Category Archives: Georgia Football

The straw that stirs the drink in Georgia’s offense

Yesterday, in a post about solo tackle rates and Georgia’s offense, I said Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb are a couple of ridiculously talented running backs, because Georgia’s 2014 offense managed to be one of the most efficient in the country despite every team keying on shutting down its running game.

In that light, here’s an interesting observation from the man who just drafted Gurley to play for the Rams (h/t Parrish Walton):

“Here’s what it came down to for us,’’ said GM Les Snead. “Todd, for us, was one of those once-every-few-years talents, one of the best players we’ve seen come out in a while. We just felt he was somebody we couldn’t pass up. This wasn’t about Week 1 against Seattle, whether he’d be ready to go then; we will let nature takes its course on that. This was a long-term decision.

“One of the things we looked at was the team around him. I’m not sure about this, but it’s possible there might not be an offensive lineman who blocked for him at Georgia who will start at the next level, or play at the next level. When we looked at him on tape, we saw him playing against a lot of seven- and eight-man fronts, which is what he’s going to be seeing when he lines up for us. We saw him playing against not a lot of air, which is what he’s going to be seeing when he plays for us. So that translates pretty well.”

Now I think Pyke and Theus have a shot to play on Sundays, but that’s not really the main thing there.  It’s what Snead saw Gurley doing regularly in the face of a stacked box that’s key.  Making something out of nothing has been a characteristic of Richt’s best backs over the past few seasons, going back to Knowshon Moreno.  With those kinds of backs, it hasn’t mattered if the offensive line play has been less than stellar.  (Handing the ball off to Carlton Thomas up the middle?  That’s another story.)

Mark Richt likes to ride the beast when he can.  Good thing he’s got two more seasons of Nick Chubb.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Which offensive line coaches have best protected their quarterbacks?

Over at coachingsearch.com, they’ve taken the time to look at which offenses over the past three seasons have generated the best ratio of passes attempted per sack allowed.  Now, while I think the question in my header, which is posed in the post, is a bit over broad in assessing the cause/reason, it’s still interesting to look at sack rates, particularly in Georgia’s case.

Will Friend didn’t make the list of top fifteen.  Here’s a breakdown of the numbers from 2012-4:

  • 2014:  17 sacks allowed; 322 passing attempts; 18.9 pps
  • 2013:  22 sacks allowed; 459 passing attempts; 20.9 pps
  • 2012:  27 sacks allowed; 399 passing attempts; 14.8 pps

A couple of things there worth noting.  One, while so many of us have harped on Aaron Murray’s turnovers over his career, we seemed to have missed out on the insane level of improvement in sack avoidance he made in his last season.  (And, remember, that was with right tackle play that was inconsistent, to say the least.)  Two, while Mason was very good in the turnover department, there was a drop off in the pass per sack rate last season.  And that was with a much bigger reliance on the running game and a far more stable offensive line that what Georgia had in Murray’s last season.

The overall three-year numbers?  66 sacks allowed in 1180 passing attempts, leading to a 17.9 pps ratio.  Again, not that close to the numbers on the chart posted at the link.  It’ll be interesting to see where that goes this season, with a new QB, offensive coordinator and line coach.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

The further adventures of run the damned ball, Bobo.

Some really solid stuff from Ian Boyd here about what sort of offenses force teams to make solo tackles more than others.

As you might suspect, teams that deploy spread attacks tend to force more solo tackles than others.  But check out this chart of the ten most efficient offenses in 2014:

S&P Rank Team % Solo Tackles Solo Tackle % Rank
1 Ohio State 72.5% 84
2 Alabama 72.9% 82
3 Oregon 72.4% 86
4 Georgia Tech 80.5% 22
5 Auburn 75% 66
6 Mississippi State 67.8% 11
7 Oklahoma 73.3% 76
8 Georgia 69.4% 105
9 Baylor 83.1% 12
10 Michigan State 70.7% 100

Two out of ten were really good at forcing solo tackles, and Georgia Tech was above average in that regard.  The rest were anywhere from subpar to genuinely poor at it.

Now ask yourself why that’s the case.  Well, actually, Boyd’s gone ahead and answered that question.

Well this puzzle is simple enough to solve, there are more defenders around the line of scrimmage then there are in the flats or downfield. If there are more defenders around on a running play then it’s going to be easier for the defense to get multiple people to the ball carrier to help bring him down.

Why are their more defenders there? Because defensive coordinators look at the S&P rankings and determine that the teams that can run the ball effectively are often the most difficult to defend. So they always ensure that there are players around the box that can limit damage from the run game. You’ll notice that the efficient running teams that rank high in S&P were also generally good at punishing this defensive response with the passing game.

Everyone wants their passing game to revolve around getting their athletes in one-on-one match-ups in space where they become hard to tackle, whether you are a pro-style power run team or a four-wide Air Raid spread squad. However, the teams that are killing are the ones that set this up with the run.

As a general rule, solo tackles occur most frequently from the passing game or from bad running attacks that put the running back in positions where he can’t evade a single tackler and is brought down before he can get up to speed.

Georgia is the most extreme case on that list:  5th in rushing S&P+; 105th in solo tackle percentage.  Teams were doing exactly what so many defensive geniuses on the Internet advocate – loading up the box to force Georgia to beat them throwing the ball – and were still getting killed on the ground in spite of this tactic.

Which should tell you a couple of things about the Dawgs’ offense.  First, Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb are a couple of ridiculously talented running backs.  Second,  deploying the play action pass should be like taking candy from a baby. There’s always going to be at least one receiver running around with single coverage.  Georgia just needs to find the quarterback best suited to take advantage of that.

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

They can afford it.

You may have noticed that the Athletic Department is on something of a spending spree lately.

An athletic association budget of $117,419,039 was approved for fiscal year 2016 at Thursday’s spring meeting of the Board of Directors at the King and Prince Golf and Beach Resort.

That’s an increase of nearly $17.6 million from FY15…

The athletic association pledged an additional $1 million to the university, separate from the $4 million gift already planned, to help aid the university’s new, “experiential learning initiative,” according to University of Georgia President Jere Morehead.

A raise and extension was approved for basketball coach Mark Fox, now in line for $2 million annually for the next five years.

The contract keeps Fox, who is 106-89 with two NCAA Tournament appearances in six seasons at Georgia, signed through the 2019-20 season.

Athletic director Greg McGarity also received a raise, up to $575,000 beginning in July with yearly increases planned through summer of 2019.

And the timetable for the indoor athletic facility, a hot-button topic within the community and fan base for years, is taking shape.

Judging from this job posting, the growth in the support staff for football isn’t slowing down, either. (h/t sectionzalum)

It’s different from what we’ve been accustomed to, but it’s not as if the reserve fund is going to be drained this year.  That’s because, first, as the article notes, the big bucks from the fledgling SEC Network are starting to roll in.  Boy, are they.

The SEC revenue distribution grows each year. It was $309.6 million in 2014, but this is the first year that will account for the SEC Network. Georgia reported at its athletic board meeting that its payment from the SEC is expected to jump from $22.97 million in fiscal year 2015 to $34.51 million in fiscal year 2016.

Throw in a 25% increase in ticket prices being phased in over the next three seasons and a $10 bump in the price of admission to the Cocktail Party and it’s pretty clear that nobody in Butts-Mehre is worried about missing any meals in the next few years.  Not to say Greg McGarity ain’t grateful:

“Our fans have been loyal to us through seasons where we were 12-2 and when we were 6-7, and we’re extremely appreciative of that support.”

“You’re welcome,” said our wallets.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

For Georgia’s offense, it’s Déjà vu all over again.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

How you beat the Bulldogs: With a new starting quarterback and a new O-coordinator in Brian Schottenheimer, teams should bring as much pressure as they can and make whoever earns the starting job as uncomfortable as possible.

That approach certainly worked well all of last season.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Friday morning buffet

Getting you ready for a holiday weekend with a few tasty morsels…

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Filed under Georgia Football, College Football, SEC Football, Recruiting, 'Cock Envy, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

This never gets old.

Perhaps my favorite moment of the Gailey era, it’s truly Chantastic.

Thanks for everything, dog.

(h/t)

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Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football