Category Archives: SEC Football

You know you’re having a rough season when…

… your team is off to such a slow start, you can’t even keep track of how many games you’ve lost.

As far as Missouri linebacker Terez Hall is concerned, the Tigers are much better than they have played this year…

“You’ve seen that we’re 1-5,” Hall said, accidentally mistaking the Tigers’ record. “That’s our identity. Until we change that, that’s what we’re going to be. So we got to play hard.

“We got to go out and get a win. Because we’re playing Georgia this weekend, that don’t mean nothing. It’s the same goal, go 1-0. We’re trying to win this weekend like how we were trying to win last week.”

Of course, the snark inside me feels like Hall may just be anticipating this weekend’s result.

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You know who’s gonna have a great season?

No, Jimmy Sexton isn’t James Franklin’s agent.  But with the current crop of geniuses running athletic departments, ask yourself how much that matters.

By the way, it turns out Bert’s buyout figure is less than half what people thought it was, should he be canned at season’s end.  It’s kind of pathetic that a $5.9 million payout is a cause for celebration, but, hey, that’s the world the SEC lives in these days.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Jimmy Sexton is the Nick Saban of agents and is Nick Saban's agent, SEC Football

Passing completions and first downs

This may be turn out to be nothing more than one of those amusing little statistical matters I occasionally allow myself to be sidetracked by, but this Chase Stuart post comparing overall completion percentage to completion for first down percentage got me to thinking (dangerous, I know).  If the quarterback’s primary responsibility is to see to it that the offense doesn’t come off the field until it posts a score, then his role in moving the chains rather than just hitting his receivers would appear to be a meaningful distinction that Stuart analyzes.

Essentially, he measured total dropbacks (pass attempts plus sacks) against passing first downs.  You can probably guess what I did next.

Here’s how the SEC breaks down in that department.  Ratio is expressed as first downs by pass/dropbacks (attempts plus sacks allowed) and teams are listed in order of percentage:

  • Alabama:  54/146 (36.99%)
  • Kentucky:  60/176 (34.09%)
  • Arkansas:  47/148 (31.76%)
  • Missouri:  57/181 (31.49%)
  • Ole Miss:  68/216 (31.48%)
  • LSU:  44/144 (30.56%)
  • Vanderbilt:  51/173 (29.48%)
  • South Carolina:  60/206 (29.13%)
  • Auburn:  48/165 (29.09%)
  • Georgia:  32/114 (28.07%)
  • Texas A&M:  54/200 (27.00%)
  • Tennessee:  44/166 (26.51%)
  • Florida:  39/138 (24.64%)
  • Mississippi State:  36/152 (23.68%)

I’m not exactly sure how much to read into that.  Georgia, for example, has a pretty mediocre percentage there, but given that it has relied on the pass fewer times than any other SEC team, it’s not as significant as it might be seen in the abstract.  On the other hand, TAMU’s percentage, given the number of dropbacks, probably does indicate that its offense isn’t as smoothly efficient in moving the ball consistently as others.

Quarterback play and overall offensive philosophy are both factors, then.  I probably ought to come back to visit this at season’s end and drag general offensive production in to see if there are any correlations worth considering.

I figured I’d take a look at how the conference defenses did, as well.  (Same source for pass attempts defended, sacks and defensive first downs.)  Results are posted in the same format order.

  • Georgia:  40/204 (19.61%)
  • Mississippi State: 23/105 (21.90%)
  • Auburn:  48/214 (22.43%)
  • Alabama:  47/206 (22.82%)
  • Vanderbilt:  39/161 (24.22%)
  • Arkansas:  42/164 (25.61%)
  • LSU:  52/198 (26.26%)
  • Tennessee:  30/108 (27.78%)
  • Kentucky:  70/249 (28.11%)
  • Texas A&M:  67/230 (29.13%)
  • Florida:  48/161 (29.81%)
  • South Carolina:  73/229 (31.88%)
  • Missouri:  54/165 (32.73%)
  • Ole Miss:  50/145 (34.48%)

Obviously, there are a few variables in play here besides the quarterback, but can I just say I’m a little impressed with Mel Tucker?  Georgia is first in the country in defensive yards per pass attempt and makes it harder than any other team in the conference to throw for a first down.  Not too shabby.

Again, it’s probably best to take this for now as nothing more than a marker being placed by me.  I’ll revisit all this in a larger context after the season.  At least it’ll give me something to do in March, right?

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Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

If you’ve longed for the days of Jared Lorenzen…

Arkansas may be starting a quarterback this week who’s a 6-foot-7, 268-pound redshirt freshman.

“I’m not sure they’ll change their offense but when (Kelley) has played they’ve done more quarterback runs,” Saban said Wednesday. “This guy is like 6-7, 270 pounds. In fact when I first started watching the film I thought he was a Wildcat quarterback that was (also) a tight end.”

Mercy.

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First peek at Missouri

This article, from beat writer Dave Matter, highlights a thing to fear and a thing to watch for Saturday night.

The scary part is scary.

If the Tigers could extract any positives from the 40-34 loss, they came via the deep ball. On passes that traveled through the air more than 20 yards past the line of scrimmage, Lock completed four of nine for 231 yards and three touchdowns. That’s a passer efficiency rating of 370. On balls that traveled 30 yards or more, he completed three of five for 181 yards and two scores and a rating of 496.1.

Lock’s arm strength has dazzled coaches and teammates since his first college practice two years ago, and on Hall’s touchdown he put the ball in the air for 60 yards from release to catch…

Mizzou’s outside threats paid off elsewhere. Once the Tigers connected on a few deep balls Saturday, Kentucky dropped its safeties further from the line of scrimmage, clearing running lanes for backs Ish Witter and Damarea Crockett, who combined for 213 rushing yards and 7.3 yards per carry.

Not too shabby.  But this is still a 1-4 team.  So what’s the problem, Kirby Smart?

Turnovers, Smart noted, were Mizzou’s trouble last season and again this fall.

“They were very hard to defend last year, and they are very hard to defend this year,” Smart said this week. “They stop themselves. People don’t stop them.”

He’s not exaggerating.  Missouri in 2017 is last in the conference in turnover margin, at a whopping minus-10.  The Tigers haven’t won the turnover battle against a single P5 opponent this season; not so coincidentally, those games constitute their four losses.

But there’s a little more going on there when you break it down.  Sure, Mizzou is last in losing the ball and by a pretty wide margin.  Through the first six weeks, there isn’t another SEC school within four turnovers.  But, with only four, Missouri is also thirteenth in the SEC in forcing turnovers.

If you’re wondering how Georgia can cover a 30-point spread this weekend, that’s a pretty good way to get there.  On the flip side, if Mizzou picks this game as its first when it doesn’t blow the turnover margin battle, you have to think at worst it’s got enough firepower to keep things closer than the spread.

Back to the scary part for a second, though.  Yes, those long distance stats are concerning; however, it’s worth considering that Georgia brings a little firepower of its own to the table, as the Dawgs lead the conference in offensive plays of 20+ yards.  (Missouri is a respectable fifth.)

Perhaps of greater interest, though, is how these two teams stack up defending the big play.  In that regard, it’s no contest.  For defensive plays of 20+ yards, Georgia ranks first in the SEC and Missouri is twelfth.  Which means that when the Tigers are on offense, it’ll be strength against strength, while when they’re playing defense, not so much.

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Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Fromm, getting some advanced stat love

The folks at And The Valley Shook! have their own little advanced stat measuring quarterback performance that’s tagged with a mouthful of an anagram, ATVSQBPI.  You can find the long explanation here, but the tl;dr version is this:

A short explanation is this: it is modified yards per attempt, including rushing. Every time the QB calls his own number, this is how many yards, on average, he is worth.

After jiggering the numbers for all the SEC starters, this is what tumbled out first.

Jake Fromm, Georgia. Jake Fromm State Farm is tearing it up. Most concerning for SEC defenses is that he’s actually much better against Power 5 defenses than his overall season average. He’s not piling up big numbers against bad teams, he’s saving his best performances for teams that matter. He’s scored 12 touchdowns to 2 interceptions (7/1 against the Power 5), racking up the bonuses. The defense, similarly, is performing at an elite level. They have the best pass defense in the conference, and are mere fractions behind Alabama’s overall average. Georgia looks legit.  [Emphasis added.]

Doesn’t that give you the warm and fuzzies.  Although, should we ask if Missouri qualifies as a bad team?  After all, Sagarin has the Tigers at 104.  By comparison, Appalachian State is 73rd.

For yuks, here’s what they have to say about Mizzou’s Drew Lock, who checks in at number ten:

Drew Lock, Missouri. Lock had an outstanding game last week, so there’s signs he can turn this around. But he’s still the guy with a 6/5 TD/INT ratio against Power 5 defenses. He’s throwing for a lot of yards, but his lowest number of attempts in one game has been 28. You simply can’t be that effective completing just 52.6% of your passes. And no one’s impressed that you threw for 521 yards and 7 TD against Southwest Missouri St. The defense is terrible and don’t be fooled by the run defense. It stinks, too. They’ve been victimized for 16 rushing touchdowns.

Probably ought to be mindful of that first sentence.

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Trolling Vince Dooley

Apparently, Missouri has a long snappah controversy.

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