Category Archives: Georgia Football

When stats aren’t convincing

Interesting assertion from the AJ-C’s Brandon Adams yesterday:

Georgia football podcast: One stat could determine SEC East winner

Beginning of the show: In three of the last four seasons the winner of the SEC East has collected more than 40 sacks as a team.

Now that’s true, as far as it goes.  Missouri cracked the 40-sack mark in 2013 and 2014, while Florida did the same in 2015.  However, the Gators, while leading the East in sacks last season, only managed 31 on the way to winning the division.  So, maybe the key is simply topping the division rather than a specific number.

Except when you go back to 2012, you find Georgia’s 32 sacks were only second-best in the East, behind South Carolina’s 43 (I think some dude named Clowney was a Gamecock back then).

There really isn’t much of a rhyme or reason to this, then.  Which shouldn’t come as a surprise when you think about how chaotic the division has been, in the sense that the favorite never seems to win it these days.  In fact, scrounging around the cfbstats.com site, I couldn’t find a single statistical category over the past four seasons that the East winner topped in all years.

None of which is to say I wouldn’t love for the Dawgs to manage forty-plus sacks.  I would venture to say were that to happen, it would be an indication that the defense enjoyed a dominant 2017.  But as far as that guaranteeing a trip to Atlanta in December, who knows?

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Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Chicken soup for the Georgia football blogger’s soul

Somehow this one short quote from Pat Allen manages to push my learning curve button perfectly.

“Our eyes are up more and we’re able to understand defenses a lot better and that all goes to Coach Pitt,” said the 6-foot-4, 285-pound Allen said. “He really teaches us front, he teaches us rotations, those type of things. When we key in on those things, we’re able to make calls and adjust.”

Keep keying in, baby.  Keep keying in.

20 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Onward and upward

I’ve blogged before about my faith in the upwards arc of the learning curve of a coach’s second year on the job.  Here’s something Smart said yesterday about what he noticed in his second spring:

“The intensity in practice was the biggest adjustment since my arrival, every day bringing attention to detail and enthusiasm,” Smart said on the SEC coaches teleconference. “There’s never a chance to relax.

“We talk about a sustainable focus. Can you sustain focus for an entire practice? Can you sustain that same intensity? The more you get used to it, the more it becomes culture. This spring, they were more adept at handling that than last spring. With more depth coming in, we’ll have practice with more intensity, and that’s the goal.”

Sure, maybe that’s little more than happy talk, but I’ll buy in to that “The more you get used to it” part.  Not to say the depth upgrade doesn’t hurt…

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Filed under Georgia Football

Kirby Smart, and the allure of Boom Ball

I came across an interesting Reddit thread a couple of weeks ago I thought I’d share.  Its premise is to rank all P5 teams’ seasons since 1998 in order of opponents’ regular season winning percentage.  The top team might surprise you a bit.

20 Highest Opponent Win %

Rk Team W/L Opp W/L Opp W %
1 2012 Florida 10-1 93-38 71.0%
2 2012 Missouri 4-7 93-40 69.9%
3 2009 Mississippi St. 4-7 94-41 69.6%
4 2005 Oklahoma 7-4 82-37 68.9%
5 1998 Auburn 3-8 83-38 68.6%
6 2014 Arkansas 5-6 91-42 68.4%
7 2014 Mississippi 8-3 91-42 68.4%
8 2003 Alabama 4-9 105-50 67.7%
9 2015 Arkansas 6-5 88-42 67.7%
10 1999 Alabama 9-2 79-38 67.5%
11 2004 Texas A&M 7-4 81-39 67.5%
12 2015 Alabama 10-1 88-43 67.2%
13 2013 Georgia 7-4 88-43 67.2%
14 2015 Maryland 2-9 90-44 67.2%
15 2013 Tennessee 4-7 87-43 66.9%
16 2011 LSU 11-0 86-43 66.7%
17 2004 North Carolina 5-5 72-36 66.7%
18 2010 Notre Dame 7-5 94-48 66.2%
19 2014 Auburn 7-4 88-45 66.2%
20 2016 Florida St. 8-3 87-45 65.9%

That was no cheap accomplishment by the Gators, either, as a commenter in that thread points out.

People forget how ridiculous 2012 Florida’s resume was at the end of that regular season. Wins over (using final BCS ranking):

  • #8 LSU (10-2)
  • #9 Texas A&M (10-2)
  • #10 South Carolina (10-2)
  • #12 FSU (11-2, ACC Champ)

The only loss was by 8 points to #7 Georgia (11-2), for a total of 4-1 against top 12 opponents.

Meanwhile, in the regular season Georgia played two teams that were in the final BCS top 25: South Carolina (L, 7-35) and Florida (W, 17-9), then had the close loss to Alabama in the SECCG.

While I do understand why Georgia fans were upset that they landed behind UF in the final BCS rankings and missed out on the Sugar Bowl, it’s pretty hard to deny how strong UF’s resume was.

Now, Florida’s 2012 season may not have been pretty, but it was effective.  It was also peak Muschamp.  Per another commenter,

It was Muschamp’s ideal style of football. Excellent defense and an offense that hogs the ball, minimizes turnovers, and eats clock. It makes for a relatively small margin for error and means winning games by 2 scores or less is common even against inferior opponents.

His offensive strategy was basically “don’t fuck this up for the defense” instead of “we should try to score points.” And it was the only season where that kind of strategy actually paid off to any extent.

One reason it worked so well was that the Gators finished +15 in turnover margin that season (actually, +17 in the regular season).  It was a result that Muschamp would never approach again during his Florida tenure.

Anyway, reading this, all I could think in reaction was that it all sounds like Kirby Smart’s mantra for the 2016 season.  (Let’s not forget the regard Smart holds for Coach Boom.)  Georgia finished 8-5 behind a +8 turnover margin; all other things being equal, how would Smart’s first season have turned out had the Dawgs matched Florida’s 2012 result in that department?

All of which brings me to a Chris Brown post from several years ago (don’t ask me how my mind works) that raised some relevant points about how to recruit for a power ball approach in a spread age.  Start with this:

For the truly elite-level recruiting teams, I think the agnosticism of pro-style treats them well because they basically recruit incredible players and then figure out the system and scheme later. Moreover, spread offenses, option offenses, and really any pass-first offense (including West Coast attacks of which I’d put Georgia in the category) require very good quarterback play. Alabama and LSU are basically designed to win in spite of their quarterbacks; Nick Saban does not want to return an all world defense with a bunch of five-star playmakers and lose because his QB was a junior and had some “growing pains”, which absolutely happens at every level. In other words, if you get be a top 5 recruiting team every year, it’s not that you want to be pro-style it’s that you want to be “system neutral.” They can get superior talent and can fit plays around those incredible guys. Note that this isn’t the same as “fitting your scheme to your players,” because we’re talking about first round draft choice guys not guys with certain strengths and certain weaknesses. I leave aside whether pro-style is truly more attractive to recruits or not.  [Emphasis added.]

With that bolded quote in mind, go back and read something I posted about what Saban wants out of his offensive coordinator this season.  And then think about what that means for Jake Fromm’s chances to wrest the starting job away from Jacob Eason this season.

Chris finished that post with

… The deeper your roster, the more you can play around with guys, move them around, and try to dedicate them to certain things. The less you have the more constrained you are to get into what you want to do, whatever it is. That said, I think for most players, the difference in what they are asked to do in a spread versus a pro-style scheme is vastly overrated, particularly in the case of run-first spread teams.

Ultimately I think the question is a good one but maybe too complex to even answer. I do think quarterback is the X factor for every single college and pro team nowadays, with extremely rare exceptions. The most “pro-style”-ist pro teams need great quarterbacking, but teams like LSU and Alabama do not. The reason: compared to their opponents, LSU and Alabama are simply much better teams, advantages that pro teams and very few, if any, other college teams have.

That is where I believe Kirby Smart wants to go, which is why you should watch his recruiting in a particular light.

Yes, I know there’s been a great deal of talk about how he’d like to sign a dual-threat quarterback.  I even credit him with making a sincere effort in that regard.  But it’s more likely that Smart is simply looking for another bullet in the holster than a wholesale makeover of Georgia’s offensive scheme.  The bigger question to ask at this point is whether he’ll succeed at accumulating enough talent to get away with not having to worry about his quarterback fucking things up for the defense.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Today, in greasing the skids

What do you get if you use ESPN’s preseason 2017 Football Index (I know; just roll with me here) to rank SEC schedules in order of difficulty?  This:

Here are the SEC’s toughest schedule rankings, based on ESPN’s Power Rating Index:

1. LSU and Mississippi State 83.6; 3. Vanderbilt 82.5; 4. South Carolina 80.3; 5. Florida 80.1; 6. Texas A&M 79.8; 7. Alabama 79.3; 8. Arkansas 78.3; 9. Auburn 78.1; 10. Tennessee 77.4; 11. Kentucky 74.6; 12. Ole Miss 73.7 13. Georgia 73.5; 14. Missouri 68.7  [Emphasis added.]

Favorable schedule, loads of starting experience on defense, a starting quarterback and coaching staff with a year under their belts… you can’t deny the stars are aligning for Georgia’s chances in 2017.  I won’t pronounce it a given that the sea has parted, but it’s gonna be a lot harder to excuse another year without winning the division.

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Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

One name, four vowels

Go, Sam Pittman, go.

That is all.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

“He’ll be back in summer school.”

On both a personal level for the kid as well as what it means for the team, if you can’t get excited about the Trent Thompson news, I’m not sure what you’re doing here.

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Filed under Georgia Football