In lieu of a Tennessee Tech preview (seriously, should there be anything more to say than “don’t get hurt during the Dawg Walk”?), I thought I’d toss out a few unrelated items for your consideration.
Can you say “embattled”? Good, I thought you could.
- David Paschall explores the possibility that tomorrow’s crowd could be a bit disappointing. It’s the player quotes that are of interest – on the one hand, they seem resigned to a drop in enthusiasm from the fans, on the other, there’s a little us-against-the-world mentality that sounds like it’s creeping in.
- Van Halanger is the latest coach to respond to criticism.
- It’s not the dreaded vote of confidence, but posts like this on sites like SI.com don’t make Richt look comfortable.
Turnovers: Maybe Martinez does know what he’s talking about.
The AB-H takes a look at why Georgia is doing such a lousy job at forcing turnovers this season (only six, which ranks dead last in D-1). To Martinez’ credit, instead of taking an existential approach to the situation, he does point to a specific problem area:
“It starts with pressure, for us, with what we do,” Martinez said. “You pressure the quarterback, make him make quick decisions. I think offenses are getting better and better in understanding the blitzes. The times we’ve been very successful, we’ve generated pressure with our front four. Not blitzing, just playing defense. We’ve got to put pressure otherways too.”
The stats bear that out, it seems.
The Bulldogs’ pass rush the past two seasons has dropped off from Martinez’s first three years as coordinator from 2005-07.
The Bulldogs ranked in the top 30 nationally in sacks each of those years with 35, 33 and 42 and produced 29, 30 and 26 turnovers. Georgia dipped last year to 23 sacks and had 16 forced turnovers.
Interestingly, cfbstats.com provides this info for 2004, VanGorder’s last year as defensive coordinator: Georgia ranked 93rd nationally in forced turnovers, with 17. (That, despite the fact that in Pollack’s final season, the Dawgs ranked 12th nationally in sacks.)
Mark Richt: Blair Walsh owes his success to directional kicking.
This is from Marc Weiszer’s excellent post about the fine seasons Walsh and Butler are having:
Richt said Walsh is more receptive now to directional kicking.
“I think in the beginning he was a little curious about why in the beginning do we want the ball kicked in a certain spot with this hang time, but I think now he understands how important it was and he resigned himself to the fact that that’s what it takes to do it,” Richt said. “When there’s times when there is wind at your back, let it rip, knock it out if you feel it. If there’s wind in your back half the game, then there’s wind in your face half the game. You can’t just kick every one of them out of the end zone. Not many guys can do that. That’s why they moved it back to the 30. Now he understands the hang time issue, the ball placement issue and it’s paid really big dividends for our kickoff coverage team.”
Just for a little perspective, according to Weiszer, almost 30% of Walsh’s kickoffs are touchbacks. Even with that, Georgia ranks a pathetic 107th nationally in kickoff coverage. Why the disconnect? Well, here’s one possibility, from TheDawgfather at the Dawg Run message board, who, after watching a replay of the 2004 Georgia-LSU game, offered this observation:
-We had all 4 starting defensive backs on the kickoff team (Minter,
Jennings, Blue, and Thomas Davis. David Pollack played on the kickoff
return team. We clearly put our best players on special teams back then.
UPDATE: I can’t believe I forgot to mention this, um, curious complaint from Buck Belue.
A portion of the Georgia fan base has performed poorly too. How do you leave early, when the LSU-GA game outcome hangs in the balance? What’s up with the showing up tardy? How lame is all that garbage that was left behind by tailgaters? Embarrassing. Have another 6-pack and scream about firing Martinez and Bobo some more. Or, how about just going back home and staying there?
If we all clean up after our tailgates, does that mean we can complain about the coaches?