“There are going to be mistakes every game regardless.”

I’ve about beaten this bad boy to death, but here’s one more tidbit about LSU’s now infamous 3rd-and-23 conversion, from Grantham himself:

LSU had Beckham in the slot with Boone to his right. When Beckham ran upfield, linebacker Leonard Floyd was supposed to jam him and force him to re-route.

Beckham got free and found space between Floyd and linebacker Ramik Wilson. Mettenberger fired it in. Mauger was coming to help but couldn’t get to Beckham in time.

“That’s a young player going up against a veteran guy and [Mettenberger] threw a tight ball into an area,” Grantham said.

You decide to cover the number four receiver in the SEC, an NFL-caliber talent, with two linebackers as he goes out in his route?  And you expect Floyd to re-route him?  Have you not watched him in pass coverage?

Your job is to put your players in position to win.  I’m having a hard time seeing how electing not to have Floyd rush Mettenberger qualifies. One of you arena guys – help a blogger out.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

52 responses to ““There are going to be mistakes every game regardless.”

  1. WH

    As great as Beckham Jr and Landry are on the ground carrying the ball, they are WAY more dangerous when the ball is still in the air…I mean, they were MONEY if Mettenberger put the ball near them.

    I think I would almost always prefer to attempt to disrupt Mett’s timing and possibly give up the short dump over Floyd’s head to the WR there. Letting those guys get deep without getting quick pressure on the QB is a recipe for disaster.

  2. WH

    I do think the DBs are growing up. There were at least 2-3 passes knocked loose by those guys that would have been huge gains or drive-extending first downs. Haven’t seen enough of those in the last few years.

    It’s a shame 3rd & Grantham happened…and I think you have to put it on Mr. DC, not the players. Let us hope he’s learning, too, as you say.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      I get what you are saying but I can’t shake the feeling that there are guys out there we can get to be DC for 700 large that won’t screw the pooch at crunch time. Remind me. Why exactly are we at UGA conducting OJT for football defensive coordinators and paying him megabucks at the same time? Maybe he ought to be paying the University of Georgia like the rest of the students.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        But Mayor….he didn’t “screw the pooch at crunch time”….three incompletions, game over…or at least that’s what I saw. I have to tell you I was pretty sure LSU would score again, and that we would answer, and that the last LSU offensive series would decide the ball game…but hey what do I know?

  3. Joe

    This is one I disagree totally with TG. Of course I don’t get a vote. This falls into the “enamored with physical measurables/plan” category. I agree with his approach overall the entire game, but definitely not on that play. Rush LF, he excels at that…put a DB to cover Beckham.

    • NRBQ

      Agreed, Joe. Why do we see a sluggish pro or cfb offense turn spectacular in the “2-minute drill?”

      I submit it has a lot to do with the defense resorting to “the prevent.”

  4. 69Dawg

    This whole “prevent” D is just a nod to the statistic that causes Pro coaches to use it. Somebody at sometime figured the probability of 8 DBs covering 5 wideouts and said Hey it should work. We novices know it doesn’t and the saying the Prevent Defense prevents you from winning is true or at least should be. I’m not saying Mett is the next coming of Peyton but he certainly can throw the rock when given time and he had too much time.

  5. JRW7

    On 1st and 2nd down, we blitzed and got to Metteberger, but on 3rd and 23, CTG options not to blitz and to drop back into coverage with only the front 4 trying to get to the QB and they failed to put any pressure on the QB and he had all day to find an open receiver, bad call by CTG! Best pass coverage is to blitz the QB with at least 1 linebacker or 1 defensive back to hurry the throw! Given enough time to throw Mettenberger will beat you!

  6. Don’t worry… Ben Dukes agrees the DBs are young and inexperienced, that the pash rush caused Mett to step up but nobody was there to clean him up (because we rushed three), that Mett is a talent, and that the WRs are a talent, but still thinks you and the rest of us are morons because we think that the scheme deployed on that play could have been better. You know, because a 5-yard slant on 3rd and 23 is a guaranteed touchdown against a prevent defense but rushing 3 against NFL talent is a great idea.

    I look forward to his post lambasting how amazingly stupid all UGA fans are not named Ben Dukes and hope I get a mention!

    • No, not all UGA fans are stupid. There’s an incredibly thick-headed subset of UGA fans, yes. I’m sure that exists in all fanbases. Generally, it’s those who knee-jerk to every little play that doesn’t go Georgia’s way.

      • I think our D has skills and ability, and I love how we’ve improved against the run. But the near 50% 3rd down conversions allowed, and the lack of turnovers are an issue. They aren’t incorrectable issues, but they are significant issues, and a sign that the D is not as good as the one last year or the D we’d hoped we’d see so far.

  7. JN

    I think TG is giving y’all a line here. Go back and look at the play pre-snap ( 2:23:10 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=fT6wgchdY2M#t=8590 ). There isn’t a backer within 10 yards of the LOS. Now, please tell me how on God’s green earth you jam a receiver when you’re lined up >11 yds off of him.

    TG’s is playin y’all like a fiddle, fella’s.

    • MinnesotaDawg

      Yeah, the defensive strategy, alignment, and execution was just off on this entire play. Not unlike many teams (including the pros), it’s as if players don’t know how to go about play prevent, third and forever, etc. Perhaps it’s a situational that just isn’t practiced enough. Basically you have linebackers 10-12 yards off the LOS at the start of the play who take a couple steps back and stand like statues while players run past/around them and DBs who keep up giving up ground with cushion in order to avoid someone getting behind them. Effectively, it seems as if everyone is everyone is playing at 3/4 speed, leaving huge holes for receivers to settle in or cross and wait for the ball. A very Willie Martinez type of scheme (and result).

    • hailtogeorgia

      That’s a very good point, JN.

    • hailtogeorgia

      and beyond that, Floyd makes no attempt whatsoever to jam Landry, re-route him, anything. He just backs up and lets him run right past him, trying to cover the outside for some reason, and Landry goes inside.

      • Every time I see Leonard Floyd out wide against 3+ WR sets, memories of Brandon Miller and Willie rush into my head. Not saying it’s a bad call, but those memories rush back every time (like almost all of the Clemson game), and I hate seeing it. Absolutely hate it.

  8. TennesseeDawg

    The ghost of Willie lives!

  9. Every call is terrible when it doesn’t work.

    I’m trying to remember – we WON that game, right? Somebody help a blogger out – did the Dawgs beat LSU? I think they did. They did, right?

    • Heathbar09

      This is being discussed because UGA is 93rd in the country in scoring defense. I realize that we are through the hardest part of our schedule, but I have a hard time believing that we will win the next 8 games, the SECCG, and a BCS Bowl is we continue to allow this many points. I realize our O makes up for it, but every team has slumps. Murray is bound for an off-day (see UF last year). Coach Todd can develop NFL talent, he’s proven that. But he hasn’t proven he can consistently build a stout defense year-in and year-out. He’s one of the highest paid DCs in the nation. This is worth discussing.

      Trust me I enjoyed the win. A little too much in fact (could work at all on Sunday….). But winning always hides flaws. It’s the best time to talk about them.

    • I’ll answer your question if you’ll answer mine first.😉

    • hailtogeorgia

      Here’s my question, Dukes, and it’s not so much that I have an issue with the play call. It doesn’t look like we changed our alignment at all after the time out. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was the same exact play call, but we lined up exactly the same. If you’ll notice, LSU went from two backs and three wide outs before the time out, to four wide, plus a TE, with an empty backfield.

      Now, here’s my point. You give an NFL offensive coordinator, an NFL QB, and two NFL WRs two chances to look at the same alignment (with a time out in between to really dial up a play and get the jitters from the bad snap out of the way) and what do you think is going to happen?

      Beyond that, I take issue with the personnel package. Why was Leonard Floyd (who is awful in coverage) in the game there at all? Did we really need four linebackers on the field for a 23 yard play where we were only rushing three? Why not bring in a sixth defensive back (Brendan Langley was on the bench) to help out there? We clearly subbed after they got the first down, so it’s not like Grantham was worried about getting stuck in a dime defense if they converted.

      • Hackerdog

        Well, I can see leaving Floyd on the field because LSU was running the hurry-up. If we take him out for third down when we need him to cover, chances are good that we can’t get him back on the field when we need him to rush.

        • hailtogeorgia

          I thought about that too, and at first, it seemed reasonable. I then thought about the fact that, if we take care of business on third down (and the pass is incomplete), then LSU running the hurry up isn’t a worry. At that point, I don’t even think it was four down territory, considering that there were still around six minutes left in the game.

        • hailtogeorgia

          So to summarize there, while the subbing piece is a legitimate concern, it’s not with regard to this situation – you play to stop them on third down, you shouldn’t play a personnel grouping ill-suited for the situation when a better one gives you a better chance of shutting things down and they only have one chance to convert…if that makes any sense.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      And there is a continuing babble of bullshit about a play…3rd and 23, that is ultimately meaningless…all we are doing is entertaining the egos of fans who think they could call a big time college defense better than the people who do it for a living…Dukes….thick-headed is not the word that comes to mind when you mention that element of the fan base.

      They got Willie, they analyzed Joe Cox’s footwork, now they can call defensive plays🙂

  10. AthensHomerDawg

    Whats up with Tray Matthews?

  11. You guys are right. He should have just rushed 4 all night, and blitzed every now and then, and sat in cover 2. That way Cam and Metts could have figured out 3 minutes into the game exactly what we were doing, and just picked us apart for 65 points. I don’t know why we have a professional defensive coordinator at all. We should simply hire an accountant, salesman, burger flipper, CEO, bartender, janitor, mechanic or engineer to call our defensive plays. Chances are, they’ll be much better at it than the guy whose defense has 2 SEC East titles under its belt.

    I don’t even know why CMR did a coaching search. He easily could have just trolled the blogosphere for commenters and hired somebody.

    • Spence

      So, basically we can’t be critical of a play call if we’ve never coached or played?

      From what I read you agree with every reason people say it was a bad play call but refuse to call it that. You’ll agree that making a single big play to win the game in the end justifies saying CTG is doing a good job but lambast when others point to one critical play which was suspect to critique CTG. Then when challenged you resort to ad hominim attacks and say we aren’t qualified to say anything.

      I actually really like your blog and insight, and would really respect your football knowledge if at times like these it didn’t feel like you’re spitting at anyone who wasn’t born tall or fast enough to play football.

    • Lawyers Ben. All bloggers but you are lawyers.

  12. And by the way, I have never once said The Senator is a moron. Never once.

    • NRBQ

      Well, Ben, there’s that.

      Thanks for you work at UGA.

      But blogs exist so fans can express themselves. This one is not your typical site populated by “morons,” trolls and basement-dwellers. In fact, I’d bet not one of us cooks burgers for a living.

  13. JRW7

    A good pass rush is still a very good pass defense!

  14. Always Someone Else's Fault


    All coaches know things we don’t and have professional experience that we don’t, and as a result, they are all beyond the judgment of mere mortals….

    No. Fans can see things coaches can’t, or more to the point, won’t. Professional perspective is its own form of bias, and it can be limiting in the same ways all biases can create blinders.

    And to your rhetorical question, Georgia won the game but they lost that play, and that play is the topic of conversation. Was it lost because the players were in position to succeed and simply failed to execute, or was it lost because the defensive call allowed exactly the sort of mismatch that you want to avoid in that situation?

  15. Peteydawg

    I Definately went into a drunken rage in the stands to my godfather calling for TG’s head on that prevent a win defense. I still thought we might win but totally inexcusable when we’re gashed all game until we blitz then fall back into prevent when it matters most. But it happens in the NFL also.

  16. Senator –

    I did answer your question. Situational playcall. Blitzing into that play has a bigger chance of failure than dropping eight. It didn’t work out.

    Everyone is enamored with Leonard Floyd’s ability to disrupt Mettenberger, and it did work out a few times – generally when we were rushing five. Now, rushing 5 against their 5, and then allowing 5 receivers to go out against 6 doesn’t put us at much of an advantage. Rushing 4 against their five wasn’t nearly effective over the course of the game. Dropping 8 into coverage against 5 with 23 yards to go will give us a numbers advantage in coverage. As I said previously, it worked multiple times against South Carolina, and has worked multiple times against other teams as well.

    You take each situation as it comes. This was the first time this situation presented itself. You guys say it’d be better to let him fire a short pass and then make the tackle. But, Mettenberger threw at least 3 five-yard passes that went for mid-to-big gains.

    The failure on this play is a combination of things. First, Cam had not called an all-verticles play all day. He’d been relying on crossing routes and underneath routes to eat up yardage. As a result, you call a defense with some deep safeties to prevent the biggest possible play, with some mid-coverage as well to be able to make tackles on those short routes. Because Cam called something he hadn’t called all day, we were in a bad defense to defend that particular play. However, there was no evidence showing he’d call that play. Also, Floyd didn’t redirect Beckham. Someone posed the thought that this was not his job, because he wasn’t on the line. However, you would NEVER put Floyd in press coverage against Beckham. But, when defending a zone, you can still disrupt the route by getting in Beckham’s way, making him slow down to get around, etc. Beckham ran right by him, allowing him to be at full speed.

    Nowhere did I say this play was a success for us. It was a failure. But, we won the game. We won the game, and Floyd will receive coaching on this play…as will Ramik and Herrera…as will our safeties.

    This is why I keep saying “Didn’t we win the game?” I understand the concern people have that if we give up 30+ ppg, we’re going to have trouble winning a title. But, I dare say that as Grantham works with these kids and teaches them about situations like the ones they FAIL in, they will get better at what they do.

    The conventional fan wisdom is that if you blitz, you will definitely pressure the qb, and he will be forced to throw a bad ball, and you will win the down. But, sometimes, you want to minimize risk. If we had blitzed, and we hadn’t gotten pressure, Metts may have hit someone for an even bigger play. That’s the thing. You can’t say “what if” and ONLY assume GA succeeds at their goals for the “What if” play.

    We have a young, inexperienced defense…and they got some VALUABLE experience on that play, and in this game. It cost us a first down, not a loss. So, perhaps people are making a little too much of it.

    • Now this is what you should have opened with. Well said on the subject.

      • Thank you, Sanchez. This has long been my message to fans – failures in the present often lead to successes in the future. What you have to do is prepare yourself well enough to where the present failures don’t hurt you too badly. In this case, it didn’t. So…. whew.

    • Ben, thanks for the reply. Two things in response. First, I never said anything about a five-man blitz. I would have been satisfied with a four-man front and taken my chances with Jenkins and Floyd putting pressure on Mett. Second, it’s great that a three-man front worked against SCar. But it didn’t work so well against LSU. Mett converted a third-and-long earlier against that defensive set.

      By the way, I totally agree with your point about Floyd’s failure to redirect Beckham as being a big reason why the coverage failed. But realistically, why would you ask him to do something like that in the first place (which is the question I was actually wanting you to respond to)? His coverage skills are lacking at present and expecting him to handle somebody as experienced as Beckham, who I believe is generally seen as having NFL-type skills😉 , seems like an awful lot to ask. Telling Floyd to go all out after Mett seems like a better way to use his skill set in that situation.

      • I’d have to go back and re-read my entire two blogs to track the stats, but I believe most of our Long-to-go situations were from the 2-4-5 set.

        Also, it’s not that Floyd’s assignment was “redirect Beckham”. Don’t forget that there is a thing called Play Fluidity. It’s how your assignment may change over the course of the play, due to what the offense does. You see, sadly, the offensive and defensive coordinators don’t sit down, declare what plays they’re gonna run, then see if the players execute properly. The DC has to take an educated guess on what the OC will do, and make a call off of that. So, Floyd was in a zone. Most likely, his job is to cover any receiver who enters that zone, and release him when he moves beyond it. There may be a sub-assignment that is to redirect anyone who appears to be passing through the zone, I don’t know.

        I imagine if Grantham thought “They’re running 5 verticals here”, he wouldn’t have called what he did. In that situation, he likely would have called for Floyd to blitz and force a quick throw. However, as I said, they hadn’t run that once all game. So, he called a play that would put Floyd in position to make a play on a slant, a drag, a crossing route, decent leverage on the skinny post, etc. The one thing it didn’t beat was the one thing Cam called. So, advantage Cam.

        • Again, per Grantham from the linked article:

          “LSU had Beckham in the slot with Boone to his right. When Beckham ran upfield, linebacker Leonard Floyd was supposed to jam him and force him to re-route.”

          • Yes, it’s something you’re taught to do. What I’m telling you, is that there is no play where your assignment is simply “reroute this guy, then have a seat if you want to, because that’s all we need you to do.” Grantham says “Floyd was supposed to…” That could very well mean that he’s coached to reroute a receiver coming into his zone.

            • Ben, the point is that, whether by initial design or in response to how the play developed, Floyd was expected to do something he hadn’t done all day – not that he was alone in that.

              It’s the biggest play of the day for Georgia’s defense. If you’re Grantham, why would you expect things to go differently than they had up until that point? The honest answer, judging from what Grantham dialed up on LSU’s last series, is that he shouldn’t have.

    • hailtogeorgia

      Dukes, lots of coherent points here. My question, though (and I asked it above), is what did you think of the personnel deployed on the field? Do you think Floyd should have been on the field, knowing that he has suspect coverage skills, especially when we had the chance to sub with the timeout occurring immediately before the play?

      It did look like a 2-4-5 in terms of personnel package (even though the lineup was more 3-3-5 prevent), but I would’ve personally liked to have seen us go in a dime there with six defensive backs and substituted Langley for Floyd.

      For what it’s worth, Langley was actually on the field on the second down play, and Grantham subbed in Wiggins for him, so there was clearly a thought to coverage skills in the situation.