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10 College Teams Putting the Most Players in the NFL

By on September 11th, 2019 in Football 7 Comments »

photo: UPI

Which colleges have produced the most active football players in the NFL? According to a January, 2019 article by US News and World Report, the following list makes up the top 10.

Auburn and UGA tied at 28 each
Clemson 29
University of Southern California 32
Florida State 33
University of Miami and Ohio State tied at 36 each
University of Florida 38
LSU 40
Alabama 44

So is it X’s and O’s or Jimmies and Joes? You need raw material, but coaching matters. From the data provided above we should see why Auburn has difficulty with LSU and Bama. However Georgia is comparable. It should be expected that Auburn would have some natural talent imbalances against LSU and Bama. By contrast player level variables are evened out with UGA. Auburn should be competitive with Georgia at least 50 per cent of the time. When we look at the all-time record, we see that is the case.

But what about lately? Coaching matters. Now, this is not intended as a hit piece against Gus Malzahn. But rather a look at one aspect: his use of personnel. In particular his use of tight ends, H-backs and fullbacks. Everyone knows these big-bodied guys should be able to block. Yet they can do so much more than that. And it is their versatility which makes them such a dangerous weapon, both on the ground and as receivers.

When Auburn has a less than stellar offensive line and the defenders are stacking the box with 7, 8, even 9 guys, our five offensive lineman are overwhelmed. They need help. It is not reasonable to expect 5 average guys to hold off the rush of 7, 8 or 9 guys. This is when tight ends, H-backs and fullbacks must be employed to equal the pressure and pick up defenders who get through the line. However, Coach Malzahn insists on having 4 wideouts and no-back sets, even during obvious running downs. My question is how is that going to fool anybody?

If the O-line can’t get a push, send in more beef and use personnel designed to maximize mass on mass for running plays. If the play breaks down, a handoff or short lateral pass to the H-back or fullback can help bail out a harried quarterback. This option becomes even more viable on designed pass plays when pass protection breaks down quickly. Short passing routes to tight ends or dump offs to the H-back or fullback provide outlets and negate pressure.

But for some reason, Malzahn has pigeonholed certain players as receivers, others as runners, and others as blockers. Now, one might think the designated players are only good at the roles assigned to them. But, the NFL uses these guys in expanded roles. Tight ends are receiving the ball more often in the NFL than they do at Auburn. Fullbacks are getting the ball more often in the NFL than they do at Auburn. This proves that these guys are capable of expanded roles.

The fact is, the five linemen we have right now are having difficulty handling defensive fronts. This was evident last year, and it has continued through the first two games this year. Sure, the guys are more experienced. But they’re still the same five, average guys playing the same average way. Therefore it is imperative that additional blockers are utilized in order to handle defensive fronts.

The opposition has Auburn scoped out. They know the game plan, the plays, the tendencies, the assigned roles, the personnel. The Jimmies and Joes just aren’t there on the offensive line. This is when X’s and O’s are needed to make a difference.

7 Comments

  1. zotus zotus says:

    So, is it the:
    a) X’s and O’s
    b) Jimmie’s and Joe’s
    c) Coaching Staff

    Want some insight on that, take a look at a Head Football Coach like (say) Nick Saban or Dabo Sweeney for some clues. These guys seem to know what’s important. These guys seem to know what to major on when building a major college football program.

    But, probably best stay away from Head Football Coaches that can’t find a way to field a football team that can consistently do the basics like cover punts, and stuff like that.

    Those coaches tend to ‘major on the minors’ and never seem to know why their teams are successful or why teams are not successful.

    Head Football Coaches like that are a crap shoot every year. More times than not, coaches like that will field you a mediocre football team, and set your football program back a generation or more.

    P.S. Doubt it? Can you say, “The Once Proud and Mighty Tennessee Volunteers?”

    P.P.S. Nick Saban didn’t bring Tennessee down. Tennessee brought Tennessee down.

  2. Would love to see the tight ends and fullback/H-backs be involved more in the passing game.

  3. WDE7385 WDE7385 says:

    Panda,
    Are you saying the HUNH is a “one and done” idea?

    Quote: “The opposition has Auburn scoped out. They know the game plan, the plays, the tendencies, the assigned roles, the personnel.”

    Agreed.
    Even with my limited football resume, I know what is being called most of the time.
    Please, Malzahn, surprise me.

    • KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

      I wouldn’t say the HUNH is a done deal. But I would say that Malzahn’s play calling and personnel use/packages have become predictable. It’s too bad really, because when he first came on the scene he was very innovative and would create plays to accommodate the players he had on the bench. But after awhile, he was more concerned with running “his” plays, whether he had players suited for those plays or not.

      For example, will the backup quarterback throw a pass? The last few years say probably not. Result, defenders can stack the box and play the odds.

      Gus has to start scheming against type. Most other teams throw little quick 5-10 yard routes to help a QB under pressure. We almost never do that. And throw to the H-back or fullback? The standard Gus pass to the fullback is wheel route down the right side. Tight ends will get the rare shot in the right corner of the end zone once we get inside the twenty. Once in a blue moon, maybe the left corner.

      Malzahn seems to think only wide receivers can catch a pass. And then, only a select few are honored to get a shot. The rest mostly block.

      • WDE7385 WDE7385 says:

        The HUNH as a offensive concept is, definitely, not done. To your point, everyone does understand it, almost everyone has adopted some version of the HUNH (even Saban). Everyone now knows how to defend it.
        So, back to basic football, Jim and Joe or X and O.
        However, that seems to be the one brilliant, shining moment of Malzahn and he got stuck in it.

    • Orangeblood says:

      It is all of it!

      You got to have the best players.
      I don’t understand giving a SEC scholarship to an UNDERSIZED PLAYER. Some are just division 2 type players…or the FCS,,, as it is now.
      In football, most of the time, it is the size of the dog in the fight.
      I think Joyner is going to be a star in the future, with his size.

      It’s also a great game plan, and when that plan fails, You must be able to successfully adapt.
      That’s what sets Dabo and old saint Nick apart. They make great in-game adjustments.

      Lastly it’s X’s and O’s.
      It seems like Auburn only has a limited number of plays they run. Most coaches, or O coordinators I see have a laminated sheet of plays, full on front and back.
      I don’t think Coach M has a full arsenal of SEC type plays. I’ve never seen him holding a place sheet. He can’t possibly keep all those plays in his head.

      Malzahn throws too many plays to the sidelines, behind the line of scrimmage. Even when we need a first down of five or six yards. The pass needs to be beyond the first down marker.

      We don’t even seem to have a check down option for the qb, not enough throws to the releasing back or tight end? My goodness get Shenker an Nigh into the gameplan… Their game changers.
      Tight ends are about 10% of your offensive arsenal.

  4. SEC_Eric SEC_Eric says:

    Five of the top 10 schools putting guys in the pro’s are in the SEC. Says a lot about the South Eastern Conference.

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