Kellen Moore, Tyler Bray and balance

An interesting line of thought has emerged this week – a mini-meme, if you will – about the Georgia-Tennessee game which suggests as Boise State went with Kellen Moore’s passing success in the opener, so can Tennessee with Tyler Bray.  (Even Todd Grantham sort of went there.)  Here’s Year2′s succinct analysis:

… The good news for UT heading into the Georgia game is that passing is largely what brought Georgia down in its one decisive loss. Kellen Moore completed over 82.4% of his passes versus the Red and Black, the best mark of his career against anyone other than San Jose State. He basically passed the Broncos to a win with Martin having his least effective game of the season. Moore averaged 7.68 yards per pass and had 261 yards total; the Bulldogs’ other three opponents averaged just 5.09 yards per pass and didn’t top 157 yards in a game.

So if it’s possible to pass to victory against UGA’s resurrected defense, Bray certainly has the ability to do it. If you’re going to be unbalanced on offense, that’s how you want to be when facing Georgia…

Ah, our old friend balance.  I presume that Year2 is referring to balance there in the Mike Bobo sense, that is, being able to both run and throw the ball in roughly equal measure.  But there’s also the Mike Leach definition of balance, which is all about spreading the ball around.

… To me, a balanced offense is one where each skill position touches the ball, and every position contributes to the offensive output.  There is nothing balanced about running it 50 percent of the time and throwing it 50 percent of the time if you are only utilizing two or three offensive skill positions and only attacking part of the field… [Emphasis added.]

The problem for Tennessee is that I’m not sure how well they can measure up under either definition.  Year2 notes that UT is going to have to run the ball better against the Dawgs than Boise State did, but that’s a fairly tall order for an offense that’s currently ranked a woeful 98th nationally in rushing (and remember that stat’s been compiled against the likes of Montana, Cincinnati and Buffalo).  And as for spreading the ball around, go back and take a look at Bill Connelly’s handy spreadsheet on passing targets:  Da’Rick Rogers and Mychal Rivera have almost half of Bray’s passes thrown their way.

There are a few other reasons I’m skeptical the comparison holds up.  The most obvious one is experience.  Moore looked every inch the savvy four-year starter as he carved the Georgia secondary up; Saturday night will mark Bray’s tenth start.  Bray may be precocious, but that gap still means something.

There’s also the matter of adjustments.  After Moore threw his one interception of the game, Boise State abandoned its deep passing game and settled for picking Georgia’s zone apart with quick timing passes that were devastatingly effective.  Moore completed a whopping 82.4% of his pass attempts, but only at a 7.7 ypa clip.  Tennessee, on the other hand, likes to stretch the field more with its passing attack, which makes sense given Bray’s arm strength and Rogers’ and Hunter’s talents.  For the season, UT is averaging better than 9 yards per attempt.  The only game the Vols played this season in which they failed to exceed Moore’s ypa rate against Georgia, they lost.  So I’m not convinced that emulating Moore in that regard is something that Bray will be totally comfortable doing.

Finally, personnel.  The loss of Justin Hunter is a huge one for Tennessee, both in terms of the loss of production, but also in terms of how UT replaces that going forward.  Buffalo may have been stupid enough to presume that Rogers didn’t need much extra attention, but I doubt that Grantham and Lakatos are going to make the same mistake.  And on the other side of the ball, there’s Bacarri Rambo, who was suspended for the opener.  Now I’m not blind enough to pretend that the quality of opposition has been similar since then, but the passer ratings for Georgia’s opponents still tell quite a tale:  Boise State, 170.07; South Carolina, 85.50 (a season low); Coastal Carolina, 61.99; Mississippi, 79.39 (second lowest mark of the season); Mississippi State, 85.43 (also a season low).  Clearly, Georgia’s passing defense has taken a step up since Rambo was inserted back into the starting eleven.

None of this is to say that Georgia is a lock tomorrow night.  We’ve seen too many flaky things this year to feel comfortable about that.  (Speaking of flaky, how about this:  Tennessee has fumbled fourteen times in four games, only losing four, and Georgia has fumbled twelve times in five games, only losing three.  That’s a lot of luck.)  But I’m not so sure Bray will be as big a threat as Moore proved to be.  And between that and Tennessee not having the Broncos’ defensive line on the field, Georgia’s got a decent shot to reverse its recent misfortunes in Knoxville.

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By the way, since I use his site so often, it’s only fair to mention that Marty at cfbstats.com is having a pledge drive.  If you find his site as invaluable as I do, you might want to throw a little love his way.

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68 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football

68 responses to “Kellen Moore, Tyler Bray and balance

  1. Go Dawgs!

    OK, guys, I need your opinions. Are we going to win this game? I feel like we are. But I’ve been challenged to make a jersey bet with a UT coworker of mine. I have to wear his UT jersey around the office all day Monday if we lose, and vice versa. There will be pictures in our company newsletter, and undoubtedly those pictures are going to last a long, long time. I’m extremely hesitant to put that on the line. Thoughts?

    • Go Dawgs!

      The observations about Bray trying to do what Kellen Moore did to us didn’t exactly help, either.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      You do not have a hair on your ass if you do not take that bet.

    • Brandon

      Where the hell do you work that will let either of you where a jersey around the office all day?

    • Dawgfan Will

      I made a similar bet and lost. Had to wear an ugly-ass orange t-shirt with a ‘T’ on it for the whole day. Kept a beautiful red shirt with a gorgeous black ‘G’ on underneath it, though. I also told everyone who saw me in it that the orange shirt had given me the curious urge to kiss my sister.

  2. bulldawgy

    NEVER agree to possibly, potentially, even remotely wear orange.

    • FisheriesDawg

      And if you’re a grown man, never agree to wear a jersey either.

      • 202dawg

        +1

        If you’re a grown ass man Jerseys scream Wal Mart, whether you bought it there or not…

        • Nate

          Agreed. I’m of the opinion the Nike dryfit coache’s polos are the height of fashion at the moment.

          • Dawgfan Will

            Not saying that jerseys are particularly flattering, but the coaches’ polos most definitely are not made for (ahem) huskier guys.

    • Go Dawgs!

      I think that’s probably good advice. I’m going to have to endure some taunts of cowardice today for not taking the bet, but I just don’t want to be sweating that kind of humiliation during the game.

      • Nate Dawg

        Yeah, I’m not sure the juice is worth the squeeze on that one – long term.

      • Sanford222View

        You are a complete pu55y if you don’t take that bet. If you happen to lose you can have fun with it and wear hill billy teeth with the jersey. Use it as an opportunity to poke fun at Vol fans.

        I think your co-worker will be the one sporting a new jersey though come Monday.

        I had two subordinates who are Gator fans running running their mouths the weeks leading up to the WLOP in 2007 to one of their co-workers who is a Dawg fan. They were trying to make him bet them on the game. Obviously he was very hesitant with Georgia’s recent history in Jacksonville. They were being quite obnoxious wanting to bet money on the game. I know…I know…what Gator fan isn’t obnoxious, right?

        Well, I got sick of hearing them run their mouths so I told them to put their money where their mouths were and asked how much they wanted to bet. They didn’t want to be me money for some reason because I am their boss so I suggested the losers have to put a tag of the other team on their vehicle and keep on until the BCS Championship game was played.

        Now we all recall the 2007 season. We had been curb stomped by UT in Knoxville and lost to the Gamecocks at home at this point. I thought UGA had a shot in the game but I wasn’t very confident we would beat the defending National Champs. We all know what happened that day and I was more than happy to present the Georgia Bulldog tag the next Monday morning and attach it to his truck.

        The next year they didn’t run their mouths and didn’t want to bet again.

        Moral of the story? Take your skirt off and make the bet! Sometimes you just have to have faith in your team.

        • mwo

          Make the bet. If you lose, wear the bubba teeth and pick up trash beside the road. Go hang out in front of starship or the downtown bus station. Give the people what they deserve.

  3. Ginny

    “And between that and Tennessee not having the Broncos’ defensive line on the field, Georgia’s got a decent shot to reverse its recent misfortunes in Knoxville.”

    I think this is the bigger issue here. Our offense was so woeful against Boise at least partially because we couldn’t run against their defensive line. Must be nice to have a bunch of talented 5th year seniors. SEC folks don’t know what that’s like. I don’t believe this will be the case with Tennessee. Run the ball. Control the clock. Keep Bray off the field.

    • James Stephenson

      Bray is young. So if UGA can keep him off the field a good bit, score. Than get a 3 and out and score again, he will get ansy and possibly try and get it all back at once.

    • FisheriesDawg

      I’d take LSU or Alabama’s defensive lines over Boise’s any day of the week. They’re plenty talented even though they’re not fifth-year seniors. If Boise’s D-linemen really were so incredible, they would be playing on Sundays instead of Saturdays (and Fridays, and Thursdays, and Tuesdays) right now. I seriously doubt they’ve stayed at Boise State University for the outstanding education they’re receiving.

      • James Stephenson

        They are good though and used to playing against bigger guys. They use their speed and leverage well. So that 5 years buys them something, they may not be pros, but how many pros are on the UGA O-Line.

      • At least two of those guys are expected to be drafted next year. That ain’t bad.

        • FisheriesDawg

          Never said they were bad, in fact they’re very good, but they’re not superior to top-level SEC lines, either. Our offensive line had a lot to do with how great they looked in the Georgia Dome.

          • I don’t think anybody is going to mistake UT’s defensive line for a top-level SEC one, though.

            • FisheriesDawg

              Of course. I was speaking to the pining over a line full of fifth-year seniors and how SEC folks don’t know what that’s like.

              Having a fifth-year senior QB is not the same as having a fifth-year senior DT. Once the DT gets a couple of years under his belt and understands the system, he ought to have the experience he needs to maximize his potential for the most part. Boise’s defensive linemen certainly understand their system very well, but I doubt they’re all that much better now than they were in the junior or senior years unless they were really late bloomers.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            I don’t want to beat a dead horse (well, maybe I do) but the decision to play Boise right out of the box with UGA coming off a 6-7 season is looking more and more stupid as time passes. If UGA had played a walkover team for its first game to work out the kinks and build some confidence I really think the Dawgs would not have made all the fluky mistakes that were made in the USCe-UGA game and would have won that game. Winning the walkover game and beating USCe plus the wins UGA has now would add up to to the Dawgs being 5-0, leading the SEC East and probably ranked in the top 10. Not to mention that the Boise game gave a roadmap to the world showing exactly how to beat the Dawgs, if you have an accurate passer. I have always been a McGarity supporter but the more I think about this the madder I get. This team is getting better each week and by the end of the year might have been able to have beaten Boise. Let’s just hope that fiasco doesn’t cost the Dawgs something big at the end of the season.

            • FisheriesDawg

              Perhaps, but the fact that the University of Georgia was not prepared to beat Boise State University in a game of football in the first game of the season is just one of the most bizzarre statements one could ever hear. I’d rather have gotten embarrassed in week one by a good, disciplined mid-major than to get false hope of what our team is, only to get beaten by 30 in the SECCG.

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                I do not equate playing a cupcake in the first game with laying the foundation for a 30 point loss in the SECCG. Who did Bama play in its first game this season? When McGarity showed up in Athens he stated publicly that UGA was going to follow the “Florida model” in scheduling and the very first season where he is the one setting the schedule he does this. You gotta walk before you can run and our team was coming off a losing season. The AD’s job is to put his team in the best possible position to be successful. I think Greg didn’t do that here. My point is that this opening with Boise business may have some serious ramifications at the end of the season. As much as the UGA team has improved I actually think that if we had played Boise at the end of the year in a bowl we may very well have kicked their asses. Won’t get that chance now.

                • FisheriesDawg

                  I think our team would probably lose by 30 in the SECCG whether we played Boise State, 1995 Nebraska, or Slippery Rock in the first game. Alabama and LSU are just a lot better than we are.

                  • Biggus Rickus

                    I don’t think they’re 30 points better. I’m not sure yet, but I think Georgia might be pretty close to LSU and Bama. There’s a 14-point loss in the opener and a game given away to South Carolina on the slate. Given that it’s a pretty young team, there is a chance it could be close to elite by the end of the season.

                    Now they’ll go lose by 21 in Knoxville to make me regret being hopeful.

                  • Mayor of Dawgtown

                    FishSmell, did you actually go to Georgia of are you just a bogus fan de jour? Go back to being a Tech fan. We don’t need a wet blanket like you. And quit calling it “our” team if you have such a bad attitude and no confidence in the Dawgs. They aren’t your team and if some of them read what you said they probably would want to kick your worthless ass..

            • Bevo

              I don’t know about that… Whether or not scheduling Boise was a good idea, I don’t know. But I do know your “roadmap” to beating Georgia is off target.

              The road map to beating these Dawgs: Forcing our offense to either disappear (Boise and Liberty Bowl) or to give up easy touchdowns on turnovers (South Carolina, 21 pts).

              The Boise State “roadmap” works for any defense in the country that’s been on the field in impossible situations all night. Boise State’s offense didn’t do much at all in the first half even though our offense couldn’t get a first down. Put a gassed defense on the field and an efficient offense like Boise will have success no matter what the approach.

            • Hackerdog

              Mayor, I think even your hindsight may be lacking in this case. Would UGA have beaten a cupcake in the opener? Yes. Did the BSU game contribute to us losing the USC game? That’s a hell of a leap.

              One thing the BSU game may have done is expose some shortcomings to our coaches and players rather than give us a false sense of accomplishment by beating up on a cupcake. If we don’t lose to BSU, maybe we’re still trying to play Samuel as the #1 tailback. Maybe Malcolm Mitchell is still coming off the bench for us.

              Our players have given several quotes about last year’s team having a false sense of accomplishment and entitlement when playing opponents they viewed as inferior. Maybe losing to BSU in the opener was just the kind of kick in the pants needed to knock the last vestiges of that mindset out of our team.

              Who knows? Nobody.

      • stoopnagle

        Well, they don’t play at Tennessee, so what exactly does LSU or Bama have to do with anything?

  4. dean

    I tried to explain the same thing to a Vol fan the other day, Senator. While Bray is having a better season statistically than Moore it doesn’t mean he’s going to have the same success against our D that Moore did. Moore knew exactly where he was going with the ball before he got to the line of scrimmage. I just don’t think Bray has the knowledge that comes with 4 years of experience. Plus our D has improved since the Boise game and I don’t believe UT runs a no-huddle offense.

  5. Castleberry

    Heard some radio guys make this comparison yesterday. Bray is a good qb, but I don’t think he’ll be at the Heisman trophy presentation either. Moore didn’t really flinch at our pressure. Will brays feet get happy after the first lick from Jarvis?

    Costly offense and special teams mistakes, plus results from our last two trips up there are a bigger concern to me.

    • Go Dawgs!

      The perception problem that Georgia is up against is that the rest of the SEC, and a lot of our our fan base still, just refuse to accept that Boise is as good as advertised. I certainly didn’t before that game, and I still wonder about how much of that game was them being brilliant and how much of it was Georgia tripping over their own feet. So if you’re a Vol fan and you see a guy like Kellen Moore throw his way up and down the field like he did, you’ll naturally think that your guy can do the same thing. Moore is a lot better than Bray, though. Not saying Bray can’t do some things against Georgia, either, I’m just saying that Moore is really, really good.

        • AusDawg85

          Boise was experienced, disciplined and extremely well coached. They would have taken us to the wire with our “A” game.

          They lose to LSU or Bama for sheer lack of depth in talent.

          We beat Bray/UT with our “B” game by 7. Show-up with our “A” game and we win by 17 (I’m looking at you, Mr. Murray!)

  6. WH

    (Key Assumption: UT will NOT be successful running the ball.)

    Not many people have given the defense credit for what they did against Boise in the first half, forcing three straight punts before Boise scored. Yes, they were gassed, because of…

    1. The Offense. It wasn’t totally anemic, but they left the Defense out to dry by not putting up points when they had the ball…which I still chalk up to lousy gameplanning by the coaches. Thankfully, they managed to get Boykin on that side of the ball and it kept it from being an utter embarrassment.

    2. Adjustments. Boise made them. Georgia didn’t. Durr.

    Observation: Time of Possession is going to be an interesting stat once this game’s outcome is decided. If Crowell and the Dawgs can run and score, that keeps Bray on the sideline and gives our D a huge leg-up. With just a little breathing room, Grantham will dial up some interesting looks to keep Bray off balance.

    I think UT will get their points, but they won’t have the luxury of slinging it all over against this Georgia D. The key is whether the Offense gives the Defense a chance.

    If we can score first and get a couple stops early, I REALLY like our chances, even at Neyland.

  7. Turd Ferguson

    As with any trip to Knoxville, I’m hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.

  8. For what it’s worth, the balance I’m referring to is being able to both run and pass well. You wouldn’t expect a Leach team to grind out a 12-play drive with 10 runs to even out all the other passing, but when it does run, you’d want to see at least four or five yards a carry. You wouldn’t expect Navy to throw it eight times in 10 plays to make up for all the runs, but you’d want them to get more than six or seven yards per attempt.

    I consider Tennessee unbalanced because while it’s getting a pretty good 8.7 yards per pass attempt against I-A competition, it’s averaging a paltry 3.65 yards per carry (no sacks included).

    For an offense to be balanced in my mind, it has to be good enough to make the defense respect both run and pass. UT’s run game was so pathetic against Florida that the defense could focus entirely on stopping the pass. It knew that, in the off chance of a running play, the nickel package could stop it for little or no gain even while being caught off guard. That’s being unbalanced to me.

  9. The Senator hits the nail on the head. Bobo’s balance is not what it is abll about. To me it boils down to being able to both run and pass with success, even if you do one more than the other. AS our friend Quincy Carter would say an offense needs to be “both dimensional”

  10. Macallanlover

    I think we win this game unless we play giveaway ala the South Carolina game. We are better than TN in every phase, but it is Saturday night on the road with a team that desperately needs a win before playing LSU and Bama. Key to how much we can win by is the amount of pressure we get on Bray. He can hurt us if allowed to set up in comfort, but panics and makes mistakes when someone is in his face. I don’t think they can hurt us running the ball so I am hoping CTG brings the heat.

    I agree no one should ever take a chance on having to wear, and be photographed in, an orange jersey. The real question is why anyone over the age of 13 would have one for you to wear. Better to bet a lunch, or dinner, on the game. I would not be afraid of wagering on this one, we have an 80% chance of winning this one, imo.

    • Go Dawgs!

      I’d be 100% comfortable betting a meal or money on this game (within reason). But the chance of having to put that thing on… don’t think I’mma do that.

    • Just Chuck

      Think you’re right, it may come down to whether or not we can generate a consistent pass rush. There were some good signs last week and it doesn’t look like Tennessee runs the ball as well as Mississippi State so we may actually do better. Won’t be comfortable though till it’s all over.

  11. Jim

    We are going to hammer them a la 2003.

    • Lawdawg567

      How about a la 2010? It wath but one year ago we layed a mere 41-14 bitchslapping on these foes.

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  13. Will Trane

    Yesterday I watched the clips on blawghouse about Bray before I read the article. Also saw the UT-UF game. I said before I think UT is balanced. Thanks Coach Leach for pointing that football statistics are not necessarily a math class.

    My observations from the clips was that UT has issues going deep. The article points out why. Bray has problems with his technique. Speed and position in passing a football, as in many sports, gets down to proper and consistent technique. Execution. My take from their Florida game was the back shoulder passes and the poor snaps from their center that hurt many plays, drives, and scoring opportunities.
    Think the defense has moved from the Boise game. The D coaches have brought it forward since that game. Let us remember Jenkins was new to the D scheme and coaches. The LBs and DBs have played better since then. Boise is a well-coached spread offense. They use no huddle so they can adjust to what a D shows, down, distance, field position, player match-ups. So Dooley and company may go to the short game. It will be interesting to see how TG attacks them. Think he will bring pressure, but he is short-handed with 2 LBs out [the roster rule]. When you look back at the MSU game it was interesting how he took Relf and Ballard out…never let them go inside and everything that went lateral he contained and used the sideline.[and that is one of the benefits of 3-4 scheme]. Issue Boise had, but Bray could be Moore. If I’m on defense I do not want that to happen. LBs and DBs have to have better hands, unlike against MSU when they could have had at least 3 more pics.

  14. Dog in Fla

    In epic asymmetric warfare between choking and throat-slashing gestures, Todd’s smothering defense gives Georgia the win by 14

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  16. I think it should be a good game. Very close game.

  17. JaxDawg

    I would like to see GA win. Then, I would like to see Barbara Dooley get hit by the UGA bus as it leaves Knoxville. It would be even better if a few more buses run her over repeatedly just to make sure there is no more hot air in the bitch’s lungs.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Sorry, but at some point she has to be considered as having forfeited her free tickets on the club level and all other emoluments from her husband having been HC/AD. She is an embarrassment to the University. Mike Adams, show some balls for once and bar her from all future UGA games. At minimum if she shows up to another UT-UGA game wearing orange and openly pulling for a hated rival of UGA kick her out of the stadium.

      • JaxDawg

        Many of the younger guys on here won’t remember this, but she used to advertise different products during the VD show, big teeth and bigger mouth in force, it would annoy the shit out of me. Annoying, annoying, annoying loud mouth bitch. Then she wrote her book, like anyone on this earth gives a shit about what Barbara Dooley has to say about her life – she was simply capitalizing on UGA’s national championship.

        For whatever reason, her ego has outlived her relevancy by 30 years, so please Mr. Bus Driver, run her over multiple times.

  18. W Cobb Dawg

    Seems like it’s all on the shoulders of our 2nd year DC to win this game. Nobody expects much from the offensive coaches who’ve been with the program for over 10 years.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      That does say something, doesn’t it?

    • Dawgfan Will

      I expect the offense to do just fine, but I’m more excited by the defense because of the progress they seem to have made. I want to see what they can do against an allegedly good QB.

      • W Cobb Dawg

        “I expect the offense to do just fine…”

        Just fine, huh? I’ve seen our offense give up multiple TD’s this year. They’ve missed easy FG’s. They’ve essentially laid down in the 2nd half in the last 2 games. They cost us a win against scu. The O is just as likely to do something bad as they are to do something good. Of course the D is more exciting to see, they know how to play football.

  19. Slaw Dawg

    Dawgs win in low double digits. If they don’t, then it’s either terribly bad luck or some serious “back to the drawing board.” Despite the misleading record, this ain’t your pappy’s Vols, or even your big brother’s!