Category Archives: Strategery And Mechanics

Kirby frets about the spread.

Pick your poison.

But head coach Kirby Smart, who has faced the Rebels’ spread offense as Alabama’s defensive coordinator, has sounded weary of the challenge. Like when discussing how to design the pass defense: Play corners and safeties back in order to avoid the deep ball, or play close to the line to take away the short passes?

“So you can either die a real slow death with little paper cuts, or go after them and be aggressive,” Smart said. “And that’s the dilemma that we face with coaches: Which one do we do. It’s hard.”

You can dismiss that as this week’s coachspeak, but don’t forget which defensive coordinator’s been on the losing side in the previous two Alabama-Ole Miss games before last week.

Does the experience of playing another spread attack last week help Georgia’s defense prepare for Ole Miss?

So where does the experience against Missouri pay off? Potentially it’s in reading and reacting to quick releases, a feature of the spread. Georgia’s pass rushers, who didn’t sack Lock, are working on ways to at least effect Kelly.

“We’ve been practicing our hands-up ability, so if we don’t get there in four seconds, get your hands up and disrupt the pass,” Amaechi said.

Missouri also played up-tempo – at least in the first half – so that won’t be new to Georgia’s players when Ole Miss hurries up on Saturday.

“They go real fast,” Georgia junior inside linebacker Reggie Carter said. “Both teams go fast.”

Eh, maybe.  But my biggest fear is that Kelly is a better runner than Lock.  My second biggest fear is Evan Engram, who’s currently third in the conference in receiving yards per game and is a nightmare match up.  We’re about to find out whether Georgia’s inside linebackers are more of an asset than a liability in pass coverage, I think.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Wednesday morning buffet

Eat, eat…

  • “The top ten most talented teams in the country last year were Alabama, Ohio State, USC, Notre Dame, Florida State, LSU, Auburn, Georgia, Texas, and Michigan.”
  • You know the old joke about someone being so incompetent he could screw up a one-car funeral?  That would be Rutgers’ AD.
  • According to his dad, Pennsylvania’s D’Andre Swift was really impressed by the G-Day crowd:  “To be able to walk into the stadium and be a part of it and walk down and watch the guys coming through the ‘DawgWalk’ and see all the tradition that Georgia has was just remarkable. I’ve never seen how a town shuts down for a game. That city is a college football town, and everybody embraces that tradition and the football program fully. That, to me, was just remarkable about Georgia in every way.”  If you were there, take a bow.
  • The ACC is already trying to figure out what to do if Clemson, FSU and Louisville all wind up 11-1.
  • Good point in this post — if Missouri is an improved team in the SEC East, don’t forget that Florida and Tennessee both have yet to play the Tigers.
  • Hugh Freeze notes one difference between Kirby Smart’s defenses at Alabama and Georgia:  “He’s playing a lot more odd front. I’m sure he’s adjusting to what he thinks is best for his team. It’s been different from what we expect from them, but the results are well for him.”
  • Cool game management, Clay Helton.  You’re lucky Stanford didn’t have a two-point trick play up its sleeve.


Filed under ACC Football, General Idiocy, Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Give me just a little more time…

Jeb Blazevich, being obvious:

Blazevich was asked how he’d seen Eason adjust as he tries to learn how to run an offense at the college level.

“It’s tough going into the season because every week, it’s not like we have a new offense, but every week is a special gameplan for that (game). So I think he’s getting better at that,” Blazevich said. “It obviously would benefit us more if we had to work like camp on the same stuff over and over again. But I think he’s adjusting really well and I think he’s doing a great job.”  [Emphasis added.]

It’s college football.  It’s not rocket science.  A true freshman quarterback needs reps.  A true freshman quarterback’s receivers need for their true freshman quarterback to get reps.

In that regard (and, sure, the circumstances of the day didn’t help), Saturday’s offensive game plan left a lot to be desired.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Under pressure

Sure, we’re all naturally focused on the quarterbacks and, in particular, Jacob Eason’s ability to climb the learning curve, but there’s other areas where Georgia needs to get better as the season progresses.

So when I post this chart from Matt Hinton’s piece about Tennessee’s first game, don’t accuse me of looking forward, because that’s not what this post is about:


That’s about as stark a difference in quarterback performance as you’re likely to see.  GAT(Q)A is a big deal.  Georgia only managed to sack Trubisky once, although there was fairly steady pressure on him, especially after the Tar Heels took that ten-point lead.  That’s not good enough going forward, though.

I’m not saying this because I doubt Smart and Tucker aren’t aware of it.  Remember the environment from which Smart forged his defensive philosophy:

You have to have safety-type players who can play the quarterback but also can, if it is a pass play, race back and play as either an intermediate defender or as a deep safety. The defense must be able to play man coverage, and it must have the ability to blitz and attack both the quarterback and any other backfield player. Finally, the defense must have the ability to zone blitz to put pressure on the quarterback but still take away the short slants and quick passes, or at least threaten to do so.

In other words you have to play defense like Alabama head coach Nick Saban.  [Emphasis added.]

Somehow, they’ve got to figure out a way to pressure quarterbacks like Dobbs and Kelly when they are in passing situations, but do so without getting burned by them running the ball.  That’s no small task, probably made more daunting in Tennessee’s case by the threat of RPO plays with the likes of Hurd and Kamara, plays which North Carolina used effectively.  But if Appalachian State could do it, you have to think Georgia can, too.

And that starts tomorrow.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

About the pass rush

I tweeted during the first half that I was concerned about Georgia’s apparent lack of a pass rush.  Kirby’s response was not to sweat that.

“(North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky) is going to scramble if he wants to scramble. The big thing for us was stopping the run, making them one-dimensional. We really didn’t do that. They had some long runs that broke out on us. We tried to force them to be one-dimensional. There’s certain coverages that we wanted him in the pocket, we wanted him to stay in there because we were man-matching behind it. So much of our rush is tied to our coverage. I think there’s a misnomer out there that people think, ‘Oh, they don’t get any pass rush.’ Some of that is never by design, but when they have seven people blocking three, you’re not going to get a lot of pressure. Sit down and we might be covering. When we bring pressure, we usually get pressure. It’s just a decision of how many times you want to do that in the game. How susceptible do you want to make your guys outside? It’s something we’ve got to progress at and we’ve got to do a better job of conversion, meaning when they do pass the ball the defensive linemen convert into pass-rush mode. Look, guys, we don’t have the same rushers we had last year. There are some guys who could really rush the passer that are gone. It’s going to be a key for us to try to manufacture that in other ways.”

Honestly, I get all that.  Georgia doesn’t have the d-line yet it needs to do what Smart wants.  He’s not going to watch his defense get burned by a running quarterback, either (although that’s gonna get tested by better runners than Trubisky, I’m afraid).  And, to be fair, I thought the pass rush was turned up in the second half.

The good news is they’ve got a couple of weeks before they’ll face a similar matchup again.  The bad news is that Ole Miss has a more dangerous quarterback than North Carolina and better depth at wide receiver, too.

I promise I won’t tweet about the pass rush again, though.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

He read it on the Internet, so it must be true.

Now this is what I call cutting edge preparation.

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn played the role of mad scientist Saturday, sending out myriad personnel groupings in hopes of confounding Clemson’s defense. He employed three different quarterbacks, switching with reckless abandon and, at times, having all of them on the field at once. Auburn threw deep balls and ran the option. It played in spread formations and, believe it or not, ran a bit of old-school wing-T.

Clemson had answers for everything — even if some of those answers came in an unlikely way.

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables had been “tipped off” — that was the extent of his explanation — that Auburn might run some Wing-T, and he hadn’t the slightest clue on how best to defend an offense rarely employed beyond the high school level. So, a day before the game, Venables sat down at his computer and did what we all might do in such situations.

“I literally Googled, ‘How to stop the wing-T,’” Venables admitted afterward.

Hey, whatever works.  And it must have, as Auburn’s running game was limited to 87 yards on 41 carries.


Filed under Science Marches Onward, Strategery And Mechanics

Okay, it’s not QBR, but…

Thought the passer ratings from Saturday night were interesting.

  • Jacob Eason:  185.87
  • Greyson Lambert:  119.20
  • Mitch Trubisky:  92.76

Georgia averaged 9.3 yards per pass attempt; Trubisky averaged 3.9 yppa.  Given that the Heels averaged more than 8 yards per rush, giving Hood and Logan a combined 16 carries while letting Trubisky throw the ball 40 times was coaching malpractice.


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