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:
TACKLES FOR LOSS ALLOWED YEAR TFL/GAME NTL RANK 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…
SACKS ALLOWED YEAR SACKS PG NTL RANK 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.