Monthly Archives: August 2022

Looking in from Eugene: Georgia Analysis

It is my wont during game week to search out blogs for opposing teams to see what sort of insight is out there to be gleaned from the other side looking in at Georgia.  Oregon’s SB Nation site, Addicted to Quack, has been unfortunately quiet on that front, at least until yesterday, when they made up a shit ton of lost time with this impressive breakdown of the Dawgs’ offense and defense from last season.

You’ll find some detailed analysis of tendencies, like this:

However, the paradox of Georgia’s offense is that unlike the vast majority of teams I’ve studied, they’re more effective on 2nd & long than they are on 2nd & medium. The reason is that the Bulldogs tended to rush on 2nd & medium about 70% of the time, but they weren’t very good at it – less than a 46% success rate on such runs. (This is the only area I can detect, on either side of the ball, that Georgia fooled itself in any way by not matching playcall frequency with success rate, at least in 2021.) They’re much better at passing on 2nd & medium, a 60% success rate, but they only did it 30% of the time. Overall, that adds up to a slightly under 50% success rate on all 2nd & mediums.

Conversely on 2nd & long, the Bulldogs more or less abandoned the run, instead passing more than two-thirds of the time, and their success rate on such passes was over 61% (their 2nd & long rushing success rate was just 36%, but they seemed to know that and didn’t do it very often). These numbers are exacerbated by a neat trick that Monken pulled on 2nd downs: after a failed 1st down run, they frequently lined up in exactly the same formation but executed an RPO or play-action out of it, getting the defense to bite hard on what they thought would be a repeat run (which they just succeeded against) only to get burned by the pass.

All that effectiveness disappeared, however, if Georgia faced more than 4 yards to gain on 3rd down. They passed the ball almost exclusively on such downs – 89% of the time on 3rd & medium and 95% on 3rd & long. Their success rate at such passing plummeted to just 37% on 3rd & medium and 29% on 3rd & long, or 32% combined. Rushes on 3rd & medium or longer were so rare that I couldn’t analyze them.

I don’t want to spoil too much, so you should head on over to read the whole thing.  It’s worth your time.

Before you go, though, there’s one thing I do want to leave you with.  I consider myself a Monken fanboy, but the author of this post may surpass me in that department.  From his initial “Georgia was one of the most effective teams I’ve ever seen at shutting games down once they’d become non-competitive” take through “I think a lot of credit should go to Monken for adapting the offense to his personnel, with a lot of intermediate passes, rollouts to get Bennett better angles, and shifting to the truly exceptional tight ends” to “Recognizing and exploiting that mistake was what made Monken, in my opinion, one of the best OCs in the country last year”, it’s pretty much non-stop admiration.

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

What Kirby wants, Kirby usually gets.

I missed this story when I was on vacation last week, but it sure is in character.

There’s always something next for Kirby Smart it seems when it comes for facility upgrades at Georgia.

The school’s now complete $80 million expansion and renovation of the Butts-Mehre building with a new football operations center brought an expanded weight room, new coaches offices, a player locker room and dining area and more.

Sanford Stadium will undergo $68 million in improvements to improve fan amenities and access and add premium seats and restrooms.

So what does the Georgia football coach want next for facilities or construction? He was asked that by host Scott Howard on the “Bulldogs Live,” UGA coaches show Thursday night.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of things that we continue to talk about and work on,” Smart said.  “One of the toughest for us here is the field space. We’re not able to operate on side-by-side fields, which right now we’re the only team in the SEC that has that. It makes it tough when you try to transition and practice outside.”

The only team in the SEC without?  Shit, we can’t have that, can we?  The problem is that real estate on campus is at a premium.  Well, a problem for some, maybe.

Georgia has two outdoor practice fields in the Butts-Mehre area. One is next to its indoor practice facility and the other is next to the Spec Towns track.

“It’s very convenient for us to go inside-outside with our indoor and our practice field, but it’s tough in terms of side-by-side fields,” Smart said. “It’s something that we’re always talking about visiting on as an athletic department and athletic staff.”

He said athletic director Josh Brooks and his staff has done a “great job,” with a “master plan schedule.”

…Track coach Caryl Smith-Gilbert said last year her program could have a major facility project in the future to open up space for the football program.

“I know Kirby wants our track land for football,” she said. “Maybe we could talk about building a new stadium somewhere else which would be great because then we can make it how we want it.”

I suspect that conversation has already taken place.

(h/t Groo)

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Filed under Georgia Football

Not your daddy’s Tahd?

Hoo, boy, Ian Boyd’s flex against ‘Bama is something.

I have wondered all offseason how much of a tell was it that Saban took an offensive lineman transfer from Vanderbilt to insert in the starting line up.  It would have been unheard of just a few short years ago.

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Filed under Alabama

You’re gonna miss him when he’s gone.

Ah, the good times with Dan Mullen

Two weeks later after a 38-14 bounce-back win at home over Tennessee, UF lost the lead and fell behind in the third quarter at Kentucky when a field-goal attempt was blocked and returned 76 yards for a touchdown. The Gators dominated the stats for total yards (382-224), first downs (21-13) and time of possession (36:18-23:42), but 15 penalties for 115 yards, including eight flags for false-start calls, allowed UK to capture a 20-13 win.

Then in a 49-42 loss at LSU, Florida was -4 in turnover margin and the Tigers ran for 321 yards on 45 rushing attempts. LSU would finish the season ranked 13th out of 14 SEC teams in rushing yards, but Dan Mullen still didn’t fire defensive coordinator Todd Grantham after this atrocious performance.

In fact, Mullen didn’t pull the trigger on a pink slip for Grantham until after 40-17 loss at South Carolina as a 20.5-point road ‘chalk.’ By then, it was Mullen’s future that was in serious doubt. Even if the Gators had won out in their three remaining games, it still might not have been enough for him to see a fifth season.

The defense was even worse the following week in a 70-52 win over Samford. When Florida lost 24-23 to Missouri in overtime one week later, Mullen was gone before lunch the next day. The Gators beat FSU 24-21 in the regular-season finale, but they lost 29-17 to Central Florida at the Gasparilla Bowl.

UCF and South Carolina were the only UF opponents who had more total yards than the Gators, but penalties galore and a -9 turnover margin led to four one-possession losses.

Florida was +1,235 in net yardage for the season.

That, my friends, is hard to do.  And Billy Napier ought to be eternally grateful for the low bar set by the Portal Master™.  How many wins this season will it take for your Daily Gator to proclaim “Florida is back, baby!”?  I’m setting the over/under at nine.

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Filed under Gators, Gators...

There are goals, then there are goals…

and then there are Coach 404’s goals.

But Collins declined the opportunity Tuesday to publicly pronounce his team capable of making it to six wins and qualifying the Jackets for their first bowl game since 2018…

“Obviously, we have high aspirations, we have high internal goals that we talk about a lot,” Collins said. “But every single day, how we handle our business, how we come into the building, how we come out to practice, how we compete and work every single day and just continue to stack those days throughout the year, and I don’t want to be cliché, but every single day matters, every single game matters.

“And I think our guys have that mindset, that attitude,” Collins continued, “and if we can continue that and work at a high level the right way, then we’ll be able to accomplish the internal goals that we have for ourselves, and that’s what we’re working toward every single day.”

Booch couldn’t have said that better if he tried.  Of course, Geoff does have an actual goal this season — to do enough to avoid the unemployment line.

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Filed under Georgia Tech Football

“I knew pretty much that Kirby wasn’t going to change.”

Marc Weiszer has a good piece up on a subject I had wondered about — Sam Pittman’s take on Dan Lanning going up against his old boss for the first time.  After all, who’s got a better perspective on that?

“It’s hard for him because he doesn’t know his team quite as well maybe even as Georgia’s,” Pittman told the Athens Banner-Herald. “He’s getting to know his team, hasn’t been out there in the battle with them yet, but if it was like me, he’ll have much respect for the players, the coaching staff. Had a lot of friends obviously on Georgia’s staff. He’ll want to do really well, you know? He’s got a good team. There will be some butterflies there.”

The most obvious problem?  Pittman mentions that, too.

“I had been with him for four years so we kind of knew what to expect coming into the game. He would always throw a wrinkle or two into the game. You had to find that out. That was probably the biggest advantage—if there is such a thing–of playing Georgia is that because it was the first game of the year, we pretty much knew what they were going to do. The problem is blocking and tackling the guys on their team.”

Read the whole thing.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Ain’t slowin’ down

Something to consider as we (sometimes) smugly look down on gap closing takes is that when it comes to recruiting, the SEC is one tough neighborhood ($$).

Yes, Alabama and Georgia are two of the most dominant recruiting outfits in the country, but the conference is very deep from top to (almost) bottom. Consider the following: 11 of the league’s 14 teams were in the top 30 of the 247Sports Team Talent Composite in 2021.

That’s why it’s so difficult to make a significant move in the league. Consider Tennessee’s recruiting class in the 2020 cycle — the Vols ranked No. 11 nationally but No. 7 in the SEC. The bar is so much higher because every school is recruiting well. And let’s use Tennessee as an example to add more context to the league’s recruiting prowess. The Vols are seventh in the SEC in average class rank over the last five years; they would rank fourth in the Big Ten, third in the ACC and the Big 12 and second in the Pac-12 over the same span.

Need more data? Probably not, but here it is: In the last 10 years, the average SEC class ranked No. 19.6 nationally. The next-best conference is the Big Ten at No. 37.3.

And that’s with Vanderbilt in the mix.  Sure, Mullen wasn’t a great recruiter, but he wasn’t awful, either.  He was just badly outclassed.

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Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

TFW you’re reloading, not rebuilding

Fifteen players gone to the NFL (with five defenders in the first round), one of your top wideouts defecting to Alabama, and this is the worst ESPN can see about your CFP chances:

Not too shabby, Kirbs.

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Filed under Georgia Football

The NIL is coming from inside the house.

This seems like a totally expected move.

South Carolina is becoming the first major college athletic department to partner with a sports marketing agency to establish an in-house name, image and likeness firm, where Gamecocks athletes will have free access to deal facilitation, content generation and branding services.

The school has hired Everett Sports Management (ESM) to launch Park Ave, an exclusive initiative that will provide NIL services for Gamecocks athletes. South Carolina’s board of trustees on Tuesday afternoon approved the two-year, $2.2 million contract. Everett Sports Management, based in Greenville, S.C., represents NFL players such as Jalen Hurts, Mac Jones and Jonathan Taylor, and handles NIL marketing for several college athletes, including Miami basketball players and social media stars Haley and Hanna Cavinder, Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett and Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall.

“There have been a lot of different approaches (toward NIL), and nobody has gone this way,” South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner told ESPN. “We’re confident that this will be an impactful situation for our young men and women to play sports and get branded at the maximum level.”

It’s all about control.  I expect a lot more schools — at least those in states that don’t restrict school involvement in NIL — to follow down this path.

Also, don’t be surprised if schools also don’t look for ways to either control or kneecap booster collectives.

“A lot of donors give to collectives, but a lot are reluctant,” Tanner said. “I haven’t had one donor that has not embraced the idea of a national marketing firm that has excelled in this space. To us, this is very unique. We still have two collectives that are supporting us. But this has an opportunity to take it to a different level.”

What about Georgia?  Well, they’ve got some amending to do with HB 617, for starters.  But I expect that if Kirby Smart sees this as potential exposure in recruiting, he’ll be on that particular mother shortly.

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Filed under 'Cock Envy, Recruiting, SEC Football

Funky, funky but chic

Leadership, Big Blue style.

Maybe Stoops should go with a “do as we say, not as they do” motto this season.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, SEC Football