Should we hang E Gran before or after his trial ?


I have seen many posts that reflect a low opinion of Eddie Gran, our special teams and running back coach. I just wanted to look at some things in more detail and will share what I came across.I will not bore you with all the accolades he has received but will instead focus on the things our running backs have done(or maybe it would be better to say...not done) and a special teams analysis. 

Special teams first. I will not dwell on our punter and kicker since I think most will agree that they are top notch. One of the comments I have heard repeated is....."why don't we have any punt blocks?" I may be wrong, but I believe in 5 of our 6 games to date we have attempted to set up the return as opposed to going after the ball. In the lone game we attempted to block punts we had less than stellar results. One very meaningful "roughing" call and another that was meaningless. On one of them the player attempting the block took a bad angle and, as a result, missed what should have been an easy block. People that are predisposed to bash Gran will say it was his fault for not teaching proper technique. The opponents of that sentiment will say it was a quirk and the player just didn't execute.But everyone should give credit to Gran for finding the weakness in the punting team that allowed the FSU player to have a legitimate chance to make the block.

 I'll let you pick who's to fault but try and keep your bias in check.

 If one looks at ACC stats (I have included a table with the top four teams and the top four players) you will see that FSU is 4th in punt return average yardage. But that average is hurt by the inclusion of R. Green's 3 very poor punt returns for a grand total of 1 yard. If we remove his rather dismal numbers, FSU is #3 in this category as we jump V Tech. But surely something must be wrong when, even at #3 and a 11.6 yard average we are so far behind NC State and UM. Gran must certainly be screwing this up.

Two things come to mind for me. First, my impression is that G Reid tries to return every punt, regardless of the proximity of the opposing tacklers. FSU's numbers show that they return 46% of all punts while the two teams ahead of us (after the exclusion of R Greens #'s)  return only 26 and 39% of total punts. This supports that impression, and, is reinforced with my perception that many teams punt away from G Reid and therefore, his  percentage returns of punts that he can get his hands on must be much higher than 46%.

If you stop and think about this for a moment, then you must agree that his return average could be much higher if he was more selective.We can all debate the wisdom of his aggressive style, but at least he doesn't let the damn ball bounce and he gives himself more shots at busting the big play. Bottom line on this angle.....our average return could certainly be better but at least he's getting something and only hurting himself and FSU in the stat department.

Second thing, numbers can be distorted by the big play. A running back carries for two times, one a play for no gain and the other is a 85 yard td. Great average....42.5 yards but, at least in my mind, it's very deceiving. With this in mind, I removed the big play from the numbers and NC State really comes back to the pack. In fact, they fall all the way to #4 on this list. Bottom line on this angle.....FSU moves up to #2 behind UM, which appears to be very choosy in making the decision to return punts as evidenced by their very low percentage number (26%).

I doubt that any of this will change the mind of the Gran detractors but it just might give you something to consider.

 I will not discuss the kickoff  numbers other than to say FSU is #4 in the ACC in this department. I mentioned these items on another post and will not recite the tables and stats but will repeat the rankings. First in field goal percentage.But that's all D Hoffman you might say. I'd respond that the long snapper and holder would take exception to that comment. Kick off coverage numbers are #1 and that has a lot to do with D Hopkins but when you look at the average return yards, FSU only drops to #2 behind Duke. Maybe that has something to do with hang times, but I don't believe anyone has put the old stop watch to all the kickers in the ACC so that is simply the subject of debate.

As far as punt coverage is concerned, FSU is in the middle of the ACC pack in punt return average yards allowed at 2.8. Just too small of a number to draw any conclusions I'm afraid.  

 Special teams conclusions. IMHO, FSU is doing very well thanks to the kicker, the punter, the long snapper, the kick holder, and the guys blocking and tackling.  

Now to the trickier part...the running game. I have made other posts that have pointed the finger at the offensive line. With the lack of continuity in the unit playing together, a few bad years in recruiting resulting in playing 17 and 18 year old kids that have no business playing that early at that position.... it has been tough. Combine this with the loss of our top two guys on the O line from last year and that's the recipe for disaster. No need to post numbers to support this because we have all seen it...and it's been very clear.

 I have seen people say the rb's have "regressed". I'm not sure if (a) you could demonstrate this with any numbers that are available, (b) not sure you could convince me it's even possible to regress in the pure instinct side of running,(c) and even if you could convince me, how would you show it's Gran's fault.

When it comes to hitting a certain hole, pass protection, pass routes, ball protection, and other taught techniques I would say a coach has a big role in that but all I've seen is that they are not making certain cuts to space or they're not selecting the hole provided and, therefore fail to take advantage of what's in front of them. My response is that our backs got very used to R Hudson and R McMahon creating big holes and making the right line calls. This was their "security blanket" and they took it for granted as we did.

Now 2011 rolls around and our rbs look at the mess in front of them and sometimes are clueless, demoralized and lost. I find it difficult to believe they took some stupid pill administered by E Gran and therefore "regressed". IMHO, it's not the rb's that have "regressed"'s the offensive line.  




Punts rec’d

% punts ret’d


Avg per return






















V Tech


















Total yds



Td yards

Adj yards

Adj avg.









T Graham








T Benjamin








G Reid

















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