Danny, I understand why that game Saturday night could drive a man to drink.
Daily Archives: September 29, 2008
Last night, I did something that I know I would never have done but for this blog. I made myself sit down and watch a replay of the first half of the ‘Bama game. I’m not going to bore anyone with a detailed breakdown of what went wrong (besides, I promised I wouldn’t do that), but I did find that most of my general impressions of what happened along the way to that 31-0 debacle sitting in the stands were confirmed on the tube, so I thought I’d share some.
First of all, Saban and his staff did a superlative job of scouting Georgia and drawing up a game plan that took advantage of certain tendencies they anticipated they would see in the game. On offense, that meant throwing on early downs expecting that Georgia would be defending the run and playing a lot of soft zone in the secondary. On defense, Alabama’s priorities were to clog the line to stuff the run and deny Stafford the deep ball. All of those bets paid off handsomely.
To make matters worse, Georgia’s defense lost Ellerbe early and seemed to have some problems at key times with communication and getting situated properly. A couple of times Wilson completed passes to teammates who were not being covered. Add in the lopsided time of possession and the stupid penalties and it’s fairly easy to see why ‘Bama was able to dominate the scoreboard and the stats like this:
The story on offense that made matters worse was that it was clear from the get go that, just like in last year’s South Carolina game, neither Bobo nor Stafford trusted the offensive line, which in turn affected their decision making. Bobo wouldn’t commit to running the football and Matt looked skittish throwing the ball, even though his o-line gave him decent pass protection in the first half. Neither was patient about taking what ‘Bama was giving on defense – and there were things, like the slant pass, that were there in the first half. Giving Moreno so few chances to run the ball played into Saban’s hands, as well.
Don’t forget, those of you that haven’t e-mailed your ballots to me at firstname.lastname@example.org have until 9:00 PM tonight to do so.
From today’s Department of Irony comes the SEC scoring stats:
Yep, that’s Alabama, running a traditional power running/play action passing offense that’s currently leading the SEC in scoring at 37 point per game.
And that’s Auburn, which just ditched a traditional power running/play action passing offense in favor of the current flavor of the month spread option attack, showing up in tenth by scoring roughly half the amount of points per game that ‘Bama is currently racking up.
The offensive display put on in the second half of the Auburn-Tennessee game was one of the most putrid things I’ve seen since… well, since the Auburn-Mississippi State game. I think you’d have to say at this point that the Tony Franklin experiment isn’t exactly going swimmingly so far.
Presumably you guys know the general drill for this. I’m tracking seven statistical categories that the Dawgs excelled in during the seasons they appeared in the SECCG under Richt. Those are as follows:
- Hold opponents under 17 points per game.
- Finish at least +8 in turnover margin.
- Average better than 380 yards per game on offense.
- Finish in the top five in total defensive yardage.
- Finish in the top three in first downs.
- Finish no worse than third in passing yardage.
- Finish at least third in sacks.
And here’s how things currently stack up for Georgia in the SEC statistical rankings.
- Defensive scoring: 19.2 ppg
- Turnover margin: +2 (+0.40 pg)
- Total offense: 424.8 ypg
- Total defense: 8th (286.8 ypg)
- First downs: 2nd (20.8 pg)
- Passing offense: 1st (263.4 ypg)
- Sacks by: 2nd (11)
As you can see, its standings took a bit of a hit, which isn’t surprising considering what happened Saturday night. Overall, though, there’s nothing developing that can’t be shored up at this point.