Category Archives: Stats Geek!

Big offense, or big offensive players?

Two noteworthy items from today’s Seth Emerson’s piece, inspired by Burton’s departure for (presumably) greener pastures ($$):

First, I love this quote from Terrence Edwards.

“I don’t think you necessarily have to have these gaudy stats to be thought of as a high draft pick,” said Edwards, pointing out that he himself wasn’t drafted. “But kids and parents love stats.”

Chicks will always dig the long ball.

Second, stats.

• Georgia is the first college football national champion since 2008 to not have a 1,000-yard rusher or receiver. (Florida that year was led in rushing by Tim Tebow with 673 yards, and in receiving by Louis Murphy with 655 yards.)

• Georgia this past season was also the first team in SEC history to gain at least 6,500 yards without a 1,000-yard rusher or 1,000-yard receiver.

The key points in each of those items perhaps being that a) Georgia won the national championship, and b) gained a healthy amount of yards (6,644, second most in the SEC and sixth most in the country).

That Todd Monken fella’s not too bad at his job.

Seth goes on to make another very good point about the offensive philosophies at Alabama and Georgia, respectively.  It’s not just that ‘Bama emphasizes the pass more; they also concentrate touches with their top players considerably more than does Georgia.  (Alabama’s top two receivers combined for 46% of the team’s total catches; Georgia’s, 31%.)  If your top guys are that much studlier than the rest, that’s sensible, but as we saw in the national championship game, it can leave you exposed if those top guys can’t play.

The point here isn’t to criticize either coach’s approach.  Obviously, there’s more than one way to skin a national championship cat.  But maybe this makes it a little easier to understand Burton’s decision while also showing that Georgia’s offense may be built well enough to survive it.  Or, to put it another way, I’ll sweat Monken’s departure, when it happens, a lot more than Burton’s.

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

Narrative vs. stats

Tired:  Jermaine Burton left because he wants to play in an offense with a more dynamic passing attack.

Wired:

At least he’ll get to pad his stats during the next regular season before he turns pro.  😉

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

The year that was

Probably shouldn’t be a surprise, but it turns out that a year when you go 14-1 and win a national championship probably means more than a few school single season records get set.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out how a JUCO quarterback at his best way out of his league is even allowed to have his name in the Georgia record books.  Isn’t there a rule against that, or something?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

All that glitters isn’t gold.

In light of the report that Daniels and Burton are offering themselves as a package deal from the transfer portal, I thought this was an interesting set of stats:

Looking back at that 2020 game against Miss. State in which Daniels performed so brilliantly as an outlier certainly makes a difference.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“Offensive Fun Index”

This is pretty good.

Georgia comes out just fine there.  You had fun, right?

What I really can’t figure out is why an athletic director with a moribund P5 football program hasn’t taken a chance on Coastal Carolina’s Jamey Chadwell already.

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Got Dawg porn?

If you’re feeling a little down over yesterday’s transfer portal news, let PFF cheer you up.

The following are the top 10 tight ends returning to college football this fall. Please note that this has nothing to do with pro potential.

1. BROCK BOWERSGEORGIA BULLDOGS

Bowers was in the conversation for best tight end in college football despite being a true freshman this past season. He earned a 91.7 PFF receiving grade in 2021 while generating 3.14 yards per route run. This is a level of production we’ve never seen from a true freshman — and a level rarely obtained by any player at the position. With the help of his speed, explosiveness and ball skills, Bowers is already a college football star.

3. ARIK GILBERTGEORGIA BULLDOGS

Gilbert didn’t play a down with Georgia in 2021 after shining in 2020 for the LSU Tigers. He didn’t play due to personal reasons, and it’s currently unknown whether he will be able to suit up in 2022 or not. If Gilbert is able to take the field this fall, it would be a big win for Georgia.

Gilbert isn’t much of an in-line blocker, but his overall athleticism and receiving ability are in the elite tier for the position. His true freshman campaign was reminiscent of Kyle Pitts as an underclassman. The No. 5 overall recruit from the class of 2020 lived up to the hype as a true freshman in 2020, producing an impressive 73.0 receiving grade that ranked first among first-year tight ends. Gilbert did this while running over 55% of his routes from the slot or out wide. The 6-foot-5, 249-pounder has a massive catch radius and some craftiness both as a route-runner and after the catch. He hauled in seven of his 13 contested targets and broke nine tackles on 35 receptions in 2020.

There’s more where those two come from, too.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Elite, by the numbers

Georgia’s defensive performance, when you see it laid out like this ($$), is epic.

This defense finished No. 1 in the FBS in points per drive (0.78) and No. 1 in red zone defense, with more field goals allowed (11) than touchdowns (nine) for the 32 instances in which an offense reached their 20-yard line. These guys got a nation-leading 155 third-down stops on the season. They only allowed three rushing touchdowns all year. They finished No. 2 in yards per play, yards per rush, yards per attempt, first downs allowed per game and explosive (20-plus yards) plays allowed per game. They finished among the top five in three-and-out rate and sacks. This unit took the field together for 179 drives this season, and more than half of them ended with punts.

What a friggin’ year!

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No time like the right time

Someone in the comments yesterday brought up William Poole’s performance in the natty.  He might have been the biggest surprise of the game.

‘Bama went after him early.  You would have, too, based on his struggles in the SECCG.  But, as Anthony Treash pointed out, the Orange Bowl gave us a clue that Poole was figuring things out.

Flex D: William Poole, Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia made a sudden change in the SEC championship at STAR (i.e., the slot corner), as it opted to play Poole at the position even though he played only 23 coverage snaps in the regular season and Latavious Brini had started there up until that point. Unsurprisingly, Poole struggled with a poor PFF grade for the game, but in the Orange Bowl and national title game, the senior righted the ship. Poole posted an 81.3 coverage grade across those two games, as he allowed just two first downs on 12 targets while forcing three incompletions and two passing stops.

In the national championship game, Alabama targeted Poole and Ringo early and often.  Poole whiffed on a shot or two in the first quarter, but played his ass off the rest of the game.  As for Ringo, ‘Bama picked on him one time too many.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

My, how the strategery turntables have turned

December 9, 2021:

Q. This is for Coach Saban and Jordan: What did you guys do to really fluster Stetson Bennett tonight and obviously force him into a couple of huge mistakes?

JORDAN BATTLE: I think the main thing in this game was our disguises. We put in a lot of disguises this week. That was the big thing. Just have his eyes wandering around before the play. I think we did a good job on the back end and linebackers stemming and disguising. So I think that was a big part of the game.

NICK SABAN: I think that you try to change the picture as much as you can and make the quarterback try to make decisions after he gets the ball in his hand. Stetson Bennett to me is very instinctive, very good player. If he knows what the picture is — and I couple times tonight when he knew what the picture was, that’s when he made plays, and several big plays.

So I think us changing the picture on him a little bit helped. We have to play the ball better in the deep part of the field. We’ve had a couple of those the last couple of weeks that are things that we need to do better, but all in all, I think that was probably the one thing that helped it the most.

Pass rush always helps you. If you get good pass rush. We affected him in the pocket. He scrambled some, which is — you hate, but you’re also affecting a guy when you do that because you’re not throwing the ball on time.

January 10, 2022 ($$):

“I think that they switched up some stuff, had different tendencies,” Young said. “And I have to process that faster, just make the right play for the team better than I did tonight. So they changed some things, and I wasn’t able to execute.”

Alabama ran a stunning 85 plays Monday night.  That was the highest number of plays Georgia had to defend all season.  Bryce Young, the Heisman Trophy winner, put the ball in the air 57 times.  No other offense had attempted more than 48 passes against Georgia’s defense this season.  On paper, you’d think that would have been a disaster for the Dawgs, but Young finished with his second worst passer rating of the season.  Sure, the two picks were a factor in that, but the bigger deal was only averaging 6.5 yards per attempt.

Georgia made Young work for everything.  In the end, that worked for Georgia.

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

Will second time be the charm?

Football Outsiders:

Bennett is probably not quite as good as his numbers (10.1 yards per attempt, 27 TD, 7 INT) indicate, and we saw why when Georgia met Alabama—their first top-15 opponent of the season by the most recent rankings. Like any quarterback, Bennett isn’t as good under pressure (7.9 yards per attempt, 4 TD, 3 INT), and the Tide produced a little more of that than usual (28.3% of dropbacks to Georgia’s season average of 25.0%).

But what proved to be the Bulldogs’ undoing on offense wasn’t the Alabama front seven; it was the secondary. On non-screen pass attempts, Bennett was downright impressive this season, averaging 10.4 yards per attempt with 22 TD and 7 INT. PFF graded him better on those plays than on screen passes, and his non-screen numbers are surprisingly close to Heisman Trophy finalists CJ Stroud (10.1 yards per attempt, 41 TD, 6 INT) and Kenny Pickett (9.1 yards per attempt, 36 TD, 6 INT). But Alabama tore Bennett apart on these more difficult attempts: he went 20 for 41 for 263 yards, 6.6 yards per attempt, one touchdown, and two interceptions. It was surprising stuff from a pass defense that had, to that point, not really looked all that great: Alabama’s secondary ranks 13th in EPA per pass, 47th in success rate, and 46th in havoc rate. All of those figures have soared recently as a result of overpowering both Bennett and Desmond Ridder (17 for 32, 144 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT) in their last two games.

How much of that do we chalk up to general improvement on the part of Alabama and how much to making the Georgia offense one-dimensional after the offensive onslaught that put the Dawgs in a two-touchdown hole from which they never recovered?

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Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!