A surprisingly bad defense

Bill Connelly dumps all over the best defensive coordinator in college football’s defense and it’s effing glorious.

Florida Gators

Week 6 result: Lost to Texas A&M 41-38

Raw statistics: 58th in scoring defense (33.3 points per game), 72nd in total defense (495 yards per game)

SP+ (preseason and present): Third in defensive SP+ in the preseason, 20th after six weeks. As mentioned in Sunday’s SP+ release, a team’s ratings are still derived heavily from preseason projections, so it’s almost impossible for a team projected as high as third to have fallen more than 15-20 spots thus far. If it was possible, the Gators would have done it.

Most damning weakness: Spectacular inefficiency. Florida was seventh in defensive SP+ in 2019, and while the Gators did lose pass-rusher Jonathan Greenard and corner CJ Henderson, most of the two-deep returned, as did defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. Maybe you could predict passing-downs issues if the Gators couldn’t sufficiently replace Greenard, but three games into 2020, they have suffered a comprehensive collapse. They are 75th out of 76 teams in success rate allowed — 74th against the run, 70th against the pass. Big plays are random and volatile, but efficiency is predictive, and Florida’s defensive inefficiency has been startling. Texas A&M scored 41 combined points against Vanderbilt and Alabama, then posted 41 on the Gators. The Aggies scored on all but two drives.

Florida just seems a step slow across the board. The Gators are dealing with their fair share of “absent for unspecified reasons” issues on the depth chart, but not more than anyone else. Their biggest issue seems to be that a bunch of players are playing worse than they did last year. That’s semi-encouraging in that we know what they’re capable of, and they could revert to form at some point. But they haven’t yet.

Ray of sunshine: At least they’re not getting gashed deep, too. In 2019, the Gators ranked 21st in my marginal explosiveness measure — my field position-adjusted measure of the magnitude of one’s successful plays — and they’re currently 21st this year, too. For all of A&M’s intermediate success, the Aggies had only two gains of 25-plus yards. None of this matters if you’re giving up constant 15-yard passes, as Florida did in College Station, but it’s at least a sign that the problems could be worse.

I guess we know what needs to be attacked next, then.

I can’t wait to see what happens with Grantham’s annual faux flirtation with the NFL this offseason.


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

19 responses to “A surprisingly bad defense

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    “most of the two-deep returned, as did defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.”
    What a lovely, trenchant, telling turn of phrase.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. practicaldawg

    “As mentioned in Sunday’s SP+ release, a team’s ratings are still derived heavily from preseason projections, so it’s almost impossible for a team projected as high as third to have fallen more than 15-20 spots thus far.”

    Just goes to show how important it is for the gators to win the talking season. I fully expect them to do it against next year.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Biggen

    When I started hearing a month ago that during practice they had multiple defensive personnel “out for unspecified preseasons” I knew that wouldn’t bode well for them. That’s a shame…


  4. DC Weez

    By the way, yesterday Finebaum actually used the term “Third and Grantham.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When Grantham’s defensive philosophy works, it’s a thing to behold. Sacks, TFLs and turnovers abound. When it doesn’t, it’s big plays, scoring, and frustration.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All of that to say I hope he stays in Hogtown for years to come. DC for Life Todd Grantham.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Down Island Way

        That d works against all flavored cupcakes plus most 3rd and long situations, if the lsu dc’s agent can continue finding check writer$, the FU dc will have no problem moving on….#FTMF


    • practicaldawg

      It was interesting hearing Brandon Boykin talk about this on the SECN this week. He played for Grantham at UGA and basically said that the problems Florida has right now are unfixable. DBs have to know what to do in Grantham’s schemes, and they seem so far out in space right now, that it’s probably not going to get fixed during the season. Turns out maybe UGA wasn’t hurt the most by lack of spring practice despite the narrative.


  6. GruvenDawg

    All that pre-season happy talk and yet here we are…#FTMF

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You would think that with him working for the greatest head coach ever some of it would rub off on Grantham.


  8. Texas Dawg

    Anyone who did not see this yesterday and needs a pick me up, watch this. The shot at the handbags at 2:30 is priceless

    Liked by 7 people

  9. W Cobb Dawg

    CTG’s poor coaching is only part of the story. The mediocre recruiting is also playing a big part. Even if they were to change DCs it wouldn’t get them out of that mess.

    Mullen spent all off season telling anyone who’d listen how great they are. All the players were talking about an undefeated season. Now they’re desperately in need of an escape goat…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Down Island Way

      Since the dump sign is on…FU will not participate against a defense until November 7th…the screen into the flat was a play they abused a&m with all game, the tight end over the middle was a play in the same vain…wasn’t a believer in FU’s offense prior to the 2020 season, am less so now, i get it FU is scoring 35-38 a game, still is less impressive given the oppositions wantonness to stop/adjust to the FU game plan…#FTMF


  10. One of the funniest things watching them against TAMU was hearing the announcers ask “I thought we’d see more from Brenton Cox” as he once again failed to set the edge. He rode the pine in Athens for a reason, fellas!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. rigger92

    I watched most of this game and I don’t know if I just saw what I wanted to see. Sure looked to me like the UF team, in a general sense, got pretty complacent in the second half when they all thought the game was in hand, they just knew this one was in the bag. Anyone else pick up on this vibe?


    • Dawglicious

      The “Funky Chicken” lives on…it’s in their blood even though they don’t do the dance anymore. Re: pre-snap Belue-to-Scott