- Has Smart had a change of heart about Georgia’s running game? Count me in the I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it camp.
- One thing I don’t get about 2017 win projections is why there’s a general assumption about how the Georgia-Auburn game is going to play out. After all, “Auburn hasn’t hit over 8.5 wins since going 12-2 in 2013 and has only done so three times since 2007. Georgia, on the other hand, has gone over 8.5 wins four times since 2011, including a 12-2 mark in 2012 and back-to-back years of 10-3 in 2014 and 2015.”
- Screw signing days, says Bob Bowlsby, who likes the idea of signing periods.
- Speaking of Bowlsby, is there a dumber idea in college football than a championship game for a conference that plays a round-robin schedule? It will serve the Big 12 right if that game screws it out of a playoff spot.
- Seth Emerson asks a good question about Georgia’s defense. The timing sure would be nice.
- And here’s another good question, in this case, about Title IX in the context of colleges paying athletes. It’s about time somebody asked.
- Way to go, Tom Herman.
If you’d like to be a little more knowledgeable any time you see one of those zone blocking versus man blocking discussions pop up in the comments section on occasion, you ought to spend a few minutes reading this post over at Roll ‘Bama Roll. It’s an excellent primer on the subject.
See if this part about man blocking registers with you, based on Georgia last season:
Great stuff. You may notice that in all of the above plays, there is zero hesitation by the running back. His job is to get the ball into the designated hole as quickly as possible. This is one of the pros of man blocking: your running back doesn’t need great vision, as power and burst will suffice. This type of scheme also tends to instill something of a mean streak in your offensive line since their job is simply to blow people off the ball in an assigned direction, and the play action pass works especially well since linebackers and box safeties have little time to react in the run game.
On the flip side, this scheme requires your offensive linemen to be able to win their one-on-one battles and requires some creative play-calling lest it become too predictable. Also, since the offensive linemen are firing out to the second level on run plays and thus have to know whether a play is a run or pass, it greatly limits the use of RPOs. Lastly, the defense can guess at the playcalls based on formation and, if correct, create negative plays by overwhelming the offense’s numbers in the gap.
Pretty much checks all the boxes, doesn’t it?
That point about RPOs is especially worth pondering. If Smart and Chaney do in fact land Justin Fields in next year’s class, there’s a little more involved in retooling the offense to take advantage of Fields’ complete skill set than simply telling him to take the ball and run.
I really like this quote from Smart about Eason’s second-year development:
“I’m a big believer in completion percentage,” Smart said. “I think Jacob understands, and we’ve communicated throughout the spring, if he wants to change the win-loss record, we have to change the completion percentage and we have to allow him to make some easier throws, and he’s got to be more accurate doing so.” [Emphasis added.]
That’s not making excuses by pointing fingers at flawed player execution. That’s acknowledging that it’s the responsibility of two sides to make a player better.
Now, let’s see if both can contribute to that.
This clip popped up on Twitter yesterday. You ought to listen to it, because it’s a two-minute distillation of what Kirby Smart wants on offense.
Bottom line, there’d better be a lot of shit knocking going on out there, or somebody ain’t gonna play.
As a bonus, this was my favorite response:
Gators and Dawgs, drilling together…
- Kirby Smart is “hoping and praying” the two players from the 2017 signing class not yet on campus are able to enroll.
- There are how many new coordinators in the SEC this season?
- Penn State and its former defensive coordinator Bob Shoop (now at Tennessee) are suing each other. Play nice, fellas.
- Here’s a list of the ten teams that Phil Steele says will enjoy the biggest drop in schedule strength from 2016 to 2017. (I’m not sure I’d argue Ole Miss is getting that big a drop from last year’s Georgia team to this year’s Kentucky team, though.)
- There’s more than one way to skin a cat, offensively speaking.
- Jeez, I hate this question.
- Dawg fans, if you’re looking for some nice UGA-themed photo work, take a peek here.
Ian Boyd makes a very good point about the roots of the difference between college “pro-style” offense and NFL “pro-style” offense when he writes,
The differences between college and NFL offenses…
It’s not centered around whether to line up in the shotgun or whether to use “spread sets.” Those questions have been answered definitively at this point. The most effective offenses in football today heavily utilize the shotgun alignment and spread the field more often than not.
The big differences between the two offenses now result from the following three factors. The first is the depth and diversity of college football programs, who come in all shapes, sizes, and regions. You see far greater diversity in strategy and tactics from college programs than the NFL because inequality defines so much of the game.
The next factor is that without a salary cap or other inequality prevention measures, then it becomes possible for the more resource-rich programs to gear their strategy around imposing their will on opponents in the run game. The most rare resources in college football are the big guys that have the rare blend of sheer size and athleticism to dominate the trenches. Quarterbacks and receivers can be harder to identify out of college, are easier to develop after they arrive on campus, and are simply much more common. Particularly in the spread era which increases the impact they can have on the game while decreasing the challenge of playing the positions.
In the NFL under the salary cap it’s very, very difficult to have enough of an advantage in the trenches to impose your will in the run game every week. But because the passing game is simply harder to stop, even for the top defenses, everyone is looking to build their strategies around that dimension of their offense.
Parity is a beyotch.
I’ve always been a big fan of contrarian thinking when it comes to offensive strategy. If you can lard up enough of an advantage on the talent front to play pro-style on the college level, you’re going to have a talent advantage over most of your opponents, but on top of that, you’re going to play defenses that, for the most part, aren’t structured to handle the kind of attack you’ll throw at them. That’s a tough combination for almost any college program to handle.
It used to be the way people threw the word “spread” around, applying it conceptually to things that maybe weren’t appropriate, drove me a little crazy. Now I wonder if we’re hitting a time when the same thing goes for “pro-style”.
What does “pro-style” mean these days? Check out these numbers.
Football Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz recently tweeted some formation numbers. The use of 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE) increased to 60.4 percent of all plays in the NFL this season, and it was the most common personnel grouping for all 32 teams.
Schatz added that the second-most common packages for any team included the Jets 10 personnel (33 percent), the Colts 12 personnel (31 percent) and the Eagles and Panthers 12 personnel (27 percent).
If you wanted any more proof the fullback is dead, there you go. The next time you hear college coaches talking about styles that translate to the NFL, keep these numbers in mind.
If all “pro-style” means these days is deploying a fullback, then I guess that makes sense. Since it doesn’t…