Daily Archives: December 17, 2021

Tale of the tape, SECCG edition

I gotta tell you, the advanced stats tell a pretty consistent story, and it’s the one I was worried about going into the game — namely, how things went down on third down.

Basically, Georgia got killed when it was forced into obvious passing downs, particularly on third down.  ‘Bama, on the other hand, thrived in those settings.

Advanced stats show the game was lopsided in one area:  explosiveness.

Like it or not, quarterback play was the difference maker.

78 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

When one door opens, somebody’s there to kick it closed.

You may have heard that Billy Napier just pried away a key recruiting staffer from UGA.  (She’s someone who worked for Napier at Louisiana before coming to Athens and the move wasn’t a surprise.)  Anyway, I got a kick out of her Twitter announcement, or at least one part of it.

I promise, recruiting time is never out of season!!!”  Nothing like taking a gratuitous shot at the Portal Master™ on your way in the door.  I’d like to think that’s the Dawg in her, because I’m a romantic.

26 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Recruiting

Moar Michigan

I continue to scour the Intertubes for information about Georgia’s upcoming opponent.  Here, for example, is a massive breakdown of the Wolverines’ offense from SecStatCat.  For starters:

Michigan is a multiple-formation offense rooted in gap scheme designs. While it’s not quite of the mold of archaic, smashmouth attacks that littered the Big Ten for decades, the Wolverines very much prefer to slug it out with trench warfare. After all, their most repped concept against their four most challenging opponents was Counter, a classic, hard-nosed power run.

Blue has trotted out multi-tight end sets on nearly 40% of its snaps, which tracks as one of the highest marks in the SEC. But despite appearances and the perceived effect at wilting run defenders, 12/13 personnel hurt this offense’s efficiency in our sample. Modball and “three yards and a cloud of dust” delivered an underwhelming 3.9 Yards/Carry and 6.7 Yards/Pass. The Wolverines’ such Success Rate was five points below the average in SEC play with both facets respective clips souring.

On early downs, Jim Harbaugh’s horde established It on 57% of its early downs in those matchups. The average in SEC play this season was 50%. Compared to offenses from the Land Where It Just Means More, the Wolverines were the definition of an average offense in terms of Success Rate (45%) and Yards/Play (6.1). In these spots, their down-to-down explosiveness was akin to Texas A&M. The middling numbers unfortunately set them up for loads of 3rd down opportunities. Less than 61% of their conversions occurred on early downs – a threshold only LSU, Missouri, and Vanderbilt failed to beat in SEC play.

However, the conservative modus operandi consistently conjured manageable latter down chances thanks to hardly moving backwards. The Wolverines only tallied seven negative plays (including one sack) on 1st or 2nd down against their hardest opponents. By a rate basis, not even Georgia’s strong on-schedule steam engine bests Michigan’s 3.3% clip in this context.

The Wolverines averaged a mere 5.4 yards to gain on thirds versus their top foes, which facilitated firm figures in those spots. Their 43.9% Success Rate wasn’t far off from their cumulative clip in our sample nor their 45.1% figure across all of 2021, which is top 25-worthy ahead of bowl season. The short porch tries also led to more aggressiveness from the Khaki King in terms of going for it on 4th downs. On the year, Michigan has attempted the 19th-most such attempts with 24. Ten of them occurred in our four game sample; seven worked out for the Wolverines. Again, this offense has no issue playing small, getting gritty, or testing the fortitude of opposing fronts.

And while the run-heavy style theoretically presents possibilities to pummel itchy defenses with deception tactics, only about a tenth of Cade McNamara’s attempts used play action. While there’s a point of not giving iffy passers too many instances of taking their eyes coverages before firing a downfield strike, this is a concerted effort by this staff’s part. And looking at the production, fading play action was justified. Michigan’s Yards/Pass and Success Rate both worsened on play fakes. Plus, this staff noticeably had an aversion for RPOs…

Honestly, that sounds more manball-ish than Georgia is.  And not as successful.  So what is working in the run game?  Motion.

The Wolverines’ panache also shows up with how they utilize at-the-snap motion. “Shoot”, or escort, motion has been a budding novelty within the SEC the last couple of seasons. Instead of asking a motioner jetting across the formation to function as simple eye candy or as a quick pass outlet, this subset of motion calls for these dudes to be key blockers. Formations create advantageous pre-snap angles, motion affects the numbers at the point of attack, and the timing element allows for positive blocking inertia. Plus, it allows offenses to run multi-headed run looks from 2×2 or trips. When not using shoot motion to help set up an RPO outlet, SEC offenses have primarily used it on split zone designs with tight ends mostly being the shooter. But, others like Tennessee and South Carolina have dabbled with Counters and Inserts.

No SEC offense comes close to matching Michigan’s affinity for this tactic. A tenth of the Wolverines’ snaps used Jet motion; and of those 28 plays, 24 were categorized as shoots. Plus, Blue’s receivers periodically get in on the action, which has expanded the potential offerings. Michigan has repped Split Zones, “double bluff” Zone Reads, Double Traps, Off-Tackles, and Counters when shooting either a wideout or a tight end. The Wolverines have only tried two passes with this tactic; both were successful Flea Flickers. And while a 3.7 Yards/Carry won’t excite, the versatility fueled a 50% Success Rate against Michigan’s hardest foes.

Additionally, Harbaugh and Co. use just enough ordinary pre-motion to prevent offerings from becoming too stale. Deployed on 14.3% of snaps in our sample, only four SEC teams finished under that benchmark in league play. Yet like shoot motion, reconstructing formations on the fly resulted in some of Michigan’s best outputs. The Wolverines’ Yards/Play increased to 6.5 with  61.0% and 52.6% Rushing and Passing Success Rates, respectively.

There’s plenty more to read there, if you’re interested.  Needless to say, it’s a very different approach than Alabama’s was.

19 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, Strategery And Mechanics

The “they didn’t want to be there” club

Shot.

Chaser.

Well, it’s bowl season again.

Here are the three fan bases most likely to use that excuse if their teams lose:

3. Auburn

Bowl Game: Birmingham Bowl vs. No. 21 Houston

Auburn fans should care about this bowl and if the Tigers win, they might. Major departures in the transfer portal, coaching staff changes, a heartbreaking loss to rival Alabama and a mediocre 6-6 season is the perfect recipe for fans to say the players didn’t want to be there.

It seems like most Auburn fans are moving on to 2022 instead of focusing on the Birmingham Bowl at the new and beautiful Protective Stadium in Uptown Birmingham. Remember last season when Northwestern piled on against Auburn in the Citrus Bowl?

Houston has the potential to do something similar. Hopefully, the players care to be there, but if Auburn loses, the fan will certainly say they didn’t.

It’s getting to be an Auburn tradition.

17 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

Smooth transition, or nah?

Is Lewis Cine concerned about the change at defensive coordinator in the wake of Dan Lanning’s departure for Oregon?  Doesn’t sound like it.

“We know what we’re getting with Coach Muschamp and Schumann,” safety Lewis Cine said. “From the start, it was like we had a bunch of defensive coordinators with Kirby being a defensive head coach, Muschamp being a former coach but mostly a defensive coach also and all those guys. Imagine it was like four masterminds on defense…. It’s not really changing anything. We’re all comfortable with who’s taking place and that’s how we’re going to be move forward.”

It does sound like something of a continuation.

During this season, Cine said Lanning wasn’t the only voice that players heard in defensive meetings. Schumann also came to the front of the room and spoke.

“They all took turns,” he said. “We’re not seeing anything new in that regard because Coach Schumann has done that and talked about that and talked about different things and coach Muschamp has done that and talked about different things.”

Still, the dynamic has to have changed somewhat, if for no other reason than that Lanning hasn’t been around as much lately, for obvious reasons.

Lanning will still coach Georgia during the playoff, but has been busy in the last week striking a deal with Oregon and then traveling cross-country for his first week as Ducks coach.

“He’s got a job and a half right now,” Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said Wednesday on SiriusXM radio.

… Before Lanning turned his attention again more to Georgia, defensive players have been holding each other accountable, Dean said, after coming off its first loss of the season, 41-24, to Alabama in the SEC championship game.

“From the jump, it’s kind of been great player led,” Dean said. “We’ve got great leaders on the team. With Coach Lanning being out right now, it hasn’t been too much drop off. We feel like we’ve been able to lead the team and get us going.”

“… it hasn’t been too much drop off”?  Hmm.  If the defense doesn’t show up again in the CFP, one guess as to where the fingers will be pointed.

32 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Envy and jealousy, the Chiznit edition

Lovely opening paragraph of a take down of the former Auburn head coach who fancies himself to be quite the font of wisdom:

Gene Chizik, he of a perfectly mediocre 38-38 record as a college football head coach, tweets supposed pearls of wisdom every few days. They almost always end with the hashtag #WordsofChizdom, because you can’t get advice like, “Pay close attention to those who don’t clap when you win” just anywhere.

True dat.

28 Comments

Filed under Envy and Jealousy

NIL, styling

Look who’s hooking up with Tom Brady:

I guess that’ll look good for the next month and a half before George declares for the NFL draft.

8 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Stylin'

On the Flats, the end of an era

I don’t know about you, but any article about Georgia Tech football that begins with “After his team lost 45-0 to then-No. 1 Georgia on Nov. 27 to end the season at 3-9…” has my attention.

It seems that Coach 404 has done some serious soul searching and wants you to know he’s Coach 404 no more.

“As I began the deep dive into everything we need to fix to take the next steps to get the product on the field and the results on the field at the highest level possible,” Collins said, “the things that I’ve realized is, less branding, more coaching. Less worrying about culture, more worried about ball.”

It would be a significant shift for Collins, whose focus on branding and culture has been unmistakable for anyone who has followed his team in his three seasons.

That borders on parody.  This crosses right on into it:

“We’re to the point now where it’s time to work,” Collins said. “The brand is set, the culture is set, all of those things. Now it’s time to coach. Now it’s time to work.”

Three years in, now it’s time to work?  If I were Georgia Tech, I’d be asking for a refund.

51 Comments

Filed under Georgia Tech Football

Random late night thought

Have you ever considered what a Venn diagram composed of “people who think there are too many bowl games” and “people who criticize players for skipping bowl games to prepare for the NFL draft” would look like?

Me, too.

19 Comments

Filed under College Football