Scoring opportunities

Bill Connelly tells us something that sounds pretty obvious, but it’s also something that perhaps Georgia’s been reluctant to embrace over the years.

That winning teams average more points per trip inside the [random yard line] should in no way be surprising. But the biggest gaps between winning and losing came when you cross inside the 40 and when you cross inside the 5. If you take fuller advantage of decent scoring opportunities, and if you score touchdowns instead of settling for field goals (or turning the ball over) inside the 5, you win.

The good news is that wasn’t an issue last season, as the Dawgs ranked fourth nationally in points per trip inside the opponent’s forty-yard line.  How much of that was due to a change in philosophy and how much of that should be chalked up to Marshall Morgan’s leg I can’t say.  But it’s certainly a result that bears repeating.

Bill also shows that Georgia was very good at keeping teams that got inside its forty off the scoreboard, ranking tenth.  That’s good, because Grantham will certainly have his hands full in the opener:  Clemson was third last season in points scored after crossing the 40.  What’s also good, though, is that the Tigers were a little more pedestrian on defense when teams moved the ball inside their 40, as they ranked 47th.  If Georgia’s offense can hang on to the ball, you’ve got to like its chances of punching some numbers on the scoreboard.

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6 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

6 responses to “Scoring opportunities

  1. uglydawg

    I would love to see a comparison of the defenses the two teams (UGA and Clemson) faced last year. I would imagine that Georgia’s offense had a more daunting task than did the Tiger’s…Clemson’s offense is great, but I think Georgia’s offensive accomplishment will outshine Clemson’s in light of who they scored all these points against.

  2. Connor

    In the context of this article, is having a good kicker a good thing? Conventional wisdom would say yes,but I can’t help think of 2011 with Walsh. How different is the overtime after that turnover if Richt has no faith in a kicker?
    I’ve not done any rigorous analysis, but I bet good field goal kicking is not very strongly correlated with winning. I recall UF in ’06 had terrible kicking, and Alabama in ’11 as well. Conversely in ’10 Blair Walsh had a banner year while UGA limped to 6-7. Maybe Marshall Morgan’s suspension for Game 1 is a blessing in disguise.

    • Russ

      I was thinking the same thing. While I’d rather have a good kicker, I do think it will affect Richt’s decision making, possibly leading to more of a killer instinct inside the 20.

  3. mdcgtp

    Honestly, I like Bill a lot, but I don’t see some huge discovery here. In fact, I am not sure he has made any point that is supported by the data he presented. Obviously, I agree with the premise that getting 7 instead of 3 is huge. That said, if one looks at the differences on a percentage basis, the 0.3 points per possession is not that big….even the games decided by 8 points or less. I find it interesting that A&M and Bama had a high percentage of drives make it over the opponents 40. Of course, the statistic in isolation makes no sense because where is Bama’s average starting field position. Given they score a lot, their defense forces a lot of three and outs, my guess is they start with better than average good field position. that said, given the prolific nature of our offense at some point, if we only get inside opponents 40 53% of the time, we must have very good numbers from our side of the field given the number of big plays.

    That said, my guess is that a PORTION of the gap between us and Bama can be explained by consistency of OL play. I predict that both teams will converge in 2012. I suspect they will have more big plays in 2013 and we will have more consistency (and perhaps fewer long TDs).

  4. Cojones

    Geez! If it’s 4th down at the opponent’s 30-40 yd line, you have a good chance of 3 pts if you have a good kicker, but have to punt if you don’t. Depending on how many yds are required to achieve 1st down, the decision of going for it kinda makes itself. If you have the guns you go for it. So the play is circumstantial as to type of O strength you have as a whole and not dependent so much as a philosophy of field goals vs going for it.

    • shane#1

      I remember reading years ago that going for it on fourth down worked more often than not. So why don’t more coaches go for it on fourth down? Because if you don’ make the play it can get you fired. Like the famous”fourth and dumb”play in the old Gator Bowl. A coach has to weigh the risk and reward ratio in that situation, unless you are the Mad Hatter and lucky as hell!