Category Archives: Strategery And Mechanics

Muddle-huddling

Two thoughts I had reading this:  (1) this is what I love about college football, the creativity that comes from doing more with less; and (2) it’s kind of funny to hear a coach declare, “You want to put people on their heels” in the context of PATs.

Though I must say after watching Georgia’s offense this season, I’m a little jealous to hear a coach talk like this:

“We look at numbers and how people line up to us and if it’s a good look we run it,” UNH offensive coordinator Ryan Carty explained. “I’m in the booth so I get a good vision of things and I count numbers. I can see whether it’s man or zone. Things like that.

“We’ll have some plays that we practice throughout (the season), but when we use them we have to go on to the next one. There’s some plays based on what we see defensively that they do that we’ll put in that week. A lot of them are ways to get our best players in space.

“We have our aggressive operations, and then we have our, ‘This is when it has to happen.’ We have our chart, just like everybody, and we follow that chart to a T. That’s a little different.”

UNH has made five of its nine two-point-conversion attempts this season. The Wildcats are 1 of 2 when they have run the ball on conversion attempts, and 4 of 7 when they have passed.

Carty said UNH will go for two at any point in the game as long as the coaches feel like they have an edge.

“There’s definite forethought to it,” he said. “There are plans. It goes along with our overall philosophy on offense, which is attack.”

I guess there’s a difference between attacking the day and attacking the defense.

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Making a bad situation worse

I hope Georgia Tech’s new AD doesn’t read this post, but it’s worth noting something MaconDawg wrote over at DawgSports yesterday.

From Clemson’s Deshaun Watson to current Bulldog commit Jake Fromm, to nationally ranked recruits like 2018 Cartersville quarterback Trevor Lawrence (and even younger players like Marietta freshman Harrison Bailey, recently offered by the Bulldogs) the state of Georgia has undergone a renaissance in high school quarterback play over the past few years. USA Today asked those who would know, including some of those top flight quarterbacks themselves, about what has changed.

Not to spoil the answers, but they generally focus on the rise of passer-friendly offenses, 7-on-7 tournaments, and the availability of elite private QB coaching. I think those all play a part. One overlooked answer however may be the rising tide that has lifted the number of elite recruits in the state at every position: an exploding population, especially in the metro Atlanta area. The fact is there are more, bigger high schools, many of which have vastly more athletic resources, than in the past.

But the population boom has been going on for decades. The evolution of high school offenses in the state has been a more recent development, and a rapid one at that. Of the eighteen Peach State high school quarterbacks with the most career passing yards, seventeen graduated in 2004 or after (the lone exception being Americus standout and FSU Seminole Fabian Walker). Only one of the top seventeen seasons in terms of touchdown passes occurred before 2009, the year Hutson Mason’s 54 touchdown passes blew past the record previously held by Charlton County’s Jeremy Privett.

To put it another way, gone are the days when football Friday nights in the Peach State are dominated by the power-I and the triple option (sorry, Tech fans). Not mentioned in the article is the fairly self-evident proposition that Georgia is in position to benefit disproportionately from this phenomenon.

Even given that, as Johnson himself admits, Tech’s recruiting in the era of the triple option has been shabby, this strikes me as a pretty big deal, at least in the near future.  Quarterback, no matter what offensive system you run, is the most important position on the field, and if high school offenses are drifting away from running to passing schemes on a widespread basis, that’s going to make it ever harder for Tech to find in state quarterbacking.

It’s not just the one position, either, of course.  Offensive linemen that train to block in offenses that throw the ball all over the place aren’t going to be ready to cut block like mad overnight.  And some of those high school running backs are either going to find their skills deployed at other positions or running out of a lot of shotgun sets.  Either way, that’s not a good trend for Paul Johnson.

What makes it worse is that it allows schools besides UGA that can attract the new blood being developed by Georgia high schools to make inroads there.  And once you establish relationships with high school coaches for some of their offensive players, you can grow that to players in general.  I don’t see how Tech can prosper ceding much of the talent in as rich a state as this one to out of state programs.

As MaconDawg concludes, though, it sure is a good thing for Kirby Smart.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Recruiting, Strategery And Mechanics

“Coach Pruitt has simplified a lot of stuff and it allows you to go play fast.”

Here’s an interesting piece on what Georgia’s former defensive coordinator has done as Alabama’s defensive coordinator since replacing Georgia’s current head coach.  Per the Sabanator,

“Well, I think that we’re playing the same system,” Saban said. “I think the one thing that we’ve done is we’ve repped the things that we’re going to play in the games, sort of pared it down a little bit. I think our players are a little bit more confident in what they’re supposed to do, the adjustments they need to make. I think they’ve played well because of that. It’s interesting to hear that the players think that, as well. It’s good to know.”

A little comparing, too:

Since taking over for Kirby Smart this year, Pruitt has created controlled chaos. After all, he hasn’t sacrificed aggressive tactics by condensing the playbook. The Tide is blitzing at a much higher rate than last year. During a three-game stretch earlier this season against Kent State, Kentucky and Arkansas, Alabama sent an extra rusher 49.5 percent of the time.

“Coach Pruitt, he does a great job at simplifying things for us to make sure that when we go out there on Saturday there’s not much confusion on the field and making sure everybody’s on the same page,” linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton said.

Maybe Georgia’s defense could have used some simplifying in the fourth quarter last Saturday.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

The death of game planning

If this quote don’t beat all:

SEC Network sideline reporter Olivia Harlan summed up her talk with offensive coordinator Jim Chaney by reporting: “They’re trying to do less offensively now than they were earlier in the season, because nothing else works. Now they’re just trying to give it to their tailbacks, a lot of screen passes.”

Holy crap.

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“First of all, you don’t put it all in one week.”

This sounds like it must have been a real “I coulda had a V8®” moment:

Georgia did work on Georgia Tech’s offense during the bye week to get its players an early look at what to expect. One area Georgia has practiced a lot of, however, is getting off of cut blocks, a staple of Johnson’s offense.

The Bulldogs work on this during individual drills every day in practice under defensive line coach Tracy Rocker. When Rocker got to Georgia in 2014 and had his players go through cut blocks on a regular basis, nose tackle John Atkins said he wondered why.

“We never knew what it was for until Georgia Tech week,” Atkins said. “That’s what it was for the whole time.”

Have I ever mentioned how much I like Tracy Rocker?

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Defending the triple option isn’t rocket science.

Just to refresh everyone’s memory, here’s what I referred to a couple of years ago as “timeless advice“:

1. Stop the Dive. It’s meant to get 3.0 ypc, once they get more than that, you’re dead. They don’t have as great a FB as Dwyer, but if you let them beat you inside it sets up the entire perimeter game and Midline.

2. Hammer that QB every time he touches the football.

3. Knock the QB’s facemask off every time he touches the football. Make him eat dirt.

4. Flatten the QB on every snap.

5. Rip the QB’s head off on every snap.

I don’t give a shit if you get a late hit or unsportsmanlike penalty, you make that QB regret he stepped on the field.

The QB makes it all work. If he drops back to pass, hit him. If he keeps, hit him. If he pitches the ball, hit his ass anyway. Make him hesitate.

You do that, you beat the option.

It really is that simple.  If you execute, that is.  And therein lies the rub.

I will tell you, weirdly enough, even after that less than stellar showing against ULL’s rushing attack, I feel good about Georgia’s chances handling Tech’s inside running game.  Partly that’s because the defense showed up the week before and handled Auburn’s, but also because Trent Thompson will be starting.

A former five-star competitor, Thompson started the first four contests of the year for the Bulldogs, a fact that won’t strike anyone as unusual considering he was one of the team’s top returning defenders this fall.

But if you don’t practice like you should, there are consequences to paid, lessons Thompson said he now fully understands after not starting for six straight games before returning to the opening lineup last week against Louisiana-Lafayette.

“I had to work harder,” Thompson conceded after Saturday’s game. “I had to do a better job.”

And he has.

Thompson – fourth on the team with 45 tackles – appears to be back on track.

After making five tackles in a backup role against Auburn, Thompson was rewarded with last week’s start and responded by being in on six tackles, and was a huge reason Georgia was able to stifle the Tigers’ running game.

“I think Trenton has worked really hard. We thought he played and practiced well the Auburn week. We actually started him in the second half of Auburn. He played well in that game, and then he practiced well last week, and got to start last week,” Smart said. “Just so you know, every week in our group, in our units, there’s competition at certain positions and they know they have got to go out and earn that. I think Trenton has really responded well to the adversity he’s had and he’s had some games that he’s really played well. And he’s got to continue to develop his technique, I would say, but he is an explosive, athletic defensive tackle, which is hard to find.”

Thompson promised there won’t be any more slip-ups as far as he is concerned.

“I’m just going to keep going forward and doing what Coach (Tracy) Rocker wants me to do,” he said. “I’m not looking back.”

Thompson is a defensive tackle who has started less than half of his team’s games this season and still finds himself fourth in tackles, not to mention he’s second on the team with six tackles-for-loss, and has two sacks.  When he’s focused, he’s a dominant player.

And this week, his position coach wants him to stuff the dive play and pound the hell out of the quarterback.  I don’t think Trent will let Tracy Rocker down.

Now, if the outside linebackers can maintain leverage and control the perimeter…

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

A healthy quarterback would have never done that.

If you listened to the broadcast of the Auburn game, Gary Danielson pointed out what Sean White did wrong on the key play of the game, Maurice Smith’s pick-six, which was to misread the coverage in the secondary.

For more detail, check out what Kirby Smart had to say about the play for SEC Film Room, which broadcast last night.

Hint:  no mention made of Sean White’s injury.

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