Defense, for the win

I know Gurley was dazzling and I know Clemson lost some very good offensive talent, but here are the stats I take away from Saturday night that give me the most hope the Dawgs are headed in the right direction:

No opposing defense in 2013 held the Tigers to fewer yards (291), and only Florida State’s flame-throwing D held them to fewer yards per play (3.79).

If that’s not an opening game mirage, Pruitt has these kids so far ahead of schedule that I’m in a little bit of awe.

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58 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

58 responses to “Defense, for the win

  1. IAmAGurleyMan

    FSU’s defense in 2012 was not much better than average. Look what Pruitt did for them in one year. While we may not have the talent that they have (yet!), it shouldn’t surprise you that he could transform things this quickly considering how quickly he got FSU’s to national championship caliber. Let’s just pray he stays around here long enough because people will be coming for head coaching positions.

    Its truly amazing that people were agnostic toward Grantham staying or leaving given the alternatives…

    • Russ

      I’m not convinced FSU has more talent than we do. Just because Grantham wouldn’t use them doesn’t mean they don’t have talent.

    • Not trying to take anything away from Pruitt, but FSU was the #2 overall defense in the country in 2012. I’d say that’s a little better than average. :)

      http://www.cfbstats.com/2012/leader/national/team/defense/split01/category10/sort01.html

      Pruitt had/has a MUCH larger gap to cover here than he did when he took over FSU. Stoops had already built that defense into a machine down there, and Pruitt even said as much. The fact that our D did what it did in the 2nd half was a huge surprise to me. I was reserving judgment until I saw it on the field, but now I’m rapidly developing a huge man-crush on Pruitt.

      • I love the result, however when you are Clemmins and you lose QB Boyd & WR Watkins there is going to be a void. Still, I was gritting the teeth after watching the 1st Qtr, work of Stoudt … but then, adjustments I suppose in washing through the CU OLine with bunches of A-gap blitzes through their offense out of whack. It makes me plenty optimistic for uSC.

      • Yeah, FSU was already very good on D when Pruitt arrived.
        ~~~

  2. I loved all of the different looks that we threw at Clemson throughout the game – Swann was all over the place, and I swear that I saw Floyd lined up over Center in the 4th quarter.

  3. gastr1

    Comparing last year’s Clemson offense to this year’s Clemson offense is like comparing…well, apples and oranges.

    • So you were expecting Georgia”s defense to hold them under 300 offensive yards?

      • uglydawg

        Gastri is just applying the “Ice Bucket Challange” to our enthusiasm…LOL
        It’s the way the defense beat Clemson’s O line that I like.

        • gastr1

          An O line with no experience. I liked it too, and it’s way better than last year, but again…this year’s Clemson O not equal to last year’s Clemson O. Said another way: if we take the performance WITHOUT comparing to anything but our own defenee last year, it’s a helluva lot to be excited about. I like that one all day. It’s thinking about the personnel on the other side of the line that tempers my enthusiasm.

          • It’s thinking about the personnel on the other side of the line that tempers my enthusiasm.

            And the fact that they outgained us by 160+ yards in the first half, had twice as many snaps, and stayed on the field for nearly 19 minutes (even with the KO return). Chip Towers said they outplayed us in the first half, and I wouldn’t argue with that.

            The 3rd quarter was much better, good IIRC, but we didn’t dominate until our offense took over the game in the 4th. And that was the best thing to me. I love the way we FINISHED, on both sides, but especially the Defense.

            Not to take anything away. I think it’s a great start. And a wonderful confirmation that we’re finally on the right track. But still a long way from being really good and a LOT of work left to do to get there.
            ~~~

  4. I agree 100%. Though I’m not ready to say this is the 2003 defense until I see how it does on the road in 12 days, I was actually impressed with the defense in the first half. It took Clemson a lot of plays to score from inside the 10 and we almost held them out. The plays Clemson made were really nice plays and not the result of someone being way out of position. The td ramik gave up in coverage was a great pass where they took advantage of a matchup, and had to do it perfectly.

    In other words, even after they scored I didn’t see Herrera waving his arms in frustration and yelling at someone.

    • Gumby

      Overall the db’s played a good game. I can only remember 1 or 2 busted coverages & no one was looking like they were lost. They played better every series & were lights out in the 2nd half due to the front 7 deciding they could start rushing the passer in the 3rd quarter. I hate saying this, but the td to Peake was a thing of beauty. A perfectly thrown ball against very good coverage. I’d say that 90+% of the time that ball would be overthrown because ramik was in good position, he couldn’t turn he head because, after all, he is a lb trying to cover a good wr. I’m pretty sure he was giving up a couple tenths in 40 time.

      • Doggoned

        Coverage was definitely better than last season, but we still had several instances where DBs were guilty of not turning to the ball (coulda been a couple of PI penalties called). I think the outstanding 2nd half pass rush was our best defensive weapon.

      • Cojones

        When their only chance to knock a pass down was to stare into their opponent’s facemasks and wave their arms to deflect the ball, I was all for it. Typically they pick on Swann becaude of height diffs, not knowing that he can jump like a flea. He does damn good and when the only chance to prevent a TD is NOT to turn around, I don’t have a complaint.

        Now if we recruit 6’4″ safeties who run like deers and there’s a chance to turn and block or intercept then I’ll be a critic. Problem with those athletes is that they are more valuable at TE or WR and the O will try to snake them from the D (for good reason).

        God, why can’t we have perfection in CFB?

      • the td to Peake was a thing of beauty. A perfectly thrown ball against very good coverage. I’d say that 90+% of the time that ball would be overthrown because ramik was in good position, he couldn’t turn he head because, after all, he is a lb trying to cover a good wr.

        FWIW, I think he should have looked anyway. He’s already beat, and has the Safety (who I thought was a tad late with his break) approaching fast to at least hit the WR.

        So Ramik has nothing to lose, and if he turns and looks, there’s a great chance he can make a play on the ball. And if he turns, the ball may not have been thrown in the first place, as whether or not he turns his head is the biggest part of the QB’s read.

        Very interested in how Pruitt deals with that, how he teaches it, and how he instructs/corrects our LB’s in that regard. As others have said, we also have DB’s that have no idea where the ball is. So that’s an area we have to work very hard on.

        Great play, though, by the QB, as you said. Stafford used to do that a lot, and Murray did it too.
        ~~~

  5. AthensHomerDawg

    Wonder when the talk “Pruitt to HC at?” starts?

  6. Scorpio Jones, III

    Look, Boss, you cain’t have it both ways. Early last week you posted that Clemson had lost…what? 387 percent of last year’s offensive production?

    Now, if you want to feel all giggly over beating a depleted Clemson (compared to last year) that is your right, as it is mine.

    What I saw, and am thrilled all to pieces about, is that when we had to turn up the heat, we could.

    But I gotta tell ya…on this Tuesday morning, after watching the game about seven times, the thing that gives me a goosebump for breakfast here in Vol land is the way the offense and defense responded to the stepped up play on both sides of the ball.

    The offense and defense fed off each other, yes adjustments were made, but the offensive and defense got better because they got better and they did this TOGETHER.

    Gurley returns the kick off…it fired up the defense… the defense pitches a shutout, it fires up the offense and on and on.

    This team may actually have chemistry.

    I gotta quit typing now…I am starting to drool.

    • Macallanlover

      I am with you Scorp, two brilliant quarters isn’t going to make me climb on board all this UGA #1 BS, I saw a lot of room for improvement. The good thing is, it looks like our potential is as good as advertised and perhaps we will continue to progress and get near “our ceiling”. For 3 Quarters we were 3 points ahead of an ACC team that had lost more talent than we did over the past year, at home. Exciting game but we had not stifled them on offense and had a 100 yard KO return to get us to the tie score.

      Don’t get me wrong, I see light at the end of the tunnel, and the possibility we reach our goal of a championship but I fear all this unbridled media and fan adulation sonce Saturday overlooks the need for continuing to work hard and progress at the same rate we have done since Spring.

      Since Saturday I have seen Herbie, May, Brando, Eddie George, and a host of other talking heads say that UGA was the best looking team in the nation over the weekend and several have them as tis week’s #1. I thought we looked excellent at spots, and average at times, that doesn’t compute to good enough to run the table for me. At the same time, we seem to be capable of doing that if things break well for us and that is excitement enough. Of course, if we go 11-1 there will be the “UGA didn’t meet expectations” crowd coming out to attack us because of the over reaction from media folks and delusional fans. Heads down, stay focused, and keep building on what you have going guys!

  7. Macallanlover

    Loved the position we were in on passes, even though we didn’t turn to take advantage of the position, loved the tenacity when we stiffened near the goal line, and really liked the different looks and camouflaged blitzes (“grits blitz” anyone?) The defense looked much improved and settled in both halves but obviously the tweaks from late first into the second half seemed to get us really dialed in. This mix and match process with substitution gives me a great feeling about handling injuries when they occur and particularly about having experienced personnel going into future years.

    Just as noticeable a difference to me was the lack of trash talking and cheap shots on Saturday. This unit played with discipline and seemed to take pride as a unit, in other words, they looked like a team that had a mission and they didn’t care who got the individual credit. It was one change that makes me feel he has reached inside these young men and shaken the bad out of them. If so, this will pay dividends down the road in ways those who have claimed ” it is just them being aggressive, defenders are supposed to do that” will never understand. The top defenses I have seen always act like they have been there before and it is them doing their job. This group celebrated like a team and didn’t run their mouths to the vanquished, nor did they scream at each other when something went wrong. Bravo!!

    • …and just as a counterpoint to the bearing of that Dawg Defense, just a casual glance at the UofL defense last night revealed the showbaoating has surely followed CTG. But then again — 13 pts. allowed. But then again — da U starting a Fr. QB. So who the h#ll knows!

    • Just as noticeable a difference to me was the lack of trash talking and cheap shots on Saturday. This unit played with discipline and seemed to take pride as a unit, in other words, they looked like a team that had a mission and they didn’t care who got the individual credit.

      Fantastic point. I noticed it too. No taunting body language, either, which I hate. We looked like a team with class. I love it.
      ~~~

  8. Cojones

    Good stuff, Mac. And Scorp has hit the mark on “chemistry”. That one attribute is good going toward the future teams here.

  9. DB

    Speaking of defense, wow, did you guys check out that Todd Grantham defense? Whew!

    After week one national ranking in defensive scoring:
    Todd Grantham No 31
    Jeremy Pruitt No 63

    Does that mean Grantham is twice as good as Pruitt? Looks like we got suckered so far with this Pruitt boy.

  10. CannonDawg

    A few more observations about the defense:

    *We got a pick in the first game. Last year it was the 3rd game before we got one, then the 7th before we got another.
    *The tackling was greatly improved–both open field and fighting off blockers. Fumble recoveries will come our way with that sort of crisp tackling delivered by multiple defenders.
    *Our secondary broke up passes and dislodged caught balls. And open Clemson receivers dropped balls on several occasions. Footsteps maybe?
    *Our defense got stronger as the game wore on, even in the heat. The fight was largely gone from a big-time opponent by the middle of the 4th quarter.
    *To Mac’s point above, there was no B.S. during the game. The players were focused, disciplined, and functioning as a unit. As businesslike as we’ve seen in years.

    Am I ready to say Pruitt’s turned this thing around already? Yes, I am indeed. There’s still a lot left to do, obviously. And we’re in the bloody-nose SEC where there are no days off. But the sorts of things we hoped for are actually showing up in the play of our defense. And it will only get better as the teaching continues and the success of the defense becomes an even stronger point of pride and unity with the players.

  11. charlottedawg

    We still have too small a sample size to judge the defense as well as Pruitt, and yeah I’d have said that even if they hadn’t played well. Granted the one data point was better than even the rosiest projections.

    Our secondary while improved isn’t a shut down unit by any means. (Not that I’m expecting that) they gave up plenty of yards in the air in the first half and were largely untested the second half due to the sudden emergence of the front 7.

    Long story short is our real defense what we saw in the first half, the second half, Or something in between? Saturday was as good a start as it gets but it’s still just that, a start.

    Also, to echo the senator’s point if we’re just going of one game, yeah Pruitt has these guys light years ahead of where one could’ve reasonably expected them to be.

    • DB

      I thought the DB’s looked a lot worse than I expected. They made 3 or 4 good plays with PBU’s and the 1 interception (although he fell down after the int instead of running it back–poor coaching) but largely lost the battles when tested.

      • Chuck

        Are you serious? Did you see him have to leave his feet to make the catch? I suppose if he was 6′ 11″ he wouldn’t have had to leave his feet, or if he had your skill set… Sorry, not normally a flamer, but that comment was flat-out asinine.

      • Dawgfan Will

        Then I would say you had unrealistic expectations considering the transition. We were in position to make plays; last year, we were lucky to be in the same camera shot. There’s more to do, but the progress is exciting.

        • Rickdawg

          If you expect the defensive secondary to be really bad, and they are not, then you’re happy. I’m with DawgfanWill, a reel smert guy.

  12. DB

    Stout went 6 for 8 in the 2nd half. Got to get better at forcing more incompletions in the 2nd half.

  13. rampdawg

    To both sides of the ball, I say this, good win, you’ve had your one day to celebrate and rest. Now, back to work. Keep working hard, keep listening to what the coaches are telling you, keep soaking in what the coaches are teaching you, it’s working, remember their is always room for improvement. Last, but not least. Keep your nose clean and don’t fuck up.

  14. Macallanlover

    I am just sorry Cliff Stoudt had to miss the 2nd half of the game maybe he had to meet with his agent to discuss a new contract given all the free publicity ESPN gave him, Or maybe he developed laryngitis during that one and a half hour lecture he was given.

    • americusdawg

      I was wondering why they seemed to keep a camera on him at all times. I’d never heard of the guy until Saturday night.

  15. 69Dawg

    According to Mark the adjustment at the half was to go to zone and away from Man. They then told the DL to GATA. CJP then started to Dime package CU to death. Upon further review the CU QB and center had zero idea who was coming and from were they were coming. It makes it real hard to block for your QB.

    Now if you look at the CU blogs they claim that their OC is incapable of making any adjustments. I’ll grant you they did not seem to go to the screens and draws but again the DL (not real sure even after watching it twice who was lined up where) was shooting the gaps so a draw may or may not have worked. Since we were in zone the screens would have been tackled. Steve will try his best to exploit the middle with the TEs. I think all the happy talk is too soon, lets see what the Ole Ball Sack can do against us.

    • I think all the happy talk is too soon, lets see what the Ole Ball Sack can do against us.

      Well, we’d be wise to at least contain our excitement, 69. Certainly when it comes to SC and rest of the schedule.

      But I think Bluto is pretty much on target. We did shut them out and hold them to -15 yards in the 2nd half, etc.. And most of all, we may have broken a 9-year trend of unsound defense.
      ~~~

    • gastr1

      They tried a screen at least twice that I noticed and we blew it up or ran it down at the line each time.

  16. Studawg

    From the moment that Todd Gurley caught Clemson’s kickoff with 7:15 left in the second quarter, our D gave up a total of 98 yards of offense and 0 points.

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