Daily Archives: October 27, 2021

TFW your reputation precedes you

From Stewart Mandel’s Mailbag ($$):

Todd Grantham, the Florida defensive coordinator, is a Virginia Tech alum and a native of the Blacksburg area. Would he be a realistic possibility to replace Justin Fuente if the Hokies move on? — Tom W.

@Tom W. If you are a Va. Tech fan, may God have mercy on your soul if this is the guy you’re hoping to land. — Brian S., Georgia fan

I love it when mailbag readers give a better answer than I possibly could.

Go Dawgs!


Filed under Georgia Football

Defenders in disarray?

Understandably, Georgia’s quarterback situation is getting a lot of attention this week.  I’ve teased that Smart is playing some mind games with Todd Grantham about it, but, honestly, Grantham’s probably got bigger fish to fry during the bye week than figuring out which QB trots out there to start the game.

Following an absolute disaster on run defense against one of the nation’s worst-ranked rushing attacks heading into the game, Florida has had a week to evaluate what went wrong against LSU and how to fix it.

The bad news?

Depending on who you ask there doesn’t seem to be a clear consensus about what exactly went wrong. In a 49-42 loss to LSU on Oct. 16, Florida allowed 321 yards rushing. The Tigers had averaged just 83.3 yards per game going into the annual showdown.

If you read the rest of the piece, there’s a lot more finger pointing going on than solution proposing.  For example, here’s Grantham’s take:

“Well obviously we didn’t do a good enough job on that, so we’ve worked on it and hopefully we’ll be able to play those plays as we move forward through the season, because we’ll see them again,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “Basically it gets down to, like I said before, the margins for error. And your ability to be exact can go from holding a team like Alabama to the lowest total in a long, long time to not playing the way we wanted to two weeks ago. So we understand that and we’re excited about the opportunity to go showcase it on Saturday.”

A coachspeak nothingburger there.  Here’s what should trouble Grantham:

And maybe it does; no coach is going to come out and admit he’s too predictable in his scheming.  But if LSU saw something, you can bet Todd Monken’s no dummy, either.  And it’s not like he hasn’t shown before that he’s got a clue about how to exploit that.

So I’d expect Florida is spending an inordinate amount of time during these two weeks trying to fix what was broken.  Jake Rowe feels the same way.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the Gators spent the entire bye week working on playing the counter better. LSU ate them up with it. On one hand, that makes me think that Georgia will have to execute really, really well to have success with that play or any other run scheme. The level of focus there is bound to be very high.

But with that said, I noticed something when watching LSU use it. Georgia’s use of the shotgun toss play could come in big if it does decide to use that counter play heavily against the Gators.

– The lateral step taken by the running back for the toss play kind of mimics the counter step taken by the running back on the counter.

– Georgia runs the toss effectively and it has that play in its arsenal if the Gators over play the counter. We’ve documented how effective the toss action pass game is for UGA.

– UGA has been lethal with play action off of the toss play and it might be able to use some of the same route concepts off the counter.

That may all turn out to be true.  But what if Florida’s intense focus on shoring up its run defense pays off?  The Dawgs have been more respectable than dominant in running the ball in SEC games, but what they’ve really been successful at with the ground game is doing enough with it to sell play action, which is what Stetson Bennett’s made a living at so far this season.  What happens if Florida schemes well enough to make Stetson beat them throwing, particularly on third down?  (I’ve mentioned it before, but that down is not his strong suit.)

Now, I’m just asking, and if the Florida run D is just as bad Saturday as it was against LSU, then these questions are moot, and I’d expect Bennett to keep on keeping on.  But… I’ve seen Daniels go in and take apart defenses that threw the kitchen sink at stopping the run, and that’s not nothing.  Smart and Monken will have to ask themselves these same questions in making the call Saturday.


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

Jordan Davis is a big deal this week.

Just ask his head coach.

Jones and Richardson have a combined 113 carries for 842 yards (7.5 per rush) and five touchdowns, and Georgia fifth-year coach Kirby Smart is very appreciative of having his 6-foot-6, 340-pound senior from Charlotte available this time around.

“We were banged up last year and didn’t play well honestly, and any time you’ve got depth at most positions it helps, especially in this game,” Smart said. “I think Jordan being back and healthy is very important to us in terms of the run game and being able to control it. His ability to play multiple snaps is important, and he’s got to play in this game because he’s a dominant player up front.

“They’ve played against him before, so they know Jordan is a good player. We’ll need a lot of guys to play, because those defensive linemen can’t play more than 30 to 35 snaps a game.”

Florida is 4-3 overall and just 2-3 in Southeastern Conference play but has outgained all seven opponents behind a rushing attack that ranks fourth nationally with 254.3 yards per game. The Gators, however, will be challenging a defense that allows 63.4 rushing yards, 208.3 total yards and 6.6 points per contest.

Davis has 18 tackles and three tackles for loss despite playing fewer than 50% of Georgia’s defensive snaps, and he is the most publicized member of a unit that has taken a “no-name” moniker to heart.

“In the league we’re in, you have to have some sort of run game,” Smart said. “You don’t have to be dominant in the run game, but you’ve got to be able to run the ball, and he makes us have more third-and-7s to third-and-12s than we have third-and-2s to third-and-4s. Jordan has a heavy impact on that, because it’s tough to run the ball when he’s in there.”

In conference play, Florida is third in yards per rushing attempt.  (Note that Kentucky is first in that regard.  Then note Kentucky’s rushing game log.)  On the defensive side, Georgia is Georgia.  So if this is supposed to turn into some version of an immovable vs. unstoppable debate, I’ll stick with immovable until proven otherwise and I’m thinking Mr. Davis is going to make otherwise hard to achieve.

To drive that point home even further, check out this chart Seth Emerson ($$) compiled:

That’s the quantified difference between excellent and dominant.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

2021 Mumme Poll, Week 8

Screenshot_2019-09-30 (1) Senator Blutarsky ( MummePoll) Twitter

As was the case last week, 60 teams received votes from y’all.  However, there were fewer of y’all casting votes this week.

Still, a very good turnout.  And we’re still putting our ballots together quickly, unlike a certain group of travelers I won’t mention.

Anyhoo, here’s how this week’s MP shapes up:

Compare that to the AP and Coaches Polls standings.

Boy, we’ve fallen in love with Pitt, haven’t we?  Wake Forest, too.

Here’s the breakdown of ballots by conference: We’re still giving the SEC and Big Ten equal love.

Somebody asked to see a geographic breakdown of the voters, so here you go.

That’s been very consistent through the first three weeks of voting.

Finally, here’s how y’all answered the bonus question:

Random observations:

  • If you do the math, you’ll see three voters left Georgia off their ballots entirely.
  • On the other hand, Georgia is the only team that was above the 90% threshold this week.  That’s a dominant showing.
  • Nine teams appeared on over half the ballots, which is one more than last week.


Filed under Mumme Poll

Today, in coaching comparisons

Shot ($$).

On Nov. 7, 2020, in the 102nd (or so) installment of the game known as the Cocktail Party, Florida convincingly beat Georgia, 44-28. In finally conquering their arch-rival, Dan Mullen and his Gators won the SEC East and validated the argument that he was the best coach in the division. In losing, Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs had lost the division for the first time in four years, leading to questions over whether the program was regressing.


Speaking of Zook, his not-so-fondly-remembered tenure included a .667 winning percentage in SEC games. Mullen’s stands at .656…

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest Mullen isn’t the best coach in the division.  How ’bout you?


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

Yar, baby!

The Pirate may not win championships, but look at the places he’s coached at.  What he can do is take an historically downtrodden school to a higher level than it’s accustomed to.

Like, say, Texas Tech.

Pooh pooh it if you want, but there are a lot of places out there that would happily take a decade of Leach relevance over what they usually have.


Filed under Mike Leach. Yar!, Stats Geek!

Those Jimmies and Joes don’t just walk in the door.

While fans of other programs whine about bagmen, what they really ought to be focusing on is what schools are spending on recruiting out in the open.  And as of 2019, Georgia was lapping the damned field.

Seventy-three percent of Power Five programs increased their recruiting spending from 2018 to 2019. Some programs, like Georgia, were just keeping with the status quo, while others increased spending in correlation with coaching staff revamps.

Kirby Smart and the University of Georgia spent $1 million more than the next highest-spending program, which was Alabama. The Bulldogs’ outlandish recruiting spending hasn’t led to a national title yet, but it could pay off very soon. As of Oct. 2021, they’re the favorite to win it all this year.

2019 Power Five Recruiting Spending Ranked

  1. Georgia – $3,676,858
  2. Alabama – $2,663,467
  3. Tennessee – $2,247,289
  4. Clemson – $2,234,173
  5. Arkansas – $1,931,026
  6. Texas A&M – $1,673,204
  7. LSU – $1,607,148
  8. Penn State – $1,529,068
  9. Florida State – $1,503,142
  10. Michigan – $1,411,989
  11. Nebraska – $1,349,991
  12. Oklahoma – $1,276,908
  13. Texas – $1,275,368
  14. Florida – $1,271,821
  15. Oregon – $1,214,111

Georgia tripled Florida’s recruiting budget.  I guess you really can’t put a price tag on the transfer portal.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

“The combination of Stetson and JT to get them both prepared because they’re our two quarterbacks right now.”

Not that I would expect anything different, but Kirby Smart still isn’t showing his cards about who his starting quarterback will be Saturday.

“He’s looked good,” Smart said of Daniels. “He’s done a good job. I would be remiss if I could tell you everything he did today. That’s why when I hang up this call, I go in and watch it and see it visually with my eyes because a lot of times in practice I’m watching it from a defensive perspective. Then at night, I watch it from a quarterback perspective. I also talk to Coach Monken and the offensive staff about it. He’s done a good job. I wouldn’t say that there’s been a lot of limitations. It doesn’t seem like there’s been limitations in terms of what he can and can’t do.”

The possibility exists that Daniels was available for the Kentucky game a little over a week ago. He seemed comfortable throwing the ball 35 to 40 yards prior to the game and he was fully taped, suggesting that he was ready to enter the game if needed.

I have no idea who gets the nod.  What I do find amusing are all the suggestions about why, based on stats or feels, Bennett or Daniels has to be the guy.  For some reason, I have the sense that Smart and Monken will have their own set of reasons behind their final decision.


Filed under Georgia Football

Joe Lee Dunn, RIP

Man, sad to hear this news about one of my favorite coaches.

Joe Lee Dunn, a veteran college defensive coordinator whose career spans over four decades, has sadly passed on.

Considered by many in the coaching profession as one of the Godfathers of the 3-3-5, Dunn coordinated defenses at eight different colleges, including four different SEC stops at South Carolina, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Mississippi State.

I loved him as much for being a style maven (no socks on the sideline) as being an aggressive SOB.  He hit his peak at Mississippi State, where he was a finalist for the Broyles Award, and when the team won its only divisional title.

This, as much as anything, sums the man up:

Football being football, of course Dunn wound up working for Mumme.  He will be missed.


UPDATE:  Chris Brown had some thoughts about Dunn’s 3-3-5.


Filed under SEC Football

Two more years! Two more years!

Man, forget about all that NIL bullshit.  This is what pay to play really looks like.

I guess ol’ Kirbs is gonna have to suck it up on the recruiting trail a little while longer.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness