Category Archives: Georgia Football

Box of crayons, for the win

If you think that taking a true freshman quarterback suddenly thrust into a starting role after a key injury in the first quarter of the opener and molding him into a successful cog in a wheel that finished the regular season 12-1 on the way to a berth in the CFP is a fairly impressive achievement, well, somebody out there agrees with you.

FootballScoop is proud to announce that Jim Chaney is the 2017 FootballScoop Quarterbacks Coach of the Year presented by AstroTurf as selected by prior winners…

The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by ProGrass are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Ryan Day [Ohio State], Josh Huepel [Missouri], Rhett Lashlee [Connecticut], Rod Smith [Arizona], Warren Ruggerio [Wake Forest], Mario Verduzco [UCF], Brian Wright [Toledo] and Chaney) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year’s winner.

It’s impressive that this group can find a way to ignore a 2016 performance that’s seemingly etched in the head of a chunk of our fan base for good.  One can only hope that, in the minds of those folks, Chaney will at least go into 2018 on double-secret probation, rather than being on a short list of assistant coaches to be run out of Athens.

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Today, in GATA

If you’re worried about whether Georgia’s defensive front can mount enough pressure in the face of a formidable Oklahoma offensive line, I hope you’ll first join me in congratulating Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson on their being named AP All-Americans.

You may last remember McGlinchey for this moment:

So, yeah, if Bellamy and Carter show up, I think they’re more than capable of wrecking wreaking a little havoc in the Rose Bowl.

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Kirby blinded me with science.

It sounds like Georgia is leaving no stone unturned in pursuit of a national title.  (h/t)

SEC champion and College Football Playoff entrant Georgia has been using MuscleSound for assessments of players’ game readiness this season.

MuscleSound is a Colorado-based company that uses ultrasound imagery to measure glycogen and determine muscle fuel by sending photos to its cloud for computation with its proprietary algorithms. Low readings can be a precursor to soft-tissue injuries. Nutrition and training recommendations can be catered to each athlete.

The ultrasound company is relatively new to college football, having worked with Colorado since last year and starting its collaboration with Georgia this fall.

Data provided by MuscleSound showed a sampling of up to eight Georgia players each week to provide a snapshot of the team’s physical preparedness. The Bulldogs received their highest score prior to its second game of the season, a come-from-behind road victory at Notre Dame that not only showed team stamina but also proved decisive in propelling the school toward its eventual No. 3 national ranking and matchup with Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl.

One of Georgia’s two other highest marks came before its 42-7 thrashing of Florida in the rivalry game formerly dubbed “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” That game was preceded by the Bulldogs’ bye week, likely explaining the energy boost.

Dayum.  I’ll have to take their word on much of that, but I got that the two highest scores came in the face of two of Georgia’s biggest wins this season.  (Although it looks like the Dawgs did just fine as their scores declined during the Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Tennessee trifecta.)

In any event, it’s noteworthy what kind of data this staff is receptive to analyzing.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Science Marches Onward, The Body Is A Temple

Does either team in the Rose Bowl stand a chance against the other?

The more analysis I see, the more it sounds like most pundits expect the game to come down to Baker Mayfield versus the Georgia defense.  As this chart demonstrates, Mayfield’s had a spectacular season in just about any way you’d expect a quarterback to perform.

There aren’t too many holes to pick there.

Just as daunting is this Seth Emerson piece where he goes about getting some of Oklahoma’s opponents over the past couple of seasons to give their impressions of ways to stop him.

The key seems to be play excellent defense.  Seriously.  Check out this series of comments from a Texas defensive back.

Texas cornerback DeShon Elliott, a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, was asked how to deal with Mayfield.

Elliott: “Blitz. Get to him. Because if you can just get to him then you should be OK. Other than that you won’t be able to. If you let him sit back there and just pat that ball he’s going to make plays. … You’ve got to be able to keep Baker in the pocket and keep him from being able to extend the pocket. Because if he’s able to extend the pocket and extend plays he’s going to score touchdowns. You’ve got to make sure you do your job and don’t bust coverages.”

Elliott: “To win games you’ve got to stop the run. So first of all you’ve got to stop Rodney [Anderson] and you’ve got to stop the freshman, No. 4 [Trey Sermon]. Other than that you should be good.”

Isn’t that easier said than done?

Elliott: “Oh yeah it’s easier said than done. We had a couple times in our game we thought we had [Mayfield]. Then he got out there and made a play. He’s just a great player; he’s an athlete. He’s going to make some plays. So you’ve got to do your job and just don’t give up big plays.”

Easy peasy.  All you’ve got to do is pressure the quarterback, stop the run, keep Mayfield in the pocket and not give up big plays.  If only every team that faced Oklahoma this season had known that.  (By the way, Mayfield still managed to throw for 302 yards and 2 TDs against Elliott’s Texas team.)

Meanwhile, from SB Nation’s Oklahoma site comes the observation that “The Georgia defense is spectacular, but it’s not invincible“.  It’s interesting to get the opposing viewpoint and the post is complimentary, and not in a back-handed way.  It’s also not totally convincing.

It’s argument rests on two foundations:  Missouri’s 28-point effort in Athens and, of course, Auburn’s blowout performance in the teams’ first meeting.  The rebuttal to the second point is both obvious and largely ignored.  This is what the article notes about Auburn’s offense in the SECCG:

Auburn sort of went away from the screen game in the SEC Championship, but credit Georgia for creating enough disruption up front to keep Auburn from doing much in the deep passing game that afternoon.

If by “sort of went away”, he means the Tigers had to abandon the screen game because Georgia’s defensive game plan smothered it, I suppose he’s got a point.  Just like if “from doing much in the deep passing game” is his way of describing Stidham’s inability to complete a single deep throw all game, well, sure.

Turning to Missouri, there’s no question that Drew Lock burned Georgia on a couple of 63-yard touchdowns in the first half.  Again, though, that was just a half.  What happened in the second half was that the Missouri offense was shut down — 21 yards in the third quarter and 112 yards in the entire second half (the last score came in garbage time with Georgia up by 26).

Both examples are really examples of a bigger reality, namely, that Georgia is good with its adjustments on defense.  Really good.  Buuut…  when I went to Bill Connelly’s team advanced stat profiles to verify that the Dawgs’ defense owned the third quarter this year (the defense finished second in S&P+), I also noticed something freaky.  While Georgia’s offensive S&P+ ranking slowly declines quarter by quarter, you aren’t going to believe what happens to Oklahoma’s offensive ranking.  It literally stays the same all four quarters and that ranking is first.  The cliché about needing to play all four quarters will be job one for Tucker’s guys.

One other thing worth mentioning is that when it comes to giving up big plays, Georgia’s defense has been more stout than has Oklahoma’s.  Here’s how the two teams rank based on distance:

It’s a pretty consistent picture.  Now you can certainly argue that those rankings reflect the conferences the two teams play in (“Georgia’s defensive efficiency ranks 2nd, which is very good, but could be argued that it is skewed because the offenses they normally face haven’t been as capable as some of the offenses in the Big 12”), and I wouldn’t totally dismiss that.  But you could just as easily argue that Georgia’s defense is more soundly coached to avoid giving up the big play.

The question left unanswered is what to take from all this.  Beats me.  I’m not the only one.

My final takeaway from all of this is that studying the metrics and statistics all day long will never truly tell me how this matchup will shake out, but the great debate between Georgia’s defense and Oklahoma’s offense will sort itself out on New Year’s Day in Pasadena. However, there’s reason for hope in the meantime.

Hope for both sides.  I can’t wait to see how this game plays out.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Making our presence known

As somebody who spent a small fortune on the trip to South Bend — worth every penny, by the way — it’s immensely gratifying for me to read this:

As he’s reminded of Georgia’s trip to South Bend the second game of the year, Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson continues to shake his head.

It was an experience he’ll never forget.

Not only did the finalist for the Outland Trophy leave impressed with what he saw from the Bulldog football team, the memory of thousands upon thousands of Red and Black clad fans still sits fresh on his mind.

“It was insane. I thought we were playing a home game but half, maybe half, the stadium was colored in red and their fans did a great job in that game,” Nelson said at the College Football Hall of Fame. “It (crowd noise) didn’t really affect us, but it was the first time I remember seeing a bunch of red in Notre Dame Stadium.”

That’s not all.

The sight of fans breaking out their smartphones to light up the stadium at the start of the fourth quarter was one he won’t forget.

“It was pretty sweet,” Nelson said. “A lot of our players wanted our fans to copy and start doing it. Credit to their fans and their team.”

Irish coach Brian Kelly warned the team the day before the game not to be shocked by what they saw.

“On Friday, you started to see a lot of red and Georgia Bulldogs in South Bend, and I think on Friday, Coach Kelly said there was going to be a lot of red in there so don’t be surprised,” Nelson said. “But yeah, I was surprised.”

It really is great to be a Georgia Bulldog.

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Welcome back, big fella.

Trent Thompson is making some convincing sounds that he intends to return to Athens next season.  I’m down with that.  Here’s hoping he has an injury-free 2018 season and tears the SEC up next season.

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Not too shabby

You know, that Smith kid’s not bad.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!