“Disruption is what we look for.”

Brian Fremeau’s FEI ratings, like most advanced stat analysis of team rankings, relies on preseason projection data during the first part of the year and slowly weans itself off that as the season progresses.  Week 7 marks the first week in which he doesn’t use any preseason data to rank teams, and this is part of what comes of that:

The nation’s No. 1 defense belongs to Georgia. The Bulldogs are giving up only 0.76 points per drive. When starting field position and opponent field goal success is removed, their defensive efficiency brings that number down to 0.91 points per drive. And when we consider the offenses Georgia has faced, with particularly strong efforts against Notre Dame’s No. 5-ranked offense and Mississippi State’s No. 24-ranked offense, their DFEI rating brings that adjusted per-possession scoring value down to 0.64 points per drive.

In English, Georgia’s defense is the best in the country at making opponents work to score in a given possession.

One way that Georgia makes that happen is through the secondary, which, as Ian Boyd points out, has done a phenomenal job limiting big plays.

Another factor though is the secondary, which has helped Georgia rank fourth in passing S&P+, eighth in defending passing downs, and first in IsoPPP, which measures a defense’s ability to avoid conceding big plays.

It’s all the more phenomenal when you consider the secondary is populated with three-star recruits and a walk-on.

2017-georgia-secondary-610x296

It works, because, in Boyd’s words,

You’ll notice that none of them was a bluechip recruit (per 247’s composite rankings) but they are all in their third year or more as college players. Experience and chemistry is everything in modern, pattern-matching coverage and the Bulldogs have that with this group.

And yet, Missouri happened.  Four passing touchdowns.  A less than stellar 189.61 defensive passer rating.

Which means it’s time for Kirby Smart to sound the alarm.

“We’re not disrupting the quarterback enough. I don’t look at just sacks. We look at batted balls. We look at pressures, hits, hurries. Moving him in the pocket and knocking balls down at DB. We had a couple of games where we made a lot of plays on the ball at DB but we didn’t affect the quarterback enough. We’re trying. We’re really working hard on that this week to generate some.”

The issue for Smart is that some of that results from the type of defense Georgia plays.

“We’re not an explosive pass rush team,” he said. “I don’t care what everyone wants us to be, that’s just not who we are. We’re strike blockers, play run and we try to convert the pass rush and we try to get the quarterback in passing situations and attack them. It’s hard sometimes in the style of defense that we play. Some games we are more apt to get pressure than others.”

It’s hard to argue with success.  Which is not to say opposing offenses haven’t adapted to Georgia’s scheme.

Defenses have increasingly gone away from man-on-man protections, Bellamy said.

“Like with Mizzou, it was a lot of max protections, keeping the tight end in, full sliding, bringing the back in,” he said. “Teams are definitely game-planning, which they should. We also have to find a better way to go after them.”

I’d say that reinforces what I posted previously about the great job Josh Heupel did last Saturday.  Bellamy, though, thinks the current issue is mindset.

Bellamy said playing fast and “not thinking so much,” should help the pass rush.

“’Zo and D’Andre are two of the fastest guys that you will see at the position,” he said. “All they have to do is get off the ball. They have all the tools. I kind of think for all of us just thinking is slowing us down more than before when we were just going.”

Maybe, but maybe that’s one reason why the defense has done so well with contain against the run all season.

I’m sure there’s stuff they’ll be working on during the bye week, but this may be a bigger factor for the rest of the regular season:

There aren’t too many strenuous tests remaining; of its final five opponents, only South Carolina is averaging more than 220 yards passing per game.

As Boyd concludes, we may not really know what they’ve got until ‘Bama or afterwards (assuming there is one, of course).

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17 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

17 responses to ““Disruption is what we look for.”

  1. Bright Idea

    When Carter lines up in a rush position the QB seems to get in a bigger hurry. He’s in coverage or on the sidelines somewhat frequently. Not a criticism, just an observation.

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  2. DawgPhan

    The Dawgs are definitely playing great football right now.

    And have been pretty consistent as well. Obviously the defense will adjust as well. They are going to have to continue to improve if they want to achieve their goals.

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  3. CB

    McGhee is a soph right?

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  4. JS

    Regarding the lack of a pass rush, my memory might be completely skewed by the fantastic strip/sack to end the game (and the booze – had to calm my nerves somehow), but it seemed like we got the best pressure against Notre Dame, which I thought is also supposed to be one of the better o-lines in the country. A little odd if true.

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  5. AusDawg85

    When you wish upon a star…

    If we get to 11 – 0, I’m going to get a little excited about this season.

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  6. Thorn Dawg

    Sacks are great and all, but I agree with Kirby. That’s not really the type of D we play. We are stop the run, and contain the QB. What we do really well is squeezing the pocket on third downs. That makes the QB forced to throw through small windows, decreasing accuracy.

    Sacks will happen, but I’ll take whatever they’re doing now. Beat Florida!

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    • 92 grad

      Yup. When I read that my first thought is that if they go after the qb they lose contain. Contain is working just fine thank you.

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  7. dubyadee

    Pick your poison:

    A few more sacks, or a defense that does not set the edge consistently and gets smoked by a QB that knows how to scramble.

    Many (most?) sacks happen because the DL or LB gets outside his lane. I know its not that simple, and that there are situations where the D can just attack. Also, sacks are really nice because it is hard for a team to recover the yardage and get a first down after a sack.

    But this defense is playing with such discipline right now that I hate to see anyone complaining.

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    • Cojones

      Would also add that our D speed on the edge is sufficient for players to judge when to get the QB when he rolls out. They can get after the short pass outside or streak in within 1.5 secs to nail him on the scramble or planned rollout. If he decides to go for PA on one of our power rush plays, his ass is grass when he heads outside and he has less than one sec with Zo or Bellamy bearing down on him. Holding them back to ensure that the D stops them is hunky-dory by me.

      God, it hasn’t been since Jarvis that the D is this exciting. With Jarvis and Mitchell on the field against FU it was just fun to watch. Here we go again.

      If a loss occurs , it doesn’t seem like dooms day anymore and their games continues to be worth watching this year – I’ve felt that way since the second SEC victory this year.

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  8. southernlawyer11

    I have NEVER seen us shut down edge and outside running plays like we have this year. It’s absolutely insane. I was 5 rows from the field, right on the LOS for that solo tackle Roquan had on Wimbush. I had already let out a groan in seeing the space he had and Roquan closed so fast you barely even knew what happened. On TV, things often looks dicey and then a DB just flies in and, like it’s been all year, the ball career gets Zero YAC and is usually dispatched right at or behind the LOS.

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    • Macallanlover

      And this is why I am not worried about GT’s option this season. We have the wall closed in the middle when TT is healthy, and our OLBs, and Roquan when they go wide (not to mention a secondary that can tackle in space.)

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  9. W Cobb Dawg

    Other than Natrez Patrick, isn’t the D going to be at full strength for fu? We get Reggie Carter and Trent back, and Bellamy’s club hand returns to normal. I’m looking for the D to be very stout next week.

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  10. Hal Welch

    I also think missing 3 major contributing players in the front 7 didn’t help against mizzou.

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