Danielson on the Cocktail Party

Gary Danielson certainly has his share of flaws, but I appreciate his game analysis.  Here are a few early observations he has about Georgia-Florida.

He sure loves Eason’s arm.

He’s right that neither of these offenses qualifies as dynamic.  Barring a weird turn of events — my usual caveat about turnovers applies, as always — this won’t be a high scoring game.  Can the Gators shut Georgia out, though?  I guess that’s up to Jim Chaney.

Florida has those terrific corners, so I expect to see plenty of single coverage.  That’s a recipe for disaster if the Dawgs decide to come out in power formations and run the ball, because it’ll be an invitation to throw those safeties into run support and clog the line of scrimmage, something that’s been a winning approach throughout the season for opposing defenses.

Of course, with the way this season has gone, Chaney will probably find a way to do just enough on offense to have the game come down to special teams play.  Winning!


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

“The early signing date will become the signing date.”

Let’s just say that any article warning the general population about the perils of an early signing date citing these two paragons of virtue…

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott and Sankey of the SEC are the two major conference commissioners against the legislation, united by the belief that academics and recruiting cultural issues aren’t being fully considered. “If you are just looking at it from the recruiting process, that’s not what should be driving our decision,” Scott said. “It should be rooted in values, academic priorities and principles and the long-term interest of the student athletes.”

… is an article I’m not going to take seriously.  At all.  Which is kind of shame, because if there’s anything those two guys are synonymous with, it’s values, academic priorities and principles and the long-term interest of the student athletes.


Filed under Recruiting

We’ll just have to take his word on that.

Statistically, the numbers say Georgia’s defense has declined this season.  Although, to be fair, as Seth Emerson notes, the Dawgs have seen much better passing attacks in 2016 than they did last year.

The quality of opponents needs to be considered: Last year the best passing offense Georgia faced, at least statistically, was Alabama, and it was only 62nd nationally. But so far this year Georgia has faced three of the top 25 passing offenses: Ole Miss (17), Missouri (19) and North Carolina (21).

So I get the need to qualify any conclusion to be drawn from the numbers.  Now if I could only figure out what Kirby Smart is saying about that.

“When you base things on stats, that’s what can mislead you,” Smart said, when asked if he’s seen tangible evidence that the defense has improved. “It’s a tough thing to gauge. I think you have to substantiate it some kind of way, and we’ve tried to do that through less missed tackles. We’ve also had less plays. We didn’t have many plays against Vanderbilt. So less plays should have less missed tackles, less opportunities to tackle.

“So we try to look at it from a statistical standpoint, but at the end of the day it comes with practice, and you have to go by practice. And I feel like because you see practice every day, those defensive players have improved.”

They look at stats even though they know they’re misleading?  Yeah, I can see how that would be tough to gauge.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

About those running quarterbacks…

This is an interesting juxtaposition:

The first thing that stands out about the chart is the number of quarterbacks leading top-25 teams. Of the top six rushers, five are leading teams that reside in the top 10 of the AP Poll and seven of the top nine are on top-25 teams. The other relevant part of the list is the ranking by passing grade of all of the top runners. Only Louisville’s Lamar Jackson ranks as a top-30 passer among the top 10 runners in the nation and only Houston’s Greg Ward, Jr. joins him in the top 30 if expanding to the top 20 rushers in the nation. Yet those quarterbacks are still leading potent offenses based around their ability to run the ball, and in many cases, their passing stats look great due to the number of easy throws created within the system, even if the passing grade that accounts for timing, accuracy, and decision-making doesn’t match those stats.

The reason these offenses are prolific without having great passers is because college ball in the spread era is all about the numbers.

The running game comes down to simple mathematics. Once the ball is handed off, 11 players on defense are deployed to stop 10 players on offense, everyone has a gap to play, and in theory, there should be an extra man available to tackle the ball-carrier. The running quarterback has changed the math in defensive football as he essentially evens up the game and the threat to run the ball makes it 11-on-11, negating the defense’s advantage. Coaches have found creative ways to use this in their favor, having quarterbacks “option” off unblocked defenders, “blocking” them out of the play without actually using a blocker. This is old hat by now as offenses have taken this concept to new levels every season with new ways to option off different players, combining it with misdirection and motion, or adding in “run-pass options” which are running plays that have the ability to become a pass based on how one or two players react to the run action at the snap. Oh, and then coaches decided to add an up-tempo element to all of these concepts, essentially making defensive players react to all of these moving parts quicker and while fatigued.

When you add all of this up, it’s very difficult to play defense in college football today and because it’s so difficult, it no longer takes a precision passing game to move the ball down the field. Just having a quarterback that can challenge the defense as a runner creates open rushing lanes for running backs and wide-open passing lanes for quarterbacks as the defense simply tries to keep up with the multiple options presented on any given play.

That doesn’t mean you can’t play elite offense with a throwing quarterback.  It just means that you’ve got a bigger margin for error when a defense has to account for that extra runner.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

“That’s not what we want Georgia to be all about.”

You’ve come a long way from the Celebration, baby.  Though I’ll believe it when I see it.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

The next time somebody insists there isn’t enough money in college football to pay players…

… hit ’em with the details of Kirk Ferentz’ buyout.

► Even if he’s fired after this season for not winning enough games, the 61-year-old Ferentz would be owed more than $25 million, payable in monthly installments until 2026.

► He’s guaranteed an additional $22 million from 2021 through 2025 if he sticks around and wins at least seven games each season through 2020. It wouldn’t matter if he’s dismissed in 2021 after finishing 0-12.

► If that’s not enough, those guarantees wouldn’t even be reduced if Iowa fired him and he took a lucrative new job somewhere else.

Hell, that makes Notre Dame’s deal with Charlie Weis look downright prudent.  Now there’s something I never thought I’d type.


Filed under It's Just Bidness

Alabama’s gift to the college football world

For once, it really is about something good for the kids.

Instead, it essentially took another month for the magnitude of what had been accomplished to start becoming apparent.

It was Oct. 10. Georgia was playing Tennessee, and Bulldogs star running back Nick Chubb suffered his horrific knee injury near the sideline. In addition to the replays, CBS had an overhead camera and another nearby that caught every moment as the medical staff tried to help him. Chubb‘s agonizing pain was on full display for the world to see, even after being helped to the bench.

Wade Payne/Associated Press

Later that evening, Alabama was hosting Arkansas, and Crimson Tide linebacker Reggie Ragland was shook up during a play. As he headed toward the sideline, ESPN reporter Holly Rowe zeroed in when the tent sprang up.

“Her jaw just dropped,” Allen said.

Ragland turned out to be OK and returned to the field, and the tent became the story. When she finally got a chance to talk with Allen near the end of the game, her first question was, “What in the world is that?”

It was an immediate hit with the players.

“I love having that privacy,” senior linebacker Reuben Foster said. “I don’t want anybody from back home worried about me or nothing, or somebody to say the wrong thing because it’s really nothing. Just go out there, get an oil change and just come on back out.”

The tent had other advantages that had not been anticipated. As the season progressed, Allen and the other Alabama trainers found that the players were more comfortable and honest when shielded, and fans weren‘t yelling for them to “suck it up” and get back on the field. He especially saw a difference when dealing with concussion issues.

Fans can be such a classy bunch.


Filed under The Body Is A Temple