Category Archives: Strategery And Mechanics

Today, in the return of you get what you pay for

I see it’s time for the “waah, college football spread offenses aren’t preparing players for the NFL” horseshit to make the rounds again.

The first round has been more miss than hit the last three years at wide receiver. Corey Davis, Mike Williams and John Ross were selected in the top nine last April and they combined for 24 games, 45 catches, 465 yards and no touchdowns as rookies. The Bengals are considering shifting Ross to defensive back. Corey Coleman, Will Fuller, Josh Doctson and Laquon Treadwell were taken in the first round in 2016 after six went in Round 1 in 2015 — Amari Cooper, Kevin White, DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, Breshad Perriman and Phillip Dorsett. Of those 13, there’s probably not a true No. 1 in the bunch.

Has anyone told this guy that Cooper and Agholor played in pro-style offenses in college?

Maybe Mike Vrabel needs to ask for a refund of some of that $10 million.  Or spend it on a developmental league… like that’s gonna happen.



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

“I think it’s more exciting.”

Nick Saban, I don’t know you anymore.

I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t heard him say it.  I think my world has been rocked a little.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics

Revenge of the D

Who saw this coming?

Scoring, total offense and touchdowns dropped in college football to their lowest points in six years, according to year-end statistics compiled by the NCAA staff for the 2017 season.

Teams averaged only 28.8 points per game in 2017, a decline of 1.3 points from a record 30.08 points in 2016. That marks the lowest scoring average since 2011 (28.3). College football took a quantum leap in 2007 with scoring average jumping four points per team from 24.4 to 28.4.

Since then, the national scoring record was set three times, peaking at 30.08 points in 2016.

Average total offense was down 403.6 yards per game. That’s the lowest nationally since 2011 (392.4). Average touchdowns per team declined to 3.65, lowest since a 2011 average of 3.59.

All of it reflected the impact of the spread offense on the modern game. A combined 22 national records have been set since 2010 in rush yards per carry, completions per game, passing accuracy, passing yards, yards per attempt, total offense, yards per play, touchdowns per game and scoring.

However, there are tiny indicators that defensive coordinators are pushing back — at least a bit. For only the second time since 2003, no national records were set in 2017 among the 15 cumulative scoring categories tracked each season by the NCAA.

Everything is cyclical.  Somebody’s brainstorming the next big thing on offense as you read this.

In the meantime, some of the change can be chalked up to controlling tempo.

“Defenses have caught up with up-tempo [offenses] and have retooled the secondaries to have corner-type skill sets at safety positions,” said CBS college football analyst Rick Neuheisel.

The numbers bear that out. In 2013, 20 teams averaged at least 80 plays per game. That number shrunk to six in 2017. That’s the fewest since 2010 (three)…

Defenses benefitted by being allowed time to change personnel if the offense substitutes. Then came the rise of RPOs — the run/pass option that allows offenses the decision whether to run or pass after the snap. (For a quick primer, look at Washington State and Auburn game film.)

“As always, defenses at some point begin to catch up with the ‘new’ ways offenses are attacking them,” said Texas A&M offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey. “… A lot of the ‘hair on fire’ offenses that were only concerned with yards and points are controlling the tempo more and trying to help their defense.”

It won’t last.  The only thing that lasts is the chess match itself.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

At the intersection of Jimmys and Joes & Xs and Os

Bill Connelly uses the national title game to explore the topic of player matchups and advanced stats here and concludes there’s still plenty of work to be done.

But then there’s the next level of data: the matchup data where the ball isn’t involved.

Alabama clearly identified a potential weak link in Parrish and exploited him. The Tide were able to render Georgia’s offense far less efficient than normal, too, by eating up the interior of the Bulldogs’ line.

On multiple occasions throughout the national title game, a coach friend and I would end up texting back and forth — “That Georgia center is getting whooped.” “Georgia center again.” Et cetera. Poor Lamont Gaillard appeared to be pretty regularly getting his lunch eaten by Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne and others.

When the Bama defensive front was creating disruption, it was probably coming from the middle. But Payne finished the game with 4.5 tackles and no TFLs or havoc plays. Our eyes told us Payne was dominant, but we don’t have the stats to back that up. Stuff like this will show up somewhat in PFF grades (which a lot of coaches I’ve spoken with really do not tend to enjoy or trust), but the general point remains: we get far more about Xs and Os from stats than the proverbial Jimmies and Joes..

So here’s an offseason conversation topic for you (and trust me, if this indeed generates conversation, I’ve got plenty of other questions to toss to the field): what do we do about this?

It’s an excellent question.  Anybody who watched that game knows that Payne was ridiculously disruptive all night, and yet there’s no good way of quantifying his performance.  Maybe you think this is just another case of trying to count the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin, but I assure you it matters more to, say, Sam Pittman than that.

So much of football is derived from specific matchup advantages, but our overall data set doesn’t necessarily align with that. You basically win by creating numbers advantages or by having numbers that are better than your opponents’. We’re a lot better at measuring the former than the latter.

I’ll be curious to see where this inquiry takes Bill.

By the way, Bill takes this piece as a jumping off point to discuss the genius of Bill Walsh.  Genius is a word used over broadly these days, but when it comes to Walsh, it’s appropriate.  Connelly has some great quotes, but for my money, Walsh’s reflection on bringing back the Single Wing two decades before we saw the rise of the Wildcat, spread offense, zone read and Rich Rod’s offense at West Virginia is simply amazing.


Filed under Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

A quarterbacks coach’s work is never done.

Speaking of Fromm, there is something he needs to improve on this offseason.  Take a look at his final passing chart.

He’s definitely got some work to do on his throwing to the right side of the field.  I don’t know if it’s a physical or a mental issue (I would guess the former), but there’s little doubt he’s more comfortable throwing across his body, based on those stats.

The other informative stat from the linked piece is this:

The Georgia offensive line definitely played a role in Fromm’s success. He was pressured on just 27.4 percent of his total drop backs, and had a pressure rate under 20 percent in seven different games.

Can you imagine how Eason’s freshman season might have gone with that kind of protection?  Or Aaron Murray’s career?


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

To today’s smartass commenter who quipped that Jim Chaney was targeting Da’Ron Payne…

… that wasn’t the problem.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Mark Richt has lost control of Pete Carroll.

Depending on your point of view, this news has been greeted with a range of responses running from amazement to amusement.

Pete Carroll is apparently banking on third times being charms this coming year for the Seahawks’ offense — specifically with their new offensive coordinator.

Seattle is expected to hire Indianapolis Colts quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer as the third play caller Carroll has had since he arrived to run the franchise in 2010. That is according to multiple national reports, the first Saturday by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

I probably fall into the latter group, based simply on Carroll’s thought process.

Carroll has stated his primary goal to get his fallen Seahawks back soaring in 2018 is to run the ball, like his teams used to.

Schottenheimer fits that aim.

I probably need to trademark “Run the damned ball, Schotty” before t-shirt sales take off in Seattle.  Y’all enjoy him.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics