Gameday on Rocky Top Podcast

The Gameday on Rocky Top Podcast: Takeaways from the Georgia Tech game

In this week’s Gameday on Rocky Top Podcast, Will, Brad, and I chat about:

  • What we learned from the Georgia Tech game that might translate into the rest of the season (1:00 mark);
  • Our early objective assessment of Quinten Dormady, Tennessee’s passing game, and the target rates for pass catchers in the absence of Jauan Jennings (14:30);
  • What, if anything, we learned about the defense that translates the rest of the year (27:50);
  • Bob Shoop’s decision not to rotate defensive linemen (31:50);
  • The linebacker situation going forward (33:30);
  • The passivity/timidity of the defensive alignment and the defensive linemen against Georgia Tech (35:30);
  • Getting the two best linebackers on the field (37:40);
  • The impact of the game on our estimated win probabilities the rest of the way (40:00) (Referenced post: How do we feel about the Tennessee Vols the rest of the way?);
  • Next week’s Gameday on Rocky Top Podcast for Florida week and the various flaws of the SEC East teams (48:30);
  • Downfield blocking by Marquez Callaway and the rest of the receivers (51:30); and
  • A better-paced out schedule in 2017, starting with Indiana State this week (52:50).
 Have a listen below or by downloading from iTunes.


  1. Haha Brad, “million dollar arm and a ten cent head” haha so good 🙂 Nice podcast guys!

    I’m interested in seeing some more analysis of our offense. I think defensive take-aways are hard vs Tech, but our offense really struggled through most of that game, but turned it on later. What was the difference? I mean, obviously, dropped or errant passes hurt. Was that the only difference? I thought we were rushing more, but we rushed 8 times in the first half and 8 times in the second half (plus 5 more in OT). Of those rushes, we had 6/8 “successful” (ie better than a yard gain) vs 1st half 5/8. So not much difference. The passing game, we threw 8/20 in the first half, 11/17 in the second. (1/1 in OT, not counting P.I.) So that was certainly better, and maybe did make all the difference. But I’m just wondering if the situational play calling changed late, or if it really can all be chocked up to execution.

    • I’m staying on my third down soap box: the first four drives featured 3rd and 8, 3rd and 10, 3rd and 10, 3rd and 12.

      The rest of the game: 3rd and 3 (converted), 3rd and 5 (converted), 3rd and 2, 3rd and 4, 3rd and 3 (converted), 3rd and 9 (converted), 3rd and 6, 3rd and 4 (converted). And zero third downs on two overtime possessions.

      • True, I suppose that is largely the result of better 1st down execution and specifically, where the big plays come from.
        FIRST HALF:
        Drive 1: Rush-picked up 7 on first 1st down, then Rush gets stuffed on 1st down, 3rd and long, punt.
        Drives 2-4: 1st and 2nd down gain nothing, third and long, punt. First down plays on those drives were Drive 2: Rush, Drive 3: Pass, Drive 4: Pass
        Drive 5: 1st downs picked up 7yds, 22 yards, 5 yards, TD (All four 1st downs on this drive were rushes)
        Drive 6 (1 minute drill, all passes). 1st down pass for 5 yards, 1st down pass for 8. [Note this is the first time we gained significant yardage on a 1st down and failed to cross the 1st-down marker.]

        SECOND HALF:
        Drive 1: Rush for 5 yards on 1st. 3rd and 4-pass short of first down.
        Drive 2: 1st downs pick up 7 yards (pass), 0 yards (pass), 30 yards (rush), TD (pass) [Note on the 0 yards, they got 7 on 2nd down, ensuring another 3rd and short.]
        Drive 3: Rush for 1 on 1st. 3rd and 9- pass for 10 yards, Incomplete pass on 1st, TD pass on 2nd down.
        Drive 4: 3 and out, all incomplete passes.
        Drive 5 (the big one): First downs pick up 4 yards (rush), 3 yards (rush), 40 yards (pass), 16 yards (rush), 11 yards and TD (rush)

        Drive 1: 1st downs pick up 6 yards (Rush), 1 yd TD (Rush)
        Drive 2: 1st downs pick up 1 yard (rush), P.I. in the end zone (pass), 2 yard TD (Rush)

        So, no surprise, first down success leads to third and manageable. But what I thought was interesting was how many of our bigger plays came on first downs in the second half.
        First half we had 6 drives. Only two were better than 3 & punt. Drive 5, where almost all the yards came on first downs (including a 22yd run), and Drive 6 which was 1 minute drill, all passes, none longer than 10 yds.
        Second half we had 5 drives. Three were better than 3 & punt. Drive 1, the good plays came across the downs. 2 plays longer than 10 yds: 14yd pass on 3rd down, 30 yd run on 1st down. Drive 2, 10yd run on 3rd down and 50 yd pass on 2nd down. Drive 4, we had two 10+ yard runs and one 40yd pass (all on 1st down)
        OT we scored in three plays both times. 2nd down run of 18 and pass of 15 were critical.

        Of the 12 plays that were ten yards or longer, 5 were rushes and 7 were passes (which makes sense, since passes generally are more per attempt and we attempted more passes than rushes). Of those 12 plays, six came on 1st down, four on 2nd down, and two on 3rd down.

        Lastly, using the S&P+ definition of success rate (plays gaining 50% of yards needed on 1st down, 70% needed on 2nd down, 100% needed on 3rd down) here’s the breakdown: 13 successful runs, 15 successful passes. 17 successful 1st downs, 7 successful 2nd downs, 5 successful 3rd downs. [Note 3 of the 1st down runs were 1yd TDs]

        Not sure what that tells us haha 🙂 I think it shows what I certainty felt to be true, that we were more successful rushing than passing (when you consider 12/22 carries were “successful” vs only 15/37 passes). But 15/20 completions were “successful,” so clean up the drops and errant balls and our play calling will get us success.
        First downs: We had 28 first down plays and were “successful” on 17. That’s a 61% success rate on 1st down. (which I suppose is pretty good?)
        Q1: 25%, 0 TD. Nothing was working in first quarter.
        Q2: 86%, 1 TD. Really surprised here. Best statistical showing at 1st down.
        Q3: 80%, 1 TD. Two possessions, both with excellent 1st down play.
        Q4: 38%, 2 TD. Surprised how low this figure is. First TD drive on the back of solid 2nd and 3rd down play. Second TD drive was strong 1st down play.
        OT: 75%, 2 TD. It’s easy to have successful 1st downs when it’s 1st and goal with John Kelly.

    • Haha, I calls em like I sees em

  2. So I’m watching the SEC Network program SEC Inside which followed Florida’s preparation for and game against Michigan. If my instincts are even a little correct that team and program is in deep trouble… the coaches are absolutely obsessed with metaphors and inspiration. It seemed like every meeting they had was focused around using some buzzword or phrase like “be the alpha lion” or “paint the picture you want to see” which has, in my experience always been a hallmark of ineffective leaders. I suppose we have similar nonsense with things like “brick by brick” but I really don’t know how deep that kind of thinking goes.

    It’s simply been my experience that the best leaders communicate their ideas effectively primarily by being direct with their stated goals and expectations for those around them.

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