Good news: a stat inside a stat

One of the smaller interesting developments of this young season is that Georgia stands third in the conference in time of possession.  The offense is controlling the clock at more than five minutes per game more than was the case in 2015.  Some of that may be due to the number of plays Georgia is running.  This season, the team is averaging almost 76 plays per game, about 14 plays more per game than last year.

There, in turn, may be more than one reason for that.  As someone mentioned in the comments yesterday, it’s reasonable to expect a team forcing more turnovers to run more plays.

But I think there’s another area that deserves some attention, and it’s a happy development.

As we all remember, last year’s third-down conversion percentage was a real sore spot for Georgia’s offense, which finished next to last in the SEC, converting only about 31% of its opportunities.  The 2016 numbers are considerably improved:  43.75%, good for fifth-best.  The improvement isn’t coming due to the running game.  Last year on third down, Georgia rushing converted 21 of 63 tries; this year’s rate (5 of 16) is actually slightly worse.

But look at what’s happened on the passing side.

  • 2015:  28 of 96 (29.17%)
  • 2016:  16 of 33 (48.48%)

Before you ask, based on the 2016 numbers, it’s not an Eason vs. Lambert issue.  (Greyson, although he’s had fewer opportunities, has a slightly higher conversion rate than does the freshman, although not by much.)  Rather, this appears to be an area where Jim Chaney is getting more production than did Schottenheimer.

Now that being said, Chaney’s offense is about to run into several salty defenses, so we’ll see if the trend continues.  In the meantime, though, maybe the man deserves a little credit.


UPDATE:  Ole Miss’ defense may be salty, but it’s also 11th in the SEC in opponents’ third-down conversion percentage.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

32 responses to “Good news: a stat inside a stat

  1. Although Lambert might have a slight edge over Eason at this point, I think that would change over time as Lambert’s “happy feet” would begin to take hold. The other major change, coming from the change in OCs, is this year’s tendency to actually throw beyond the first down marker (I think someone mentioned that yesterday, or at least recently).

  2. sUGArdaddy

    Coach Kirby would rather you refer to him as “The Kid” rather than ‘the freshman.’

    I’m just grateful to have a QB. It’s a been a long time since #11 tore his ACL and we felt like we could hand a game to the QB and let him go win it for us. All hail “The Kid.”

  3. Puffdawg

    One of the things that stood out to me during the Mizzou game was the fact that Eason kept zipping passes and converting third downs. I remember thinking how critical that was just to keep us alive while we were really struggling on defense early on. It was nice to see.

    His ease of throwing darts on 8 yard routes is astonishing to me. The release, velocity, and accuracy just makes it too easy.

    Excited to see him continue to grow.

  4. Russ

    Yep, we hit a bunch of third down conversions in the Mizzou game, but have pretty well overall. That is a nice change from last year.

    I imagine there’s more to it than this, but as someone said yesterday, we’re finally throwing 8 yards passes on third and seven, instead of 5 yards passes.

  5. Uglydawg

    I have to remind myself of the perspective many of us claimed to have during the off season. ” This is a team that may be unsteady at first but should improve over the year and in the late season will be very good”.
    As Eason travels the learning curve, and the coaches make improvements/adjustments to the schemes (and O line), we’ll see a bright future ahead.
    This week, however, looks like a tough order.

    • Biggus Rickus

      Ole Miss isn’t without some pretty major flaws. Their defensive line isn’t exactly wreaking havoc so far, and they can’t run the ball either. Now, they can be very, very good in the passing game. They can also be pretty bad at times. You have to think they’ll be a little flat for an 11:00 am start after playing Bama last week, too. I don’t know what to expect from the game, and it’s certainly Georgia’s biggest test so far, but it’s a game they can win.

  6. Just Chuck (The Other One)

    My favorite memory of the Missouri was the fourth down conversion for the touchdown with Isaiah hitting the ground on his back with both arms wrapped tightly around the ball.

    • Uglydawg

      Yep, that was a stand up, raise your hands above your head and wake up the neighborhood moment! On that play we all sat on the edge of our seats knowing it was all or nothing. We got all!

  7. AusDawg85

    No question Eason is a huge improvement. Watching the Mizzou replay, he hit IMac on others on a couple of bullets over the middle that were sharp, tight, and where only our guy could make the catch.

    But he did badly under throw some of his deep balls, missing on open Davis twice (and I still think Davis is that “other” receiver we’re looking for on deep patterns on first down, but Eason’s got to find him). Not an arm problem, obviously, as he also overthrew Sony once (and one of our TE’s, but it was Sony on an inside wheel route who was ridiculously open but a play I hope Chaney comes back to this week.). As to previous comments about his “wobbly” passes, those where just some balls he had to release so quick I’m not even sure he was able to grab the laces, but just got the snap and fired…which is really very good and necessary.

  8. Irwin R. Fletcher

    Here’s my rain cloud…

    Eason is 3 of 8 on 3rd down in obviously passing situations (10+ yards) with his only INT.

    The counter to that is that his biggest pass…the 4th down pass to McKenzie against Mizzou…came in that situation so it’s not like he’s a ball of goo back there. But he’s just been soooo much better in 3rd and less than 7…still need to run the ball well to get him in a position to succeed.

    A couple of other notes from the split stats…Eason’s 6 for 6 when throwing inside the UGA 20…which tells me he’s making decent decisions even in the shadow of his own endzone.

    One note of concern…Kelly has just been insanely good in the red zone. 12 of 15 with 7 TDs? QB play is not the reason they lost those two games.

    • No QB is very good in 3rd down when the offense is behind the chains. It’s a matter of reduction in inefficiency. Most defenses play zone to the 1st down marker when in 3rd and less than manageable. They’ll give you the check down or the pass in front of the sticks and trust their defensive players to get the player on the ground before the 1st down.

      In the case of the game-winning play on Saturday night, McKenzie was well beyond the sticks and Missouri appeared to be in man coverage. The DB had no safety help between the hashes (must have been 2-deep man coverage), Eason threw a perfect pass where only IMac was getting it, and #16 brought it in. It was a perfect call against the defense and perfectly executed by the line in protection, the Kid with the throw, and the Joystick with the route & catch.

      • Irwin R. Fletcher

        On the 4th down pass, it was one of the few plays they blitzed the LB plus we were 5 wide-empty backfield. They had 5 men rushing…5 in Man to Man..and the other LB was in double coverage on Michel who was split out to the slot. What was really interesting about that call…I’m not sure there was another option. Both of the wideouts were staring at McKenzie about halfway down their routes…Blazevich and Michel didn’t make a cut at the first down marker…it was one of those, if we get the look we want, we are going to McKenzie…just a great call and execution.

        And I’m with you on your point…3rd and long passing isn’t effective b/c it is an obvious passing down. But my concern is that 3 for 8 with a pick makes me wonder if Eason is fighting a tendency to force it in that situation rather than taking the check down.

        • AusDawg85

          Sample size = small. Other than for penalties, we shouldn’t be in third & long. I’d worry about fixing that before coaching up Eason.

          • Irwin R. Fletcher

            I think you are always going to have a fair share of 3rd and long each season. I’m not saying it should be where you’re offense thrives…but it can be a killer if you have a QB that forces throws. You face turnover problem AND become predictable with the draw play.

            Joe Cox was TERRIBLE on 3rd and Long. One of Murray’s big keys in his development was cutting down INTs on 3rd downs his junior and senior year. CFB Stats only go back to 2008…so just for kicks I looked at Stafford in his junior season. He had a 181.98(!) passer rating on 3rd and 10+ in 39 attempts. He had 7 passes of over 25 yards in that situation. Kid was and is a straight-up gunslinger.

        • I hadn’t gone back and looked at a replay, but that seems like an absolute stupid all or nothing defensive call against that set and in that down & distance at that point of the game. I think Kirby and Tucker like to zone blitz that type of down and distance where you’re either going to have to make a perfect throw down the field or throw in front of the sticks to earn a first down if you have time to avoid the pass rush.

          Eason is going to have to learn to take the check down or give a guy a chance to make a play in front of the sticks. That pick appeared to be a pre-snap read where he never looked off the safety who appeared to be in a robber coverage (intermediate/middle of the field zone). That was the perfect defense against that route especially with a young QB who likely didn’t see that in high school.

  9. We may not be an efficient scorer but it’s keeping the defense off the field at least. And we’re 3-0. Gotta get better if we’re gonna win more games, though

  10. Go Dawgs!

    Chaney deserves some credit, sure. But Schottenheimer deserves yet more scorn. Forever and always, he’ll be next to Kevin Ramsey on UGA’s Mount Rushmore of horrible coaching decisions.

  11. I’m always interested in new ways to look at traditional box scores like Bill C. is trying to do now this year by creating a new box score. TOP is one of those metrics that we have traditionally looked at to glean some sort of info about the offense, but I think most coaches today would tell you that it’s an overrated measure. It doesn’t tell you anything about offensive efficiency / explosiveness on its own. Taking 14 plays to go 80 yards is likely going to drive up TOP, but I’d prefer an offense that is doing that same drive in 4-6 plays.

    • Biggus Rickus

      Ideally, you’d have an offense capable of explosive plays and ball control. But if you have to go either/or due to personnel shortcomings, explosivity is more important.

  12. Will Trane

    Running game.
    Where did it go?
    Where did one of Chubb’s favorite plays go…the lead draw play out of the I.
    Take a look at the past three games re the QB.
    Want to tell me how many running plays came out of the QB sitting in the shotgun formation.
    Now if you were watching the Mizzo game you had to see that.
    Chart those plays.
    Most lead draws for Chubb comes from the QB being under center when the dawgs sell the passing game. Watch the pad level.
    Eason is going to start game 4. How many times will he go under center with the backs in the I.
    96 plays against Mizzo. Short practice week again. A very good Ole Miss team with a very savvy QB. Chart how quickly Ole Miss scores.
    Will Chaney want to run a power game against the Rebs. Think it depends on how much Ole Miss get out front in first half like against FSU and Bama.
    You know Smart, Pruitt, Saban have talked this week.
    I think this will be a fun game to watch how Smart and D attacks the Reb spread, but more so re the offense from beginning to end of game.

    • paul

      If I am Ole Miss I throw deep early and often. We’ve been run past quite a few times so far. However, unlike our first three opponents, Kelly can hit his guys deep. They could easily score three or four times well before halftime. Then the question becomes can our guys keep their heads in the game?

  13. Will Trane

    Can Chaney force Ds out of the box with the QB, Eason, under center or more running plays for Chubb with the QB in the shotgun.
    I think the running game is coming based on the learning curve and confidence level of Eason.

  14. CB

    When evaluating Ole Miss’ defensive numbers, it’s important to keep in mind that they’ve played two of the most talented offensive teams in the country in FSU and Bama, which almost certainly skews stats against them.

    • Biggus Rickus

      It’s definitely true of Bama. I’m not so sure about FSU. As it stands, the Ole Miss game was their best offensive performance, and they were just shut down by a somewhat questionable Louisville defense. There’s talent at FSU, but their offensive line might be as bad as Georgia’s.

  15. AthensHomerDawg

    Missouri D seem pretty salty. Any more salt will be dangerous.

  16. W Cobb Dawg

    These time of possession and number of play stats are great, particularly for an offensive team that’s evolving. I expect Eason to continue improving, though I’m sure he’ll have his ups and downs. And I expect our running game to be pretty stout despite recent troubles. Now the “ifs”. IF the OL can improve as the season goes on, and IF our WRs can block a bit better this could shape up to be a very good O.

    I’d say Chaney has been solid so far. If we were all Chubb and nothing else through 3 games (say, like LSU and Fornette) I’m not sure I’d consider it a good thing for the long haul.

    But I wish we had one more patsie before we got into the meat of our schedule. I suppose the good thing about such a big game in Oxford is that our players aren’t looking ahead to ut next week – at least that’s what I’m hoping.

  17. aladawg

    Against these teams there is no way I give Chaney much credit. UNC’s no D, Nichols and maybe a decent Mo. D Let’s see the stats after we play UF and All Barn’s D’s……….

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