Another item for Mark Richt’s to-do list

One thing Georgia’s head coach deserves credit for this past season is identifying two problems that crippled Georgia in 2010 – turnover margin and opponents’ third-down conversion rate – and taking steps to rectify them.  The Dawgs improved dramatically in both.  That’s why I take some comfort in his announcement that he intends to focus on Georgia’s special teams woes this offseason.

But there is another sore spot he needs to direct some attention towards.  I think this chart speaks to that:

2011 6.57 94th
2010 4.85 23rd
2009 4.77 25th
2008 4.31 19th
2007 4 3rd

One of those years is not like the others.  But even with that enormous jump in 2011, things have been on a steadily downward trend over the past five seasons.

What’s to blame?  Well, sacks explain some of it…

2011 2.36 87th
2010 1.92 65th
2009 0.92 8th
2008 1.23 27th
2007 1.08 12th

… but they clearly don’t explain all.  (Say what you will about Joe Cox, but at least he could avoid a sack.)  I’d say there’s a fair amount of blame to spread around:

  • Aaron Murray.  He may be more mobile than his two predecessors, but that’s not stopping him from getting sacked at a much greater rate than either Cox or Stafford.
  • Will Friend.  I know he didn’t have much to work with from a depth standpoint, but that huge increase in 2011 after four seasons of relative stability indicates that something wasn’t right on the offensive line last year.
  • Running backs.  Remember how everyone used to say that Moreno’s greatest gift as a runner was turning three-yard losses into two-yard gains?  We weren’t making that up.  Call this year’s group anything you’d like, but don’t call them elusive.
  • Game planning.  You run more plays per game, you run the risk of having more negative plays result.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

29 responses to “Another item for Mark Richt’s to-do list

  1. Biggus Rickus

    I don’t want to blame almost all of it on Anderson, but I’m going to. The guy completely wiffed on his man at least four times a game. He’s the worst offensive lineman Georgia’s had in my lifetime. It’s not entirely his fault since he was playing out of position, but he was still a huge liability. Playing another guard at left tackle wasn’t helpful either.

    • The Lone Stranger

      That would have to be my diagnosis as well, plopping two large, large men at the Tackle positions when they were hardly cut out for that kind of duty. Although Murray is quick, too many times he had an end right in his face almost from the snap. Of course, too, wouldn’t the OC know of said deficiencies and design accordingly. There must be some way to take heat off the tackles!?

      • Biggus Rickus

        They kept tight ends in a lot. The most frustrating thing about Anderson is he would give away the inside, as if he was guessing the end would go there and he had to get a head start.

        • The Lone Stranger

          Never trained my attention on The Bean too exclusively but, yup, the few times I couldn’t help but see his results his reaction time appeared lagging.

    • gatorhater27

      I never really thought of it as a good thing that our offensive line was bigger (ie: fatter) than even NFL lines.

  2. will

    how could you not mention Stacy Searles in any of that?!? He was hired in 2007 and we began a steady decline from that point forward.

    Much like Willie Martinez’ defenses slowly eroded as previous talent and discipline left.

    As for this year, I have to 2nd biggus’ opinion. Bean Anderson was one giant TFL waiting to happen. DGD, big powerful dude, but not quick enough to be a tackle in major college football.

    • The Lone Stranger

      It seems Searels couldn’t evaluate a repectable T for much of his tenure. Dumping him didn’t have an adverse effect on the LSU rushing game, for sure: the Bengals outrushed UGa three-out-of-four years after he arrived in Athens.

      • Yes, but they had NC caliber teams 2 of those 4 years and an athletic running QB who also helped by turning losses into gains.

        Searels didn’t run to Texas, he was dumped on Texas. Sort of our partial penance for Kevin Ramsey!

        • Robby

          meant partial “karma” for our being screwed by UTenn with Ramsey!

        • The Lone Stranger

          You can always call plays and align your personnel to maximize results. Gotta believe the Bengals did that a little better than the Dawgs.

  3. Bonehead

    I agree about the O-Line. Since Searels, we have not driven anyone off the line of scrimmage. It appears we try to angle block and not drive block. In the old days, you put a 2″x10″ down and you had to drive the defensive player off the other end. If you lost, you went again. The Auburn game looked like we had found the magic, but we lost it the final 3. LSU and MSU, pushed our O-Line into our backfield every play. It doesn’t take experience to drive block, just leg strength.

    • Hackerdog

      Remember our linemen were saying that Searels coached them to just occupy the defensive lineman and let the running back find the lane? We should probably go back to coaching them to drive forward and open holes.

      • Robby

        Hear that Friend was doing just that and it showed this year as positive steps (see vs Auburn as for instance). Combine with JTII’s work and we will see results soon I hope. (Always better for the RB to find the “lane” five yards down field than in the backfield IMO!)

  4. Toronto Dawg

    I thought the announcers making some point like UGA had given up 16 tfl but that was before the ot in the outback bowl. I think that one game skewed the statistics pretty heavily. According to cfbstats in the link, we gave up 26 tfl in December/January. Over 14 games that is almost the full 2 tfl a game and helps explain the dropoff. The sad part is that was with 3 seniors on the online, I really have no reason to expect us to do better than what we have done for the past few years.

  5. As somewhat stated earlier, we played with 4 guards and a center last year.Bean shoulda filed an assault report after the bowl game.

  6. simpl_matter

    Wouldn’t running more plays account for a (large) portion of that? Not a big deal, IMO; if we were at or under the average total YPG as those past years, I’d be more cocerned.

  7. Hunker

    Running Carlton Thomas up the middle counts for 2 of those losses per game.

  8. Will Trane

    Think several factors play into those numbers.

    Lack of legit running backs and running back position coach. Think this is why they have two coming on board. No running game.
    Searels may coach good technique, he could not recruit while at Georgia. The man never spoke. I like his coaching and technique, but he did not not bring any linemen in.
    When you look at the O line fiasco in Memphis to the perfromance in Tampa, you have to ask was there any progress on the line. Some, but most coaches will tell you Georgia may have been damn lucky to win 10 games this season with that line.
    So did Friend do a good job. I think so. I think he can coach a line. They will have better technique, better foot work, better leg drive and pad level coming out of spring 2012 and fall 2012.
    They will have more depth, strength, speed, and sets to operate out of next fall.
    I think the O line and the running backs will be a big area of focus this off season along with the special teams.
    Nothing starts on offense until that line moves with the center’s snap. The most important and best work is the O line in football to me. When it is going it is a thing of beauty and the scoreboard shows it.

  9. Jason

    Why does Richt always have to wait until something is a total garbage fire before correcting it? Why can’t we ever nip something in the bud? This is possibly the most aggravating thing about him as a head coach.

  10. 69Dawg

    I think Arron was his own worst enemy in this area. Our QB’s are suppose to have a check-off at the line and I think Arron sometimes was fooled. MSU’s number 2 was coming untouched at him several times and absolutely killed him. Every time on replay Orson Charles went right by 2 without so much as a brush block. Aaron has got to get smarter, hard work will only take you so far.

  11. Macallanlover

    Totally agree about Moreno and 2007, made some of the best 3 yard gains in UGA history. I am not interested in assigning blame with this because the focus has to be on fixing the problem. If we do, we have a great chance of winning the SEC next year.

    I still want us to look for 6′ 5″ guys that weigh 275 (or so), not 6′ 0″ 325 pound guys with guts hanging over their waist lines. The OL’s at Oregon, LSU, Wisconsin, etc., look like athletes and can move to lead plays, or to pick up blitzing LBs and DBs. Out guys seem to play the role of the NT on our defense and just create a log jam that keeps our backs in the backfield until someone on defense circles the pile-up and tackles them for a loss. Get them leaner, keep them in shape, and teach them to move their feet. No team will succeed without the OL being fixed. We may have been undefeated in 2011 with that problem solved.

    • Joe

      So you are saying to go with the Big Ten “speed” model vs. the SEC “slow fat guy” model? Never thought I’d see the day that logic was employed! LOL

      Clearly when Wisconsin is quicker and leaner, then we are in trouble. (Or maybe the 25 lbs of belly fat help? It sure does when I watch Sumos and road graders! )

      • Macallanlover

        That is a distortion of what I said, I think. I saw LSU’s offensive line as well, and they looked athletic to me, taller and still 280+. I also think it is indicative we may have gone too far down the “weight” axis when we are bigger than ANY offensive line in football, pro or college, and still unable to make a 3rd and 1. I saw several OLs that looked better, and more effective than UGA’s this year, and some of those were in the Big 10/11/12. I am willing to make changes from our current strategy, I hope the coaching staff is open to new/different thinking.

  12. IveyLeaguer

    The loss of stability on the offensive line? Georgia hasn’t had a good offensive line since 2002.

  13. Loves Jason’s comment about Richt waiting until something becomes ” an absolute garbage fire” before he reacts. ( Willie Martinez, S&C with Van Halnager two prime examples) I recall a lot last year about Richt being so glad about Greg McGarrity coming in , relieving him a lot of his administrative duties so that he could “study the game of football” I hope a reporter will ask him 1) If he did this and 2) if he did , what he learned or 3) if he didn’t, when will he begin ? Agger-vating is an understatement for because we all know how great we can be with the talent we have,
    just got to coach em up !

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