Category Archives: Strategery And Mechanics

Let’s give ’em something to gripe about.

You may have heard that the NFL has decided to move the extra point attempt to the fifteen-yard line, while leaving two-point conversions at the two.  As Chase Stuart nicely points out, given the current skill level for making 33-yard field goals, this move is a lot more form than substance.

But it should raise a real bumper crop for second guessing.

What we may see, though, is a missed extra point costing a team a game. Or, perhaps, causing a team to win a game. That could happen if say, a team is down 20-10, scores a touchdown and misses the extra point, and then gets the ball back down 4. No longer strained by conservatism, a team may wind up scoring the game-winning touchdown instead of settling for a field goal. So, what happens first: a team loses a game because it misses an extra point, or a team wins a game because of it? And yes, posing that question is a sign of how bored I am by this news.

Man, I can hear the pundits now.

Stuart points out the math that the coaches will ignore – “From an expected value standpoint, an extra point now drops from 1.00 points to 0.95 points; one could argue, therefore, that a 2-point conversion now needs to be successful only 48% of the time to make it the better proposition.” – but, again, that’s in the League, where kickers are far more consistent than they are at the college level.

Which leads me to ponder the obvious – what would happen if the same rule were adopted for the college game?  I don’t know what the overall success rate is (and I’m not going to take the time to do the math), but you can look here and see that while there are plenty of kickers sporting high percentages, unsurprisingly, the overall rate of success isn’t anywhere near the NFL’s 96%.  Which would mean the value of going for two would increase in collegiate football.

I just wonder how all of this would fit into Mark Richt’s world view.  Gee, how has that kind of stuff worked out in the past?

There’s a difference between coaching conservatively and coaching scared.  What happened on the ensuing kickoff reminded me so much of what happened in the overtime loss to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl after the 2011 season. Georgia ran out to an early lead, blew it, took the game into overtime and was on the verge of pulling out the win after a Rambo interception.  The conservative thing to do then was check Blair Walsh’s stats on the season, realize that he was money on kicks of 40 yards or less, a bad check on anything longer, and pound the ball three straight plays to improve the odds of his making a winning kick. Richt instead chose to run Aaron Murray around on second down for a loss, taking Walsh out of his comfort zone, and kick on third down. The end result:  a miss and a loss.

Let’s just say I’d rather not cross that bridge.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

To win in our league, you have to (get turnovers).”

Manny Diaz, who’s back at Mississippi State as its defensive coordinator, has an interesting theory about how to generate turnovers on defense – and he ought to have an inkling, as the defense he ran last season led the nation in takeaways:

“It’s always going to start with stopping the run. If you stop the run, you make them have to throw to beat you. If they have to throw to win, the ball is in harm’s way. No one turns the ball over more than the quarterback.

“There’s a bunch of things you can do to get after the quarterback to make him make mistakes. But if you can’t stop the run, then you have no chance of doing that. Our run defense will be the first thing we’ll pride ourselves on. Anything from that point on, that’s where the turnovers start to come.”

That kind of made me wonder how Georgia’s 2014 season fit into that.  If you look at the defensive turnover and rushing game logs from last year, here’s what you’ll find:

  • First seven regular season games:  2.43 turnovers per game; 3.04 yards per carry
  • Last five regular season games:  1.80 turnovers per game; 5.33 yards per carry
  • Bowl game:  3 turnovers; 2.30 yards per carry

There does seem to be some correlation there.  Just something to keep in the back of your mind as Pruitt and Rocker figure out how to restructure a defensive line that will have plenty of new faces being counted on to do a better job of stopping the run than we saw in the second half of last season.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

The NFL keeps getting crankier about the spread.

Seattle’s offensive line coach Tom Cable isn’t a fan, either.

… Cable said that the proliferation of spread offenses in college has made it harder for players to adjust in the NFL, particularly the offensive linemen under his charge. That, in turn, has made it harder to evaluate players as they prepare to enter the league.

“Unfortunately, I think we’re doing a huge disservice to offensive football players — other than a receiver — that come out of these spread systems,” Cable continued. “The runners aren’t as good. They aren’t taught how to run. The blockers aren’t as good. The quarterbacks aren’t as good. They don’t know how to read coverage and throw progressions. They have no idea.”

Judging from his record as Idaho’s head coach, I’m not that convinced Cable’s got an idea.  But the more this stuff circulates, the more it grows into a real thing.  Expect more pushback from spread coaches; at this point, they’ve really got no choice.


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

“I can teach a third-grader in five minutes how to take a three-step drop and a five-step drop under center.”

Shorter college spread offense coaches:  NFL, you’re full of it.


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

When a meme becomes a thing – and a modest proposal

Hey, this whole “the NFL ain’t buying what spread quarterbacks are selling” thing is gettin’ real.

Even though the NFL is more pass oriented than ever before, the seven signal callers selected in this year’s draft is the fewest since 1955, when only six QBs were taken.

For perspective: More wideouts were selected among the first 40 picks (eight), than quarterbacks taken in the entire seven-round, 256-pick draft.

Ouch.  That’s gonna leave a mark in somebody’s checkbook.  And it’s getting worse.

While the small number of quarterbacks selected this year is the fewest of the common draft era (since 1967), just four signal callers that came from spread offenses have been drafted each of the last two years.

The drastic difference in the draft numbers at the position over the last two years likely has a lot more to the systems the top quarterbacks came from.

Ten of the 14 quarterbacks that were drafted a year ago ran pro-style offenses in college, as compared to the three drafted QBs who were a product of a more NFL-friendly offense this year.

Now, two years is an admittedly small sample size.  But you know how these pesky memes work.  I figure just a couple of ESPN spots devoted to the subject, and the panic will set in.

Of course, David Wunderlich is right – the NFL could roll up its sleeves and put in the effort developing quarterbacks.  But patience isn’t so much a virtue when you’ve invested a draft pick (only seven rounds now, remember) and money in a guy for whom you have no clue from his background as to whether he can make the leap.  The clock is always ticking in the NFL.

So we’re back at the fundamental problem.  The NFL isn’t going to spend a bunch of money on a developmental league when it’s had a perfectly fine one that hasn’t cost it one red cent all these years.  Nor is it going to change the role of the quarterback in some fundamental way.  And college coaches aren’t in the business of delivering talent with a red bow around it for the League so much as they’re in the business of winning, which for many means relying on spread offensive attacks.  Sounds like they’re at loggerheads to me.

Is this an insurmountable problem?  Nah, I don’t think so.  At least not in a world where money talks.  For much less than the cost of a developmental league, the NFL could simply spend some seed money at certain schools to encourage them to support pro-style offenses.  There are already places where coaches’ salaries are endowed; how about the Roger Goodell Endowment for Quarterback Studies, thoughtfully provided as long as the program has its quarterbacks taking snaps under center?

Talk about your win-win.  Let a thousand pocket passers bloom!


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

“The college game is killing us.”

I tell you what – if this is really a thing, any school out there running a pro-style offense that isn’t hyping the NFL to the skies to QB recruits is committing recruiting malpractice.


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

What’s in a number?

Ian Boyd has another informative post up, this one about how defenses are shifting away from traditional 4-3 and 3-4 sets into a variety of sets allowing them to better face up against spread attacks, get their best athletes on the field, or both.

For example, this one should sound familiar to us:

The 2-4-5 is ultimately a defense of specialization as the main pass-rushers are going to be the two stand-up edge rushers. The defense deploys them on the edge because that’s the easiest way to utilize a pure pass-rusher and they aren’t asked to do a great deal other than control the edge and provide pressure. The defensive tackles will tend to specialize in clogging up the interior and helping collapse the pocket while the linebackers are running free as support players.

Without access to the kind of elite pass-rushers that can attack the edge and overcome an offense’s best efforts at pass protection, the 2-4-5 is not a superior nickel package. It can also struggle against the run if defensive tackles aren’t sturdy or the linebackers are deficient. However, it is the simplest and best way to allow big, fast, and powerful athletes to impact the game and attack the quarterback.

Having access to elite pass-rushers isn’t going to be something Jeremy Pruitt worries about this season.  Struggling against the run?  Well, we’ll just to wait and see.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics