Third and Grantham

Everyone has noticed the defense’s woes on third down – you’d have had to have been blind not to get smacked in the face with them during the Kentucky game – but the situational passing defense stats at are especially maddening.

Opposing teams are completing 65% of their passes on third down, 7-9 yards to go.  They’re doing even better on third down and 10+ yards to go, when they’re over a 72% completion rate.  If you look carefully, you’ll see there’s not another situation on the page where opposing offenses have a higher completion rate than that.  That’s insane.

Just as crazy to see, check out the defense’s performance on third down, 4-6 yards to go, though:  7-22, 114 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs.  That works out to a 48.08 passer rating.  That’s shut down defense.

It almost makes you think they ought to let the back pick up a few yards on that second down draw play.


UPDATE: Here’s Richt’s explanation for what’s happening.

“Mostly our inability to squeeze the quarterback in the pocket. We’ve allowed him to get out of the pocket either on QB run situations or scrambling situations to where he can buy a little more time and put more pressure on our coverage. Then the back end, our defensive backs and linebackers, especially in zone coverage, we’ve not been disciplined enough once the quarterback does buy that extra time we’ve been too quick to try to go sic him when he hasn’t even crossed the line of scrimmage. Or we’ll go jump a guy in the flat who is one yard past the line of scrimmage, still maybe seven yards away from the stick and just go aggressively try and stop the play right there instead of hold off the curls, the square ins and then break on the ball if the quarterback crosses the line of scrimmage or if he throws it out in the flat, whatever it might be. I think that’s been our biggest problem.”


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

41 responses to “Third and Grantham

  1. Castleberry

    Bulldog Joe will know what to do.

    Is it “fake juice” if the coaches and players can make themselves believe that 3rd down is the new 1st down?


  2. Richt-Flair

    some more observant folks might know — but on third and longs, do we always blitz and play zone? Seems a tweak in that philosophy would be in order. Either don’t blitz or don’t play zone.


    • Biggus Rickus

      I think they mix it up, blitzing sometimes, dropping eight others, but I’m working from memory on that.


      • gastr1

        It would seem like an indictment of the coverage abilities of the secondary, for sure, combined with predictable blitz packages.


  3. Kevin

    Anything 3rd and 7+ you bring the house and anticipate the snap count. Jump offsides? no biggie. As you pointed out, we are better in 3rd and short yardage anyway.

    Maybe get some pressure on the QB and disrupt the play or not give it enough time to develop 15 yards down the field.


    • hailtogeorgia

      I would go for this if it weren’t for the whole “free play” thing. The last thing I want is for the quarterback to know he can throw it deep against our secondary with no repercussions.


      • Kevin

        You better get there, or be unimpeded to the QB so they call it dead.

        What would really help is if we had some shutdown corners so we didn’t have to worry about all this


  4. Diving duck

    We’re giving up too many two strike hits.


  5. ausdawg85

    I’d like to see the passing stats broken down by yardage (short, medium, long) and area of field like they do on a lot of tv broadcasts. Be interesting to see where the real pattern is.


  6. DawgPhan

    Watching the Kentucky game with some friends the 3 and long became the night’s running joke. it really was remarkable how bad they were on 3rd and long which is supposed to be an easy down for defense.


  7. Mayor of dawgtown

    The ghost of CWM at work. If it’s 3rd and 20 they’ll throw a TD pass against us.


  8. Spike

    Wanna help solve this problem? Bench Vance Cuff! He sucks. He is almost always out of position and cannot tackle. Don’t believe me? I have the UGA-UK game dvr’d. Take a look at it. He got burned three, if not four times for a TD. Opposing coaches know this and will torch him/us. Brantley is lickin’ his chops.


    • John Brantley

      Let me be able to not chase snaps before I’m able to lick my chops.


      • NRBQ

        Houston and Dent need to sell out against Brantley all afternoon.

        And perhaps double-team Pouncey early to induce some of his wacky snaps.


    • Bad M

      I like Rambo a lot, but he got beat at least twice on long pass plays against Ark and he missed the tackle on that winning TD. Just saying it’s not all Cuff. Look at the highlights from the game and see how many times the WR gets behind him.


  9. Bright Idea

    Got to have a better push up the middle on pass rush. QB stepping up in the pocket with a clear throwing lane was the main problem against Kentucky. This allowed the dump offs and crossing routes to develop.


  10. Derek

    Of course on 3rd and 4-6 the other team could just run the ball. The avg. is 11.5. Fortunately, there’s only been 4 rushing attempts in those situations.

    IMHO you aren’t going to see this defense be as effective as we’d like to be in these 3rd and distance situations until you have interior lineman who can get a push up the middle and/or beat double teams. If we had a Nick Fairley or a Nevis those stats would look a lot different.


    • Scorpio Jones, III

      I am afraid you are right Derek, I have been looking at replays a good bit the last couple of nights, and the few stops we get on third and whatever, and there have, in fact, been a couple or three…appear to be because the D line beats the O line and blows up the timing of the play.

      In that sense the problem is schematic and could just be part of the transition process.

      FWIW, it appears Kwame Geathers, as he develops and learns to get his pads down more, is pretty disruptive.

      I suspect we will try to sign a couple of JUCO nose folks.


  11. hassan

    It seems (recalling from memory) that in most 3rd and longs that we give up, 1) there is almost no pressure on the QB and 2) we are in some sort of zone package. If that is indeed the case, the offense will never win in that scenario.


  12. Ben

    For my money I’m pretty glad this got REALLY exposed on Sat. night. If we noticed it and the coaches knew it was a problem, having it come up against UK is MUCH better than it coming up against UF.

    I’ve got confidence (maybe it’s my red and black glasses) that this will be somewhat taken care of by Saturday. That might expose a new wrinkle, but it’d be nice to see UF be the team go 0-13 on 3rd down for once…


    • DawgPhan

      I know that I have heard CMR mention the 3rd and long thing previously and it certainly showed up against Kentucky. I think that the good senator is correct in saying that 3rd and long would be a lot better if the middle of the line got any pressure/penetration.


  13. Richt-Flair

    Hoping the return of Smith makes a difference in the secondary


  14. will

    it has to do with us not having a servicable option at 3rd CB. We have mixed blitz and rushing 3,man on and zone. Vance Cuff has been abused. Please come back Branden Smith, please.


  15. Bryant Denny

    I’m not sure how CTG’s 3-4 varies (if any) from the Saban variety…but the m.o. of the Saban 3-4 is to stop the run on first down and for 2nd and 3rd and long.

    This is where the fun is supposed to start.

    I haven’t watched much of the Uga defense this year, but I would venture to guess that this problem is a transitional one as Grantham moves to the type of players he needs for this D, etc.

    Bama is experiencing a similar problem this year for reasons such as inexperience, poor tackling and the like.

    I also noticed last year that we gave up a fair number of big plays on 2nd and 3rd and long…IMO we got crazy/exotic and put ourselves in a high risk / high reward situation.

    Also, look at the interceptions for Bama vs. Uga and see where they occur on the field.

    In short, I think this is a problem where the risk may not ever go away, but the frequency of reward will.

    Have a good day,



  16. Biggus Rickus

    Have they considered dropping 11?


  17. 69Dawg

    Poor ole Van is this years poster boy for bad DB’s. He started early with his whiff of the one on one with Bay-Bay in last years GT game. If he was a good tackler I could see some use for him but he can’t tackle period. With him in we are playing a man down and if you think the SEC OC’s don’t know it look at UK. They went after him like sharks with blood in the water. If he plays we need to change our whole D to give him some help.


    • scdawg

      Exactly 69!

      It takes a couple of years to fix these problems because of personel. We are still seeing what keeping Willie around does for you. Smith ain’t that much better at coverage. Another 5 star that has one awesome run against South Carolina. Hell, Tyson Browning had one good run against LSU. I am really sure after 2 concusions in 3 weeks Smith will gladly start to get physical. He wasn’t physical to start with. Just like the “HITMAN”. Put them on offense and start to recruit the best out their with incentives for early playing time. Get a JUCO NT, or we can hope Geathers gets better leverage..yeah right and the Geathers boys are so famous for staying all 4 years too. Other than Geathers, is there a NT on the team or one in this recruiting class? I don’t see one.

      Seriously, who are the playmakers going to be on offense next year? Marlon Brown?? Get real, he took advantage of white boys in private school and was over-rated. Go ahead and make the call to move Orson Charles out wide. Wouldn’t it be fun to see Orson Charles used like Hernandez was at Florida? Put the talent on the field.


      • Dawgwalker07

        “Seriously, who are the playmakers going to be on offense next year? ”

        I think we’re returning Aaron Murray. I could be wrong though.


        • scdawg

          If you think returning a soph. qb that is good without a supporting cast will do the trick, you are a dumb ass. The running backs are average at best and who might the wrs be?


  18. shane#1

    The third and long problem could be that the D isn’t selling out on the blitz. Somebody needs to get pressure up the middle to collapse the pocket. If five can’t get there send six. Hell, if Rambo and Cuff are getting beat on pass plays send one of them. Even against Auburn. I would think a Safety has a better chance of stopping Newton before he is running downhill.


  19. Mike

    Third down success by Florida and TOs by either team will spell the outcome of this game, imo.

    I think it will be a tight, fairly low scoring game.


    • AmpedDawg

      I thought the Kentucky game would be a wide margin one way or the other. I agree with Mike, to some extent, that this will be a tight game. Turnovers I agree with. They always seem to be monumentally bad in games with Florida recently. I think that, however, the other key is Georgia’s success on third downs. Call me old school, but Georgia has to reinvent the 80s and pound the football relentlessly and keep Florida’s offense off the field. The only way that works is to convert more than our fair share of 3rd downs which sustains clock-eating drives that end with points and forces Florida to press to score quickly which affords take away opportunities.