Saturday, November 26, 2005

College Pass Interference is a Joke

In the last 2 years against UGa, Calvin Johnson has now collected 5 pass interference calls and a defensive holding call - all to absolutely no avail. There is little question that UGa's defensive strategy is simply to mug him whenever the ball is in the air, and take the 15 yard penalty instead of letting him have a chance to make a play.

On the final drive tonight, Greg Blue made absolutely no attempt to play the ball, and just cold clocked CJ in the head after he beat triple coverage, happily taking the penalty. In the NFL, that ball is marked at the 1 yard line and GT punches it in to tie the game. In college football, the defense can basically nullify any chance at a big play and just cede the penalty yardage. There's a reason the NFL changed pass interference rulings, the previous form (and what college uses) rewarded defensive backs for interfering when beat.

Yes, it's the way the college game is played. Yes, both teams play under the same rules. No, nobody else has a Calvin, and I'm tired of watching him being negated by abusing the rules. UGa's secondary played a heck of a football game, but he got the better of them when it counted and they get a "Get Out of Jail Free" card because of the way the college rulebook is written.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your comments regarding PI are right on...however, I'm not sure I understand why we didn't run the ball with 1:10 on the clock and 2 time outs since we'd had reasonable success with the run and Reggie was off on his passing (more then usual) all night.

-A. Tebbano

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with your call on CJ (and love the blog), but the bigger problems are: why is Reggie throwing into triple coverage anyway? Why can he not throw with any consistency? Why can't Chan recruit someone that can throw to the best weapon in college football? Why are our special teams so TERRIBLE? Why did Chan let his horribly-struggling kicker go for a 47 yarder on 4th and 1 1/2? Why do we have penalties at CRUCIAL situations? And if our incredible defense is our only bright spot, what do we do when John Tenuta gets taken away? BTW, I have it on reliable authority that the Tenuta-Gailey relationship is strained at best....someone say something so I can feel better! Lie to me if necessary!


6:03 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Your whole argument (in this instance at least) seems to be predicated on the idea that CJ was a lock to catch that pass if Blue doesn't clothesline him, and I'm not sure that's necessarily true. Yeah, I know, Calvin Johnson is the greatest receiver in the history of mankind and he brought only five loaves and two fishes to Bobby Dodd Stadium and somehow there was enough for all 55,000 fans, but where you see Calvin Johnson Is Invincible, I see Reggie Ball Throwing Into Quadruple Coverage, which is every bit as certain a disaster as your scenario is a certain success.

Put it this way: Think about the final play against N.C. State . . . now, would you stake your life on CJ catching that ball?

6:41 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I don't see that as his argument at all Doug. What he's saying is that Calvin never got a chance to catch the ball because Blue smartly used the current college PI rules. I don't have a problem with Blue doing it. I don't think it was a cheap play at all and I have vocally gotten pissed on the Hive, because our DB's seem to prefer to get beat deep then give up a PI call (a problem for at least the last 6 years). However, I still think the rule is crap as it stands right now for the very reason that Nathan is stating; lesser plays can contain better players by breaking the rules. That's not the spirit that the PI rule was created in, but now that the college game has become as deep ball oriented as the pro game it's the way the rule is being used.

If the ball had gotten there one step later we would have had it on the 2 yard line regardless, because the catch would have been attempted in the endzone. It just seems out of whack that a foot is the difference between having the ball on the 2 yard line and having it on the 15 yard line.

As for the other problems that you and GD mentioned above, I agree. Reggie missed that CJ was in single coverage on the right side of the field, and Chan (who I am now in full support of after the UM win as a head coach not OC) once again forget that we had a runner averaging close to 5 yards a carry and the need to burn some time off the clock to help ensure OT since despite our kicking game that is what we were playing for anyway. We also continue to ask our QB to make plays that he is incapable of making. At least I only have to sit through one more game left where I have to see a sideline pass land somewhere in the first row.

We should consider ourselves lucky that this game came down to a correct interpretation of the rules. There was no doubt as to who won the game in the end and as to whether or not the zebras gave it away for one team or the other.

7:21 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Your points are well taken, but Nathan said Blue incurred the penalty on Johnson after CJ "beat triple coverage" -- sorry, but CJ hadn't "beaten" anything on that play. There were at least three (four depending on how you look at it) defenders surrounding Johnson at that point, and Nathan seems to be making the assumption that Johnson would've caught the ball had Blue not taken him out. But my position is there's an equal chance that one of them knocks the ball away or intercepts it. And to give Tech the ball at the 1 yard line is, in my opinion, a way of tacitly saying, "Well, he would've caught it, so we'll give them the ball right here." And that's an assumption I don't think you can make, hence I like the college rule better than the NFL's. Your mileage may vary.

I also have to take issue with two other statements Nathan made: "Calvin Johnson has now collected 5 pass interference calls and a defensive holding call - all to absolutely no avail." Really? I seem to remember DeMario Minter getting plugged for two penalties (one PI, one holding) on Tech's touchdown drive in last year's game, each of which gave Tech a fresh set of downs inside the five. Which, in turn, helped Tech to their only touchdown of the game.

Also -- "There is little question that UGa's defensive strategy is simply to mug him whenever the ball is in the air, and take the 15 yard penalty instead of letting him have a chance to make a play." Again, really? Out of 35 times Reggie threw the ball, Georgia was only flagged for interference three times, so you can hardly say UGA's strategy is to mug CJ "whenever" the ball is in the air. Now, maybe you were just using hyperbole there as a literary device, but you still can't say that pass interference was responsible for CJ only getting two catches for 14 yards the other night. That was just terrific coverage by DeMario Minter -- who, I might add, atoned for his flag-filled game against Tech last year by not incurring a single flag Saturday night while covering CJ.

8:12 AM  

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