Daily Archives: November 29, 2021

Fallout at the Flats

Georgia Tech’s best player is taking his services elsewhere.

That’s what happens when you coach to get out of the stadium as fast as you can.

The reaction to the news at Stingtalk is about what you’d expect.

44 Comments

Filed under Georgia Tech Football

Monday ticket exchange

Are you a Magill Society member looking to spread a little SECCG wealth?  Are you a longtime season ticket holder who got screwed on the SECCG ticket cutoff looking for something?

Buddy, have we got the place for you here!

Share what you’ve got/need in the comments and, please, be specific.

47 Comments

Filed under GTP Stuff

Observations from the 20, COFH edition

Really, it was the sense of familiarity that showed through Saturday — beautiful fall weather, the Atlanta skyline behind the stadium (it’s pretty cool, believe it or not), the lame signs hanging in front of the frat houses along the way to BDS (when “Roll Tide” is the cleverest thing they’ve got, lame is an understatement) and the tepid insults hurled after the game on the way back to the tailgate.  I’ve seen and heard it all before.

The Tech folks were subdued, to put it mildly.  I’ve seen more enthusiasm for a root canal appointment.  And, given the way the game turned out, their attitude was justified.

I’m used to seeing a lot of red inside BDS, but the level for this year’s game was almost shocking.

The place filled in a little more than that by kickoff, but the crowd was overwhelmingly red.  That, in turn, led to the two most amusing things on the day.  First, the Redcoat Band played loudly enough when Tech was on offense right up to the snap as a distraction.  Second — and it’s the first time I’d ever experienced this — the visitors’ crowd noise was loud enough to cause a false start penalty to be called on a Jacket offensive lineman.  In the third quarter.  With the score 31-0.  I don’t know if I’ve ever been more pleased with a Georgia crowd.

On to the bullet points…

  • Speaking of penalties, Georgia had none.  Zippo.  Nada.  Talk about playing with focus in a “meaningless” game…
  • Given the level of opposition, as well as the absence of commitment on Collins’ part, I don’t want to read too much into the day’s efforts, but I do have to take note of Bennett’s excellent game.  Saturday may have been his finest hour as a starter.  He distributed the ball well.  He clearly went through his reads and progressions.  The vast majority of his throws were accurate.  (The TD throw to Burton was flat out gorgeous.)  He threw well from the pocket.  Outside of his misconnects with Mitchell and the one batted pass, he was damned near perfect, in fact.  I know going into the SECCG we’re a little nervous with the memory of Stetson’s second half against ‘Bama last season, but he’s progressed so much since then.
  • If there’s one area of the offense I’m still a bit nervous about, it’s the offensive line, although I’ll admit that may say more about me than the players.  After all, Georgia did average over nine yards per play, which ain’t exactly shabby.  Bennett was only sacked once, and that was because he held on to the ball too long.  There weren’t many tackles for loss, either.  But one thing is very clear now:  this ain’t Sam Pittman’s o-line any more.  These days, Georgia’s focused more on pulling and creating mismatches than it is on flat out mashing.  I’m guessing that’s why Ericson’s managed to hold off Truss at right guard.
  • I don’t know how any team can defend Georgia’s 13 sets consistently.  With three tight ends, all of whom play well, Monken gets mismatches in the passing game and extra blockers in the run game.  If you’re a defensive coordinator, pick your poison.
  • Shit, did we love seeing some George Pickens, or what?  George may not be completely back from a physical standpoint, but mentally, he’s the old George Pickens.  At the end of one play when he was blocking downfield, he gave the Tech defender an extra shove, just to let him know he was back.
  • It was Kenny McIntosh’s day.  He broke off one big TD run — UGA’s longest run from scrimmage all season, I believe, and had a couple of good catches, too.
  • Zamir White had one catch out of the backfield as a safety valve that I mention because it looked like Tech simply forgot to cover him in the flat for what seemed like three or four seconds.
  • And I have to give Daijun Edwards a little love.  All he does is come out there when the game is long past decided and run hard and fast.
  • It will always be hilarious watching Tech’s managers on the side line jumping up and down with “Money Down” signs while their team is losing by five touchdowns.
  • Defensively — again, I consider the opponent, but that was a dominating performance.  Best of all, what really showed through was how much the shut out mattered.  I saw the pride in Nakobe Dean’s disdainful reaction in the second quarter when the defense allowed Tech to convert a third down.  And I saw it in the second half when Nolan Smith lobbied to go back in the game to shut down a Tech series.  (He helped do, that, too.)  Those guys are playing with a ton of confidence and desire to excel.
  • Jamon Dumas-Johnson is going to be impossible to keep off the field next season.
  • Robert Beal’s sack happened so fast I almost missed it.  Either he timed the snap perfectly, or Tech’s left tackle, whom I noticed complained to the refs about Beal being offside, completely whiffed on his block.  Or both.
  • I’m pretty sure Tech only had one play over 20 yards all day, the pass completion to the tight end whom Walker picked up just a little late in coverage.  And that drive was shut down just a few plays later.
  • Tech did next to nothing with its passing game, so kudos to the secondary for that, but special mention goes to Dan Jackson, who once again filled in productively for an ailing Christopher Smith.  He knows where to be on the field and he’s one of the best tacklers on the defense.
  • Special teams really didn’t have to do much.  Kearis Jackson had one nice punt return before he left the game with an injury.  Podlesny was perfect on the day.  Camarda’s one punt was meh, but his kickoffs were anything but.  Gibbs’ mishandling of the opening kick turned out to be a metaphor for Georgia Tech’s day.
  • As much as I harp on how good Monken is as a play designer and play caller, he deserves mention as well for his work as a position coach.  The improvement that Stetson Bennett has shown this season over last is remarkable.
  • Lanning just keeps doing what he’s been doing all season.  Three shutouts in one year is another thing that’s remarkable.
  • And, once again, I have to take note of how great a job Kirby Smart has done of keeping this team on track mentally all season.  A noon start, a game largely perceived as little more than a tune up before the SECCG and an opponent whose main strategy was to slow the pace of the game down to limit Georgia’s offensive possessions could have added up to a sleepy affair.  Instead, Georgia came out fired up, started fast and didn’t let up.  That’s what elite teams are supposed to do.

Now, to paraphrase Paul Johnson, these Dawgs have bigger fish to fry.  12-0 is great, and so is winning the East, but it’s time to go out and slay a certain dragon.

63 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Saban prepares the troops.

Hey, wait a minute — isn’t this what coaches playing Alabama are supposed to say?

“… Hopefully, getting the opportunity to play the No. 1 team in the country, our players will look at it like a real challenge.”

I’ve had weeks to prepare for this moment, and it’s still weird as hell to hear Nick Saban say something like that.

26 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football

SEC Net YPP, Week 13

The regular season, she has been played.  The ypp stats, they have been compiled.  (As always, stats via cfbstats.com.)

  1. Georgia 3.39 (7.06 o; 3.67 d) [NC: +.13]
  2. Alabama 2.02 (6.64 o; 4.62 d) [NC:  -.05]
  3. Texas A&M 1.30 (5.96 o; 4.66 d) [NC: -.20]
  4. Tennessee 1.28 (6.50 o; 5.22 d) [NC: +.15]
  5. Florida 1.24 (6.68 o; 5.44 d) [NC: -.19]
  6. Kentucky 1.12 (6.56 o; 5.44 d) [NC: +.05]
  7. Ole Miss 1.02 (6.54 o; 5.52 d) [NC:  -.12]
  8. Arkansas 1.00 (6.42 o; 5.42 d) [NC: +.24]
  9. Auburn:  .64 (5.85 o; 5.21 d) [NC:  -.19]
  10. Mississippi State .57 (5.98 o; 5.41 d) [NC: -.02]
  11. LSU -.05 (5.34 o; 5.39 d) [NC: +.08]
  12. Missouri -.40 (5.84 o; 6.50 d) [NC: -.24]
  13. South Carolina -.53 (5.04 o; 5.57 d) [NC: -.18]
  14. Vanderbilt -2.23 (4.52 o; 6.75 d) [NC: -.08]

Turnover margin, after week six:

  • +11:  Ole Miss
  • +8:  Alabama
  • +5:  Arkansas
  • +4:  Missouri
  • +2:  Georgia
  • +1:  Mississippi State, Tennessee
  •  0:  South Carolina
  • -1:  LSU, Texas A&M
  • -2:  Auburn
  • -3:  Vanderbilt
  • -8:  Florida
  • -13:  Kentucky

Observations:

  • Wanna do something fun?  Go back to the first week and compare those standings to this week’s.
  • Georgia does indeed finish the regular season first in both offensive and defense ypp.  The Dawgs are the only team in the conference to finish over 7.0 in offensive ypp and under 4.0 in defensive ypp.
  • Georgia is also the only team in the country with a net ypp over 3.0.
  • Playing in the SEC, Kentucky won nine games with a minus-13 in turnover margin.  Color me impressed.
  • Tennessee finished fourth in net ypp.  Tennessee finished with a 7-5 record, which tells you they really pounded some cupcakes.
  • Mizzou managed to avoid finishing last in defensive ypp.  Vandy, you had one job.

12 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Your Daily Gator has the pulse of Dawgnation.

Shit, Billy Napier hasn’t even had time to decorate his new office, but GatorJosh58 knows we’re already skeered.

I hate to break it to him, but “people of somewhat importance around the UGA program” are rather preoccupied with something else this week besides Billy Napier.

61 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators...

Ain’t no shootout coming

This was actually a Week 12 hot take, but it’s worth mentioning now that it’s SECCG week.

The last two games for the Crimson Tide against SEC opponents have seen them struggle at home against LSU and Arkansas and win by a combined 13 points. The defense has shown cracks throughout the season and the Razorbacks exposed their secondary Saturday with several big plays. However, there’s one area where Alabama will have a big advantage when the teams meet in the SEC title game. Its passing game is significantly better than any Georgia has seen all year. With Bryce Young throwing and John Metchie and Jameson Williams catching passes, the Crimson Tide are going to be able to put points on the board. Their defense may have issues, but the Bulldogs don’t have an offense that is overwhelming. They typically wear down defenses because the opponents’ offenses can’t stay on the field. That won’t be a problem for Alabama in what should be one of the best games of the year.

Ah, yes, the ol’ “the Bulldogs don’t have an offense that is overwhelming” take.  I already took a shot at that yesterday, but that’s not exactly what this post is about.

The folks at Roll ‘Bama Roll took notice of that, and added this:

That last point is key: matchups matter. Alabama has stopped the run quite well in recent weeks. Georgia runs the ball very well at 5.28 yards per carry on the season, but if the Tide can limit them in that area and turn it into a battle of Bryce Young vs. Stetson Bennett, you have to like their chances. That will be no easy task, of course, but it’s the reason that the betting line will be much closer than the transitive property would suggest.

That’s getting closer, but still, no ceegar.

That’s for David Hale, who gets it, even if he’s talking in the context of the CFP.

There isn’t going to be a shootout at MBS this Saturday.  Georgia’s defense has given up a total of seven touchdowns in twelve games; the idea that ‘Bama will put up a number of points approaching that number in a single meeting seems unlikely.

But, RBR is right about one thing.  Alabama’s run defense has been quite good in the season’s second half.  Is it good enough to shut down Georgia’s ground game, which has also been quite good in the season’s second half?  I don’t know, but I do think for the Tide to have a solid chance of winning, that’s where things have to start.

That being said, about that whole Bennett vs. Young thing, it’s worth starting at the point where we recognize that Stetson Bennett has played extremely well within the system that Todd Monken has constructed around him.  Take a look at the national passer rating stats:

The keys there are the attempts per game and the yards per attempt.  Bryce Young is attempting more than twice as many throws on average than is Bennett.  Bennett is averaging a yard-and-a-half more per throw than is Young.  If Alabama can force Bennett to throw more and average less, that will likely do a lot to level the playing field.

That means playing defense the way Clemson did, and Arkansas did:  try to limit the Georgia running game with your defensive front and play soft coverage in the back to limit explosive passing plays.  Can ‘Bama do it?  I don’t know for sure, but one thing that gives me hope is that they just played a team in Arkansas that tries to do on offense what Georgia does, and in fact succeeded, to the tune of a 213.77 passer rating, Alabama’s worst defensive showing this season.  (Note that Arky managed an 11.5 ypa that game.  I’ll go on record right now and say if Stetson matches that, Georgia wins convincingly Saturday.)

My advice would be to quit worrying about Saturday being a shootout in which Bennett doesn’t have as many bullets as Young does and start thinking about it as another impose your will showdown between two great defensive-minded head coaches.

63 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

SEC Power Poll Week 12

Another regular season in the books — time flies when you’re having a good time, eh?

  1. Georgia.  Didn’t break a sweat crushing their in state rival.  Again.
  2. Alabama.  Nick Saban: “I just told the guys to go out there and have fun, don’t worry about the result.”  Sure, Coach.
  3. Ole Miss.  A ten-win season and a NY6 bowl game.  Not bad, Junior.
  4. Kentucky.  Smashed their in state rival, finished second in the division and won nine games.  That’s a memorable year for UK.
  5. Arkansas.  Sam Pittman has made this team competitive.  Now he just has to make it talented.
  6. Texas A&M.  I really have given up trying to figure out this team.
  7. Mississippi State.  Mike Leach hasn’t won an in state rivalry game since 2012.
  8. LSU.  Nothing like watching the coach you fired beat the coach you want to hire to replace him.
  9. Auburn.  In the blink of an eye, Bryan Harsin went from winning the Iron Bowl in his first try to becoming the first Auburn coach to go winless in November in almost 30 years, and the first to end the regular season on a four-game losing streak in 45 years.  Helluva buyout you got there, Aubies.
  10. Tennessee.  With their epic win over Vanderbilt, the Vols managed to even the series over the last ten years.
  11. Missouri.  Played like a team that relaxed after earning bowl eligibility.
  12. South Carolina.  Played like a team that relaxed after earning bowl eligibility against a team that had something to prove about a disappointing season.
  13. Florida.  Congrats to the Gators for earning bowl eligibility!
  14. Vanderbilt.  What is this “bowl eligibility” you speak of?

9 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Run the damned ball, ‘Bama.

This is worth monitoring during the week:

Alabama tailback Brian Robinson Jr. has a pulled muscle that makes his status for the Southeastern Conference Championship Game against No. 1 Georgia uncertain.

No. 4 Alabama’s coach Nick Saban said Sunday that Robinson sustained a “lower body pulled muscle” in Saturday’s four-overtime victory over Auburn. Robinson was holding his left leg on the ground after a 37-yard carry in the fourth quarter of the 24-22 Iron Bowl win.

“We’ll just kind of see how he progresses during the course of the week and see where he’s at,” Saban said. “I can’t tell you any more than that right now.”

There is a ginormous production gap between Robinson and the rest of Alabama’s backs (“Robinson easily leads the team in rushing with 1,016 yards and 14 touchdowns. Sanders has 50 carries for 221 yards and two TDs.”) and the Tide was already down to three running backs before this news.  If he can’t go, that’s going to make Bryce Young’s life a lot more difficult come Saturday evening.

28 Comments

Filed under Alabama, The Body Is A Temple

Fabris Pool results, Week 13

I’m sorry, but I can’t help but laugh about this week’s results.  I’ve had my worst season ever in the pick ’em.  I’ve had no feel for point spreads all year.  I’ve gotten pounded, in other words.

So naturally, come the final week of chaos, I win the weekly pool for the first time ever.  In a four-way tiebreaker.  By one point.

Blind pig, meet acorn.  Honestly, I feel too sheepish to pound my chest.

The seasonal race was as close as it gets, as well.

Congrats to jayelbee24!  A 62.6% winning percentage could have won you some real money this year.

That’s it for the regular season.  Stay tuned for the bowl season edition of the Fabris Pool.

5 Comments

Filed under GTP Stuff