Paul Johnson explains why he let Al Groh go
This morning Paul Johnson decided to make a change. You can listen to him explain his decision making above; but in short Johnson was highly complimentary of Al Groh; but decided that for whatever reason the players were having a hard time implementing Groh's schemes on the field and that forced Johnson to make the change.
A quick look at one key stat behind Johnson's decision...Groh came to Georgia Tech as defensive coordinator prior to the 2010 season. That season the Yellow Jackets were 57th in scoring defense. In 2011 they slipped to 60th. This season they have plummeted to 89th.
Secondary coach Charles Kelly will now "run the meeting" and the rest of the staff will adjust responsiblities as well. Special teams coordinator Dave Walkosky will now also coach the defensive line. Defensive line coach Andy McCollum will move to inside linebackers and inside linebackers coach Joe Speed shifts to outside linebackers.
During his press conference, Johnson was asked if he viewed this opportunity as a bit of a tryout for the defensive staff to be retained or even to serve as defensive coordinator moving forward into next season...his response was left open to interpretation; but we didn't sense much excitement on that front from Johnson...then again we rarely sense much excitement from Johnson.
The scoop on stats - Week 6
With week 6 in the books, a handful of statistics caught our eye. Some teams continued their streaks (Air Force and UTSA have yet to allow a sack) and other teams caught our eyes for different reasons (see the first stat on Oregon and the last stat on fumbles that we've noted).
Let us know anything else that has caught your eye.
- Oregon has had touchdown drives of less than one minute 12 times this season.
- West Virginia has scored 118 points in their first two Big 12 games.
- Prior to Florida State's 13 point second quarter, NC State had not allowed any points in the second quarter in their previous 5 games.
- Northwestern has already returned more punts through six games this season (9) than they did all of of last season (8). They have also returned two of those nine punts for touchdowns. They had zero punt returns for touchdowns last season.
- Texas is averaging a blocked kick / punt per game. They have 5 blocked kicks / punts through 5 games this season.
- Air Force (who lost to Navy in OT Saturday) and UTSA (who had a bye week) remain the only teams in the country who have yet to allow a sack.
- Oregon (6-0) and Mississippi State (5-0) are the only two teams in the country that are allowing negative punt return yardage. The Bulldogs have allowed 6 returns for -3 yards (-.5 yards per return), while the Ducks have allowed 3 returns for -4 yards (1-.33 yards per return).
- Utah State (4-2) and Florida State (5-1) both lead the country with 50 total forced punts.
- The Tulsa defense leads the country in sacks with 25 on the year (they had 27 all of last season). South Carolina is a close second with 24 (Lorenzo Ward is doing a great job this season). San Jose State actually is averaging the most per game with 22 through 5 games.
- Kansas State is the least penalized team in the country, committing less than 2 penalties per game. The Wildcats have played 4 of their 5 games at home this season.
- Louisiana Tech and Utah lead the country in forced fumbles with 11 through 5 games. Louisiana Tech has already eclipsed their total from last season, when they forced 10 through 13 games, and Utah is just one short of their total (12) from last season.
- Penn State leads the country in fourth down attempts, going for it 20 times through six games (65% conversion rate). Bill O'Brien recognized in our "Deserving Credit" series this week.
- Kentucky is 0 for 10 on 4th down conversion attempts this season.
- Rutgers and North Texas are the only teams in the country to have not allowed a fourth down conversion. Rutgers' opponents are 0 for 5 through five games and North Texas' opponents have yet to convert on 5 tries this season.
- Eastern Michigan is the only team to have not kicked a touchback. They have kicked off 16 times.
- Arizona (32.2), Oklahoma State (31.5) and Nevada (30.3) are all averaging over 30 first downs per game.
- Five of the nation's top ten tacklers are from the MAC. One of them (Northern Illinois' Jimmie Ward) is a defensive back.
- Two West Virginia receivers are ranked in the top three in receiving yards per game (Stedman Bailey - 142 ypg, and Tavon Austin - 132 ypg). Also, two Ball State receivers rank in the top 8 in receptions (Willie Snead with 47 and Jamill Smith with 44).
- Four of the top five teams in time of possession are undefeated (1. Oregon State, 2. UTSA, 3. Florida, 4. Louisiana-Monroe, 5. Louisville).
- In NFL action, both Detroit and Oakland (who both had byes this week) have yet to record an interception this season. They are the only remaining teams to do so.
- UTSA, Baylor and Indiana are the only teams in the country that have yet to lose a fumble this year. UTSA has fumbled just once, while Baylor and Indiana have both coughed up the ball twice. On the flip side, Iowa State (4 fumbles), Akron (5 fumbles) and Kansas (5 fumbles) have lost possession every time the ball has hit the turf.
Teach your players to stay on the sideline until the final whistle
A crazy finish in a D-III game over the weekend provides a reminder to coaches everywhere to ensure that your players stay inside of the sideline box and don't rush the field prior to the final buzzer sounding. The clip above includes the entire game, so skip to the 2:24:20 mark to see the last few moments of the game.
Saturday, Concordia-Moorehead (MN) was beating Bethel (MN) 14-7, and with Bethel driving down the field to tie the game, their quarterback drops back to pass, and gets hit from behind. The ball flutters to the turf and a Concordia defensive lineman scoops the ball up and runs up his sideline to score (note: if he falls on it they win; but it's hard to blame the big guy for wanting to scoop and score...another coaching point).
The issue was that during the return, the defensive lineman had to dodge some of his own players that had stormed the field thinking that the fumble was instead an incomplete pass. No whistle had been blown to call the play dead. As a result, a flag was thrown during the return, giving Bethel one last shot at the end zone from inside of the ten yard line with no time remaining.
Bethel goes on to throw a back shoulder fade to get within one point, and then decides to go for two for the win...and ends up getting it 15-14. The loss is the first for Concordia-Moorehead, who had won their previous four games all by double digit margins.
As Deadspin points out, credit the Bethel coaching staff for taking advantage of the shock and confusion after the big swing in momentum and deciding to go for two and the win.
In the excitement of the game sometimes your players forget their surroundings and just react. This is a great example of the importance of keeping players corralled on the sideline until the final buzzer sounds.
Reminder: Using chewing tobacco on the sidelines is illegal
The NCAA bans the use of tobacco products for coaches, officials and student athletes during all sports practices and competition. Student athletes can be disqualified for the remainder of the game if caught using a tobacco product.
A USA Today article caught our attention this weekend after they noticed Illinois head coach Tim Beckman using chewing tobacco during their game Saturday.
Illinois has announced it will report a secondary violation to the NCAA for this.
Asked about the incident after their 31-14 loss to Wisconsin, Beckman told reporters it's a bad habit of his.
"That's a bad habit of mine. I apologize for that. I guess it's the stress, but there's no excuse for that and that'll be stopped. It shouldn't have been done.'' he explained.
Just a reminder guys...
Photo via Big Lead Sports
Top FBS plays of the weekend
Saturday was full of big plays in some big time games.
Here's a quick look at the top plays from around the country during Saturday's action, courtesy of ESPN.
These teams are winning despite a tough schedule
Only two teams ranked in the top 10 in strength of schedule have winning records.
1. Washington (3-2, 1-1)
2. California (2-4, 1-2)
3. Vanderbilt (2-3, 1-2)
4. Auburn (1-4, 0-3)
5. Kentucky (1-5, 0-3)
6. Utah (2-3, 0-2)
7. Arkansas (2-4, 1-2)
8. Missouri (3-3, 0-3)
9. Arizona (3-3, 0-3)
10. Michigan (3-2, 1-0)
After opening up with a loss to Alabama, and then losing to a tough Notre Dame squad a few weeks later, Brady Hoke and Michigan are sitting at 3-2 with the nation's 10th toughest schedule. Only one team on their remaining schedule, Illinois (who they'll face this weekend), has a losing record. The combined record of the opponents remaining on their schedule is 26-12.
Steve Sarkisian's Huskies have played and lost at LSU and at Oregon and recorded a huge home win against Stanford at the end of last month. The Huskies are sitting at 3-2 with the toughest schedule in the country, and their next three games are against USC, Arizona and Oregon State who are a combined 11-4 (with three of those losses belonging to Arizona).
Just outside of the top ten in strength of schedule are Will Muschamp and the Gators (11th), who are sitting at 5-0 after road wins at Texas A&M and Tennessee, and their most recent win against LSU in The Swamp. They'll travel to Nashville to face Vanderbilt on Saturday and then have back to back games against South Carolina (home) and Georgia (neutral site).
Oregon State (4-0) and Notre Dame (5-0) are the only other undefeated teams with a top 25 strength of schedule. The Beavers are ranked 15th and the Irish are ranked 21st.
The 49ers offensive staff made NFL history last night
Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman helped put together an impressive offensive outing yesterday against the Buffalo Bills.
For the first time in NFL history a team went over the 300 mark in both passing and rushing. The Niners rushed for 311 yards and threw for 310 yards.
Now that's what you call balanced.
The 621 yards was a franchise record and included a 300 yard passer, a 100 yard rusher and two 100 yard receivers for the first time since 1961. The star studded teams of the 80's and 90's never put together a game quite like the Niners did last night.
Former Heisman winner finalist Alex Smith, who was part of some big offensive games during his college days at Utah, called the 45-3 rout "The best offensive performance that I've ever been a part of."
Next week the 49ers take on the Giants, the team that dashed their Super Bowl aspirations last season. But if Greg Roman and Jim Harbaugh keep putting together offensive game plans and getting their guys to execute like they did last night, they're going to be tough to beat.
Over the past two weeks, the Niners have outscored their opponents 79-3.
Here's the video Houston watched before taking the field Saturday
Houston (2-3, 1-0) got their second straight win Saturday with a 44-21 victory over North Texas.
Here's the video that the staff showed the team to get everyone amped up before kickoff.
The rest of the Houston's schedule features only two teams with records currently above .500 (East Carolina who is 3-3 and Tulsa who is 5-1).