Fourth and Todd

Hmm… maybe Grantham’s on to something here.

“Because our offense is so explosive — South Carolina went for it on fourth-and-2 — I think we’re going to see a lot of fourth downs because people feel like they’ve got to keep the ball,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “We obviously didn’t play the one flip play very good, but we’ll learn from it and move on.”

So perhaps there’s a silver lining to all the injuries, as teams may feel justified playing more conservatively, eh?

Of course, another way to cut down on opponents gambling on fourth-down calls would be to get an occasional stop.

Snark aside, there is something to the argument that SEC offenses are simply more potent this season.  As Barnhart notes, Mississippi State’s higher ranked defensive unit did a noticeably worse job with LSU than Georgia did.

After throwing for 372 yards and making one NFL throw after another in a 44-41 loss to Georgia in Week 5, Mettenberger followed it up by completing 25 of 29 passes for 340 yards against Mississippi State, which had the No. 20 defense in the country going into the game. Mettenberger’s offense racked up 563 yards and closed the game with a 31-0 run to win 59-26.

I don’t expect this defense to suddenly turn a corner and become a shutdown unit.  The thing is, that’s not really necessary.  If Georgia’s defense could just win a couple of more series, with an offense that’s generating close to forty points a game, that’s enough to get the job done.  That’s not an unreasonable goal, is it?

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49 Comments

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49 responses to “Fourth and Todd

  1. Lorenzo Dawgriguez

    All kidding aside, last night I had a bad dream that our opponents all started going for it on 4th down. Grantham is like the guy who makes a pass at a girl who tells him “get lost, creep”. He then turns to his buddy and says “she really wants me”. In his mind, there is no outcome or situation where he is not doing a great job. He won’t/can’t lose his job, but maybe the Jacksonville Jaguars will make him a position coach offer that he can’t refuse….I know an increasing number of Dawg fans who would chip in to help make it happen.

  2. kckd

    The problem is the last two years his defenses have not really shown any improvement. 2012 was a miserable failure considering what was expected. This bunch doesn’t look any difference from the start of the year. One thing that really concerns me though and has been a trademark of his defenses, even in the one good year is this….they absolutely can’t get the momentum back after a snafu on special teams or offense. When the momentum shifts they have no answer.

  3. Brandon

    How well would it be received if our defense ranked in the top 10 nationally and our offense in the bottom third and Bobo explained that offensive turnovers were in large part due to defenses taking more chances trying to get picks and strip fumbles because our defense was so hard to score on? Not too well methinks.

  4. SemperFiDawg

    Personally I’m getting a bit tired of the excuses. I understand the unit is young and lacks experience and that they were playing in a very hostile environment IN KNOXVILLE, but the inability to make stops on crucial 3rd and 4th downs has to be accepted as an established trend at this point. That’s quiet disconcerting to put it mildly.

    • SemperFiDawg

      And as to the “Fourth and Todd”, that exact quote came to me at least a dozen times in the second half of game Saturday. I couldn’t help but think “This is the exact same thing that the guy we fired, who just happens to be standing across the field, was fired for. Now he’s gonna get the last laugh.” Thank Heavens that didn’t happen, but oddly that’s not comforting either.

  5. dawgfan17

    We don’t need domination. We need to get off the field more often than not on 3rd and longs. If our defense simply improves that one situation it will save us 10-14 points a game against which will be all the offense needs.

    • Puffdawg

      This year, at least. What’s troubling is to think about when Murray isn’t here to save our bacon…

  6. SC DAWG

    You’re assuming our offense keeps generating 40 pts a game…it’s getting diff ult to just put 11 scholarship players on the field for offense.

    • Gosh, you’re right. I keep forgetting they’re doomed.

      • PatinDC

        I would like to jump in here and say that I was watching one of the talking head shows on ESPN last night. 5 “experts” all agreed that UGA was done for the season and that FLA was going to cruise to the East Championship.

        Just win baby.

        • So. IL Dawg

          Saw the same show…it was Belotti (Ex Oregon Coach and huge homer) and our own Matt Stinchcomb. Belotti said we’re pretty much done; Matt said Florida is the team on a roll. UF will get curb stomped in Death Valley this week. I’m tired of hearing the about the Gator Defensive(I mean the 86 Bears defense!!) they haven’t played a team with a decent offense yet…much less on the road. We’ll see how good they are Saturday.
          Our Oline is the key. If they can open holes and protect AM, this team will still put up big numbers. We still have young talent who can perform. CTG needs to get a couple stops though. And when we have a team on the ropes like 17 – 3 last week, go for the juggler and stomp them on D. that’s where I think our D needs to step up. We get a lead and then let teams get back in and build momentum. Then AM has to pull us out of it. If our D would’ve just stomped the UT O in the ground when we got the lead, that stadium would’ve been empty at halftime. That’s where CTG is failing.
          Let’s hope for some improvement this week!
          GO DAWGS!!!

        • The Lone Stranger

          SC*EW em all! Dawgs have the mental jujitsu on Lizards now. It shall come to pass after cocktails are served.

      • SC DAWG

        I’ll eat my words if we put up 40 against Mizzou. Nowhere in my post did I say we were doomed, but I don’t see anyway we score the way we’ve been scoring with Gurley’s, Marshall, Mitchell, Scott-Wesley and Bennett out. Doesn’t seem like something you’d rationally argue with.

        • I was referring to your previous comment where you indicated I was upsetting your digestion.

        • Will (the other one)

          I think based on the numbers we can put up 40 on Missouri, even without Gurley. But I’m less optimistic we hold them under 50. Crossing routes + tempo + mobile QB + D that can’t get lined up against slow offenses = trouble.

  7. Butch Jones at Macon TD Club

    Pretty good guy.
    Son of a Police Chief
    Refers to ex-players as his Sons.

    Brick by brick spiel. Yada Yada

    What he said that was impressive is that he changed his practice and training schemes when he had some Navy Seals in to talk about leadership and training. Think this was while he was at Central Michigan.
    He stopped letting his players know what was coming next. Navy Seals train on an existing task w/o knowledge of what coming next. This builds passion, dexterity, and resiliency.

    Butch has built this in to his practices – all physical and mental training exercises.

    On the 4th down isolated flip pitch for 43 yards:
    One Ref said there was going to be a measurement, one ref said no.
    There was a slight delay and UGA showed their defensive alignment – ergo, the naked pitch was called rules.

    Joke was,
    Johnny C. who called the penalty on the flinch was correct according to the rules
    ” Texas has Johnny Football and Georgia has Johnny Footstomp”

    • So. IL Dawg

      That 4th down pitch was all on Leonard Floyd; he got sucked into stopping the dive play and the back took the ball right around his end. I’ve watched the game a couple times now. Floyd did a great job of learning his assignments after that play as he made sure to keep any runners from getting outside after that. These are the things the DB’s are doing as well. We just need time to learn assignments; but CTG needs his boys to learn faster.

      • Will (the other one)

        Considering the talent lost to the NFL, the front 7 is doing better, and until the 2nd half vs. UT, was improving each game.
        The secondary though…ugh.

  8. uglydawg

    Although I’m not any happier with the defense’s play than anyone else, TG does make a point…but that is just a part of it. Tech has had the philosophy (4 downs to make a first) for years and Georgia has stuffed them on it. Teams DO know that they have to limit AM’s possesions to have a chance. For TN, the gamble mostly worked out (with some help from the zebras), but it only takes one time of getting stuffed to change the momentum of a game. Live by it or die by it…we’ll see it plenty.
    But my big fear is this..Georgia does have a young and fairly inexperienced defense. Next year they should almost certainly be better. Next year Georgia will have all the pieces in place to be a top three team and the sky will be the limit if Mason is as good as some on here believe he is (I pesonally have no idea how good he is or will be). So the question we have to ask ourselves is “do we really want to change DCs in the middle of this stream?”.. Not that any of us make those decisions anyway, but do we want to wish for that? It’s a big, big step to take.

    • Merk

      There will not be any changes. I think this mostly because I see Richt stepping down here in the next 2-3 seasons. I think he takes it to 15 years and calls it a day. He has expressed many times that he wants to do mission work after he is done coaching, so it would make sense that he will leave on his terms after reaching a milestone like 15 years or so. Thus, I do not see him going for a change in DC unless he plans to stay for many more years.

      • Dboy

        “do we really want to change DCs in the middle of this stream?”

        -Not me. We need time for our very inexperienced defense to learn. Not time to jump ship yet. This Defense is not just young, there is not much prior experience for many of the Soph/Jrs starting this yr. Look at the freshmen…comprises most of our secondary. Any wonder why we struggle on 3rd down / passing downs?

        Off the top of my head Freshmen / RS Freshman / Transfer starters: Mauger/ Matthews, Langley, Wiggins, Floyd

        Soph- JHC, Jenkins, Mayes, Deloach, Mayes

        Former walk-on Norman.

        Upperclassemen: Smith, Herrera, Wilson, Swann, Drew

  9. Bulldog Joe

    Teams go for it on fourth down because they know the edge is not defended well.

  10. paul

    To begin with I’ll just be happy if our defense gets aligned properly, isn’t flailing around incoherently and figures out where they’re supposed to be and what they’re supposed to be doing before the play actually starts. Sad to say, but almost halfway through the season, that’s still a goal that’s yet to be attained consistently. I’m tired of the announcers pointing out how confused our defense appears to be.

    • Bulldog Joe

      All part of the plan to keep the quarterback guessin’, I say. ;-)

      • paul

        Well, that’s a positive way to look at it. I may have to adopt that philosophy in order to retain my sanity.

      • Will (the other one)

        The Falcons got a few picks out of Manning last year doing that (and the Jets did the same to them last night)…but “milling about but KNOWING where to be after the snap” isn’t the same as what we’re doing, sadly.

  11. Always Someone Else's Fault

    Defense makes some plays. Defense whiffs on plays. Watching them is like the craps table in Vegas. Cheers or groans, but you have no idea what’s coming next.

  12. Totally agree with the point that all we need is a couple more stops than we are getting, and the games will not be close. This will be of utmost importance this weekend against a prolific Mizzou O. What’s the status on Tray Matthews? Plugging him back in for Mauger should make a big difference.

  13. WillTrane

    Probably not a good comment from TG, but there is a point there. Why? Up until the injuries on “O”, AM & Co., could move the ball on anyone. The 4th down call where UT flipped the ball out was called because of the youth on the D, young, mistake prone, and aggressive. My observations on that play was the DE and DB position and footwork. Quick to show commitment down the OL and BF, rather than squaring up. But UT has a very good OL, Wilson said the players thought it was the best they have faced so far. Remember they are young, very young. Watching them now reminds me of Murray’s first two seasons at his position. Lot of difference in frosh and sophomores physically and mentally than juniors and seniors. Saw Matthews, Mauger, Langley [latter 2 out of Kell...solid coaches], Harvey-Clemons, Thornton, & etc in HS games…they can play in a SEC defense. Mauger had some learning experience in that game. Those first 3 are all true frosh. Matthews did not play, nor Norman. No doubt the QBs in the SEC this season are very, very good and experienced. LSU is a damn good team, their QB and receivers, O line will rack anybody. Plus every team this young Dawg defense plays will bring their A Game this season. Mainly watch 1-6A teams, but many of knew Green was recruited to play in the secondary, but had watched him run the ball. He is a gamer, focused, hard nose, desire and determination to get it done and win. He is thrown into a game against two former legendary UGA defensive coaches and he punches in 127 yards on the road. Damn, man, another true frosh. His performance and Douglas on that last drive was as good as it gets.
    Not a SEAL, but former combat Marine grunt officer, would never want Butch Jones in my rifle company…sell you out. UT has to recruit in Georgia like many in the SE. Why. Go watch some games on Friday night. As far as I know I doubt if there are many Tennessee fans or supporters who are financially invested as a booster or supporter of high school football, basketball, and baseball in Georgia. We get our kids we will play with anyone. Look down those rosters.
    The experts at ESPN always have it figured out, that is why we do not need to play the games. Just ask Erin Andrews.
    If there is one side of the ball that has an issue is the punt team, someone needs to put a boot in Barber’s butt to remind him to get the kick off…way to damn slow.

    • Dog in Fla

      “Not a SEAL, but former combat Marine grunt officer, would never want Butch Jones in my rifle company…sell you out.”

      Sell you out how? By being an inch away from winning a game his team should have won? Why not just stick with his hair is too long

  14. Ghost of Dawgs Past

    Sorry but I have to disagree. The “Goal” is to win the Southeastern Conference Championship, then the National Championship. I do not see that happening with CTG as defensive coordinator. Every team has players with certain strengths and weaknesses. Every unit (offense, defense, and special teams) has strengths and weaknesses. You scheme to your strengths in order to hide your weaknesses. I don’t see Grantham doing that…ever in his four years at UGA. He has had an array of talent. Experienced and inexperienced, but the results are the same. We continually get out-coached by the opposing teams OC. Can Bobo coach defense?

  15. Spike

    Tackle better. Problem solved.

    • Slaw Dawg

      1,000,000%, Spike. And that’s the problem–tackling technique is no mystery. It’s really a matter of “don’t you remember what you’ve been taught since Midget Football?”

      My wife, my son, my brother in law, the guy next to me in the stands, have said over and over this season: “good grief, why didn’t he wrap up?” or “hit him low, dammit!” And I practically expect our dog to get up and say “it’s 3 and longish, so they’re going to throw it to a guy just beyond the flats, where there’ll be 3 defenders watching him make the catch.”

      It really does remind me of the later Willie days, only with more yardage on the pass plays.

      I’ve probably said it here before: maybe just show them a steady diet of Dawg defensive footage in the Dooley days. Them boys could tackle.

  16. Spike

    Slaw.. e.g. Woerner, Hoage, Payne, Weaver, Tardits, Zambisi, Culpepper,.. et al.

    • Slaw Dawg

      You got it, Spike. I reckon you can add Scott, Stanfill and Ros to that bunch. I don’t remember many of what we’d now call “ESPN highlight” hits. I do remember it was usually hard as Hell to get yardage and there were mucho turnovers.

  17. So people must be going for it on 4th down on every play against Oregon, right?……..What’s that?…..No…….they aren’t?….Oh well in that case Grantham blows!

  18. Bulldog Joe

    We are incapable of executing the punt play.

    So that makes two teams going for it on fourth down.

  19. Cosmic Dawg

    Here is the way you can judge the defense – you can throw all the other stuff out. Georgia probably has one of the top five offenses in its history, and the outcome of every game save (PERHAPS) North Texas has been in doubt – they have all pretty much been nail-biters.

    That says to me that as truly, uniquely, historically awesome as our offense has been, our defense has been equally historically bad.

    • Two things about your analysis: (1) special teams play deserves some of the blame you’re throwing the defense’s way; and (2) SEC offenses may be historically good.

      Now, back to your regularly scheduled vent. ;)

      • Cosmic Dawg

        That was a vent?

        ST have not been as bad as their rap this year – they caused/recovered a critical fumble on a punt return and hit a 55 yd FG. They’ve also had great kick coverage and given the defense pretty good field position, for which they (and the offense, for scoring in the first place) are never given credit.

        We’ve been in a lot of close games, against some *very* good teams that were going to hang some points on us. But perhaps the Georgia offense we’ve discussed as being “historical” is just a happy accident of the explosive age in which they’re playing?

        Perhaps it’s no big deal to score 30+ points against LSU, Clemson, and South Carolina, anymore, just like it’s no big deal to score those points against Georgia.

        I’m not losing any sleep over it, I love our program under CMR and I haven’t been screaming for anybody’s head. I just enjoy analyzing football and I don’t think CTG is a great coach.

  20. DC

    I’m no expert, but I know that I hate the 3-4. Too hard to get pressure on the passer.

  21. IveyLeaguer

    If we are going to Atlanta and making a run for it, we have to get Gurley back 100% in the next few weeks, and he has to stay healthy for the stretch. But the defense and ST’s also have to step up.

    There’s no excuse whatsoever for the ST’s. That blocked punt in Knoxville was born of sloppiness and laziness That’s all it was. Some arse-kicking can fix that.

    I’ve said all year the offense would have to carry the defense to the mid-point, that it would take the defense that long to develop. They could probably use another week or two, but we no longer have that luxury. The defense has to tighten up NOW.

    There’s no reason the defense shouldn’t be able to. They know now what they face down the road. They’ve seen it. As a unit, they’ve gone full circle around the block. And now their team needs them.

    With this heavy loss of offensive firepower, the axis of the team has shifted back to the center. We have to be balanced now, if we’re to be successful.

    Now is the time to put it all together.
    ~~~

  22. Bulldog Joe

    Hey, if we are now getting whipped on fourth down, that means we are beginning to stop them on third down.

    Sounds like progress to me.