In the comments, Brandon wants to know something: “I’d be interested to see a first half of the season defensive breakdown vs. second half of the season when its all said and done.”
Well, I may not have all the answers to that, but you can always count on Marty having at least a few.
If you take a look at Georgia’s split defensive stats, you’ll see a steady decline in yardage yielded as the season’s progressed. But the real key there comes when you look at the average number of defensive plays per game. In August/September, it was 73.4. October showed a drop to 64.33. This month’s number is even better: 56. Less plays should mean less yardage. It should also mean that your defenders are staying fresher come the fourth quarter.
If you’re looking for the reason within the reason for the improvement, the place to start for that is with opponent third-down conversion rates. If you will recall, that was an area Georgia excelled in last season, posting a stout 28.93% rate. This year’s rate is higher at 35.58%, but there’s good news. After a decidedly mediocre October (42.86%), the defense has done a much better job this month getting off the field, turning in an impressive 29.73% conversion rate.
That will be a key to stopping Georgia Tech, so keep an eye on it.