Chuck Oliver

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Malzahn’s Offense: THE biggest Risk/Reward In College Football?

Gus Malzahn’s offense has been THE biggest huge risk / huge reward proposition in all of college football the past six seasons. Word is, that’s about to change.

Source to ESPN: “The O.C. will be in charge of the offense.”

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn reacts after Oklahoma missed a field goal during the second half of the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

When Gus has the correct quarterback there was a definite, decided Xs and Os advantage on every Saturday. I’ll let you take a minute and come up with all the other examples you can say that about in college football. You might get to five.

But that was with the square peg at quarterback. And mind you, we’re not talking with a really good fit there was really good success. With the PERFECT quarterback there was national title sorta success.

Yes, Cam would have been a difference maker in virtually any offense, but not necessarily Heisman Trophy, undefeated season, national championship production. Same with Nick Marshall. Further proof about Gus needing the perfect fit at QB can be found at the top of the NFL draft last year: Jared Goff or Cason Wentz wouldn’t have achieved the same in Gus’ offense, so it wasn’t JUST “gimme a great QB and we’ll be fine.”

It was a lot of specific talent and, paired with his offense, Auburn was going to win. BIG. It appears now finding that needle in the QB haystack has proved too difficult to replicate on any regular basis. So Gus may be going hands up and truly giving the keys to someone new.

– Chuck Oliver
Co-Host “Chuck and Chernoff”
680 The Fan

Bad News For 12 Head Coaches…

…that is great news for everybody else.

College football in the state of Texas is at its worst in 50 years.

texasThis is the first time since 1967 that no team from the state, none of the current TWELVE Division-1 programs, finished the season ranked.

Which means it’s a great time for LSU, Bama, Florida and every other major program to poach talent.

Kirby is already taking advantage of it, or at least was, before Carter de-committed.
I declare Texas as one of three “Tied for 1st” states when it comes to CFB recruiting, along with California and Florida. If your coach isn’t at the very least getting in the mix for some of the studs there, your coach isn’t doing his job.

It’s there for the taking.

-Chuck Oliver
Co-Host “Chuck and Chernoff”
690 The Fan & 93.7

Clemson Wins National Championship…Bama, No Regrets

Clemson is the NCAA National Champion and no Bama player, coach, fan or anyone else should have any regrets about it.

I can’t say “The better team won” because with these two there was nothing that definitive. But Clemson . . . and Deshaun . . . showed they were every bit as deserving, worthy and every other adjective of being national champs.

FILE - In a Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 file photo, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) looks to pass during the first half of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football gam against Virginia Tech, in Orlando, Fla. Watson acknowledges things have not been as free and easy at returning to the Heisman Trophy stage as it was getting there a year ago, when he finished third in the balloting. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson (4). (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)

It’s telling that the biggest compliment we can give the now-reigning national champs is “They’re Bama’s equal.”

But there IS one thing I mentioned ALL SEASON about Bama, but that never reared its head, showed up last night.

“Bama’s defense is every bit as talented as last year’s defense, they’re just not as deep.”

Never mattered, until the 4th quarter last night, and especially the final drive. Bama was gassed, no other way to describe what Clemson’s final possession was about.

Even then, it took at TD pass with :01 remaining to get the dub. This was an all-time game.

Monday night’s title game also gave us the biggest of Big Pictures for Deshaun Watson.

Everything we’ve said about Vince Young v USC we now will say about Deshaun in Tampa.

That’s what last night was, the kind of performance that in 2038 Danny the 22-year-old intern will say he remembers, even though he was five months old when the game was played.

Last night Deshaun was Johnny Rogers v Oklahoma, he was Buck and Lindsey, he was Doug Flutie in the Orange Bowl the night after Thanksgiving.

Those three moments were in 1971, 1980 and 1984 . . . that’s what last night will become.

– Chuck Oliverpick-team-clemson
Co-Host “Chuck and Chernoff

680 The Fan – Atlanta

Deshaun Watson: Too Many Interceptions – Will Decide the National Championship

Deshaun Watson throws too many interceptions and that will decide the national championship game tonight.

This is simply the WRONG secondary to make that kind of mistake with. You only get 11 or 12 possessions in a game so losing one or two is bad enough, but with

FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016 file photo, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws against Ohio State during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football playoff semifinal in Glendale, Ariz. For the second straight season, the Clemson and Alabama will meet for the College Football Playoff championship. While it's safe to assume quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Jalen Hurts will play pivotal roles in the game Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, you never know who will emerge as a star on the big stage, especially with the most talented rosters in college football facing off.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
Clemson QB Deshaun Watson.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Alabama it’s just as likely to be points on the board for the Tide.

The biggest opportunity for Clemson, though, actually rests on the sidelines, not on the field.

It’s on Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott, the co-coordinators – the playcalling tonight has to make Alabama’s aggressiveness work against the Tide, which means misdirections, counters, a reverse . . . and every play in that category I’m talking about requires what’s been a good Clemson offensive line to raise its level to great, and to do it against one of the top 2 defensive lines in college football.

Possible? Yes. Would I give my money at the window on it? No.

– CHUCK OLIVER
Co-Host “Chuck and Chernoff”
680 The Fan

I’m a kinder, gentler King these days…

I’m a kinder, gentler King these days, and the proof is a local announcement that I KNOW I would have felt the complete opposite about five years ago.

The Atlanta Hawks are retiring Pete Maravich’s 44 – good for him and good for the franchise.

pete-maravich
Pete Maravich

Reality is many, MANY of the folks who read this won’t have an opinion because Pete Maravich is nothing more than a name they have heard before . . . maybe. The gargantuan numbers he posted, especially in a college basketball era with no 3-pt line and no shot clock, simply can’t be believed.

Then he turned pro and averaged 24 a game over a 10-year career.

. . . and he was an even better passer.

I’m happy that my team is about to be associated just a little more with the legacy of Pistol Pete.

Matt Ryan…Time To Recognize Greatness!

The company Matt Ryan now keeps, locally, is the shortest of Short Lists. It’s time to declare:

Matt Ryan is the greatest Atlanta Falcon ever.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) runs out of the pocket against the New Orleans Saints during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

By the early 2000s we started talking the same thing re: Chipper Jones being in the discussion as the greatest Atlanta Brave ever. By 2002-ish, 2003, Chipper – already with an MVP and championship in tow – all we’d say about him was “Chipper, Glavine, Murph, Niekro and Aaron, wow, Chipper is RIGHT THERE with all those guys!”

The mountain to be the Greatest Atlanta Brave ever was WAY steeper, Hall of Famers, two-time MVPs, 300-game winners, possibly the best player in Major League history with Aaron, and the takeaway was “Hey, we’re having a conversation about Chipper being in that mix, that’s a heck of window into how great he’s been.”

Then by about 2006 or 2007, certainly by the next season when he was still hitting above .400 in the middle of June!!! we all knew Chipper had become The Guy.

It’s not nearly the same caliber of Rolodex when it comes to the guys you have to first be included with, and then pass, to be Greatest Falcon Ever. Same with ‘Nique and the Hawks. But it doesn’t mean the individual is any less great and Ryan is 100% there as the best player in franchise history.

Win a Super Bowl this season? Ryan becomes the greatest pro athlete in our city’s history.

(Evander don’t count, neither does Bobby Jones <he never turned pro, anyway>). Professional team sports, Ryan would be it.

Bama’s Change At O.C. Was 100% Nick Saban

Bama’s change yesterday at O.C. was 100% Nick Saban’s doing and it’s something we’ve never seen from him.

Not firing a coach in-season, especially seven days before a national championship game. Bigger picture applies here – I can’t remember Nick Saban ever creating, all on his own, a distraction for his team.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban walks the field before the first half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Alabama head coach Nick Saban. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Almost always it’s the opposite: there’s a slight, or even major, distraction that the media and fans are way too interested in for Saban’s comfort. So he’ll come to a presser, yell at a reporter, pound the desk and tell you to ask a Coke bottle next time, turning all the heat, all the attention on himself and away from Geno Smith’s second D.U.I., for instance, or away from an awful night from the offense when they beat Arkansas by just one point (“Why can’t we be happy that the kids worked hard and then went on the road and got a win??!!”).

Given that it’s SO the opposite of what he seemingly always does, I take it as insight into just how unreliable Saban believes Kiffin had become leading up to the Washington game and he immediately was on the mother.

A Headline About UGA Football I’d Make An Adjustment To…

Georgia wide receiver Terry Godwin (5) is stopped by Missouri safety Ian Simon (21) after making a catch in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Georgia wide receiver Terry Godwin. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

One headline about the Georgia program I’d make a slight adjustment to.

“Dawgs Lose Key Offensive Weapon to Draft”.

“Dawgs lose key special teams weapon” is actually far more accurate!

There’s been plenty of talk about the change to the blocking scheme up front, despite Kirby showing some flexibility and using the previous zone approach at times. But what very few have talked about is the philosophy change on the perimeter with the receivers – essentially, Kirb’s only going to send out one Little Guy at a time. That’s why when folks talked about Terry Godwin’s “regression” this season or him not improving on a good FR year, it was really off-base. Godwin’s numbers didn’t explode because the staff wants two big receivers on the outside to block, which means most snaps it was a choice to have either McKenzie or Godwin on the field.

McKenzie’s receiving numbers exploded this season. He had 16 career catches coming in, put up 44 this year. But only because he played more than he had in the past. Godwin’s numbers were almost identical to his FR season. But only because he played less.

Offensively? Dawgs will be fine, Godwin will step up and have 60 catches next season. Special teams-wise? Serious challenge for the staff to replace that production from the Joystick.