Category Archives: Strategery And Mechanics

Nick Saban likes a challenge.

Okay, the Jon Fabris analogy is a little unfair, because I have to admit that this actually makes sense.

If you missed the news, the NCAA has changed a kickoff rule which will go into effect immediately next season. The rule change makes any fair catch on a kickoff result in the ball being dead and giving the receiving team the ball on the 25-yard line.

The Crimson Tide coach was asked to share his thoughts on the rule change during his latest media availability.

“I would have liked to have seen a different solution. I understand the reason, I respect the reason — which is player safety, but I guess I’ve been around long enough to remember when we use to kick off from the 40-yard line,” Saban said. “There were too many touchbacks, so we moved it back to the 35.

“So, for us old timers, I thought it would be an easier solution to just move it back up to the 40-yard line, because you’d get more touchbacks but you could still sky kick, onside kick — which you can still do some of those things, but you sky kick trying to give someone bad field position and they can fair catch the ball on the 15-yard line and get it on the 25.

“That takes some of the strategy out of the game, to me, with the result that we had. And you would have had the same result if you just moved it up five yards because almost everybody in college football would kick nothing but touchbacks… and you still would have all the strategies that you could have used in other circumstances.”

Really, having thought about it, it’s hard not to reach a conclusion that if the NCAA is so concerned about kickoff injury issues that it came up with a rule that basically strips strategy out of the kicking team’s approach, perhaps it should eliminate kickoffs altogether.

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Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA

“… there’s no kid that’s ever sat back there on a kickoff and waved fair catch on the 1-yard line…”

You may have heard that the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel just passed several new rules, the most prominent of which allows the receiving team to fair catch a kickoff inside the 25-yard line and have it result in a touchback.

This, of course, means the end of directional kicking as we know it (Jon Fabris would be turning in his grave, if he were in one, figuratively speaking).

Kirby suggests the obvious:

Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship ranked second in the SEC and eighth nationally in touchback percentage last season at 71.3 percent (67 of 94). The national average was 42.4 percent, according to SI.com.

The Bulldogs ranked fourth in the SEC in kickoff return defense at 19.5.

“It could minimize the value of a good kicker,” Smart said. “If your kicker kicks a 4.4 (second) hang (time) to the 5-yard line, that’s a huge weapon because you couldn’t fair catch it. …It could take the weapon away. But we never told Rodrigo to kick it high and short. We told him to kick it out of the end zone. That’s what we want him to do.”

Just when Georgia gets its collective shit together on kickoff coverage… and on the receiving side?

Smart was asked if the rule change will alter Georgia’s approach.

“It’s not going to change anything,” Smart said. “We’re going to prepare for it and higher, shorter kicks will be fair caught. Kicks that we don’t think we can get to the 25, we’ll be better off fair catching. A lot of it depends on what type kicker you’re facing.”

And type of coverage team, too.  Which makes me wonder if there will be any change in special teams philosophy.  When the odds of actually having to cover a kick return decrease dramatically — and you have to think that 42.4% national average for touchbacks is about to go way up — does that affect your approach to constructing and coaching kickoff return teams?

26 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA

The art of making lemonade out of lemons

Found this of interest:

Sounds like ball control and efficiency are the keys to making the most out of what you’ve got, if you’re not a recruiting powerhouse.  Certainly, there’s more than one way to skin those particular cats, but if you were going to pick an offensive scheme that was best for running clock and keeping your defense off the field, what would you choose?

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Filed under Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Seek and destroy

Nice clip of Isaiah Wynn blowing up a hapless defensive player.

That’s just perfectly executed.

One can only hope we’ll be treated to something similar from Andrew Thomas working against Todd Grantham’s 2018 group in… Florida, right?  It’s hard keeping up with that man.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

If it ain’t broke… eh, go ahead.

SOD’s a smart guy, so I guess KISS is a principle that doesn’t apply to him.

Through three weeks of spring practice, there’s no point using one catch-all phrase to define Derek Dooley’s offense that’s taking shape at Mizzou.<

The playbook is too cumbersome to file under one genre. Is it a spread offense? A pro-style model? A combination ? All of the above, and more.

“We’re throwing a lot at (the players), seeing what sticks,” said Dooley, the first-year coordinator, after Tuesday’s practice as the Tigers get closer to their April 14 Black and Gold game. “You kind of sling it up on the wall and whatever sticks you keep it going. You throw a little more on the wall, see what sticks and keep it going.”

Yeah, this is going to end well.

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Filed under SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Defense (still) wins championships.

Ask John Chavis.

Looks like he’s on to something there.

But by all means let’s keep screaming about Chaney needing to open up the offense.  Eyes on the prize, peeps.

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Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

“Matchup proof”

Those of you complaining about Chaney’s second-half playcalling in the national title game, okay, fine.  Just explain something to me, first:  how would you scheme around Da’Ron Payne, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Rashaan Evans?

Evans finished tied for the lead in total tackles with 74 including eight run stuffs and in pass defense he added six sacks and three pass break-ups. Fitzpatrick was third in tackles, had seven pass break-ups and an INT, and also made six run stuffs. Payne’s impact was quiet statistically (one sack, seven run stuffs) but he was the heart of the defense and regularly clogged up the interior for the Tide’s athletic backfield.

The result of Evans and Fitzpatrick being so good in coverage and versatile enough to each play two primary positions had the effect of making Alabama “matchup-proof.” Both of them could man your typical slot WR or TE without being overwhelmed and needing an in/out bracket from a down safety. That then freed the Tide to play both safeties over the top to help the corners or to bring extra defenders on the blitz. It was also nearly impossible to find a favorable angle or matchup inside with Da’Ron Payne owning the interior and rag dolling opposing centers.

Georgia was able to throw on guys not named Fitzpatrick and Evans and also ran the ball well on a few key third downs when Alabama got caught playing man coverage with our two heroes turning their backs to the backfield (until the Tide started dropping a safety to eliminate that problem).

The good news is they’re gone.

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Filed under Alabama, Strategery And Mechanics