Category Archives: College Football

Fortune favors the anal.

Forget about spring practice and returning quarterbacks for a sec.  You know who really has the advantage this season?

The teams that adapt best will thrive, Smart said.

“I think I’m very comfortable with the fact that it’s not going to go perfect as planned,” Smart said. “Who can handle those adjustments? Whose team cannot get lost in worrying and concerning themselves with things they can’t control and really worrying about things they can.”

The control freaks.  The ones who have had their armies of analysts game out every COVID scenario and prepared accordingly.

It ain’t a coincidence that the best ones have roster depth on hand, either.

************************************************************************

UPDATE:  Along those lines, check out the SEC’s COVID guidelines to play.

21 Comments

Filed under College Football

Alex, I’ll take “What a country!” for $200.

Can Deion Sanders coach?”

5 Comments

Filed under College Football

Week Two SP+ rankings

Really, not much movement at the top, which isn’t surprising, seeing as the SEC is still out.

Screenshot_2020-09-14 Georgia Bulldogs

Seven SEC teams in the top 15.  And check out the gap in defensive SP+ between Georgia and number two Pitt.  (That’s why Georgia is closer to Clemson than the Tigers are to the Tide right now.)

Leave a comment

Filed under College Football, Stats Geek!

Missing fall practice is the new missing spring practice.

Kudos to Georgia Tech for getting a conference win on the road yesterday against **snicker** a rebuilding Florida State team.  The Jackets were the team that played harder and deserved the win.

Not that they made it easy on themselves, with two field goals and an extra point blocked.  If you’re wondering what the problem was, let Coach 404 explain ($$):

Collins blamed himself for the blocks. As the Yellow Jackets examined their COVID-19 protocols before they started practice, Collins decided to eliminate twice-weekly periods of eight live extra point and field goal reps because he worried they would require too many people to be too close together for too long a period of time. “That’s on me,” Collins said. “That’s a coaching error. We will get that fixed.”

Echoes of Navy there.  As I said then, expect coaches to scramble to figure out how to work around COVID concerns in practice.

That only goes so far, though.  There’s no way to scramble around players missing practice.

For Auburn counterpart Gus Malzahn, Saturday signified the two-week countdown to the season opener, which means that every positive COVID-19 test moving forward could have a significant impact.

The Crimson Tide and the Tigers conducted scrimmages inside their respective venues, with Malzahn announcing that 10 players sat out because of COVID-19 issues. Malzahn added that there were two new positive tests this past week and that half of those sidelined Saturday are projected starters.

“I think all these guys will be back for the opener,” Malzahn said on a Zoom call. “The issue is that we’re two weeks away from our first opponent, and we’re going to really focus on a game plan. If you don’t have these guys for the game plan and get them the week of the game — it’s just the preparation reps that are the challenge.”

He’s not shitting bricks.  Yet.

Meanwhile in Knoxville, Tennessee’s had so many players miss practice that Jeremy Pruitt has lost count of who’s available and who’s not.  The players aren’t worried, though.

Vols players insist they won’t be defeated by the coronavirus now, even though 44 players missed last Saturday’s practice, with most of the absences due to either positive tests or contact tracing.

“I would say that the team morale has been high, and I don’t think it’s really hurt what we have going,” fifth-year senior receiver Brandon Johnson said Friday afternoon during a Zoom call. “We kind of knew what we were getting into during this pandemic, and we knew that at certain periods of time there may be people out for X reasons. I just think we were ready for the things that may happen.”

Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt said Thursday that he’s lost count of who’s available and not available as the Vols reach the two-week mark before their Sept. 26 opener at South Carolina, but the players don’t seem fazed. Johnson has not detected any timing trouble in the passing game when components have been missing, adding, “I think we’ve done a great job of filling in where we need to fill in.”

A scratched scrimmage last Saturday and a shortened scrimmage Wednesday night inside Neyland Stadium do not seem to be concerning factors either.

Bold talk, or whistling in the dark?  I bet Pruitt doesn’t know for sure.  Yet.

13 Comments

Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple

Your 9.12 game day post

Here’s today’s complete slate of games for your viewing pleasure:

Screenshot_2020-09-12 FBS (I-A) Conference Schedule - 2020 - NCAAF - ESPN

Almost feels normal, amirite?

I assume I know who everyone is picking in the 3:30 ABC game, but feel free to share your thoughts in the comments about any of ’em.

55 Comments

Filed under College Football

But muh spring practice, a continuing series

Reality, 2020 edition ($$):

“I think you’ll see more true freshmen play this year than you ever have, just across the country,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley predicts. “I think certain teams — and it doesn’t mean every week — but I think a lot of people at some time or another are going to run into an all-hands-on-deck type situation.”

Gee… true freshmen and overall roster depth.  I wonder which teams are best structured to respond to that.

8 Comments

Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple

Determination

This has got to be some sort of record.

I mean, the dude played for Boom.  At Florida.

6 Comments

Filed under College Football

“You don’t get your cake and eat it, too.”

Not when it comes to playing football in the spring, anyway.

The Football Oversight Committee on Thursday agreed to recommend to the Division I Council a spring-season model for conferences that push their seasons to spring of 2021. It includes 15 practices in 29 days and an eight-game season that must end by April 17.

Any other conferences that have postponed their season because of the coronavirus pandemic but decide to resume playing games earlier than next spring will not be able to use the 15-practice model, but it will be recommended all leagues that have postponed will have 13 weeks to complete their seasons.

If a school or conference wants to commence play earlier than in the spring, then it won’t be limited to an eight-game schedule.  And those who try to split the baby don’t get the proposed spring model.

If the Big Ten or any other league resumes play in late November, it wouldn’t be allowed to use the proposed practice format of 29 days to have 15 practices, as is the case during a typical spring season. Only teams that push the season to spring of 2021 would be able to make use of that model.

“There was a concern about having more than eight games if you’re only in the spring,” Lyons said. “If you’re using your 13 weeks in both terms, then you don’t get fall ball or spring ball. You don’t get your cake and eat it, too.”

One more thing:

The split college football seasons have also raised a question for midyear enrollees — high school athletes who graduate in December and enroll in college in January so they can participate in spring practices. Instead of practicing, though, some teams might be playing games, opening the door for debate about whether those recent high school graduates will be eligible for competition.

“There was not support to allow midyear enrollees, transfers or incoming freshmen to compete in the spring semester,” Lyons said.

I don’t get that.  If, as Lyons indicated, the NCAA is concerned enough about player safety issues to limit the spring season to eight games, why wouldn’t you let teams play as many kids in the spring as they can?

9 Comments

Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

By the book

You know how we’ve sort of half-assed speculated about which schools might try to fudge testing data so as to keep their players eligible on game days?

Well, here’s your list of suspects.

As debate swirls about the return of college fall sports amid an increasing number of positive COVID-19 tests on campuses, football coaches and athletic directors have been loudly championing their schools’ health and testing protocols.

The schools are much less forthcoming, though, about the actual number of positive tests in their programs and other related data.

In response to a series of questions from ESPN about their COVID-19 testing protocols, almost half of the 65 schools in the Power 5 conferences declined to share data about how many positive tests their programs have had to date. Nearly a third of the schools overall declined to provide information about protocols in addition to withholding the number of athletes who have tested positive. Twenty-one schools that declined to provide data are in the conferences that plan to play college sports this fall: the ACC, Big 12 and SEC.

Screenshot_2020-09-04 Survey Some Power 5 schools veil COVID data

You want a reason?

Many of the schools that declined to give data to ESPN cited federal student privacy laws, university protocols and other confidentiality considerations, although legal experts say those laws shouldn’t be applied to such a request because the data wouldn’t identify specific students.

If you don’t find that convincing, how about this?

“We’ve just followed our university protocols when we do have positive tests, whether they be staff, student-athletes or what have you,” said Greg McGarity, athletics director at Georgia, one of the schools that declined to answer any of the nine survey questions. “They’re reported through the university channels, and everything is done by the book.”

I don’t have any reason to think Georgia is going to be one of those programs trying to skirt its way through the season, given the absurd depth Smart has to work with, but how weird is it to see McGarity being more secretive than Saban or Swinney?

Anyway, somebody’s gonna try and I wonder what the repercussions will be if/when they’re caught.

15 Comments

Filed under College Football, Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

“The quality will be inconsistent.”

Good piece from Pete Thamel here, about what we can expect from the level of play this college football season.

With the FBS college football season kicking off Thursday – buckle up for Southern Miss hosting South Alabama and old friends Central Arkansas playing at UAB – Yahoo Sports polled 30 college coaches, coordinators and assistant coaches about what the on-field impact of COVID-19 restrictions will be. With most schools missing a majority of spring practice and both positive tests and contact tracing proving disruptive at more than two dozen programs, coaches have concerns about how all the inconsistency and instability will impact the product on the field.

Sifting through all the answers, it’s clear that coaches are bracing for a season like no other. The biggest on-field concerns have been overall conditioning, a lack of rhythm due to lack of consistent practice reps and the weekly prospect of potential roster chaos from positive tests and contact tracing. A majority of coaches expect some ugly and sloppy football, especially early in the season. Some are optimistic there won’t be a noticeable impact.

From the standpoint of personnel, the gist of it:

“It’s funny, I’m not really sure,” said Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson, who opens with Clemson on Sept. 12. “I’d say this, physically and conditioning and strength-wise, we’re not close to where we’d normally be now. But mentally, kids knowing assignments, we’re way ahead.”

And from the coaching side:

The challenge for a new staff like the one at Baylor is getting the practice reps to master a new scheme. Fedora said last week that he has about 50 to 60 percent of what “you’d really like to have” in his offense. That’s going to lead to less sophistication. “It may cause teams to simplify their schemes,” Fedora said. “I do think the quality of that game itself is going to change this year.”

Miami coach Manny Diaz disagreed with the notion of a thinner playbook, even with a new offense under coordinator Rhett Lashlee. “We’re not an overly complex offense,” Diaz said. “If you were in a highly complex system with a lot of different concepts, that’s different.”

There’s more in there.  Definitely worth a read.

2 Comments

Filed under College Football, Strategery And Mechanics