When Georgia has the ball…

If considering how Georgia will defend Florida’s offense is a little depressing (what’s the over/under on Aaron Hernandez receptions?), the matchup of Florida’s defense against Georgia’s offense is flat-out daunting.

Mergz makes a compelling case that the Gator defense is among the best ever – if not the best.

What about the statistics that really matter to BCS champions?

To reiterate, the most important statistics (in ascending order of importance) are –

Passing Efficiency
Pass Efficiency Defense
Total Defense
Scoring Defense

Where would the current Florida team rank among BCS winners statistically in these categories at the present time?

Only the best team ever.

Here are the average rankings and stats for past champions –

Passing Efficiency 12.3 (150)
Pass Efficiency Defense 6.7 (95.33)
Total Defense 8 (281.6)
Scoring Defense 5.4 (13.9)

And Florida’s current stats in these categories –

Passing Efficiency 12th (156.07)
Pass Efficiency Defense 1st (86.83)
Total Defense 1st (229.6)
Scoring Defense 2nd (10.14)

(That last category is made all the worse by the two pick-sixes Tebow threw last game, which count against this stat. In reality our defense gave up 6 points Saturday.)

The only BCS Champions who are close to these rankings are the 2001 Miami team, who was 1st in Scoring and Pass Efficiency Defense, 6th in Total Defense, and 15th in Passing Efficiency, and the 2003 LSU team, which was 1st in Scoring and Total Defense, 2nd in Pass Efficiency Defense, and 11th in Passing Efficiency. Yet in both cases their highly ranked Total Defense was worse than Florida currently – 270.9 yards per game for Miami and 252 ypg for LSU, to 229.6 for UF right now.

That’s impressive.  And scary.  Here are a few bullet points for your consideration:

  • If you look at cfbstats.com’s Georgia game log, you’ll see that in 2009, the Dawgs don’t win when they generate less than five yards per play.  Unfortunately, the Gator defense has played only one game this year when it gave up more than that amount.
  • If there’s one constant in this series, it’s this:  Georgia has never lost to Florida when it’s scored more than 26 points.  How they get there this year is the rub, of course.
  • Georgia’s situational passing stats are more than a bit strange.  Cox has by far his highest passer rating in third down, medium yardage situations and is horrible in third down short yardage situations.
  • As for Georgia’s situational rushing stats, the average yards per carry figure is pretty consistent until it gets into the red zone, when it plummets to an anemic 1.10.  Some of that is no doubt due to short yardage goal line runs, but some of it has to be attributed to a less than stellar power running game (check out the rushing yardage averages on third and fourth downs).

So it’s simple, then, right?  All Bobo has to do is come up with a game plan that allows the offense to move the ball at more than five yards a crack, stays out of third down situations a fair amount of the time and helps to contribute more than 26 points on the scoreboard.  Suggestions, anyone?



Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

38 responses to “When Georgia has the ball…

  1. Joe B.

    Throw it to AJ every snap. When he gets tired, use a timeout.


  2. There are two problems with Mergz’s argument:

    1. He’s comparing national champions that have completed 12-14 game seasons with a Florida team that has played only half of its schedule (and the weaker half, at that, because it includes their cream puffs at the start).

    2. With the possible exception of Arkansas, Florida hasn’t played a good offense yet.


  3. Bryan Carver Dawg97

    I’d add to Michael’s points – what was the SOS of all the teams Mergz compares?

    And since we’re going to say EVER – I’d have to give the nod to the UT teams under Gen Neyland in the late 30s that were shutting out like 8-9 teams a year


  4. Ed Gunther

    Here’s another major flaw with Mergz’s argument – he’s only comparing Florida to the 11 BCS champions of 1998-2008. No mention of teams that were better than those champions in the categories he focuses on.

    If we just look at two of those categories, Total D and Scoring D, here’s where some of those BCS champions fall in each of their respective years:

    2000 Oklahoma: #7 Total D, #5 Scoring D, #13 SoS
    2001 Miami: #6 Total D, #1 Scoring D, #19 SoS
    2002 Ohio State: #23 Total D, #2 Scoring D, #18 SoS
    2003 LSU: #1 Total D, #1 Scoring D, 15# SoS
    2004 USC: #6 Total D, #3 Scoring D, #18 SoS
    2005 Texas: #10 Total D, #8 Scoring D, #7 SoS
    2006 Florida: #6 Total D, #6 Scoring D, #1 SoS
    2007 LSU: #3 Total D, #17 Scoring D, #14 SoS
    2008 Florida: #9 Total D, #5 Scoring D, #25 SoS

    If nothing else, rankings like Ohio State’s Total D in 2002 and LSU’s Scoring D in 2007 skew the overall “BCS champion” average he’s pitting Florida against, boosting those averages up.

    So the statement “best team ever” is sketchy at best, and not backed up at all at worst.

    Now if he were to say something to the effect of, “If Florida wins the BCS championship this year, and if their stats continue to be this good, they’ll have posted better stats than all of the previous BCS champions”, that might be true. But that’s a long way away.

    But even then, part of the reason is because according to the NCAA, Florida’s SoS this year would be the weakest by far of a BCS champion. Based on past opposition, they’re #16, but on future opposition they’re #102. Cumulative opposition puts them at #62, 37 spots worse than the worst BCS champion. (http://web1.ncaa.org/d1mfb/2009/Internet/toughest%20schedule/fbs_9games_cumm.pdf)


  5. Turd Ferguson

    I really think it’s going to come down to our guys up front. Granted, there have been injuries, but there were injuries last year as well and remember how much we raved about Searels being a miracle-worker?

    So far, the pass-blocking has been good (fewest sacks allowed in the SEC), but it has to be better than ever against Florida’s DL. And while I don’t think we should rest our entire gameplan on the establishment of the run, it is still the most effective way to keep Tim Tebow on the sidelines (well, that and concussions).

    Also, Cox has to be better than he’s been all season. I don’t think he’s been bad … but this’ll be the best defense that he’s faced so far. If he makes some of the mistakes he’s been making (throwing off-target, telegraphing his passes, etc.), I have no doubt that Florida will capitalize on them just as well as they did last year.

    Thankfully, when we have the ball, the most talented player on the field will be wearing red and black. Throw the freakin’ ball to Green. Florida’s defensive secondary is good, but not A-J-Green-good.


    • 1974gator

      How did Green do last year against our secondary? Remember, he had Stafford throwing to him. Sorry, but I wouldn’t expect Greenie to be a game changer. The secondary is arguably our D’s strongest unit (if we keep Andersen out of the mix). We have shut down all our opponent’s prime-time receivers this season. Running against us is a more likely success.


  6. jdawg

    Our chance to win this game hangs on Bobo being able to do something smart to score a few TDs and eat some clock. Our offense has shown its lack of experience this year and Florida’s defense will expose / exploit our obvious flaws if the game plan is status quo (see papa kiffin in Tenn game). Our special teams need to score at least one TD and Defense need to force 2+ turnovers. When in doubt give it to AJ! Florida has played safe and methodically on offense but have been getting it done when it counts. OK the refs helped.


  7. Kevin

    Pray. To. God.


  8. We MUST score first. I’m working on something now that I’m hoping to finish at lunch, but NO team plays from out front like Florida. They are a completely different animal when playing from behind. You HAVE to make them grind.


    • Uganewt

      Agree on this point completely. They’re a different team when trailing. So much of our struggles in Jax have been psychological, that it would do this young team well to get out in front, it leaves a little margin for error and they don’t have to play so tight. Plus, we catch Florida in a rare state of crisis when it comes to their offense. Their frustrated on that side of the ball and if we can get in front early, turnovers and mistakes on their part could pile up. We’ve got to grab and maintain the momentum from the beginning to have a chance.


  9. Mista Ashraf

    I’ve also thought long and hard about our game this Saturday. If we’re not a particularly good coverage team on defense, I say we blitz like all hell on Tebow and hope we get to him more times than not. What do we have to lose?


      • 69Dawg

        Yea like that’s a concern.


      • Uganewt

        … which we’re expected to do already. Tebow struggles, takes sacks and makes poor decisions when pressured. Whether you can do it with 4 or if you have to bring 5-6, you have to get to him and it has to come up the middle to negate his ability to tuck it and run straight ahead.


        • DWH

          Totally agree. ’07 he was knocked all over the place. Result: UGA win. At this point I have to believe Martinez knows he’s playing for his job. He has to mix up the scheme. The defense has to be super aggressive and blitz the hell out of Tebow.


          • 1974gator

            Tebow was also had a bad right shoulder and, as a result, was severly limited in his ability to run/scramble.


            • You Gator fans have got to quit with this BS about Tebow and his non-throwing shoulder from 2007. You call BS on us for complaining about Shockley not playing in 2005 and I’m calling BS on you. My memory is a little cloudy, but I don’t recall Tebow ever played defensive back, no?


          • Aligator

            we also had no defense that year! martinez is not going to be super aggressive!!


        • 1974gator

          “Tebow struggles, takes sacks and makes poor decisions when pressured.” He is also very coachable and will not be taking sacks this game. We will have one or two RBs in the backfield with him to block and be safety valves. After a few Demps and Rainey 1 on 1s outside, Martinez will stop that nonsense.


  10. mykiesee

    I think Bobo and Martinez do the same predictable things we’ve seen all year. I think this will be the most frustrating game to watch all year. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m too jaded at this point.


    • DWH

      If the refs continue their current behavior, then you’re absolutely right, it will probably be the most frustrating game to watch. As far as the actual play on the field by UGA, I’m realistic…prepared for the worst, but hoping for the best.


  11. Dog in Fla

    “Suggestions, anyone?”

    Yeah, but not quantitatively, just qualitatively scatterbrained things because based on the seven so far, it’s hard for me to even think how we could ever implement a game plan that can allow A.J to beat Florida unless Florida beats itself like it tried to do v. Arkansas.

    Florida-Georgia was more fun when the series was even and there was good clean old fashioned hate not this made up weak ‘motivational’ junk of dancing, slaps in the face, calling timeouts, remembering them calling timeouts, getting even with them for dancing, getting even with them for calling timeouts, etc.

    Dancing and timeouts? Is that the best anyone on either side can come up with? Heck, Mark said the timeouts last year didn’t bother him. The timeouts didn’t bother me either because I kept waiting the whole game for Urban to get his dance revenge and then realized that was it. I expected much more retaliation from Urban but with the wipeout of a score, what did he care about anything extra? I can’t believe he didn’t try to break 50 and if he did and he got them, so what we deserved it if we couldn’t stop them.

    How fired up is Mark about beating Florida? I mean I know he would like to beat them. We’d all like to beat them. He knows he is not going to lose his job or replace any assistants if we don’t beat them again this year. Is he Spurrier fired up like Spurrier was or Meyer is against Georgia? Absolutely not and doubt that Mark could ever get that obsessed with beating a specific team. If he can’t, how can his players?

    My ancestors told me of good games in ancient history between Alabama with Bear and Georgia Tech with Dodd and Curry as a center when Tech was still in the SEC. Whether it was an offensive game ending in 13-10 or the typical defensive game ending in 7-3 there were always broken arms and legs. Now to the older generation that was hate, a good rivalry and excellent football.

    In the 1980’s the Florida players knew they had to go up each year against country boys from Georgia who wanted nothing more than to beat their ass.

    Do I want to see broken bones? No, but revenge and beatings in those games came from the players not the coaches making up silly stuff for the players to say to the media and we’ve been on the receiving end of revenge and ass beatings for two decades now.

    Mark, for a change make this your Beat Florida for a Change Game. You can do it!


    • Hackerdog

      I’ve never seen Richt make out with the water girl after beating Auburn or LSU. I think Florida is pretty important to him.


      • Dog in Fla

        Granted. With that in mind, my Columbian psychotherapist, Juan Pablo Montoya, has instructed me to apologize if my remarks offended anyone including, but not limited to Mark and the waterboy, not post anymore about it or them and say that because of FTSD feelings of intense fear of having a team not show up, helplessness and a general malaise about horror and tacos disregard the above about Georgia-Florida and treat it in its entirety as if it never existed.

        In the meantime, in consultation with Juan, my pharmacological team of experts has taken an emergency break from lobbying to get my med level adjusted, and has instructed me to watch a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor, The Waterboy and On the Waterfront and switched me to bean burrito diet to prepare for watching the game in solitary. They say they’ll let me out on Monday but who knows.


    • JaxDawg

      No, Richt is in no way, shape, or form an equivalent competitor like SOS or Meyer when it comes to this rivalry. Which is surprising and equally puzzling when you think of all those games he participated in as an FSU assistant coach.

      He has fire but it doesn’t burn that bright most of the time b/c his demeanor simply won’t allow it.
      Dooley was calm and cool but had a mean streak in him that Mark Richt doesn’t possess.

      We discussed this ad nauseum and there’s nothing I can add that hasn’t already been said.

      Regardless, you are incorrect that he will not lose his job b/c of this game. If we lose this game and Tech, I guarandamntee you that he will feel serious heat.


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  13. Turd Ferguson

    My only real hope is that, come Sunday morning, we aren’t talking about the officiating. If Florida beats us fair and square, fine. But if this game ends like the Georgia-LSU game (or the Florida-Arkansas game), I’m officially going to lose it.


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  15. Tenn_Dawg

    I’m sure Georgia will get UF’s best effort come Saturday. I do think UF is vulnerable but I have not seen anything from Georgia that gives me hope that they can take advantage of it. Hopefully the Dawgs will play four tough qtrs and get some fair officating.

    Does anyone think that if the Dawgs were to win out the rest of the season that no coaching changes would be made? As much as I want to see that happen the thought of no changes getting made scares the mess out of me. I’m not a Willie lover or hater….it is just so obivous that this team and staff needs some fresh faces.


  16. Seriously

    Perhaps an endzone celebration is what’s needed? Maybe-all black uniforms? Perhaps ruminating over superfluous timeouts being called at the end of a game? Richt has a big bag of tricks – I’m sure he can come up with SOMETHING for the Gators.


  17. Hobnail_Boot



  18. benjamin

    if UF fans have to stop using Tbows shoulder as the reason they lost in 07 then bulldog fans have to stop blaming the refs for their lose to LSU in 09. Poor kick coverage and shitty tackling cost them that game.


    • The Original Chuck

      Yep. If that flag is never thrown, though, it makes a difference. That’s why refs aren’t supposed to mess up.