It’s all part of the plan, man.

Georgia, in case you haven’t heard, is dead last in the conference in sacks.  How concerned should we be about that?

I can’t say it’s freaking me out, for two obvious reasons.  One, Georgia is tops in the SEC in scoring defense.  Two, guess which SEC defense yields the fewest yards per pass attempt? (Both of those are in the top six nationally, as well.)

You know who else isn’t worried?  That Kirby Smart dude.  Per Seth Emerson ($$),

“I’m looking more at total yards per completion,” Smart said. “And how many points they had on the scoreboard. That’s what matters to me. I know everyone wants sacks. Everyone wants pass rush. But if you put a stopwatch on it, and you take the whole offensive line off the field, and don’t block anybody, I don’t know that we could’ve gotten there. So you better defend the pass.”

I’m not a mind reader and I’m certainly not sitting in on the coaches’ meetings, but I’ve got to think those guys realized what they have on offense sooner than the rest of us did and realized the biggest tactical call to be made on defense early on was not to get killed by the big play.  I’ve yet to see Tucker forced to bring either of the safeties up to defend against the run.

Oh, did I mention that Georgia’s defense ranks eighth nationally in opponents’ plays of ten+ yards?  It’s also first nationally in opponents’ plays of twenty+ yards.

Everybody points to how much Georgia lost from its 2017 defense.  What Smart and the staff have come up with is an approach that is allowing this year’s bunch to grow into the job while the offense provides the game pressure. (Compare that with the way the 2013 defense handled personnel turnover, if you can stomach doing that.)  If that comes at the cost of a few sacks, that’s a trade off I can live with.

Now they just need to tighten up the run defense a little more.  I don’t think I want to see a game where Tucker has to bring up one of those safeties because the defense is getting gashed on the ground…


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

24 responses to “It’s all part of the plan, man.

  1. All 3 teams we have played pretty much have been throwing bubble screens and 5-8 yard quick passes. Very little chance to get pressure against that type of passing offense.

    The defense can improve up the middle no doubt, but these guys are preventing big plays and defending the end zone.

    I’m not worried (yet).


  2. UGA has played two cupcakes – a primarily running team (Austin Peay), and a team Saturday where the QB held the ball an average of 2.1 seconds before throwing. Clearly the MTSU coach planned on very quick throws for the game. As for SCU, they too threw quick passes and the second half they barely had the ball; not to mention the blowout at hand.

    Saban has called sacks the most overrated stat in football and I agree. QB pressures, point allowed, and yards per pass are far more important measurables. Speaking of Saban, most of his championship teams were middle of the pack in the SEC in sacks, and I suspect at years end we will be about the same.


    • Anonymous

      Just to add some more info, a lower number of sacks is also a product of running a defense that mostly plays 2-gap across the front. You can’t shoot the gap with hopes to get a sack when you are responsible for both gaps. I would be willing to bet that Kirby, Scott, and Mel say the words leverage and gap-discipline an order of magnitude more often than they say the word sack.


  3. DawgFlan

    Live by the sack, die by the sack. Ask Miami and UF how bringing a ton of pressure works if you have dicey coverage and don’t get to the QB on time.

    Sacks are great momentum plays, but I’ll take pressure and rushed throws with 6-7 still in coverage any day.


  4. Bright Idea

    The spread formations and our insistence on sticking to 2 deep coverage is leaving us thin in the box against the run. That concerns me more than the sacks against these dunk and dunk attacks. Deciding who the best ILBers are should eventually help against the run. That group is getting blocked way too easily IMO.


  5. dawgtired

    I love the dominating appearance of a sack as much as anyone but the success our D has had without sacks gives me peace. Sacks will come when there are pressing needs. I agree that the DL run-stop is more of a concern…and that not much. We may get burned a few times by good QBs but this D will be hard to score on consistently for 60 mins.


  6. Dave

    At the risk of being obvious, it’s not a problem until it is. That is to say, if some QB (like Locke this week) carves us up, and we never were able to pressure him or get him to the ground, then have at the fretting of not getting sacks.

    I have a feeling that, if he does have success early, it won’t be long before we start making a concerted effort to get to the QB more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ScoutDawg

      Wisdom, heard.


    • Anonymous

      If that were to happen, then they would abandon the two deep look and start blitzing to get some pressure. The issue then of course is that your coverage is a little thinner. I like the idea that they are not showing those looks now as it keeps offensive coordinators from having film of our new secondary players in those looks. I like the idea of staying vanilla until the other team forces us not to do so.


  7. Ellis

    “I’m not a mind reader and I’m certainly not sitting in on the coaches’ meetings, but I’ve got to think those guys realized what they have on offense sooner than the rest of us did and realized the biggest tactical call to be made on defense early on was not to get killed by the big play.”

    This ↑.

    I could see this philosophy carrying us all year long as I don’t see any defense that is going to slow us down on offense. Run stopping up the middle worries me more than sacks.


    • Uglydawg.

      Well it did get Oklahoma to the playoffs last year..and almost got them to the final game.
      But in the end, big plays got them.


  8. Biggen

    This is what I’ve been saying for three weeks. Our offense has so many weapons that we don’t really need to be aggressive on defense. We just out score everyone by 30 points by the 2nd/3rd quarter and force THEM to become one dimensional in order to catch up. At that point, the D just sits back and gives them some of the underneath stuff, while we grab INTs or knock balls down for the deeper stuff.

    Can anyone besides Bama stop our offense? I just don’t see anyone on our schedule that can.


    • Russ

      I worry about LSU. Their defense looks pretty stout. But that offense just isn’t that good. We might beat them 17-10.


      • Biggen

        I agree. Their QB is very average. I just don’t think they can score enough.


        • Macallanlover

          But a successful running game will limit our offense’s chances, and they are much better than an average defense anyway. I am not as worried about the sacks as I am against the straight ahead power run. I can buy into letting them build slowly by beginning with limiting big plays. It is the number of 3rd and 4+ that we have had difficulty with against weaker teams. Just stuff them on big plays….occasionally. Stats aren’t my concern, but on 3rd and 3, or 7, stopping the run for 2-3 yards would be nice. And swarm to help make the runner fall backwards. We seem too casual about this, it is a big deal in this conference. I will trust the staff, but I will continue to worry, there are 3-4 games where this could keep lesser teams around until late. And remember, nothing good happens late.


      • jrod1229

        I understand worrying about LSU, we definitely should. At the same time however, our offense has barely even been tapped yet. I don’t see a team on our current schedule that could hold us under 30.


  9. Jerome

    Jerry Glanville’s defenses for the Atlanta Falcons, especially during the early years, always were able to manufacture a lot of sacks.


  10. TMC DAWG

    Just wait. Kirby is about to unleash Walker and Cox. It’s not gonna be pretty for Locke.


  11. 69Dawg

    Well I think we are missing Trenton Thompson. What a big mistake he made coming out early. He may not have gone 100% all the time but he could clog up the middle.


  12. Sattwater Dawg

    Great story and post on this subject.

    IMO, this has gone exactly as I would have expected for our first 3 games.

    AP – Pure vanilla defense, commitment to stopping the run and screens.

    SC – Absolute commitment to stopping the run first. Once we had them 1 dimensional, game showed we didn’t need to get too exotic on blitzes to maintain. We stopped their #1 guy with great coverage.

    MT – We kept everything underneath and it was an easy game against an overmatched opponent.

    As you stated, the stats bear all of this out.

    However, my prediction is that we will see a completely different game plan this Saturday. If we don’t get pressure on Lock, he will make plays. More stunts, more QB pressure from the ILB’s, more variation on the DEF front formations. I think the covers come off in week 4 for the first time.


  13. Ken Wilkinson

    As Seth pointed out, most of those passed were let loose in under 2 secs. That’s showing some respect for the pass rush. If we get some pressure on a QB throwing in 2 secs, I’m happy. We just need to be sure we tackle them as soon as they catch it.


  14. Meanwhile, on linked chart of 20+ yard plays Missouri has yielded 14 of those. And they have surrendered 4 plays longer than 50 yards. The Dawgs’ll have the track shoes out come high noon Saturday, I reckon.