Monday, October 03, 2011

By All Means, Run Play-action With Braxton Again

In search of a coherent thought from the weekend…
  • I didn’t even bother watching the fourth quarter of the Alabama-Florida game.  After Jeff John Brantley went out, the result was patently obvious.  Freshman quarterback running a complicated pro-style offense against a vintage Nick Saban defense?  What’s the point?  Suffice it to say that when I woke up and saw that Jeff Driskel had completed two passes in over a half of action, I was not surprised.  The other reason why I gave up on the game is that Florida’s offensive line looked like the late-dynasty Miami front.  Maybe the ‘94 Orange Bowl Miami line, the one that looked like it had gotten soft over the years and got dominated by the Nebraska defensive line?  Alabama had complete control over the line of scrimmage, which indicates to me that Florida had bigger issues in its last two years under Urban Meyer than simply offensive scheming when Meyer replaced Dan Mullen with Steve Addazio.
  • Remember when Utah fans used to brag about how their team was so much better than those of the Pac Ten because they had a good record against Pac Ten teams?  How’s your start of conference play outside of the Mountain West working out?
  • So I guess the big irony is going to be that Steve Spurrier has put everything together in Columbia except for a functional quarterback.  With the exception of the Doug Johnson/Jesse Palmer/Noah Brindise era, the one thing that Spurrier would always produce at Florida was a productive quarterback.  Shane Matthews begat Danny Wuerrfel begat the interregnum begat Rex Grossman.  After seven years at South Carolina, Spurrier has yet to find an above-average starter under center.  Stephen Garcia might go down as one of the worst four-year starters in the history of the modern SEC.  As a senior, his completion percentage is a smidge over 50%, he is averaging 7.15 yards per attempt, and he has nine picks against four touchdowns.  Garcia is throwing an interception every 13 attempts.  Garcia is wedged in between Chris Relf and Larry Smith in the SEC passer efficiency rankings.  Garcia’s numbers are terrible despite stars at running back and wide receiver, an offensive line that is at least competent, and a Heisman-winning coach who has a track record of producing great passing games, albeit a track record that ends in 2001.  It’s funny that Spurrier has bent every disciplinary rule to keep Garcia on the team.  You would expect a coach to be so lenient for a star player, not the black sheep of the program.  If Georgia fans need to feel good about their chances to win the East this year, they need only look at Garcia and Florida’s offensive line.  That makes this weekend’s trip to Knoxville a big game.
  • In the ongoing adventures of the Queen of England, Penn State eked out of Bloomington with a 16-10 win.  Against a dreadful Indiana team that has already lost to Ball State and North Texas, Penn State’s quarterbacks combined for a 16/36 performance.  It took Penn State 43 minutes to score a touchdown.  So, by all means, let Joe Paterno stay forever!
  • Michigan has allowed ten points total in their last three games.  Admittedly, Eastern Michigan, San Diego State, and Minnesota is anything but a murderer’s row, but after watching the Wolverines allow 37 points to UMass and 35 to Indiana during the same stretch last year, the concept of tackling, rushing a passer, and covering receivers is novel.  If you need to illustrate the importance of coaching to someone from the “only the players matter” school, the transition from Greg Robinson to Greg Mattison is a great example.
  • Another example of the value of coaching: the USC defense.
  • And speaking of “hey look, an actual defense!,” the Georgia Bulldogs, everyone!  3.3 yards per play allowed against Ole Miss and then 3.2 against Mississippi State.  Shut down the Bray-K 47 this Saturday and Todd Grantham will have a lot of believers in this state.
  • So who had Kentucky going under 200 yards against LSU?  Me neither.
  • For those of you who watched games with actual offenses on Saturday, it’s hard to describe just how bad the Ohio State attack was.  At one stage in the second half, they had 87 yards in offense and 68 yards in penalties.  Yes, I know that they are missing a number of players because of Tatgate (by the way, you don’t get to use this as an excuse when you are already using it as a “we’ve already been punished” defense to the NCAA), but this is still a team with a good amount of talent on offense.  Moreover, the Bucks had all spring and summer to figure out how to move the ball.  With a mobile, inexperienced five-star quarterback, they are still running the same I-formation plays, Dave followed by play-action.  With personnel that screams for a zone read-based offense, the Bucks are rolling merrily along as if Terrelle Pryor were still under center.  And the funny thing is that a spread offense would have fit him better, as well.  Everything that Buckeye fans griped about Jim Bollman?  It was all true.
  • And speaking of teams that I dislike that have also won for years with inept offensive coaching, everyone say hello to Virginia Tech.  Three points and 3.9 yards per play in a critical home game.
  • Game of the year in the ACC: Clemson at Georgia Tech on October 29.  Who had that before the year?
  • Playing Nebraska got Wisconsin’s strength of schedule all the way up to 117th in the country.  Wobbly from playing an opponent that didn’t arrive at Camp Randall in a junk, the Badgers will take a break from their exertions with a bye week followed by a visit from Indiana.  They will not play a road game until October 22.  More than half the season will have passed before they have played a team on its home field.  And I am supposed to take this team seriously as a title contender?  I’d take Boise State’s resume over Wisconsin’s.  At least the Broncos have an excuse for playing a weak schedule other than Barry Alvarez’s DecentOpponentPhobia.  (Can you tell that this subject animates me?)   


Jack said...

Presumably you mean John Brantley? DOn't get me wrong, I get mesmerized by the mullet as much as the next guy, but he's no quarterback.

Anonymous said...

I think you should root for Oklahoma, Alabama, and Wisconsin to win out. Then root for Oklahoma (FSU) and Alabama (PSU) to edge Wisconsin, entirely on the strength of their non-conference schedules.

That would be a pretty crushing blow to Wisconsin, especially in light of the fact that they're going to take a nosedive next year, after their meal ticket leaves.

Robert said...

Yes, we have not been making this stuff up about Jim Bollman. My only solace was that Uverse decided to show the Tech game on ABC, and the Tech game on ESPN. Normally, I would have been outraged, but normally, Ohio State doesn't put up 100 yards of total offense.