Daily Archives: August 13, 2021

Points off turnovers

Every once in a while, somebody posits a way of looking at stats that I hadn’t really thought about and makes me go, yeah.  Like this set of tweets from David Hale:

Note the “mostly” qualifier in his first tweet.  I can think of other impacts that are valuable — for example, in this day and age of offensive prowess, a takeaway means one less offensive opportunity for an opponent.  There’s certainly value in that.

But looking at net points per turnover seems like a useful metric, doesn’t it?  I mean, I don’t think it’s much of a coincidence seeing of the teams populate his list there that none of them had a losing record and three of them reached the CFP.

16 Comments

Filed under Stats Geek!

Screen game

Data point to take notice of here:

One thing that stat made me curious about was the number of Travis Etienne’s receptions last year:  48, third on the team and third nationally at the position.  That’s not to say all of his receptions were off screens, or that Clemson didn’t run screens to other receivers, but it does make me wonder if the Tigers have another back on the roster capable of taking up some of that slack.

I also wonder how much of that pressure will fall on Georgia’s inside linebackers.

17 Comments

Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Today’s moment of Urnge Pride

Oh, baby.

Fun fact, indeed.

23 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Going big

Those of you who’ve questioned what I mean when I say Butts-Mehre has been far more invested in Kirby Smart than it was in Mark Richt need to read this Chip Towers piece.

With all due respect to the other candidates, the job offer and acceptance for Smart were mere formalities at this point. All that was left to be done after the handshake entering the room was for Smart to get assurance that the Bulldogs were willing to “go big” if he was to take over the football program.

“I assured him that we were,” McGarity, now retired, recounted recently. “I just needed him to articulate exactly what that meant.”

Essentially, that meant writing a blank check.  Which is what McGarity did, happily.  And not just in terms of ponying up almost $200 million for facilities, either.

But this wasn’t just about buildings for Smart. It also was about skin-in-the game commitment. It was about top-to-bottom excellence in everything the Bulldogs were to undertake as a football program.

So, in short order, golf carts used for shuffling recruiting prospects around campus were replaced with black GMC Yukon sport-utility vehicles. Later, those were upgraded with Mercedes-Benz high-top sprinter vans.

New support staff was hired almost weekly, it seemed. People were needed to drive those vans, to host prospects’ families and give tours of campus. Others were needed to break down video of prospective recruits as well as the opposing teams set to play the Bulldogs in the fall. Digital equipment was needed to access and process all that video. Offices and desks were required for all those individuals to do their work.

Today, Georgia features one of the largest support staffs in America.

“I remember asking early on, ‘What do all these people do?’ ” McGarity said with laugh. “But after watching them work for a while, it all made sense. He personalized every visit.”

I can’t even say what went before Kirby was all done out of a sense of meanness (in the financial sense, that is).  Some was, sure, but some part of it was due to straight up ignorance.

“I just made the commitment that Georgia would commit to giving him whatever was necessary to go big,” McGarity said. “I told him we would support him, but he would need to define it, to give us a road map, for what that was. Those things are always determined by the coach, but it wasn’t, ‘I’m gonna need this and this and this.’”

This is the guy whom Andy Staples once referred to as a sharp athletic director.  Reality suggests otherwise.  The fortunate thing for Georgia football is that Smart has a clue.

53 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“You run when you win, not win when you run.”

Good point about Emory Jones here:

If Florida’s defense doesn’t improve a lot over last year, Jones will have a higher pass count as the Gators find themselves in closer contests than expected all year. If the D does improve and UF can go into fourth quarters against the 2021 season’s second-tier opponents like Kentucky, Missouri, and FSU with leads, then he’ll throw less as Mullen will try to use the run to close out games.

Just as instructive is the two starting seasons by one Rayne Dakota Prescott. Dak threw 396 times in 2014 with a 1,200-yard rusher by his side. In 2015, with three underwhelming tailback options sharing carries, he threw 477 times.

UF’s glut of great backs should tend to push Jones’s pass attempt figure downward. A defensive improvement will do that as well. Another sub-Gator Standard defense would do the opposite, and the general advantage that passing has — along with the lessons Mullen learned crafting offenses for Trask — would tend to make the pass numbers rise as well.

Where all those factors find equilibrium will determine how often Jones puts the ball in the air this fall.

It takes a village to raise Emory Jones.  The question about Jones and Florida is how much better will the o-line and Grantham’s defense be?

17 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Strategery And Mechanics

Run the damned ball (explosively), Monken!

This is a long answer from Georgia’s offensive coordinator.

On the fall off in explosive plays from the running backs. What can you do to get those long, game-changing plays? How are the RBs doing?

“First off, we’ve got an excellent group of running backs and all five can play here. Dell does a great job of keeping those guys fresh. They’ve been pretty selfless in terms of understanding that it probably benefits them to not have the wear and tear on them. Obviously, we have to become more explosive in the run game. I think we were consistent for the most part. Obviously, we had a couple of games with Mississippi State and the bowl game where we didn’t nearly run it as well as you would like to be able to control the game because you can’t control the game if you can’t run it. Obviously we’ve got to do a better job of getting the ball to the perimeter because there is more space out there. That will help us. Obviously, formationally we can do some things differently. Then there were some games that obviously, the Kentucky game we ran the ball well but it’s more in terms of 5, 6, 7 or 10 here but we definitely have to be more explosive and you know that Vance that’s how you win the game is to be explosive and not turn it over. So there’s a balance. You’re exactly right. We’ve got to become more explosive in the run game and we have to do it without having a dual-threat quarterback. That will add to that as well. At times, you may not get the QB draw or the scramble run or the zone read. That’s no excuse. We’ve got good enough running backs. We’ve definitely got to be more explosive.”

To start with, you have to like the way he shoulders the blame for the running game not being as explosive as it needs to be.  He’s got sufficient talent for the job; he’s got to find ways to create bigger plays in the running game.

Here’s the data regarding explosive plays from the backs:

Okay, there’s something that Jim Chaney did well (although it certainly helped to have Chubb, Michel and Swift).  Coley was essentially the equivalent of a gas station attendant who mistakenly put the wrong grade of gas in the tank (not that Fromm’s woes in the season’s second half helped).  Last season’s rebound was nice, especially since teams focused on stopping the run game, but as Monken indicates, it was nothing but a good start.

That all being said, you’ve got to have more than a little faith in a guy who drew up a formation on the first play against Florida that resulted in this…

… to find a few more explosive running plays.

24 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Hindsight as cutting edge analysis

Brandon Marcello, in his SEC preview, has a curious criticism of Georgia’s head coach.

This year is Georgia’s biggest window yet to win a national title. This roster is among the most talented in the country. That roster alone should beat every team in the SEC East by double digits. If Smart can stop second-guessing himself and changing personnel on whims, this group could be the best in Bulldogs history.  [Emphasis added.]

Now, it’s not like Kirby Smart is perfect.  There are certainly valid challenges to some things he’s done as head coach, but changing personnel on whims?  Really?  Does Smart do anything on a whim?

If Occam’s razor leads you to the belief that Smart played Bennett over Daniels last season because of personal fee fees, perhaps it might be time for you to change blades.

11 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Bottoms up!

You, a college athletics administrator:  one bad thing about compensating college athletes for their NIL rights is who knows what they’ll wind up endorsing?

Also You, a college athletics administrator:  hold my beer!

35 Comments

Filed under I'll Drink To That, It's Just Bidness

TFW you know you have one job

Boy, this is short and sweet.

If you prefer a longer answer

… Because the majority of our players here have a skill-set, especially the skill guys, that you can utilize doing something. We just have to figure out what that is and where we can get them in those positions. Then you spend the offseason, heading into spring, of evaluating what other people are doing, trying to stay on the cutting edge of what people are doing offensively, and trying to utilize our personnel, which I thought we did a really good job of. But at the end of the day the teams that are really good on offense do the same things, and do them better than they do it. And they tweak some, but they constantly are looking for ways to improve. But they have a philosophy of what they do and they try to do it better than they do it. So you’re right, them having the film of what we do and how we do it, it’s up to us to mirror our plays up so they can look the same but appear different to the defense, and put them in run-pass conflicts with different ways that you’re able to do that.

12 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

When Dabo gets it right

He certainly has his share of whiffs, but this ain’t one of them.

… I just think college football has always been different. It’s always been different. And going this route, which is where it’s going to go, so it doesn’t really matter what I think. If it’s fan-driven, money-driven, whatever… I’ve just always thought college football was unique. And the unintended consequences when we went from the BCS to the four-team playoff, nobody was opting out when it was the BCS.

“Those bowl games were important, finishing your season, all those type of things. I think, the more you do this, you become just like the NFL, or even the NBA. Football is not a tournament sport, first of all. This thing isn’t built that way. I think there’s going to be more and more unintended consequences. I wouldn’t be surprised to see kids opting out of the playoffs if you go to 12 [teams in playoffs], to be honest with you.

“My big thing is, now all of the sudden, again, you’re undefeated, you’re in the playoff, and you got this rivalry game at the end… Well, yeah, you want to win the rivalry game, but do you really want to play Trevor Lawrence in that game? And you got the playoff next week, and you know you’re in it? Just like what you see if the NFL. It’s all about the playoffs.

“Just like in basketball… No one watches regular-season basketball. They watch the playoffs. But, if that’s the model we’re going to, I think there’s going to be some changes. Ultimately, I think there’s going to be some type of mega-conference—40, 50 teams, or something like that… 12, 14-team playoff.

“Whatever the rules are, we’ll embrace them and go to work on them. I’m just not a huge fan of it. And some people will get mad and say, “Well, you’ve been in the playoffs.” And, I always say, “If we can get in with four [teams], we can get in with 12.” So, it’s not going to decrease our odds. It makes it more of the same [as basketball, NFL, etc.] than different and unique. And, college football has always been different and unique. That’s just my opinion. I’m in the very small minority when it comes to that.”

I don’t think the minority is as small as he thinks it is.  The real problem is that making college football’s postseason more like other sports isn’t a bug for ESPN.  It’s a feature.

30 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil