Category Archives: Strategery And Mechanics

Yeah, it’s personnel. Just not in the way you mean it.

For those of you who keep arguing about Georgia’s talent level and how much of a factor that is in fueling our current angst, I think you need to realize that even though the Dawgs are still running a pro-style offense, it’s not the same one that Richt directed last season.

Georgia has succeeded in the run game in the past without dominant offensive line play. The Bulldogs averaged 227 yards rushing over the last two seasons with an offensive line generally considered moderate in overall talent. But Mark Richt’s teams utilized a zone-blocking scheme that required less one-on-one matchups.

Head coach Kirby Smart’s employs more of a road-grading philosophy. He was asked if UGA’s offensive line deficiencies were something that can be schemed around.

“I think it’s hard to scheme around fundamentals of football,” Smart said. “I think blocking and tackling are the number one things that you have to be able to do in football. … We’ve got to be able to block really well. That’s important. That’s a key cog in order to be able to run the ball.”  [Emphasis added.]

They tried “scheming around”, with those three-tight end formations buttressing the offensive line.  The real issue is that the linemen they have to work with were recruited with a different blocking philosophy in mind.  Smart’s right — there’s only so much you can do until Pittman can sort things out.  Which, judging from what we’ve seen so far, may take some time.

86 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

The early tale of the tape isn’t pretty.

Jason Butt points out a few statistical shortcomings.

Georgia has given up 18 plays of 20 yards or more through its first four games of the season. Eight of those big plays came against Ole Miss, which included a 23-yard pass from Chad Kelly to Evan Engram on the Rebels’ first play from scrimmage and a 41-yard rushing touchdown by Kelly in the third quarter.

Taking it a step further, nine of the aforementioned plays have been 30 yards or more. Four have been longer than 40 yards.

Through Georgia’s first four games a season ago, the Bulldogs only gave up nine plays of 20 yards or more. Of course the schedule was significantly lighter, with games against Louisiana-Monroe, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Southern to open the season.

The Bulldogs did begin to give up big plays last season in October as they surrendered 23 plays of 20 yards or more in games against Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri and Florida. But that stretch can be considered tougher than what it has gone through this year, with North Carolina, Nicholls State, Missouri and Ole Miss up first.

To put it more bluntly:  last season, Georgia finished tied for sixth nationally in opponents’ long plays from scrimmage; this year, the Dawgs are tied for seventy-sixth in that category.  Not a good trend, in other words, even taking scheduling into account.

Of course, that got me started wading through cfbstats.com.  Here are three more depressing rankings on the offensive side of the ball — depressing, but not necessarily surprising:

  • Sacks allowed:  14th in 2015; 109th in 2016
  • Passer rating:  57th in 2015; 107th in 2016
  • Offensive yards per play:  40th in 2015; 99th in 2016

It’s early, I know.  And we can hope Georgia is merely going through a transitional phase.  But while some of the decline can be chalked up to scheme changes on the o-line and in the secondary, as well as the growing pains being suffered with a true freshman starting quarterback, it’s also a little disturbing to hear a Process disciple acknowledging a third of the way into the season that there are issues with his team’s mechanics.

Kirby Smart offered a simple solution to Georgia’s big-play problems during the first third of the season.

Coming off a game in which Mississippi gashed the Bulldogs with big-yardage gains, Smart knows his defense to hold up better with Tennessee coming to town at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“Tackle better,” Smart said. “I mean, the offenses we play, they get explosive plays on everybody. It’s more about limiting those. Like you mentioned, how do I give up less? If we tackle better, and you take nine of the 15 missed tackles away, then you take away about seven big plays. I think that’s the most important thing.”

57 Comments

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

Today, in it ain’t rocket science.

Missouri’s head coach explains his defensive strategy to you:

“Credit Georgia,” Odom said. “They made good in-game adjustments and their quarterback played really well and receivers made some catches. But I wanted to try to establish our front seven and sometimes front eight of getting an extra guy in there to take away part of that.”

Guys, this isn’t that hard.  You’ve got a true freshman quarterback — okay, a gifted one — whose grasp of the playbook isn’t all that great yet, due both to time constraints and the limited reps that come from having a quarterback competition in preseason camp.  You’ve got coaches who are realistic enough not to try to overload him with too many pre-snap options.  You’ve got a receiving corps still in the process of sorting itself out.  You’ve got an offensive line that, to put it politely, is struggling.

With all that going on, if you’re on the other side calling the defense, why wouldn’t you stack the box to stop Chubb and Michel, both of whom, by the way, are coming off injuries?  Or to put it in the current political vernacular, what have you got to lose by selling out on defense?

Defenses will back off as soon as Georgia can sell its passing game.  Until then, don’t expect any opposing defensive coordinator to fix what ain’t broke.

27 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Kirby frets about the spread.

Pick your poison.

But head coach Kirby Smart, who has faced the Rebels’ spread offense as Alabama’s defensive coordinator, has sounded weary of the challenge. Like when discussing how to design the pass defense: Play corners and safeties back in order to avoid the deep ball, or play close to the line to take away the short passes?

“So you can either die a real slow death with little paper cuts, or go after them and be aggressive,” Smart said. “And that’s the dilemma that we face with coaches: Which one do we do. It’s hard.”

You can dismiss that as this week’s coachspeak, but don’t forget which defensive coordinator’s been on the losing side in the previous two Alabama-Ole Miss games before last week.

Does the experience of playing another spread attack last week help Georgia’s defense prepare for Ole Miss?

So where does the experience against Missouri pay off? Potentially it’s in reading and reacting to quick releases, a feature of the spread. Georgia’s pass rushers, who didn’t sack Lock, are working on ways to at least effect Kelly.

“We’ve been practicing our hands-up ability, so if we don’t get there in four seconds, get your hands up and disrupt the pass,” Amaechi said.

Missouri also played up-tempo – at least in the first half – so that won’t be new to Georgia’s players when Ole Miss hurries up on Saturday.

“They go real fast,” Georgia junior inside linebacker Reggie Carter said. “Both teams go fast.”

Eh, maybe.  But my biggest fear is that Kelly is a better runner than Lock.  My second biggest fear is Evan Engram, who’s currently third in the conference in receiving yards per game and is a nightmare match up.  We’re about to find out whether Georgia’s inside linebackers are more of an asset than a liability in pass coverage, I think.

26 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Wednesday morning buffet

Eat, eat…

  • “The top ten most talented teams in the country last year were Alabama, Ohio State, USC, Notre Dame, Florida State, LSU, Auburn, Georgia, Texas, and Michigan.”
  • You know the old joke about someone being so incompetent he could screw up a one-car funeral?  That would be Rutgers’ AD.
  • According to his dad, Pennsylvania’s D’Andre Swift was really impressed by the G-Day crowd:  “To be able to walk into the stadium and be a part of it and walk down and watch the guys coming through the ‘DawgWalk’ and see all the tradition that Georgia has was just remarkable. I’ve never seen how a town shuts down for a game. That city is a college football town, and everybody embraces that tradition and the football program fully. That, to me, was just remarkable about Georgia in every way.”  If you were there, take a bow.
  • The ACC is already trying to figure out what to do if Clemson, FSU and Louisville all wind up 11-1.
  • Good point in this post — if Missouri is an improved team in the SEC East, don’t forget that Florida and Tennessee both have yet to play the Tigers.
  • Hugh Freeze notes one difference between Kirby Smart’s defenses at Alabama and Georgia:  “He’s playing a lot more odd front. I’m sure he’s adjusting to what he thinks is best for his team. It’s been different from what we expect from them, but the results are well for him.”
  • Cool game management, Clay Helton.  You’re lucky Stanford didn’t have a two-point trick play up its sleeve.

49 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, General Idiocy, Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Give me just a little more time…

Jeb Blazevich, being obvious:

Blazevich was asked how he’d seen Eason adjust as he tries to learn how to run an offense at the college level.

“It’s tough going into the season because every week, it’s not like we have a new offense, but every week is a special gameplan for that (game). So I think he’s getting better at that,” Blazevich said. “It obviously would benefit us more if we had to work like camp on the same stuff over and over again. But I think he’s adjusting really well and I think he’s doing a great job.”  [Emphasis added.]

It’s college football.  It’s not rocket science.  A true freshman quarterback needs reps.  A true freshman quarterback’s receivers need for their true freshman quarterback to get reps.

In that regard (and, sure, the circumstances of the day didn’t help), Saturday’s offensive game plan left a lot to be desired.

8 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Under pressure

Sure, we’re all naturally focused on the quarterbacks and, in particular, Jacob Eason’s ability to climb the learning curve, but there’s other areas where Georgia needs to get better as the season progresses.

So when I post this chart from Matt Hinton’s piece about Tennessee’s first game, don’t accuse me of looking forward, because that’s not what this post is about:

16-9-6-josh-dobbs-passing-state-box-610x610

That’s about as stark a difference in quarterback performance as you’re likely to see.  GAT(Q)A is a big deal.  Georgia only managed to sack Trubisky once, although there was fairly steady pressure on him, especially after the Tar Heels took that ten-point lead.  That’s not good enough going forward, though.

I’m not saying this because I doubt Smart and Tucker aren’t aware of it.  Remember the environment from which Smart forged his defensive philosophy:

You have to have safety-type players who can play the quarterback but also can, if it is a pass play, race back and play as either an intermediate defender or as a deep safety. The defense must be able to play man coverage, and it must have the ability to blitz and attack both the quarterback and any other backfield player. Finally, the defense must have the ability to zone blitz to put pressure on the quarterback but still take away the short slants and quick passes, or at least threaten to do so.

In other words you have to play defense like Alabama head coach Nick Saban.  [Emphasis added.]

Somehow, they’ve got to figure out a way to pressure quarterbacks like Dobbs and Kelly when they are in passing situations, but do so without getting burned by them running the ball.  That’s no small task, probably made more daunting in Tennessee’s case by the threat of RPO plays with the likes of Hurd and Kamara, plays which North Carolina used effectively.  But if Appalachian State could do it, you have to think Georgia can, too.

And that starts tomorrow.

13 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics