Sunday, November 30, 2008

Seven Thoughts on Tech's Big Saturday

1. Does anyone know if Kirk Herbstreit has addressed his comments after Frank Solich's termination that the option is dead in college football because defenses are too fast for it? It turns out that the triple option works just fine with the right guy coaching it. Defenses may be faster now, but that doesn't mean that they don't blow assignments or miss tackles. Speaking of which...

2. Georgia's safeties were horrendous on Saturday. As every analyst repeated in the lead-up to the game, option football requires that defensive players carry out their assignments. Without knowing what the exact assignments were, it sure looked like the Dawgs' safeties were ignoring their assignments during the third quarter. The best example was Georgia's safeties collectively bum-rushing Josh Nesbitt on a key third down, allowing Roddy Jones to streak down the sideline for a long gain on the drive that ended with Tech tying the score.

3. Other than ending a long losing streak against their most hated rival, what had to satisfy Tech fans the most about the way that the game played out on Saturday was the way that they won. Georgia clearly had the most talented players on the field. With the possible exception of Michael Johnson, Georgia had the four best players on the field: Matt Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, A.J. Green, and Rennie Curran. Tech won because its coaches organized inferior talent in a better system. Show me a Tech grad who doesn't like a brains over brawn story?

4. If that was Matt Stafford's last game between the hedges, he certainly left Georgia fans with some terrific memories. Tech came in with a solid defense and Stafford shredded it for 271 yards in the first half. He finished with 407 yards passing and five touchdowns. Matt did have the one customary Stafford D'oh, throwing a pick six to Morgan Burett, but he was otherwise flawless. Georgia scored 42 points and gained almost eight yards per play while turning the ball over only once. The offense played a whale of a game.

5. Did anyone other than my brother notice that the answer to the AFLAC trivia question was wrong? The question was which two teams have finished in the top ten in each of the past six seasons. The answer was Georgia and USC, which would work if the 2006 season did not take place in the last six years. Way to go, CBS fact-checkers! Oh, and one other note for CBS: please explain to Craig Bolerjack the rules for intentional grounding so in the future, he doesn't claim that a throwaway by Nesbitt outside of the pocket is the same thing as Stafford throwing the ball away between the tackles.

6. The SEC finished 4-6 against the ACC. No, we should not be proud of that.

7. It's time for some lame psychoanalysis. If Georgia were the kind of team last year that coupld only be motivated to play at a high level by dancing in the end zone in Jacksonville or wearing black uniforms, then it would stand to reason that they would be the same kind of team that could just lose the plot for a quarter or a half. Put another way, Mark Richt needed to pull out all the stops last year to get Georgia to play to its ability (and beyond). If Georgia's players are the kind of players who require gimmicks to play hard, then that might explain why they are the kind of players who can lose a half 31-0 or a quarter 26-0. I will freely grant that I'm grasping at straws here, except to say that Georgia's highlight video for the 2008 season should be set to the Pixies' "Where is my Mind?"


Anonymous said...

Bobby P says -

It wasn't just Georgia's safeties who were horrible - their whole secondary was allowing themselves to be slowed down by getting cut out on the edges. There were a bunch of times that everyone followed their option assignments properly, but as they let themselves get slowed for a second on the cut block, it changed their angles and allowed the option to get to the edge where GT was repeatedly picking up five and six yards when they should have had 2 at most.

I can only recall one time where they completely blew their assignment (the long one you mentioned when both outside men took the QB). That's part of the beauty of the option though - it only takes once. That said, the best way to stop the option is to attack it on the edges aggresively. Because UGA's outside LB's, Safeties, and Corner's were playing back on their heels it allowed the GT edge blockers to attack them low. It's not the kind of block that's going to completely take a guy out of the play, but it changes his angle of pursuit enough that it lets a marginally successful play become a successful one repeatedly. By attacking the LOS, they can still try and cut you, but that cut has to happen much closer to the LOS, so that rather than the defense having to change their angles of pursuit, the offense has to change their angles of attack.

There is no way a Qb with option footwork that bad (and it is terrible), should be able to run the option that well against a defense with that kind of speed. Again, another thing I love about the option - as few good teams ever run it, defenses forget how to defend against it. It takes balls to defend against it properly, and I really don't think this UGA team really has any.

Anonymous said...

I'd rank the top 10 players on the field this way:

#1 - Matt Stafford
#2 - Michael Johnson
#3 - K. Moreno
#4 - Jonathan Dwyer
#5 - Morgan Burnett
#6 - Derrick Morgan
#7 - MoMass
#8 - Vance Walker
#9 - A.J Green
#10 - ?

Rennie Curran is a respectable middle of the road SEC linebacker, but you're crazy if you think he's a better player than future 1st round picks like Morgan, Burnett and Dwyer. That GT team is pretty damn talented, quite frankly.

Paul Johnson has done a good job, but it's not been witchcraft with some MAC roster. He's got 5 future early draft picks on the roster (at least) and several other future NFL players. There's a lot of good players that he's had to work with.

Anonymous said...

Georgia Tech's offense might get better; Dwyer, Nesbitt, and Thomas are all sophomores, and their line can't be much worse for the scheme than it was this year. It will be interesting to see whether GTech will start passing more over the next two seasons as the players get more comfortable in the system.

Georgia fans might disagree, but to an outsider that was one of the most fun games I've watched this year. Great plays by both teams and the tension of the rivalry.

Anonymous said...

Unless the NCAA starts handing out Wunderlich tests to D-I prospects, it's tough to avoid occasionally ending up with a team full of guys that stuggle to stay focused or play disciplined assignment football against a triple option.

Anonymous said...

re: Pixies

I'm down with that.
"With your feet on the air and your head on the ground" could refer to Knowshon's ASU dive or any of Reshad "Nudge" Jones's massively successful diving shoulder bombs.