Scoring enough, or enough scoring?

As a quasi-follow up to my post about Wolken’s concern about Smart’s starting quarterback decision, I want to ask a question.  Not about Bennett or Daniels, but about what kind of challenge Alabama will pose in the SECCG.

I don’t mean that in a condescending way at all.  But the general presumption is that Alabama’s offense is so formidable that Georgia is going to be forced out of its comfort zone and required to play more aggressively on offense, particularly with its passing game, in order to keep up.

I wonder about that.  In conference play, Georgia, at 39.5 points per game, is second in scoring to Alabama’s 42.4 ppg, about a three-point differential.  On the defensive side, the Dawgs are holding conference opponents to 7.2 points per game.  ‘Bama, at 24.8, is seventh in the SEC.  Counting on my fingers and toes, that’s about a 17.5-point difference.  One of those is bigger than the other.  A lot bigger.

I’m not pretending that football can be reduced to a simple comparative formula.  But I’m also not pretending that Clemson, which, for all its warts, is still seventh nationally in defensive ypp, didn’t play Georgia closer than any SEC team has so far this season.

That gets me to this question:  for all the talk about Georgia not being able to maintain the pace with dynamic offenses, is it possible that the best chance a team has to keep up with the Dawgs is to play stellar defense?  I have no idea, but I don’t think it’s an easy question to dismiss.  With that defense, and at an offensive rate that comes pretty close to Alabama’s average game, how much more dynamic does Georgia have to be, scoring-wise?


UPDATE:  Matt Hayes thinks my question is easy to dismiss.

Alabama is No. 2 in the nation in scoring offense (45.9 ppg.), and No. 4 in run defense (89.6 ypg.).

Georgia’s strength is scoring defense (5 TD in 8 games), and rush offense (193 ypg.)

See where this is headed?

Why should it be automatically assumed the matchups favor Alabama?


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

43 responses to “Scoring enough, or enough scoring?

  1. theotherdoug

    I think there is an underlying assumption that Saban will fix the defense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Biggen

      I agree with the assumption, I don’t think it’s really “fixable” at this point. I’d say blown coverages can be fixed in practice but they keep doing it and doing it. They also miss tackles very often. They are a bit soft in general on that side of the ball.

      Liked by 1 person

      • theotherdoug

        Yeah, I thought Saban could and would fix what I saw early in the season against UF, but now I’m starting to think the poor tackling and soft in the trenches is here to stay.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Russ

      What is he waiting for? Season is 2/3 done.


  2. Same as always — until Georgia beats Alabama and wins a National Championship, the default is going to be that UGA will screw it up somehow.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. 79dawg

    I think looking at the YPP, Florida, Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky and South Carolina are all in Alabama’s defensive ballpark – they are all between Alabama’s 5.0 and 5.25 (i.e., within 105%). That doesn’t strike me as a huge differential.
    Regardless of how dynamic their offense is (and it doesn’t look that much more dynamic on a YPP basis than Florida or Arkansas), as we saw again on Saturday, if the D is not going to give up big plays and is going to make opponents string together 10+ play drives where they have to convert 3 or 4 third downs to get in scoring position, that is a tough way to get a bunch o’ points (as our PPG number indicates)….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. akascuba

    Matt Hayes is an FU grad and like SOS hates Georgia more now than ever. He has seen his team’s future and is not happy that as long as Kirby is at Georgia his school is second rate.

    He cries out help us Lord Saban don’t let Georgia win.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. gastr1

    I personally feel Georgia will need JT Daniels’ ability to pass, when the run isn’t there, at some point. The possible Alabama game seems like it could be when.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. originaluglydawg

    Alabama best worry about beating Auburn.
    VERY possible we see the Tigers in ATL..

    Liked by 6 people

    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      Eggsackly! Alabama is better, talent-wise, than Auburn, but Auburn is still dangerous offensively, and they play a little defense. I would never bet on that game, except maybe the over. There will be some points scored in that game. A lot of points.


  7. beatarmy92

    I recommend this Athletic piece on Florida. A bunch of anonymous SEC coaches talk about how soft the Gators are and don’t play hard. Lots of digs on Mullen snd Grantham too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “Georgia is trying to take your soul the way they play the game,” said one of the SEC East coaches. “That’s not how Florida plays.”


      Liked by 2 people

      • siskey

        I love this article and am not someone who hates the media or media members but Feldman has pumped the “Kirby can’t coach” shit for a while now. So that he is now writing this (most likely he is the source of all the quotes due to his connections with the LSU staff) doesn’t mean much to me as far as this article is any kind of “heat” check on Dan and the Florida program.
        Remember that all these guys clowned Richt for not winning at “The best job in America” and made fun of Dabo until they beat Alabama. If Georgia doesn’t win it all this year the post mortem will be how Kirby handled the QB situation and that he can’t “get over the hump.” This ignores what he has done in his 6 years here as it relates to any measure of the program save beating the greatest college football dynasty ever.
        Go Dawgs!

        Liked by 3 people

  8. Biggen

    I don’t know that UGA has to be very more dynamic. I think we need to limit errors. Turning the ball over 3 times is a recipe for disaster against better opponents. The fumble was just one of natures random acts of unkindness. The two passes into double coverage should not ever happen.

    We seem to be settling around 34 – 35 points a game against better opponents. The 50+ points we scored against UAB and Vandy are doing the lifting to get us to 39ppg but in reality, we haven’t broke 38 since Vanderbilt.

    I still think that is enough points with our defense unless we turn the ball over 3+ times again. Hard to believe anybody can score 30+ on them in a straight up game.

    Liked by 4 people

    • originaluglydawg

      111 of Bama’s points came against Mercer and Southern MS.
      It you toss out our cupcake wins, toss out Bamas too.

      Liked by 2 people

    • gastr1

      I agree. This talk about those other offenses being able to score on anyone…how much are they going to score? They’re going to break 20?
      Certainly possible, but I don’t see anyone getting to 30. There just aren’t enough good & experienced QBs in CFP to do this that year, IMO.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Holol Iday

      I thought those two picks looked more like “hitting a wide open defensive back” than just throwing into double coverage. Absolutely cringeworthy.


      • Biggen

        Yeah it was very bad. I would have liked to be in the QB film room today to hear what Bennett’s answer to Monken’s question of “What the FUCK was where you doing???” would have been. I mean, there really isn’t any explanation other than “I fucked those two throws up coach.”.


  9. gastr1

    One thing I really want to argue about re: Hayes’ article: He says Florida “gifted” Georgia 21 points. That’s some flaming BS right there. Georgia TOOK that 21 points. The defense took the ball away and two of three time the offense cashed in. The offense could have kicked field goals in those situations (in which case the pick-6 wouldn’t happened because there likely wouldn’t have been time).

    I really do hope we get Alabama just to shut up people like this guy.

    Liked by 7 people

  10. rigger92

    The FL game was odd in that we never really put together a traditional scoring drive. Got close a couple times. I’m left with concerns with our O line and Stet being hurried. Yes, our O did score touchdowns, without looking it was 21 points on less than 5 plays? That’s just unusual and combined with the fact that we never put together an 8 play 85 yard drive in the traditional sense doesn’t inspire confidence, for the players too.

    Liked by 3 people

    • originaluglydawg

      It was strange.
      Our first drive was magical until someone told Stetson to throw the ball on third and less than a yard inside the redzone. Two plays to make a yard (Florida hadn’t stopped a run for less than a few yards in that drive I don’t think) and we screwed it up. Dawgs could have, should have been up seven and that would have set a better tone of discouragement to UF.
      But championship caliber teams like UGA overcome things like that.
      All’s well that ends well and it did end well..


      • sundiatagaines

        Yeah, it was odd. Second drive ended because Zeus dropped a pass and we got a false start. 2nd and 15 is tough. Our O was on the unlucky end of the bell curve and we win by 27 against a good team on a neutral field. Life is good.


    • Biggen

      Turnovers my friend. When you throw two boneheaded ints that will happen. We were driving before that. We also had a fumble.


    • practicaldawg

      Grantham’s short field defense was actually very good in the first half. It’s funny to me because there’s still a loud narrative from the Florida fanbase that he’s the source of all their problems. Florida’s defense was not their undoing on Saturday.

      It was a game until in 3 blinks of an eye, Mullen’s offense gift wrapped us 21 points. Literally in an instant, the UGA game plan shifted to “run out the clock.” There was just no way Florida was going to come back at that point without throwing even more INTs. Both teams went into “let’s get this over with mode.”


  11. Geezus

    Because we’ve yet to beat Alabama.

    Once we beat Alabama, the narrative will change.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. godawgs1701

    Someone should probably tell Matt Hayes that our OTHER strength is throwing the ball. lol… I mean, when you see where we rank in explosive plays vs the rest of the SEC you start to see a story that very much contradicts the national narrative about our team running cromagnon man offense, but I’m certainly not going to spoil the surprise for anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. biggusrickus

    I don’t necessarily assume that Georgia won’t shut down Alabama, but barring busts in coverage against Tennessee, that will be the first opponent able to really score. And while I do think this Georgia defense is elite in a way defenses rarely are, it’s just hard to imagine them not having a game where the opponent manages three touchdowns in this day and age. I’m also of the belief that rosters matter as much as prior performance when you’re looking at individual games, and Alabama has a roster capable of winning matchups against Georgia that nobody else does. If Georgia is as efficient offensively as they were against Kentucky with Bennett at QB, there probably wouldn’t be a problem. If they screw around and only score 3 points most of the way through the first half, they’ll be in trouble. And it’s worth noting that Florida has the best roster Georgia has faced since Clemson.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. sundiatagaines

    Hayes not looking at garbage time? The only reason our “strength” is rush offense is because of second half blowouts. He must be ignoring our passing efficiency stats when game is still in doubt.


  15. Even if he is right we just throw more. We haven’t had trouble throwing when we’ve needed to. Besides by then we will probably have more healthy receivers. I was a little disappointing that any of the injured guys did not come back. At least I did not see them if they did.


  16. ASEF

    LSU’s defense in 2019 showed real improvement down the stretch, went from a liability to an asset, if not dominant.

    Alabama’s defense in 2020 showed real
    improvement down the stretch, went from good to great.

    I don’t see a huge amount of room for growth in the offense with Stetson. Bama’s DL play has improved a lot in the last month. The 3 coverage busts against Tennessee were a big step back for the secondary, but they were all 3 a function of UT’s pace.

    They’ve been playing a 3rd string edge for 3 weeks now. 2nd string appears to be healthy now (1st string went down first game of the year).

    Stetson’s ability to run a read option is not likely to power a championship run. That’s putting all your eggs in one basket, and while it’s a hell of a basket, it overall reduces the number of ways Kirby’s team can beat an elite opponent.

    But if the OL can’t protect Daniels, it can’t protect him. I find that hard to believe, personally.


  17. olddawg22

    There is a huge difference between turnovers and Defensive Take Aways! First a strip fumble from an upright runner clutching the ball with both arms. Second linebacker baiting freshman quarterback into rookie mistake for pic six! The best by far and the definition of great (Elite) team defense, blitz up middle disrupts quarterback throw to open receiver over the middle.Linebacker reading qb’s eyes the whole play breaks on throw at full stretch tips ball into the air where another athletic move secures the interception! This is hardly taking advantage of mana from heaven. It is how an Elite defense wins a huge game!
    PS “Fucked” TMF

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Christopher Moore

    Georgia’s defensive strength is not isolated to rushing defensive. Offenses are averaging 5.1 yards per attempt against us. That’s tops in the country. From a total offense standpoint, Georgia is getting 6.8 yards per play against conference opponents. That’s tied for first place with (wait for it…) Tennessee.

    I’m still perplexed by the QB situation at Georgia. There is room for improvement. Stetson had a lot of missed running opportunities against Florida. Florida’s defensive ends were crashing the running backs on the zone reads. Had Stetson kept it 4 or 5 times he could have had 30+ more yards rushing. The 2 interceptions were inexcusable.


    • Biggen

      I’m still perplexed by the QB situation at Georgia. There is room for improvement.

      I agree. We are still running opponents out of the stadium so its hard to complain but we are leaving points on the field. We haven’t even come close to tapping our real potential on offense.