Statistically, the numbers say Georgia’s defense has declined this season. Although, to be fair, as Seth Emerson notes, the Dawgs have seen much better passing attacks in 2016 than they did last year.
The quality of opponents needs to be considered: Last year the best passing offense Georgia faced, at least statistically, was Alabama, and it was only 62nd nationally. But so far this year Georgia has faced three of the top 25 passing offenses: Ole Miss (17), Missouri (19) and North Carolina (21).
So I get the need to qualify any conclusion to be drawn from the numbers. Now if I could only figure out what Kirby Smart is saying about that.
“When you base things on stats, that’s what can mislead you,” Smart said, when asked if he’s seen tangible evidence that the defense has improved. “It’s a tough thing to gauge. I think you have to substantiate it some kind of way, and we’ve tried to do that through less missed tackles. We’ve also had less plays. We didn’t have many plays against Vanderbilt. So less plays should have less missed tackles, less opportunities to tackle.
“So we try to look at it from a statistical standpoint, but at the end of the day it comes with practice, and you have to go by practice. And I feel like because you see practice every day, those defensive players have improved.”
They look at stats even though they know they’re misleading? Yeah, I can see how that would be tough to gauge.