Which offensive line coaches have best protected their quarterbacks?

Over at coachingsearch.com, they’ve taken the time to look at which offenses over the past three seasons have generated the best ratio of passes attempted per sack allowed.  Now, while I think the question in my header, which is posed in the post, is a bit over broad in assessing the cause/reason, it’s still interesting to look at sack rates, particularly in Georgia’s case.

Will Friend didn’t make the list of top fifteen.  Here’s a breakdown of the numbers from 2012-4:

  • 2014:  17 sacks allowed; 322 passing attempts; 18.9 pps
  • 2013:  22 sacks allowed; 459 passing attempts; 20.9 pps
  • 2012:  27 sacks allowed; 399 passing attempts; 14.8 pps

A couple of things there worth noting.  One, while so many of us have harped on Aaron Murray’s turnovers over his career, we seemed to have missed out on the insane level of improvement in sack avoidance he made in his last season.  (And, remember, that was with right tackle play that was inconsistent, to say the least.)  Two, while Mason was very good in the turnover department, there was a drop off in the pass per sack rate last season.  And that was with a much bigger reliance on the running game and a far more stable offensive line that what Georgia had in Murray’s last season.

The overall three-year numbers?  66 sacks allowed in 1180 passing attempts, leading to a 17.9 pps ratio.  Again, not that close to the numbers on the chart posted at the link.  It’ll be interesting to see where that goes this season, with a new QB, offensive coordinator and line coach.

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“Once you start your senior year of high school, you should be able to sign at any time.”

For once, I have come not to bury the genius, but to praise him.

It’s Johnson who wants to bury something, in this case, National Signing Day.

“The schools have their 85 scholarships, and you can sign no more than 25 in a year. When you sign your limit, you’re through. If you sign a kid and he doesn’t qualify, you lose it for that year. We put the onus back on the kids with better grades and better students, and we stop all the craziness of the hat shows, soft commits, decommits and all that.”

A grumpy clock is right twice a day and all that, but it’s hard to fault his logic here:

But Johnson says opening things up would also make the schools more cautious when handing out those offers to begin with, citing the ridiculous amount of offers high schoolers in Georgia get early in the process.

“It would also slow the schools down,” Johnson said. “We sit here in Georgia, where there are a ton of great high school players. We’ll have everybody come in here, offer 200 kids, and if a kid wants to commit, ‘It wasn’t a committable offer.’ I don’t know what that is. It would just clean it up.

If a kid said he was committed, you hand him the papers. If he didn’t sign, you knew he wasn’t committed. The same thing on the schools. If the kid went in, and they said, ‘You’ve got an offer,’ and the kid wants to sign, (he’d) call their bluff as well. I just think it would clean the whole thing up and put the onus back on the good students and kids who want to do it right.”

What would really be interesting to watch under his scenario is what would happen to all the offers made to high school juniors once they embarked on their senior season.  Pipe dream, I know.

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The further adventures of run the damned ball, Bobo.

Some really solid stuff from Ian Boyd here about what sort of offenses force teams to make solo tackles more than others.

As you might suspect, teams that deploy spread attacks tend to force more solo tackles than others.  But check out this chart of the ten most efficient offenses in 2014:

S&P Rank Team % Solo Tackles Solo Tackle % Rank
1 Ohio State 72.5% 84
2 Alabama 72.9% 82
3 Oregon 72.4% 86
4 Georgia Tech 80.5% 22
5 Auburn 75% 66
6 Mississippi State 67.8% 11
7 Oklahoma 73.3% 76
8 Georgia 69.4% 105
9 Baylor 83.1% 12
10 Michigan State 70.7% 100

Two out of ten were really good at forcing solo tackles, and Georgia Tech was above average in that regard.  The rest were anywhere from subpar to genuinely poor at it.

Now ask yourself why that’s the case.  Well, actually, Boyd’s gone ahead and answered that question.

Well this puzzle is simple enough to solve, there are more defenders around the line of scrimmage then there are in the flats or downfield. If there are more defenders around on a running play then it’s going to be easier for the defense to get multiple people to the ball carrier to help bring him down.

Why are their more defenders there? Because defensive coordinators look at the S&P rankings and determine that the teams that can run the ball effectively are often the most difficult to defend. So they always ensure that there are players around the box that can limit damage from the run game. You’ll notice that the efficient running teams that rank high in S&P were also generally good at punishing this defensive response with the passing game.

Everyone wants their passing game to revolve around getting their athletes in one-on-one match-ups in space where they become hard to tackle, whether you are a pro-style power run team or a four-wide Air Raid spread squad. However, the teams that are killing are the ones that set this up with the run.

As a general rule, solo tackles occur most frequently from the passing game or from bad running attacks that put the running back in positions where he can’t evade a single tackler and is brought down before he can get up to speed.

Georgia is the most extreme case on that list:  5th in rushing S&P+; 105th in solo tackle percentage.  Teams were doing exactly what so many defensive geniuses on the Internet advocate – loading up the box to force Georgia to beat them throwing the ball – and were still getting killed on the ground in spite of this tactic.

Which should tell you a couple of things about the Dawgs’ offense.  First, Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb are a couple of ridiculously talented running backs.  Second,  deploying the play action pass should be like taking candy from a baby. There’s always going to be at least one receiver running around with single coverage.  Georgia just needs to find the quarterback best suited to take advantage of that.

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A Memorial Day thought

Today, more than any other day, it’s worth reminding ourselves not to rely on the nobility of the sacrifices made by those serving in the armed forces to excuse the lack of wisdom of our elected officials who often put them in harm’s way for questionable purposes.  And when it comes to downplaying the honor of our troops because of questionable politics, vice versa.

To the former, I say thanks, sincerely.

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Cooking the COA books

Speaking of the integrity of the SEC, McGarity’s pushing another proposal this week in Destin.  While his head coach wants the COA dealt with in a way that puts all conference schools on a level playing field, McGarity isn’t trying to hit a home run right out of the gate.  Instead, he’s attempting to reach a consensus on something practical.

So it’s no surprise that Georgia is leading the push for conference legislative proposals to ensure that schools are coming up with their numbers equitably to determine expenses beyond tuition, books, room and board and fees.

“Our proposals center around transparency,” athletic director Greg McGarity said. “The first step that we all need to understand is what are the components that make up the gap. Right now, no one knows what each school is doing. Our proposal is that we create transparency so that we can all understand this whole autonomy/cost of attendance issue better and some consistency on what can be provided in that cost of attendance.”

It’s one thing for there to be a fight over making COA spending equal (and don’t forget it’s a fight Slive has already said isn’t worth the effort).  It’s another to make everyone show their cards.

“I’m sure there will be some lively discussions,” McGarity said. “I’m not so sure why anyone would not want to be transparent.”

He’s either being coy or naïve with that.  You choose which.

There’s only one reason for a school not to share its formula, and it’s not because it hasn’t done the work.  I dunno – maybe it’s a trade secret.

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Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

The Georgia Way’s latest crusade

Georgia’s playing Don Quixote again.

Under an SEC legislative proposal that Georgia is sponsoring, athletes like Taylor could not transfer to an SEC school if they had been disciplined for “serious misconduct” by a school or athletic department while enrolled at another college. Sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, dating violence or other forms of physical violence would be considered serious misconduct.

The hope, Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said, is that the proposal that will be considered this week at the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla, will help “avoid situations in the future, really for the integrity of the SEC. …We’re trying to propose it for standard operating procedure.”

A school could seek a waiver from the SEC’s executive committee if they wanted the athlete to enroll, according to the proposal.

“We’re saying that you just can’t do that unless it’s been vetted,” McGarity said.

The Georgia Way vs. Second Chance U.  It’s on, bitchez!

Aside from the issue of how this “vetting” would take place – what are the standards and who’s doing the vetting, anyway? – isn’t the real worry if this proposal were to pass that you’d just see student-athletes caught up in a troublesome situation bail out before being disciplined to beat the committee’s clock, so to speak?  And what about a kid who leaves the conference for, say, JUCO, and then looks to get back in?

It’s unclear what would happen in a case like that of quarterback Zach Mettenberger. He pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery for groping a woman at a bar during spring break, but that came after being dismissed by Georgia in 2010. He transferred to LSU after a season at junior college.

I don’t think this has any better chance of passing than Georgia’s windmill-tilting over drug policy did.  But bless their hearts for trying again.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, SEC Football

They can afford it.

You may have noticed that the Athletic Department is on something of a spending spree lately.

An athletic association budget of $117,419,039 was approved for fiscal year 2016 at Thursday’s spring meeting of the Board of Directors at the King and Prince Golf and Beach Resort.

That’s an increase of nearly $17.6 million from FY15…

The athletic association pledged an additional $1 million to the university, separate from the $4 million gift already planned, to help aid the university’s new, “experiential learning initiative,” according to University of Georgia President Jere Morehead.

A raise and extension was approved for basketball coach Mark Fox, now in line for $2 million annually for the next five years.

The contract keeps Fox, who is 106-89 with two NCAA Tournament appearances in six seasons at Georgia, signed through the 2019-20 season.

Athletic director Greg McGarity also received a raise, up to $575,000 beginning in July with yearly increases planned through summer of 2019.

And the timetable for the indoor athletic facility, a hot-button topic within the community and fan base for years, is taking shape.

Judging from this job posting, the growth in the support staff for football isn’t slowing down, either. (h/t sectionzalum)

It’s different from what we’ve been accustomed to, but it’s not as if the reserve fund is going to be drained this year.  That’s because, first, as the article notes, the big bucks from the fledgling SEC Network are starting to roll in.  Boy, are they.

The SEC revenue distribution grows each year. It was $309.6 million in 2014, but this is the first year that will account for the SEC Network. Georgia reported at its athletic board meeting that its payment from the SEC is expected to jump from $22.97 million in fiscal year 2015 to $34.51 million in fiscal year 2016.

Throw in a 25% increase in ticket prices being phased in over the next three seasons and a $10 bump in the price of admission to the Cocktail Party and it’s pretty clear that nobody in Butts-Mehre is worried about missing any meals in the next few years.  Not to say Greg McGarity ain’t grateful:

“Our fans have been loyal to us through seasons where we were 12-2 and when we were 6-7, and we’re extremely appreciative of that support.”

“You’re welcome,” said our wallets.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness