Plenty of blame to go around

I see from the comments here that plenty of you have your minds made up about Grantham and I don’t expect that’ll likely change.  But I do think the statistical story is more complicated than some of you are willing to acknowledge.  This, for example, is pretty staggering:

Georgia has allowed 33 touchdowns this season. About a third (10) came either against Georgia’s offense/special-teams units or on drives that covered 40 yards or less. Nearly a quarter of those 33 touchdowns (eight) came against the offense/special teams or on drives that covered 20 yards or less.

TDs vs. UGA offense/special teams: 4
TD drives of 20 yards or less: 4
TD drives of 40 yards or less: 6
TD drives of 50 yards or less: 7

That doesn’t include the occasional short drive that ended in a field goal, or, for that matter, Saturday’s safety.  But that’s how you get to this:

Georgia ranks 112th nationally and last in the SEC in opponent yards per point — a statistic that divides the number of points a team allows by the yardage its opponent covered to score. The five teams that rank immediately behind Georgia’s average (12.1) on that list have a combined 7-35 record this season: Cal (1-8), Colorado (3-5), Idaho (1-8), UTEP (1-7) and Iowa State (1-7).

(The complete rankings in opp ypp are here, if you’re interested.)

Now, Ching is right to note that even if the defense has been handed more than its fair share of tough spots, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have stepped up at a better rate.

“…Georgia’s defense could always have made more stops after being placed in those bad positions. And the Bulldogs certainly could stand to become more effective on third down (they’re 12th in the SEC, allowing opponents to convert 42.5 percent of the time).”

The Dawgs are 110th in opponents’ red zone touchdown percentage.

In other words, the 92nd ranking in defensive scoring has truly been a team effort.

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121 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

121 responses to “Plenty of blame to go around

  1. paul

    It’s been a frustrating season all around. And, what the heck, we can’t blame Bobo anymore so we have to blame somebody. I’ve been as bad as any about ragging on Grantham. I think if the offense had stayed healthy and we were still outscoring our opponents with relative ease most of us would give Grantham a little more grace. Our spectacularly awful special teams haven’t done him any favors either. Young though they are, he’s got most all his guys on the field. And they’re his guys, not people recruited before his arrival. It would help if they didn’t still look confused eight games into the season. Twelve men on the field after a timeout is not good.

  2. Consider me a reed in the wind at this point. Three weeks ago, I was done with Grantham. Then when the D showed some life against Vandy, and showed some good things on Saturday, I’m starting to lean back the other way. I think I’m more curious than anything else right now- to see what the rest of the season brings.

    I actually think that if Grantham learns from this season that you just can’t have a super complex system of playcalling at the college level, he can still be really good. In some ways he reminds me of Bobo’s first few years – some maddening tendencies, seeming like he’ll always be ok but not great -but I think Bobo eventually looked in the mirror and had an epiphany that he had to change some things, and he did what he had to do to go from a decent playcaller to a REALLY good one (yeah I know, some folks will still disagree on his playcalling, but I maintain we are fortunate to have Bobo). But even with a veteran defense last year, I’m now convinced that the complexity of what Grantham was trying to do contributed at least partially to the disappointment of last year.

    One of Grantham’s other big shortcomings his first 3 years was that I always felt like he HAD to start subbing more, yet he never would. He’s taken that step this year, whether by design or necessity, but I think he’s seen the value in it now. Now, if he’ll buy into keeping things at a level that college players, who are juggling a lot of responsibilities outside of football, can process and understand then I still think he can be really good. And if he’ll keep the mentality of rotating fresh guys in throughout the game, the days of the defense being gassed at the end of the game will be over.

    But I also shudder at the thought of keeping him around one more year, then he goes back to all his previous tendencies, and now we’ve just set ourselves back one more year than necessary……..I’m glad it’s not my decision to make and I hope Richt makes the right one.

    • The other Doug

      I’m with this guy.

      I wouldn’t be upset if Grantham moved on at the end of the season, but I also think he is starting to get the college game.

    • Normaltown Mike

      Not to be Debbie Downer, but Flarduh has an abysmal offense. I’m not sure they have any receivers that are as good as some of the walkon guys we have marched out there this season. The QB is obviously of limited familiarity with the O. If Boom had known Georgia weakness for naked bootlegs and bubble screens, the outcome might woulda been different.

  3. Irishdawg

    One thing to remember is Grantham coached a defense 2 years ago that finished 4th in the country with guys in their 2nd year in a new system. He’s got a lot of freshmen now who will be in their 2nd year in the system next year.

    I say this not to defend Grantham’s defense’s lapses this year, but merely to make an observation.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      +1. This D is young. They have already started getting better. You can see the improvement already in the last couple of games. I think they will be pretty good by the end of the season and a lot better next season. If Grantham leaves to go back to the NFL I won’t exactly miss him but I really don’t want to see UGA become one of those programs that fires assistants constantly. It messes up team continuity. Plus, remember how the team did when there was a wholesale change to the D after the 2009 season? 2010 wasn’t so hot. Do we really want to go through that again?

    • Will (the other one)

      And I’d be far more encouraged by his possibly return if the vast majority of those guys who finished 4th in the country didn’t regress horribly in their 3rd year in the system.

  4. Krautdawg

    What I see with the D is similar to what I see with the O: neither side deals well with unexpected adversity. If the O fumbles the ball inside our own 40, that’s more or less a guaranteed TD for the other guys. Conversely, if their D gets a big play — say, a lateral recovery — the O disappears for 1.5 quarters.

    This, of course, is just a complaint. I don’t know what to do about it. “Train for chaos” was always a useful phrase in competitive events. The Senator used “roll with the punches” earlier. That’s easy for us; we’re old & have seen a thing or two. But it’s Richt’s job.

    Also, if Grantham did go this year, anyone interested in hiring Muschamp as DC?

  5. AusDawg85

    I’m OK with some of the excuses, but 3rd down deficiency, red zone scoring, players still out of position/not knowing the play call, lack of turnovers and getting beat deep time and again are still symptoms of a big problem. I really did not see anything Saturday that showed improvement. Florida O is just plain awful. It sure would be nice to see some meaningful vs. marginal improvement by the Auburn game.

    And if inept ST play is causing your D some stress, might you not want to get more directly involved as the Assistant Head Coach (remember, CTG carries that title in his wallet too)? I really suspect there is less than ideal communication / relationship between CMR and CTG behind closed doors. After Willie, Richt seems to hold Grantham at arms length. That may be politically wise given the circumstances CMR was under to hire him, but ultimately you would really think it’s best for all to have a DC that is in synch with the HC and not a commander of his own island.

    • …getting beat deep time and again…

      I don’t think that’s happening as often as it seems. In fact, I think playing to prevent big plays may contribute to Georgia’s bad showing on 3rd downs. When you cannot rely on consistent safety play, it’s hard to be aggressive with your coverages and blitzes on third downs.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        Speaking of safety play, did Matthews play a down?

        • I don’t have a link for you, but I remember reading somewhere that he didn’t play any snaps.

        • I watched for him the entire game and never saw him play a down. He was suited up, though.

          • Skeptic Dawg

            Grantham said during an interview on Atlanta sports radio that Matthews, as a young player, needs practice reps and has missed a ton. He also said that Matthews would play as needed and others have stepped up in the safety spot. Now I can not read the guys mind, nor have I been to practice, but it sounds as if Matthews has fallen out of favor with our beloved DC. Maybe someone has more info on this situation than I do.

            • adam

              Grantham said in another interview that Tray hasn’t played for over a month and has barely practiced. Hard to say how healthy he would be or how effective. It can takes guys some time to get back into the swing of things. Look at Gurley, for example. He was still amazing, but he was not in good condition.

  6. Russ

    I still consider Grantham somewhat of a hired gun who will flee back to the NFL as soon as he gets the right offer. So I’m not sure he’s committed enough to change his NFL-like philosophy of complex defensive sets and substitutions to really stick. If he can adapt his philosophy to something more compatiblewith ccollege kids, then I’d think he’s the guy. But I agree with the Rev, I’d hate to waste another year just to watch players flapping their arms trying to figure out some overly complex scheme.

  7. William

    I will say this one thing in Grantham’s defense. We all complained about his utilization of Swann and JHC. However, where did JHC play for most of this game? At Safety. And who played the Star? Swann. I know this doesn’t make up for some of the glaring errors we still see, but c’mon. The guy is getting it. We complained about the lack of aggression from the D. Well, we blitzed them to death in that last quarter, and that same blitzing mentality is what made the difference in the end. Moore made that sack. Now, where was that in the 3rd quarter? NO IDEA!

    • AthensHomerDawg

      “We all complained… The guy is getting it. ” Give him more time. He probably hasn’t been reading Bluto’s blog very long. It will come. ;-)

  8. HVL Dawg

    My biggest disappointment is the lack of big turnovers generated by our D. I honestly expect our defense to score a few points.

    • William

      This DOES concern me. That play by Wilson where he nearly had the FU QB sacked? If he had swiped at the ball, he probably had himself a fumble. Instead, he was just happy to be there and the FU QB got the hand off off. Its small things like that I think that are holding us back from getting more turn overs. Just IMHO.

      • I agree on that play, but overall, I noticed our D making way more attempts than usual at stripping the ball throughout the game. Once a runner or WR was wrapped up, somebody was regularly reaching in and trying to strip. It didn’t bear much fruit in that game, but it actually looked to me like something the guys had been finally coached up to do, and it will eventually pay off as long they continue to wrap up first, then go for the strip.

        • William

          I remember this too, although I won’t agree that the player was wrapped up when they were trying at every point. There were a few times when they had not gotten the guy wrapped up and everyone was going for the strip. If done the way you reference, I think it is brilliant. However, done the other way yields 10 more yards.

  9. DC

    I’m not one to support firing coaches, because I’ve seen too many friends uprooted and their lives disrupted over the years, sometimes because of circumstances beyond their control. That being said, I’d really love to once again see a dominant Georgia defense — with athletes that rule the line of scrimmage and beyond. Two years ago, we looked headed that way, but last year, with a lot of celebrated athletes back on campus, was definitely a defensive bust, no matter what the statistics say. All you had to do was look at a game to see that. We couldn’t stop anybody, even with “draft picks” galore. This year, This year is worse. Eight games in as a full-time starter, Floyd still gets suckered on every play and can’t contain wide. Wiggins starts each play 10 or 15 yards off of the man he is guarding, and only a ridiculously bad throw from the QB (as in his lone pick-6) gives him a chance at an interception or even a play on the ball. Swann, though he’s improved the last couple of week, still doesn’t want to seem to get his body in anybody’s way. I dunno. These are just some things that come to my mind when I think about our defense. I am not much concerned with ranking or X + Z — Y statistics. I just want us to stop people. I do have a problem with the bend-but-don’t-break defense. That’s what we had under Martinez. It never stopped bending.

    • William

      We also had a bend-don’t-break defense under Van Gorder too though.

      • Brandon

        The difference is Van Gorder knew how to coach fundamentals and how to implement the scheme in a game. It’s not the overall scheme, its the way its implemented.

        • William

          Not to keep playing devil’s advocate here, but when Van Gorder was the DC at Auburn, their fundamentals were gawd aweful. They were still bad in the last games of that season. I understand what you are saying, and I can’t completely argue against it. However, for all he deserves the bad for, he deserves the good for as well (granted that side of the list isn’t as big).

          • Brandon

            He was at Auburn for only one year, that whole team was a dumpster fire and it stemmed from the head coach, guilt by association I guess, I’d celebrate hardily if BVG came back to UGA. I thought it was bad when he left and lot’s of people pooh pooh’d my concern. I take no pleasure in having been right about it. If we had maintained the level of defense he installed at Georgia 2005-2013, we’d have at least two national championships more wins, and a lot less embarrassing losses.

            • adam

              There is empirical evidence that that is simply not true.

              Mizzou is better than any offense he saw in 2001-2004. Clemson and LSU are better than all but 2001 Florida. Offense have improved. He was bad in Atlanta and he was a disaster at Auburn. The game has left him behind.

              And I wasn’t upset about his departure because he left us. We didn’t fire him. He left to be a LB coach for the Jaguars. So, as much as people call Grantham a hired gun who will leave the first chance he gets, BVG took a step down to leave here and his career has been meh ever since.

              I hope he never comes back. If the defense doesn’t improve next year (when these guys are all a year older), then it may be time to look elsewhere. And if Grantham chooses to leave, that’s fine too. We just need to look and find the best possible replacement. Good coaches leave. Look at Bama. They have lost a ton of coaches in the past several years. I think it sucks that we didn’t get Kirby Smart, but they have still lost a ton of coaching talent. You hire the next best guy and keep on trucking.

              • Brandon

                I haven’t said anything about Grantham being a hired gun, in fact, I hope someone in the NFL decides they just can’t live without him and hires him away at the end of the season that would be the best of all possible scenarios. To me last year is a greater indictment of CTG than this year is, we way underachieved last year and were flat out mediocre at times, and nearly everyone on that defense is in the NFL and had 3 full seasons in his system. My memory is that we played 2001 Florida pretty well defensively and unlike other games Florida played that year they had all their pieces in place in that game, I know Earnest Graham (who played a part for them much like Gurley does for us) was injured for stretches that season and it hurt them when he wasn’t there but he was very healthy for the UGA game (of course). I’d love to argue this more with you but I have a trial I am working on this week, I am sure we will have the opportunity.

    • William

      Also, Wiggins is the only solid member of the secondary! He plays that far off to avoid getting beat deep on a double move (do you completely trust the safeties in pass support?). Now, playing that far back every down is an issue, but I don’t believe he was.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Erk Russell was known for his “Bend but don’t break D.” Teams would run up and down the field on his D but could not put it in the end zone. Wish we could learn some of that. Although the uSC stop on the goal line was a thing of beauty. So was running out of our end zone and moving into uSC territory and running down the clock. SOMETIMES I think we are almost there.
      http://patrickgarbin.blogspot.com/2011/04/bend-but-dont-break.html

  10. Brandon

    Our defense is allowed to hold people to FG’s now and then. Unfortunately almost every time our offense turns the ball over in our territory it seems like the other team promptly cashes that in for six. I encourage anyone who has doubts about Grantham to go back and watch one of those old Van Gorder defenses, the hobnail boot game, Michael Johnson’s catch, the Man Enough Game, so many great wins of that era would simply not happen now because we can’t stiffen on defense when we need to. The 12 guys on the field after a timeout on fourth and two in the fourth quarter against your biggest rival is absoultely inexcusable. As I said this weekend, it’s the defensive coach equivilent of a lawyer going to court with no pants on. If we can’t get that right do you really think he is matching wits appropriately with some of the good OC’s out there?

  11. I don’t know that I buy the complexity argument. I know that somebody heard from a former player about how Grantham’s stuff is more complex than what they do in the NFL, or some such nonsense. (I also heard there is cheap beachfront property in Hahira). But, the matchup zone that Saban runs is just as complex with just as many blitz options and coverages. Now, Saban and Kirby may be better teachers than Grantham & Co., but I think a fair bit of Saban’s success can be attributed to roster management. He isn’t saddled with as many players that never contribute, and he signs the top players at nearly every position every year. That allows him to do things like start the season with eleven upperclassmen starters on defense. When you have upperclassmen that have been in the system three years, you can be very complex.

    So, maybe Grantham’s defense is too complex for freshmen and first year starters. You know what fixes that? Time and recruiting to 85+. But, that’s not what anybody wants to hear.

    I want and expect the defense to improve, but I think Grantham deserves another year to prove he can succeed. The injuries have not been isolated to the offense. The only thing worse than having to start a lot of true freshmen is having to start the guys the true freshmen beat out because they have been injured. Besides, installing a new defense next year means this year was completely wasted, and 2014 becomes year zero for these guys instead of 2013. If the defense isn’t better in 2014 with experienced players, then you know you have a problem that has to be addressed.

    I would encourage everyone to just have a drink (or three), accept the season for what it is (loads of potential marred by injury and youth and special teams ineptitude that ends in a familiar bowl destination), and enjoy the wins over LSU, USCe, Tennessee, and Florida (3IAR,B!). Root like hell to beat Auburn and Georgia Tech, and reflect on and appreciate what we have had in Aaron Murray. I need to do this, you need to do this… we need to do this… for our sanity and for our health.

    • Brandon

      I’ve had football guys tell me the complexity thing is CTG’s main problem, that and in game stubbornness in not adjusting when what you are doing is clearly not working. I don’t know x’s and o’s in and out so I have to take their word for it. I do know last year is the best we can hope for under Grantham and rarely has that much talent produced such mediocre results, that is far bigger indictment of him than this year IMO.

      • Brandon

        And the 12 guys on the field is after a timeout to contemplate your defense for a crucial 4th in 2 in the 4th quarter is absolutely inexcusable. The fact that he allowed that to happen just renders any “patience” argument moronic. Would you have patience with a surgeon who operated on you with dog shit on his hands, that’s the doctor equivalent, there is nothing that can make up for that. He should have been met at the airport with a pink slip a la Kiffin.

        • adam

          I don’t see you asking for Bobo and Richt to be fired when we get a delay of game after a timeout. Grantham said someone heard the call wrong and ran out there when they shouldn’t have. They followed that penalty with a huge stop. Florida ran 2 plays for -2 then got sacked for -14 or so. So, the penalty was stupid, but they followed that with sending Florida back 16 yards. That’s impressive.

        • The players have no responsibility there? There were too many players on the line. The play was called with a specific package, and two players thought they were playing the same position on the line, but neither knew that the other didn’t belong? They didn’t bother to think, “hey what are you doing here… I thought I was playing the whatever position?”

          It is more a reflection of not minding the P’s and Q’s and making sure that everyone was on the same page, but as bad as it looked, it is hardly performing surgery with shit on your hands.

      • The defense in 2011 was much better than 2012, and you are forgetting both the number of suspensions and the depth issues in 2012 that, oh by the way, they are still paying for this year.

  12. South FL Dawg

    Valid points. I am not sold on Grantham but if it is a matter of him getting a feel for college players after he has been in the NFL for so long and this year was his “eureka” moment then let’s just look ahead and not back.

    I think most people expected better considering what he gets paid. He is up there with Smart, Chavis, etc. He is paid more than Bobo and it sure isn’t based on results. There were more than a couple of fans ready to anoint him head coach in waiting in his second season.

    I have heard both sides and I have no idea who is right. But at the end of the day it’s what Richt thinks that matters. It will be interesting to see if he still feels Grantham is the right guy come December.

  13. T-bone mac

    Here’s a simple question for you. Which of the two defenses on display in the game Saturday would you prefer to have on your team? I know that Florida had the one sack/safety (which did impact the game significantly) but that was really just a blown assignment. Other than that, Georgia had a good number of “stops” whereas I don’t remember many times where Florida “stopped” UGA’s offense. Now, we did stop OURSELVES several times, but overall, I wasn’t that impressed with Florida’s vaunted D.

  14. StuDawg

    Thank you for this, this is what I have been trying to say for a while now. Anyone who blames all our problems on the D and CTG are oversimplifying the situation.

  15. Many say they want to see improvement. Well, if you look at the yards per play trend, it is certainly improving. Georgia held Missouri to their second lowest YPP of the season, Vandy to their second lowest and Florida to their third lowest. That isn’t great, but it is improvement. They have gone from 6+ ypp in September to 5.5 ypp to 4.5 ypp.

  16. uglydawg

    I think Georgia will have a great offense and a good defense next year.
    And give the ST’s some love for their performance in Jacksonville.

  17. 69Dawg

    Look at the D coaches. Right now it’s two college guys and two pro guys. I have screamed about the scheme being too complex for years. The hiring of Chris Wilson from MSU was a good hire and with his DC background maybe Mark was trying to help CTG adjust to the college game. Our DL has been rotating like a top all year and they are not gassed as bad. The DB’s are babies and they are still in shock at the speed and the fact that unlike high school, the ball carrier does not go down when you bump him. The best thing that could happen to these guys is a few big turnovers. The mindset of the D is fragile and a ST or O screw up can get them down fast. A more mature D will rise up in those same situations in the future.

    If however CTG is gone at the end of the year look for Chris Wilson to be named the DC.

  18. PTC DAWG

    UGA is 5th in total defense (yards allowed) in the SEC…..if only conference games are in the calculations.

    http://www.cfbstats.com/2013/leader/911/team/defense/split07/category10/sort01.html

  19. PTC DAWG

    SEC scoring D vs ranked teams…Note to Saban lovers, they don’t look so hot here.

    http://www.cfbstats.com/2013/leader/911/team/defense/split13/category09/sort01.html

    • Biggus Rickus

      Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better misuse of statistics.

      • PTC DAWG

        What it really shows is how weak Bama’s schedule has been this year in regards to top tier teams. They played 1 and were lucky to escape. They obviously can handle lower tier teams with ease.

      • Biggus Dickus

        It’s easier to beat a bad team than a good one.

    • Will (the other one)

      The media doesn’t want to bring up how easy Bama’s schedule is compared to FSU or Oregon so far…

  20. W Cobb Dawg

    It’s an easy question: Is the D an asset or liability? UGA has the resources and players to at least be a top 40 defense every year. I’d argue any excuses for not attaining top 50 are just b.s. The simple fact that we aren’t means the coaching isn’t up to the task. If UGA is accepting mediocre results and retains mediocre coaches, then don’t complain when other schools get titles.

  21. Bulldog Joe.

    Good post.

    Given our numbers situation and the amount of high school talent recently brought in, we knew this defense would get better as the season progressed. It has.

    It is no secret our numbers situation started from the top with our “unique” recruiting, academic, and discipline policies. Last year’s experienced unit didn’t get to full strength until game 5 due to the high number of off-season suspensions. We only started to catch up in the second half of the season.

    With the number of players leaving for the NFL in this past off-season, we found ourselves again behind our competition, this time with talented players having little or no experience at the college level.

    We are making up ground, first with the ability to make stops, then with the ability to contain and pressure the QB. Once our green DBs get more experience, the ability to create turnovers will come.

    The root-cause of our situation is a program issue. It was not a coaching or team issue. The worst thing we can do at this point is to start over again at the coordinator level, like we did in Coach Donnan’s last three years.

    Get behind these guys as we all know which games coming up. A 10-3 season against the nation’s toughest schedule and injury situation is nothing to be ashamed of.

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/ncaaf/sagarin/

    • sUGArdaddy

      True dat. If we manage 10-3 vs. this schedule and wins over 3 top-ten teams and all the injuries…it’s a Christmas Miracle. Take care of our business, and pray that Bo Wallace comes to play on a Saturday night in Oxford in late November.

      That team beat Texas and LSU, and they can sure enough beat Mizzou.

  22. Dolly Llama

    I’m one of those people whose minds are made up about Grantham. I know it’s not Richt’s style to let people go, but surely to goodness this will be easier than Coach Willie’s release must have been for him. Grantham will land on his feet, for damn sure, and the world is teeming with Defensive Coordinators with proven college records who would loveloveLOVE to come to Athens.

    • …the world is teeming with Defensive Coordinators with proven college records who would loveloveLOVE to come to Athens.

      Then, how is it that UGA ended up with Grantham in the first place?

    • I dunno, seems like they all just used us to get better deals from their current schools last time around (Smart, Foster, Chavis, etc). The problem is that with all the TV deals now, EVERYBODY has money. It used to be that you could offer a guy a package worth $200,000 more than he was getting from his current school, and depending on what school it was, often times they just couldn’t justify matching the offer for assistant coaches/coordinators. Now though, if a school wants to keep somebody, an extra couple hundred G’s just isn’t that big of a deal. For example, Michigan State’s defensive coordinator, I can’t imagine him leaving due to money — I know nothing about their program, but I’d be surprised if they let him walk without matching whatever offer is on the table. You’d have to find somebody who is really good, isn’t holding out for a head coaching position, AND has some sort of dissatisfaction with their current position beyond just the money. That pool probably isn’t as large as you think.

      I’m not saying we couldn’t find somebody better than Grantham, just that there wouldn’t be a line of people superior to Grantham at McGarity’s door.

      • adam

        Kirby accepted the job and then backed out at the last minute.

        I think Grantham is alright and I think the defense will be very good the next few years, but I do think Kirby would’ve been better. Shame we didn’t get him.

        • Coastal Dawg

          I think CMR’s hot seat at the time made several top candidates stay away, Trey. The D did not impress me Saturday. UF missed a chip shot on the first drive and starting in the second qtr we really didn’t stop them until the Moore sack. I feel the same about this D as I did when Willie was the DC and that is no confidence in them making a stop. Remember FL is the worst offense in the conference and their O line is as decimated as our receiving corps. We should have dominated. Honestly ask yourself what would have happened if Murray had not converted the third down pass to McGowan to extend the final drive?

          • I think CMR’s hot seat at the time made several top candidates stay away

            Sal Sunseri left Alabama for the Tennessee DC job when everyone knew Dooley was going to get canned. He even switched from the 4-3 to the 3-4, which was about as dumb an idea as you’ll find for someone who is going to get one year.

            Brian Van Gorder, who is more myth than man at this point, hitched his wagon to the Gene Chizik Fuccup Machine even though the AU faithful was coming to realize what everyone else already knew about the Chin.

            Those two occurrences happened prior to the 2012 season with head coaches that were expected to be fired barring a miracle. I think you are giving coaches too much credit for foresight and decision making when it comes to their careers, and I think the general populace believes there are wildly successful defensive coordinators who are waiting with bated breath to jump ship for Georgia. I wouldn’t mind seeing a list of these candidates.

            As far as Georgia stopping Florida, I think you should check out the drive chart to refresh your memory. Florida’s ten drives ended thusly: 4 punts, 3 field goal attempts, 1 turnover on downs, and 2 touchdowns (of which, one drive started at the UGA 14 and the other at midfield against a defense that played the entire 3rd quarter). That is 8 stops out of 10 drives, and part of the blame for the other two lie on the offense. I don’t know what else you expect from this defense.

  23. Cosmic Dawg

    Great post by the Senator and many great comments. One point – although other teams’ defenses don’t have to deal with as many special teams mistakes (or a stat I shall refer to as GASTFU), they do have to deal with offenses turning over the ball in inconvenient places.

    I don’t really care if the opposing team is getting the ball on our 20 or their own, I think it’s fair to ask our defense to be just a little stouter regardless.

    I think this defense is improving, and hope that CTG can make it more than the merely serviceable outfit it’s been the last couple of years. But I also am starting to appreciate, in great part thanks to this blog, that the game itself may be changing in favor of offenses, and our old barometers of “good” and “bad” defense may need some revision.

    • ” But I also am starting to appreciate, in great part thanks to this blog, that the game itself may be changing in favor of offenses, and our old barometers of “good” and “bad” defense may need some revision.”

      Excellent point. Just as an example, BVG’s defenses were prior to the spread and up-tempo offenses becoming the norm. Now some of those defenses were loaded with athletes and still would have been good, but I don’t think they would have been nearly as good statistically in this era as they were then. And I think that was a lot of why he failed at Auburn – the offenses today, in many cases, are very different than they were even just back when he was at UGA, and he didn’t have time to adapt to that. Your comment about “old barometers” is spot on.

      • Biggus Rickus

        He failed at Auburn in large part because the head man had completely lost the team. I have no idea whether or not Van Gorder could be as successful as he was at Georgia again, but judging him by the Auburn fiasco isn’t really fair.

    • StuDawg

      Exactly! I just had this conversation with my dad after the Vandy game. Blaming it all on defense, keeps bringing up the Dooley days, saying he never would have let them back in the game, blah blah blah. I bring up yards per point, injuries etc… I tell him sure our D isnt good, average at best, but offense these days are a far cry from 30-40 years ago. Back then, I think it was basically assumed that the D is gonna stop the O every time, and scores come few and far between. Now its the reverse. You are expected to score every time. Barometers! And like the title says, there is plenty of blame to go around when it comes to the opponents point total. I mean, injuries on offense affect TOP, which affects our D, yada yada yada, its a chain reaction. Again, Im not saying our D is great or Grantham is great, but you cant look at the final score and blame 100% of the opponents points on Grantham and the D.

  24. uglydawg

    Senator, I saw what you did. Good decision.

  25. IveyLeaguer

    An honest and sincere question: Who here really believes, had Florida been able to get us off the field, instead of us running the last 8 minutes off the clock, that our defense would have stopped them and prevented them from scoring?

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Me. But more because FU’s O is so bad rather than UGA’s D being so good.

    • You mean after that same defense stopped Florida to set up the game winning drive?

      • IveyLeaguer

        Sure. It took the high-risk safety blitz to do it, but that’s not the point.

        I’m just curious to know who honestly thinks we would have prevented them from scoring.
        ~~~

        • uglydawg

          I do. Honestly. They were and are starting to get it.

          • uglydawg

            On the UF blogs they’re probably asking…”Who here honestly believes that if the defense had of stopped Georgia during their last drive, that the offense would have been able to score?” All hypothetical and meaningless….BTW..I don’t.

        • I was more worried about a botched punt or stupid turnover at that point, to be honest with you.

          • 69Dawg

            Amen! I have taken to prayer every time our ST’s are on the field. It’s sad but what are you going to do.

        • adam

          Are you mad about the play call?

          The D got the stop.

          Florida had 2 TD scoring drives in the second half. 14 yards and 50 yards. If the defense gives up 64 yards, it doesn’t typically mean they gave up 2 TDs. As long as the offense are some clock and managed to punt deep, I was very sure the defense could get a stop. They had just done so.

          • IveyLeaguer

            Not at all. Not mad about anything. I just thought when we finally got the stop, to keep them from taking the lead, that we had to drive the ball and either score or keep them off the field, because I didn’t think we could prevent them from scoring at least a FG, and maybe a TD.

            And that’s what happened. That was a great drive, 8:17. We’ve done that before to finish games. And I was proud we were able to do it again.

            We have a veteran offense. And that’s what they should have done, win the game themselves by keeping their young defensive teammates off the field.
            ~~~

            • adam

              “We have a veteran offense. And that’s what they should have done, win the game themselves by keeping their young defensive teammates off the field.”

              It’s a shame they couldn’t do some of that in the 3rd quarter. The game would have looked and felt different. Glad the offense got it back together for that last drive (though it was assisted by Florida penalties and a had a few third downs that were literally converted by inches). The 3rd quarter was a disaster. I thought it was a pretty good day for the defense overall.

        • Cosmic Dawg

          So they only get credit for a stop if they do it a certain way?! I would argue that what is high risk for some teams is actually playing the odds with our young secondary.

  26. Tom

    CMR will make the decision as a football decision, and not what a bunch of fans think, who really know very little of what is happening. Griping about our coaches is a good way to lose recruits. This is a circle that can turn bad. I am glad of a win and thankful we have beaten UF 3 in a row. As it should be.

  27. As much as I’ve been frustrated with Grantham the title of this post sounds pretty accurate.

  28. heyberto

    I just get frustrated whenever people start talking about firing a coach during a year we knew we’d be down on defense. If you think he’s not gameplanning correctly, he’s not deploying properly, then fine. The Senator seems to hone in on some things regarding Grantham’s in game coaching that give me pause… BUT, if there’s one thing about Grantham I find irritating, it’s that when he has a green defense, you can almost count on them being bad. It was this way in 2010, and it’s looking that way in 2013. That’s not an excuse, mind you, but for some reason, I’m a little hesitant to jump on the fire Grantham bandwagon. But he needs to step it up. I’m still waiting to see that defense he talked about.. the one that win or lose, opponents say they never want to face again. I do come back around to the conditioning piece. That makes me wonder if we’re really doing the right things or not.

  29. jeff

    We are 122nd out of 125 teams in TO margin. That is why “momentum swing” plays hurt us so badly. We never have any of those plays ourselves (except for Mathews pic 6)

    • adam

      Bad TO margin isn’t a unary issue. The offense has to turn the ball over (like the 4 turnovers against Mizzou) and the defense has to do a poor job forcing turnovers. We haven’t been very good on either side of the ball. Some games we have been better than others for sure.

  30. Our red zone defense has been poor under Grantham…and primarily we’ve been vulnerable to rushing touchdowns in the red zone. What’s perplexing is that we give up about the same Yards Per Carry as Alabama, Missouri or Florida’s defenses. I mean its almost identical. But Alabama has only given up 3 rushing TD, Missouri only 6 rushing TD and Florida 8. Yet UGA has given up 17 rushing Touchdowns. It was like that last year too.

    How often have we seen an opposing RB dart to the outside and literally walk into the end zone?. There is no defender even near. Its happened all year over and over. UF was just the latest to waltz around the end for an easy rushing score.

    Make them throw a fade or execute some difficult pass play to score. Don’t just let them run to open daylight on the outside. This has to be on Grantham. We aren’t scheming correctly or something in the red zone. I’d be ok if the opponent had to execute a difficult play to score, but the way we let them just rush almost untouched is so demoralizing.

    And what the heck was that defense on the 2 point conversion? That had to be the easiest conversion in college football this season.

  31. SEC DEFENSES..Rushing Defense, Conference games only

    Missou- 3.28 ypc- 3 rushing td’s
    ALA- 3.77 ypc- 2 rushing td’s
    UGA – 3.92 ypc- 15 rushing td’s
    FLA – 4.14 ypc- 7 rushing td’s
    Tenn- 5.37 ypc – 10 rushing td’s
    SC – 4.33 ypc – 11 rushing td’s
    LSU – 4,41 ypc- 7 rushing td’s
    Tx AM- 5.11 ypc- 9 rushing td’s
    Kent – 5.15 ypc – 11 rushing td’s
    Ark- 5.58 ypc – 14 rushing td’s

    I didn’t post all of the schools but UGA has surrendered the most rushing TD’s in the SEC despite being ranked 3rd best in terms of YPC. That’s poor scheming in the red zone..

    • adam

      Bad safety play has played a big part in that.They are getting better though. And I can’t wait to get Tray back there.

  32. Of the 22 red zone td’s surrendered by UGA, 16 td’s were by rush, and 6 by pass.

  33. Junkyardawg41

    http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/fpa2013
    Field Position Average is another way to look at how offense/defense/ST’s relate. It’s hard to stop 30 yard drives as much as it is to drive 80 yards.

    • Wow, according to that chart, our offense has been getting terrible starting field position. We are 99th in terms of offensive starting field position. More props for Bobo.

    • Only ,046% (about 1 in every 21 offensive possessions) has started at midfield or better, That ranks us 119th. Its amazing we have scored as much as we have given the lack of short fields.

  34. uglydawg

    One of the biggest reasons for that is lack of punt returns. It has been a conscience choice by CMR because he knows the offense (when healthy) can really move the ball. Bobo has done an excellent job.

  35. Digitalis

    Statistics are amazing things. With all the numbers being thrown around, it sounds like a few people here are implying that our defense is superior to ‘Bama’s. Get real, folks. And, yes, Florida’s was the best D on the field Saturday. They had absolutely no offense, but their defense was tougher than ours. That’s why our last drive was gutsy and impressive.

    • With all the numbers being thrown around, it sounds like a few people here are implying that our defense is superior to ‘Bama’s. Get real, folks.

      Can’t speak for anybody else, but all the numbers suggest is that the defense may be improving from the hole it dug itself at the beginning of the season and that at times hasn’t gotten much help from the offense and special teams. Get real yourself.

      By the way, that tough Florida D gave up 250 yards in the first quarter to an offense that was missing three of its four top receivers, one of its top two backs and a Todd Gurley who was far from 100% physically.

  36. Digitalis

    Didn’t say they were tough; just said they are better than us. Yeah, we shredded them in the first quarter. Might have done it, too, in the second half, had we been able to get or keep the ball.

    • adam

      The offense’s possessions in the 3rd quarter were:
      1) holding, 8 yard Murray rush, lateral/fumble returned to our own 14

      2) 3 and out

      3) sack for a safety.

      In that quarter the offense held the ball for exactly 2:30 and ran 6 plays for -5 yards.

      Florida’s crappy offense never did that to their defense. That makes a difference,