Category Archives: Strategery And Mechanics

Your daily dose of Chubb

CBSSport’s Robby Kalland speculates that even if/when Nick Chubb is fully healthy, it’s likely that he won’t put up the kind of eye-popping stats we been used to seeing.  Why?

It’s all about the offensive coordinator.

The issue for Chubb in being a Heisman contender this season won’t a scheme fit but rather usage. Chubb could see some of his workload go to Sony Michel, who had a big year in Chubb’s absence, rushing for over 1,100 yards and is a good pass catching option out of the backfield — 26 catches for 270 yards in 2015. Chaney has shown in the past that when he has two quality backs, he will split touches pretty evenly. Examples include Jonathan Williams at Alex Collins at Arkansas (nearly identical touches and numbers) and Raijon Neal and Marlon Lane Jr. at Tennessee. Simply put, Chubb may not get a workhorse share.

In the first five games of the 2015 season, Chubb had 91 carries for 745 yards and 7 touchdowns. Those are video game numbers. Extrapolated over a season — even accounting for an increase in competition level in the SEC schedule — Chubb was on pace for a season close to on par with Derrick Henry. In those same first five games, Michel had only 41 carries before taking on the heavy workload after Chubb’s injury.

That means Chubb had 69 percent of the carries between the two to start the season, which is a healthy majority of the workload. If that had dipped to a 60-40 split, Chubb would have lost 12 carries and 97 yards (based on his 8.1 yard per carry average) in those first five games. Over the course of the season, that would cost him more than 200 yards and likely a few touchdowns. That could put a significant gap between him and other candidates at the position, like Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Royce Freeman and Dalvin Cook.

Schematically, Chaney and Pittman’s arrival in Athens should be a good thing for Chubb. In the long run, the reduction in carries that would be a good thing for Chubb as he would avoid taking as much punishment as he looks forward to the NFL (and it would generally help him work back from his injury), but it could be a hit to his Heisman chances.

The only reason I ever care about a Georgia player’s Heisman chances is because the better those are, the more likely it is that the team is doing well, so in the vast scheme of things, I can’t say this is of much concern.

My one counter to this is the play of the offensive line.  Georgia’s three best backs of the Richt era – Moreno, Gurley and Chubb – all had the ability to make something out of less than good run blocking support from their offensive lines.  If in 2016 that isn’t where Pittman wants it, don’t be surprised if Chubb’s carries reflect that.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

The NFL doesn’t like the spread of the spread.

Pity the poor oligarchs.

Even if a spring league did nothing more than expedite the development of a handful of quarterbacks, helping them go from marginal prospects to winning NFL passers, that alone would be a boon. There are simply not enough reps to go around, not enough opportunities to actually get them on the field in anything approximating a game situation, and with fewer and fewer college programs running traditional pro-style offenses, the problem appears to be growing.

Oh, noes!

“I don’t know why it hasn’t happened to this point. I think the league wants to do it. There must be something blocking it. There must be some factors that are keeping it from going in that direction, because I’ve never heard anybody say they don’t want to do it. So I think you’d have to ask the higher-ups in the league really what’s holding it up.”

Dude, shit like that costs money.  Money the league has never had to spend before because the college game’s been so accommodating.  Now that it’s not so much, NFL teams are having to spend money and resources in different ways.

As for the players, the state of offensive line play has been driving coaches bonkers, with all the spread formations being used in college sending many of these youngsters to the pros without the fundamentals once taken for granted, and coaches believe a league like this could greatly hasten that learning curve.

And this offseason proved more than ever how scarce quarterbacks are, with ineffective starters like Sam Bradford getting $18 million a season and a bidding war erupting over Brock Osweiler, who played middling football this season in his first seven career starts, lost his job before the playoffs to a decaying Peyton Manning and then still received $38 million guaranteed.

Damn, that’s gotta suck.

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Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, The NFL Is Your Friend.

“Pick a good one.”

For all the bitching the NFL does about how spread offenses are a drag on player development, it sure seems like being a quarterback for Mike Leach has its pluses in that department.

Quarterbacks in his Air Raid offense are expected to know the ins and outs of every position on the field, but Leach affords them far more control in calling plays and making reads than most college (or professional) coaches would dare.

It doesn’t happen often, but Leach says there are games when his quarterback heads onto the field about 60 percent of the time with nothing more than an offensive formation. In those cases, it is the quarterback’s responsibility alone to give the offense his own play call, unless he decides to audible on the formation altogether.

It’s a level of trust between Leach and his quarterbacks that he calls “one of the strengths of our offense.” According to several former quarterbacks who played for Leach, it also serves to form what they describe as the most unique relationship between a coach and a player in all of college football.

“You don’t find that in a lot of offensive coordinators or head coaches,” former Texas Tech quarterback B.J. Symons said. “Some of them might be a little egotistical that you’re going to run what they call. … That freedom that Mike gave you — and it came from him trusting that you could make the right call — that was a big part of my success.”

Considering the level of micromanagement that goes on these days – everyone loves the get to the line early so the coaching staff can rework the play call based on the defensive set move, right? – you’d think that kind of responsibility would pay dividends at the next level.  Not to mention that Leach’s teams don’t have to get to the line early to check sideline play cards…

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Filed under Mike Leach. Yar!, Strategery And Mechanics

“What does a fullback do?”

At Georgia, the short answer is that he doesn’t get a scholarship.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Thursday morning buffet

Haven’t had one of these in a little while.  Dig in.

  • Florida hasn’t lost to Tennessee in over a decade, but that’s not stopping Jim McElwain from playing the lowered expectations card for all it’s worth.
  • Speaking of Tennessee, if you’re a player in need of legal advice, the school would be happy to point you in the right direction.
  • Judging from this fiasco, it looks like coaches can behave as moronically on social media as teenagers do.  Go figure.
  • Kirby Smart likes the idea of beginning a season against a top opponent in a neutral site venue.
  • Mark Richt thinks satellite camps constitute “illegal recruiting”.
  • And while we on the subject of satellite camps, it sounds like a lot of SEC coaches are preparing to stay and see Georgia.
  • Here’s a list of eleven characteristics of “outstanding high school and college offensive coordinators”.
  • If you’re a receiver on the short side, it might pay to ask your coaches to let you switch to the other side of the ball.
  • Pete Fiutak’s got his Georgia preview posted here.  Related pieces here and here.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Recruiting, See You In Court, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground, Strategery And Mechanics, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Run the damned ball, Chaney.

Good to finally get that off my chest.

Ian Boyd has a couple of good Xs and Os pieces for your reading pleasure.  First, a general piece on everybody’s favorite running play, power.

Systems that make power a foundational part of their offense and do it well are often rewarded with tags like “manball,” “power-coast,” or “smashmouth spread.

While inside zone can be a physical scheme when it emphasizes double teams on DL and lead runs like “Iso” have their value in making linebackers decide if they’re about that “blow up the block” life. Power usually has both features, a double team at the point of attack meant to drive a DL off the ball and then a lead blocker coming around looking to blow up a linebacker. Every coach that wants to base their run game around a non-power scheme will undoubtedly start by justifying how he can do so while still bringing a physical approach.

The way in which power creates new gaps at the point of attack and the physical nature in which that occurs both tend to trigger defenses to respond in a knee-jerk fashion, which is why power is probably the best scheme in football for setting up play-action deep shots.

That do sound familiar.

The second piece will be even more enjoyable, I suspect:  “How Georgia’s revised running game can make Nick Chubb even deadlier“.  Thought that might get your attention.

The predominant feature of the Mark Richt era in Athens: running backs. From Knowshon Moreno to Todd Gurley to Nick Chubb and next to Sony Michel, the Dawgs have been stacked in the backfield and keyed by their running game. Kirby Smart will undoubtedly want to make the most of this.

Two years in a row, Chubb has ran for 119 or more yards per game, with Michel, Gurley and Keith Marshall all getting plenty of carries as well.

He ran for 146 yards on 20 carries against Smart’s 2015 Alabama defense, good for 7.3 yards per carry. Alabama won 38-10, but it made Georgia the only team to break 3.9 yards per carry on the Tide D (5.1, in fact). They did this largely thanks to an 83-yard romp by Chubb when the outcome was no longer in question, but the explosive power of feature backs was one of the few consistent bright spots in Georgia’s season.

In 2016 the Dawgs return three starting OL, their tight end, and most of their skill talent. Chubb returns from injury as a top Heisman contender and one of the country’s biggest reasons this season is a year of running backs. The QB role could go to five-star freshman Jacob Eason, who impressed fans in the spring game.

With former Arkansas and Pittsburgh OC Jim Chaney coordinating the offense, it seems obvious that Georgia will make running the ball with Chubb a key strategy.

The amazing thing about Nick Chubb discussions these days is how naturally folks assume Chubb will be back contributing this season.  If that’s really the case, Jim Chaney’s gonna look a lot smarter.

The other part that’s really interesting is his suggestion of how Chaney and Pittman may make do with what is for them an undersized offensive line this season.  Talking about looking smarter…

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

I know I’m no defensive coordinator…

… but why, exactly, was that such a great idea?

By the way, Georgia was 11th and 8th in the SEC in sacks per game over those two seasons.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics