Jim Chaney’s juggling act

Far be it from me to suggest that Georgia’s offensive coordinator is having a boffo year at the box office, but I will say that I think he’s doing a better job than many of you give him credit for doing.  Mainly that’s because he’s still working his way around a couple of serious personnel shortcomings.  The offensive line is the most obvious one, but the true freshman quarterback is right behind them.

Don’t get me wrong.  Fromm’s done a great job keeping things together after being thrust prematurely into the starter’s role.  But, in the immortal words of Dirty Harry, a man’s gotta know his limitations, and it appears Chaney does.

If you’re looking for some examples of that, take a look at this Ian Boyd post.  Boyd nicely summarizes what Chaney faces in structuring a game plan with his current personnel in this paragraph:

The Georgia staff has two key areas to resolve with Fromm at the helm against better opponents. The first is easing pressure off the run game so that opponents don’t load the box and take away the Nick Chubb/Sonny Michel tandem. The other is easing the pressure off a freshman QB who’s not yet ready to carry the weight of the team.

A lot of Chaney’s difficulties stem from that, while Fromm does an excellent job with his pre-snap reads, he’s not experienced enough to deal with defensive adjustments after he makes that initial determination.  Sometimes, as we saw against Notre Dame, that leads to trouble.

As you watch that, keep an eye on the running back.  A more experienced quarterback would have gladly settled for dumping off the ball for an easy completion there.

Speaking of pre-snap reads, those are even easier for Fromm to handle when he’s making them from the shotgun or pistol rather than under center.  Given his background and experience, that’s hardly surprising.  Unfortunately, that can make for predictable playcalling.

Looking at last week’s game against Samford, Georgia broke away from at least one tendency it had the game prior against Notre Dame. Georgia increased its plays from under center with its first-team offense. In total, the Bulldogs ran 21 plays under center compared to 30 plays in the shotgun against Samford.

While Smart said switching between shotgun and from under center is “overrated” when it comes to analysis, it does play a part in what the opposition is trying to find out.

“They can look at those things, see it, try to get tendencies off it,” Smart said. “I think every coach in America is trying to break his tendencies.”

But the reason for noting the number of plays under center and out of the shotgun in the Samford game is important for one particular reason. Of the 21 plays under center, quarterback Jake Fromm threw from this spot zero times.

Fromm received only one passing call from under center against Notre Dame and he was sacked on the play.

The tendency here is that Fromm isn’t going to throw the ball when Georgia is under center.

All you can do is all you can do, obviously, and, to be fair, Georgia was going to run the ball down Samford’s throat no matter what formation in which it lined up.  Still, with an opponent like Mississippi State, which showed last week it does an excellent job with its game prep, that’s got to be a major concern.  Maybe Chaney deserves to be cut a little more slack than he gets.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Great moments in broadcast planning

Did you know that Ole Miss and Baylor are scheduled to meet in the 2020 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff?  That has all the earmarks of a real classic, assuming there are enough scholarship players left at both schools to suit up.

Speaking of which, that could lead to a scenario where the Black Bear Rebels (or is it the Rebel Black Bears?) take a serious hit in the pocketbook.  Hey, just because schools aren’t proactive doesn’t mean Mickey ain’t.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Freeze!

The 2018 SEC football schedules

Georgia’s schedule next season hasn’t exactly been greeted with much enthusiasm.  But, as Brett McMurphy points out, it’s pretty par for the course, conference-wise.

The SEC formula: Why does the SEC usually have so many bowl eligible teams? Well, besides they have a lot of quality teams, they have mastered the best scheduling model in college football. All 14 schools have seven home games and 10 of the 14 only play four true road games plus one neutral site game; compared to other Power 5 schools that play five or six true road games. In 2018, only Mississippi State, Kentucky, South Carolina and Vanderbilt do not benefit from the seven-home, four-road and one-neutral game setup…

Best non-conference road game (excluding rivalry games UF/FSU, UGA/GT, USC/Clemson, UK/UL): Well, there are only four to chose from – Vanderbilt at Notre Dame, Arkansas at Colorado State, Mississippi State at Kansas State and Missouri at Purdue. The winner? Vanderbilt at Notre Dame. It will be Vandy’s first game in South Bend since 1995. Make the trip, if you can, Commodore fans.  [Emphasis added.]

Remember, folks, you’re in SEC Land, where it just means more.

By the way, kudos to Colorado State:  “Colorado State, coached by former Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, faces Arkansas and Florida in consecutive weeks.”  That’s after facing Alabama this season.  If I didn’t know any better, it seems like Bobo’s making a real effort to polish his resume in front of a lot of SEC athletic directors.

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Filed under SEC Football

A little more spring in Nick Chubb’s step

It’s more apparent with every passing game, but this is a welcome development.

That’s actually a better pace than Chubb set his freshman season.  Imagine what he might be capable of with just a tad better blocking from the o-line.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Today, in be careful what you wish for

Evidently ours isn’t the only fan base that’s having issues with the in-game experience.

After the Gamecocks lost 23-13 to Kentucky last Saturday in their first home game of the season, a host of issues popped up from the team’s fans, including water pressure issues in Williams-Brice Stadium, long lines at concession stands and the volume of the music played by the disc jockey the school hired to play home games this year.

“I have received a lot of questions from you about our D.J. and the volume of the music,” Tanner wrote to fans. “Modifications will be made for the next game, and we hope that you can find the sound level more enjoyable. We will continue to monitor the impact of the D.J. as we move through the season and make adjustments as needed.”

At least Tanner felt a need to acknowledge the dissatisfaction.  His head football coach, on the other hand, doesn’t have time for that shit.

South Carolina coach Will Muschamp has a solution for the game day issues that caused athletics director Ray Tanner to send an explanatory letter to fans Tuesday morning.

“Winning can solve a lot of that,” Muschamp said.

The crap we’re willing to endure, in other words.  Of course, for Boom, only one thing really matters about this.

D.J. A-Minor played music before the game and during some breaks in the game. Many fans complained the volume was so low that the music could not be heard well. He was stationed on a stand in front of the section where the team’s hosted recruits sit.

Muschamp said the team’s recruits “seemed to like” the addition of a D.J. and the music selection.

Always be recruit… wait — fans were complaining the volume was too low?  ‘Cocks, you don’t realize how good you’ve got it.  Come to Sanford Stadium if you want your ears to bleed.

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Filed under 'Cock Envy

When Houston Nutt’s lawyer speaks, Ole Miss listens.

The significance of this Wall Street Journal story concerning the allegation that coaches were using burner phones to contact recruits in ways that may not have been exactly kosher isn’t the truth of the allegation itself — the AD didn’t uncover any evidence that it occurred.

It’s that the school quickly jumped through hoops to respond to Thomas Mars’ warning.

In August, University of Mississippi athletic director Ross Bjork assembled the football team’s coaching staff in a meeting room. He handed out a form that asked the coaches to disclose whether they had used personal phones, including “prepaid phones, pay as you go, burner, etc.” for recruiting or any other work-related purpose.

If the coaches had done so, the form said, those phones could be subject to records requests or “required to be furnished upon request of the University or NCAA to ensure compliance with University, SEC and NCAA rules.”

The unusual demand was in response to an accusation that coaches at Ole Miss—already under NCAA investigation for recruiting violations—had improperly used burner phones to contact football recruits, according to records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The accusation came from a lawyer for Houston Nutt, a former Ole Miss coach who is suing the school over an alleged smear campaign by the school surrounding its ongoing NCAA investigation…

Then on July 25, five days after Freeze’s dismissal, Mars wrote a text message to the school’s lead lawyer alleging that Freeze and at least three other staff members used burner phones “on a regular basis” to hide communications with recruits that would violate NCAA rules. A later letter from Mars said he had a sworn affidavit testifying to Freeze’s use of burner phones, in violation of NCAA rules. The use of unreported burner phones would make it more difficult to monitor recruiting practices, which are strictly regulated by the NCAA.

Mars’s letter prompted Ole Miss to self-report the information to the NCAA and distribute the phone declaration form to the football staff. Of the 29 people who filled it out, the school says, none reported using a burner, prepaid or pay-as-you-go phone during their time at Ole Miss.

Of course, that does leave a few unanswered questions, starting with the fact that Ole Miss doesn’t appear to have forms filled out by its former coaches.  But it’s remarkable now to see any allegation made by the Nuttster’s attorney immediately put the school on DEFCON alert.

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Filed under Freeze!

Today, in one thing leads to another

The news that the Gusmeister thinks his punting game needs a little retooling reminded me of this development from June:

Head coach Kirby Smart has hired former Auburn assistant Scott Fountain to join his staff with the Bulldogs.

Fountain’s wife posted the news on Facebook and Fountain’s Twitter handle was changed to show he has joined the Bulldog program.

Although it’s unclear what position Fountain will hold with Georgia, he brings a wealth of experience coaching having served as the Tigers’ special teams coordinator and tight ends coach from 2013-2016 after spending the previous four seasons (2009-2012) as Auburn’s player personnel director.

He left the Auburn program on February 7 after his contract was not renewed. He was earning $325,000 in a contract that expired today.

Fountain came to Auburn with former Tigers head coach Gene Chizik in 2009.

At Auburn, Fountain coached some of the finest specialists in Auburn history, including three-time Ray Guy Award semifinalist punter Steven Clark, placekicker Cody Parkey, who ranked second in the SEC in PATs made (66), and kicker/punter Daniel Carlson, a Lou Groza Award finalist as a sophomore who has already set five AU records.

Per the NCAA, here are the current rankings of the two programs in net punting:

  • Georgia:  10th
  • Auburn:  71st

Last season, Auburn was 21st and Georgia was 112th.  Probably a coincidence, though.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!