(A nuanced) Fourth and Todd

To be fair to Todd Grantham, there’s a more fleshed-out version of his fourth-down comment that made the rounds the other day:

“Because of our team, you’re going to have some fourth-down opportunities, so you’re going to have to stop them on four downs.  They went for it three times on fourth-down.  If we stop any of those, it’s less points.  In fact, if we stop the two they went for it on our side, the game is probably over because we’re going to get a field goal and it’s (now) a two possession game. That’s the big thing: You’ve got to finish people off.  To do that, it takes some dueling.  That’s where we are.  We’ve got to learn to finish people off.

That makes some sense, honestly.  The defense doesn’t need to be shutdown good every play.  But it needs to win enough key plays to lock a game down after the offense has done its job.  The point being that you’re trying to sell inexperienced players on a level of effectiveness that will win you a game.  Style points don’t matter.

That’s probably small consolation to some.  But I’ll take a season full of one big stop, three-point win sort of games, regardless of the opponent, pretty or otherwise.

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32 Comments

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32 responses to “(A nuanced) Fourth and Todd

  1. Ausdawg85

    Look, we’ve done pretty good blaming Bobo, and Todd just wanted us to get our focus back. Can’t we leave well enough alone?

  2. This and the heart stopping intensity every single week is why, at the end of a year, Non-SEC teams have trouble beating SEC teams.

    Once the 4 game playoffs start, depending of course on the ‘selection committee cigar smoke”, its going to be more SEC and not less imo.

  3. sUGArdaddy

    One of the biggest advantages SEC teams have and will have is that we play in high pressure games about 8 times a year. Every good teams gets in fist fights with teams they are much better than. The problem in the SEC is that there 9 legitimately very hostile places to play with 75,000+ fans. Most conferences have 2-3 tough places to play, but we have 9 places that have the potential to be deafening, and they all belong to proud programs who expect/want to win.

  4. DC

    He’s right about a lot of this; we were one or two stops away from beating them by a decent margin without going through all the drama.

    • Dboy

      Yea, just subtract that special teams encroachment penalty on the 4th quarter punt alone vs UT and the drauma would have been much less

  5. Turd Ferguson

    But … my anxiety. I can’t take much more of this. And *that’s* the real problem. For me, at least.

  6. Cousin Eddie

    If they can turn half of those 7 point plays into 3 pt. plays things will look a lot better.

  7. Russ

    My only concern with close wins is we’re also trying to win a beauty contest and our close Tenn win already cost us a spot in the polls. With one loss we have much less leeway so we need a good shutdown performance at least once by the defense while the offense cruises. I vote for the Florida game.

    • At 12-1, there will be no need for beauty contests. The resume’ will say it all. If it’s not good enough, it’s not good enough. But there’s no room for whining in football.

  8. Turd Ferguson

    Off-topic: This made me laugh. Might be worth a mention, Senator.

    http://www.everydayshouldbesaturday.com/2013/10/9/4817434/aaron-murrays-very-large-family

  9. Scorpio Jones, III

    “The defense doesn’t need to be shutdown good every play.” Can we have that again….”The defense doesn’t need to be shutdown good every play.”

    So, with this modern offense thing going here, Misery is gonna get like twice as many plays as they woulda like 10 years ago…the only stops that matter are the ones that win the game.

    Wow, Grantham seems to know that some stops are bigger’n others. Bless his heart. (Snarkometer peg)

    They had a special on pigs’ wings and snails at Fresh Market…I am cooking a helluva brew…gonna dab some on my tinfoil hat…if worse comes to worse, I can drink it.

    • The Lone Stranger

      You just go ahead and drink the mountain dew there, SJ3 (the real kind…you are in TN, yes?) save the witches brew for the important proceedings around high noon.

  10. MykieSee

    Wasn’t the 1980 season like the season we’re playing now? A buncha close wins and struggling the whole time?

    • The ’80 team enjoyed its share of blowouts along the way.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        “Wasn’t the 1980 season like the season we’re playing now?”….no, not in any way other than we played some of the same teams…1980 was a complete surprise…none of this “can they?” “Will they?” “All this talent coming back” none of that. Other than the folks who went to practice, nobody had any idea…and then came Tennessee….and Herschel, so no, it was nothing like this one…the anti-hype national championship…George Rogers of South freaking Carolina won the Heisman, after fumbling against us….

        Sports Illustrated called us a bunch of dogs.

        And there was a day in November when there were two miracles, this team only has one. Way too many undefeated hype-magnet teams for us to get anywhere near Pasadena.

        But it’s still fun and if we can just get ready for Misery…..

      • NRBQ

        It seems that’s it’s natural for us to remember the gut-turners.

        My two memories of 1980 are, A. marveling at Herschel’s ungodly talent, and B. imbibing enough “substances” to survive the nail-biters.

      • The teams we played that season WERE GARBAGE. PLEASE, for the LOVE OF GOD, look into their records. Look into the actual makeup of the 1980 season. Everyone romanticizes it, but it in no way compares to what this year’s team is being asked to do. Hell, any of Richt’s SEC championship seasons stack up better than that 1980 one when it comes to competition. We beat FOUR teams who were better than .500 (and one of those was 6-5). A lot of people missed my blog on that one, but here it is for you:

        http://dawgsview.blogspot.com/2013/09/get-ready-for-sacrilege.html

        • I think I noted that there were a fair number of blowouts that season. Quality of opponent was a large reason for that.

          • NRBQ

            I wasn’t arguing the point. I guess it’s natural for some of us to remember the games with pucker-factor.

            If UGA had a 14-point lead when Lindsay happened, it wouldn’t be legend, IMHO.

            • Scorpio Jones, III

              “We beat four…..” Dukes to me the point here is that we got that January 1 thing there in N’awlins in spite of the schedule we played…only three games really mattered that year…Run Lindsay, Tech vs. Notre Dame and the Sugar Bowl….good luck on a team with that schedule getting there today, unless your name is THEOhiostate. What I’m sayin here, in case you missed the point, is that you seem to be the only person who gives a fat rat’s ass what the competition was like in 1980.

              It is the result that counts. If you are trying to say Mark Richt has had better teams, that may well be true, but it matters not to me or anyone else who lived through that 1980 thing.

          • The 1980 season is one of the reasons why some UGA fans often infuriate me. They like to reach back in that file and bring up the awesome Defense, and the days of Herschel, and romanticize it. But seriously, when it comes to championship Resume’s, UGA didn’t have one that year. The glory of the “undefeated” season was far too important to voters. It still is. Folks like Seth Emerson who “just can’t put this team ahead of that one because they have a loss” elevate poor teams with good records. Right now, Missouri is undefeated. They’ve played one SEC football team and blew them out. That team was a 3-3 Vandy squad. Woohoo. Since when does a win over VANDERBILT give a team clout? But, undefeated is still a huge thing for voters, no matter the level of competition.

            The fact is, if the 1980 season were being voted on today, UGA very likely wouldn’t walk out of it with a National Title. You can’t go back and apply today’s standards, but you also shouldn’t compare the memory of that season to the one we’re currently in. Simply put, it’s a vastly different game today.

            Of Course, there is this…if UGA had started at #20, where would we be right now? I don’t know that we’d be #7. Maybe we would. Maybe beating two top-10 teams would have launched us up there. I think that’s the big issue. We started in the top 10, and our fanbase thinks that means a certain level of play. Because of that, they’re harping on all the mistakes of a very young defense. If we had started at 20 or 25 (where you would expect a team with 9 starters drafted to the NFL, who hadn’t won their conference the previous year might be), and done what we’ve done, the fanbase would be more forgiving. The big problem is in perspective. At the end of the day, these kids are learning on the job – and though we’ve given up tons of yards, and tons of points, we’re 4-1 with more wins over top 10 teams than losses to them.

            That says something.

            Should we beat Missouri? Yes. Even with a depleted backfield, and a depleted receiving corps, we should beat Missouri. Everyone wants to say they’re just so vastly improved over a year ago. Last year, they beat SE Louisiana 62-10 a week before we beat them in their house. This year, they’ve beat 3 lower-level teams, one lower-tier Big10 team, and one lower-tier SEC team. I’m not impressed. That’s not to say it will be easy, by any means. Their game sets up well to give our defense fits. But, this team has shown to be resilient against much better competition that what we’re facing this weekend.

            And, at the end of the day, our depleted runningbacks and depleted receivers are still better than the majority of the players Missouri has faced thus far. That’s not Georgia Arrogance – that’s just a fact.

  11. “If we stop any of those, it’s less points.”

    Wow. That’s great. How about if you tackle the guy with the ball the play is over.

  12. Irishdawg

    Yeah, the defense on the ’80 team was not exactly a concern.

  13. Will (the other one)

    Now if he really wanted to allay my fears, he could explain why the defense looked very good in the 1st half, to making UT look good on offense by the 4th quarter, despite allegedly rotating more guys on defense than last season.
    If they can play a full game at the level they played vs. LSU and UT in the first halves, we could have a decent D.

    • NRBQ

      Blew 14 point leads in 3 games so far. Tied or behind in the third quarter of all of ‘em. Not a healthy way to live…

  14. The Lone Stranger

    Bet you’ve hit this elsewhere along the way Sen., but here is the stat intersection that grates: Missourah 3rd down conversions—54%(9th in the land) vs. Dawgs 3rd down defense—44%(99th). Shiver me timbers!!!

    A lot of it owes, no doubt, to the opposition but this is a great litmus test matchup we have.

    Also, it is odd to see UGa at #84 in offensive 3rd down conversions what with the capable run game the Dawgs are packin’.

    • Missouri is 14/24 on 3rd and 3- (58%). They’re 15/41 on 3rd and 4+ (37%).

      Georgia is giving up 9/17 on 3rd and 3- (53%) and 20/58 on 3rd and 4+ (34%).

      So, what we REALLY need to do, is prevent them from picking up 7 yards on 1st and 2nd down. That will really help skew things in our direction.

      (Unfortunately, we’re giving up 5.7, 4.9, and 6.7 YPP on 1st, 2nd and 3rd downs respectively)