Daily Archives: October 1, 2021

Upon further consideration

You know, there is the possibility that I’m overestimating Barry Odom’s defensive prowess, at least when it comes to coaching against Georgia during the Smart era.

Last year, Georgia scored 30 on his defense (one score came via a pick-six), although Arkansas did a good job holding the Dawgs to 4.35 ypp.

Per cfbstats.com, here’s what Georgia’s offense did during Odom’s time at Mizzou:

  • 2019:  27 points, 5.06 ypp
  • 2018:  43 points, 7.06 ypp
  • 2017:  53 points, 9.04 ypp
  • 2016:  28 points, 4.40 ypp

I guess you could call that a mixed bag, although I bet if Georgia matched any of those performances tomorrow, including 2016, they’d win.

The average, in case you’re wondering, is 34.8 points and 5.98 ypp.  And that’s with a throwaway season, a Coley season and however you want to refer to the ’20 season mixed in.  Like I said, maybe I’m overestimating a little.

34 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“Everybody does analytics now.”

My first thought upon seeing this quote was that it was another “don’t have time for this shit” moment from Nick Saban.

“Well, I’m not an analytics guy,” Saban said. I know coaches who are and I know coaches who we had on our staff in the past that very much are. And I like for our coaches to look at the analytics and then come and bring them up to me and I can say ‘That don’t make any sense.’ Or I can say ‘That’s an interesting thought.’

“But philosophically, some guy who hasn’t played football ever and he sits at a computer and he puts a bunch of stuff into a computer. And you have to have a feel for your team, too. One of the questions I have is how good are we in those situations? Do we have good plays to call in those situations? Do we feel good about our opportunity to convert in those situations? So all these things are factors in the game relative to how the other team plays and what they do.”

But on reflection, I sort of get where he’s coming from.  How important are analytics when you’re pretty much lapping the field (Georgia excepted) in building your roster?  Or when you’re the guy who’s won natty after natty on your own terms?  My bet is that if Saban recognized a situation when analytics would give him an edge, he’d use them.  He’s gotten pretty far on his own, though.

Still, I’d love to see the sneer he gives when some junior staffer comes running up with a “Coach Saban?  I’ve got something here you ought to see.”

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules

Today, in WTF, PFF?

Evidently, there are some incredible defensive lines in the SEC.

Really interested in seeing UT’s d-line outplay Georgia’s when they meet.

28 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

This is the way you beer.

UAB, you go, girl.

Meanwhile, we can only dream and if the day ever comes to Sanford Stadium, we’ll likely be treated to a selection of Budweiser’s finest.  Sigh.

68 Comments

Filed under I'll Drink To That

Saturday’s chess match

As indicated earlier, Dan Lanning’s job looks fairly simple to me:  take away the deep threat in the passing game and limit Jefferson’s ability to do damage with his feet.  There may be some tweaking to the scheme (particularly, as I mentioned, in playing more zone), but to me it seems like defensive success for Georgia will be more about execution than anything.  Yes, I’m probably guilty of oversimplifying here, but if the Dawgs maintain contain and force Jefferson to beat them with an intermediate passing game, I’m not seeing a lot of Hog points showing up on the scoreboard.

The question I’ve got is what happens on the other side of the line of scrimmage.  Does Odom dance with what brung him so far — and, let’s be fair, that’s been very good, as Arky is second in the conference in defensive ypp against P5 opponents — or does he throw a change up at Todd Monken?

The reason I ask is because of the Clemson game.  Yeah, I know the tendency to explain Georgia’s anemic offense in the opener is to chalk it up to injuries and the need to throw inexperienced players into the mix, but I don’t forget that Venables completely changed his MO for that game and had Monken… well, I hesitate to say confused, rather more like non-aggressive.  In any event, the 4.20 ypp Georgia averaged against Clemson is the lowest in Monken’s time in Athens.

Second lowest (4.36) came against Arkansas in last season’s opener.  In fourteen games, those are the only two in which Georgia’s offense was held below five yards per play.  I’ve got to think that Venables saw something in last year’s Arkansas game that helped convince him to take a similar approach.

My gut, then, tells me there’s definite value to dropping lots of defenders back in coverage in order to force Georgia to work its way down the field.  My head, though, says there is one difference for Saturday, and that is Monken has better weapons to deploy than he did in the two other games.  Most notably, the quarterback situation is vastly different from what it was when Mathis started against Arky, but the overall health of the offense is improved from the Clemson game, particularly when it comes to the receiving corps.

If Odom wants to stick with what’s worked so far, he’s facing a quarterback in Daniels who won’t be confused by zone looks and is also savvy enough to take advantage of a busted coverage or two (if you go back and look at the Texas A&M game, those were there, but Calzada couldn’t close the deal when it was offered).  He’s also going to have his hands full with Georgia’s tight ends, assuming Washington is back and able to contribute.

So, does he stick with his 3-2-6 scheme, swap it out wholeheartedly for something else, or mix and match?  He’s certainly been around the block enough to have more than one card up his sleeve, but going away from your strength is often a dicey proposition. Then again, if Monken’s prepared a game plan for that and you show up looking different, maybe that throws a wrench into Georgia’s offense.

That being said, if you’re Arkansas going into this game, you have to be thinking Georgia’s not going to let you score more than in the upper teens at best.  They only managed 20 against TAMU, the best defense they’ve seen so far, at a neutral site.  If that’s where the Hogs’ offense is going to land, they’ve got to do what they can to limit Georgia’s explosive plays.

Maybe this comes down to whether either team can get off to a quick start and put the other in a hole.  Both are capable of that.  We saw Georgia obliterate Vanderbilt in less than a quarter last week, while Arkansas took a 17-0 lead over the Aggies that it never relinquished and that allowed Odom to run his defense the way he wanted.

In other words, I don’t know how this will play out.  But I’ll be watching to see who gets the better of this chess game.

30 Comments

Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

You want depth?

I’ll give you some depth.

All gone, starting/contributing at other P5 programs and Georgia’s defense is better this season.  Yeah, now that Bud mentions it, that is insane.

11 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Pace yourself.

Here’s a chart worth looking over:

At 2.1 plays per minute, Georgia ranks 108th nationally.  No doubt some of that can be chalked up to slowing things down due to big second half leads, but this is a team that operates at a deliberate pace, although it will resort to hurry up now and then.

Arkansas runs 2.25 plays per minute.  That’s 79th.  Briles doesn’t exactly race against the clock, either.

Between those figures and the likelihood that both defenses are going to deploy in a manner designed to make the offenses work their way down the field, the under (48.5) looks awfully good from where I sit.

19 Comments

Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

The other side’s third down

Yesterday, I showed you what JT Daniels has done on third down so far this year.  Here’s the story for KJ Jefferson (it’s the battle of two-initial quarterbacks!).

Looking at his situational stats, he’s not that hot on second down, either, with a passer rating of 72.68.  But he is friggin’ dynamite on first down:  25-33, 572 yards, 17.33 ypa, 15 first downs, 5 touchdowns, 1 INT.  That all adds up to a 265.30 passer rating.  Well over 40% of his pass attempts come on first down, which tells you that Kendall Briles knows when to dial up what works.  I assume Lanning will devise his game plan accordingly.

Jefferson’s strengths are running the ball and the deep pass.  He’s not particularly accurate in the intermediate passing game, which is indicated in Rollins’ stats.  It’s not going to surprise me in the slightest if the Dawgs play more zone to counter that than we’ve seen and it might be well worth your time to see how much Tykee Smith sees the field, since he played a lot of zone last season at West Virginia.

15 Comments

Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

“I think Georgia’s going to beat the shit out of them.”

These anonymous takes from eight coaches and team staffers who have either seen tape or been in games against Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and/or Ole Miss start off reading like some of the best rat poison/Dawg porn you’ve ever seen.

“They’re impressive up front, to say the least,” an SEC personnel staffer said. “Jordan Davis looks like he was created in a lab somewhere. Adam Anderson and guys like Quay Walker — when it comes to pass-rush ability, they’re elite. They’re really good players. Their secondary, I’d say it’s above average. They don’t have a whole bunch of first-round draft picks back there right now to my knowledge, but they’re good players.”

“They’ve got, no lie, like four edge rushers and they’ve got like six interior d-linemen they can put in there,” an SEC defensive coach said. “Those dudes are freaks. ‘99’ (Davis) gets a lot of hype and he’s good, but ‘95’ (Devonte Wyatt) and ‘88’ (Jalen Carter) — ‘88’s going to be special. He was my favorite player in 2020 out of all the defensive players in the country (in that recruiting class). That kid can play football, man. He’s playing real good. ‘95’s playing real good, too. He doesn’t look as imposing as ‘99’ and ‘88,’ but he probably makes the most plays out of the interior d-linemen. And then, of course, they’ve got those edge rushers, and Nakobe Dean’s playing really good.”

“I’d be very surprised if they won,” an SEC team official said of Arkansas. “I just think Georgia’s too talented. I just think it’s not even close, especially on defense. I think Georgia’s defense will just suffocate them. And Arkansas has kind of had a gauntlet, too. They had to play a full game versus Texas even though they won handily, and then had to play a full game versus A&M. Georgia’s going to be fresh. They’re going to be ready to go. They haven’t had to play a full game other than the Clemson game. I would be surprised if it’s close.”

“It wouldn’t surprise me if Georgia beat them 37-17 or something like that,” another SEC staffer said. “I think if Arkansas and Ole Miss played right now that Ole Miss would beat ’em. Arkansas’ going to lose in my opinion — based off personnel, they’ll lose to Georgia, they’ll lose to Ole Miss, they’ll lose to Alabama, and they may drop one more. I still think Arkansas is far from being an SEC West contender.”

But that’s just the defense.  Things seem to kind of defuse when the conversation turns to the other side of the ball.

“Arkansas has a really good front,” an SEC personnel figure said. “They do the ‘rush three and drop eight,’ and they can get pressure with three. And I think Georgia has a good o-line, but it’s not what you’re used to in the Kirby Smart era with the o-line at Georgia. I think their o-line is good. It’s not first-rounders and draft picks everywhere like they’ve had in the past. If they can get into some man-coverage situations, the receivers at Georgia can win, but Arkansas does a good job of understanding zone coverage and baiting you into throws. But I would say the Georgia o-line versus the Arkansas d-line would be a matchup that Arkansas has a little bit of an advantage.”

… As for Georgia, the offensive line isn’t the only aspect of the Bulldogs’ offense that opposing SEC staffers described as being solid but not elite. Wide receiver is another.

“The big knock I would say on them is that they don’t have anybody in that receiver room that’s super scary to me,” a personnel official said.

And there are at least some around the conference who put QB J.T. Daniels in that same “solid but not elite” category.

Okay.  Tell me more.

“One of the biggest question marks with Georgia is at quarterback,” a personnel figure said. “Daniels has shown that he’s good enough at times. But how good is he? And can he win the game if they need him to win a game?”

JT is 7-0 as a starter at Georgia.  They’ve never needed him to win a game in all that time?  If that’s the case, here’s hoping the streak continues.

55 Comments

Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Georgia Football

Your Daily Gator calls it.

Georgia is toast tomorrow.

If you read through the thread, it’s mostly a recycling of their greatest hits — ain’t played nobody, Kirby can’t coach, neither can Monken, etc.

If Georgia wins, you can tell they’ve got their excuse lined up for that, too.  It’ll be because Jefferson’s not 100%, physically speaking.  (You know, like Tebow was back in 2007. 😉 )

41 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators...