KISS in the Schottenheimer era

One comment that’s emerging pretty consistently from Georgia’s new offensive coaches is the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra.  Here’s Rob Sale on that:

Sale admits that his job is to basically not mess up what took place this past season, when Chubb rushed for 1,547 yards and 7.1 yards per carry.

“The philosophy is play-action and that everything we do has to tie in,” Sale said. “We have to believe in the same principles of covering up the down linemen, knocking them off the ball and let great running backs be great running backs. It’s a pretty simple concept.”

It also has the benefit of having worked well over the past few seasons.

I know this started with Richt and his shopping list of what he wanted from Bobo’s successor.  But it’s good that everyone appears to be on the same page with the boss’ wants.  It’s one thing to keep it simple.  It’s another to get an almost entirely new offensive staff rowing in the same direction from the start.  The task of finding a new quarterback to run the show is a big enough chore.  There’s no need to complicate that with a big change in scheme.


Filed under Georgia Football

The new law of coverage?

Ian Boyd has an interesting post up about pass coverage in this new era of offense.  It boils down to one rule for him:

You have to have three good coverage players on the field to survive against the better passing teams.

Now I would come back and argue that there’s more than one way to skin that particular cat, but Boyd has an answer for some of that, too.

In the modern era teams can often get by while just having solid players along the DL but there’s no escaping your doom if you don’t have some good players in the defensive backfield. An opponent will get their good receivers and passing game fixed on your poor DB play, run the ball well enough to keep you from diverting resources, and shred you.

Try to blitz them and you can just exacerbate the issue by short-manning the coverage against quick game staples that QBs can execute in their sleep. Unless you have players that can hold up long enough to take away the quick throws and buy an extra second for the blitzers, yes the rule of three makes for a better blitzing team.

Most opponents don’t stack their two best receivers on the outside, 2014 West Virginia excepted, but will often put their 2nd best or even best receiver in the slot where they can counter-balance the outside receiver and help a team execute a quick passing game to march down the field.

How many college defenses these days can put three good secondary coverage guys out there?  (And if you’re Georgia, how many great in state defensive backs are there in a recruiting class?)

It would be nice to have them, but I think a top flight defensive coordinator gets paid the big bucks to figure out ways to hamstring a passing attack even when he doesn’t have the numbers.  Or he has to manufacture the numbers.

When a team can match up with the offense’s top three receivers with solid to good coverage players, it really complicates things and can send a collegiate QB to a dark place, mentally. Some teams will do this with tight pattern-matching, most all are trying to do it by recruiting and developing as many good coverage players as possible, and perhaps more will try to match cross-trained receiving studs with cross-trained secondaries and “Ace” DBs.

Kinda sounds like what Pruitt’s up to.

In the end, it all comes back to something we’ve heard every DC at Georgia say.  You’ve got to confuse the quarterback just enough.

That’s where Boyd winds up, too.

At the end of the day, defenses that want to survive in the modern game will have to get back on the offensive and attack the quarterback’s ability to quickly deliver the ball to open targets by either observing the rule of three or finding another cheat.

Ain’t no cheat like a monster pass rush.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

Shoot, the messenger

I’m sorry, but I can’t help but chuckle about the hope some of you have that this time the schools are serious about academics in pursuing the pipe dream of reinstating freshman ineligibility for football and basketball players. Why is that funny?  Because it depends upon believing people like Jim Delany.  You know, the guy who once said we’d have a college football playoff over his dead body.  The guy who once said that if the NCAA lost the O’Bannon case, the Big Ten would have no choice but to explore turning to a Division III model.

A guy who’s full of shit when the need arises, in other words.

The thing is, he’s not even bothering to bluff this time.

“We’re sort of on the clock, is the way a lot of us look at it,” Delany said in a recent interview with the Big Ten Network. “We’ve got a lot of litigation challenging intercollegiate athletics, we’ve got congressional interest and we have public skepticism. What we want to do is drive the message that education is first, athletics is second, even though these are the two most popular sports commercially.”  [Emphasis added.]

Got that?  This isn’t about serious academic reform.  It’s about optics with the public and having a sales pitch for the courts and the feds.  That’s all.

Delany as the front man is pretty amusing, too, when you get down to it.

And yet Delany is also more responsible than any other college athletics figure of the past 30 years in commercializing those sports. He annexed Penn State in the early ’90s, touching off the first massive TV-driven realignment wave. He started the influential and money-printing Big Ten Network. He touched off Realignment Mania II five years ago when the league began hunting for a 12th member that eventually became Nebraska, and then he took it to another degree with his conference’s East Coast push.

You know what would really help Rutgers’ basketball players focus on academics? Not having to travel to Iowa City in the middle of the week for a conference game, as they did last week.

Ah, c’mon.  They could always study on the plane, right?


Filed under Academics? Academics., Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Living the dream

Those of you who think I ought to quit bitching about the NCAA’s twisted vision of amateurism really should fuck off.


UPDATE:  A heartwarming farewell from Baylor…


UPDATE #2:  It’s getting weird.

Okay.  Now, will somebody tell us what’s going on here?


UPDATE #3:  Geez, guys.

Maybe Nacita declared himself ineligible.


Filed under The NCAA

The rise of Jordan Jenkins?

If there’s a roster position that should warm the cockles of your red and black heart, it’s outside linebacker, where, barring injuries (not an insignificant concern, given Floyd and Bellamy look to be limited in the spring), there should be an abundance of riches.

But what should really make your heart palpitate is that it sounds like Jordan Jenkins looks to be stepping up his game.

Is this going to be Jenkins’ team?
Reports from winter workouts have already been that Jordan Jenkins is stepping up as a senior and leading these Bulldogs, not just at outside linebacker or on defense. He is developing that type of presence for the entire team. And while that doesn’t sound out of character at all for a high-character guy Jenkins, it shouldn’t be overlooked, because Georgia’s defense really hasn’t had that kind of vocal, lightning-rod, clear leader since Jarvis Jones left early for the NFL. Most of that has come from the offensive side of the football, and while you will have an experienced offensive line and Malcolm Mitchell back at receiver, quarterback, tailback, tight end and other roles look to be filled by relatively young players in 2015. If there is one guy you’d point to as a team-wide leader, it just might be Jenkins.

He’s always been a sharp kid, but there’s been a sense on occasion that he hasn’t pushed himself to the best of his abilities.  If he’s ready to take on a leadership role on in a serious way, that tells me he’s matured.  And that could be really exciting to watch.

That’s your Dawg porn for today, folks.


Filed under Georgia Football

This is why you can’t have nice things, student-athletes.

Putting lipstick on a pig ain’t cheap.  What, you’d rather see that money spent on cost of attendance support?


Filed under Blowing Smoke, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

Stubborn is as stubborn does.

Jeff Schultz wrote something about the Braves’ recent change at hitting instructor that is worth pondering in the context of Georgia football.  No, really.

There was a week remaining in the last Braves’ season when hitting coach Greg Walker, worn down by too many strikeouts and hard-headed players, phoned team executive John Hart to announce his exit.

“He called me and said, ‘Uncle,’” Hart said. “He had done a good job here. I wanted him back, and I ended up bringing him back later as an adviser. But he said, ‘John, I’m done.’”

We’ll never know if Hart, now the Braves’ president of baseball operations, really intended to keep Walker as hitting coach, given that the club ranked 26th in the majors in batting average, 24th in on-base percentage, 29th in runs scored and fourth in strikeouts.

But Walker’s exit reaffirmed his former job can crush a man’s will, fry his brains and lead them to run screaming into the night, like the health inspector at a nuclear-waste repository.

Now, we’re talking about professional baseball players, men who earn a salary from their job performance.  Skip playing winning baseball as a team goal.  You’d think that listening to people whose jobs are to make you better in your line of work would be natural, given that bettering yourself will eventually lead to a bigger paycheck.  But apparently last year’s Braves team had its share of stubborn knuckleheads who reacted to that kind of support like a stone does to running water.

And yet somehow, there’s a chunk of us who expect college players, who are (presumably) younger, dumber and motivated by things other than money, to absorb their coaches’ direction and play at their peak, emotionally, mentally and physically, week after week.  Because if they don’t, you can’t blame an inexplicable failure to be prepared at, say, a game against a mediocre Florida team on them.  It can only be the fault of lousy coaching.

That isn’t to say that coaching sometimes isn’t the right place to point the finger, or that some players do have the internal stamina to show up every week regardless.  But while Mark Richt, durr, may be a satisfying explanation for the knee-jerk crowd, sometimes you have to take into account that kids will be kids.  Learning to listen is part of growing up.  At least for some.


Filed under Georgia Football