The return of why-Georgia-is-doomed-in-2010

Some of you probably think I’m beating a dead horse with this stuff, but in a world where Mark Richt feels compelled to remind the fan base that his five-star, highly-sought-after-as -a-recruit, two-spring-practices-under-his-belt quarterback might not, you know, actually suck, I don’t think it hurts anything to explore a few statistical reasons why Georgia might win a few games in 2010.

Today’s segment comes via data compiled by a blogger who maintains a stat diary at MGoBlog.  He’s got two diary posts up of interest.

The first is a look at special teams.  There are a couple of direct quotes about Georgia’s two stars there:

… Punters evaluations on each punt are measured on gross distance, net distance and then compared to punts from that spot on the field.  A punt from your own 20 yards that nets 35 is below average but a punt from the opponents 40 that has a net of 30 is above average.

Last year, Georgia led the nation in my measurements in gross punting, it was worth 8.2 points above average on the season…

… Field goal kickers have never really had a good stat with which to measure them by.  So much depends on where you are kicking from.  Leigh Tiffin from Alabama garnered All-American honors despite missing 4 extra points and making 24 of his 30 field goals from inside 40 yards.  Meanwhile in the same conference, Blair Walsh from Georgia makes a nation leading 12 field goals of 40 yards or longer versus only one miss from the same distance and is perfect on extra points and doesn’t even sniff All-American.  Walsh’s performance gave Georgia 21.6 paa where Tiffin providing a respectable but not that close 7.4 paa.

Both of which are nice from a chest puffing perspective, but it’s his conclusion that should give us some hope for this season.

In general, for any one special team unit, the difference between average and the best and worst is about 2 touchdowns in either direction over the course of the season.  Being the best at special teams is worth about a half game a season versus the average team and a full game a season versus the worst team. If there is one unit to excel at, the opportunity is on the kickoff team where last year there was a 53 point differential between the best (Nebraska) and the worst (West Viriginia).

Say goodbye, Jon Fabris.

By the way, this is totally unrelated to Georgia, but I found it amazing nonetheless:

In the last 3 years there have been 13 punts from inside the 30 yard line, Virginia Tech and Temple have both done it twice.  Last year Southern Miss was the worst offender, punting from the 29 on 4th and 6.  The punt was of course a touchback.

Outside of having a three-touchdown lead with less than five minutes to go, I can’t imagine for the life of me why anyone would punt from their opponent’s 29.  And even then, how hard can it be to find somebody who can deliver a ten-yard punt?

Anyway, back to the subject at hand.  His other post analyzes the value of returning starts on offense and defense, based on a comparison of the ’08 and ’09 seasons.  Some of his findings may surprise you a bit, some not so much.  Here’s how I’d summarize them:

  1. A returning quarterback is a good thing, but not as much as returning very few starts at the position is a bad thing.
  2. Returning starts at running back mean little.
  3. Returning starts are receiver are a big sign of offensive success.
  4. A significant lack of returning starts on the offensive line is a negative; otherwise, experience on the o-line isn’t that big a deal.
  5. While running back returning starts aren’t significant, overall returning starts on the offense have a big positive correlation with the success of the running game.
  6. There’s little correlation between returning starts at any specific defensive group and defensive success.  The highest correlation was again with little returning experience on that side of the ball and overall poor defensive performance.

What that hints at if you’re a Dawg fan – assuming some consistency in these numbers for 2010, of course – is that there are indeed some legitimate grounds for expecting the offense to perform successfully this season.  The key will be Bobo playing to his strengths, the running game and the experience in the receiving corps, and managing his weakness, the lack of experience at the QB position.  Neither of which is exactly a big surprise, but at least there is some statistical basis for the strategy.

And one other note:  check out this brief mention of turnover margin.

… turnovers are random!  Both forcing them and committing them shows virtually zero correlation from one year to the next.  If anything there is a slight negative correlation between turnovers one year to the next.

I’m for all the negative correlation we can get this season.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

22 responses to “The return of why-Georgia-is-doomed-in-2010

  1. Dawgfan17

    We have enough returning starts on defense that it is not a negative. We have almost all the starters (and backups) back on offense and a punter/kicker/KR combo that will give us an advantage against almost every team we play against. The defense should show some improvement which means that if Murray can do what Richt said about just making good decisions/not hurting the team then this year could surprise a lot of people and turn into a surprise year like 2002 when no one really expected UGA to be as good as they were. Find a way to survive @USC and home against Arkansas and our R.Fr qb will have the experience he needs and the schedule starts to look real good until a little party down south.


  2. Brandon

    There is certainly a whole lot of luck involved in turnovers, not that there is nothing which can be done to reduce offensive/increase defensive turnovers. I have always thought that a defensive philosophy which puts its focus on creating turnovers (see Kevin Ramsey) is putting the cart before the horse a little bit. Just focus on tackling and pressuring the QB, let the turnovers take care of themselves.


  3. GirlDawg

    Nice blog post, Thanks GTP! Your blog is one of my FAVS!


  4. travis fain

    The key to offensive success this year is Aaron Murray not getting hurt.

    I’m not upset that Aaron’s our starting quarterback. I think he’s a largely unknown quantity, but that’s OK, and I’ve got confidence in him via my confidence in Richt to judge quarterback talent.

    What I’m upset about is our complete failure to have a viable plan B at quarterback.


    • Once Stafford was named the starter, it was going to be hard to recruit a frontline type QB for a few years. That doesn’t explain all of the problem you allude to, but it’s certainly a good part of it.


    • Reptillicide

      There’s a difference between a “viable’ plan B at QB and another Heisman-caliber plan B. One is what you can expect, and the other is a fairy-tale. When Sam Bradford went down last year, they didn’t exactly have another Heisman contender to take his place, did they?

      It’s flat out foolish and unrealistic to expect that you are going to have another blue-chip QB ready to step in and light it up when your starter is a firmly-entrenched future 1st round NFL pick. The blue-chippers want immediate playing time, and none of them were going to come to UGA with Stafford as a freshman or sophomore, with the potential outlook of sitting behind him for 3-4 years.


  5. Reptillicide

    SEC Champions – 2010.

    While everybody talks about how awesome Florida and Alabama are going to be, while summarily dismissing their glaring questions, Georgia will fly under the radar for the better part of 2 months… quietly dispatching the Cocks, Hogs, Buffaloes, Bully-dogs and the lowly Vols… and by the time everybody realizes what is happening, the Dawgs will have beaten the Gators in J’ville, and will be coasting to Atlanta. Hell, we may jump from the 20’s in the rankings to the top 5 in a matter of a week, and when we get to Atlanta, we’re going to have some reprisal for those rednecks in crimson.

    Bring it on, world. We’re ready to GATA.


  6. REP___. That all works for me.


  7. Vious

    Looks like we are running out of excuses for Richt

    Win the East in the next 2 years or else….


    • Reptillicide

      You know we’ve had you pinned as a Tech faggot since post #1 right? You’re not helping your reputation as envious turds any.


  8. Aligator

    Jesus, this guy and the rest of the offense will be great, just watch.



    Hope ?

    Why hope ?

    Why not just get a QB ready for once Coach Richt and Mike Bobo ?

    3 times now 2006, 2009 and now 2010 we have gone into the season without a QB prepared to take over.

    Lost 4 games 2006 without QB ready
    Lost 5 games 2009 without QB ready
    Lost ? games 2010 without QB ready?

    Hope for the Year 10 of the Coach Richt Era, when over the last 4 years in a row now we are # 19 in the nation in wins at 38-14, a sorry 10-10 in our own division of our own conference staring at South Carolina to not have then a LOSING RECORD vs SEC East teams over then the last 5 years.


  10. marktheshark

    You bring up turnovers with no mention of regression to the mean? 😉