In the portal era, are returning receiving yards as big a deal?

Once upon a time, Bill Connelly told Seth Emerson it was, in fact, the biggest of deals.

But receiving yards have been the best indicator. Why? The idea runs counter-intuitive to the idea that an offense is built along the lines and at quarterback.

“I’ve talked to coaches a little bit about it and it kind of surprised them a little too,” said Connelly, who joined ESPN in June. “But when you’re looking for why, the best explanation I’ve heard is the chemistry between quarterback and receiver and the actual routes that are being run, and just the overall cohesiveness there, ends up mattering more than anything else.”

That was in 2019.  That season, the Dawgs returning a whopping 24% of their receiving yards from the previous season.  Perhaps not so coincidentally (I can’t discount Coley’s role), Georgia’s passer rating fell from 4th nationally in 2018 to 47th in 2019.

The good news for 2022, as Seth reports ($$), is that Georgia returns 71 percent of its receiving yards, the second-most in the SEC.  That’s on top of the Dawgs finishing last season with the SEC’s top passer rating.  That’s a pretty good 1-2 punch, or so it seems.

But is it noteworthy that Alabama finished just behind Georgia in passer rating, despite only returning 33% of its receiving yards?  As any ‘Bama fan would be quick to tell you, Jameson Williams fixed that problem just fine (at least until he didn’t).  I assume we’re about to find out in 2022.  With the departures of Williams and Metchie, Alabama’s returning receiving yards production is down to 24%, third lowest in the SEC.



Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

18 responses to “In the portal era, are returning receiving yards as big a deal?

  1. Bulldawg Bill


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Offensively, 2019 was as enjoyable as a prostate exam. Not only did we lose Hardman, Ridley, and Nauta to early graduation, Holoman was coming on strong and then got kicked out. I think Swift was dinged up, too.

    Liked by 8 people

  3. RangerRuss

    Bama has 24% returning receiving yards coming back just as the Dawgs had in 2019, eh?
    Hopefully the Tide will suffer the same fate as Georgia 2019 in the SECC game.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. moe pritchett

    Ohhhhhhh mannnn.
    Why did you have to say “James Coley”
    Im not sure who was the worst
    James Coley or Brian Schittenheimer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Foley was much worse than Schitty. Foley had a 2 year starter who was appearing on draft boards as potentially a 2nd or 3rd round pick and turned him into a 5th(?) rounder who may be selling insurance in Warner Robins in a few years. Schitty had to deal with with a QB room that was such a mess that we had to go get a UVA grad transfer cast-off.

      Liked by 2 people

    • miltondawg

      Coley and it isn’t even remotely close.


  5. Dawg in Austin

    Pretty sure Connelly did his returning production numbers before Holloman was kicked off the team. We had next to nothing coming back that year at WR. You could argue the Cager transfer saved the Dawgs from being a 70/30 run/pass team.

    But that’s the point, that good transfers CAN fill holes in production lost. Bama will be just fine if their transfers don’t suffer the same fate as Cager. Not that I’m rooting for that to happen.


    • jcdawg83

      Burton is good but he isn’t Metchie or Williams good, far from it. Burton wanted to go to a more wide open offense to hopefully pad his stats for the draft. I think he will get thrown to quite a bit by default as Bama’s receivers after Metchie and Williams didn’t appear to be superstars and Burton may be the most talented on the team.


  6. Wait. So this is a re-building year for Bama? I thought that was last year.

    Liked by 12 people

  7. Well I guess this is a rebuilding year for the Bammers. Good luck in 2024 ya losers.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Down Island Way

      Always thought, a rebuilding year in alabamia, was when they dug a new 10 foot deep hole, moved the old outhouse over it and put in a partially used sears and roebuck catalog…

      Liked by 2 people

  8. practicaldawg

    Bowers is returning for UGA. That’s the only pre-season receiving stat that matters.


  9. billionm16

    Of any position group, Bama is currently most concerned about their WRs. low production % returning + lack of top end talent might not bode well for them.


  10. Today I learned that Bama apparently had other pass-catchers on the roster last year besides metchie and williams.

    If you would’ve asked them about the natty there’s no way you’d know.