Staying off the field

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.

17 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

17 responses to “Staying off the field

  1. ScoutDawg

    Booyah, Senator, good stuff.

  2. A major, often forgotten or overlooked, contributor to that stat is Time of Possession/PPG by your own offense…something we’ve finally gotten better at and I give a lot of the credit to Bobo. It’s nice to see us not look like we’re trying to score every play. Sustained drives by the offense IS defense and Bama would not have the defensive success they’ve had if their O was always 3 and out and turning the ball over.

    • Cosmic Dawg

      Oddly, believe we are leading the nation in big plays…so you would guess that TOP might even be a little shorter this year. Although six plays ending with a bomb to score will still likely take more time off the clock than a 3 and out.

      So I’d bet the D is more efficient and the O is simply scoring more, too. Intuitively, that jibes with what I have seen this year (on avg, post-Kentuckya).

      • You’re right. I put too much weight on TOP when I should have just said it’s nice to see the offense pulling it’s weight instead of leaving leaving it all up to the D. Seeing how the year has transpired just makes me that much more clueless about what happened in Columbia. Have we really gotten that much better? Was that a perfect storm for USC?

        One thing is obvious about the D. It took a bit more than the 4 games guys were suspended to really play as a cohesive unit. The team is far from perfect but I think the D and O compliment one another and that makes them pretty dangerous. Can run and pass and defend the run and pass.

        • Macallanlover

          To answer that question, yes, it was a “perfect storm” in Columbia, The scary part though is the main ingredient of that storm reaching epic proportions was an offensive blocking breakdown that totally neutered the offense. For sure the exceptional strength of the SC defensive ends are a unique factor that we will not face again but we should have had a better plan to address what was a well known concern. I don’t think we had to drive those guys back off the line but they were in our back field before we could even begin moving and there was no excuse for that. Just a semi-standoff would have allowed us to be competitive and withstand that first quarter firestorm.

          Finding a scheme to help bolster our OL is the key to beating Bama as well, although they do not have the dominant DEs that SC had. They are very sound on defense but I don’t think they get the penetration to totally shut us down. I see a defensive struggle in the Dome ith us seriously outgunned on STs.

          • AusDawg85

            “Finding a scheme to help bolster our OL is the key to beating Bama as well,…”

            I think we’ve FINALLY seen more plays from CMB to deal with this issue than earlier in the season. Quick FB dives, flares to the TE or FB, even Murray running on a read option or two just to keep the LB’s honest about stacking the middle against Gurshall will go a long way to frustrating the Bama D.

            And UP TEMPO! Nick hates that sh*t..

            /now hangs head in shame we are discussing anything other than Tech….

          • The Lone Stranger

            Not so sure about ‘seriously outgunned’ on STs, though I will allow that the utter absence of aggressiveness in the punt return game has become tiresome. I just pray, as I have this entire year (since PATs began clanged off uprights), that a crucial field goal is not required. My fear is that Alabama keeps the Dawgs out of the endzone unlike most other opponents forcing Morgan to stroke home points.

            • Macallanlover

              Yes the STs was mostly aimed at the lack of a return game and an inconsistent place kicker. If this is game is as close as many think it will be, the difference in a missed FG/PAT can mean it all. Punting has improved the last few weeks so I am OK with that matchup.

              AUS, I agree about the use of TEs and FBs, much improved and will gice Lil Nicky and Smart some additional things to plan for. Definitely ssome things we can do to help the OL. I am not an OL hater by any means, they have been as good/better than we expected, but they are the one unit that has fallen on their face enough to beat us…it did in Columbia. They have had their moments of doing well but we all know it is the Achilles’ Heel of this team. I long for a season where we are just slightly above average in this area.

    • Brandon

      It’s kind of a chicken or the egg thing though when your defense is coughing up points and yards on nearly every possession as our has in the recent past your offense needs to TRY to score anyway and as often as it can. Bobo bore a disproportionate share of the blame in a lot of past seasons, our defense was awful and the poor guy was under tremendous pressure to score, therefore every drive that ended with a punt was magnified when the focus really should have been on why the hell are we asking our offense to score 40 + points every game in order to win. A lot of the whining about playcalling was unfair too, when your defense yields touchdowns on your opponents first 3 or 4 possessions (as it did a couple of times at Tennessee, in the Alabama blackout game, just to name a few) your offense never really has a chance to get on track, once you are down 28 or 21 to nothing your offensive gameplan is shot to hell.

  3. JasonC

    1st down yards given up by the D will also be key as Tech isn’t as comfortable passing to make up yards if they are stuffed on 1st Down.

  4. Brandon

    Good stuff Senator, thanks.

  5. Joe Nails

    Isn’t it interesting how even the splits are in yards per game between D-1 and D2 opponents, home/away, winning/losing opponents, etc. I wonder if that is simply because of garbage time yardage when the score was out of reach.

  6. The Lone Stranger

    To file under “Lies, damn lies, and Statistics”: how does Georgia play 3rd down defense 10% points lower against non-conference opposition? Truly an anomaly … or a function of the suspensions and playing a screwball flexbone offense.

  7. W Cobb Dawg

    Without looking at the stats, I’d assume opponent turnovers have picked up substantially too. Getting better as the season progresses is heading in the right direction, and bodes well for us as we near the mnc.

  8. Dawg19

    Maybe that’s why Grantham kept the starters in for so long against Auburn…they simply hadn’t played much that game…