Category Archives: Strategery And Mechanics

Great moments in execution

If you’re looking for the polar opposite of the precision teamwork leading to that Chubb touchdown run, look no further than this clip of what turned out to be a one-yard loss on a Florida passing play against Kentucky.  (Make sure you have the audio on, because the commentator’s tone of disgust will add to your viewing pleasure.)

As inept as that was, don’t lose sight of the fact that the Gators won that game to go 2-0 in the division and are still ranked in the top 25.  The SEC East is a bit of a mess this year, ain’t it?



Filed under Gators, Gators..., Strategery And Mechanics

When it all comes together is a beautiful thing to watch.

In a year already filled with terrific plays — Godwin’s remarkable one-handed grab in the Notre Dame game quickly comes to mind, as does Bellamy’s and Carter’s efforts to wrap up that game — I have to say that Nick Chubb’s second touchdown run against Mississippi State stands as my favorite play of the season.

One reason for that is, like many of you, I had thrown in the towel on the Wild Dawg staying in Chaney’s playbook.  The primary benefit of the formation isn’t that there’s an option component to it; it’s that there’s an extra blocker for the runner.  That Georgia couldn’t generate anything positive out of that suggested there were severe execution problems that weren’t fixable.

Indeed, I was relieved that we never saw the formation in the Samford game.  It turns out, though, they were indeed working on fixing those execution issues, because this play is as close to being perfectly run as you’ll ever see.

I’ve watched this play a dozen or so times now.  Beautifully designed, it’s that mesmerizing. Unlike Fromm’s two touchdown passes, there’s no trickeration involved.  It’s simply about getting a hat on a hat, being more physical than the defense and getting out of Nick Chubb’s way.

Well, maybe there’s a little more going on than that.  First of all, as Taylor notes, the backside blocking is different than the blocking at the point of attack.  If you didn’t think Georgia’s offensive line was capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time, you may need to rethink.  There’s also the exquisite timing involved in Chubb putting Jayson Stanley in motion, not as an option with the ball, but to hit MSU’s outside man with a crack block at just the right moment.  Which he does.

From there, Payne and Wynn do the rest to part the Red Sea and Chubb is off.  There isn’t a wasted step from anyone involved in that play.  There’s a balletic precision to the line’s footwork; if you’re still doubtful about Pittman’s coaching skills, rerun the clip a few times.

It’s damned impressive.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

“Everyone wants Nick Saban’s defense.”

Trust me, you’ll want to read Ian Boyd’s take on how Georgia’s defense is succeeding, viewed through the prism of the Notre Dame and Mississippi State games.

2017 has already seen Georgia put away a pair of strong spread offenses led by dual-threat QBs, with a 20-19 victory in South Bend over Notre Dame and a 31-3 home victory over Mississippi State. Among teams that’ve played multiple ranked opponents, Georgia and Clemson rank far above the rest in yards allowed per play; UGA’s allowed 3.71 to ranked teams.

The Dawg defense held Notre Dame’s Brandon Wimbush to a total of 212 yards despite the Irish QB throwing or running 55 times, an average of 3.9 yards per play with a pair of lost fumbles. They held Nick Fitzgerald to 130 total yards on 39 combined passes or runs, for a total of 3.3 yards per play with a pair of interceptions to boot. They also held the Irish to almost seven yards below their average per carry otherwise (1.49 to 8.28) and MSU to more than a yard per carry less than LSU allowed (4.78 to 5.94).

He makes a very good point — one that I had not considered — that even though both teams’ offenses feature running quarterbacks, the schemes involved are different.

Dan Mullen’s offense is rather different from the Irish attack. While MSU often plays with a tight end, it prefers to operate on the perimeter with spread-option concepts.

Even so, Georgia managed to shut both down in different ways.  Read Boyd’s post in full to see how that was accomplished.

Have I mentioned that I’m really beginning to enjoy this season?


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Monday morning buffet

Plenty to put on your plate.

  • Somehow, Notre Dame is in ESPN’s FPI top ten, but Georgia isn’t.
  • But Georgia is numero uno in special teams S&P+ this week.
  • And this advanced stats blog rates Georgia’s defensive effort from Saturday night the nation’s best of last week… yeah, I know… better than ‘Bama.  Somehow.
  • How many five-stars play for teams ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll?
  • Awesome story on Hal Mumme and the Air Raid offense here.
  • Alabama has won eighteen straight conference games.  Average margin of victory:  23.1 points.
  • “Is it possible the SEC might be just pedestrian enough, and Texas A&M just good enough, to save Sumlin’s job?”
  • These are not fun times to be a Missouri fan.
  • “By moving up four spots to No. 7 in the latest AP poll, Georgia has now been ranked in the Top 10 at some point during each of the last six seasons.”


Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

‘It’s two different games.’

You know, all these years I thought the spread offense taking over college football would mean that contrarian pro-style college attacks would have an advantage taking on defenses that were geared to stop spread offensive schemes and also on the recruiting trail.  I may have a point with regard to the former, but with regard to recruiting, I may not have taken something into account.

The spread is taking over high school football, too.

In 2017, by the time a player reaches college, he has become more skilled at the collegiate game than most any player who came before him. When the same player reaches the NFL, he has played almost no football reminiscent of the NFL game.

“It’s the same sport, but it’s two different games,” Senior Bowl director Phil Savage said. “It’s a night-and-day difference in terms of the style of play. While most everyone focuses on the quarterback, the style of play being utilized across the board in college football, it’s a significant adjustment.”

A dozen years ago, many top high school football teams still relied on ancient tactics. In the South, Wright said, the Wing-T still dominated. The spread had seeped into college football’s fringes, but the game mostly looked like the NFL. Offenses used two backs and a tight end, with the quarterback under center.

“For a long time, the collegiate game and the NFL really mirrored each other,” Wright said. “You saw that schematically. You saw that with the type of quarterbacks going from one level to the other. You don’t see that much anymore. Try to find a true fullback on a college roster. It’s just tough to find. Now you’re hard-pressed to even find a [high school] team that goes under center.

“What you’re seeing is a reflection of the way the game has evolved. College football, with all the opportunities to watch it, kids and high school coaches get inundated with it. You see that being reflected in high school offenses, in the way high school coaches think and approach it.”

That doesn’t mean if you’re a school like Georgia that still incorporates pro-style concepts into its offensive scheme that the world you face is suddenly devoid of the talent you need to make things go, but it makes it harder to find that talent, because there may not be as much out there as there once was.  It also puts a greater premium on developing whatever talent you do find.

“In middle school, you take the best athlete, you give him the ball, let him pass and run, and you win,” Savage said. “And he’s not really developed. In high school, you give him the ball, they win, but he’s not really developing the characteristics and traits that are needed to play pro football. In most college teams, it’s the same. That development is put off in terms of becoming a pocket passer.

“Then it’s shoved off to the pro game. The pro game because of the amount of money invested in the quarterback position, they cannot put the quarterback in harm’s way. The pro game is never going to be able to adapt. They have too much money invested in the quarterback to expose him.”

In college, they may not have money invested in the quarterback, but, between the 20-hour week and four years of eligibility, they only have a limited amount of coaching to invest.  It’s a different kind of scarcity.

Speaking of scarcity, see if this doesn’t make you think about what Smart wants to do on offense.

Put the problem of quarterback hits aside, though, and conservatism permeates the NFL, where offenses aim to hog possession and limit mistakes. College offenses uniformly use tempo to tire defenses and create personnel mismatches. College coaches try to win games, and NFL coaches try not to lose them.

The use of the word “uniformly” is a bit of a stretch, but game control is a concept that is dwindling in the college ranks.  What that means on the recruiting trail and in the quarterbacks room for schools like Georgia is something I’d bet Smart thinks about.  Maybe the only thing you can wind up doing these days is recruit as many highly regarded quarterbacks as you can and let them sort things out once they get settled in your program.  The first to adapt wins.


Filed under Recruiting, Strategery And Mechanics

Jim Chaney breaks out the crayon box.

Last week, I fretted about Georgia’s offense being somewhat predictable due to Jake Fromm’s limits.

Speaking of pre-snap reads, those are even easier for Fromm to handle when he’s making them from the shotgun or pistol rather than under center.  Given his background and experience, that’s hardly surprising.  Unfortunately, that can make for predictable playcalling.

Looking at last week’s game against Samford, Georgia broke away from at least one tendency it had the game prior against Notre Dame. Georgia increased its plays from under center with its first-team offense. In total, the Bulldogs ran 21 plays under center compared to 30 plays in the shotgun against Samford.

While Smart said switching between shotgun and from under center is “overrated” when it comes to analysis, it does play a part in what the opposition is trying to find out.

“They can look at those things, see it, try to get tendencies off it,” Smart said. “I think every coach in America is trying to break his tendencies.”

But the reason for noting the number of plays under center and out of the shotgun in the Samford game is important for one particular reason. Of the 21 plays under center, quarterback Jake Fromm threw from this spot zero times.

Fromm received only one passing call from under center against Notre Dame and he was sacked on the play.

The tendency here is that Fromm isn’t going to throw the ball when Georgia is under center.

All you can do is all you can do, obviously, and, to be fair, Georgia was going to run the ball down Samford’s throat no matter what formation in which it lined up.  Still, with an opponent like Mississippi State, which showed last week it does an excellent job with its game prep, that’s got to be a major concern.  Maybe Chaney deserves to be cut a little more slack than he gets.

Instead, it looks like a certain former Georgia defensive coordinator got baited.

During the week of practice, Georgia’s offense practiced the flea-flicker play over and over.

On Thursday, the offense was told it would begin Saturday’s 31-3 win over Mississippi State with the particular play. It was something head coach Kirby Smart saw on film that he believed would work early in the game. Plus, taking a deep shot that early might soften Mississippi State’s box against the run…

On the play, quarterback Jake Fromm lined up under the center on what looked like a run play. After all, Fromm did not attempt a pass from under center the week before against Samford. Mississippi State loaded the box to prevent the run in response.

Fromm handed the ball off to running back Nick Chubb, who then pitched the ball back to Fromm. Godwin was left wide open for what turned into a 59-yard touchdown reception.

Smart said he spoke with offensive coordinator Jim Chaney about the potential play call on Wednesday, which is when the final decision was made to go with it.

“I thought it was there. And it worked,” Smart said.

That wasn’t the only unpantsing that worked.

Throwing the ball only 12 times, Fromm posted a 270.70 passer rating last night. Passer ratings from Mississippi State’s three other 2017 opponents:  53.25, 93.30 and 84.51.  In the last decade, no other quarterback has eclipsed that mark against MSU.

After his third start as a true freshman, Fromm is now second in the SEC in passer rating.  Somebody’s putting him a position to succeed.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

This is what happens when your defense is on drugs.

The hardest part of analyzing what happened in Starkville last Saturday is figuring out how much of the result should be attributed to Mississippi State’s offensive excellence and now much to LSU’s defensive ineptitude.  I’m still not ready to render a final assessment in that regard, but, damn, the Tigers’ defense couldn’t set the edge to save its life in that game.

If Tucker’s troops can’t do any better than that, we can all leave early in the second half.


Filed under SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics