Turn’t over

Georgia’s defense is excelling in all ways but one.

Georgia has a top-five defense nationally when it comes to fewest points (11.4) and fewest rushing yards (77.6) allowed per game. The Bulldogs are among the top 10 in total defense (268.1), and they’re among the top 15 in pass-efficiency defense.

Yet when it comes to racking up turnovers, Georgia is 13th in the Southeastern Conference, ahead of only Vanderbilt.

“If I could give you the answer, I would,” Bulldogs junior safety Richard LeCounte III said. “We’ve definitely got to get turnovers and cause more havoc as a defense, but I love how we’re playing. I think we’re doing really well and that we’ve got room for improvement.

“Overall, I think we’re doing really well.”

Despite holding South Carolina, Kentucky and Florida to fewer than 300 total yards in each of its last three games, Georgia collected only one turnover, with LeCounte coming up with a fumble by Wildcats quarterback Lynn Bowden that was caused by Bulldogs safety J.R. Reed.

The Bulldogs have nine gained turnovers this season, exactly half the amount compiled by SEC leaders Alabama, Florida and Mississippi State.

Smart explains that’s inherent in the way his defense is structured.

“We play a little different style, because we’re a match defense for the most part,” Smart said. “I think a lot of interceptions come through zone defenses and being able to see the ball a lot of times. We are not all looking at the ball. We are looking at the man, whether it’s a zone matchup or a man matchup, and it’s what we think gives us the best chance to make people inefficient, and it doesn’t always promote a lot of interceptions.

“I mean, historically, we have not had a ton of interceptions.”

That doesn’t explain everything, of course, as Smart acknowledges.

“We’ve got to do a better job getting turnovers. There’s no doubt about that,” Smart said. “That comes with forcing them, havoc, tipped balls, batted balls, strip-outs, knocking the crap out of people, ripping the ball out — those things all affect turnovers, but we’ve been short on interceptions, for sure.”

You can see what he’s getting at with this — making offenses inefficient as a base strategy, something that is exacerbated by Georgia controlling time of possession, should limit scoring opportunities by its opponents.  If the trade off for doing that well means a few less interceptions, I can certainly live with that.  Of course, when you turn the ball over a bunch, like Georgia did against South Carolina, and that approach goes out the window,  you either adjust or you get beat.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

14 responses to “Turn’t over

  1. Uglydawg

    Curious subject. I buy at least some of Kirb’s explanation, but in reality I think turnovers are largely a roll of the dice.
    Kirby plays it safe. If there’s a 60% chance to intercept a pass but an 80% chance to knock it down, he’ll want it knocked down.
    His idea of getting a turnover is seeing the other team in punt formation.
    And I’m not saying that’s bad. It’s working. He’s very conservative and it works. We see other teams winning with wide open stuff and it’s exciting. But Kirby is more interested in results than excitement.
    More pressure on the QB would help. But making the other team one dimensional is the goal. To do that, you play run first which means not a lot of pressure on the QB until you have a lead.
    Also,less TOP obviously means fewer opportunities for an offense to turn it over and also the opposite would be true. More TOP would mean more TOs.
    Not having run-backs on KOs and having most punts end with touch-backs also limit TOs.
    Remember that Georgia got KO runbacks against UF. Mullens was looking for a TO. Kirby doesn’t gamble that way. But more and more teams will be realizing they must be creative in getting UGA to turn it over in order to win.


    • Uglydawg.

      To reply to my own thoughts,
      The fact that the defense is excelling in so many ways is at least in part to playing for the pass knockdown, the good stop on a running back etc. instead of going for the I and muffing it, or jerking at the ball and not stopping the runner on first contact.
      It could be that the low turn over- numbers are evidence of a great D philosophy and scheme.
      We all remember how going for the interception worked out in a last second gift to Auburn a few years ago. Ugh. Kirby doesn’t want to see that #*I!.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. TXBaller

    Turnovers usually come in bunches….they’re coming!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mick Jagger

    Aren’t turnovers part of havoc?


  4. Russ

    I’ll take 2 or 3 in Auburn. Should make for a more enjoyable game.


  5. Senator Id like to challenge your idea you keep coming back to that there was some remedy for a -4 TO margin (including a pick 6) and missing two field goals that could have helped us against the Cocks. In fact I’m not really clear what your point is so I’ll try to summarize it and let you tell me where I’ve got you wrong:

    “Controlling TOP works great except when you turn the ball over 4 times, because in that scenario if your offense can’t score quickly you’re not going to have a chance.”

    We ran 93 plays vs South Carolina and we did have a bunch of chances to win the game. We just turned the ball over. I don’t think OSU’s offense can survive a -4 TO performance (with pick 6) against any marginally competent opponent. But I welcome your thoughts.


    • Here are a few:

      — Georgia took way too much time driving for the tying score in the fourth quarter.
      — Georgia should have run more uptempo plays on offense.
      — Georgia should have run more to the outside when it became apparent SC’s d-line was more than holding its own up the middle.
      — Georgia should have run more passing plays over the middle (esp. to tight ends) to exploit their ILBs and safties.
      — Georgia could have managed the end of the second half better in order to give Blankenship a change to win the game in regulation.

      Overall, Georgia played the second half against a team that was forced to use a converted WR as its QB. They weren’t even marginally competent on offense. They didn’t score and were never a threat to do so. Kirby could have mixed things up on offense more, but chose not to. He and Muschamp both played not to lose and it bit Smart in the ass.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fair points all.

        Two of the above points sound like general clock management issues not a philosophical paradigm. The passing to the TEs point I just disagree with, especially when both had shown they couldn’t catch or get open and the middle of the field was clogged.

        And I’m not sure that the inside vs outside run quandary is part of manball, but I’m guessing you’re saying it is?

        The point you make that I most agree with is the uptempo as a general thing in that game. Still, we ran 95 plays. Maybe that’s a reason to do more uptempo because they’re gassed? The game never felt out of hand and we were almost always within a score.

        I guess more than anything the idea that manball is some nebulous conservative philosophy that encompasses where we run, where we throw, tempo, etc seems oversimplified to me.

        But maybe that’s your point, simply, “this conservative philosophy means you won’t blow anyone out, so if you turn the ball over 4 times you’re going to lose.”

        Which always leads me back to “yeah if you’re trying to be Oklahoma and turn the ball over 4 times and your defense is gassed you’re prob gonna lose anyway”

        Thanks for the response and discussion.


  6. Muttley

    I think “Knocking The Crap Out Of People” should be an advanced stat.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. HahiraDawg

    Attaboy Muttley! Concur.
    #ftmf #gata


  8. Cojones

    Does anyone remember the poll question asked of SEC coaches and players after last season? The question was “Which team was the toughest you played in 2018?”. The overwhelming answer from both was “Georgia!” with no close second.

    That continues this year and is called “Manball” whereas it should be called “Slobberknocking”. I’m glad we are knocking the opposition around (dumbasses, who are they to think they will try to beat our school) and hope it continues through our schedule and post schedule. UGA’s record should be touted here, especially not allowing a rushing TD that differentiates our D from the rest of CFB.

    Sic’em Dawgs!


  9. CEPH

    The problem with “Manball” is when the other team is playing Manball also. Then “Grey Matter” becomes the issue. (i.e. LSU, TEXAS, ALABAMA, etc.)