Daily Archives: December 3, 2021

Are defenses figuring out Bryce Young?

Bill Connelly ($$) thinks it’s starting to look that way.

We long ago penciled in this game as the one that would tell us what we need to know about Bennett and the Georgia attack. Whether that remains the case will depend on whether Bama can actually give Young enough time to run the Tide offense. That’s increasingly been an issue. Opponents have done a good job of covering up Young’s quicker reads, forcing him to look downfield and, in the process, sacking him more frequently.

Forcing Young to look downfield is a double-edged sword, as he will complete some of these passes for big gains. But opponents have figured out how to create more negative plays, and the effects have been clear.

You can rest assured that Georgia’s coaches and a host of analysts have been pouring over the tape from those games.  From what I saw in the Iron Bowl, Mason was very aggressive attacking the line of scrimmage and Young (until he wasn’t, but that’s another story).

The question is how far does Lanning have to go to produce similar issues.  Bill suggests not so far.

Georgia manages to create constant pressure despite blitzing only 22% of the time (80th in FBS), and it let opponents fire short passes, swarming and gang-tackling for minimal gains. Perhaps screens and quick passes will gain just enough to allow Bama to stay on schedule and keep Young out of trouble. But against a defense that ranks first in success rate, first in explosive play rate and forces three-and-outs an incredible 50% of the time (also first), Alabama will either have to play by far its best offensive game of the season or force Bennett into mistakes he hasn’t made all season…

This only gets easier for Georgia’s defense if Alabama can’t run the ball effectively.

34 Comments

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

“You get enough at-bats, you usually get a hit.”

At Yahoo Sports, Pete Thamel explores the psyche of Dawgnation.  He spoke to Georgia’s starting quarterback about that:

That doesn’t calm the longing of the fan base, which Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett summed up with emotion and elegance. As a Georgia native, he understands the raw emotion that comes with the upcoming high-stakes games.

“It’s hard to try not to think about it, just once you think about it then it’s easy to let it get overwhelming because it does mean so much,” Bennett told Yahoo Sports this week. “And my job right now is just to win football games and let what it means for other people mean what it does for them.”

Bennett is a senior quarterback who grew up in Blackshear, Georgia, going to games with his father. He remembers his dad listening to games on the radio in the stadium, clinging to the action described by Larry Munson as it unfolded in front of them. Bennett recalls crying after the SEC title game in 2012. “Just a feeling inside,” he said. “You don’t really know, just a feeling inside. You don’t really know why you feel it, but you just do.”

Bennett went on to articulate the sociology of fandom at a Ph.D. level, an education by personal osmosis.

“It’s hard to quantify how much it means to people and why it means so much to people,” he said. “Sports in general, but I think especially football, are a microcosm of life and when your team can win something, I guess it gives you hope. It’s hard to say exactly what it is, but there’s just an entire inflated sense of pride in your school, in your state. Even if you have no personal connections to Georgia, you can draw on them.”

The recent story of Georgia football, ultimately speaking, has been close, but no cigar.  Smart’s focus has given us hope and expectations that we’ll be smoking that bad boy soon.

… Georgia had never spent, built and invested in a staff like a high-end SEC school until Smart came to town and $175 million in football upgrades soon followed. A former UGA staffer described the overhaul perfectly: “Kirby took it from a Mustang and turned it into a Ferrari.”

Still, speaking as someone who has his 2017 tickets to Notre Dame, the Rose Bowl and the national championship games framed and mounted on the wall, life as a Georgia fan hasn’t been as bleak as some would like to make it.  As Loran Smith puts it,

“It’s not like we’re being deprived,” said Smith, who has written more than 10 books on UGA football. “We just haven’t had the icing on the cake.”

The Ferrari’s been a fun ride.  It’ll still be a Ferrari if Georgia doesn’t win tomorrow night.  But I’d sure like to smoke that ‘gar…

70 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Carrots and sticks

If you’re the NCAA, these are words you definitely don’t want to hear“This latest round of contracts is … definitely getting attention in the Congress…”

Sen. Blumenthal isn’t taking a shot at the contracts themselves, just at the schools’ position that player compensation and related issues are anathema.

Blumenthal emphasized that he is not judging coaches on what they are paid “if they can command that amount. The schools are big boys. Nobody’s holding a gun to their head to pay this amount. The board of trustees ultimately may be held accountable for approving it. But my gripe is the treatment of athletes. …

“I don’t think Congress should be setting compensation caps. What we should be doing is requiring fairness in treatment of athletes.”

How to get the schools to go along with that, given their current reluctance?

Asked how a bill could be put together and passed in the face of continued resistance, particularly from schools, Blumenthal said: “Let me put it this way: There are a variety of different points of leverage, such as taxes, antitrust treatment and so forth. … They’d love antitrust protection, so maybe it’s a combination of carrots and sticks.”

If the schools and the NCAA were smart, they’d cut a deal right now.  Antitrust protection would be huge for college sports.  Judging from their track record, though, they’ll probably continue to fight, be hugely embarrassed in another congressional hearing or two and then wind up settling for less than they could have gotten if they hadn’t been their usual dumbass selves.  It’s just how they roll.

[Ed. note:  the first commenter who decides to reference Blumenthal’s history instead of sticking to the post topic will be unceremoniously canned, and so will anyone else who decides to trod the same path.  Just sayin’.]

29 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

SECCG advanced stats matchup

Want some context on where this year’s Georgia team fits in terms of other SECCG participants?  Josh has your answers here.

Tl;dr version:

The Bulldogs enter the 2021 SEC Championship with the highest Net YPP in Championship Game history at 3.0. Net YPP is Offensive Yards Per Play minus Defensive Yards Per Play allowed. Georgia’s 30.1% defensive success allowed is also best I can find dating back to 2001.

I’m pretty sure that’s good.

17 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Chasing the NIL bucks at Texas

Them boosters, they just here to hep.

Shuley announced Wednesday a new partnership called the Clark Field Collective to help facilitate NIL opportunities with Texas athletes.

Shuley said prominent donors, Austin business leaders and Texas exes like Kenny Vaccaro, T.J. Ford and Juliann Johnson will help oversee what’s starting out as a $10-million commitment. The goal is simple: to have the largest fund in the country dedicated to NIL activities for Texas athletes.

“My old roommates way back in the day were some UT basketball players. I’ve always been around sports and know what goes on,” Shuley said in an interview. “How do you figure out how to bring people together on this, and looking at it from a bigger picture, how do you take something like that and take it to where it benefits the kids and the greater good of the university?”

Doing it for the kids remains undefeated.  But ten mill?  Do you really need that much just for promoting opportunities?

Asked about the perception the Clark Field Collective is just a way to pay athletes, Shuley demurred.

“You can’t control people’s perceptions, and people are going to say what they’re going to say,” Shuley said. “This is just a way to let fans, donors know this is a way that’s going to be safe for the athletes. This is how we’re going to approach it.”

Some people, man.

18 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

“Georgia’s gonna win by double digits.”

At least in terms of the Dawgs covering the spread tomorrow, Clay Travis delivers the kiss of death here:

I think the dudes at Eleven Warriors used to run a regular feature betting the opposite of Travis’ picks.  They always finished the year making money.

31 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

TFW you get the boosters you deserve

Swinging dick doesn’t like the way Georgia Tech’s season turned out, because respect.

Zelnak, who chose not to attend the Tech-Georgia game, shared reports he received about the behavior of Bulldogs fans who occupied a large majority of Bobby Dodd Stadium. In past Tech-UGA games there, Zelnak said, Bulldogs fans have been “very raucous” and “less than charming.”

What happened Saturday, Zelnak said he was told, was that UGA fans didn’t even bother to engage Jackets supporters, which to him was even worse.

“It was not a relevant game (to UGA fans),” Zelnak said. “The last three years under (former coach Paul) Johnson, we won 21 games, including in 2016, beating Georgia in Athens. In the last three years of Collins, we’ve won nine. We’ve gone from being relevant to who cares? And that’s sad. It’s sad for the players. It’s sad for the fans.”

I don’t know what I like the best about those three paragraphs — that while whining that the game isn’t relevant to Georgia fans, he couldn’t be bothered to attend himself, or that averaging seven wins a year is all that it takes to make Georgia Tech football “relevant”.

Something on the Flats is sad, that’s for sure.

47 Comments

Filed under Georgia Tech Football

The SECCG preview, from enemy eyes

The folks at Roll ‘Bama Roll weigh in, with a surprisingly minimal amount of condescension:

In the first piece, he’s predicting the Dawgs put up 34.  In the second, he’s worried about which ‘Bama offense shows up.  Like I said, fair amount of respect there.

31 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football

You get a bowl game! And you get a bowl game!

Not that there’s anything wrong with this:

A one-time replacement bowl game is expected to be developed this college football season after the Division I Football Oversight Committee on Thursday approved a request to waive the April 1 bowl game certification application deadline, according to a document obtained by ESPN.

This summer, the San Francisco Bowl told the NCAA, the Big Ten and the Pac-12 that it would not conduct a game this year. The bowl system entered this season anticipating 41 games with 82 teams needed to fill all of the available spots — but there are now 84 “deserving” teams after Hawaii finished the season 6-7.

Deserving in quote marks is what makes that special.  “Having a pulse” would have painted a more accurate picture.

In any event, Mickey’s got this, y’all.

The conferences plan to partner with ESPN Events to develop a game consistent with other postseason bowl experiences.

Somewhere, there’s a sports book cheering the development.

15 Comments

Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil