So Kirby Smart said this:
Is that really a thing?
Recall Bill Connelly’s definition of havoc rate: Havoc 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.
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.