Daily Archives: October 6, 2021

Cracks in the offense starting to appear?

Josh is nervous.

Georgia is 5-0, #2 in the polls, and just dominated the #8 ranked team in route to a second straight shutout. And this all with backup QB play 2 of the last 3 games and missing key skill position players and a defensive veteran in the secondary. Well, I am wary of the offense. Sorry, gotta do it to you. Monken has improved the offense in most categories from points and yards to success rate metrics, but here are some areas of concern…

… UGA’s offense is being set up for success by elite defensive play, but the offense is only average capitalizing on them.

I have certainly led the charge for Yards Per Play and Net Yards Per Play as being key indicators of a team’s overall strength. While UGA is near the top in this stat, a declining offense and what I believe is unsustainable defensive production makes those number regress to the mean quickly. The ‘Dawgs slipped from 7.0 to 6.5 yards per play offensively after the game on Saturday.

And before you ask, “what about garbage time?”,

Now, we’re all Dawgs here and inner-Munsoning is second nature to us, but how much of this should be a legitimate worry going forward?  Auburn, as I’ve already pointed out, has been mediocre against P5 opposition, but Kentucky has been pretty decent defensively so far.

I think some of this boils down to Monken managing what he’s got in the face of a shrunken receiving corps and uncertainty at the quarterback position.  Yeah, Georgia wasn’t exactly explosive on offense last Saturday, but, it didn’t really need to be after the first quarter, anyway.

More importantly, this gets back to the point I was making yesterday about Brian Fremeau’s tweet.

If you can’t be explosive, you at least need to be very efficient.  Georgia’s certainly been that so far.  How sustainable that is before Daniels heals and more of the receiving corps is back in action is the question.

81 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Winning the eyeballs

People are watching Georgia football.

No. 2 Georgia’s blowout win over No. 8 Arkansas was watched by 3,845,000 viewers at Noon on Saturday making it the largest audience for a college football game on cable this season. No. 5 Georgia’s 10-3 win over No. 3 Clemson on ABC, with 8,863,000, remains the most-watched game of the college football year overall.

According to Disney it was a record day in Athens building up to the top-ten showdown. ESPN’s College Gameday had a record audience – 2,155,000 viewers – the most-viewed three-hour edition of that show in October in the program’s history. The final hour of the program, which saw Lee Corso pick the Bulldogs to win, had 3 million viewers, which is the most for the final hour of the program since November 2018.

In fact, College Gameday from Athens was the No. 4 overall show on cable television on Saturday with the Dawgs-Hogs at No. 1, Auburn-LSU at No. 2 and the Gators’ loss at Kentucky at No. 3. The SEC-powered Saturday never had a program under 2 million viewers the entire day.

Disney added that Georgia’s lopsided win over Arkansas at Noon was the top game for ESPN at that time slot since 2016.

With the next three games on CBS, that strong trend should continue.

18 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Is Georgia managing the quarterback situation properly?

On JT Daniels’ injury
“I don’t know about finessing it. My first question with Ron (Courson) is he going to aggravate it and hurt worse, right by not doing anything, and he said basically it’s a muscle injury. So anything that bothers it you don’t want to do, but anything that doesn’t bother it, you want to continue to do he’s able today to go out and do some soft toss, it didn’t bother it and that’s the same protocol he did with that. It was not a complete shutdown, there’s exercises he can do in our training room that are bands, and throwing motions, and things that don’t hurt him. That don’t bother him. As long as it doesn’t bother him then we feel like we’re getting improvement, gradual improvement. And that’s the key because the last thing I want to do is push the envelope, reinjure, go back, then the constant cycle of that. So we’re not trying to finesse it to the point that ‘hey we throw him out there,’ we’re trying to get him to do what he can without getting injured and I’m not the expert of that, I can assure you. I do listen to what Ron says and he also consults with other people.”

My header is a quasi-rhetorical question.  I mean, we’re in the midst of maybe the best-managed season of Georgia football I can remember — despite a bunch of injuries on offense and some weeks facing subpar opponents, Smart has kept this team on an even, focused keel, gotten production on both sides of the ball and avoided any serious in-game brain farts — and yet there is plenty of Internet chatter about (1) why Beck isn’t getting more playing time and (2) whether the team really afford to let Daniels miss a few more games to recover fully from his lat strain.

Left unsaid by those questions is an underlying assumption that Stetson Bennett isn’t good enough for the task ahead, at least in the short run.  I said this a couple of weeks ago, but nobody on this coaching staff is expecting Bennett to take this team to a national title.  The thing is, nobody on this coaching staff is asking him to do that.  Here’s something Seth Emerson wrote ($$) about Bennett that resonates with me:

He may be the best backup quarterback in the country, a known quantity the team could turn to if Daniels were knocked out against Florida or in the SEC championship or some game like that. Carson Beck and Brock Vandagriff may have more long-term potential but this isn’t the time to be developing for the future, at least if you risk blowing the present.

Bennett’s started two games this season.  Georgia’s won both.  Even more importantly, he’s proven he knows how to operate Todd Monken’s gameplan at a high level.  UAB sold out to stop the run and Bennett torched them to the tune of an insane 431.53 passer rating.  Arkansas played its patented 3-2-6 defense and Bennett happily handed off the ball 57 times in route to a 37-point win.  I’m not seeing a problem here.

If rest is beneficial to JT Daniels future this season and it can be provided without much risk, it makes sense to allow him to recover fully.  How risky is Auburn, then?

Well, against P5 competition, Auburn’s offensive ypp is 5.26, good for 11th in the conference, and its defensive ypp is 5.43, 7th in the SEC.  If you do the math quickly, you’ll note that works out to a negative net ypp.  Somehow, the Tigers have to get untracked this week against a defense that’s done this in their last two games:

For perspective, yes, Vanderbilt is bad, but even after last week’s shellacking, Arkansas is still the SEC’s fifth best in offensive ypp and fourth best in defensive ypp against P5 opposition.  In other words, even if you want to give Auburn something of the benefit of the doubt because Georgia will be on the road in a hostile environment this week, it’s still hard to see how they’re a more formidable challenge than Arkansas was.

The risk seems manageable, in other words.  It seems weird to say this, but I think the coaches have earned the benefit of the doubt here.  If your mileage varies, tell us why in the comments.

59 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Steele’s Vegas Power Rankings

For what it’s worth

When I worked for ESPN full time, I put out a weekly article entitled the Vegas Power Ratings. I still have all the sources that I used to produce that article as it featured my plus/minus ratings which closely resemble Vegas’s numbers as well as three different casinos including the fine folks over at the Westgate Las Vegas Sportsbook @SuperBookSports. We are now four full weeks into the season and I will post these numbers weekly.

This is not the AP poll but gives you an idea of how much teams would be favored over another team if they met on a neutral field. I use these to get an idea of lines on upcoming games and it is very accurate in that respect.

Two things there.  One, Auburn and Arkansas are basically a toss up for the casinos.  Two, take the ratings spread between Georgia and Auburn, add back in something for homefield advantage and you’ve basically got this week’s point spread.

11 Comments

Filed under Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

There’s that elite, again.

Yes, I know what the conventional wisdom says about success in today’s college football game.  But here’s Kirby Smart’s Georgia right now:

I see that and can’t help but think this:

10 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Know Bo.

On defensive challenge in facing a mobile quarterback
“The defensive challenge of facing a mobile quarterback is how long you have to cover and how creative you have to be. There’s plays that are eight seconds long. You know our guys on average play up, I don’t know, three, four second plays a long time. I mean, eight-second plays a long time and he can extend plays, he can win with his feet. No BoBo (Mike Bobo) is very creative with quarterbacks that can run so some quarterbacks that run can’t throw, so he can throw and run. So it adds an extra element that sometimes the design runs are easier to defend then one when you think it’s a pass because it is a pass and he takes off. So it’s tremendously hard, I don’t think people understand how good of an athlete this guy is. It’s been reported to me that he’s hit 22 miles per hour on GPS, we don’t have but maybe two receivers on our team to get 20 miles per hour. So, he is a really good athlete.

Shit, one freak play against a mediocre defense and you’d think Bo Nix has suddenly morphed into the second coming of Johnny Manziel.

Nix has faced Georgia twice before.  His passer ratings in those two games — 107.76 in 2019 and 84.67 in 2020 — are decidedly pedestrian at best.  This season against P5 competition, his passer rating of 104.03 is right in line with that.

And yet, we’re assured that containing Nix is a key to Saturday’s game.  I guess that’s possible.  But I’ve got to think that if Georgia State could contain him, Georgia’s got a real shot of doing so, too.

44 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Stats Geek!

TFW you know you’re trying too hard

Inside the mind of Danny Kanell, a random sampling from the last three days:

He actually retweeted the last one, in case anyone missed his point.

I’d love to ask him to pick out a pass defense he believes has been tested and then ask how much better they would have played against Georgia’s schedule than Georgia’s defense has so far.

40 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Throw him a lifeline.

Finally, somebody comes up with a good reason for a 12-team college football playoff.

Lifetime job security for the Portal Master™ in Gainesville?  In the immortal words of Jules Winnfield, shit, Negro, that’s all you had to say.

29 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Gators, Gators...