Third down growing pains

Gentry Estes talks to Grantham and Richt about the defense’s Achilles heel, third down conversions.

… No defense in the SEC has been worse on third down this season than the Bulldogs.

Georgia’s opponents are converting 43.4 percent of their third down attempts. That means of 83 third downs faced by UGA’s defense, the Bulldogs have remained on the field a total of 36 times, the most of any SEC team to date.

Richt breaks that down even further.

“We’ve had a bunch of teams in third-and-long, and we’ve had a bunch of teams get a first down,” Richt said. “It’s just so frustrating. A lot of it has been some quarterback runs. You feel like you have the right call, you have everybody covered and they are right there to get him, and he breaks free. … Our third-and-medium has actually been outstanding compared to our third-and-long. We just have got to continue to get our guys in position to make the plays and get them to make it.”

Some of it may have been quarterback runs, but if you look at the rush defense situational stats, they really aren’t that bad on third down and more than six.   Those pass defense situational stats, though… man, they tell a different story.  The D is doing a sensational job defending third and medium, but when it gets longer than that, opposing offenses have Georgia’s defenders right where they want them.  Opponent passer ratings actually improve as the distance to convert increases.  That’s third and Willie with a vengeance.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

12 responses to “Third down growing pains

  1. Vious

    The reason why they keep getting them is because we are laughable at tackling on 1st contact

    It is a joke trying to see us take someone, anyone down by the 1st man


    • Go Dawgs!

      Thank you. At some point late in VanGorder’s term, someone got the idea that the way to tackle was just to run full speed and put a shoulder into someone and watch them go flying backwards. Well, that’s fine if you’re Thomas Davis or Greg Blue. Unfortunately, not everyone is, and it became an epidemic. The coaches never fixed it. The biggest difference between Boulder and the UT game the next week was a clear and noticeable difference in the way our defenders approached tackling. We still want to hit, but guys went in trying to wrap up and take a guy to the ground. It made a difference.


  2. Normaltown Mike

    It’s Van Halenger.

    Back when we had Pollock, Odell, TD, Blue, etc., mat drills worked.

    Jamie Newberg says our players are all “Four and Five Star” players, so its obviously Van Halenger and his mat drills don’t work anymore.


    • 69Dawg

      Mat drills are not for strength but endurance. You want to watch a one on one drop them in their tracks tackle look at the Vols number 15, he went through our guys.


  3. Scorpio Jones, III

    Nobody remembers that EVERYBODY said it was going to take a while to have the defense we need.

    Starting badly, losing to teams we are used to beating, it is easy to forget things said in the Spring.

    You really think Richt did not know he was looking at the long view when he not only changed DC’s, but schemes, too?


    • RedCrake

      I can’t count the number of folks that said we would get burned on the long ball at times with the increased focus on bringing pressure (given the new scheme and existing personnel) . Many of the same folks are now confused that exactly that is happening.


      • Chris

        I still maintain that stuff like this doesnt fundementally bother me like some of the offense during the first 6 games.

        If this is still a problem middle of next year and into a third year then we have real problems.


  4. Go Dawgs!

    The first two downs are such hard work, third down’s just for fun and relaxation, right?


  5. will

    Thomas Davis was the best open field tackler I have ever seen. He never shoulder bumped anyone. He formed tackled the best of the SEC on one on one open field situations. Maybe you meant Rashad Jones and Greg Blue?


  6. Russ The Temporary Mascot

    Our defense did a poor job on the cutback runs in the four losses.

    However, we saw improvement after last week’s physical practices.

    This week, we returned to our regular weekly schedule.

    It will be interesting to see if we also see a return of the over pursuit and arm tackling problems.



  7. 69Dawg

    The misdirection, the cutbacks the QB runs are all a produce of our guys being out of position. Our guys should be shield for David Blaine. They take every fake and usually just take themselves out of the play. 3-4 is an assignment D if you are suppose to seal the edges but you jump inside on every play then it’s not going to work. Our guys are just a little bit slow with this learning thing. Same problem with off the field issues. UGA the Special Ed team of the year.