a Justin Shaffer or a Jamaree Salyer or a George Pickens or whoever it is, Jordan Davis. They’re not going to walk out there and be able to do that.”
That isn’t to say it’s impossible, but…
Smart can recall times in his career, whether as an assistant coach or a head coach, where he has had no choice but to look at an early enrollee as a potential starter or major contributor. There have been times when, due to lack of depth at a certain position, that he knew that he’d have to rely on a mid-year guy whether he was ready at that point or not. If that player wasn’t ready, Smart knew he’d have to get him ready.
The offensive line may have issues, but depth isn’t one of them. If Mims cracks the starting five, it’ll be quite a credit to his talent.
We all know what an anomaly the 2020 season was. Aside from the effects of the pandemic on Georgia’s practice schedule, the program was also breaking in a new offensive coordinator and a new o-line position coach. Change was inevitable, but the pace of that change was affected by the nature of the season.
Here’s one example of that:
I believe it was mentioned in the o-line post from the other day that Luke prefers his linemen pulling, whereas Pittman took more of a straight-ahead power approach. I think it’s pretty obvious that change will impact the choices made for the starting five on the offensive line this season. I’d say it’s also pretty obvious Georgia will have a healthy dose of the toss sweep in its game plan this year.
Bill Connelly, the college football stats guru for nerds like you and me (and former FO writer), has relied for a couple of years on his returning production statistic. Bill uses a weighted average of the returning stats, not players, from year to year as an indicator of who might be more successful in the upcoming season. I’m going to tweak and build on the idea of returning production, focusing on talent instead of stats and exploiting new data from the college football transfer portal.
The Returning Talent Index is simple: the index is your team’s talent composite weighted by returning production, plus net transfer ratings, plus incoming recruiting ratings, normalized to a mean of 0 and a standard deviation of 1. A returning talent index of 1.5 means your team improved by 1.5 standard deviations relative to average, and a returning talent index of -0.25 means your team got worse by a quarter of a standard deviation relative to average.
I begin by looking at the “raw” data based on the entire Power 5, and then will add in conference adjustment ratings to get a final score for each team, identifying who got the biggest bump from transfers along the way. At the end, I’ll highlight the Group of 5 teams to identify who might make a playoff push, or at least a New Year’s Six run. I use the team composite rating from 247 Sports, which aggregates the recruiting stars and ratings currently on a team’s roster, as well as recruiting data on incoming freshmen and the transfer portal, all readily available on the 247 websites. Returning production is calculated from play-by-play data from the NCAA’s website.
And here’s what the SEC looks like:
My immediate thought upon seeing that: poor Shane Beamer. My second thought: Georgia plays every single team with a talent drop. My third thought (related to the second): So much for the East closing the gap with the Dawgs.
Here’s Parker’s take:
LSU clearly outpaces the conference at more than two standard deviations better than the SEC average. Loaded Georgia and Alabama round out the top class of the conference. The SEC’s second tier could be interesting, though, as 2020 East division champion Florida got slightly worse on net, and upstart programs Ole Miss (with a Very Fun Offense), Mississippi State, and Arkansas all improve on promising seasons. Texas A&M, perhaps the best non-Alabama SEC team, loses a quarterback and some serious weapons, yet improves in 2021. They highlight another fun facet of the RTI: many teams are “a quarterback away,” which we know in college football can be very far. The Aggies improved, but they’ll have to fill Kellen Mond’s shoes to compete.
South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt all get new coaches, and turnover is to be expected, although it’s worth noting that Shane Beamer has a lot of work to do. Missouri and Kentucky took a step backwards in talent, and they both may be a couple of cycles away from their peaks. All in all, the SEC is still Alabama’s conference, although Georgia, LSU, and a few interesting Tier 2 teams look to challenge that this season.
And here’s one more chart, to give you some national perspective:
LSU, Oregon, and Miami are officially the teams to watch this fall. The Tigers, after finishing 5-5 and 70th in the nation in EPA/play margin, are poised for a better 2021. This number might even be deflated given the vast opt-outs the team saw, but the Tigers return passer Max Brennan (15th nationally in with 0.15 EPA/attempt and 15th in passing first-down rate). LSU will return almost 80% of a defense that struggled at times (85th in EPA/play allowed), but has plenty of room to grow and will be bolstered by Clemson transfer Mike Jones.
… Other teams that stand out in the national picture: familiar favorites Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Alabama are all bolstered by their big recruiting classes, despite losing talent. North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, UCLA, and Ole Miss are all looking to capitalize on the top of their development cycles with high returning production, while teams such as Penn State, Auburn, Mississippi State, and Nebraska look to bounce back from underwhelming campaigns.
Does any of that data lead you to revisit your take on this post about SEC 2021 win projections?
Kirby Smart spent a few minutes talking with Matt Chernoff about “… coming off the 2020 season, actually having a spring for practice, second year of Todd Monken as offensive coordinator and more…”.
As the header indicates, Smart isn’t going to pretend there’s some sort of competition going on for the starting quarterback job this offseason, which is a different approach than he’s taken in previous years. There’s also some interesting talk about how much autonomy Todd Monken has, which I’ll leave you to judge. Give a listen.
Boom and Kirbs, a buddy movie for the 2020s. Oy.
If Uncle Verne were still around, it would make for 2021’s latest drinking game every time he worked a Georgia broadcast.
Mandel has him eighth on his list (“This spot is a nod to Orgeron’s status as a recent national champion who continues to recruit at a very high level.”) and Feldman ranks him even higher, at seventh. (“Still, even as bad as 2020 was, Orgeron is 13-4 vs. top-10 opponents the past four years.”)
So, they both kind of held their noses with regard to the poor job Orgeron did last year — and it was bad to see a defending national champ fall as far as LSU did in the following season — to rank him among the elite. (Feldman ranks him above Day and Smart.)
But here’s the thing — how do you factor a comment like this into the equation? (h/t)
I can’t imagine an elite coach being that slack. And it clearly had an impact! I know Orgeron has many pluses on his resume, including that natty, but I don’t know how you can judge him to be all that Mandel and Feldman think he is, given his management approach. Unless you’re factoring in luck, I suppose. (Although if that’s the case, I should note that Gus Malzahn and his rabbit’s foot made neither list.)