Defense is getting buttah and buttah.

Giving the devil his due, it’s fair to say that Todd Grantham is having a helluva year as Louisville’s defensive coordinator.  Just because I’m surprised doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve credit.  (In fact, you could make a good case that he’s earned his million dollar paycheck more than his boss has.)

But as a Georgia fan, that’s not very important to me.  What is important is how the job Jeremy Pruitt is doing this year compares to what Grantham turned in on that front last season.  And from that perspective, it’s no contest.  Pruitt is crushing Grantham.

… Below are the major defensive categories with their averages as well as their national ranking. The first number is the 2013 Grantham defense and the second is the 2014 Pruitt Defense. I have placed the better statistic in bold.

  • Points Per Game: 29 (79th) / 20 (19th)

  • Yards Allowed Per Game: 375 (45th) / 320 (16th)

  • Rush Yards Allowed Per Game: 148 (43rd) / 105 (16th)

  • Pass Yards Allowed Per Game: 227 (59th) / 215 (46th)

  • Interceptions: 7 ALL YEAR (109th) / 10 THROUGH 7 GAMES (13th)

  • Fumbles Forced: 10 ALL YEAR (75th) / 6 THOUGH 7 GAMES (52nd)

  • Turnover Margin: -7 (101st) / +13 (1st)

  • Tackles for Loss: 81 ALL YEAR (45th) / 45 THROUGH 7 GAMES (45th)

  • Sacks: 33 ALL YEAR (29th) / 18 THROUGH 7 GAMES (33rd)

  • Passes Broken Up: 55 ALL YEAR (62nd) / 32 THROUGH 7 GAMES (60th) 

  • 3rd Down Conversion %: 39.49% (64th) / 30.61% (18th)

The first item on that list is the most important, of course.  And that nine-point difference is huge.  How huge?  This huge:

Georgia is 9 points better on defense than it was in 2013. If you take 9 points off of all 5 Georgia losses in 2013, Georgia wins against Clemson, Vandy, Auburn, and Nebraska. That is pretty significant when you look at it from that perspective. What that really means is that Georgia is 2 scoring possessions better than 2013 and that is pretty impressive.

Again, to be fair, I don’t think you can chalk all of that up to a change in defensive coordinators.  Shoring up special teams play has also contributed to that swing in defensive scoring.  But in any event, I think it’s okay to be happy with the switch from Grantham to Pruitt now.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

34 responses to “Defense is getting buttah and buttah.

  1. Saltwater Dawg

    I think what stands out the most is the net Turnover Margin, which in turn highlights the impressive job the offense has done in not turning the ball over.

    13th in interceptions and 52nd in fumbles are both improvements, but going from those positions to 1st in net turnovers is due to the offense.

    Running more than last year certainly helps, but Mason is also a huge factor. Also highlights that maybe he can afford to play a little bit more loose.


    • SpaceStation

      “Running more than last year certainly helps”

      running the ball effectively, coupled with sustaining drives and offensive time of possession are all very helpful for improving certain defensive stats. Particularly points allowed per game and yards allowed per game. As the saying goes: the opposing offense can’t score if they are not on the field.


  2. Merk

    It helps to come into a program where the HC was a defense guy who had his players taught right already. Hard to take a player that knows how to play and make him crappy. Give it 2 years and once those players coached by Strong are gone, we will see what Grantham is doing.


    • Brandon 1

      Agree. Didn’t see your post earlier and so I made basically the same point below.


    • Hard to take a player that knows how to play and make him crappy. Give it 2 years and once those players coached by Strong are gone, we will see what Grantham is doing.

      +1. Think I already know. We’ll see. May take 3 years, depending on how young their defense is.


    • W Cobb Dawg

      Agree. I wouldn’t be surprised if louisville was worse on D in most categories than Strong’s 2013 D.


  3. Irishdawg

    Special teams did contribute to our horrific scoring D last year, sure, but look no further than turnover margin. UGA was terrible at forcing TOs, and this D is fearsome in that regard. DBs aren’t dropping INTS, the tackling is better, and every body seems to be in position most of the time


  4. But changing coaches is too risky! lol.


  5. Bob

    I love the switch big time. I think Pruitt has done a fantastic job. I am thrilled that Grantham is at Louisville.

    However, we might need to look at one small factor. Clemson, Vandy, and Mizzou are down considerably on offense compared to last year. LSU was much better on offense than Arkansas is this year. Tennessee and Carolina are probably no better than they were last year on offense.

    Having said that, it is remarkable the job Pruitt has done….but especially the adjustments he has made and the improvement we have seen since game 1. Those are things we did not see with Grantham.


  6. DC Weez

    Stats aside, the thing that sticks out to me is that the defense seems to be improving every week. Kudos to CJP and the coaching staff.


  7. Slaw Dawg

    Garbin made this observation in the link you provided earlier: “the current edition of Richt’s Dogs, a squad which should continue to have a no-one-man-team and chip-on-shoulder attitude, appear to be unlike his teams beginning in 2008.” I agree–seems to me we have a number of guys who have been coached “up,” esp. on D. Now, I don’t follow Louisville’s program closely enough to know whether that D is over or under achieving, but I thought Grantham’s D at Georgia generally underachieved. Maybe that was Grantham, maybe that was bad chemistry in the coaching staff, who knows? If Grantham has success at Louisville, then more power to him (until and unless the Cardinals play our Dawgs)–the main thing is that UGA has a much better coached D, and that makes me happy!


  8. I give Grantham credit for what he’s doing at Louisville this year. That being said, from everything I’ve heard, Grantham never gave a 2nd thought to special teams. I would argue that part of our turnaround in special teams is because of the change in defensive coordinators. Pruitt came in and was one of the drivers in “Every starter has to also start on 2 special teams units”. I think he has a level of appreciation for how special teams helps his defense that Grantham never had. So while special teams has helped Pruitt more than it did Grantham, I don’t think that’s something that can be taken away from Pruitt, I think it’s more because of Pruitt. And I have no idea where Louisville stands in special teams, but I’ve watched them play twice this year, and special teams were awful in both. I’d argue the reason they lost to Clemson was mainly because of special teams. Contrast that with our situation where Pruitt came in asking if he could help with special teams. Just a totally different level of focus.

    (Not taking credit away from Richt on this either, as ultimately the areas of focus go back to him. But it’s a whole lot easier to implement things when your coordinators buy into it).


    • SpaceStation

      +agree with the Reverend


    • Great post, Reverend.

      I would argue that part of our turnaround in special teams is because of the change in defensive coordinators.

      No question about it. That was part of the package. Been talking about it since Pruitt’s first week, how fixing the defense, special teams, and most importantly, the cancerous culture, were all tied together. They were never three separate problems, but major components of the same problem.

      Pruitt gave indications from the get-go that he understood that, and would be addressing it head-on. Grantham wanted to do his own thing, and never cared about anything else.


  9. Spike

    Maybe it’s just me, but it seems we TACKLE a lot better than past years. Just my two cents worth.


  10. Brandon (Version 1)

    Most people in the business agree that Grantham knows his x’s and o’s. He apparently is a piss poor teacher of fundamentals however which is particularly handicapping in the complex schemes he likes to run. I don’t miss the scenes of our defense running around like a Chinese fire drill, not getting lined up, and generally looking like they have no idea what’s coming before the snap. They can keep him, they’ll get worse the longer he hangs around. The kids at Louisville have 3-4 years of Charlie Strong fundamental teaching under their belts and they are performing pretty well because they already have what Grantham lacks the ability to give them. Willie Martinez (who is also a guy most of those in the business say knows his x’s and o’s, though he has the additional problem of preferring to play way to soft) also benefited from a similar situation with Van Gorder early in his tenure and his defenses got progressively worse as they lost the players who had earlier benefited from Van Gorder’s presence.


    • BMan

      That’s pretty much how I feel. No doubt Grantham understands defense, but his ability to teach it to 18-22 year olds will probably start to show up if he’s anywhere more than two years. His substitution patterns may also be less than optimal.


  11. El Dawgo in Evans

    Pruitt has undeniably brought a renewed focus on fundamentals, unlike the sloppy, undisciplined, out of position play to which we have been accustomed since BVG. To me, this has had the biggest impact to each of these statistics (including those on offense).

    I cannot wait to see Pruitt’s players after a couple years of his coaching. To date, this is only his second year as a D Coordinator and his resume has yet to be completed. Going to be a great next few years.


  12. charlottedawg

    No defensive coordinator in his fourth year at Georgia should be setting school records for points and yards allowed. Throw in the fact that there was zero improvement over the course of the season and you have the reasons I’m skeptical Grantham would’ve done better this year than last.

    Just from the eyeball test our defense now looks improved and this cannot be understated, confident in what they are doing and where they should be on the field. Where as last year saying they were tentative would be an understatement.


  13. WT

    I definitely like the numbers, but in terms of comparison between the two DCs, I’d like to see how defenses across the entire SEC are doing this year compared to last. Recall that last year was “the year of the QB” in the SEC, not to mention Auburn’s breakout year on offense under Malzahn. So it’s that age-old question of “Is the defense good or the offense it’s facing bad?” We certainly took that shot on Louisville earlier in the season (e.g., Wake Forest was one of its opponents).

    Mind you, I’m pleased with the switch for all the reasons everyone is. Even if there was no net change in statistics, I just “feel” better with Pruitt–seems a better cultural fit. But I’m not convinced (yet!) that many other factors aren’t contributing to the changes.


  14. watcher16

    Also realize Grantham went in with a full cupboard there, while Pruitt is patching a D together with young talent after all the attrition. I think that accounts for a lot more credit for our Dawgs than pointed out already


  15. Will Trane

    CMR said they were teaching more. Good. Maybe Pruitt can teach and coach at the same time. No doubt. His players [and remember how many he was left with in that secondary this season] have a record of achievement. Biggest by product of the defense is the points they have put on the board, both directly and indirectly via turnovers / change in field position. Plus account for some players moving from D to O during the season. Pruitt, defense staff, and his players are doing a stellar job.
    But Pruitt is part of the Alabama Gang out of Hoover High School. There, like Valdosta High School has a high record of achievement.
    Pruitt and company will be tested against Roper’s offense, kentucky on the road, and Auburn at home. Those 3 games will put it on record and set the stage for ’15 recruiting.


  16. Mayor

    The only reason Grantham’s D in louisville is as good as it is–Charlie’s kids are still there and already knew how to cover and tackle. Give Grantham another couple of years…….