So, is Georgia a youngish old team, or an oldish young team?
Daily Archives: October 11, 2017
Jacob Eason’s teammates and his head coach haven’t noticed any problems with his demeanor.
That’s probably because they lack the keen observational powers and expertise of Eason’s long-distance Internet psychoanalysts.
This article, from beat writer Dave Matter, highlights a thing to fear and a thing to watch for Saturday night.
The scary part is scary.
If the Tigers could extract any positives from the 40-34 loss, they came via the deep ball. On passes that traveled through the air more than 20 yards past the line of scrimmage, Lock completed four of nine for 231 yards and three touchdowns. That’s a passer efficiency rating of 370. On balls that traveled 30 yards or more, he completed three of five for 181 yards and two scores and a rating of 496.1.
Lock’s arm strength has dazzled coaches and teammates since his first college practice two years ago, and on Hall’s touchdown he put the ball in the air for 60 yards from release to catch…
Mizzou’s outside threats paid off elsewhere. Once the Tigers connected on a few deep balls Saturday, Kentucky dropped its safeties further from the line of scrimmage, clearing running lanes for backs Ish Witter and Damarea Crockett, who combined for 213 rushing yards and 7.3 yards per carry.
Not too shabby. But this is still a 1-4 team. So what’s the problem, Kirby Smart?
Turnovers, Smart noted, were Mizzou’s trouble last season and again this fall.
“They were very hard to defend last year, and they are very hard to defend this year,” Smart said this week. “They stop themselves. People don’t stop them.”
He’s not exaggerating. Missouri in 2017 is last in the conference in turnover margin, at a whopping minus-10. The Tigers haven’t won the turnover battle against a single P5 opponent this season; not so coincidentally, those games constitute their four losses.
But there’s a little more going on there when you break it down. Sure, Mizzou is last in losing the ball and by a pretty wide margin. Through the first six weeks, there isn’t another SEC school within four turnovers. But, with only four, Missouri is also thirteenth in the SEC in forcing turnovers.
If you’re wondering how Georgia can cover a 30-point spread this weekend, that’s a pretty good way to get there. On the flip side, if Mizzou picks this game as its first when it doesn’t blow the turnover margin battle, you have to think at worst it’s got enough firepower to keep things closer than the spread.
Back to the scary part for a second, though. Yes, those long distance stats are concerning; however, it’s worth considering that Georgia brings a little firepower of its own to the table, as the Dawgs lead the conference in offensive plays of 20+ yards. (Missouri is a respectable fifth.)
Perhaps of greater interest, though, is how these two teams stack up defending the big play. In that regard, it’s no contest. For defensive plays of 20+ yards, Georgia ranks first in the SEC and Missouri is twelfth. Which means that when the Tigers are on offense, it’ll be strength against strength, while when they’re playing defense, not so much.
I don’t offer this post in the spirit of counting certain chickens before they’re hatched, but if you’re interested in seeing what kind of benchmarks Georgia’s season may have to meet in order to merit the selection committee’s favorable consideration for entry into the CFP, ESPN’s Heather Dinich has supplied a list here. Georgia has some pluses and minuses there, so we’ll see how things go.
One thing is pretty likely. Don’t expect a two-loss P5 team to be in the mix.
UPDATE: Bill Connelly does some playoff projecting here.
The folks at And The Valley Shook! have their own little advanced stat measuring quarterback performance that’s tagged with a mouthful of an anagram, ATVSQBPI. You can find the long explanation here, but the tl;dr version is this:
A short explanation is this: it is modified yards per attempt, including rushing. Every time the QB calls his own number, this is how many yards, on average, he is worth.
After jiggering the numbers for all the SEC starters, this is what tumbled out first.
Jake Fromm, Georgia. Jake Fromm State Farm is tearing it up. Most concerning for SEC defenses is that he’s actually much better against Power 5 defenses than his overall season average. He’s not piling up big numbers against bad teams, he’s saving his best performances for teams that matter. He’s scored 12 touchdowns to 2 interceptions (7/1 against the Power 5), racking up the bonuses. The defense, similarly, is performing at an elite level. They have the best pass defense in the conference, and are mere fractions behind Alabama’s overall average. Georgia looks legit. [Emphasis added.]
Doesn’t that give you the warm and fuzzies. Although, should we ask if Missouri qualifies as a bad team? After all, Sagarin has the Tigers at 104. By comparison, Appalachian State is 73rd.
For yuks, here’s what they have to say about Mizzou’s Drew Lock, who checks in at number ten:
Drew Lock, Missouri. Lock had an outstanding game last week, so there’s signs he can turn this around. But he’s still the guy with a 6/5 TD/INT ratio against Power 5 defenses. He’s throwing for a lot of yards, but his lowest number of attempts in one game has been 28. You simply can’t be that effective completing just 52.6% of your passes. And no one’s impressed that you threw for 521 yards and 7 TD against Southwest Missouri St. The defense is terrible and don’t be fooled by the run defense. It stinks, too. They’ve been victimized for 16 rushing touchdowns.
Probably ought to be mindful of that first sentence.
Let’s face it — if you’re a Georgia fan who, say, publishes a college football blog, you want Butch Jones’ career in Knoxville to continue on. If it takes the Vols going 9-3 this season, so be it.
Henceforth, I’m on Booch’s Bandwagon! Who’s with me?
One thing I used to bitch about in the Richt era, even in the good times, is how often his teams didn’t put opponents away in a manner that let the backups get significant playing time. Last season was more of the same, unfortunately.
There was no such scenario last year, when the Bulldogs pulled out last-second triumphs over Missouri and Kentucky and suffered last-second defeats against Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech. Georgia’s most comfortable win a year ago came in the 35-21 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette, a game the Bulldogs led 35-7 midway through the fourth quarter, and even the expected feasting on FCS-member Nicholls resulted in a 26-24 escape.
That hasn’t been an issue lately.
Georgia’s only close call this season has been the 20-19 win at Notre Dame on Sept. 9, with the Bulldogs having opened Southeastern Conference play the past three weeks with routs of Mississippi State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt by a combined 117-17.
Smart bemoans the downside — “If you don’t play in tight ballgames, sometimes guys get tight when you do have to play in them.” — even if that wasn’t a problem against Notre Dame, while acknowledging the obvious.
“It helps the development of our team, should we have an injury or a situation where a guy’s got to go in and play. We now have some experience, which we didn’t get last year, so there are positives and negatives.”
That’s huge, not only for this season, but for future seasons when this year’s backups become next year’s starters. The positives outweigh the negatives by a wide margin, especially when you toss in that you’re reducing the chance of key players being injured.
And even if a little in-game R&R might hurt a bit when it comes to individual honors…
While Chubb is the SEC rushing leader at the moment, he is 16th nationally.
He has done this despite sitting out in a lot of fourth quarters due to five blowouts in six games.
“Sony (Michel) and I did some calculations, and we missed a quarter from five games,” Chubb said. “That’s (over) one game we’ve missed. It’s great to keep us fresh and keep getting the young guys some playing time. It’s working out well for us right now.”
… I really doubt Nick’s complaining about it. Even if he is doing the math.
I bet Tahde Nation jumps all over this if ‘Bama ever comes up short in a game.
Alabama is 130th out of 130 FBS teams in a statistic called opponent penalties, which means officials are calling the fewest number of penalties against Alabama’s opponents compared to other teams in college football. If you need a trend: Alabama was last in college football in this category in 2016, 102nd in 2015, 123rd in 2014.
It’s gotta be some sort of conspiracy.