Shall we buffet?
- If this is the agenda for the upcoming CFP meetings, expect most of the time to be devoted to Bob Bowlsby’s whining.
- But John Swofford says things are cool, in spite of the complaints from FSU.
- Bill Connelly is busy tweaking his advanced stats, which still have last season’s Georgia team in pretty good standing.
- Dawg Post looks back on what it had to say about Todd Gurley as he came out of high school.
- Speaking of Gurley, which do you think will hurt the most in the draft – his NCAA suspension or Shane Ray’s untimely
- Johnny Manziel and the evolution of the Air Raid quarterback
- Another look at Georgia tight ends here.
Dig in, folks.
- Bruce Feldman talks to Jim Donnan about the state of the SEC East. No particularly earth-shattering disclosures, but I was amused to hear Donnan slip and use the word “we” once, when speaking about Georgia.
- Michigan cooks the books to keep that home attendance streak going.
- On the other hand, this is an impressive turnout.
- Granted, this is about the NFL, but it’s still a great contrarian question to ask as college defenses continue gearing up to handle the spread.
- And another question – is football going to start seeing smaller nose tackles?
- Field Street Forum asks if Jacob Eason is the next Matthew Stafford. Their answer may amuse you.
- A senior football advisor with the Patriots when they drafted Aaron Hernandez had this to say about the organization’s misgivings about his character coming out of Florida: “We knew he had some issues prior,” Reese said. “[Former Florida coach] Urban Meyer and Bill [Belichick] were very, very close, and I think Urban convinced Bill that, you know, that these things weren’t going to be an issue…” Oopsie.
Definite Georgia flavor to the buffet today…
In kind of a nice counter to my post the other day about whether Pruitt might decide to deploy on occasion a four-OLB set, Ian Boyd looks at offensive trends in the NFL and college and wonders if we’re about to see a transformation at inside linebacker.
In an attack like the Buckeyes’, the spread RB was not marginalized but elevated over inside linebackers chosen for their ability to dominate between the tackles. Ezekiel Elliot accomplished the seemingly impossible task of running for over 200 yards on the Tide D.
The result has been teams beginning to prize speedsters rather than big thumpers at the inside linebacker positions. Ohio State has been ahead of the curve here, starting with weakside linebacker Ryan Shazier, who brought freakish athleticism to the position. Despite sizing in at 6’1″ 237, he ran the shuttle in 4.21 seconds (faster than many CBs) and the 40 yard dash in under 4.4 seconds (faster than most RBs)…
… Teams are lining these players up in the box where their size allows them to play between the tackles but their speed to pursue the ball or skill players to the edge prevents spread teams from easily flanking them.
These elite athletes will undoubtedly push further evolutions to the linebacker position as defensive coordinators figure out how to best use such rangy and versatile athletes to stop spread attacks.
I think some of what he posits is a bit of a stretch – his question “Which college teams want to invest the time and energy on one player who will be hit hard every play when they can get even greater production from a QB who often goes untouched?” has a pretty obvious answer from teams still playing with a classic, drop back pocket passer and/or teams that rely on a bruising running game needing depth at tailback – but it’s still interesting to look at more ways to skin the spread ’em out cats that have proliferated at the college level.
I’m wondering, though… does Georgia have anyone with the kind of speed Boyd describes who’s ready to play ILB?
If there’s one group of players who are excited about Brian Schottenheimer’s arrival in Athens, it’s the tight ends. And with some justification, it seems.
With Schottenheimer coordinator with the St. Louis Rams, tight end Jared Cook led the team each of the past two seasons in receptions. He had 52 for 634 yards and three touchdowns (ranking 15th in receptions in the NFL at the position) in 2014 and 51 for 671 (a team record for receiving yards for a tight end) and five touchdowns in 2013.
Teammate Lance Kendricks was 28th among tight ends in the league last season with 27 catches for 259 yards and five touchdowns and had 32 catches for 258 with four touchdowns the previous year.
When Schottenheimer was coordinator with the New York Jets before that, tight end Dustin Keller led the team in both 2011 and 2010 in receptions. He ranked ninth among tight ends in the NFL in 2011 with 62 catches for 811 yards and five touchdowns and 11th in 2010 with 55 for 687 with five touchdowns. Keller in 2010 had two more catches than receiver Braylon Edwards and three more than receiver Santonio Holmes and running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
That may be one answer if wide-out depth doesn’t develop too quickly this season. If Rome stays healthy, Schottenheimer’s got some options with experience to work with at tight end.
A couple of seasons ago, this tidbit would have generated a certain sense of dread in me.
Those practice reps are allowing Carter to feel more comfortable in dropping into coverage, something he didn’t do much in high school. Coaches are cross-training outside linebackers to pick up the concepts to allow them to play inside linebacker, defensive end or even free safety, Carter said.
Now? I just wanna see how it works out.