Going for it

Maybe this is a minor point that won’t get much attention, at least until it occurs, but here’s something to think about regarding the Arkansas game.

Remember this series from the South Carolina game?

1st and 10 at SCAR 22 Brian Maddox rush for a loss of 2 yards to the SCaro 20. 17 24
2nd and 12 at SCAR 20 Stephen Garcia pass complete to Moe Brown for 4 yards to the SCaro 24.
3rd and 8 at SCAR 24 Stephen Garcia pass incomplete to Brian Maddox.
4th and 8 at SCAR 24 Spencer Lanning rush for 12 yards to the SCaro 36 out-of-bounds for a 1ST down.

Take a look at this intriguing article about decision making on fourth down (h/t Smart Football), which argues in part that “Every single serious study of 4th-down decisions has found that, in most situations, teams would be better off by going for the conversion attempt rather than kicking.”

And then read this set of facts.

Bobby Petrino hasn’t been given that nickname in his second year at Arkansas, but how’s this for gambling?

Arkansas led the country with eight touchdowns on fourth-down plays last season, according to cfbstats.com.

The Razorbacks scored eight of their 22 touchdowns in SEC play last season on fourth down.

Arkansas converted a fourth-down play on 12 of its 32 touchdown drives last year.

Only 12 Football Bowl Subdivision teams converted more fourth-down plays than Arkansas’ 14.

Something to keep an eye out for, is all I’m saying…


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

20 responses to “Going for it

  1. The Realist

    Did anyone else just know that SC would fake a kick at some point? I did. Especially considering how well the return game had been to that point. The “everybody bail” play is positively infuriating. You have to at least keep them honest. Sheesh.


  2. One thing Petrino does a solid job of is playing the percentages on offense. He goes for a pretty solid number of fourth downs, especially fourth and ones. He also runs the ball on these downs, because passing the ball immediately drops your chance of converting to your completion percentage, often around 60-65% if you’re good.

    This is the same reason why, even when his offenses were scoring huge numbers of points at Louisville, his quarterbacks routinely threw for only 17-20 TDs: he runs the ball in the red zone, which he is again confident in doing as he’ll go for it on fourth. Last year his squad wasn’t very good at running; this year they are a little better.

    Not saying this will help them win or that Georgia shouldn’t win, just that, in this one area at least, Petrino has a pretty good grasp of things.


    • D.N. Nation

      Curious to see Arky run the ball on Georgia, especially since Atkins and Owens won’t be needed at DE this game.


    • Some guy

      If you show a tendency to run every time on 4th and short, you’ll eventually get creamed. I suspect completion percentages on those throws would be higher because of the shorter distances; also, even if they aren’t, you have to do it occasionally to keep the element of surprise, which helps keep the running percentage as high as it is.


      • fisheriesdawg

        “If you show a tendency to run every time on 4th and short, you’ll eventually get creamed.”

        See: Florida @ Ole Miss, October 2008.


  3. D.N. Nation

    I still maintain that we would have been spared that ridiculous Vandy loss in ’06 had Richt gone for it on 2-3 4th downs, but eh, whatever.


  4. BeerMoney

    We beat UF and WVU in ’05 had it not been for us being completely in the dark when fake kicks were almost guaranteed/expected.


    • D.N. Nation

      Of course, take out the first quarters of both those games…

      Georgia 10, Florida 0
      Georgia 35, West Virginia 10


      • Will Q

        I just threw up in my mouth a little. Damn, those were some painful losses.


        • DWH

          Man no kidding! I can distinctly remember that Sugar Bowl in ’05. We were all screaming like hell at the TV to watch for the fake. You could see that one coming a mile away, at least for everyone but the UGA coaching staff.


          • 69Dawg

            That was on Fab and it is always on Fab. Even if he is not running that particular unit he is the coach on the field that makes the call. We don’t have to worry about Fab much longer cause I think a few more bailouts on fakes and Willie will strangle him on the sidelines.


  5. Senator…
    I will keep an eye on it but it would be much better if our coaches would have the players keep their eyes on it. Can you please forward this to the staff right away?


  6. jferg

    no excuses for my ineptitude, but who is our Spec. Teams coach? I know it’s a part-time job but can’t remember who gives his partial attention to this team….thanks!


  7. keith

    Geez, you would hope the coaching staff has seen these stats.


  8. DawgBiscuit

    I’d just like to state how much I’m currently enjoying watching Tech get their butts kicked by Miami. That is all.


    • D.N. Nation

      Tech = Not very good.

      I loved 790AM and other Tech stenographers around the ATL pretending like that D was all that this year. Um, no.


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