This certainly goes against the grain:
Going back and look at Georgia’s defenses under Kirby Smart, I came across a pretty incredible trend over the last four years. Georgia has created fewer and fewer turnovers each year since Smart arrived all while the unit, for the most part, has gotten better.
The Bulldogs generated 27 turnovers in 2016, a really good defense but one that wasn’t close to as good as it was in 2017 when it created 20 turnovers with two extra games to do so. That number fell to 17 in 2018, a defense that wasn’t quite as good as the group the year before and then 16 turnovers in 2019, the best of them all.
Outside of the fact that the Bulldogs just aren’t intercepting as many passes as they did in 2016, there’s no real way to explain it. There’s an element of fortune involved in creating turnovers. It also helps to have a veteran group, especially when it comes to creating interceptions because those guys are rarely out of position.
We’re also not interested in taking a deep dive into why the turnovers have trended downward over the past four years because it hasn’t really impacted the performance. Some how, some way, UGA led the nation in scoring defense in 2019 while ranking 60th nationally in sacks per game, 89th nationally in tackle for loss per game, and 84th in number of turnovers created.
The three best teams in college football a season ago. LSU, Clemson, and Ohio State all ranked inside the top 23 when it came to turnovers created, each having at least six more than the Bulldogs.
Still, without the benefit of creating negative plays at a high clip or turning teams over, Georgia held opponents to 12.3 points per game.
It’s like bend but not break on steroids. Imagine what that defense might be capable of if they reversed that trend.