Today’s random factoid

ESPN lets us know that 2013 really was a special year for Georgia.

Georgia was one of six teams last season to pass for at least 4,000 yards and rush for at least 2,000. Those six teams averaged 10.5 wins. UGA won eight.

My first thought was to blame that on the injury situation, but those stats were compiled despite the injuries.  That leaves the usual suspects – defense and special teams.

How good could last year’s team have been if those two areas had merely been competent?

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43 Comments

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43 responses to “Today’s random factoid

  1. paul

    Other than our field goal kickers it’s been a while since we had competent special teams. It still strikes me as odd given that early in Richt’s tenure at Georgia we were much more aggressive on special teams.

    • As Interesting as it is confounding the Dawgs two best ST seasons in recent vintage were the two with the worst overall results: 2009 & 2010, I think Richt & Co. treat STs something like a training ground for the incoming recruits. If said recruits are intrinsically flawed or tend towards the soft the field position game can tilt against UGa.

    • FarmerDawg

      Rule changes about how players can launch to block kicks and punts have a lot to do with that. Many of Boss’s blocks would be flagged now. As far as punt returns I have no idea.

  2. sUGArdaddy

    It was a crazy year, and many of the unnoticed factors were to blame. Certainly, Grantham was incompetent. I don’t know another way to frame it. He knows defense, but he was not good at translating that knowledge to 20 year olds to play at a high level. That’s obvious.

    While Bobo and Murray overcame the injuries to produce on offense, they killed us in other ways. Tray couldn’t stay healthy at safety and it killed us. JHC got a little banged up. We played 4 games with both Tray and JHC at the safeties: South Carolina, North Texas, LSU and Auburn. The defense looked better in those games than many others. Safety was one position we really couldn’t afford suspensions or injuries and we had both.

    Also, the injuries killed our special teams. Some of those guys were playing special teams. Would Malcom have been our PR? JSW was playing gunner on the punt team. Does JSW get a crack at KOR? Or Malcom? At one point, we had JJ Green or Dawson returning KO because no one was left. Keith was out, we couldn’t risk Todd, and JSW and Malcom were sidelined. The injuries mounted the fear of putting our starters on special teams because we had so few starters left. It was a bad snowball.

    • Noonan

      The defense I saw against LSU and Auburn was atrocious.

      • sUGArdaddy

        But they were enough. They slowed LSU down enough. And, they slowed Auburn down enough to win if not for a miracle play. With those players on the field, we would have stoned Vandy and UT, and slowed down Mizzou much more.

  3. Merk

    As good as 2008 should have been. Once again thanks to a turd at DC we piss away an overloaded Offense.

    • Such a shame to see this happen again. Lets hope with Pruitt that Richt gets back to a 50% success in hiring d coordinators. Lets also hope that the stars align with both Offense and D. That would be amazing to see.

  4. Normaltown Mike

    Bobo lost his crayon.

  5. Scorpio Jones, III

    And don’t forget the offensive line.

  6. Scrambledawg

    Well, 2 losses were attributable to special teams gaffes, so there’s your answer I guess. I’d add Mizzou and Auburn to the “if these units were merely competent” equation too.

    • mbadawg2003

      What most people don’t remember is that, the way everything ended up last year, if we had just beaten Mizzou, we get a rematch with Auburn in Atlanta. Wonder how that might have turned out?? Thanks, Todd, again.

  7. Last year’s team would have been in the conversation the first weekend in December if those two had been merely competent for most of the year. Those who claim our offensive philosophy is the problem just flat don’t understand football. Grantham underperformed with a defense full of NFL prospects. We including me should have known what was going to happen with a bunch of young talent that needed to be coached.

    • Grantham played favorites, failed to develop his talent, stubbornly played wrong schemes, passed the buck and blame to his players, and other stuff.

      But perhaps most of all, he was a lousy teacher. Plus, he failed to teach the little things, the things that make players fundamentally sound, and failed to see that his coaches did the same. It was as if those things were too elementary for him to fool with.

      It’s amazing, in one sense, that our defense did as well as it did, because it was in spite of him. What he knows doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is what his players know.

      I’m sorry he ever stepped foot in Athens.
      ~~~

      • Well stated, Ivey. I was suckered into the belief that Grantham was going to fix the mess Martinez created and, honestly, Coach Richt enabled for a couple of years. He took complex schemes and added that on to poor fundamentals and no teaching. What we got last year on defense was the result – guys playing on talent alone and hoping for the best.

  8. I’m going to throw this out there, and will be prepared to get shouted down: Georgia wasn’t THAT bad on special teams last year.

    Our field goal kicking was second in the conference – http://www.cfbstats.com/2013/leader/911/team/offense/split01/category07/sort01.html

    Our punt team allowed the third fewest yards, though we did allow two to be returned for scores. http://www.cfbstats.com/2013/leader/911/team/defense/split01/category04/sort01.html

    Our kickoff team allowed the 7th fewest yards per return. Right behind Bama. http://www.cfbstats.com/2013/leader/911/team/defense/split01/category05/sort01.html

    Where we DID suck was in returning the ball, perhaps because of our head coach’s strategy. We were dead last averaging 2.92 yards per game, which MUST include fair catches, though the stats aren’t clear. Obviously our offense could move the ball though. http://www.cfbstats.com/2013/leader/911/team/defense/split01/category05/sort01.html

    And we were also last in kickoff returns per game. http://www.cfbstats.com/2013/leader/911/team/defense/split01/category05/sort01.html

    Our punting was middle of the pack. http://www.cfbstats.com/2013/leader/911/team/offense/split01/category06/sort01.html

    So, we allowed two punt returns and a kickoff return, and we continue to bleed field position based on strategy. That strategy, at least last year, worked as our offense scored a LOT of points and gained a LOT of yards.

    I don’t think the data is there to call our special teams a dumpster fire, though the botched punt stands out pretty hard. Mistakes at critical times often do.

    If you want a culprit for last year’s record, maybe look to being 10th in scoring defense and 8th in total defense. Oh, let’s not forget 12th in opponent red zone conversion rates. It’s not rocket surgery, people scored a lot of points on us last year.

    • Mayor

      This^^. The problem on STs has been coaching and coaches decision-making.

      • I tend to vehemently disagree with CMR’s return strategy. HOWEVER, last year we had #11 and #3 back there… so there’s at least a justification to not trying to return it.

        That said, I’d love to see some data on fumbles during fair catches vs fumbles trying to return the ball. It seems to me that there can’t be that much of a difference, and we should be returning punts instead of giving up hundreds of yards a year and valuable field position. In other words, if you’re going to fumble it 5% of the time no matter what, at least put someone back there to move it forward.

    • Bobby

      We have a Thomas Brown sighting.

      Hate these stupid trolls.

      Quit bashing our team idiots.

    • We had enough special teams screw-ups to call them a dumpster fire:
      1) Clemson – botched field goal snap (difference maker)
      2) South Carolina – dropped punt snap (ensuing TD tied the game just before half)
      3) North Texas – kickoff return for TD/punt blocked for TD – wasted a good effort by the D
      4) Tennessee – blocked punt for TD (changed momentum) and penalty on punt block gave UT the opportunity to get a 1st down and turned into a TD
      5) Vandy – muffed punt (turned into a TD) and muffed punt snap (difference making TD)
      6) Auburn – attempt to jump over the wedge on a punt gave Auburn a 1st down (I believe turned into a TD)
      7) Nebraska – muffed punt (turned into a TD)

      Yes, Morgan had a great year. Barber was having a good year until the UT game (snap issues not withstanding). Our return teams gave us zero field position. I think they were pretty terrible taken as a whole.

      • Great points. I’m going to remove N Texas as a difference maker from that list, but can’t argue with the rest. And we beat SC and UT.

        My only retort is to ask: If we had a defense that gave up 5 points less a game, would those plays be difference makers? And my other only retort (sorry) is to ask: How do you coach away botched snaps and catches? I honestly don’t know if there’s an answer or not to the last question.

        • Excellent points, Spence. I understand your perspective on UNT, but the special teams snafus did make the Sanford crowd much more uncomfortable than it should have been. The South Carolina screw-up did change the complexion of the game. Remember they were driving with the first possession of the 2nd half and Shaw fumbled in our territory. It had the potential to change the game. The special teams screw-ups in the UT game made that game much more competitive than it should have been.

          I agree with you about the defense. If they give up five fewer points per game, they don’t matter, but the special teams’ issues took away some possessions and put the defense in some very bad field position. For a team with as much youth as we had on defense, the offense and special teams couldn’t afford to give up poor field position as well. Unfortunately the special teams did that a lot.

  9. charlottedawg

    If We had managed to stay healthy last year we would’ve won ten regular season games. The offense was something else but you can’t overcome that level of ineptitude in 2 of the 3 phases of the game week in and week out.

  10. UFTimmy

    > How good could last year’s team have been if those two areas had merely been competent?

    I know the feeling.

  11. Jack Klompus

    With a serviceable D, we probably win MO, Vandy, AU and a good chance we beat Clempson. Then Alabama in the SECCG and then FSU in the MNC, We would have then fired Richt to promote Grantham who in turn hires Pruitt, they both run off Bobo, we hire Lane Kiffin as our OCoordinator, who sabotages Grantham and we start the season as Kiffin as our Head Coach and Grantham goes back to coaching the DLine in Cleveland.

    • Wow. I’ve never seen mainc depression so perfectly elaborated in a paragraph before. Well done!

      Jack, when you get a coke from McDonalds, do you giggle like a school girl then immediately yell at them that it’s empty, no matter the level of the soda?

  12. those stats were compiled despite the injuries. That leaves the usual suspects – defense and special teams.

    Of course it’s defense and special teams. And a little bit is also offense (mostly OL). But the overriding factor in it all is sloppy football – beating yourselves. That’s been our trademark for years now, and why our reputation is what it is, both around the conference and nationally.

    It’s a reputation that’s well-deserved, I’m sorry to say. It’s why we’ve underachieved. Certainly most of it, the greater part of it, has come from the defensive side of the ball, and it has, from time to time, bled over into ST’s.

    So, it may sound like a broken record, but that’s what’s so exciting about everything that’s going on in Athens now – we have a legitimate chance to turn all that around, and become a well-coached, efficient team, that is opportunistic and doesn’t give games away.

    Because that’s what our record of the last 8 years reflects.
    ~~~