Third and Todd

Here’s a stat that’s getting a fair amount of attention:  Georgia is 99th in the country in opponent third down conversion rate.  There’s been a steady decline over the past three seasons.

  • 2013 – 44.83%
  • 2012 – 36.54%
  • 2011 – 28.93%

The improvement in 2011 was dramatic and came in part because Grantham recognized there was an issue there that needed to be addressed.  So it’s fair to say he’s got experience in how to bring that into line.  It’s not a big surprise, but the gaping wound that needs to be stitched up is in pass defense.  Check out the situational stats on passing defense when opponents face third and four or more yards to go.  The other guys are 20-33, 310 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs.  Tough to get off the field when they’re averaging almost ten yards per attempt and not turning the ball over in those circumstances.

Georgia’s offensive passing game has actually been better in those situations, which is a good thing and has no doubt been a key factor in those September wins.  But overall, the offense’s third down conversation rate trails the defense’s by a significant margin.  That’s a tough burden to shoulder.

It’s made for some exciting football watching the defense come up with key stops to save the South Carolina and LSU games, but as Emerson’s article notes, this is no way to run a railroad over the course of a season.

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31 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

31 responses to “Third and Todd

  1. @pcfrailey

    I’m not one for making excuses, but I do wonder how much of that is related to the level of competition Georgia has faced so far. Boyd, Shaw and Mettenberger are all senior QBs facing a very young secondary. That doesn’t excuse the three-man rush on a 3rd and 23; that’s a scheme issue. It does probably account for some of the opponents’ success though.

    • Don'tBuckwithus

      Agreed!

    • hailtogeorgia

      My thoughts exactly. We’re still dealing with an extremely small sample size, and there’s no getting around the fact that Georgia has played three of the best offenses in the country.

  2. Brandon

    We’ve got to find a way to consistently bring pressure. If the QB only has 5-6 seconds to throw it will shore up the youth in the secondary, you would hope they can cover people for that long, and pressure forces bad throws also. We need to bring as many people as it takes, I mean it’s not like we aren’t getting toasted anyway dropping 8. The offense has an inherent advantage over the defense in that the receivers know where they are going, defensive players have to read and react. It does not matter how many guys you have in coverage, somebody is going to get open if the QB especially a good one has all day to throw.

    • The Lone Stranger

      Mr. Floyd hears you. He has the tools to seek out the passer as does Jenkins, but when teams are geared to trot out four WRs those dudes aren’t in a position to do much rushing of the QB. My guess is more heat will come to bear vs. UT. And the Vols are elementary on defense.

  3. BWD

    It’s no excuse, but the quality of the quarterbacks we have faced so far has been ridiculous. Hopefully the defense will “improve” as the quality of opponent QBs declines. I know, I know, all QBs have break out games against Georgia, but, still, we shouldn’t see a quarterback at the level of Boyd, Shaw, or Mett until the SECCG.

  4. frowertr

    I think the bottom line is that this is what happens when a youthful defense meets three top 10 teams in the course of 4 weeks each with a very good QB.

    I think Grantham gets it fixed. The run defense is already looking better. I am thinking we don’t run much 3-4 the rest of the year.

  5. Irishdawg

    Grantham seems to have fixed the run defense, if the last 2 games are any indicator. Now if we can generate some turnovers, that will help our young secondary, who have had some tough growing pains thus far.

  6. doofusdawg

    3rd and 4 = 6/2 = 3 in base
    310/33 = 10 in nickel

    thanks…good work

  7. It’s interesting, when our offense does the exact same thing to the other team’s defense, we fans (including myself) consider it to be great execution by the offense. But when a really good offense does it to our defense, we consider it a defensive breakdown.

    There’s no doubt some improvements need to be made, but there’s also no doubt that some of those throws and catches on Saturday were things that very few teams in the country have the personnel to pull off. Mett was on the money with some gorgeous passes in tough situations, and those two WR’s are studs.

    For me, this week will be a HUGE barometer. If the same issues continue against a very bad offense, then my level of concern will go up much higher. I’m really hoping we see a steady improvement over the rest of the year…….you know, two steps forward for every one step back, instead of one step forward then two steps back.

    • David K

      Great points and agree completely about this weekend. If UT torches us for 400 yards and 30 points we’re in real trouble.

    • Brandon

      Make no mistake, that was not the LSU defense from years past out there on Saturday. Our offense is really good true, but they are hurting on defense as well.

    • Charlottedawg

      Not to take anything away from Murray but the TD to JSW to win the game as well as the TD to Bennett after the muffed punt were clear defensive breakdowns by LSU. Still gotta give credit to the offense for making LSU pay.

  8. kckd

    Folks, the reason we were confused Saturday is because the Lbers knew the hand signals for defense but the DBs didn’t. Herrerra is supposed to audibly communicate to the DBs what the call is. Well, as you know it was loud in there and they couldn’t hear it.

    I can’t believe that a guy as smart as Grantham didn’t think it was possible that if a QB couldn’t communicate maybe a LBer would be able to either. If that had happened our D might’ve looked decent.

  9. FitzDawg

    Look at the tape, Swann is not a good cover corner. That is evident from the LSU and North Texas games. At some point, you have to wonder if our DB coach can make kids better. We’re not seeing that improvement from week to week.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Swann was catching a lot of love last year for his play. His play has slipped some this season.

    • Joe Schmoe

      I have to say that I have been shocked at Swann’s breakdowns. I really expected him to be the one constant in our youthful secondary.

      • W Cobb Dawg

        Agree. I thought Swann and Mitchell as the only two possible players who might jump to the nfl. I imagine both will be returning next year.

  10. Bright Idea

    After watching LSU replay I noticed young DBs pulling up and not breaking on the ball. They looked afraid of colliding with the receiver. Have they been overcoached on avoiding a targeting penalty? Just wondering. Just not aggressive enough when the ball is in the air.

    • Debby Balcer

      Matthews talked about worrying about getting called for targeting I do think that is a factor.

  11. mdcgtp

    Color me an optimist or someone who is seeing a glass that might be less than half full as potentially overflowing, but I see a LOT of things to like about this defense. The ability to get teams into 3rd down is a pretty important skill. It is often said that third down is the defenses’ down. It has not been for us this year for all the obvious reasons.

    The question is what happens from here on out. Obviously, the fact that our secondary has not gotten the proper calls to be able to communicates roles and responsibilities explains a tremendous amount. Essentially, if you put yourself in their shoes, each individual is making a best guess at what they should be doing, and defending a play correctly requires they all guess the same thing AND then play their assignment aggressively. What is the probability of either of those things happening in that scenario? Low IMHO

    Going forward, this will all get ironed out. Will there be missed assignments between now and then? absolutely. the question is one of timing.

    Last week, the good Senator harped on special teams that had made mistakes. We got a bit of mean reversion this weekend, had some bright moments, but we also still had a few bad snaps. Again, all one can hope is that with time, these issues can and will be fixed.

    I guess is I were to compare this defense to other legendarily “bad” UGA defenses in my life time, (1993, 1994, 1999, 2009). This one has almost NOTHING in common with any of those defenses save maybe the 99 defense. only the 99 defense struck me as one with the talent to self correct. Little did we know that the DC was incapable of coordinating a defense and a GA named Kirby Smart was breaking down the film for us. Again, I have faith that a lot of this will be addressed and by the end of the season this defense will no bear any resemblance to the one that played in September.

  12. Bulldog Joe

    We played three top ten teams and we’re 3-1 with only two returning defensive starters.

    Run defense is clearly improving. Pass defense is next.

    As the season plays out, more experience in the secondary will give us more confidence to switch up the pass rush.

    Upside here is greater than anywhere else in the SEC outside of LSU and we’re ahead of the Chief in the development of our defense.

  13. “trend” stats during a season are bullshit, especially 4 games in…even more so 4 games where 3 are top 10 matchups. Give it another 4 games, and let’s see where we stand. Then give it another 4 and we’ll know where we are for the season. Oh, and if we have two championship games after that, we can go ahead and burn all the stats because…

    NONE OF THAT MATTERS.