Daily Archives: December 8, 2021

A tale of two quarterbacks

Interesting take from SECStatCat:

Offensive Executive: Stetson Bennett IV, Georgia

Even though the SEC Championship didn’t go Georgia’s way, the Bulldogs are still the only SEC offense with +50% Success Rate in both facets entering bowl season. That obviously cannot happen without a somewhat consistent passer who can execute the offensive scheme. Stetson Bennett’s performance might have cemented his status as a game manager, but it’s hard to challenge the majority of the results under his watch this fall. Despite finishing 9th in Completion% and 12th in Accuracy%, the former walk-on commands the conference’s best Success Rate (53.7%), Explosive Pass Rate (15.8%), and First Down+TD Rate (43.7%). Talk about making them count. Under Monken’s guidance and a brawny ground game, SB4 used play action on nearly 30% of his attempts and targeted a screen or RPO on another 25%. Behind these guises, he popped. And, Georgia was a sheer bully at times when on schedule. But when the scheme has stuttered and the QB has been asked to shoulder the load, the sprite Bennett keeps on faltering without those props.

The Light Lifter: JT Daniels, Georgia

The former-five star hasn’t played in two months. But when he has seen action this year, he consistently has fancied targeting screens, RPOs, and routes behind the line of scrimmage. JT Daniels attempts of the latter account for an absurd 47% of his completions, 36% of his throws, and 33% of his yards have come on the latter alone. With that, it’s no wonder his average depth of target is the 2nd-lowest in the conference. No doubt not being 100% for stints of this season played a part in this conservative modus operandi. In case you forgot, he led the SEC in Deep Pass Rate and had the top Yards/Attempt amongst the conference returns ahead of this fall. This about-face is an awfully strange occurrence unless something is up. While Daniels has had a few nice downfield completions, he’s the only SECer to have a third of his yards come via RPOs.  [Emphasis added.]

Maybe it’s not a matter of Stetson playing the hand Kirby’s dealt him.  Maybe it’s Kirby playing the hand his quarterbacks have dealt him.

93 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“I think we’ve seen what we needed to see here.”

Matt Hinton is unstinting in his take on Stetson Bennett’s ceiling against Alabama.

… Going back to last year’s regular-season loss in Tuscaloosa – a game that ended with an identical final score, 41-24 – Bennett has thrown 5 interceptions in the past 2 meetings, 4 of them with the Bulldogs trailing in the second half.

Bennett was hardly Georgia’s only problem, nor, on a day when the running game made no impact, wide receivers generated no separation, and the defense got exposed at every level, was he necessarily the biggest. Still, it’s clear enough that as long as he’s in the lineup, the Bulldogs will always struggle to win games that deviate from a defensively-driven script that Alabama has no interest in playing along to.

In stark contrast to Young, Bennett offered very little in the way of downfield juice and inspired even less confidence in his capacity to transcend the team’s larger issues. He connected on 1 attempt beyond 20 yards, an early jump ball to George Pickens that gained 37 yards and set up UGA’s first touchdown, and didn’t threaten the Tide deep again.

Like me, though, Hinton doesn’t see the ultimate issue being with Bennett himself, but with Kirby Smart.

Obviously, Kirby Smart is not paid $7.1 million a year to be obtuse about the most important position on the roster. On the contrary, he’s made quarterback a priority, signing 5-star or borderline 5-star prospects in 4 of the past 6 recruiting cycles and pursuing Daniels and Jamie Newman on the transfer market to bridge the gap until the heir apparent, true freshman Brock Vandagriff, is ready to take the reins in 2022 (if Daniels leaves early) or ’23. And yet here he is, again: On the losing end of a big game in which his team was outgunned in a career-making performance for the other side’s star QB, while arguably the most talented signal-caller on his own depth chart remains nailed to the bench.

After the game, Smart described the loss as “a wake-up call,” and technically he didn’t rule out the possibility of making the switch to Daniels while reiterating his confidence in both quarterbacks. At the end of the day, though, nothing in his answer or his track record suggests the status quo is likely to come under serious scrutiny between now and New Year’s Eve. Why would it, when it’s already carried him this far? But there is still time to wake up before the next big opportunity, and in the wake of the latest reality check there’s more urgency than ever. In the aftermath of the wipeout in Atlanta, how the Bulldogs got here is just a story. What matters now is the hard decisions they’re willing make to give themselves the best chance to go all the way.

I forget who said it, but somebody once put forth the proposition that other things being equal, rematches favor the original loser, because that’s who has the incentive to change strategy, while the winner typically sticks with what worked the first time around.  I have this ominous feeling that Kirby Smart is really tempted to eschew that and double down on what got him where he is this season.  If that’s the case, I suppose the wake-up call is for players only.

And if that’s where things wind up, with the same results, I don’t think Georgia fans are going to vent their frustration in Stetson’s direction.  He’ll just be playing the hand Smart dealt him.

96 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Today, in the Herbstreit Doctrine

Shot.

Chaser.

You knew Herbie’s panties were going to be in a wad seeing Cinci make it into the CFP field and his beloved Buckeyes not, so the sarcasm falls especially flat.

Even better, he’s getting his ass owned all over social media right now.  Too bad it won’t affect his influence.

14 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

Kirby Smart’s least favorite down

Hello, third down.

The point here, again, isn’t to shit on Stetson Bennett.  It’s to illustrate that Stetson’s head coach needs to figure out what sort of games Georgia will be in against Michigan and Alabama.  If the formula that worked in the first twelve — stifling defense, efficient offense that avoids third down situations — is back, Bennett is good enough to take you to the promised land.  But if it’s not?

17 Comments

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

No hard feelings

Nobody does futile and stupid gestures better than a politician with time on his hands.

At least he did offer to pay for the signage out of his own pocket, though.

12 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery

TFW you don’t care for Auburn

Now, this is funny.

Yes, there’s an eagle, too. (h/t)

27 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football