Saturday, August 2, 2014

The rise of non-contact injuries

The (latest) injury to Malcolm Mitchell reminded me of a post AHD sent me months ago. I read through it way back in January as well as researched the links within it, but never came around to posting on the topic, perhaps because 2013's lengthy list of injured players was something I just wanted to forget. I mean the Tennessee game alone is enough to send any Dawg fan into an all out hissy fit.

However, Weiszer pointed out a couple months ago that Georgia had the same number of surgeries in 2013-14 as it did the year before, and five fewer than the 27 total of 2011-12. Plus, on the speaking tour this spring, Coach Richt took a business as usual approach:
Georgia coach Mark Richt was asked at a UGA Day speaking stop this spring whether the strength and conditioning program or rehab program is part of the problem.
“Well, I don’t think so,” Richt said. “We do look at that all the time. We do everything we can possibly to get us strong and get them in great condition and also want to do things that aren’t hurting them or stressing them out to the point where they’re susceptible to injury. Who can predict Malcolm Mitchell chest bumping his teammate after that first touchdown of the year coming down and getting an ACL? ACL injuries, which we had a large number of … just about every one of them was a non-contact injury. For whatever reason, you turn the wrong way and get that torque going and just sometimes it goes. That’s just part of it. Some years you hardly have any and this year we had a bunch.”
Regardless, the information pointing to a sharp rise in non-contact knee injuries is a trend that has every sports fan hoping their team's staff is paying close attention. Football in particular is a violent sport. Players are getting stronger and faster every year. But as the source article states, 70% of knee injuries are of the non-contact variety. That points to either a lack of training altogether or a lack of adequate training in order to prevent such injuries.

For instance, in the NFL, 24 of the 32 knee injuries (the ones a camera was able to focus in on) last season occurred during a non-contact situation. As a result, there's a growing sentiment that more emphasis needs to be given towards proper training, regardless of age.
Why does that happen? There are some theories about the limited training camp training due to the collective bargaining agreement. Others will say it’s due to youth players committing to one sport too early as a kid and the repetitive nature of training in one sport is causing ACL tears to happen earlier.
Regardless, one interesting statement of the article which we find clinically true of the players we work with is that “players may be less supervised or less conditioned with more time away from the facility, and have less access to things like ACL prevention programs that use specific exercises to strengthen muscles in the core and around the knee.”
ACL prevention programs should be implemented not only at the pro level, but more importantly at the youth development level. We believe if coaches, strength and conditioning trainers, physical therapists, parents, and players all work together to develop a more committed program that focuses on proper stability of the knee, leg, and core strength, it will significantly reduce the likelihood of ACL injuries. We find that athletes like to train for heavy power lifting without addressing fundamental movement efficiency patterns that allow the leg to work the way it should before power, speed, and agility training.
It will be interesting to see where this trend goes. We may not have access to data coming from the high school level around the country, but we should be able to generate a pulse for this at the college and especially at the professional level this season.

To take that a step further, the NFL's collective bargaining agreement has only taken time away from teams and what they are able to monitor as far as the training of their players. The NCAA on the other hand, has given its coaches more supervisory time - eight hours a week to be a part of their players' training in the summer.

Will this help prevent injuries? We don't know, and to be honest we may never know.

But it can't hurt.

Rome is roaming again

Dude, it's been awhile.
Now a junior and clearly the first-string tight end on Georgia's team, Rome wasn't able to practice at all this spring and finally was able to start running routes during the summer.
"All the ligament, muscle things are healed and prepared," Rome said. "I'm just trying to get back to putting pressure on it, being able to run around and working out the soreness."

Air Gurley

Um. Ok. You have my attention. My full attention.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Break The Fall y'all

Happy first practice day! Get hype...

But what can we expect from Keith Marshall?

The local, regional and national spotlights are on Todd Gurley. And deservedly so. He's a unique talent that we hope is poised for a historic season.

But I'm much more intrigued by what we may see from Keith Marshall at this point. Rewatching that Georgia-Tennessee game the other night reminded me of just how big of a day Marshall was on his way towards before his season ending injury. He only touched the ball five times before going down, but he was faster than everyone in a smoky gray uniform. Much faster.

The reports from the spring and off season regarding Marshall's recovery and rehabilitation are that he's done very well.
...all reports are that the junior tailback is in good shape.
“He looks exactly like the old Keith,” senior receiver Chris Conley said.
“Keith looks great,” Richt said. “Straight-ahead he looks outstanding in that area. He is changing direction. I don’t know if he’d say he’s 100 percent today. But he has no limitations whatsoever in his training.”  
And Marshall certainly has had a lot to motivate him. He's been spelling/complementing/subbing in for Gurley for two seasons. And just when he emerges from #3's shadow he suffers a terrible injury. While he's rehabbing Georgia signs two of the nation's top running backs and the fans promptly become enamored as much with the guys below him on the depth chart as they've been with the guy ahead of him. Some on the periphery have even gone to such ridiculous lengths to suggest Marshall could redshirt this season. (Blame Bobo.)

Looking at Marshall's stats tells a story of fits and starts. Sure, he averages about six yards a carry for his career, but some games he struggles to get past the line of scrimmage while others he spends most of his time in the secondary untouched. You could say his breakout game his freshman year was against Fla Atlantic, but he tends to save his best performances for bigger SEC tilts, especially Tennessee as he torched the Vols for 164 yards on 10 carries in 2012 and seemed ready to double that last season.

Keith Marshall is assuredly going into this season faster and hungrier. If his offensive line is just as hungry, Clemson and South Carolina could be seeing a lot of the back of #4's jersey. Because all he needs is a crack.

And he's gone.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Five minutes with Pruitt

So Richt's coordinators gathered in front of mics for a few minutes yesterday. And here is what we learned from the new defensive dude.
  • If you are a defensive player with a UGA scholarship showing up in Athens today, you have lost a few pounds and have not been a menace to society. Or just a complete asshole. 
  • Attrition is a synonym for weak, or thin-skinned.
  • Subbing is a question best posed closer to Labor Day. Like at least after watermelons have been served.
  • Speaking of eating, "his guys" came over and consequently there is no grillable protein at the Pruitt Estate.
  • Jenny Craig is not worthy of the Pruitt Plan for defensive linemen.
  • optimal weight = "moving well" = players in position = not waving their arms around in frustration pre-snap
  • "Newcomers in the secondary", in the parlance of our time Dude.
  • "Rico Johnson is mine bitches!!"
Seriously, it's no secret that I have no interest in trading places with tackle football players in the camps of August. But I will bend a knee tonight and pray for the guys competing for a spot on Pruitt's two-deep. May they rest in peace.

Five minutes with Bobo

So Richt's coordinators gathered in front of mics for a few minutes yesterday. And here is what we learned from the old offensive dude.
  • All his guys are as healthy as Hines Ward or Josh Murray, or any other former teammate/player that's won a reailty show recently.
  • Except Justin Scott-Wesley, who is only at half-gazelle-speed as yet. 
    Wuh? Hines can't dance. lolz
  • He likes his offensive line like he likes his Big Macs...with just enough doubt as to their potential for truly special sauce.
  • John Theus will work at both tackles, and rub the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again!
  • "I gave Rico to Pruitt because you know, he kind of needs him, " Bobo said casually. A little too casually.
  • "What?!? No questions about Gurley?!? You know he's still in Athens right? I'm gonna hand the ball to him!"
  • "A lot!"
With that Bobo ate two twinkies simultaneously, raised his eyebrows abnormally, then pushed a microphone down with some sort of Heisman pose.

We think.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Can you hear the Sanford Stadium noise?

One month. Two teams. 92,746 people.

Yep. I think I can hear it.


"I'm no PR genius, but having an athlete tweet that from campus can't be good."

In the event that you have not already, please stop what you're doing and revisit that night a perfect storm hit Knoxville TN and blew apart a football team, a university, an athletics department, and the media that covers it all. It's fantastic.

Humpday Hilarity - Marriage is bliss, chapter 26: weight gain's correlation to longevity

Johns Hopkins Weight Study...
The National Institutes of Health has just released the results of a $200 million research study completed under a grant to Johns Hopkins.

The new study has found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the men who mention it...
h/t Mac

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Freshmen jersey numbers

We can't read their tweets yet, but here are their numbers. (via Wesizer)

Can gator legs carry the load?

A lot is being made both about the potential for Florida to compete against Missouri, South Carolina, and Georgia in the SEC East this season after a disappointing (or very satisfying, depending on your perspective) 4-8 campaign last year. Also, a lot is being made about new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper's capability to turn around Jeff Driskel's career.

But perhaps as much should be made of the running back committee they have in Gainesville that will help keep linebackers and safeties honest. I don't know that I agree with the opening sentence of this article's assessment, but hard to argue with the rest of it.
This group of running backs is the deepest Will Muschamp has had in his four years in Gainesville. With his ground-and-pound philosophy and Kurt Roper calling the plays this fall, the Gators could surprisingly be one of the most productive rushing offenses in the conference.
Most of the article deals with sophomore Kelvin Taylor, son of former Gator Fred Taylor, and the likelihood of his contribution to the offensive production. For kicks and giggles I went back and looked at his stats. Georgia was able to keep him well below his season average in yards per carry, despite the fact that Florida tried really hard to get Taylor loose on the ground. No doubt, part of that success against the run was due to the gators inability to pose a downfield threat.

Sure, the WLOCP is many moons and games away. But I will always have one eye on that game. And it will be interesting to see how this new offense develops under Roper.

And for what it's worth, I also went and checked Duke's overall stats. Roper called run about 53% of the time last season for the Blue Devils. Last season the Gators ran at a 60% clip. No doubt a lot of Florida's success will depend on how Driskel absorbs Roper's system. But just as much will depend on the legs of Taylor, Mack Brown, and Matt Jones.

Monday, July 28, 2014

"A lot of people care more."

If spring practice was any indication, what commences Friday will not be for the feint of heart.
“A lot of people care more,” Wilson said. “A lot of people give more effort and a lot of people want to be great, want to go down in history. Coach Pruitt pushes us. He’s not going to take nothing. He’s not going to take less from you. He wants the best out of you. If you can’t give your best, you’re not going to play. He made that clear.”
The weeding out of the talkers, the smokers, the jokers, the done. What's left is to find a depth chart that is ready for the same two game test to start the season as 2013. Glad we get that bye week in between this year. Something tells me we're going to need it.