It’s a 6-6 year. It was supposed to be no worse than a 9-3 year. So, there’s plenty of blame to pass around. We’ve talked about the playcalling on offense in the wake of the Auburn and Tech games. Let’s take a look on the other side of the ball.
Matt Hinton offers an assessment of how things went with Georgia’s 2010 defense here. It’s hard to argue with any of his individual points: for all the talk about being more aggressive, there really wasn’t much of an increase in pressure to speak of; things did improve fairly dramatically on the turnover front; they got shredded by good running offenses; Ryan Mallett had a field day against Georgia’s secondary.
But I think he misses the big problem. This year’s defense was brutally inept on third downs. Check out this chart that Bulldog in Exile compiled:
Defensive Metric 2009 Total 2010 Total Difference ’09 SEC/Nat Rank ’10 SEC/Nat Rank Scoring 25.9 ppg 23.1 ppg +2.8 ppg 10/63 7/49 Rushing 126.15 ypg 150.25 ypg -24.1 ypg 3/36 7/59 Passing 213.2 ypg 185.8 ypg +27.4 ypg 9/51 6/19 Total 339.4 ypg 335.8 ypg +3.6 ypg 7/38 4/30 Sacks/game 2.31 2.0 – .31 3/36 7/56 TFL/game 6.89 6.25 -.64 2/22 9t/47 Int/game .77 (1TD) 1.17 (3TD) +.4 10t/83t 5/33t Fumbles Recovered 2 10 +8 12/120 6t/40 3rd down conv 37.7 % 42.59% -4.89 % 9t/45 12/87 Redzone Conv/TD % 82.93%/
In the red zone, these guys couldn’t get off the field to save their lives. They weren’t dramatically better anywhere else on the field, either. So, yeah, there’s a big problem there, Houston. The issue that Mark Richt has to analyze in the offseason is where the blame falls for that. Some of it lies in personnel, the defensive line in particular, and it’s clear from some of his recent comments that Richt is pushing hard to address that in this year’s recruiting class, most likely with an infusion of JUCO talent. But it’s certainly a fair question to ask whether the coaching has been all it could be. With the exception of Belin, that’s hard to say.
Back to Matt’s piece, I have to say that I disagree somewhat with his conclusion: “At best, 2010 was a sideways step from the season that got Martinez fired…” That ignores one big positive development, the end of the trend in defensive scoring under Martinez. Lest we forget, here ’tis:
- 2009: 25.9 ppg
- 2008: 24.5 ppg
- 2007: 20.2 ppg
- 2006: 17.6 ppg
With due respect to Matt, that’s what got Martinez fired, not just last season in isolation. And Grantham has reversed that trend, despite this being a season in which overall scoring is up, he’s installed a new scheme with the resulting learning curve issues and he has areas where the personnel aren’t a good match for what he and the position coaches like to do. So I can’t sit here and say beyond a doubt that he’s a failure. But so far, it hasn’t been the home run hire we hoped for, either.