When the (blue) chips are down

It’s from a post at an FSU blog looking at Jim McElwain’s recruiting, so you can guess the overall tenor, but I can’t say I disagree in the slightest with this conclusion:

Stars matter, folks, especially at the macro level. You can scour the rankings and find terrific stories of 2 and 3 star kids who were missed in evaluations or found the right time and place to showcase their abilities, but at the end of the day, teams with the most talent win the most games. Alabama has won four national titles since 2009, FSU has a title, UF under Meyer has two since 2006, Meyer won another at Ohio State in 2014, and LSU and Texas each have one in the last 11 years. All of these programs recruit at the highest of levels, they are mainstays in the recruiting top 10 rankings, and their success on the field is not a fluke. New coaching can spark enthusiasm and excitement around a program, but at the end of the day in college football, it all comes down to recruiting. If you don’t have the players, you probably won’t win (enough). It is really as simple as that.

The author finds that Florida has come up short, or at least shorter, compared to its rivals, in signing four- and five-star studs.

Which brings us to Jim McElwain’s debut at UF in 2015. A National Championship winning offensive coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban, with the pedigree and experience at the highest of levels, Florida’s confidence and optimism was expectedly high from the beginning. The 2015 class cannot be properly judged for a few more years, but on paper, only signing 20% blue chips is not the beginning for which many were hoping. With signing day 2016 upon us, the Gators sit at 37.5% blue chips and, given the way the second half of 2015 ended on the field for UF, the continued question marks at quarterback, and the fact that FSU does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon in terms of acquiring talent, either the coaching needs to get significantly better in a hurry, or UF could be in need of a fourth head coach in less than 15 years. A combined 30% rate over the first two classes is just not up to standards, and would rate outside the top-20 nationally.

If you blindly compared what McElwain (30%) has done to the first two years of Fisher (41%), Meyer (59%), Muschamp (64%) and Golden (24%), the closest match is to Al Golden. That doesn’t mean it won’t improve, but things certainly did not trend up in Year 2 like it did for Jimbo Fisher in 2011.

It didn’t hurt too much in 2015, as UF won the East, but it will be interesting to see if that begins taking a toll going forward.

Along those lines, one other thing to mention:  Georgia’s 2016 class sports a 65% blue chip rate.

17 Comments

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

Experiencing experience

Bill Connelly continues to tinker with his analysis of returning experience.  The correlations he’s found:

With a couple years of data, here are the correlations between a percentage returning category and change in Off. S&P+ (the higher, the more correlated returning experience is with production):

  • Receiving yards returning: 0.285
  • Passing yards returning: 0.264
  • Rushing yards returning: 0.079
  • Career offensive line starts returning: 0.015

And here are the correlations between some returnee categories and Def. S&P+:

  • Passes broken up returning (overall): -0.440
  • Passes broken up returning (DBs): -0.404
  • Tackles returning (overall): -0.388
  • Tackles returning (DBs): -0.378
  • Sacks returning (DLs): -0.194
  • Passes broken up returning (DLs): -0.161
  • Tackles returning (LBs): -0.161

He finds little to no correlation between returning starters on the offensive line and a team’s offensive performance, which probably comes as a little shock to anyone who doesn’t follow Georgia football.

This is clearly a work in progress, but one that’s worth keeping an eye on, especially since Georgia doesn’t come off too unfavorably.

5 Comments

Filed under Stats Geek!

Redemption song

Interesting little note Marc Weiszer shares with us:

Smart, hired in December, did not sign a kicker in his first class, but did ink a punter in Marshall Long from South Rowan High in China Grove, N.C., who decommitted from Virginia Tech.

“The decision on a punter, in my history, I’ve found that you can find more quality kickers through the walk-on route than you can quality punters,” he said. “After sitting down, sharing ideas, talking to people in the NFL, people that even have experience on the college level, we felt like as a staff it was going to be harder to manufacture punting than it would be placekicking.”

So Georgia offered the 6-foot-2, 223-pound Long who averaged 46.5 yards per punt as a senior and knew special teams coach Shane Beamer when he was a Virginia Tech assistant.

Long is the No. 8 rated punter nationally by the 247Sports Composite.

Two in-state punters were higher-rated and signed elsewhere: No. 2 Blake Gillkin from Westminster School with Penn State and Anthony Lotti from West Hall with Wisconsin.

Georgia already has Brice Ramsey, a quarterback, who took over for scholarship punter Collin Barber last season.

“Brice Ramsey finished the season out punting, but (Smart) said he wanted him to play quarterback a little bit,” Long told the Salisbury (N.C.) Post. “He’d seen my tapes, and Coach (Shane) Beamer had talked to him about me. I guess he just felt good about it. I was glad they finally did pull the trigger.”

I don’t want to read too much into the tea leaves there, but it sure sounds like Richt was prepared for another season with Ramsey as the punter and that Smart has decided to put the kibosh on that.  Before we get all wrapped up with Eason as the 2016 starter, wouldn’t it be something if Chaney were able to salvage Brice Ramsey’s college career?

And before you dismiss that possibility out of hand, remember that Chaney is the man responsible for the creation of the Beyond Crompton meme.  He also made a functional quarterback out of Nathan Peterman last season.  If he’s capable of pulling those off, Ramsey’s got a chance.

20 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“There’s risk in life. There’s risk in sitting on the couch.”

Too bad the NCAA can’t afford Roger Goodell.

Then again, if he ever fell off a couch and suffered CTE as a result, he wouldn’t be much good to anybody.

4 Comments

Filed under The Body Is A Temple, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Justice is served.

Only in the NCAA’s world does a coach pay for strippers to dance for and have sex with recruits and players at a program he’s no longer at while two graduate transfers who came in last summer after he left in hopes of making their first NCAA tourney appearance are the ones who get punished.

Once again, you can’t help but appreciate how much the schools care about their student-athletes.

7 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

“Guess what? I got a fever, and the only prescription is more replay!”

For safety purposes, college football leaders have no interest rolling back the 3-year-old targeting penalty, which can result in the ejection of a player. But there are lots of discussions about how to improve replay’s often inconsistent reviews of the penalty, which are being called on the field more than ever.

Targeting flags on the field increased by 60 percent in 2015, with 115 calls made (0.14 targeting penalties per game). There were 55 targeting calls in 2013 and 72 in 2014. National officiating coordinator Rogers Redding said he doesn’t know why the targeting flags are up, adding that “the numbers sort of speak for themselves.”

Read the rest of Jon Solomon’s piece and you’ll come to the sad realization that Redding’s comment there is about as coherent as he or any conference’s officiating coordinator can sound.

7 Comments

Filed under College Football

Still got some catching up to do

We’re justifiably excited that Georgia landed three five-star recruits in the 2016 class, but to keep things in perspective, consider that over the last four seasons, according to the 247 Sports Composite rankings, Alabama averaged at least three five-stars per class.

31 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting