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August 12, 2008

Scrimmage Notes: The Good News

Aside from that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play? It wasn't all doom and gloom in the afternoon scrimmage.
  • Place Kicking - Blair Walsh seems to be settling into the place kicking and field goal duties. As Chip Towers says, the kid has no shortage of confidence.

  • Kickoffs - We're still going to go with directional kicks on the kickoffs this season. Don't get me wrong, I think Coach Fabris is one of the best coaches on staff, but I do not get his near religious devotion to directional kicking vs. our actual results. According to these unconfirmed stats, we pinned the opponent inside the 20 *twice* in the first 11 games of last season. Directional kicking does not deliver a result of a kickoff inside the 20 for UGA. In fairness, there's no proof that we could've held the opponent to better yardage by kicking straight. But really...could it be worse? Blutarsky's reaction was similar to mine. Walsh can kick it a mile. Why not let him.

  • Tailback - Caleb King and Richard Samuel are now in an all out war for the #2 running back position. They posted similar stats in Monday's scrimmage. The positive side of the competition is that Caleb responded to the pressure by out rushing Samuel slightly. It would've been a bad sign to see him lose his #2 job without a fight. Competition is healthy.
Any surprises to you?



Anonymous said...

Searles cross trains the OL, and Vance and Boling are more naturally OT's. Plus, we look really deep at OG.

I am a lot less worried w/ Searles than I would be w/ Callaway (we would be knee-deep in shoulder injuries by now anyway if he was still running the show).

PWD: W/ regard to prior post-
The spirit-killing, soul-crushing emotional damage that a Moreno injury would cause is too much for me to even consider. Let us never speak of this again.

JasonC said...

I think both guys can run the ball effectively, so it will probably come down to blocking. Whoever picks up the blocking quicker, will get more playing time.

C. Paul said...

I agree about the directional kicking completely. IMHO it is a decision that says we either have a K that can't kick it - or a coverage team that can't tackle and stay in their lanes.

As for TS, I fall more on the side of pessimistic and the reason is the way I base all of these type reactions: if this happened to UF or UT to their stud OL, would be be saying "oh their other guys can mesh" or "oh it is no big deal". Of course not. It is exactly what it is: a top player is out and we are a little bit less without him than we are with him.

Coach SS is excellent and will do his job to soften the blow and have whoever (Davis, Vance, Boling etc.) ready to go for Southern.

Great work as always.


Anonymous said...

When asked on the subject CMR has said that since we dont have someone who can consistently kick it through the end zone is why we do directional kicking. Here are the two main problems with our kicking approach as I see it: 1) Kevin Butler came on the post game show last year questioning the coaches and said there were players who COULD kick it through the end zone consistently cause he has seen it (I think Kevin knows a little something more about kicking) 2) if you practice directional kicking 100% of the time and that is what you always use then it will be nigh impossible to be able to send someone out there and tell them to boom it this time - the leg motion is completely different - kind of like telling someone to hit 9 irons to the green 1000 times and then hand em a driver and say let er rip.

Shep Dawg said...

Bad news boys.

Hopefully we can get a new LT broken in before we hit SC.

Unknown said...

What is a Ms. Lincoln?

Hobnail_Boot said...

I'd be shocked if Boling moved to LT. He's an absolute monster at LG. Go back and watch how many of our big runs last year were behind Southerland AND Boling, often 10+ yd downfield.

Anonymous said...

I hate the directional kickoffs and I am glad to see some stats that back this up. I would love to hear someone ask CMR about this and hear his answer. Surely he knows the stats? Why would you not want your opponent starting on their own 20 yd line? I have screamed at the TV as I watch teams start on the 30 yd line and beyond too many times.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:18:

Those stats are incomplete It is like trying to decide whether a Volvo S40 gets better gas mileage than a BMW whatever and only knowing what the MPG of the Volvo is.

Really, it is more difficult to use those stats to draw a conclusion as to what is the better strategy because Volvos and BMWs are fungible, whereas college kickoff coverage and return teams aren't.

The meaningful number would be something we cannot measure, because we would have to measure the results we got from a strategy we use against results form a strategy we did not use. Since we didn't use the "line up and kick the snot out of it" we don't have data showing what the results would have been had we used that strategy.

The stats in the linked post show that we only allowed 23 returns of more than 20 yards in the 11 games cited. There were only 67 returns, so 66% of the returns were for 20 yards or less. Interestingly, 6, or 1/4th of those 23 returns for over 20 yards can against 1 team, Western Carolina, making me wonder if we used a lot of substitutes, affecting the coverage.

Here are the results of the numbers cited in the linked post.

Considering the 7 SEC games (where we didn't affect the stats by liberal substituting), and not considering onside kicks or out of bounds kicks, the results.

Kickoffs against SEC teams: 37
Returns over 20 yards: 9, which is 24.32% of the kickoffs.
Returns over 25 yards: 7, which is 18.92% of the total kickoffs.
Total return yards: 617, which is a 16.68 yards per return average.

Against BCS opposition:

Kickoffs against BCS teams: 49
Returns over 20 yards: 14, which is 28.97% of the kickoffs.
Returns over 25 yards: 9, which is 18.37% of the total kickoffs.
Total return yards: 877, which is a 18.90 yards per return average.

Against 1 eleven opponents cited in the post:

Kickoffs against: 64
Returns over 20 yards: 19, which is 29.7% of the kickoffs.
Returns over 25 yards: 14, which is 21.9% of the total kickoffs.
Total return yards: 184, which is an 18.5 yards per return average.

We covered kicks a lot better against SEC competition than we did against Sunbelt and D-1A competition. The key stats to me are the % of returns over 25 yards and the average yards per return.

If our strategy keeps SEC teams from returning more than 25 yards on less than 20% of their kick returns, and SEC teams average only 16.7 yards a return, that looks to be a good strategy to me.

Anonymous said...

It was really scary last year as to how we bogged down completely whenever Vance had to come in for Sturdivant at left tackle.

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