One thing to check on Todd Grantham’s to-do list

This may be a grudging acknowledgement on my part, but I have to admit this counts as improvement.

… There’s another glaring stat that Georgia has: just one sack. Only six other teams at the FBS level have just one sack so far, and four have none. But Grantham pushed back on the importance of that stat, saying that pressuring the quarterback is just as important.

“Yeah. I mean, we’re doing fine,” he said. “Look, sacks, everyone wants them, I like them too, but there’s other things that are more important.”

He then pointed to third-down defense, where the team is now second in the SEC after finishing 12th last year, which he said was a byproduct of pressure.

Besides third-down defense, another area of obvious improvement from last year is big plays. The defense was plagued by them last year, but so far this year there have been just two plays of more than 20 yards.

Even taking Coastal Carolina out of the equation, the Dawgs rank third in the conference in opponent third-down conversion rate.  Considering that’s after playing two top ten teams, it’s not too shabby.

This is an area that many of us were screaming about after last season.  Grantham needed to improve it drastically for Georgia’s chances to improve in 2011.  So far, give the man credit for paying attention.

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46 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

46 responses to “One thing to check on Todd Grantham’s to-do list

  1. Bevo

    Personally, I’m pretty happy about the improvements on defense under Grantham. So far, the defense has done enough to allow the team to win three out of three football games. A lot of our fans look at final scores and forget about points on turnovers, extremely inopportune turnovers, bad field position, time of possession issues, etc. Aside from being worried about the ILB situation, I like what we have.

    The offense, on the other hand, puts up decent aggregate numbers but fails to do what’s necessary to win football games.

  2. Russ

    I agree the defense is better. However, we never could get the key stop against Boise. If that’s the worst that happens, I’ll be a happy camper. I do think the defense (and the entire team) will continue to improve and I think we’ll finish on a roll.

    • The other Doug

      We did get the key stops early against Boise. Eventually our defense got worn down though.

      • AlphaDawg

        I’m not sold we were worn down lat in the game, we held thier RB well below his average in YDS gained and average, I think we were beat by a Heisman worthy QB exploiting a walkon playing MLB

        • Russ

          Well, yeah, there’s that. :)

          Boise is experienced and good. (I still think if we play them at the end of the year, we could whip them.)

          • Will (The Other One)

            I’ve got to admit, in weaker moments, I get excited thinking what the D could be like with the return of a healthy ‘Tree, and Ray Drew playing half as well as Sakerlina’s Clowney.

  3. Ginny

    Agree completely. I don’t care how many sacks we have as long as our defense is getting off the field. And considering we’ve already played the two best offenses we’ll face this season, only giving up two big plays is quite a feat.

  4. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Everybody just needs to get a grip. This is a good team and is going to win games.

    • Skeptic Dawg

      Regardless of who they have played, good teams do not start the year with a 1-2 record. They may end up a good football team and finish 10-2. But good teams do not giftwrap 28 points in a ball game. Good teams do not come out and look overwhelmed in the season opener. Good teams do not struggle with their O-line. All of these issues may be corrected. However, right now no one in their right mind would call the 2011 Dawgs “a good team”.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Nobody ever accused me of being in my right mind.

        • PatinDC

          Mayor of Dawgtown
          September 21, 2011 at 11:51 AM
          “Nobody ever accused me of being in my right mind.”

          Giggle.

      • Bevo

        I’m afraid the Skeptic is right about our beloved Bulldogs.

        We have improved from 2010 in some areas, but it appears thus far that we are still not a good football team. I cannot deny that. And I don’t see any reason to think that we’re about to make the huge strides in front of us.

        7-5 would be bad; 8-4 is likely; 9-3 would be good; 10-2 would be surprising.

        • dawk

          I am in agreement with both Bevo and Skeptic Dawg.
          I will also add that if they do achieve a an 8-4 record it would be the same record that got there last D coordinator fired. It was also his worst record.

          • King Jericho

            He also got to recruit more than one season of players, got several years to install his system, and was generally trending downwards despite a bevy of talent on that side of the ball.

      • Hackerdog

        By your criteria, I don’t think there is a good team in the East this year. So we still have a puncher’s chance.

    • ChicagoDawg

      Only the full measure of time (12 games) will show it, but the QB that GA played in the opener is on a different plane than everyone else. He may not have NFL physical measurables, but he has NFL accuracy, decision making, poise and quick release. It is damn hard to swallow the fact that Boise State is a better team than GA, but that cat was playing XBOX back there in the pocket and it will be the best offense they see all year. Also, the RB in the second game is an NFL player who is only playing CFB because of draft elgibility requirements — again on a different plane than every other RB at the collegiate level. Despite that, the defense has shown marked improvement and there is no reason to believe it won’t continue.

      • AlphaDawg

        Isn’t Lattimore draft eligble after this season?

      • Bevo

        We had first round draft picks at WR, RB and QB a few years ago. That was the season we got laughed out of two stadiums in complete blowouts and lost to GaTech.

        • King Jericho

          All three of those losses that year we gave up 41 or more points. You tell me how those positions prevent that from happening. And being required to score more than that on traditionally very strong defenses (not including Tech) is not a good solution.

          • Bevo

            I think you invented an argument (a pretty bad one, by the way) and attributed it to me.

            My argument was in response to Chicago Dawg’s suggestion that we get a pass because we’ve been facing NFL talent. My response is: If we’re handing out loss-without-blame tickets to rosters like that, how does that fit with our 2008 experience when we were completely stacked with 1st round talent at QB/RB/WR but couldn’t even hang with decent teams?

            • Bevo

              But since you wanted me to tell you how offensive skill positions might prevent a situation in which you put up 40+ points (again, not my argument) and still lose… and since we’re on the topic of 2008… do you happen to remember any of these plays?

              –UF: Stafford to Green gets picked early in the game; Stafford had three INTs that day
              –GT: Stafford pick six gets Tech back in the game
              –Bama: Stafford to Green, ball pops out of Green’s hands for INT

              Not saying the defense wasn’t a problem. It obviously was. But if you think Georgia’s offensive performance in either the Bama of the UF games was enough to win or even keep the game close, you would be entirely wrong.

              If only the defense were our sole problem, we might actually have a chance at becoming a decent team again.

            • ChicagoDawg

              While we are on the topic of not inventing arguments, I didn’t suggest anyone should “get a pass.”. The discussion is about improvement of the defense — not whether Georgia has learned how to beat good teams. My point was, despite playing the best QB, best RB and one of the top WR in the first two games, the defense has made positive strides.

            • Hackerdog

              Chicago Dawg’s point seemed to be that a game is decided by both the offense and the defense. Dismissing a team’s problems, which are primarily defensive, because they have excellent offensive players is nonsensical.

    • Turd Ferguson

      Well of course we’re going to win games. Everyone saw that impressive beating we put on the mighty Chanticleers, right? And hell, we’ll probably even win this weekend.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        Not piling on but……Even after a W it would seem that the self-respecting Eeyore Dawg would find it harder to stay unhappy. So pervasive is the negativity, so overwhelmingly convinced of our decline, that without the firmest grip on your sullen perspective, you might actually have a GO DAWGS! Left in you.
        GO DAWGS!
        ps. I always enjoy your posts….. that one surprised me.

        • Turd Ferguson

          Saying “Go Dawgs!” after hammering the Chanticleers feels (to me, at least) a bit like saying “In your f’ing face!” after beating a young child in an arm wrestling match. Made only more embarrassing by the fact that it’s our only win on record.

          I’d love a dramatic turnaround. I’d love for Richt and Co. to run the table. I’m certainly not one of those who’d just like to run this coaching staff out of town. But the last bit of optimism left in my psyche was fumbled by Aaron Murray, picked up by Melvin Ingram, and returned for a touchdown. It’ll be little more than gallows humor until we beat a quality opponent. And that can’t happen until sometime in October.

  5. Red Blackman

    Eliminating stupid turnovers and improving upon a 3rd down conversion rate of 39.53% have replaced shoulder tackles and a lack of discipline in coverage shells as major areas of concern……from the perspective of my own ass, of course.

  6. Just found out that I am not in my right mind because i thought it was a good team. If Friend does his job, it will get even better. Smoke & Mirrors ?.

    • Red Blackman

      It could be worse, 39, you could be looking at things through the prism of your own sphincter. After having been informed that my prism has a predominately brown hue, I include that information as a disclaimer.

      The funny thing is, Dr. Turd Ferguson made the diagnosis.

      • Turd Ferguson

        Little premature to be calling me “Dr.” Turd Ferguson. In a year or two, sure. But not yet. (And for the record, I do hope you get the reference. ‘Cause if not, I just feel sorry for you.)

        Good to see that I’m still on your mind.

        • Red Blackman

          I was just funnin around, Mr. Ferguson. I couldn’t help myself.

          Perhaps my initial transgression in assuming that we knew each other well enough to be on a first name basis was wrong. As you can see, I have chosen to go a more formal, polite route.

          As a concerned Dawg fan, you are never far from my mind. And please, Mr. Ferguson, save your empathy for someone more deserving.

  7. JBJ

    We couldn’t stop Boise and fans say Boise must be an awesome team. We couldn’t stop Lattimore in the closing minutes and everyone wants to say we stopped him for three quarters, if it just wasn’t for those darn turnovers. We shutout a high school team which improved our defensive stats.

    “Stats are for losers. Final scores are for winners.”
    -Bill Belichick

  8. Turd Ferguson

    I’d say that we might be the best 1-2 team in the country, but I don’t even think that’s true. Happy to see improvement anywhere, but wake me when we’ve got a winning record.

  9. DawgByte

    Can’t me as one who wants more sacks!!!

    More sacks improves offensive field position, rattles opposing QB’s and throws off timing with WR’s. Sacks demoralize offenses and we need a lot more of them. Given the nature of the 3-4, it’s tougher to get interior line sacks, so you’ve got to bring pressure from the edges. That means more Safety blitzes.

  10. orlandodawg

    We’re trying to get a coaching staff fired here. Please, no more posts that require even a begrudging admission that things might be headed in a positive direction.

  11. yurdle

    If Bobo gets no points for yards, then I won’t give (or dock) Grantham points for sacks. If he can improve total defense and third down percentages without sacks, then more power to him. But, this year in particular, the only stat that anybody cares about is wins and losses. Winning is good enough, anything else ain’t.

  12. The other Doug

    There is more than one way to skin a cat or rebel bear.

  13. Scott

    Why are teams rushing the football against us 80% of the time in red zone in the past 16 games (that is now tops in the nation)? And they are succeeding. This is the stat that is most disturbing about Grantham, especially given that the national average and SEC average is a 50/50 split between rushing and passing. Done be fooled into thinking we have great pass defense because we give up fewer passing touchdowns. Teams do not have to throw against us in the red zone.

    Last year, teams rushed the ball against us in the red zone 77% of the time. This year the percentage is even higher. Unfortunately, we were ranked #108 in the nation in the amount of TD’s surrendered inside the red zone. In conference games, the we gave up TD’s in 74% of red zone possessions.

    Teams are calling running plays against us in the red zone and succeeding. We gave up 24 rushing TD’s inside the red zone last year. Alabama gave up 6 td’s. Yet overall UGA actually gave up fewer yards per carry in conference games than Alabama and few yards per carry than most other SEC teams.

    Make other offenses take some risk and throw on us in the red zone. Adjusting in this area alone could result in more wins.