I think Gary Danielson is a better in-game analyst than he is someone who dissects trends, but, damned if I don’t share his feeling about Auburn this season.
“Gus’ offense is unique in what it does,” he explained. “And what it does well is blend with a running quarterback. That’s when they run the ball the best, when they have the threat of a running quarterback.
“Jarrett Stidham and Sean White might be the best quarterback combo in the league. It is a great 1-2 punch, but neither of them fit Gus’ track record of what makes this offense go. The proving point for me is can they run the ball effectively without a threat of a running quarterback.”
Stidham’s reputation is largely built on a three-game run he had while at Baylor. Although impressive, it was in a very different offensive scheme than he finds himself in now, and it was against three sub-par defenses. While he certainly appears to be talented, his physical skills run in a much different direction than did Cam’s or Marshall’s. Count me in the group that doesn’t see him as a slam dunk.
I’m reminded by that of one other thing to keep in mind. Stidham’s run was cut short by injury. White was hurt last season. So was Pettway, Auburn’s best back. Injury-prone backfields and Malzahn’s offense aren’t happy combinations.
I admit that Auburn shows up well in advanced stats. But the schedule, with Clemson and LSU on the road and Alabama… well, Alabama anywhere, is tough (and, historically speaking, I think Bill giving Auburn a 70% chance of beating Georgia is optimistic). I’m just not sold on the Tigers the way a lot of folks are.
- Has Smart had a change of heart about Georgia’s running game? Count me in the I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it camp.
- One thing I don’t get about 2017 win projections is why there’s a general assumption about how the Georgia-Auburn game is going to play out. After all, “Auburn hasn’t hit over 8.5 wins since going 12-2 in 2013 and has only done so three times since 2007. Georgia, on the other hand, has gone over 8.5 wins four times since 2011, including a 12-2 mark in 2012 and back-to-back years of 10-3 in 2014 and 2015.”
- Screw signing days, says Bob Bowlsby, who likes the idea of signing periods.
- Speaking of Bowlsby, is there a dumber idea in college football than a championship game for a conference that plays a round-robin schedule? It will serve the Big 12 right if that game screws it out of a playoff spot.
- Seth Emerson asks a good question about Georgia’s defense. The timing sure would be nice.
- And here’s another good question, in this case, about Title IX in the context of colleges paying athletes. It’s about time somebody asked.
- Way to go, Tom Herman.
I’m truly torn by this Tray Matthews story.
On the one hand, it sounds like he’s matured considerably since his Athens days and made something better of his character. That’s totally admirable on his part and I don’t mind saying so.
On the other hand, how can I pass up Malzahn calling the same kid who got arrested for stealing checks and then kicked out of school by Mark Richt after further misbehavior “… the leader of our defense and really our team leader” without rolling on the floor laughing my ass off?
I ask you, what’s a poor blogger to do?
Presented without comment.
Dude, I do not think “animal-friendly” means what you think it means.
Nothing I can add to that. Except were that to happen, I think that means Tray Matthews would never have played on the winner in this series, right?
So what makes for a seemingly can’t miss, second pick in the NFL draft offensive tackle’s failure to stick with the team that drafted him only three years ago? How about playing for Gus Malzahn?
… It’s been sort of mystifying; he’s a top-tier athlete, a guy that consistently bullied defensive linemen in the run game in college, and yet he can’t seem to beat anyone at the pro level. What happened?
He was essentially playing a different game at Auburn. The Tigers’ offense was a spread-out, space-based option system, a modern derivative of the Wing-T, and it required completely different things of Robinson than what the Rams’ old-school, I-formation-style scheme would. Robinson, like many college linemen transitioning to the NFL of late, had little experience with the types of blocks he needed to be able to execute at the next level. In former NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz’s informative piece on SB Nation breaking down the difficulties of transitioning to the professional game, he notes that “Robinson played in [a college offense] that barely resembled anything that exists in the NFL. I could hardly find any clips to make comparisons [for what he’s done with the Rams].” [Emphasis added.]
The lack of overlap in technique from the college game to the pros is becoming an increasingly common issue for scouts and evaluators, making a position that’s traditionally been considered a relatively safe bet much trickier to hit on in the draft. “Sometimes you go through 80 plays [on a college tape] and only eight of them are truly gradable, where they’re at the point of contact and they’re actually doing something you’re going to ask them to do,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said at the combine in February.
“A lot of the [spread offense] offensive linemen, they’re not necessarily asked to run off the ball, and [set] a guy up, and try to move [a big defensive end] three yards down the field,” Titans general manager Jon Robinson said in 2016. “They’re kind of asked to just ‘zone and occupy,’ and let the backs cut off the blocks. So you really have to dig through those plays where you can really see him unroll his hips, and dig his cleats in, and really get moving.”
It appears it’s not just the Nick Marshalls of the world who have trouble transitioning from Auburn’s offense to the pros. I hope Kirby and Sam Pittman are printing off copies of this article to pass around to as many high school lineman recruits as they possibly can.