Daily Archives: July 27, 2013

Grading Grantham

Seth Emerson gets asked his opinion about Georgia’s defensive coordinator and summarizes as follows:

Grantham has had one so-so year (2010), one very good one (2011) and one down year (2012). To hear Grantham tell it, the problems last year had more to do with the early-season suspensions, which caused the defense to take time to gel. But I don’t quite buy that, considering it was a veteran defense that played well together the previous season. If the issue was that too many players were looking towards their pro careers, then part of that falls on Grantham’s motivational ability. Finally, there was a tendency last year to struggle in the first half of games, which goes to gameplanning.

It’s not an unfair assessment, as far as it goes.  But I wonder if more nuance is called for.  For one thing, to call a year in which Georgia went from 23rd nationally in scoring defense (20.6 ppg) to 18th and a point a game average lower down doesn’t seem accurate, except there were games like Kentucky and Tennessee where it’s hard to dispute that the label’s deserved.

I’m conflicted because the suspensions clearly had an impact on the unit’s cohesiveness in the first part of the season.  The injuries to Jones – both Joneses actually – also had an effect.  But it’s hard to blame those for what happened after five-game stretch leading up to the SECCG when the defense had its mojo working and only gave up a total of 43 points.  Alabama ran the ball down that defense’s throat.  (That two-point conversion still stuns me.)  And Nebraska made Georgia’s defense looked disorganized during a stretch where it erased a 16-point deficit and took an early second half lead before the Dawg offense took control of the bowl game for good.

I do think that Jenkins and Geathers wore down over the course of the season, some of that no doubt being the result of having to play more after Abry Jones was lost for the year.  But the question about that remaining for me was why Grantham (and Garner) weren’t able to develop more interior line depth they felt they could rely on after Jones was gone.  And that, I would argue, continues to be a big question for this season, given what they’ve got to replace on the defensive line.

So where do things go from here?  Emerson describes the positives:

… Grantham has shown a good ability to be organized (not as easy as it may sound) and his players listen to and trust him. He’s smart and in control, there’s no question about that. There’s kind of a mad scientist quality to his lineups and moving players around, and I mean that in a good way. You don’t go from genius one season to forgetting everything the next. The true measure of Grantham probably lies somewhere in between.

I guess we’ll find out.
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Filed under Georgia Football

Staying on top

I could care less about the Heisman implications, but Year2 notes a trend that could impact Aaron Murray and Georgia this season.

Since 2000, 31 quarterbacks have had a season passing efficiency above 160 and returned to school the following year. Seven of them, a new high in the span, hit 160 last year. Three of them missed too many games due to injury the following season to count. Of the 21 remaining players, three managed to improve their PE scores, three had roughly the same PE as the prior year, and 15 saw their PEs decline.

Of the three who improved their marks, two were freshmen and one was a sophomore. Of the three who stayed the same, one was a freshman and two were sophomores. That then means, of course, that every junior who went above 160 and came back to school had his PE decline. The average decline was right about 19 with a median of about 16.  [Emphasis added.]

McCarron and Murray, of course, were juniors last season. That means that their passing efficiency marks are likely to drop this coming fall based on this history…

Now YMMV, correlation ain’t causation, yada, yada, yada.  The circumstances of those 15 aren’t described and it’s possible there are explanations for some of those declines (Tebow, one of those 15, for example, played a senior season without Harvin and Mullen).  But 15-for-15 is pretty compelling evidence that top-flight junior quarterbacks don’t improve their game much in their last year in college.

You’d think Murray’s got some pretty compelling circumstances to buck that trend, as pretty much his entire supporting cast returns as do all of Georgia’s offensive coaches.  But the schedule is tougher – most significantly, it’s likely that LSU will play better pass defense than Ole Miss did.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

In. Your. Face.

Well played, Mark Stoops.  Well played, indeed.

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Filed under Recruiting