Daily Archives: October 7, 2021

Easy peasy, on the Plains

Bo Nix, on dealing with Jordan Davis:

“You can’t really prepare for it, because obviously there aren’t many 6-6, 350-pound guys walking around that you can just avoid all the time,” Nix said. “I’ve kind of been there and played those kind of guys, been around and never necessarily had a huge issue with it. Just play my own game, and if they’re in my way, just kind of run around them.

“He’s going to make his plays, and that’s why he’s a good player; he’s going to be a great draft pick for somebody in the future, and obviously there’s no denying that. So we just have to limit the times he is making plays.”

Oh.

75 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Ruthlessly efficient

I don’t think Brian Fremeau intended Dawg porn when he posted this:

The Georgia Bulldogs opened their game against Arkansas with a 75-yard touchdown drive to take an early 7-0 lead. Based on how dominant their defense has been playing this season, that drive alone might have been enough to secure a victory. The Razorbacks offense went 14 yards backward on its first drive, then picked up only 1 yard on its second. Arkansas punted from inside its own 10-yard line twice in the first quarter. The second punt was blocked by the Bulldogs and recovered for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead before Arkansas had even gained positive yardage for the game. Georgia never relented on defense against Arkansas, recording its second consecutive shutout victory and its third non-garbage shutout of the season, securing its place alongside Alabama as clear frontrunners in the national championship race.

Georgia has been exceptional to date on the defensive side of the ball, smothering and gang-tackling helpless opposing offenses into submission. They have the most ferocious, talented, and deep front seven in the game, and their defensive performance metrics are currently on pace to shatter most if not all of the best efficiency marks I have tracked since 2007.

Head coach Kirby Smart was the defensive coordinator for Nick Saban’s teams in Alabama from 2008 to 2015, a stretch in which the Crimson Tide won four national titles and led the nation in defensive points per drive allowed three times (2011, 2012, 2015). The gold standard defense of the Nick Saban era was the 2011 unit that allowed a paltry 0.51 points per drive on non-garbage possessions against FBS opponents and owns all-time (since 2007) performance records in seven key defensive drive efficiency metrics. Georgia is currently allowing only 0.16 points per drive in 2021 and is outpacing 2011 Alabama in six of those seven metrics.

Best Defensive Efficiency Metrics Since 2007
Metric 2011
Alabama
2021
Georgia*
Points Per Drive 0.51 0.16
Available Yards % 18.5% 16.2%
Yards Per Play 2.91 2.82
Drive Efficiency 1.83 2.06
Touchdown % 4.8% 0.0%
Value Drive % 10.5% 6.7%
First Down % 41.9% 44.4%
*through Week 5 games

It is still a little too early to make sweeping claims about the best defense ever, but the numbers are almost mind-boggling through five weeks. The Bulldogs have not allowed a non-garbage touchdown drive through five games. Only four opponent non-garbage drives (out of 45) have finished inside the Georgia 30-yard line. More than half of opponent drives have not even crossed the offense’s own 30-yard line. Only four drives against Georgia this season have bested the national average of 5.75 yards per play.

It just came out that way.  Wowser.

Brian does point out the quality level of opposing offenses will rise over the remainder of the regular season, but Georgia’s defensive efficiency won’t really be tested until they face off against the Alabama offense.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Immortalized

If you’ve ever wondered what is considered to be the greatest 23-44 (52.3%), 255 yards (5.8 ypa), 108.45 passer rating performance in the history of college football, the folks are Auburn have you covered.

I can’t wait to see what they come up with after this Saturday’s performance.

37 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Stylin'

Taking stock, midseason

Chip Towers takes a look at the three position groups generally considered in the preseason to be Georgia’s weakest, the offensive line, receivers and secondary, and evaluates their performance to date.  His best grade, an A, goes to the o-line.

Status: Not only has Salyer stuck at left tackle, but he has played at an all-conference level while not allowing a sack. Meanwhile, redshirt freshman Sedrick Van Pran has played extremely well since taking over at center in Ericson’s absence. And Ericson slid over to replace Ratledge at right guard, and the Bulldogs still haven’t missed a beat.

Grade: A – Georgia quarterbacks have been sacked only twice, and the run game got on track last week. Meanwhile, the O-line has depth and emerging young talent.

While I’ve been pleased with the pass pro (and the backs deserve some credit for that, too), I think he’s being a little generous with the grade there because the run blocking, as good as it was against Arkansas, hasn’t been consistent.  Also, to claim the line hasn’t missed a beat with Ericson at right guard is a stretch.  I’d probably go with a B.

Here’s how he evaluates the receiving corps:

Status: Freshmen Brock Bowers and Ladd McConkey were surprise starters in the opener against No. 3 Clemson. Bowers, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound tight end, has started every game for the Bulldogs and enters the Auburn game as Georgia’s leading receiver with 18 catches for 272 yards and four touchdowns. McConkey, a 6-foot, 185-pound slot receiver, has started three of the five contests and is the team’s third-leading receiver with 11 catches for 145 yards and a score. The Bulldogs also are getting great contributions from freshman Adonai Mitchell (9 catches, 159 yards, 1 TD), who has gotten the past three starts at the “X” position voided by Pickens and Gilbert. Meanwhile, injuries continue to limit Georgia to about seven healthy receivers and starting quarterback JT Daniels remains sidelined with a back issue.

Grade: B — The wonder is what the Bulldogs might be able to do with a full complement of receivers and a healthy starting quarterback.

I don’t want to think where this group would be without the three freshmen.  They’ve been huge so far and all you can do is wonder where things might go if some of the missing return to the field.  Fair grade, IMO.

Finally, the secondary.

Status: Kendrick has started every game at cornerback for the Bulldogs and has an interception, a tackle for loss and a quarterback pressure to go along with seven tackles. Smith, favored to start at Georgia’s “Star” nickel back position, suffered a foot fracture the second week of preseason camp and still has not played in a game. But senior Latavious Brini, the heir apparent to 2020 starter Mark Webb, has played fantastic at star. He’s second among defensive backs with 15 tackles and has four pass break-ups. Senior Ameer Speed (3) and redshirt freshman Kelee Ringo (2) have split the starts at one cornerback position while the Bulldogs have been solid at safety with Lewis Cine and Christopher Smith.

Grade: I (incomplete) — Georgia has yet to play an offense ranked above 85th in pass offense. Auburn is 57th.

“Incomplete”?  Cop out.  Tykee Smith has yet to see a snap and they haven’t missed a beat at Star because Brini has continued his surprisingly stellar Peach Bowl play all season.  Ringo has taken over one cornerback spot, while Kendrick has lived up to expectations.  So have the safeties.  Georgia leads the country in defensive passer rating (a ridiculous 79.20) and that’s impressive even if you’re playing against air.  If you want to grade on a curve because of the opposition, fine, but I don’t see how this group rates worse than a B+/A- so far.

Bottom line, Georgia is where it’s at right now because all three position groups have outplayed preseason expectations to varying degrees.  Your thoughts?

31 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Elite isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. But it usually is.

Bill Connelly ($$) looks at Georgia’s hot start and compares it to similar ones:

Indeed, Georgia is only the 12th team since 1979 to have overachieved by more than 15 points per game against an average spread of at least -20. Four of the other 11 teams to have pulled this off won the national title — 36% of them, which almost perfectly matches Georgia’s current national title odds of 39%, per the Allstate Playoff Predictor — and three more came achingly close. Only one finished the year with more than two losses.

The outlier was 2019 Wisconsin, which couldn’t get over the Ohio State hump after two cracks at it.  (I won’t say what I’m thinking now, if you won’t.)  Overall, though, as recipes for success go, I’ll take it.

11 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Road trip

Kirby Smart is worried about a hostile environment Saturday.

“It’s always a concern when you go on the road in the SEC and I can give you four or five examples of first road trips for teams,” Smart said when asked about being affected by the crowd at Auburn. ‘What’s wrong is it’s not unusual to have 25 percent of your team that hasn’t been on the road for a true road game, now it’s at 50 percent that hasn’t been in that kind of environment due to Covid last year. So, you’re seeing the impact of that whether it’s our game, Kentucky-Florida, Alabama-Ole Miss, all the games; they’re all over the place. We try to teach and learn from it but inevitably you may have mistakes. You’ve just got to overcome those and not let one mistake compound things and make it work. We’re trying to talk about the threats to us not playing well, and talk about them, and conquer them in practice so you can go out in the game and play with confidence.”

I’d ordinarily chalk that up to a case of long snappah-itis, but, given COVID last season, this will be the first time the offense has faced a noisy crowd (sorry, Vanderbilt) in a while.  Assuming Stetson starts, how will he handle that?

29 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Humpin’ the shark

Siri, what happened the last time Florida started a season 3-2?

A handful of Gators have seen what it looks like when the words are just that. If they’re not followed by actions, things can get bleak in a hurry. Just ask fifth-year senior Kemore Gamble, who was around in 2017 when Florida started 3-2 but won just one of its final six games after that.

“I learned you only have an opportunity to play the next week,” Gamble said, reflecting on 2017.

Dude, you know what Tennessee said about opportunity.

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Filed under Gators, Gators...