Category Archives: Strategery And Mechanics

The case against starting Eason as a true freshman

And The Valley Shook takes a look at how redshirt sophomore starting quarterbacks have fared in the SEC over the last eight seasons.  Two things to take away from the data:  one, generally speaking, it ain’t easy.  And if it’s not easy for a kid with a year in his school’s system under his belt, what does that say about a true freshman’s chances?

Which is not to say it’s a totally preposterous decision.  (The sarcastic bastard in me notes that starting Eason in 2016 as a play for the future still makes more sense than starting Bauta on less than full practice reps against Florida did.  But I digress.)  It’s worth noting, though, that’s a decision that’s going to lead to a fair share of lumps taking in the short term.

Oh, and the second thing?  Aaron Murray was a helluva quarterback.


Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Bill Walsh and the fighter pilot

I think genius is an overworked term, especially when it comes to coaching, but I have a hard time characterizing Bill Walsh in any other way.  One thing about genius is that it’s always fascinating to me to see a mind at work, and with that in mind, this story strikes me as small, but revealing.

The author, a lawyer and RedState contributor named Dan McLaughlin, bases his analysis of the GOP field on a long-time favorite source of my own: the fighter pilot and military strategist John Boyd, shown in the photo as he looked during the Korean War. I first met Boyd in the late 1970s, (thanks to an introduction from the military historian William Lind, then working for Sen. Gary Hart) when reporting an Atlantic article called “The Muscle-Bound Superpower” and my book National Defense. I remained in close touch with Boyd after that. Here are a few previous items about him, with links to others: a brief appreciation after his death in 1997; a description of his concept of the “OODA Loop” from last year; and a note about how he would have viewed the Iraq war, from 2008.

Boyd’s most influential legacy is probably that of the “OODA Loop,” which essentially means staying a beat ahead of your adversary in the decision-action cycle. By the time the other side makes a move, you’ve already anticipated it; when you make the next move, you take them by surprise. The concept has ramifications in fighter-plane combat (which is how Boyd originally developed it), in business competition (Boyd became fascinated by Toyota’s fast-cycle manufacturing process), and in sports (after I wrote about Boyd long ago, I got an out-of-the-blue note from Bill Walsh, then just beginning his run as 49ers coach, saying that he wanted to get in touch with Boyd).  [Emphasis added.]

How many other football coaches think like that?


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

“The game is far more intricate than most fans realize.”

All patronizing aside, Rich Rodriguez breaks down a play he called this season and it’s a pretty cool read.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

“The calls are Kirby’s.”

Shorter four random pundits:  Hey, this Kirby Smart fella can coach a little.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics

Jim Chaney sounds like he’ll fit right in.

Seth Emerson does a Q & A with three beat writers who covered Georgia’s new offensive coordinators at his previous stops, and damned if it doesn’t come off sounding like much of what we we’ve been used to lobbing at Georgia’s offensive coordinators over the years.

In Pittsburgh, they had to live with losing a stud running back and working the offense through Nathan Peterman… and the verdict was “unexciting”.  Never mind the loss of James Conner or an “unspectacular” offensive line.

At Arkansas, they bitched about this:  “One of the biggest frustrations I heard was if the Hogs were built to be a hardcore, power-running team, then why were there so many short-yardage run failures?”  But the fans are unhappy about losing Pittman.

And, from Tennessee:  “Tennessee didn’t have great records during the Chaney years, but that usually had little to do with the offense and much more to do with the defense. They put points on the board, and at times they were prolific, creative and fun to watch on that side of the ball. They just couldn’t get enough stops. Georgia fans will remember that from a couple of Vols-Dawgs games.”

There are only so many ways to run a pro-style offense, I guess.  It’s good to know we’ll still have things to complain about.



Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Beyond Crompton

I had this pop up in my Twitter feed the other day.

True.  But sometimes there’s a difference between high-powered and effective.  For example, Georgia’s two teams that won SEC titles under Mark Richt finished 35th and 19th nationally in offensive yards per play.  Pedestrian, perhaps, but good enough under the circumstances. Both of those teams went as far as they did based on great defenses and special teams.

Maybe Smart thinks that’s still a winning formula.


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

Can Jim Chaney coach quarterbacks?

Behold the career passer ratings of one Nathan Peterman:

  • 2013:  42.53
  • 2014:  70.58
  • 2015:  141.06

Peterman’s 2013 start against Florida (passer rating:  3.82) was one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen from an SEC quarterback.  You could make an argument that his relief stint against Georgia in 2014 cost Tennessee the game.  Yet this year as Pittsburgh’s starter, he’s managed a remarkably consistent season.

So, yeah, I’d say so.  And that’s even before you begin tossing out Drew Brees’ name.



Filed under Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics