Over at Football Study Hall, Bill Connelly uses something called line yards to measure how much push an offensive line gets against an opponent’s defense:
Adjusted Line Yards (ALY) “differentiate[s] between the contribution of the running back and the contribution of the offensive line.” ALY attempts to “separate the effect that the running back has on a particular play from the effect of the offensive line (and other offensive blockers) and the effect of the defense. … Yardage ends up falling into roughly the following combinations: Losses, 0-4 yards, 5-10 yards, and 11+ yards. In general, the offensive line is 20% more responsible for lost yardage than it is for yardage gained up to four yards, but 50% less responsible for yardage gained from 5-10 yards, and not responsible for yardage past that. Thus, the creation of Adjusted Line Yards.”
Worst single-game Line Yardage average in 2013:
1. Michigan (vs. Michigan State): -0.53
2. Oregon State (vs. SDSU): 0.11
3. Michigan (vs. Nebraska): 0.47
4. Miami (vs. Va. Tech): 0.57
5. North Texas (vs. Georgia): 0.58
That’s right. The poor ol’, maligned Dawg defense did the fifth-best job of controlling the line of scrimmage on running plays in a game this season. And before you can say “it was North Texas”, let me paraphrase Bill by noting that Georgia State got a better push against Alabama than North Texas got against Georgia. That ain’t nothin’.
I mentioned earlier in the week my concern about the big day Auburn’s special teams had against Tennessee last Saturday, although, to be fair, Seth Emerson notes that the punt return matchup is pretty competitive.
Georgia may need to win Saturday’s game in an offensive shootout, but there’s another reason to discourage the Bulldogs from punting: Chris Davis.
The senior defensive back leads the nation in punt return yardage, averaging 24.1 yards per return, with one touchdown.
Georgia’s punt defense has actually been pretty good (4.11 yards per opponent return, ranking 18th in the country).
That of course assumes they get the punt off safely. But we’ll save that discussion for another day.
Safety LaDarrell McNeil was the only defensive starter on the field for Grant’s return. That kickoff team included true freshmen Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Lemond Johnson and Malik Foreman; redshirt freshmen Drae Bowles and Tino Thomas, walk-on safety Max Arnold, third-string tailback Tom Smith and reserve linebackers John Propst and Raiques Crump.
Linebacker Dontavis Sapp and cornerback Justin Coleman were the defensive starters on the field for Davis’s score. Crump and Reeves-Maybin are also on that unit, along with nickelbacks Devaun Swafford and JaRon Toney, a walk-on and former walk-on. Linebacker Greg King, defensive tackle Danny O’Brien and guard Dylan Wiesman make up the punter’s shield.
Georgia’s not as guilty of doing that as it used to be. Remember classics like this?
That’s not a Georgia punt, but it’s the same principle. (That’s freshman Nick Marshall with the spectacular whiff on Ingram, by the way.)
The Dawgs have got to avoid getting burned on special teams this Saturday. Got to.
If you’re trying to get a handle on what Georgia’s issues are on defense, start with the observation that in a year of normal turnover, Shaq Wiggins’ development at cornerback would be a luxury not a necessity.
Indeed, the play represents a positive month of progress for Wiggins, who did not initially earn the starting role at cornerback but ultimately found himself with the job by the time Georgia played Tennessee. Coaches say the former four-star recruit out of Sandy Creek High School still needs to add weight and continue developing from a technique standpoint, but many have been pleased with his play thus far.
“He brings a lot of energy and athleticism to his position,” head coach Mark Richt said. “What he lacks in experience sometimes he makes up for with his effort and his instincts. He’s got a ways to go, but so far he’s done a nice job for us.”
Now you can certainly argue that Georgia’s coaches planned poorly for the moment and it still falls back on them (although keep in mind that had he not messed up, Nick Marshall would likely be starting in Georgia’s secondary instead of Wiggins). But things still are what they are.
Inside the NCAA’s labyrinthine bible of regulations are the 195 words of Rule 188.8.131.52. Adopted in 2010, they require each university to have a concussion management plan that includes putting the onus on athletes to report such injuries. Frostburg State had a plan in 2011 when Derek died, 6 pages of good intentions that could have been cribbed from a textbook.
While the organization’s bible mentions recruits 495 times and plunges into legislative minutiae on matters such as logo size, movies and the permissible dimensions of institutional notecards, 15 lines are given to head injuries. The NCAA once punished a football player for accepting a free sandwich, imposed $60 million in penalties on Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal and recently finished a circuitous three-year investigation of the relationship between a jailed booster and the University of Miami’s athletics department.
But the NCAA, founded 1906 in response to a swarm of football injuries and deaths, doesn’t enforce its own concussion rule.
David Klossner, former NCAA director of health and safety, admitted as much in a deposition this year in an unrelated federal lawsuit challenging the NCAA’s concussion policy:
Q: Are member institutions required to submit their concussion management plans to the NCAA?
Q: Have any member schools been disciplined regarding concussion management plans?
A: Not to my knowledge.
Q: Has the NCAA considered disciplining any member institutions regarding concussion management plans?
A: No, not to my knowledge.
In an interview with The Washington Times weeks before the deposition, Mr. Klossner and an NCAA representative said no university, to their knowledge, had been investigated or penalized for violating the rule.
Well, in its defense, the NCAA’s kinda been busy lately. But don’t think it doesn’t care about the well-being of student-athletes. Especially if there’s money to be made from it.