Daily Archives: January 4, 2023

Gawd still likes me.

That’s the only explanation I have for this news.

“Briefly” is doing some heavy lifting there.  Petrino wasn’t at UNLV long enough to get a parking pass for his motorcycle.



Filed under Fall and Rise of Bobby Petrino

TCU’s Flyover defense

I’ve never claimed to be a football savant.  I’m also not afraid to acknowledge when I’ve gotten something wrong.  Count my declaration that Georgia’s already faced the kind of defense that TCU runs, the 3-3-5, when it played Mississippi State, which also runs a 3-3-5, in that category.

Just ask Kirby Smart.

Smart was not much for comparing TCU’s 3-3-5 defensive look to that of Mississippi State, a team Georgia defeated 45-19 on Nov. 12.

“Mississippi State is very different,” he said. “They’re not really 3-3-5 compared to these guys. There are different coverage structures and different elements to it and different personnel groupings and different techniques and different styles of play.”

Or Ian Boyd, who calls what TCU runs a “flyover defense”.

Everyone is mostly just calling it the 3-3-5 but then they’ll talk about it as though the 3-3-5 itself were some novel concept, or like what TCU is doing is akin to 3-3-5 schemes of the past. This is something unique and different and could present challenges to Georgia which aren’t being properly appreciated in the mainstream commentary about this upcoming final game.

Okay, that’s got my attention.  So what exactly does TCU do on defense, particularly, what do they do that might cause the Dawgs problems?  Well, with regard to the first part of that question, here’s a post at MGoBlog that tucks into this version of the 3-3-5.

This 3-3-5 Flyover defense has since been adopted, more or less intact, by TCU coordinator Joe Gillespie. TCU runs it with “more interchangeable” linebackers, which is to say they couldn’t find a faster WLB to fulfill that role. This relative lack of athleticism in the ILBs in a system that demands it from at least one of them is the reason why, as Alex Drain identified in FFFF, TCU has struggled with receiving RBs, passes up the seam, and edge attacks when their LBs are whipped in different directions.

It’s a defensive response to all the spread attacks that proliferated in the Big 12 and at its heart, it makes one big change.

It’s a very different take on the 3-3-5. The standard Rocky Long 3-3-5 you know uses a single-high safety and then two hybrid wings, then plays 3 and 3 in the box. This 3-3-5 is more of a 3-4 but one of the middle linebackers is a safety-like object in the middle of the safeties.

The idea is to start back and chain reactions of each level to the one in front of it. The big question people always ask is how do you stop the run if you’re pulling the free hitter out of the box. The answer is you have the six or five or four guys left in the box (depending on offensive formation) react aggressively to the blocking with the Star making them good.

And here are the basic advantages that generates.

This alignment opens up some advantages for defenses, especially against the spread. First off you’ve got an extra guy back and there’s no telling before the snap which of those guys is going where, so it’s nearly impossible to RPO this defense.

Even getting a hat on that middle safety is difficult, because most blockers aren’t exactly made for covering all that ground, let along used to doing so.

It’s also a balanced formation, which screws with the numbers game that spread offenses play. Urban Meyer’s offenses were always predicated on the idea that one side of an 11-man defense will always have more than the other side. Well not if you play the 11th man in the middle of the damn defense.

The last is it makes linebacking easier. The problem with linebacker through the ages is those guys are caught between lots of responsibilities. They have to mind a running gap and also get depth to take away passes between them and the second level. Also they have to be ready to shoot into spaces before blockers arrive, and read their guards so that their gaps don’t appear somewhere else that they can’t get to. Also also they usually have the running back out of the backfield, or if not they have to cover QB draws and pocket escapes. Linebacker is hard.

Lots of defenses try to find ways to make life easier on their linebackers, and the switching in the middle of this defense is just that. The safety coming down doesn’t just become a linebacker; he becomes the linebacker the other middle linebacker left behind when he went balls-out towards some other linebacking duty.

Ah, but where’s the but, you ask?  It should be pretty obvious.

There’s always a catch, and with this I think that should be obvious: you’re playing bend-don’t-break, sacrificing meat up front for dynamism, and asking hybrids to do things you would normally ask specialists to do. This statement will always start a war with coaches who play this way, but the “softer” you go in personnel or depth, the lower ceiling you are putting on your defense. If the defense is playing one of its linebackers at safety level, well, he’d better still be able to make it to the linebacker jobs, or else…

Practitioners of the Aztec, or the 30-30, or the Cyclone or the Flyover, or the What-Have-You defense are going to get complaints too. What you’re running is a more extreme version of a 3-4/Tampa 2, with one of your linebackers so far back he’s literally a safety. And there was always a major issue with that: Cracking.

This defense is going to have problems with teams that can offer a power running game on offense, especially if that’s coupled with good downfield blocking by their receivers.

It may sound like a cliche, but TCU’s defense is predicated on speed and running to the ball.  As we saw in their semi-final game against Michigan, that doesn’t mean they aren’t physical.  But it also means that any play where they don’t get to their assignments, they can be had.  After all, don’t forget that while the Wolverines lost, they still managed to gash TCU for better than seven yards per play.

I expect there’s going to be some pressure on Stetson Bennett to be patient facing an exotic defensive scheme.  He’s much more experienced than Michigan’s McCarthy, so I don’t expect him to throw two pick sixes.  That doesn’t mean he can’t force a few throws if he’s in a certain frame of mind feeling a need to produce.

All that being said, I think I’ll stick with a bit of wisdom that’s carried this team to this point:  trust Monken.


Filed under Big 12 Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Rotate with confidence

This was exactly the thought that came to mind when I learned that Amarius Mims would get his first start of the season in a national semi-final game.

Well, substitute overstated for understated, that is.

Seriously, how big was it talking Mims out of the transfer portal over the offseason?


Filed under Georgia Football


There are different ways to have a great offense.  This is one of them.

Georgia, on the other hand, spread the wealth in the Peach Bowl.  Ten players had at least one catch.  The leading receiver from a yardage standpoint only had three catches.  McIntosh led the group in catches, with five.

Ohio State beat Georgia in the passing game by relying on a few very skilled wideouts that the Dawgs had difficulty covering.  Georgia beat Ohio State in the passing game by having too many options for the Buckeyes to handle.

Now take a look at the box score from the Fiesta Bowl.  It’s hard to think we’re not about to see a replay that, if anything, is even more concentrated.


Filed under Big 12 Football, Big Ten Football, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Reason #1965 as to why they should wait until the entire season plays out before handing out awards

This is good, right?

If only some special honor existed to recognize offensive line excellence…


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Wednesday ticket exchange

It’s the last game of the season, peeps.  Ticket prices are steep, but so is our interest in attending the game.

If you’ve got ’em to sell, if you’ve need to buy ’em, meet in the marketplace that is the comments section.


Filed under GTP Stuff

Stat of the day

Check out those defensive percentages for Georgia on early downs versus late downs:

Pretty Jekyll and Hyde there.  Georgia defended 643 early down plays this season compared to 244 late down plays.  All told, that paints a pretty good picture of bending without breaking, considering they’re still fifth nationally in defensive scoring.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Game recognizes game.

Two things about this quote:

One, I bet there will be a lot made about how both took similar paths to where they are now… all the way into the broadcast of the game.

Two, I also bet Georgia isn’t going to provide a smidgen of bulletin board material this week.


Filed under Big 12 Football, Georgia Football

Musical palate cleanser, different direction edition

Released about a year after “Fairytale of New York”, “Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah” is the most un-Pogues like single they ever cut.  After all, who would have expected them to channel their inner Motown?

But, damn, if it’s not fantastic.


Filed under Uncategorized