Catch it while you can.

Bill Connelly has done yeoman’s work (always liked that phrase) in compiling D-1 receiver targets and catches for this past season.  kleph has thoughtfully winnowed out the non-SEC data here.

While it’s fair to say that Georgia’s receiving corps turned out to be a pleasant surprise in 2011, Bill’s info reveals there’s plenty of room for improvement this year.  Start with kleph’s first chart:

Top SEC players by Catch Rate (min 50 targets)
No. Team Player Targets Catches Catch Rate Target %
1 Alabama Brad Smelley 51 41 80.40% 14.00%
2 Georgia Malcolm Mitchell 61 45 73.80% 14.80%
3 LSU Odell Beckham Jr. 61 44 72.10% 21.90%
4 Arkansas Joe Adams 76 54 71.10% 17.10%
5 Georgia Orson Charles 67 45 67.20% 16.30%
6 Arkansas Chris Gragg 63 41 65.10% 14.20%
7 Alabama Marquis Maze 87 56 64.40% 23.80%
8 LSU Rueben Randle 87 56 64.40% 31.30%
9 Arkansas Jarius Wright 103 66 64.10% 23.10%
10 Auburn Emory Blake 60 36 60.00% 22.00%
11 Miss. State Chris Smith 59 35 59.30% 17.80%
12 Tennessee Da’Rick Rogers 115 67 58.30% 31.40%
13 Kentucky Matt Roark 62 36 58.10% 19.70%
14 Miss. State Arceto Clark 53 30 56.60% 16.00%
15 Vanderbilt Chris Boyd 55 31 56.40% 17.40%
16 S. Carolina Alshon Jeffery 88 49 55.70% 29.90%
17 Florida Jordan Reed 51 28 54.90% 17.40%
18 Tennessee Mychal Rivera 53 29 54.70% 14.50%
19 Georgia Tavarres King 88 46 52.30% 21.40%
20 Kentucky La’Rod King 79 40 50.60% 25.20%
21 Ole Miss Donte Moncrief 63 31 49.20% 22.70%
22 Vanderbilt Jordan Matthews 84 41 48.80% 26.50%
Targets = receptions plus incompletions targeting a given receiver.
Catches = receptions.
Yards = receiving yards
Catch Rate = catches / targets
Yards Per Target = yards / targets
Target % = the percentage of a team’s passes targeting a given receiver.
%SD = the percent of a players targets that came on standard downs.

Helluva year, Malcolm Mitchell.

Georgia had three receivers who had the ball thrown at them more than 50 times.  Of those three, one was a true freshman who may have turned out to be the biggest Dream Team success story, one of whom has left early for the NFL and Tavarres King, Georgia’s #1 receiving target.

King’s numbers are interesting.  His catch rate is barely above 50%, but some of that can be attributed to the number of deep routes he ran.  What’s really noteworthy is the breakdown of his catch rate between standard downs (63.3%) and passing downs (38.5%).  Despite that disparity, he was actually targeted more on passing downs than on standard downs.  For comparison’s sake Charles’ standard down catch rate was 72.7% and passing down catch rate was 56.5%; Mitchell’s respective rates were 71.4% and 78.9%.  Both Charles and Mitchell were targeted less on passing downs than on standard downs.

Of course, I can’t say whether that was by design (i.e., the play call) or the way that Murray let the play develop, but either way, it seems there should be some focus on making the passing game more efficient with the targeting of the big (in terms of numbers) receivers.

There’s another area worth focusing on.  If you look at kleph’s second chart, which lists the top 100 catch rates in the SEC (minimum 10 catches), you’ll see that Mitchell, Georgia’s leader, ranked only 22nd in the conference.  What that tells you is that there were other programs which made more efficient use of their receivers and running backs in supporting roles.  (As a totally irrelevant aside, you know who’s got some really scary numbers on that chart?  Check out Justin Hunter’s.)

Again, it’s hard to say how much of this was structural and how much can be blamed on fundamentals.  And in fairness, much of Georgia’s receiving corps was pretty green.  But there’s information here that’s worth taking some lessons from, if you want bigger things from the passing game.

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14 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

14 responses to “Catch it while you can.

  1. Cousin Eddie

    Didn’t remebr seeing O. Charles get that many chances. Seems like most games he only had a few passes to him.
    My 10 year old says that T. King has Mossitus (from Randy Moss), he has issues with easy passes that he is wide open on but catches the more difficult passes everytime. Don’t know if that’s true but that is his obseveration on T. King.

  2. Skeptic Dawg

    Great numbers. The funny thing about this data is that King was targeted 20+ more times than Charles and Mitchell who both rank in the top 3rd of the conference in catch rate, while King was in the bottom 3rd. It that a result of the opposing D taking Charles and Mtchell away, or did Murray feel that comfortable with King? Mitchell did not play early, which may explain why he was targeted less often. Do you think Bobo sits down and looks at numbers like this on a weekly basis and understands them well enough to devise a solid game plan in combination with the upcoming D? That could explain Bobo’s disjointed play calling at times. He simply fails to grasp the numbers behind each player/play.

  3. AusDawg85

    What, exactly, are we to glean from this?

    Never mind…I blame Bobo anyway.

    /Monday’s start better with blaming Bobo!

  4. William

    I would also argue that King was the King of drops. He dropped more passes than any reciever in the conference. It was astounding, really. I think his numbers indicate that Murray had confidence in him, even if it was some what unfounded. Take away the UF and Awburn games, and you can’t recall too many of his catches. He is/was not clutch. Mitchell on the other hand was not only clutch, but consistent and reliable to an obsurd degree.

  5. AthensHomerDawg

    What do we glean from the fact that Justin Hunter appeared in only 3 games in 2011 before injuring his knee against Florida? Most of his stats are from the work he did against Montana and Cincy.

  6. Dawg Venter

    Booboo strikes again! If Mitchell had gone to Bama, he’d have been a back up cornerback.

    Instead Georgia uses him at WR and he has a break out season and looks every bit as polished as AJ did at that age.

    Booboo & CMR don’t know how to coach em up like Saban!

  7. Krautdawg

    If we focused on the screen game a little more, we’d likely get an RB or TE into the top 10 a la Wingo Jr., Bray, Poole, Ellington.

    Also, running the dink-and-dunk drive from the South Carolina game once a week would probably pep up our catch percentages a bit. The league leader for 50+ targets, Brad Smelley, averaged 9.6 yards per catch. Joe Adams averaged 12.1. In contrast, Orson averaged 12.8 per catch and Mitchell was at 14.8. Definitely suggests some structural influence on the stats (deeper routes, greater risk).

    On the other hand, there have been plenty of times where receivers have run the wrong route (Brown vs UK, Bennett vs AU, Charles vs MSU). Or where a receiver has gotten beaten on inside position (Brown vs USC, led to pick-6). In short, these stats leave me just as wise as I was before looking at them.

  8. Hobnail_Boot

    Fair or not, my lasting image of Mitchell from ’11 is the drop in the SECCG.

  9. 69Dawg

    Until Aaron learns to complete a screen pass he will be eating dirt. We have zero screen game. Either Aaron is too short to see his screen receivers or his screen receivers are 5’6″ midgets that get lost among his own lineman.

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