Archive Page 2

Putting The Special Back In Special Teams

I was looking at one of my favorite websites, www.cfbstats.com, and I was specifically looking at some of the special teams stats.

I was looking at how Georgia fares in some of the categories.  While I am a stat guy and love looking at numbers, these stats seemed skewed to me.  For example,  Georgia ranks near the bottom of the SEC in kick off yards per game at 92.3.  Unlike the teams that are below us-Florida, Alabama, and Arkansas, we haven’t given up a kick off return for a TD.  Alabama and Arkansas have good offenses along with Georgia.  Scoring a lot of points per game.  Doesn’t it make sense that if you are scoring a lot of points per game, you would be kicking off a bunch.

So I am not going to dig in the stats here and rely simply on the eyeball test (except for net punting, which statistically and looking at has been pretty terrible).

Last year, poor special teams was a detriment.  It cost us games (Vanderbilt) and nearly cost us others (Tennessee).  It was always an adventure, and not in a good way.  There was 0 confidence when the ball was snapped or in the air.  Kick off returns were out of the question.

My hope was that special team play would go from disaster to merely competent.

I think we are far beyond competent.  Isaiah McKenzie has been a welcomed addition to the team and has provided the spark that good special teams play can give.

You don’t want to be too reliant on special teams play.  What I mean is if you are relying on special teams play for your points, it isn’t good.  Think back to the 2009 season.  If Brandon Boykin had not returned some kicks, we would have lost or not been as competitive.  You need to score points independently of your kick offs, but if you can get points that way it can help provide a spark or give some wiggle room.  The same goes for defensive touchdowns.

Like on Saturday.  Georgia would have easily beaten Kentucky without McKenzie’s dazzling returns.  Georgia would have beaten Clemson without Gurley’s return.  But this play is a nice garnish good teams need, not the main course.

And a complete 180 from last year, it hasn’t been a detriment-overall.

Sure, there have been some problems.  Quayvon Hicks tried his damnedest Saturday to make some.  The punting game has been awful.

But it is nice to know when the ball is in the air, or when the punt team comes out, that you just don’t have that feeling of dread.

Corbindawg

A Look At Kentucky

I made a mistake.  I really did.

Like the Georgia defense, I took Florida for granted.  I’m guilty as charged.

Like many of you, I was hoping we would destroy Florida, and thought we might.  But I truly was expecting a hard-hitting and hard-fought game.  I thought Florida could beat us; I absolutely, positively did not think they would beat us.

I thought we’d beat Florida, beat Kentucky, and have a monster game with Auburn under the lights of Sanford Stadium.  I was already thinking of Auburn, taking for granted that Florida could not only whip our ass, but simply beat us.

I’m not going to make that mistake again.  Clearly, our Dawgs aren’t good enough to overlook anyone.

Now, Kentucky is still Kentucky.  Coach Mark Stoops is doing a fine job in Lexington, but they still aren’t quite there yet.

But if anyone  thinks that because the uniform says Georgia and theirs says Kentucky that will be enough to win, well Kentucky will beat us.

They should’ve beaten Florida, beat South Carolina, and then gave Mississippi State all they could handle.

In conference games, Kentucky is only scoring 22 points per game, while Georgia is scoring 35.  That fits about with Georgia’s average of scoring defense in SEC play, which is 26 ppg.  Kentucky is giving up 31 points.

What might be good news, is Kentucky doesn’t run the ball particularly well, 130 ypg in Conference, nor do they stop the run very well.  In conference play Kentucky has gotten gashed for 226 ypg.

Kentucky’s biggest strength is their pass defense, only giving up 183 yards through the air.   Surprisingly, in conference play, Georgia is giving up less than 200 yards per game.  How about that weak secondary?

Two areas I like to look at are penalties and turnover margin.  I think this is a good indicator of if teams are prone to make mental mistakes or shoot themselves in the foot.

Georgia is 1st in the conference in turnover margin, and Kentucky is 3rd.

Kentucky gets more penalties than Georgia…though the difference isn’t all that much.  So these two areas are basically a wash.

It is going to be a cold day Saturday in Lexington.  Good thing Georgia took a trip to Florida to become acquainted with the cold.

It seems this is a good match up for Georgia to get right…but Georgia can’t afford not to take this game seriously.

Corbindawg

 

 

 

What I Was Thinking

The Senator posted something that I had been thinking also.

In 2011, Florida was still in Muschamp’s first year, and Coach Richt was presumably coaching for his job.  He went for it on 4th down twice that led to touchdowns, and threw it to Chris Conley on 3rd and medium.  As Gary Danielson pointed out in the TV broadcast, those decisions are ones you make when you have to win.  It was a gutsy call that basically iced the game.  Had the pass gone incomplete-and Murray had something like 9 straight incompletions, you have stopped the clock for Florida.

Richt is at his best when he is either coaching with aggression and a chip on his shoulder-think Evil Richt-or has a shut down defense that can’t be scored upon.

In Jacksonville, one coach who was coaching for his job threw all caution to the wind, attempted a risky play, and it galvanized his team and completely turned momentum.  Another coach was playing too conservatively, and trying not to lose.  When it was all said and done, playing not to lose was what made the team lose.

No lofty goals are in place.  To even make it back to Atlanta, Georgia needs to beat Auburn and Kentucky AND have Missouri lose to mediocre Tennessee, Arkansas or Texas A&M.

I hope Coach Richt finds the aggression needed to get us 10 regular season wins, and not the conservative nature that will get us to 7 or 8.

Corbindawg

The Best Case Scenario Is The Big Picture

It appears Georgia wasn’t as good as we all thought we were after blanking Missouri and pasting Arkansas.  I’m convinced we aren’t as bad as it looked against Florida.  So where do we go from here?

Of course, the best case scenario would be to have crazy 2007-type things continue to happen, and Georgia somehow backdoor its way not only to the SEC Championship but the Playoff.  I’m not going to kid myself to think that is a possibility, but if we are going to talk best case scenarios, then I guess that is it.

The most realistic best case situation would be to find a way to beat Kentucky and Tech, keep it close against Auburn, and win the Bowl game to go something like 9-4 or 10-3.

I guess, considering that UGA had to replace a legend at QB with someone who can’t consistently make the SEC throws, had its receiving and running back corps depleted due to injury and other “issues”, and were trying to break in a new defense without a secondary…I guess you couldn’t be all that upset.

If this scenario plays out, when I am soul searching in April and May, I can take an honest look and not be too disappointed after the emotional reaction wanes. At least that is what I’m hoping.

But don’t get me wrong.  I’m upset.  Coach Richt and I aren’t on good terms right now, and I might be his biggest fan.  I’m as close to hopping onboard the “Fire Mark Richt” bandwagon as I’ve ever been.  When you’ve lost Corbindawg, you’ve lost the Bulldawg Nation.

I’m at a fragile state right now, and after a couple of nights sleep on the game I’m trying to reconcile everything and look at the big picture.  I’m a big picture guy, but it is hard.

I’m in a dark place.

The worst possible situation would be for the team to faceplant and to have to make a change at head coach.

Many of you out there would probably love for that to happen, but let’s use our noggins.  We have two excellent coordinators, and most importantly, an outstanding recruiting class lined up.  Defense is the biggest problem area on the team, and while Pruitt is a great coordinator, he doesn’t have the horses.  This class should address that.  Of the 23 commitments, 12 are defensive players, and 7 are defensive linemen.   The Dawgs have also have commitments from some VHT WR, OL, and the star of the class is big boy Trenton Thompson from Albany.

If things go south, I can’t say right now where I’d be at.  But I do know this.  There is about to be an infusion of talent.  Talent that can come in and help right away and be major contributors for the next couple of years.  There is an investment here, and there might be a payoff soon.

Maybe.

Corbindawg

 

 

 

Time To Move…Oh, Who Cares Anymore

Saturday, Georgia got its ass whipped.  I am perplexed about what happened.  The things that Georgia has been typically good at this season were all detriments on Saturday.

Georgia had been good at special teams, and specifically, returning kicks.

Georgia special teams were awful, and as a result had terrible field position while giving the Gators great starting field position all afternoon.

Georgia had been good at stopping the run.

Georgia gave up 418 yards on the ground.

Georgia only had one lost fumble all season, and none by a tail back.

Chubb fumbled at a time when there seemed to be a little hope for the comeback.

Addition: Georgia had not allowed a play of 40+ yards this season.

Georgia allowed three plays of 40+ yards.

The Georgia coaches have done a good job this season.

The Georgia coaches stunk it up Saturday.

In the first quarter, Georgia appeared ready to rout the Gators.  Chubb was running good, we had a 7-0 lead, and recovered a fumble at midfield.  Marshall Morgan missed a field goal to go up 10-0, and then the Gator offense stalled after driving down the field.  The faked the field goal for a touchdown, then scored 24 more unanswered points.  When they faked the field goal, I looked up at the score board and noticed that they had managed to run off almost half the 2nd quarter.  I knew then it was not going to be good.

It was a complete epic fail by the coaching staff.  Every single coach and unit.  And it starts with Richt.  I’m not going to defend him, but I do want to say that it is intellectually dishonest for people to be praising his work against Missouri and Arkansas for the past three weeks, then be ready to send him out-of-town now.  But the blame starts and ends with Coach Richt for Saturday.

What is even more disheartening is not the fact Georgia lost Saturday, or they got their ass kicked.  It’s not even that they got upset by their inferior rival.  Really, it’s not that they laid a giant turd.

It’s that we see this every year.

2005-West Virginia

2006-Tennessee

2007-Tennessee

2008-Alabama, Florida

2009-Tennessee

2010-UCF

2011-Boise State

2012-South Carolina

2013-Vanderbilt

2014-Florida

These above games, the Bulldogs either came out flat, were way too conservative, messed up on special teams, or all of the above.

The frustrating thing about Saturday isn’t how we lost. It is we’ve all seen it again and again. And by my count, of the 11 games I’ve listed, a quick count without much thought tells me that 7 came against inferior teams.

This team better not feel sorry for themselves long, because Kentucky won’t show them any sympathy.  And if Georgia goes into Lexington and thinks they wan can just because of the name on their jersey or because the players have more stars on Rivals, you can add Kentucky next to Florida on the above list.

Corbindawg

 

 

 

Jacksonvilling, A Georgia Tradition

38-20.

The winning team with more than 400 rushing yards.

The losing team’s fans taking to social media to rip the losing coach to shreds, some calling for his firing.

On paper, and if you asked anyone outside the Georgia fan base the past week, they’ve have surmised that it would have been Georgia with the 38 points and gaudy rushing yards, and Florida with the loss and possibly placing the red tag in Will Muschamp’s locker.

Then again, none of those fans know that us Georgia fans know all too well. There’s a little thing called Jacksonville, and for whatever reason, Georgia’s more underwhelming performances happen at Everbank Field. It may not be a true neutral site, but that can’t be an excuse to let down after let down. Go back in Mark Richt’s tenure and better Georgia teams have either struggled to beat, or lose to inferior Florida teams.

But Saturday? It took it to another level. In terms of losses under Mark Richt, it, to me is among the top three most shameful, in the same breath as the 2006 Sugar Bowl and 2008 against Georgia Tech.

It’s unconscionable that a team that rolls over Mizzou and Arkansas, on the road, to be blunt, just seemed uninterested in being there on Saturday. More baffling? This team’s worst performances this year have come off open dates. I mean, if this coaching staff has problems keeping players sharp, why the heck not scrimmage someone like Buford High on open weekends?

The officials Saturday? They were bad, as usual. Was Gurley missed? Yes, but it wouldn’t have meant much with the way Georgia was beaten up front.

But it’s funny, in a way. Saturday may have been the final laugh for Georgia toward the Muschamp era at Florida. Instead, it is one that Florida fans will always remember, and remind Georgia fans with infamy – very similar to Georgia’s 1985 win over top-ranked Florida. And, depending on what happens the rest of the year, could be the turning point for Richt’s turnaround during the past three seasons. Sure, it’s post-game gut reactions, but all I know is a lot of Richt apologists last night appeared to be tired of defending Richt, and may be finally resolving that maybe their loyalty needs to be reevaluated.

At the end of the day, the problem is this. Georgia fans are asking themselves why this team has put together another underwhelming showing in a game it had no business losing going in. And it happens season after season.

Saturday was a chance to continue moving this program forward. Instead, it took multiple steps back, and it may need a win over Auburn in two weeks to get back on track.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Lewis On The NCAA

Lewis was ahead of this time when it came to his hatred of the NCAA…

Georgia On Probation 

My alma mater, the University of Georgia, has been placed on probation by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for recruiting violations within its basketball program.

Georgia gave a prospect a T-shirt. It is against the NCAA rules to give a prospect anything, even a T-shirt.

Georgia gave a friend of another prospect a ride to a restaurant and then to his hotel.

It is also against NCAA rules to give a friend of a prospect anything, even a four-mile ride.

A T-shirt here, a pair of shoes there, a ride for a prospect’s friend and Georgia’s Athletic Department and the enitre school suffers the embarrassment of probation.

“I know the charges were minor,” a member of the Athletic Department told me. “But nobody outside the inner circle really pays attention to the details and so people think we are buying and selling kids like we were slave holders.”

What was the Georgia coach supposed to do when the prospect’s friend asked for a ride? Tell him to walk and probably lose the prospect because he turned his friend out on the street?

We’re talking big-time college basketball here, where millions of dollars and extended contracts are on the line. If a tall kid who can dunk with both hands asks for a T-shirt, you give him a T-shirt.

I’m not defending my school, here. Georgia knows the rules, yet Georgia broke the rules, as silly as they might be, and they got caught and they got punished and that’s the name of that tune.

But the NCAA is like the IRS. They go after you, they get you, with even some help from college coaches who turn each other in, some standing on their pedestals claiming piously “We will bring these cheaters to their knees.”

Horse dung. They turn each other in for strictly selfish reasons. You get you r rival in trouble with the NCAA and the NCAA takes away a few of its scholarships, and all of a sudden you’re beating his brains out and you become a genius with a fat raise.

College basketball players are shaving points for gamblers and are going to jail for it. Millions are being handed out for television contracts, big-time coaches are getting rich and the NCAA is worrying about a high school kid getting a free T-shirt?

I don’t have a solution for all this idiocy, but I know how I wish college basketball and footall worked.

Whack Hyder, who coached basketball at Georgia Tech before he got sick of recruiting and quit, had the idea years ago.

“What I would like to be able to do,” said Whack, “is to put a sign on the bulletin board in the PE department that said, `Any student desiring to try out for the men’s basketball team, report to the gym at 4 o’clock.’

“I play with the kids who happen to come to my school. You play with the kids who happen to come to yours.”

Thus, recruiting becomes a thing of the past. The sport purifies itself and all the athletes get are a pair of shoes, socks, a jock, and an opportunity to have a little good clean fun.



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