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.

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15 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

15 responses to “Holding up their end of the bargain

  1. TennesseeDawg

    As I said before, Murray may not be as physically talented as Stafford but he is much farther along as a QB than Stafford was at this time.

  2. Jeff

    Senator, first let me say your blog is a must read for me everyday. I would like to comment on a previous blog regarding the 3 and 4. Watch the replay the 2 receivers to the right run just past the first down marker(5 yds) and make a cut. The right side of the OL cut blocks. the play was designed for a quick pass. My next point last year Ealey blocked Derrick Morgan a NFL draft choice all night, why not expect him to block an Ark, DE who I am sure was less talented. The play broke down because of poor execution.

  3. tdawgjenkins

    offensive playcalling is our biggest problem,yeah we missed tackles[m.latt.] but our points per game allowed in the losses were good enough to win. 2 tall receivers 4 tall tight ends, cant we run some short routes over the middle and just box out the defender

  4. thewhiteshark

    I do think we’re seeing improvement. A handful of plays could have changed either game. The defense is a work in progress. Played really good for most of the second half with a couple of bad breakdowns. Murray is going to be a special quarterback. Get past MSU this week and take care of business and the Dawgs ought to be 6-2 going into TWLOCP. If CWM is our defensive coordinator we probably get killed these last two weeks.

  5. PatinDC

    All the stats are moving in the right direction except one. If UGA loses to TN and KY again this year…I won’t have any patience left. The one stat that needs to change and hasn’t is winning SEC games.

    Let’s get it done boys.

  6. BenG

    Murray’s completion percentage probably is a little higher because he does tend to hold on the ball too long at times instead of throwing it in a situation where it might not be caught. If memory serves, he has half as many sacks through three games as Cox did all of last season. Not all of that is on the OL.

    Not that it’s necessarily bad. I’d rather he hold on to it than throw a pick. He seems to have really taken to heart the “take care of the ball” mantra.

    I love what I’ve seen from him so far. Can’t wait to see what he looks like with some more experience.

  7. Kevin

    Reading this post finally made something click that I couldn’t quite grasp as I watched the first 3 game.

    We seem to be getting better. In all the areas we were worried about and in all the phases of the game where something had to change, it seeeeeems like we are improved and I think that’s why there isn’t as much backlash from the fans for sitting here at 1-2. That and knowing what we have is a work in progress.

    But like I said, we’re 1-2. How are we getting better and losing more? This is just a testament to last year’s team. How the hell did they win so many games being that terrible?

  8. revdawg

    One other thing re: the defensive starting field position that I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere yet … How is our kick-off coverage yardage in comparison to last year? Just from the memory and eye test it seems to be MUCH improved (saved the first one of the year)

  9. Scorpio Jones, III

    I am not surprised at the numbers, we are playing better defense.

    You can focus on the busts or focus on the big picture, and I choose the large screen.

    I am pretty sure this weekend will tell us both SCe and Yarkansas are better teams than most folks thought.

    Meanwhile the Putin blitzkreig rolls on. There is a rumor that after winning a second national championship Bama’s football team will be planning an invasion of Mississippi.

  10. 69Dawg

    In a last ditch attempt to prevent the DB brain farts that have occurred in every game this year CTG is giving out Beano before the MSU game.

  11. BMan

    No huge problems with the defense. We were all resigned to the notion that some big plays were going to happen during the learning curve, and they have. Overall, they’ve been much improved. The tackling was questionable in Columbia, and Vance Cuff in particular looks to be having a hard time exorcising the Willie demons and still employs the shoulder bump as a form of tackling. I expect that to be straightened out or see him riding pine (along with Hamilton).

  12. W Cobb Dawg

    I believe the coaching problems were/are deeper than most of us thought. It would be tough to express how disappointed I am in the O line and running game – which most people thought would be recognized nationally as strengths. The offensive preparation, game management and playcalling must change if this team is going to compete in the SEC. As the lapses on D are eliminated one-by-one, they will become much more of a force.

    • Vinings Dog

      I have been watching GA football for over 40 years. I tend to not be one that complains about play selection. However, I want to know what others think about our lack of running the toss sweep. We got yardage with it against SC then we stopped using it. People suggested that SC adjusted. So, in order to stop GA, all you have to do is pull up a safety? My point is that you can run the sweep to either side, AND even if they have more defenders close to the line of scrimmage, you should attempt the play, not abandon it until they physically stop it. As it stands now, the opponent merely needs to adjust and we stop running a successful play.

      Why do we have Murray in the pocket so often? He is not very tall and has great feet, so why not sprint him out more often, and utilize his talents? Our pass patterns tend to be very long. Would it not be wise to have some shorter routes so the young QB can get the ball out faster? What has happened to our tight ends?

      I have come to the conclusion that besides Boling and Jones, our OL is not very good. Yes, they are experienced, but even the DL from ULL did fine against our guys, not to mention Ark. and SC.