“Richt is the rare survivor of a seemingly long bout with the hot…”

Bill Connelly’s Georgia preview is out and it’s nigh on impeccable.  I mean, I could get on him for burying the lede about why the fan base grew restless with Richt – more than anything, it was over sticking with the defensive coordinator overseeing this decline:  “Despite all the high recruiting rankings in the world, the Dawgs’ defense had fallen from 14th in Def. F/+ in 2007, to 68th in 2008 and 41st in 2009″ – but that would be nitpicking.

Really, there’s a ton of statistical analysis that you should spend some time going over.  Start with this bit about the offense:

Still, Georgia fielded a top-20 offense because of a top-five passing game. Bobo kept things both simple and old-school; “simple” in that Murray faced as few no-win situations as possible (Georgia ran the ball 47 percent of the time on passing downs, much higher than the national average of 33 percent, meaning a disproportionate number of Georgia’s passes took place on pass-friendly standard downs), and “old-school” in that Georgia went downfield often. Only one running back (Crowell) was targeted more than six times all season, and of the five most frequently targeted wideouts, only one averaged fewer than 14.7 yards per catch. Bobo wants little to do with the east-and-west stuff; he wants to go north, using play-action to open up downfield routes whenever possible. That Georgia was effective as it was with this despite the complete and total lack of run game tells you that the Bulldogs could be unstoppable if they could figure out how to move the ball just a little on the ground.

More than anything, 2012 is going to be about the offensive line.

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60 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

60 responses to ““Richt is the rare survivor of a seemingly long bout with the hot…”

  1. lrgk9

    Nationally on the UGA Defense – ‘they seemed to run out of gas late in games (sixth in the first quarter, third in the second, ninth in the third and 68th in the fourth)’.

    Fix the 4th quarter defense (w/o breaking anything else) and we’ll be some happy fans.

    • James Stephenson

      That goes back to the running game. If UGA can find a decent running game, it opens up the pass and rests the D.

      • Joe

        Yep, How many games could have been settled with a first down or two on the ground mid way through the 4th? That being said, we still must be stronger in the 4th.

        • AlphaDawg

          I think we had 7 or 8 three and outs in the 2nd half of the USC loss two years ago. Fix that and and out chances have to improve dramatically.

        • The Lone Stranger

          And a buttery soft I.C. may go a long way toward explaining that. Hope AL St. has a saltier 4th qtr. Defense for him!

      • Cojones

        It’s a viscious circle, JS. The D doesn’t get rested when we score quickly also. How can we blame the O for that? We don’t. We get 2-deep players on D who are great and move people from spot to spot. That is being done as we type. They can then spell each other or present a new face where a player wasn’t playing that position up to par. That way the opponent’s O can’t keep running the same play at the same player for whatever reason.

        It is on the D to overcome their time and tiredness on the field, not the O. Stop worrying about the wrong thing and pull for the whole team for a change. It feels a lot better. :)

        • Cojones

          Grantham has been working hard to fix this. Instead of swiveling onto the O, why don’t we give Grantham the credit when it is fixed? I have faith in the man as well as faith in the rest of the team.

          Let’s don’t kick the engine when the battery runs down.

      • Dboy

        It also has to do with viable depth on defense. You either need to be resting while the offense plods successfully down the field or you need to rotate in fresh players. We didnt have the depth last yr, Alabama and LSU did.

    • I was in the Arena once and caught a little red football from C&S Bank

      Seemed…without checking stats…that a lot of the back-breaking turnovers occurred late in the games as well. Just suggesting that 4th Q blues were likely a shared responsibility.

  2. NateG

    “That Georgia was effective as it was with this despite the complete and total lack of run game tells you that the Bulldogs could be unstoppable if they could figure out how to move the ball just a little on the ground.”

    Dear Crazy Old Testament God, please let us have a decent rushing attack this year. I promise I’ll only drink Terrapin and eat pulled pork all season…

    • HobnailedBoots

      Amen

    • Keese

      If Gurley can stay healthy, the dude is the real deal

      • NateG

        I have to admit, I feel a lot better about our backfield with 3 or 4 competent rushers as opposed to 1 potentially great one. Of course, we could end up with both or neither.

        • Cojones

          Keith didn’t suddenly get shot, did he? He has been grinding as well as Gurley. He had a 30-yarder called back that would have made his last scrimmage better than Gurley’s. Lady luck steps in and dictates a few plays as well. We shouldn’t be down on any RBs because one player’s stats were better in a scrimmage. Hell, that whole bunch looks good.

          The holes will be opened by the O line sometimes and, depending upon the play of individuals, will sometimes close too rapidly. If every O line was perfect, RBs would own the land. Since it’s a team game, each part is semi-dependent upon the other and they can’t afford to poke fingers at anyone.

          Last I heard, Marshall hasn’t lost a step nor speed and Malcome is starting. Gurley will be in it also.

          Go Dawgs!!

          • NateG

            Oh, make no mistake. I’d take 2 or 3 (or 4) great rushers, for sure. I’m just hedging my bets a little and saying I think we’ll end up with 2 or 3 pretty good running backs and one guy that separates himself a bit. My preseason, almost entirely uninformed opinion is that Gurley is that guy. It could be Marshall, it could be Malcolm, it could be no one.

    • RP

      Totally agree. For an illustration of how our offense can look with a decent run game see Auburn 2011.

      • NateG

        Funny you mentioned that. I rewatched that game this week. Carlton Thomas was tearing it up. Apparently 3 foot tall running backs with dreads are like Kryptonite to Auburn’s defense. Anyone know where we can find a shrink ray to use on Gurley that week?

  3. Scott W.

    One big loss. I hate to be a shrinking violet, but that made me shudder. So many opportunities to make a mistake …God I love football!

    • Dog in Fla

      Me too. But I also love import and export data. I think Bill, for giving a shout out to the State of Georgia’s #1 export of CIVILIAN AIRCRAFT, ENGINES, AND PARTS, should be entitled to free gizzards and hearts from the #5 export of CHICKEN CUTS AND EDIBLE OFFAL (INC LIVERS), FROZEN

  4. Ginny

    “That Georgia was effective as it was with this despite the complete and total lack of run game tells you that the Bulldogs could be unstoppable if they could figure out how to move the ball just a little on the ground.”

    Bingo. Also, I blame Bobo.

  5. AthensHomerDawg

    If memory serves me DickSamIV was pretty good at catching a pass out of the backfield. Perhaps we should go back to what works.

    • mwo

      I think wheel routes only work AGAINST Georgia, not for them.

    • Cojones

      AHD, when “Foth” ran against FU, the replayed game showing the camera angle from behind the line of scrimmage reveals the quick-opening creases he burst through at full speed. That worked as well, but have we forgotten about his blocks that allows others to run? If he could block for himself, we would be running him all the time with a pass every once in a while. Due to other RBs blocking, he is limited sometimes, whereas, when he is blocking for others, we have a better ground game. It also sets him up for those passes you and I want to see.

      Like you, I love the big sombitch and want to see him rewarded for putting team first, but it won’t come from his pass-catching skills. Sometimes we just have to cheer for him knowing he won’t get the big pub and shed a small tear for his uncontrived demise. I have every faith that he will be rewarded by UGA in the future no matter whether he goes late in an NFL draft or not.

  6. The poor runniing game was a huge factor and improving it will be huge, but I blame Special Teams. That was the worst aspect of last years season, with the running game close at second worse. That’s about it. Fix the Special Teams and improve the ground game, get a little fire going and do the Dawghump on Fl, Sc, Mo, Tn, Vandy, etc like they are 2010’s AU.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      +1. The ground game seems to be perpetually in the hands of freshmen and the ST problems only seem to get rhetoric though.

    • Cojones

      Agreed that we should primarily focus our stare on that part of our game.

  7. Barfly

    the run game against ranked teams improved by about 25 yards per game in 2011. Yet still went 2-4 against ranked teams. It’s going to be about turnover margin. On the 10-0 run we cleaned that up, in the 4 losses against the ranked teams, we couldn’t win a turnover battle. this has been THE ongoing issue for the last 4 season, especially against ranked teams in big games. In the big games, defense has to force 50% more, offense has to cut turnovers by 50%.

    • Cojones

      Yep, and most of the fumble recoveries have proven to be dumb luck depending upon the bounce of the ball. We have to accept the snakebit years along with welcoming the lucky years. Don’t know how to change luck.

      • True, but a real aggressive, following defense will always have more people around the ball when it pops. Same with offense but to a lesser degree because assignments and holding blocks keep following down.
        But the defense…that’s where you can effect the stats by following. Mostly is the “bounce of the ball” though.

  8. The Lone Stranger

    2012 — about the OLine. As ever. I think if Theus and Andrews pan out as stalwarts there, given the haul in 2013 OL recruiting, the Dawgs could be sitting pretty on the offensive front for these tougher schedules of 2013-2015.

    • Macallanlover

      That is a good positive point about how things could shape up if we can just find a way to struggle through 2012 with the OL issues. I am not that pessimistic about this year since we have done pretty well despite not having a dominant OL for almost a decade, but winning the SEC will not happen if they aren’t a couple of steps above last year.

      I am happy to hear the 2013 class offers some hope but I always worry about getting all those prize fish in the boat. Success this year can contribute to making Athens a destination point for those HS players but I would feel much better if we had the early signing period to lock them away before the Bagmen come after them.

      • Cojones

        Some of them become prizes after we recruit them. Their senior year play has a lot to do with that.

  9. Scorpio Jones, III

    New defensive meme….”Defending the Fade”

  10. Scott

    “Georgia ran the ball 47 percent of the time on passing downs, much higher than the national average of 33 percent.”

    That’s my problem with Bobo. Our running game sucks compared yet we still rush far more on passing downs than teams with a good rushing attack. Just too conservative. Its like the reincarnation of Chuck Knox from the Vikings.

    • What do you think Murray’s INT total would have looked like if Bobo had elected to throw more on passing downs?

      • Scott

        So do we “play not to lose” style of football and elect to punt rather then trying to complete a pass on 3rd down? BTW, Murray had a great passer rating on 3rd and 4th down. It was the other downs he had problems with.

        Besides, this isn’t just something particular with Murray. Since he took over as OC, Bobo has rushed far more on passing downs as compared to the other programs.

        • BTW, Murray had a great passer rating on 3rd and 4th down.

          Perhaps some of that is due to how Bobo called plays in passing downs.

        • Actually, punting on third and long is an under-used strategy that can really change field position….Coach Bobby Dodd….(.one of the few people at GT that a Dawg fan can admit to admiring at least a little bit.)….used the “quick kick” to great effect…There have been times when I wonder why it isn’t used…say when it’s third and forty eight.

          • Scott

            “punting on third and long is an under-used strategy” Really?? I am ok with it once every 25 years or so, You wanting to increase it to once a decade maybe? Seems like a quick way to get booed off the field and fired as a head coach.

    • Scott

      Or maybe I am thinking of Bud Grant of the Vikings…oh well, you get my point.