Makin’ havoc

So Kirby Smart said this:

Is that really a thing?

Recall Bill Connelly’s definition of havoc rateHavoc rate is calculated by tallying the total number of tackles for loss, passes defensed (interceptions and breakups), and forced fumbles and dividing it by total plays.

Bill also separately tracks havoc rate for the front seven and for the defensive backfield.  Here’s what all of that looked like for the top seventeen teams in defensive S&P+ last season.

Screenshot_2019-03-29 2018 NCAA S P+ RATINGS, DEFENSE Football Outsiders(1)

That’s a pretty good snapshot of Georgia’s 2018 defensive identity — great on limiting big plays, not so much on the havoc front, especially in the defensive backfield.  The Dawgs only intercepted eight passes last year, a number that was 95th nationally.  Coincidentally, 95th is also where the team finished in tackles for loss.

Clearly, when it comes to havoc rate, this was not a dynamic defense in 2018.  Kirby seems intent on changing that, so the question is, if there are schematic elements to increasing havoc, what are they and how much do they risk negatively impacting defending explosive plays?

I’m not sure how far this goes.  Alabama was far better than Georgia was last year when it came to front seven havoc, but ‘Bama had Quinnen Williams and Georgia… didn’t.  That’s why I think this may hint at a more significant development for enhancing havoc:

Coincidence that Smith and Johnson are getting early spring buzz?  I think not.



Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

8 responses to “Makin’ havoc

  1. David K

    We had the guys, it’s more about the scheme. I guarantee we had more dynamic “quick, twitchy” players than everyone on that list but Bama.
    Making havoc requires you take some risks. You blitz more, you jump routes, etc. It’s an exact mirror of our offense. We play a safe, “impose your will” style of play on both sides of the ball. With our talent, that’s good enough to beat everyone on our schedule so you can’t blame Kirby. But to take the next step and beat the Bamas and Clemsons of the world, we’ll need to have the ability to take more risks to create havoc. Therefore we need to have it in our gameplan all year. I think Kirby is realizing that, not just on defense but offense as well.


    • JG Shellnutt

      I rewatched the Notre Dame game last night. We blitzed a lot more then than we do now and frankly, it was the difference in that game. Granted, our personnel was more amenable to increased blitzing frequency and success rate, but it was evident in watching that game, the difference in aggressiveness of the D-line from 2 years ago to last year.


  2. GruvenDawg

    We out physical teams usually and are vanilla until we need it. If we want to get the d-lineman like Clemson and Bama are getting you have to let them eat all season, not just two or three games a year.


    • Yep. We just play smash your face in against inferior opponents. It’s exactly what we did against South Carolina. If we truly blew open the playbook and aggressiveness I think South Carolina would have looked like genocide.

      it’s all about making somebody miserable in the fourth quarter. And it’s extremely effective until you run into someone that has the same idea


  3. WNCDawg

    Technically speaking after 30 years on the sidelines even with blitz’s, stunts and gap control most coaches I have worked still in “havoc” situations you still need or want to cover the entire field and be sound even when the blitz, the stunt, the twist and gap control breaks down you have a second level so your not betting the bank. Risky, perhaps but the difference between 2017 and 2018 Dawgs was a simple statistic, the Man from Montazuma, Ga covered up a whole lot of mistakes made by others. Roquan to me was like #34 in 80’ to the offense. Not many times do young men like that come along. If I was a betting man, I’d bet the house that Hurts wouldn’t break contain and gain those yards in N.O. that night. We had DE injuries but Roquan continuously made plays from sideline to sideline.
    When you have Superman along side, Louis Lane and Jimmy steps up their game to

    Liked by 1 person

  4. W Cobb Dawg

    How is it that Nolan Smith and Jermaine Johnson are expected to apply more pressure than 5-stars like Brent Cox or Robert Beal? I agree with others that we haven’t lacked the talent to apply more pressure – at least on the ends. So is Kirby really gonna make fundamental adjustments (i.e., turn em loose)? Maybe the 3 loss season made Kirby think we need to be less vanilla and seize the day if we’re gonna get that natty.