Smart Notes 9/23/09

Zero out of ten. That was how many third downs Southern Cal converted against Washington. Couple that with a minus-three in turnovers, and you have a recipe for a loss. Trojan Football Analysis actually managed to stomach charting the third downs and compiling a video of the ten fruitless attempts. (Rated R for gore.)


Packers fans agree. The New Yorker on Dan Brown, of The Da Vinci Code and now The Lost Symbol fame:

By now, we all know his writing, but do we really know Dan Brown? If there’s one thing I’ve learned from him, it’s that an ancient, super-secret, quasi-religious cabal that takes on many shifting identities—much like Brett Favre—is really controlling the world. We must be suspicious of anything that has too much power.

Paul Johnson, hero. I’m a bit late with this, but it is too good not to repost. Paul Johnson is not happy with his football team, though he points out that his offense’s performance against Clemson, whereby the team rolled up 400 yards of offense, maybe doesn’t look too bad now. Other than that? Feel the wrath:

“Miami [who the Yellow Jackets were roundly defeated by] is an outstanding football team, but it wouldn’t have had to be the way we played.”

Also: “The way we played, the way we coached, it was a group effort.”

And: “We’re not really good at anything right now.”

. . . Of an illegal block that wiped out a Tech touchdown in Miami, Johnson said: “It was very poor technique. I don’t know what the guy was doing, really.”

Of Tech’s false starts: “If you can’t go on the snap count — the other team doesn’t have anything to do with that. That’s you.”

Of Tech’s defensive collapse: “We had too much in. Anytime you can’t do what you’re supposed to be doing, you’ve got too much in.”

Of coordinator’s Dave Wommack’s assertion that his defenders will switch to a 4-5-2 alignment for Saturday’s game against North Carolina: “We could play a 4-12-9, but it won’t matter what we play if we don’t get our face on somebody and our eyes where they should be.”

. . . Some also might say Johnson is being too hard on his players. I would not. For one thing, he stops short of naming names. For another, he knows those players are all he has: “It’s like having a kid. It’s OK for me to say he’s bad, but I get mad if someone else says it.”

Then this: “You set the bar where you want it, and you don’t give in until you get there. You can’t run from expectations.”

For the record, he didn’t feel his offense, at least schematically, was the culprit in Miami. “I probably shouldn’t get into this,” he said. Then, one beat later: “But let me. Go back to our Clemson game, where we played [according to some] so poorly on offense. Did you see what Clemson just did [against Boston College]? Fifty-four yards and four first downs [allowed]. Let’s give Clemson a little credit. Four hundred twelve yards [Tech’s yield was 418, actually] doesn’t look so bad compared to that.

“On the first series against Miami we had two missed assignments and kicked a field goal. On the next series — or it may have been the third [it was] — we had a touchdown called back and missed a field goal … If you only have 50 plays in a game [Tech had 54], you’re not going to get 500 yards. [Tech had 228.] Can we get better? You bet. But that’s the least of my worries right now.”

Dan Mullen doesn’t have Miss. State’s offense humming like his offense at Florida did (and they are having some issues too), but it’s worth seeing what they’re doing. Hat tip to