Daily Archives: September 22, 2010

My, he sure talks purty.

Dan Mullen lays out the praise for his team’s opponent this week, our beloved Georgia Bulldogs.

“In my view of things, and their record might now show it, but they’re a top 25 football team in the country – easily — right now,” Mullen said on today’s SEC coaches’ teleconference.

Easily. Hoo, boy, ain’t that nice?

Except for one thing.

… Mullen, by the way, votes in the USA Today coaches’ poll. He did not have Georgia in his top 25 this week (none of the 59 voting coaches did)…

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62 Comments

Filed under Blowing Smoke

So, why the long faces?

If you’ve read my last post, you’re probably thinking something along the lines of “fine, Bluto, Murray and the defense haven’t sucked as bad as I may have thought, but this team is still 1-2, so whom or what to we blame for that?”

Fair question.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but maybe it’s worth going back and looking at a few assumptions that we all made before the start of the season and see how they panned out.

  1. Georgia Tech 2009 as a template. Big, experienced offensive line, deep backfield = lots of rushing yards and ability to control games.  Before you argue that the results of the Tech game were a statistical mirage, go back and look at the stats from last season.  Georgia rushed for more yards against the Jackets than any other team they faced, and did it at the second-best yards per carry average for the season.  Even if Tech’s run defense was substandard, Georgia’s rushing offense clearly played at a high level.  So what’s happened this season?  The injuries to Chapas and King haven’t helped, but line play hasn’t been consistent (run blocking is the single biggest disappointment to date) and the longest run from scrimmage belongs to Aaron Murray.  Nobody foresaw this team ranking next to last in the conference in rushing a quarter into the season, including the coaches.
  2. A.J. Green would be there to help Aaron Murray grow into his role. That’s worked out well so far, don’t you think?  I don’t think Green’s presence in the South Carolina game in and of itself would have changed the result, but I sure would have liked to have seen how the Arkansas game played out with Green on the field.
  3. Early on, it would be more important to exercise mistake avoidance over play making with a redshirt freshman quarterback. While I don’t think Green flips the South Carolina game by his lonesome, I do wonder if down the road the coaches are going to look back at that and consider what might have been if they hadn’t clamped down on Murray’s game, particularly in the first half.  To be fair, I’m not sure many realized how quick Murray’s progression would be (remember the G-Day reviews?), but that wasn’t the first time we’ve seen Georgia under-utilize its best offensive talent against the Gamecocks – See Knowshon Moreno, 2007 game.
  4. The tight ends would play a significant role in the offense. Some of the fall off there is because Georgia has lined up in a lot of max-protect I sets, but some of it seems to be due to Bobo being unwilling or unable to adjust to defenses crowding the middle with their linebackers and bringing safeties in the box.

If you think I’m pointing a finger in a particular direction, you’d be right.  I know some of what’s on that list the staff had little control over and some wasn’t expected.  But adjusting to what you have is part of what you get paid for and to date, we haven’t seen enough of that.

The good news is that some of these problems are going to begin clearing up on their own.  Chapas should return soon.  So will Caleb King.  Green is back for the Colorado game.  The coaches are beginning to recognize what they’ve got with Murray.  All of those things will allow Bobo to open up the playbook more, which should help the running game and the tight ends.  The troubling part is the offensive line, which was inconsistent blocking the run and had problems picking up the blitz last week.  As fun as he is to watch, asking Murray to bail out the line on a regular basis won’t be a successful strategy over the course of the season.  It’s time for Searels to get that sorted out.

36 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Holding up their end of the bargain

Going into the season, it’s fair to say that the two biggest concerns expressed about the Georgia program were how the defense would do with a new staff and new scheme and how a redshirt freshman quarterback would hold up.  We’re three games in and these Dawgs are 1-2, but the statistical picture painted so far might surprise you.

First, start with Aaron Murray.  He’s got two SEC games under his belt, and here’s how he stands with his conference peers:

That’s certainly a credible start.  He’s better in every single statistical category I’ve listed than the much more ballyhooed John Brantley.  If that completion percentage (62.2%) holds up, it’ll be the best number ever posted by a starting quarterback in the Richt era.  And, more importantly, note that Murray’s passer rating is better than Joe Cox’ 2009 rating.

As for the defense, take a look at this post over at Team Speed Kills.  Year2’s comparison of this year’s South Carolina and Arkansas games with those from 2009 shows a defense that has tightened up against the run (despite going from a four-man front with size and experienced depth at the tackle position to a three-man defensive line), forced more punts and turnovers and, most importantly, reduced scoring.  You asked for a more aggressive defense, Dawgnation, and that’s what you’ve gotten (that’s at least a partial explanation for why the yards per passing attempt rose).  The new coaches and scheme seem to be making a difference.

Also, catch this:

… I don’t know if we can chalk all of the improvement, especially in points, up to the defense alone. Georgia committed three turnovers in each of these games last year, as opposed to one turnover in each of this year’s games. That helps out any defense. In addition, Georgia’s punt coverage is a little more than four yards per punt better and its kickoff coverage went from allowing 25.71 yards per return in ’09 to 17.57 per return this year. These two combined have resulted in about 40 yards of field position saved per game. [Emphasis added.]

I know that we bitch about the offseason chatter from the coaches about how this area or that is going to improve because of renewed focus, only to see little change, but there’s an indication that what was said about special teams and turnovers wasn’t mere lip service.

15 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Ma’am, put down the pen and step away from the drawing table, please.

Oy.

Lameness of the subject aside, having to resort to labeling your subjects with name tags is a pretty good sign that your technical skills need work.

15 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Dawg Stat Watch, Week 3

Technically, they still have a pulse, so I’ll keep tracking the numbers until we start shoveling dirt over the corpse.

Again, I’m following seven conference statistical results that correlated with the three seasons in which Georgia won the East (2002, 2003 and 2005).

  1. Hold opponents under 17 points per game.
  2. Finish at least +.67 per game in turnover margin.
  3. Average better than 380 yards per game on offense.
  4. Finish in the top five in total defensive yardage.
  5. Finish in the top three in first downs.
  6. Finish no worse than third in passing yardage.
  7. Finish at least third in sacks.

With the third game in the books, here’s where the conference tale of the tape stands for Georgia:

  1. Scoring defense:  18.3 ppg.
  2. Turnover margin:  +.33 pg.
  3. Total offense:  340.7 ypg.
  4. Total defense ranking:  eighth.
  5. First downs ranking:  eleventh.
  6. Passing yardage ranking:  fifth.
  7. Sacks ranking:  sixth.

Given the opponent and outcome last Saturday, no real surprises there.  They don’t play any real offensive powerhouses in the next few weeks, so look for the defensive stats to improve.

2 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!