Does Georgia have the horses?, part five

[NOTE:  This is the last of the series.]

Ah, now we come down to it, the final match up of note:  Mike Bobo vs. John Chavis.

We’re all familiar with the formidable numbers LSU’s defense has generated this season.  And Chavis is certainly no stranger to coaching stout defenses.  The thing is, as Phil Steele’s chart shows, it’s not like Chavis dominated Georgia’s offense during his time at Tennessee.  He’s had his good years, like 2004 and 2007, but he’s also had years like 2003 and 2005 that weren’t.  (Even 2006, which was a UT win, doesn’t look so hot:  the Vol defense gave up yards and points to a Georgia team initially quarterbacked by JTIII.)

My point here is simply that it’s not a superior scheme that’s got LSU playing defense the way it is this year; it’s talented, well-coached players being properly deployed that’s doing the trick.

Some of the success is situational.  This is a team that has had the lead in its games for most of the season – big leads, often.  And that’s reflected in the breakdown of defensive rushing stats by quarter.  In the first half, LSU’s opponents have run the ball a total of 226 times.  That number declines to 164 in the second half.  But you can’t explain it all with that, for LSU’s opponents also pass less in the second half.  That tells you LSU’s offense is doing its job controlling the clock once the Tigers lock into a lead.

So some of what Bobo needs to happen to be successful (running 70+ plays) is dependent on Georgia’s defense getting LSU’s offense off the field.  But I don’t think that’s the key for Georgia’s offense tomorrow, at least not based on what the stats say.

For that, take a look at the Georgia situational passing stats.  There’s a number on the page that should jump up and slap you in the face.  It’s 184.38.  That’s Georgia’s passer rating on first down this season.  It’s an incredible number when you look at the breakdown:  65.5% completion rate, 17 to 4 TD/INT ratio and 10.12 yards per attempt.    Bobo’s boys have kicked some serious ass on first down.  (By comparison, LSU’s first down passer rating is an above average 153.80.)

And if you’re becoming a believer in the double positive, first down is also Georgia’s biggest down for explosive passing plays.  Corch would describe first down for Georgia’s passing offense as a big deal, in other words.

As for LSU’s passing defense on first down, it’s what you’d expect.  Good.  No, make that really good.  Opponents have been limited to a first down passer rating of 87.86.  Given that the Tigers’ defense also holds opponents to an average of 2.55 yards per rush on first down, you begin to understand where all that stoutness comes from.  Simply put, they win first down.

Something’s gotta give here, obviously.  If LSU can shut down Georgia’s passing game on first down, I’m having a hard time seeing how the Dawgs can compete without Grantham pulling off the defensive coaching job of the season.  (And even then it’s a tall order, because you’d also have to count on Georgia winning the turnover battle and not having any special teams hiccups to avoid disaster.)

It’s safe to assume that Chavis isn’t stupid and that passer rating has already got his attention.  It’s what LSU’s defense does to counter Georgia’s first down success that’ll be interesting to watch.  And what Bobo does in response.  That first Aaron Murray no-huddle look to the sideline had better be rewarded with a good answer.


Filed under Georgia Football

27 responses to “Does Georgia have the horses?, part five

  1. Bard Parker

    So first-and-bomb is a good thing?


  2. 4.0 Point Stance

    Horses this horses that. We playing football or polo?


  3. 69Dawg

    A a realist I see this game as a defensive struggle for the first half or 3 quarters. LSU’s ace in the hole is it’s special teams. They are going to get at least one and maybe two picks (here’s hoping they are not pick 6’s) and our undersized RB’s are going to fumble. Once the game is in the 4th quarter LSU’s O is going to do to us what they have done to all their victims, they are going to grind us into a very fine powder. They have beat good teams with this formula and while we are a good team we are not built to counter this. I would give my iteeth for two of their stud RB’s. Sadly I see an outcome similar to the SCU game. WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR!!!!


  4. Skeptic Dawg

    Great look inside the numbers. If LSU is giving up only 2.5 yards per run on 1st down, that seems to play into the Dawg’s strength (passing on 1st down). I would live to see a big running game from any of the RBs, but do not really expect that. Murray to Charles could be huge tomorrow. Time to Hunker Down Dawgs!


  5. Brandon

    As far as the Tennessee game in 2007, you have to remember our defense yielded a touchdown to Tennessee on basically every drive in the first half, once you are down, we were down 28-0 midway through the second quarter. That is not even giving your offense a chance to get on track, your offensive game plan is shot to hell at that point and you become much more predictable and one-diminional and that much easier to stop. Basically, Chavis’s charges held us in check for a quarter and a half to allow Cutcliffe had enough time to bend Martinez over and give him the business and at that point the game was over.


    • Nate

      Cheese and rice that was an ugly game. I watched it at a Taco Mac in Woodstock next to a table full of Vol “fans”. That’s the one and only time my wife has ever had to stop me from getting into a fight in public.


  6. Bevo

    Great post.

    In other news, keep an eye out for Da’Rick Rogers news.

    The K Gates-D Rogers trade looks better all the time.


  7. Ben

    I really feel like we’ve done a much better job of intermediate passing this year. It seems like that could be the link between the running game and the deep passing game we’ve been missing. I think this game it’s more important than ever. We’re all assuming Bean will have his hands full this game. Murray will have to make quick decisions.


  8. ETennDawg

    What, exactly, consitutes “winning on first down?” 5+ yard gain?


    • Newt

      I’d say 4+. If we can manage 3+ yards/carry tomorrow I think that’s a success. We don’t have to run it down their throats, just well enough that we can get ourselves into better down-and-distances and they have to respect play action.


    • Well, I doubt Georgia’s passer rating tomorrow will be over 185, but it better be a damned sight more than 90.


    • The Lone Stranger

      I like your math. 5 yards on first down would do nicely, as would converting like 40% of 3rd downs.


  9. Bryant Denny

    Good luck tomorrow, Dawgs.

    Obviously, it’s better for us if LSU pounds y’all, but I still kinda want to see y’all beat them.


    • MT

      I dunno BD. OK State in theory could jump you in the polls, as they’re the only team with enough love from the computer polls, and who knows how much the human voters shake things up when all the coaches can actually sit and watch the games.

      The best thing for Bama would be for LSU to get blown out, and have a Bama-OK St national title (no re-hashing that 9-6 night in Tuscasloosa)


      • Bryant Denny

        You’re probably right, but I think LSU’s in no matter what.

        I do expect some sort of craziness to occur, though. Maybe it’ll be a uga blowout.


  10. fetch

    One other stat jumps off the page at me, and it’s 4th down. 4 outta 5 for 102 yards and 4 touchdowns and a 515.36 rating! Yikes! Awesome stats on 1st and 4th makes for a hard to stop offense. Reminds me of the old song “Sixteen Tons”;
    If you see me comin’, better step aside
    A lotta men didn’t, a lotta men died
    One fist of iron, the other of steel
    If the right one don’t a-get you
    Then the left one will


  11. paul

    Statistically at least, we compare reasonably well to LSU in a number of categories on both offense and defense. Two areas where LSU excels are defensive scoring and special teams. The two issues that cost us the South Carolina game. If we can limit turnovers and play well on special teams we can stay in this game. The other thing the Cajuns do well is take advantage quickly when an opponent loses focus. They score in bunches. We have to stay focused the entire game. In short, we need an Auburn like performance. If we get that we have a legitimate chance to score a major upset.


  12. Bobo & the Dawg’s Offense is a shade better than LSU.
    LSU is a shade better on defense than the Dawgs.
    Turnovers & Special Teams May & probably will be the things that lead to an easy LSU win.
    My upset pick: Dawgs 17 ; LSU 16 looks more like wishful thinking the closer it gets to gametime. Still Go Dawgs.. GATA ..


  13. AusDawg85

    Maybe we should threaten to FIREMARKRICHT!!11!! He’s seemed to respond to that pressure better all year.

    Now, that couldn’t possibly be what Adams was thinking…was it?!


  14. Rusdawg

    According to Chris Low on the SEC Blog on our six common opponents the LSU Defense gave up an average of 100 yards rushing per game….the UGA Defense gave up 20.5 yards rushing per game…interesting…