2018 National Championship – Alabama vs Georgia

Posted: January 8, 2018 in All Things Power Spread

Alabama and Georgia are both Power Spread Teams!

The first thing people need to know is that these are not “pro” style teams. First off, every NFL team now runs some form of power spread concept on both offense and defense. It’s just a matter of what and how much. So even if Bama and Georgia ran “pro” offenses they would be PRO PS. Secondly, Bama’s isn’t that and while it’s debatable, neither is Georgia’s.

People see heavy sets from Georgia and automatically think “pro” offense. It is not. It’s not even the ProPS concept run in the NFL. It is a rare but well oiled Multiple PS offense.

As for Bama, people keep listening to Saban’s anti-spread comments instead of really watching what is happening on the field. ALABAMA IS A PURE POWER SPREAD OFFENSE. Saban has fallen to the “dark side”. It’s heavy on the power side, but still a PS scheme. Similar to what Urban Meyer made famous years ago. Neither is cutting edge, but both are very good for reasons I will explain below.

Both Defenses are also top notch cutting edge PS schemes, mixing pressure with coverage. Kirby Smart’s defensive genius may be leveling off a bit -especially with his new head coaching duties,  but he made a great hire in DC Mel Tucker.

Further details below.

Georgia Offense

Georgia’s Offense statistically looks great in the running game, bad in the passing game. A big part of this is a true freshman QB who’s very talented, but inexperienced and 2 great RBs behind a tough OLine. The truth is that Georgia’s Offense is very good plus underrated in the pass game as they proved last week. The #1 reason is the great job done this year by the OC Jim Chaney.

Chaney actually coached under Spread guru Joe Tiller for a long time. Tiller brought the first spread offense to the Big 10 with Purdue and Drew Brees. Tiller’s schemes harken back to the one of the original R&S guys Jack Neumeir. Chaney is a Spread guy pure and simple.

Now he did  spend time in the NFL and saw a way to add Power to the Spread. In Tiller’s later years he was already trying the same with the Rich Rodriguez Read Option added to his spread passing. Chaney liked the idea of mixing in power sets, shifts and motions as another way to optimize space. He was always a creative play caller and has great timing with misdirection and play action. Georgia’s power runs are created not only with personnel, but with a tremendous use of space/time in Chaney’s Multiple PS Scheme. He mixes ProPS with Spread Power, Power Spread and Spread Pass schemes with variety in Tempo and Huddle. It isn’t easy to do. Every player and coach absolutely needs to be on the same page.

In the SemiFinal game, Georgia was in No Huddle the whole game and mixed in tempo. They opened up space with a lot of different pass designs. They also broke tendency a lot by calling run and pass plays in unusual situations and formations. The TD run by Michel on a 3rd&8 draw play was one of many examples. Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints does the same thing out of a ProPS scheme. Any play from any formation in any situation. Great variety. It opens space both inside and out, short and deep. Chaney called a great game except towards the end when he started to get too one dimensional in the run game due to the pressure of the situation.

Alabama Offense

Brian Dabol is the new OC this year. He is from the New England Patriots who were the first team to bring modern spread concepts to the NFL. He learned a great deal from Josh McDaniel, the Pats OC and a guy that’s been incorporating Power Spread ideas into the NFL for a while now. Bama has a dual threat QB and runs a no huddle College PS. In other words a pure power spread offense. It’s not cutting edge by any stretch, but is a good enough scheme with the talent on hand.

Georgia Defense

Kirby Smart is a Nick Saban protege. Saban has used aggressive variety in his defensive schemes for a long time. Robber Cover 3, Cover 5, mix coverages pre and post snap, strong man2man technique and of course the hallmark for any PS Defense – zone blitz. Smart has evolved these ideas into a full PS style Defense. A mix of pressure and coverage can be seen on any play.

He may not be as innovative as he once was as a DC, but with Tucker at his side I may be proven wrong on this point in the near future. Tucker has a variety of influences from Saban’s hybrid, Mark D’Antonio’s blitzing 4-3, Romeo Crennel’s Belichick influenced 3-4 mix to Jack DelRio’s hybrid mix. Tucker knows his stuff. Combined with Smart, there may be some innovation coming soon.

Alabama Defense

Jeremy Pruitt, like Smart is also a Saban guy, but is truly a Bill Oliver protege. Oliver was a great Bama DC way before Saban’s time. He was one of the first DCs to really play with mixing coverages. Pruitt also had some influence from Mark Stoops 3-3 when he came to Florida State. Pruitt runs a truly cutting edge PS scheme with a more aggressive mix than both Saban and Smart. He can run any kind of combo, 3-3, 4-3, 2-4 or no down lineman, bring blitzes from anywhere in any situation and continue to mix zone and man concepts behind all of this pressure variety. With Bama’s immense talent, his D can be completely unplayable at times.

Alabama’s Recruiting is hands down the best ever in the modern era

There has been a lot of talk this year that Alabama isn’t as good as past years with all the injuries and inexperience. This is complete nonsense. Alabama’s talent is so off the charts it really doesn’t matter. If they had cutting edge schemes on offense with a cutting edge head coach they would seriously have a shot at beating an NFL team on a good day. This isn’t an exaggeration.

For anyone who doubts this please do yourself a favor. Get the great Phil Steele publications from the last several years. Phil puts together aggregate recruiting #s from all the recruiting services which he calls PS#s. Look at Bama’s PS#s from this decade compared to any other team. Maybe I will do this myself in the future and post it. I guarantee there is no one close. Not OSU, FSU, OU, FL, no one. Period. And the great teams of USC, Florida and OSU in the 00s aren’t that close either. It’s borderline ridiculous.

So they had a few PS#1s and PS Top 20s and Top 50s hurt… so what! They replace these guys with other Top 10s and #1s.  It’s crazy. And yes…inexperience hurts – but please, compared to what other teams go thru, it’s nothing. Bama was far more talented than Clemson. Georgia has some good talent, but not like Bama. It’s not close. Period.

Georgia is on a Crazy Run

I don’t want to take away from anything Georgia has accomplished. Quite an amazing year for them, but a lot has gone right.

Honestly, the SEC Championship could have been a blow out – FOR AUBURN! And the SemiFinal was a blowout at half. In the SEC Ch game Auburn was beat up and flat from the start. The excitement of an SEC Ch and good schemes had them fighting. They were up 7-0 and had many chances for more points. They could have conceivably been winning 21-3 at Halftime. These are details for another time.

The OU Game is still on people’s minds and everyone knows what happened there. OU definitely let down to start the 2nd Half. Then both the QB and Coach went into panic mode near the end. Lincoln Riley, the offensive mastermind, actually got conservative some, then panicked. By Overtime he was running all the same looks from the start of the game. Made it pretty easy for Georgia.

Kirby Smart has inherited a good program from Mark Richt. A lot of people seem to forget this. Georgia has had decent talent and culture for some time. Smart does seem to be a very good teacher and motivator like his mentor. He is obviously smart with schemes, no pun intended. He has a smart OC. But a lot of things have gone right for the Bulldogs to be in this surprising position. That’s the truth.

Prognostication

Bama should kill them

Honestly, this may be a bloodbath. I know everyone’s really excited after that amazing SemiFinal Double OT game, but what will Georgia have left in the tank? Emotionally more than anything. More than that, they don’t have the talent nor the schemes to compete with Bama. I love what Chaney does on Offense, but this is great for Bama. Running QBs in pure Power Spread schemes hurt them more than anything. But now with Pruitt as DC even that’s not a problem anymore.

As for the Bama Offense – while it’s not cutting edge, it’s still Power Spread and the talent is immense like the rest of the team. Georgia has well taught top notch Defense, but I don’t think they can hold down Bama all game.

Still Georgia could win

In saying all of that, I would be careful placing big bets on Alabama. I have seen this kind of thing before. A hot team that just wins. Georgia has nothing to lose, is feeling unbeatable and is loving life. That’s stronger than any scheme or talent. And something else even more important. TIME. When that which we don’t understand yet just falls into place. Georgia seems to have that kind of “magic” this year.

For this to happen Bama must have a letdown, bad day or a lot of injuries. Georgia doesn’t need to play great the whole game, but they need to hang on then have great momentum and play for some length of time. They must believe from the start. Most of all they have to have fun and really let loose.

Pick

Obviously, for me, the percentages are all Bama for a big win. I think it will be close early with both Offenses struggling against top defenses. I actually think Georgia can move the ball a lot with Chaney’s brilliant calls, but will they finish drives? Can they avoid big plays against them? This goes for their Defense as well. They will play well, but what about the big plays and keeping Bama out of the endzone?

If Bama’s talent doesn’t overwhelm Georgia as it did Clemson and Georgia can stay relatively close, then some crazy stuff could happen at the end. In that case I think Georgia will pull it out. I know Georgia believes, but I’m not sure they can let it loose one more time. And what happens when they repeatedly get punched in the mouth – especially once Bama gets rolling.

A close game early could turn into a rout late. I will stick with that. But as I’ve said all along about all the Football Playoffs  – anything is possible this year in this wild and crazy PS Football Mess(scroll down to “The PS Mess”).

 

Comments
  1. […] 2018 National Championship – Alabama vs Georgia […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s