Monthly Archives: November 2009

Mike Bobo steps up.

One of the keys that most people pointed to for Georgia to have a chance against Georgia Tech was time of possession.  Georgia wound up achieving its goal of holding Tech under its season average.  Interestingly, while there was certainly a measurable effect on the number of plays the Jackets ran, the stats show that there was more to the end result than that.

Going into the game, Georgia Tech was averaging ten more plays on offense (69.36) than it was allowing on defense (59.36).  Georgia actually allowed roughly four more plays per game on defense (64.72) in its first eleven games than it ran on offense (60.64).  Tech wound up running six more plays Saturday night (64) than did Georgia (58).  As you can see, Georgia really didn’t do more than narrow the margins; the seasonal trends still played out.

What else made the difference, then?  Two things:  turnover margin and yards per play.  For only the second time all year, Georgia won the turnover battle.  The Dawgs also enjoyed a significant edge in yards per play, gaining 7.2 ypp to Tech’s 5.3 ypp.  And if you look at the Jackets’ seasonal stats, all of that mattered.

The Tech defense yielded similar or worse ypp numbers in four other games this year, all of them wins:  7. 2 against Mississippi State; 8.2 against FSU; 7.4 against Virginia Tech; and 7.5 against Vanderbilt.  Tech didn’t have an advantage in ypp in any of those games.  But Tech was +4 in turnover margin against MSU and had significant possession advantages against Virginia Tech (70-45) and Vanderbilt (82-53).  The FSU game was the (slight) puzzler, statistically speaking, as the Seminoles had one more possession on offense than Georgia Tech, went +1 in turnover margin and were even on ypp.  (FSU did have 65 yards in penalties compared to Tech’s 9, though.)

What all these numbers suggest is that Mike Bobo called a great game.  (Georgia’s ypp number against Tech was 1.3 ypp above its season average going into the game.)  Georgia needed to control the game throughout and Bobo made sure that happened.   As I said in the wake of the Auburn game, if you’re a good offensive coordinator, taking what the other guy gives you until he stops it is where you start.  Tech never had an answer for the Georgia running game and Bobo resisted any urge he might have had to get cute with the playcalling.  Tech had nothing else to counter with.  And that, in the end, was your ball game.

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51 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Stats Geek!

My Mumme Poll ballot, Week 13

Nothing new in my top five, but a little shake up elsewhere:

TOP FIVE

  • Alabama
  • Cincinnati
  • Florida
  • Texas
  • TCU

BEST OF THE REST

  • Boise State
  • Georgia Tech
  • Iowa
  • Miami (FL)
  • Ohio State
  • Oregon
  • Virginia Tech

COMMENTS

  • As emotionally satisfying as it would have been, I honestly couldn’t drop Georgia Tech out of the top twelve completely after Saturday night’s loss.  The fact is that they did just enough to have a puncher’s chance at the end of the game.  That being said, the Jackets clearly have the weakest defense of any team on the list above and it won’t surprise me at all to see them lose again this year.
  • If I left Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech in the top twelve, I couldn’t justify excluding Miami at this point.  All three ACC schools seem joined at the hip right now.
  • The schedule is killing Penn State.
  • Figuring out which school would take Pitt’s place wasn’t the hardest call for me this week.  Deciding whether Cincinnati or Boise State should get a top five nod was.
  • Total time spent on ballot:  35 minutes.

14 Comments

Filed under Mumme Poll

It seemed like it took a lot longer, sometimes.

Just for kicks, here’s the breakdown of the time each game took this year for Georgia, via cfbstats.com:

The Georgia Tech game, to no one’s surprise, was the second fastest game of the season.  But check out that Tennessee Tech number.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“No smiles ’til it’s zero-zero.”

The head coach was a serious man last night.  And that was reflected on the field – no bells, no whistles to speak of.

Just a brilliantly executed game plan.  Very tough play.  And some fortuitous timing.  For once, it was the other team that paid the price for turning the ball over and dropping a key pass.

Tons of kudos to pass out.  The defensive line played well.  Reshad Jones played the best game of his career.   Jon Fabris let Blair Walsh tee it up, at least most of the time.  Ealey and King ran as hard as they had all season.

But most of all, there was ferocious blocking.  By the receivers.  By the tight ends. By Shaun Chapas.  But most of all, by the offensive line, who played like a group possessed.

The players played.  The coaches coached.  And it all ended with a win over the seventh-ranked team in the country.  A most satisfying win.

I started this blog three years ago to the day (happy anniversary, GTP!), inspired by the 2006 win over Tech.  There are some similarities between the two wins, but, if anything, this one pleases more.  Pardon the expression, this one stings more.

At the time of the kick, I wished that Walsh had made that career-long attempt, but in the end, the results couldn’t have been sweeter.  The game was left in the hands of the genius and the best receiver in the ACC and they didn’t get ‘er done.  Somewhere in this great land of ours, Reggie Ball was smiling.

The post game scene on the field was all you could want.  The fans celebrated with a bunch of kids who finally proved to everyone, including themselves, that they could play a complete game against a worthy opponent.  And at least for a little while, we could all forget about the disappointments and the coaches’ futures and everything else that made 2009 a letdown season.  For that, all I can say is thanks.

Now I have to go taste the salty tears of disappointment on the Tech message boards.  I didn’t get enough from the jerks outside of BDS after the game last night…

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Filed under Georgia Football

Where has this team been all year?

The next Mark Bradley column writes itself, doesn’t it?

56 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

It’s all in their minds.

And so we embark on what is surely the weirdest journey of Mark Richt’s tenure in Athens – a game against the hated in state rival that’s being overshadowed by what may happen afterwards.  The speculation and the wishful pessimism have been almost surreal, but it’s clear that the honeymoon for the coaching staff is over.

Me?  I guess I’m still a small picture guy about tonight’s game.  I go into every season with Florida and Georgia Tech as my two emotional bookends.  I love to see Georgia beat Florida more than any other school and I hate to see the Dawgs lose to the Jackets more than any other school.  Nothing’s changed on that front.

So what’s it gonna take to get everything spinning in its properly greased groove again?  Well, we all know about the turnover numbers.  And we all know that clock control is going to be the mantra for both teams.  (And, if anything, limiting the number of possessions is going to magnify the effect of any turnovers.)

But I think it really boils down to this quote from Paul Johnson:  “When they don’t beat themselves, they’re a really good football team.” Don’t snicker; he’s right.  Sandwiched between three quarters of disastrously played football in their last two games are five quarters when the Dawgs whipped up on two SEC opponents to the tune of 51-16.  The problem for tonight’s game is going to be if Paul Johnson believes that more strongly than the Georgia coaches and players do themselves.

This team of ours needs to come out and play four quarters of aggressive football.  I don’t mean aggressive in the sense of being reckless, but rather aggressive by playing confidently.  It’s not about gambling on a fake punt.  It’s about realizing that you’ve got the best kicker tandem in the country and playing to their strengths.  It’s not about late hits out-of-bounds or red face guards or fake energy.  It’s about playing to the level of your skills and realizing that you’ve got more than enough talent to win.  And more than anything, it’s not about playing in fear of the worst thing that could happen at a given moment or relaxing when it feels like you’ve gotten the upper hand.  It’s about playing mentally tough football for a complete sixty minutes.  Unfortunately, that’s an attitude that’s been missing for some time now.  And after the Kentucky collapse, you have to question whether this staff and these players have it within themselves to regroup emotionally.

So I’ll be down at BDS tonight, like most fans, I expect, hoping for the best but fearing the worst.

25 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Red and Black Friday

When it comes to the Dawgs, it looks like many have quickly moved on from thankful mode to gloom and doom.

Barnhart’s written tomorrow’s game off.

… Athletically, Georgia should be able to hang around but there is no evidence that the Bulldogs can handle a tough, physical football game for four quarters.

Begging to differ a little here, but Georgia’s problem this year hasn’t been playing tough physical football, it’s been staying tough mentally.  And that’s something that you can take back to last year’s Tech game.  Just ask Rennie Curran.

“Going into the game, we thought we had a good grasp on it, and if you look at the start of the game, we were doing fine,” Curran said.

“But once guys started to relax and weren’t wrapping up or a guy forgets the pitch or forgets the dive, that’s when they get those big yardage gains off of your mistakes.”

Once guys started to relax” – notice it’s not “for some reason”.  In other words, it didn’t come as any surprise.  There’s your problem with this year’s edition, as well.  So for everyone who wants to take heart in Miami’s vast improvement on defense from their game with Georgia Tech in 2008 to this year’s sole defeat of the Jackets, keep in mind one of Randy Shannon’s keys to Da U’s win:

“We knew last year when we played them they didn’t do their assignments, so they trusted the coaches, believed in what we were saying and they executed.”

How strongly do you feel that’s happening for Georgia and Martinez tomorrow?

And if you’re looking for a couple of doses of longer term pessimism, start with Mark Bradley’s piece about how winning tomorrow may not be such a great thing for a team that’s just scrambling to remain second-tier.  Then you can move on to Stewart “Montana” Mandel, who’s not sure about the talent level at Georgia, but is convinced about the “plain old bad coaching”.  Mandel also borrows Bradley’s drum to bang on:

… Richt is also dealing with much the same problem as recently deposed SEC coaches Phillip Fulmer and Tommy Tuberville: His competitors are catching up. Florida has separated itself considerably under Urban Meyer. Georgia Tech, which Richt beat each of his first seven seasons, is now a BCS contender. Tennessee — which has blown out the Dawgs two of the past three seasons — is quickly beefing up its talent level under Lane Kiffin. And Auburn, with whom Georgia wages a whole lot of recruiting battles, now employs its own renowned recruiter in Gene Chizik. Georgia may be considerably better next season, but so, too, could its primary rivals. I wouldn’t expect a quick fix in Athens.

One thing – Gene Chizik, “renowned recruiter”?  When did that happen?

23 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Mark May jumps the shark.

Easily the funniest thing I’ve read this college football season:

Q: Who do you think is the best fit to replace Weis if he is fired, and any chance Coach Holtz would return if Notre Dame came calling?

A: … And I think Coach Holtz would probably take it as a two- or three-year deal to get Notre Dame back where it should be. And he can get the job done.

Although half of me would like to see Notre Dame actually do something that stupid…

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, General Idiocy

Happy Turkey Day, y’all

As God is my witness…

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Filed under Uncategorized

Progress, of a sort

At least he’s realized who’s not to blame for Georgia’s kickoff woes this season:

Asked about the Dogs’ troubles with kickoffs, Richt said that Blair Walsh has been doing a “stellar” job of kicking off, but “we just haven’t been covering good” this year.

Baby steps, people.  Next thing you know, he’ll be questioning why they directionally kick so much.

15 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football