Cry havoc, and let loose the Dawgs of defense!

If Bill Connelly hasn’t trademarked “havoc rate”, he’s probably gonna wish he had, to collect some sweet, sweet license fees from UGA.

Georgia’s defense was good last season, but perhaps not always great. UGA coach Kirby Smart laid out a plan Tuesday to change that, and at least one former player predicts fans will enjoy the results.

The Bulldogs were 13th in total defense (an old-school stat that measures yards allowed per game) and 14th in points allowed per game in 2018. The so-called advanced stats were more favorable. UGA was fifth in ESPN’s defensive efficiency rating, Eighth in S&P+ and 11th in FEI.

Yet there was a feeling Georgia could’ve done more in 2018, and Smart was clear about what he thinks is needed.

“We want to increase our havoc rate on defense,” Smart said. “That’s one of the main target areas. We want to be more disruptive, and the only way you’re going to be more disruptive is practice being disruptive. So we’ve gotta do that. We’ve gotta create more lost yardage plays, more negative situations, and that’s something we’ve really worked on.”

What does Smart mean by “havoc rate?”

Georgia safety J.R. Reed provided an explanation.

“We want to get TFLs (tackles for loss), sacks, PBUs (passes broken up), turnovers, interceptions, anything to create havoc on an offense [with] negative plays we want to make it happen.”

The description from Reed is similar to the definition provided by stats guru Bill Connelly which describes “havoc rate” as “the percentage of plays in which a defense either recorded a tackle for loss, forced a fumble, or defensed a pass (intercepted or broken up).”

Kirby’s done his havoc homework.

“We’ve done studies on the top 10 teams last year in havoc,” Smart said. “We’re trying to do some of the things they do and we’re trying to put guys in a position to do that.”

I guess I know one thing I’ll be tracking here at the blog this season.  Thanks, Bill.



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

21 responses to “Cry havoc, and let loose the Dawgs of defense!

  1. Derek

    It’ll be interesting to see whether we look more like 2017 than 2018.

    I really believe that ILB and lack of DL depth forced us to play more two deep safety looks and therefore be more “bend don’t break.”

    Hopefully, we can be a much more aggressive defense this year in terms of shutting down the run game and then taking apart opposing QBs mentally and physically.


    • Anonymous

      The problem is that we can’t really be a more aggressive defense until we have a D-lineman that commands a double team. With the 2-high shell, teams can double-team anyone on the LOS to get movement in any direction they choose (or run 2 combo blocks). Getting out of 2-high just turns that into a combo block. We are not going to increase our havoc rate significantly until we have a 1st round talent on the DL that allows us to dictate where the double-team / combo block HAS to go. Then we can get alignment and movement to confuse the OL post snap.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Very well put and really agree. falls right in line with everybody saying we couldn’t get sacks. But we couldn’t get sacks because we had to be a little bit safer. need a little better Talent at the first or second level so that the third level is not hung out to dry


  2. GruvenDawg

    Last years focus was limiting explosive plays, this year is creating more havoc. If we are able to do both this year this unit is going to be really special.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hobnail_Boot

    We les the nation in fewest big plays allowed. Unless a Rennie/Odell/Roquan type talent emerges in the middle, seems that will be hard to maintain while increasing havoc plays.

    Our problem on D was our inability to stop the inside run. I hope Lanning doesn’t get too cute here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derek

      Exactly. Aspirations aside, “just win baby.” Always.

      We had enough “cute” last year in the kicking game.


  4. blitz everybody all the time that’ll create havoc

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mike Cooley

    Havoc rate. Not as cheesy as “energy vampires” but it does make me cringe a little.


  6. The other Doug

    Does anyone know Bill Connelly’s top 10 teams for creating havoc?


  7. Muttley

    Not much recruiting stuff on this blog, but the Shakespeare is impeccable. “Julius Caesar” or “Henry V”?


  8. Muttley

    For fun, somebody should draw up an all-time Havoc/Dawgs of War Defense line-up. The Disruptors. Jarvis Jones, Pollack, Jake Scott, Woerner, Hoage, Roquan…


  9. UGA '97

    PLUS- QB Hurries. All these lead to a lot of havoc things- bad decisions, bad passes, pbus & ints, which all lead to the glorious…… mad max spiked shoulder pads. GATA.


    • 92 grad

      Yeah, I’ll say one thing, there were many times last season where our coverage was so good we got a sack. Not the “good” kind of sack, but it was evident.


  10. Macallanlover

    I welcome this change in priority from Kirby, we have been way too passive on defense. Now when you have an R to clean up things, the other guys can be more lax. Last I recall, they don’t come around too often. We have the talent, speed, and depth to play balls-to-the-wall defense. Don’t have to be reckless but this stationary reacting has gotten old. And man, can havoc plays stir up a team and the fans.


    • Pantslesspaydye

      Big defensive plays stir my heart. Under today’s rules, I think aggressively taking chances is a net positive approach. I don’t think this follows the Saban way nor what we have seen the last few years. Specifically, we have seen lineman downgraded for being too entrepreneurial. I’m not complaining, but I guess we’ll see.


  11. Biggus Rickus

    As a fan of attempts to better analyze data, I kind of love that Smart is open to this kind of stuff.


  12. Classic City Canine

    I sure hope Smart is this analytical about offense because that’s where I think we have the most schematic deficiencies. Did he watch Clemson roast Alabama and learn anything?