Oct 28, 2009

Some (not so fond) memories from last year....

If you're sensitive to what happened a year ago in Jacksonville, do not watch.

But if you want to remember fully what happened so you can get nice and ticked off and pumped up for Saturday, then go ahead.

Oct 27, 2009

To prepare you for Jacksonville: Gradulate the Gator

I'm bringing it back for Cocktail Party week.

We'll see you this Saturday Corch. I suspect Rep. Corrine Brown will be there as well, all decked out in her silky blue and orange bathrobe.

Oct 26, 2009

The Monday Pic of the Day

Just found this on a college football messageboard. I have no idea. Must be something about the scent of corndogs in the air.

Captions, anyone?

Oct 23, 2009

A Ridiculously In-Depth Look at Georgia's Running Game

At times when I have important things to be doing, I instead feel an urge to spend my time working on something completely unnecessary. So I decided to look back at last Saturday's game at Vanderbilt to see what exactly is going on with our running game.

(By the way, you can watch all SEC games from this season at the SEC Digital Network website)

I wanted to see how our different running plays have worked with each back. For example, we've seen a backwards toss play very frequently this season, as well as the traditional handoff, and handoffs from a shotgun formation. So I watched every single running play of the entire game and tallied which play was run and who ran it.

Here are the results.

(Note: I'm not counting fullback runs in this)


Washaun Ealey (#24)
Total: 13 carries for 71 yards
Tosses: 3 for 38 yards
Handoffs: 9 for 29 yards
Shotgun handoffs: 1 for 4 yards

Caleb King (#4)
Total: 5 carries for 14 yards
Tosses: 3 for 13 yards
Handoffs: 2 for 1 yard
Shotgun Handoffs: 0

Richard Samuel (#22)
Total: 6 carries for 18 yards
Tosses: 4 for 5 yards
Handoffs: 2 for 13 yards
Shotgun handoffs: 0

Carlton Thomas (#30)
Total: 6 carries for 27 yards
Tosses: 2 for -2 yards
Handoffs: 1 for 7 yards
Shotgun handoffs: 3 for 22 yards

Dontavius Jackson (#27)
Total: 3 carries for 38 yards
Tosses: 2 for 34 yards
Handoffs: 1 for 4 yards
Shotgun handoffs: 0

All Running Backs
Total Yards: 168
Tosses: 14 for 88 yards
Handoffs: 15 for 54 yards
Shotgun handoffs: 4 for 26 yards


These numbers alone lead me to a few conclusions:

1. The coaches have tried to pinpoint the strengths of each back in order to figure out which plays work best for them. For instance:
- Carlton Thomas with his quickness is a good fit for shotgun handoffs (and 3 of 4 shotgun handoffs in the game went to him). The toss play doesn't seem to work well for him.
- Washaun Ealey is the most "rounded" of the backs, as he ran all 3 types of plays and did relatively well with each type.
- Caleb King is our other "rounded" back, but he excelled most at screen passing plays.
- Richard Samuel primarily played in toss plays, which failed miserably. But on only 2 direct handoffs, he gained 13 yards.
- Dontavius Jackson is a bit of a mystery still, because we only saw him in a clean-up role with the game almost over.

2. I've had some problems with the apparent "backwards toss" plays we've been running, but we saw some mixed results in the Vanderbilt game.

While Ealey and King both did well with the tosses, Samuel's didn't work at all. This could be attributed to his running style, and perhaps when he's in the game we should focus more on direct handoffs.

But with a closer look, the tossing plays in general may not have been that great.

The longest run of the day was a 33 yarder off a toss by Ealey. The general philosophy is that when you keep doing the same thing over and over again, someone will eventually break free for a big gain. Ealey did that, but is that a sign that the toss play is working to perfection, or is it just more of an anomaly? Think back to Richard Samuel's 80 yard run at Arkansas. Was that a sign that he's the best back we have and should be our starter for the season?

So if we, just for fun, take away Ealey's 33 yard toss play, he'll have 2 tosses for 5 yards. And if we also take away Jackson's clean-up time numbers, we end up with something like this:

Total Yardage: 97 yards
Tosses: 11 for 21 yards (1.9 yards per carry)
Handoffs: 14 for 50 yards (3.6 yards per carry)
Shotgun handoffs: 4 for 26 yards (6.5 yards per carry)

I feel like the tossing plays can work with perfect blocking (as any play can), but we're simply not getting it most of the time. It looks like the direct handoffs are much more consistent in earning yards, while the shotgun handoffs look to be deadly if run with the right back (Thomas and maybe Ealey).

So let's see why these toss plays haven't been amounting to much consistently.

First, the basics.

On a basic handoff from the quarterback under center, our RB's are receiving the ball about 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage.

While on those backwards tosses, they usually get the ball about 7 yards back, near where they stand before the play starts.

It's assumed that this extra distance isn't supposed to be a detriment to our offense, but rather to give the blockers time to make their blocks and the backs time to see them and find the holes. Only problem is, the blocks haven't been working so well, especially on the offensive line. Below is a toss play to Samuel, where you can see the defensive front already making its way through our line just as Samuel gets the ball (7 yards back).

Luckily, Samuel manages to slip a tackle from a lineman.

But thanks to starting back 7 yards deep and missed blocks, he has no where to go and is tackled for a loss.


The toss play just isn't as consistent right now in our running game as it should/could be, but it shouldn't be phased out of our playbook either. It can be effective with the right back and good blocking (see: Ealey 33 yard run) but it usually doesn't do as well as a direct handoff, partially as a result of the 2 extra yards deep that the back starts with the ball. Personally, I would like to see us try a more "lateral" toss to the outside, with the back already in motion and offset from the quarterback, maybe receiving the ball only 3-5 yards behind the line of scrimmage rather than the 7 that is customary in our "backwards toss" plays.

But the real conclusion is this: We've got a great stable of backs, but things just haven't been clicking consistently between their play and the blocking. We'll continue to struggle running the ball if we can't get everything to work right at the same time. Let's hope we get that figured out soon.

Oct 19, 2009

More Poll Talk

On Friday I made this post to see how my earlier "unbiased" preseason polls were looking this season.

There were a few teams that my polls predicted to be over/under rated that had yet to materialize, but this weekend actually helped to change things quite a bit.

My "slightly overrated" preseason teams included Ohio State, who now has 2 losses and has dropped to #19 in the first BCS poll, and Virginia Tech, also with 2 losses and ranked at #14. Both of these teams are looking, in fact, slightly overrated. Also this category works well with: Oklahoma State, California, and Florida State. Georgia Tech has moved back up in the polls, but I have a feeling they'll also drop later to help out the "unbiased poll" prediction.

As for "very overrated" teams, I had already mentioned North Carolina dropping from the rankings, but now so have Notre Dame (4-2) and Nebraska (4-2). Kansas and LSU were in this category as well and may have some more losing to do.

My "slightly underrated" teams are all doing well and improving their rankings (except for Georgia. Sigh.)

And my "very underrated" teams aren't looking so hot, except for Pittsburgh (#20) and the big one, Cincinnati (#5).

So the main changes over the weekend to help my polls out were the losses of Ohio State, Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Virginia Tech.

Is this another "upset" season?

Let me mention here that I think it's a little ridiculous that there are 5 non-BCS conference teams in the BCS rankings right now (Boise State, TCU, BYU, Utah, Houston) while only 2 of them are even undefeated.

But this is possibly just due to 2009 so far being a season of upsets and non-impressive teams. Usually there are a handful of teams that are ranked in the top 10 preseason, look like clear favorites, and stay up there throughout the year. This year? There's no impressive "sure-thing" champion from any division in the ACC, Pac-10, or Big 10 at the moment. Texas, although unimpressive, looks like they should be the powerhouse this season from the Big 12, and the SEC has two teams vying for that title (Florida and Alabama), but Florida has also looked so-so in many games.

Quick Facts

  • In the current BCS standings (week 7), there are 7 undefeated teams, 13 1-loss teams, and 5 2-loss teams.
  • In the first BCS rankings of 2008, there were 9 undefeated, 14 1-loss teams, and only 2 2-loss teams.
  • Compare that to 2007, a year of upsets and a 2-loss national champion. The first BCS standings of that season had only 6 undefeated teams, 13 1-loss, and 6 2-loss.
So far, this year isn't quite as "crazy" as 2007 was, but it's pretty close, and the undefeated teams we have left right now have been very close to losing a game or two along the way.

Oct 16, 2009

A quick look at the rest of the CFB World

While we're all sitting here waiting anxiously to see if Georgia can glue things back together for tomorrow's game at Vanderbilt, I decided to take a quick look at what's going on in the rest of the college football.

First, a mid-season update on the college football rankings and polls.

Back in May, I attempted to make an "unbiased" preseason poll, hoping to show the media's ability to greatly "overrate" or "underrate" a team before (or during) the season.

Later in August, I looked at the actual preseason polls to compare them to a more objective viewpoint to see how different things were.

So far, the "unbiased" polls weren't extremely accurate, but they did pick up on a few (big) things that the media/coaches/voters didn't in the preseason.

Update on "Overrated" Teams

Some teams I found to be "slightly overrated" have in fact lost games and dropped from their original preseason poll positions. These include Ohio State (who has dropped one spot to #7), Oklahoma State (from #9 to #16), California (from #12 to unranked), Georgia Tech (from #15 to #19), and Florida State (from #18 to unranked.) The only team that I deemed "slightly overrated" that has so far overachieved in ranking is Virginia Tech, who has moved from #7 to #4.

My "very overrated" teams have mostly not proven yet to be so overrated, except for North Carolina, who had a #21 ranking in preseason and now is unranked.

Update on "Underrated Teams"

The biggest discrepancies and problems with the actual polls have been "underrating" teams.

My "slightly underrated" category hasn't proven to be too accurate at the moment, and Georgia, unfortunately, is one team that probably won't prove the "unbiased poll" right.

But the "very underrated" teams are interesting. Pittsburgh wasn't ranked in the preseason, but they are 5-1 and could very easily move up into the rankings soon. The biggest "they dropped the ball" ranking error though, has clearly been Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Problem

In 2008, Cincinnati won 11 games and the Big East conference, losing only to then #4 Oklahoma, then #19 Virginia Tech, and their only really bad loss, at Connecticut. In the 2009 preseason AP poll, not a single Big East team was ranked, and 2 Big East teams got more votes than Cincinnati (Pittsburgh and Rutgers). By the way, Rutgers went 8-5 in 2008 (and also happened to be blown out by Cincinnati in their first game this season).

And now? Cincinnati is undefeated (6-0) and ranked at #8. Although their starting QB Tony Pike was injured in last night's game at South Florida, the rest of the Bearcats' schedule looks pretty easy, especially considering Cincinnati is beating their opponents by an average of 26 points.

So how did the voters mess that one up and leave them out of the preseason rankings?

But it gets worse. I've now heard multiple media sources discussing Cincinnati, and there seems to be a debate about whether they should be allowed to play in the BCS national championship game if they make it through their schedule undefeated. I've heard from some that in order for an undefeated Cincinnati to make the championship game, they have to basically "put on a show" and beat the rest of their opponents convincingly and impressively.

In my opinion, that's not really fair to Cincinnati or to the Big East. I can understand reservations to having a Big East team in the championship game, but is not the Big East one of the 6 BCS conferences that have automatic BCS-bowl tie ins? Sure, an undefeated SEC, Big 12, or ACC champion should have the priority to make it to the national championship game. But usually, undefeated teams from the other BCS conferences are considered as well. So wouldn't you think Cincinnati should be treated similarly to at least the other BCS conferences with no divisional conference championship game (Big 10, Pac-10)?

If any Pac-10 team went undefeated, even with what may be deemed a "weak schedule," they would surely be in the national championship (as long as there weren't two undefeated SEC, Big 12, or ACC teams ahead of them). The same goes for the Big 10, where we almost saw Penn State find their way to the national championship last year (which they likely would have if they had not lost to Iowa in 2008).

Sure, no one necessarily wants to see a lot of "undeserving" teams in the big game, but is it really fair to deny them if they have the credentials?

Oct 13, 2009

Maybe we should try this running thing...

Here's the stats for the SEC right now.

You'll notice that Vanderbilt is 2nd in the SEC in defending the pass, but 11th in rushing defense. Georgia, meanwhile, is 3rd in passing offense but 12th (!!!!) in rushing offense, averaging only 97.2 yards per game on the ground. Wow.

So... would it be a good idea to think about putting Gray in there and focusing on some more running plays? If he can pass at all, it certainly would be nice to have more options in the running game. Options, reads, etc. Can we do that please? It might be a spark to our rushing, using him along with Thomas, Ealey, Samuel, King (if he's back).

No?... oh... so... more shotgun handoffs from Cox to Samuel? More quick passes to the fullback for 2 yards? Yeah.... alright. We'll do that instead. Whatever gives us the best chance to win, right?

Oct 12, 2009

A Bit of Wednesday Optimism

I've found that at times like this, (almost) no one wants to look at the positives. I do, because frankly, that's all we have to feel good about. Most others are too busy crying or finding other teams to pull for, but my Georgia Bulldogs have (at least) 6 more games to play this season. And I'm a Bulldog for life.

Our Other Losses

So first, let's look at the big picture. We've lost 3 games. The first game was terrible for everyone because we lost our opener, something many of us have never seen. It's always hard to lose an opener because it's obviously the most hyped and built up game of the season (as you have the entire offseason to look forward to it). We had a lot of new faces on offense, including a sick quarterback who had only started 1 college game, and we put up a relatively good fight for most of the game. We lost by 14 points on the road to a still top 25 team.

Our second loss (to LSU) was unfortunate, due to the fact that no one expected our offense to stall like it did, and we all were so happy and relieved when we were up with a minute to go. A controversial penalty and bad kick coverage later, and we lost the game. It was heartbreaking, but at least we could all take solace in the fact that against a top-5 team, we were one bad call and a kick return away from winning. We all know we could have won that game easily, so it didn't hurt quite as bad.

The Big Loss

And then Tennessee. We got manhandled and destroyed by a new coach and his ragtag team of Volunteers. It was unexpected (by most) and pathetic. Our coaches and team appeared to give up in the 3rd quarter and let it slip out of hand.

And now the program is "in shambles" and the sky is falling.

Not so fast, my friend.

Yes, it's clear to everyone that we have some major problems. Our coaches seem confused and defensive. Our players are likely doing their best just to figure out what's going on. And on Saturday, our entire team gave up.

Last year we saw similar blowouts, but that Georgia Bulldog squad didn't give up. Against Alabama, after trailing 31-0 at halftime, we sent out our guys and struggled desperately to fight back in it, and we came relatively close, but never gave up. In Jacksonville, even when the game was way out of hand and the Florida players were dancing and taunting, our team kept fighting, and Joe Cox came in to throw our only touchdown with minutes remaining.

But Saturday at Tennessee? We took out AJ Green, put in Logan Gray and ran the ball repeatedly as our coaches stood on the sidelines smirking uneasily. We didn't take shots downfield, we didn't try to score for our dignity, we just ran the ball and wanted the game to end. They gave up.

Surely, our Georgia team is better than what we saw on Saturday. But there's an overwhelming sense that they're being held back by something, and everyone has their own opinions on what that is. We know there need to be changes, but we don't know what will be changed or what effect it will actually have.

The Bright Side

Wondering where the optimism is? What's the bright side?

The bright side is, this season is not yet over. No one will want to even think about it, but we're still technically in the SEC race.

As impossible as it sounds, we need 4 things right now to win the East.

1. We need to win the rest of our SEC games (@Vanderbilt, Florida, Auburn, Kentucky).

2. We need Florida to lose at least one other SEC game (Arkansas, @Miss. State, Vanderbilt, @South Carolina)

3. We need South Carolina to lose one more SEC game (@Alabama, Vanderbilt, @Tennessee, @Arkansas, Florida)

4. We need Tennessee to lose one more SEC game (@Alabama, South Carolina, @Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, @Kentucky)

#'s 3 and 4 seem almost guaranteed, as it's highly unlikely that either South Carolina or Tennessee will win the rest of their SEC games (especially against Alabama).

The miracle part would be #1 and #2, specifically Georgia beating Florida.

But is it possible? Anything's possible, and I'm not ready to give up and say we're losing ahead of schedule.

And like I said before, even if (or when) the SEC East goal is out of reach, our team still has each game to play. Each opponent matters. Although many will say, "Well, our season is done anyway, might as well lose the rest of our games," I'm sure if you're a real fan, you'll want to win any game we can.

And we've got 6 left.

We have half a season to see what happens.

It could be a bumpy ride, so real Dawg fans, buckle your seatbelts and just enjoy the ride. To you fair-weather types, you might just want to get out right now before the trip continues. I believe there's a school in Atlanta that will give you free hotdogs if you go to their games.

Oct 10, 2009

Here we go, post-game thoughts after Tennessee

Ok, some post-game analysis.

Let's start with the easy part. The defense sucks. I have trouble believing that our players are just that bad, and that doesn't really explain why Crompton had wide open receivers on pretty much every pass he threw. So our zone coverage clearly wasn't working too well. That would (of course) be the coach's fault. We'll see what happens there.

And the offense? Once again, I know we have tons of talent. Probably the weakest part of the offense today was at quarterback, and Cox has been off and on through this short season (but mostly off). Our O-line looked pretty bad on run blocking once more, but I think some of that has to do with how we're trying to run, which is a playcalling issue.

So here's some of my thoughts on the offense.

1. Why have we completely changed to being a primarily shotgun offense? What happened to our I-formation, pro-style, power running game that we have always used? I feel like part of the problem with our rushing attack is that we run single-back shotgun handoffs for almost every running play, and honestly, it isn't working very well.

2. If we're going to pass a lot, why don't we pass for 1st downs? Seems like almost every passing play is less than 10 yards. And why do we not use our best receiver in history more often. The longest passing play of the day was a 21 yard pass to AJ Green at the end of the 1st half. In the 2nd half, Green only had 3 receptions, and I don't think he was thrown to much more than that. Also, all of those passes were short (longest was for 5 yards). Why did we not air it out down the sidelines to Green or anyone for that matter? Why was our passing game so conservative and short?

I just don't understand what we have to lose by throwing deep to AJ when we're desperate. Why not even try it?

3. Cox did not look sharp, made more really bad decisions (especially the INT he lobbed toward the sideline). However, I didn't think Logan Gray looked very good either in his limited time (except for his nice run). I'm assuming Murray is out of the question due to his earlier injury, so a redshirt is pretty certain.

4. Why did we give up so fast? What were the coaches thinking toward the end of the game when they chose to put Gray in at QB and run the ball almost every play? Did they just want to get the game over with? Doesn't seem like the best message to give to the team.

Overall, this team just feels like they've given up. The players, the coaches, everyone. Mark Richt continues to shrug off all of the problems that appear obvious to most fans, and nothing has seemed to change from the first game of the season until now. Where are the adjustments? Are we just going to let things keep getting worse and worse until serious changes have to be made?

I have this strange feeling that Coach Richt (and maybe the whole team) has been asleep and just doesn't even see how bad things are looking. Here's to hoping that he wakes up soon.