It’s not just how you play. It’s who you play, too.

I can’t take credit for the work – I found it at the Dawg Post message board – but I thought it was worth passing on in a post here.  It’s a list ranking Georgia’s SEC opponents’ offensive yards per game over the last ten seasons:

1. 2013 – 409.7  (Grantham year 4)
2. 2010 – 402.1  (Grantham year 1)
3. 2007 – 394.5  (Martinez year 3)
4. 2004 – 391.0  (Van Gorder final year)
5. 2012 – 378.9  (Grantham year 3)
6. 2009 – 373.9  (Martinez year 5)
7. 2005 – 366.1  (Martinez year 1)
8. 2006 – 359  (Martinez year 2)
9. 2011 – 329.5  (Grantham year 2)
10. 2008 – 326.6  (Martinez year 4)

Couple of things about that list.  First of all, whatever else you might say about him, Grantham’s been dealt a tougher hand than either of his predecessors.  Second, it’s weird, but for the most part you’d have to say that Martinez’ defenses got worse in the face of weaker opponents’ offenses.  That’s generally not going to be a good combination.

How ’bout that VanGorder outlier, though?  Georgia finished an impressive eighth nationally in total defense in 2004.  The sick thing is that was only good for fourth-best in the conference.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

31 responses to “It’s not just how you play. It’s who you play, too.

  1. Scorpio Jones, III

    Van Gorder woulda done better with towel blockers.

  2. Spence

    Is this list trying to tell me that the 2008 defense that lost to Tech was the best we’ve had in last ten years?

  3. Bulldawg165

    Funny how Grantham’s claim to fame year came against the second worst set of offenses

    • A valid point, IMO.

      But if you downgrade him for that, don’t you have to cut him some slack for this year?

      By the way, that’s not a list of all SEC teams, just the ones Georgia played.

      • Bulldawg165

        Some, yes, but he shouldn’t be let off the hook entirely. We still avoided the best offense from the West (A&M) so it’s not like other teams in the SEC weren’t playing a comparable schedule to us and we still ranked 11th in the conference in scoring defense vs. conference opponents:

        Blame it on special teams and offensive turnovers if you want, but we’d have to have given up 55 points less to even be tied for 5th place.

        • I don’t think it’s an all or nothing situation, certainly. But context should matter to some extent, both good and bad.

          By the way, that linked list isn’t for all SEC teams, just the ones Georgia played.

          • Bulldawg165

            Yeah, it’s each SEC team’s scoring defense versus only other SEC teams (this way we aren’t penalized for playing Clemson and GT while other schools played cupcakes). We did pretty bad even though we avoided the best scoring offense in the SEC in Texas A&M. Based on the sheer point totals the bad ranking isn’t strictly related to bad special teams play or offensive turnovers.

  4. Cosmic Dawg

    Interesting list, Senator! It would also be useful to see it w/o CTG’s and the other Georgia coordinator’s “contributions” figured in. I have a suspicion that CTG has helped put himself at the top of that list, as the point totals between some rankings are razor thin.

    Also, with the fairly even distribution of years across the decade
    our hopeful “offenses are just getting better” defense is pretty much shot, right?

    • Bulldawg165

      Here’s the median points per game scored by an offense from 2007-2013 (i.e. how many points the 59th (if 119 teams) or 60th (if 120) ranked scoring offense averaged per game), per

      2007: 27.8
      2008: 25.3
      2009: 27.4
      2010: 26.6
      2011: 26.9
      2012: 29.1 (62nd ranked team as there are now 124 teams)
      2013: 29.7

      Nationally, it looks like offenses have gotten a tiny bit better, but not quite that much. Certainly not enough to justify us giving up more than 30 points in regulation 7 times this year.

      • Bulldawg165

        On the contrary, LSU’s defense has given up more than 30 points twice this year, once in 2012, zero in 2011, and twice in 2010.

        In other words, we’ve given up more than 30 points in a game more times this season than LSU has in the past four seasons. Chew on that.

        • Bulldawg165

          And they only gave up 30 points once in 2009, so make that the past FIVE seasons. Chavis > Grantham

          • adam

            I will debate some of the arguments against Grantham, but I don’t think anyone is arguing that he is better than Chavis. But we hired Grantham, not Chavis. Didn’t we enter the DC hiring pool a year too late for him? No way we take him from LSU.

            • Bulldawg165

              Yeah, we did, because we hung on to Willie for one year longer than we should have (IMO), similar to what we’re doing with Grantham (IMO). We went after him pretty hard when he was at LSU and he turned us down and we ended up settling for Grantham.

  5. DawgPhan

    My conclusion is that everyone was right about Third and Willie since he consistently faced the weakest offenses. Grantham is probably getting the short end of the stick having to face the better offenses these days.

    I think that the story with Grantham is a story about depth…both experience and depth should be improved next season so we should see improvement in the defensive stats.

    • 2014 has to be the make or break year for Grantham. Neither depth nor experience can be used as excuses. The schedule seems to break in Georgia’s favor, so another year of an ineffective defense has to lead to a change.

      He needs to stay in his players’ ears about avoiding run-ins with the law, getting their classes taken care of, and not failing any drug tests. If they avoid those shenanigans, he’ll have a full deck to play with in week one, so he can prove he has what it takes… or that he doesn’t.

    • mp

      Went back to look at 2011 and 2012 signing classes…lack of numbers just really hurts the secondary especially. Ogletree leaving early hurts obviously, too. 2013 class being huge was nice to build depth, but it was only because 2012 was tiny.

    • Biggus Rickus

      We will see improvement. The defense still won’t be good, because I think he’s only an average coach (making elite coach money), but the defense won’t be terrible. Probably.

    • Will (the other one)

      We did seem to get better at properly lining up in the 2nd half of the season, and the yardage/sack totals were far more encouraging than the points. But basically what we’re left with is a hope that we see a similar turnaround to what the Gators did from 2007 to 2008. They had a very young secondary that was torched often, but almost everyone came back and they were a top 10 D. Of course they had Strong at DC too, and Grantham has not proved he’s in that league at all.

      • adam

        I’m of the opinion that significant improvement at a position depends on the position coach, not the coordinator.

        I don’t think Grantham has much say in how much the DBs improve next year (he’s only ever coached DL and OLB). Similarly, I don’t think Bobo will be to blame if the offensive line is still unreliable as hell.

  6. uglydawg

    I suspect that if you did the same graph on almost any SEC team you will find pretty much the same trend. Offenses have become better and the SEC’s defenses have been playing catch-up. Defensive evolution will lag offensive evolution because it’s the offense that snaps the ball..The defense is reactionary to the offense’s presentation. Hurry-up offenses are naturally going to gain more yards (even yards per carry) because defenses are worn down late in the game….by and large..of course there are exceptions.

  7. So I’ve known that Grantham is better than Willie. This list you have helps. Using CFB stats I found the average yards we allowed vs. SEC opponents and compared to their average. Here’s what I found.(forgive the sorts, this is quick and dirty off the list posted with data only going back to 2007)

    Year Avg UGA Diff
    2013 409.7 389.4 -20.3
    2010 402.1 355.8 -46.3
    2007 394.5 328.3 -66.2
    2012 378.9 350.8 -28.1
    2009 373.9 379.4 5.5
    2011 329.5 247.9 -81.6
    2008 326.6 322.6 -4

    Our best defense under this metric since 2007? 2011. Followed by 2007, 2012, then 2010, then 2013. 2008 and 2009 remain our worst defenses in the past 7 years. I should have ranked those seasons in my head before doing this, and I swear I’d come up with the same order.

    If anyone can find SEC yards allowed average for the other years, let me know.

    • Bulldawg165

      I’m not a huge fan of YPG simply because it ignores holding teams to field goals instead of touchdowns, which is huge. It’s also skewed by having an offense that eats the clock because that means the opposing team have fewer opportunities throughout the game to score on you, even if they march down the field in two minutes every time.

      • Cojones

        If it’s GT doing the marching in that time period for each of their first 4 possessions, then I’m mox nix on the “skewed”.

      • adam

        Every statistic has its strengths and weaknesses. Scoring defense, for example, includes many scores that can not be attributed to your defense – special teams touchdowns, fumbles returned for touchdowns, interceptions returned for touchdowns, turnovers returned inside the 10 that usually guarantee at least a FG (but typically are converted into TDs against almost any team), safeties, muffed punts, etc. Really “scoring defense” represents how many points the entire *team* allows the opposing team to score, not just the defense. If we cut back on bad turnovers and special teams miscues while we also improve our defense, that statistic will improve dramatically.

        YPG has similar hidden issues. A turnover at the 5 leads to a TD. The defense allowed 7 points, but they held the opposing offense to only 5 yards. YPG means a lot more when the offense and STs don’t give the other team favourable field position – something that happened too often this year.

  8. Cojones

    Read an interesting comparison on Mr SEC this week (plus one on here) that shows all Ds allowing more scores. They predict it’s the sign of the times and that Os are so much better. Anyway, my angst towards Grantham faded slightly and, placed in the proper perspective, shows that we are in the average swim of things defensively. Like everyone else who has had great pride in UGA’s Ds of the past I am spoiled for a punishing and feared D of old. Alas, we may as well not judge TG against that or we surely will be disappointed.

    Wonder what our alighnment would be if Martinez had been subjected to the same considerations that we are affording TG? We instantly liked TG for his fieriness , but that doesn’t tote the mail anymore and we are guilty of what we have accused Richt; too soft and reluctant to fire anyone. We can’t have that judgement both ways, folks.

  9. Mayor of Dawgtown

    That’s “machts nicht” small balls. If you’re gonna quote the Germans, get it right.🙂

  10. Coastal Dawg

    That’s the Spanish translation.🙂

  11. TKB

    You are an idiot if you make one excuse for Grantham given the talent and pay he has.