Daily Archives: August 12, 2022

Snake bit

Damn it.

Sources have told DawgsCentral that Georgia wideout Arian Smith will need surgery after injuring his ankle while participating in a drill during Georgia’s practice on Thursday. Smith is expected to be sidelined for the remainder of UGA’s fall camp. Sources told Dawgs Central that UGA expects Smith to be back from his surgery early in the 2022 regular season, and he should return to action in 4-6 weeks barring any further setbacks.

Makes what Monken said about Smith at yesterday’s presser seem prescient, doesn’t it?

34 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

“His NFL system fits us…”

Continuing with this morning’s Monkenfest, Seth Emerson ($$) does a nice job dredging up stats that demonstrate how Georgia’s offensive coordinator has managed to tweak Kirby Smart’s manball tendencies in fashioning a very effective offensive attack.

The year before Monken arrived, Georgia was 49th nationally in scoring and 36th in offensive yards per play. Those respective stats improved to 38th and 34th in 2020, then to ninth and fourth last year.

And it has come with Georgia ever-so-slightly throwing it more. The percentage of passes called in the first three quarters of games (thus accounting for blowouts) has increased each of the past three seasons:

2019 — 49.0 percent
2020 — 50.3 percent
2021 — 52.2 percent

On its face, those percentages are not an earth shattering change.  So, what gives?

Stetson Bennett, and JT Daniels when he was in there, combined last season to have the best yards per attempt in the SEC: 9.3… Monken did it without forsaking the run: Georgia was second in the SEC in yards per rush at 5.26…

… Georgia has done it in part because of recruiting but also because of Monken’s feel for play calling: He kept defenses off-balance by throwing more on first downs and rushing more in passing situations.

It’s subtle.  At least the stats Seth cites are.  I do think he hits the nail on the head when he credits Monken’s play calling skills.  But I think Monken also deserves credit for his play design skills.  I’ve harped on it before, but when’s the last time you saw a passing play develop where at least one Georgia receiver wasn’t open?  (Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the quarterback saw the open receiver, but you get my point.)

The guy is good, peeps.  Even if Matt Hayes thinks there are fifteen OCs better…

28 Comments

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

TFW more isn’t enough

There are times when I wonder if anybody involved in college football broadcast deals knows what the fuck they’re doing.

One of those broadcast networks, CBS, has left many puzzled. The network has one of the best TV packages in American sports history, owning the SEC’s top game for about $55 million a year in a deal that ends next season. In 2020, the network pulled out of a bidding war with ESPN in negotiations to extend the package. And now, two years later, CBS is paying roughly $50 million more for the Big Ten’s secondary game than ESPN is for the SEC’s top game?

Those within the college sports and TV industry say CBS misread the market during SEC negotiations, not expecting media rights to soar in the same way college football coaching salaries have elevated so quickly.

“The SEC is the best product outside of the NFL,” says one conference administrator. “You’ve paid more for a second- and possibly third-tier Big Ten product and you are going against the stuff you gave away?”

Through the years, many believe CBS’s relationship with the SEC deteriorated. Even when the league expanded to add Texas A&M and Missouri, the network refused to increase its payment to the conference despite it being ghastly low. “I don’t think there is any doubt that Mike [Slive] and Greg [Sankey] were not happy with CBS. They wanted more,” says a former conference administrator who knows the situation well.

Part of me wants to believe that CBS pulled out not because of misreading the market, but because Mickey made it abundantly clear there wasn’t any bid figure it could offer that wouldn’t be topped.  But this is college football we’re talking about here, so it’s prudent not to discount the element of stupidity too much.

That being said, it’s rich that Slive, after cutting shitty TV deal on top of shitty TV deal (and leading the conference into a poorly thought out round of expansion to escape the consequences of that), grew peeved with what he wrought.

24 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Today, in 3-D chess

If you jumped over to read that Andy Staples piece ($$) Seth linked to in his tweet, you’ll come across his take about Georgia’s offense that I find way more interesting than his praise for Stetson Bennett.

… Georgia has built a unit that feels like a correction to the way defenses have changed to deal with spread offenses.

When Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart was in his first few years as Alabama’s defensive coordinator, the Crimson Tide played huge linebackers (between 235 and 260 pounds)… Secondaries and linebacker groups have gotten much lighter. The best secondaries tend to include five players who all would have been cornerbacks 15 years ago. Today’s outside linebackers would have been strong safeties. Today’s inside linebackers would have been weakside linebackers.

Defenses had to do this, because playing such large second- and third-level players put them at risk of having a 240-pound linebacker covering some 175-pound burner in the slot. To deal with four- and five-receiver formations that could morph into different looks with shifts and motion, defenses had to go small. And that’s fine until they run into an offense that can spread the field and still be huge.

… If the Bulldogs can harness that (i.e., using three tight ends), they’ll be able to use all those big bodied pass catchers to create multiple mismatches in the passing game while also maintaining a numbers advantage blocking in the run game…

In a way, this is nothing new.  A long time ago, I wrote about what the spread offense was doing to traditional defensive schemes and what a contrarily minded offensive coordinator might make of that development.

All of which makes you wonder how far this trend will go.  If you configure your defense for small, speedy types who can keep up with these spread sets, it would seem to open you up to other problems.  In the land of the dime package, the power running game is king, so to speak.

So, it seems, might the 13 formation with freakishly skilled tight ends be.  Gosh, I just wonder if Georgia has an offensive coordinator who has a clue about how to deploy such talent effectively.  Actually, I don’t.  I’m looking forward to the ride.

33 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Bending the narrative

Did some kind of memo go out about Stetson Bennett that I missed?  ‘Cause it seems like all of a sudden folks are being complimentary about his play.

For example, here’s Andy Staples.

Then, here’s a Florida blogger who, in trying to determine where to rank Anthony Richardson among SEC quarterbacks, puts up charts that make Bennett look like, well, a very good college quarterback.

Ranking 2022 SEC QBs by YAR

Ranking 2022 SEC QBs by PPA

… Georgia is pretty set with Bennett at QB and with all the other talent in Athens is going to be difficult to dethrone.

None of these numbers are a guarantee. Richardson could get injured early-on and Florida would be screwed. But you can say the exact same thing about Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and perhaps even Georgia.

So I get picking Florida behind Georgia. Stetson Bennett was really good last year, albeit with limited usage.

I need to see a copy of this damned memo.

29 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Monken speaks: “I’m paid to score.”

Yesterday’s presser got off to a perfect start in the first ten seconds and just improved from there.  The whole thing is a must watch, especially if you’re a Monken fanboy like I am.

For those of you who chastise those of us who disagree with Smart on Jacksonville with the point that we shouldn’t question his judgment, let me remind you that Kirby’s the guy who doesn’t let Monken speak with the press more often.  What kind of judgment is that, I asks ‘ya?  (I keed, I keed… I think.)

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Jacksonville’s fiendish plot

You know, it’s starting to feel like Mike Griffith is having a hold my beer contest with himself.  Every time I think he can’t possibly write something more shrill about the Cocktail Party, he goes and proves me wrong.

The city of Jacksonville is mounting a campaign against Smart’s wishes and hoping to turn some Georgia fans against the head coach’s push to level the playing field with the Alabamas, Texas A&Ms and Tennessees of the world.

I don’t think I want to live in a world where Kirby Smart has to level the playing field with Tennessee.  Curse you, River City!

I’m tempted to start labeling my posts about Griffith’s Cocktail Party fixation “Your Daily Griffith”, but Florida fans might take offense to that.

61 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Shots fired in Lexington

“Honey, while you’re in the kitchen, could you bring me that big bag of popcorn?  Think I’m gonna need it.”

Good luck with that on the recruiting trail, Mark.

25 Comments

Filed under SEC Football