Third-and-you know who

Bill Connelly plays the “if” game with the top national programs, as in the number of “ifs” it takes to make each a true title contender.  The top three, Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State, are in the two-“if” tier, followed by the three-“if” programs, starting with Georgia (If … Jamie Newman lives up to the PFF hype.; If … one more receiver emerges.; If … the havoc rate continues to climb.)

Here’s Florida’s first “if”:

If … the third-down defense improves (and without Jonathan Greenard). Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham likes to keep the game simple when possible: If it’s third-and-long, he’s bringing pressure. When it works, it works — the Gators were eighth overall in sack rate, first on blitz downs (second-and-super-long, third-and-5 or more). But it didn’t get the defense off the field as well as it should have.

The Gators ranked just 53rd in third-and-long success rate allowed, 54th on third-and-medium. And that was with Greenard racking up 9.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. Most of the lineup outside of Greenard returns — 12 of 17 players with 250-plus snaps — and while first-round corner CJ Henderson is gone, Marco Wilson is back, and sophomore Kaiir Elam is ready for a star turn. There is no specific weakness that needs addressing; it’s just been a whole-vs.-sum-of-parts issue on third downs, and it has to be rectified.

He didn’t say third-and-Grantham, but that’s okay.  We know what he meant.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Stats Geek!

28 responses to “Third-and-you know who

  1. Man I do not miss that down and distance. It could just as easily be called “third-and-pending-heartbreak.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Russ

    I just want to know how Florida is a potential contender.


  3. Bill M

    No mention of Brenton Cox? Interesting…


    • spur21

      I have a buddy that has known Brenton since pee wee football and coached him at several levels. He thinks he will have a breakout year now that he has been humbled. He said Cox realizes he screwed up and wishes he was still at UGA but that he intends to move forward.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Macallanlover

        Makes sense, many individuals who sincerely have been humbled seem to succeed given another chance. As far as I know, he didn’t hurt anyone via violence, or take something from another person, didn’t disrupt the unity of what was going on around him, and sat out his one year without constantly whining about the rules or how entitled he thinks he is, so I hope he has personal success on his second try and achieves his professional dreams. That in no way means I want FU to enjoy anything more than their usual nothing-burger as they end the year wishing they were accomplishing what Georgia did….pretty much the way it has been always between these two teams. Younger FU fans will come to accept their program’s mediocre position relative to the Dawgs. The 90s distorted their view of CFB reality (seriously, 7 to 8 decades without a single conference title…that is truly Gamecock-ish!)


    • Texas Dawg

      He must have gone inside when all the pundits went outside so he missed them


  4. Texas Dawg

    So 3rd and Grantham IS REAL and not just an urban legend. That may be the first time I have seen 3rd and Grantham actually put into numbers. It confirms what we all instinctively knew just by watching the games. “The Gators ranked just 53rd in third-and-long success rate allowed, 54th on third-and-medium.” There are only 130 teams in FBS and vast majority are mediocre to very bad. Think of how many REALLY CRAPPY teams finished AHEAD of the handbags in that category. Think about where that puts #FTMF in the overall picture. Someone tell me again how Grantham is a defensive genius with numbers like that, that he keeps repeated year after year (remember the definition of insanity?). Please tell me how this AWSOME success is going to help propel Dopey Dan and the Ditch Lizards to the top of the SEC East and on to the NC.


  5. If Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Clemson go undefeated (a very real possibility), a 1 loss SEC Champ might get left out. The 8 team playoff would be a reality almost immediately.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. i didn’t know that, daddy! Moot point.


  7. Could you share some upcoming lottery numbers with me, rabe?


  8. W Cobb Dawg

    It’s a rare story that actually names a returning player on the team other than Trask. Didn’t Wilson sit out at least one year from the leg injury, or was it injuries? Losing Henderson and Greenard is huge, and the disappointing recruiting makes the situation more desperate. Other than Elam and our 3rd stringer Cox, they simply aren’t able to replace talent that matriculates.

    Bottom line: They are far closer to the rest of the division pack than they are to the Dawgs.


  9. Dawgflan

    Grantham’s philosophy for blitzing on 3rd down: “25% of the time it works 100% of the time!”


  10. PTC DAWG

    IF a frog had pockets he’d carry pistols and shoot snakes.


  11. Otto

    UF hasn’t had a real QB run threat with Trask, and Mullen hasn’t proven to be able to win big without a QB run threat. Further they don’t look to have the RBs in the stable to make up for it, if Mullen could call the game.

    The only way UF passes UGA is if the new offense, QB change combined with the lost time coaching due to COVID impacts the season.


    • willypmd

      UF hasn’t had a real QB run threat with Trask, and Mullen hasn’t proven to be able to win big

      I fixed it for you!