Category Archives: Stats Geek!

About that whole mirage thing…

Call it my personal meme this week, but I continue to wonder how much of Auburn’s recent resurgence is a legitimate corner turning and how much comes from the schedule.  Paragraphs like this illustrate my point:

… Yes, Auburn has played better of late, beating Texas A&M after staying close with Ole Miss and taking Arkansas to overtime in their previous two games. However, despite their improved play, the Auburn offense has still only averaged 5.6 yards per play in that three-game span. Prorated to an entire season, that number would rank sixth in the SEC, hardly an elite showing. It should also be noted that Arkansas ranks dead last in the SEC in yards per play allowed and Texas A&M ranks twelfth in that category (Ole Miss is fifth, but is not quite as stout as we all thought back in early October). Of course, Georgia has had offensive difficulties of their own, scoring zero touchdowns in their two games going into Kentucky. As is usually the case for SEC teams, Kentucky is the cure for what ails you. The Bulldogs put three touchdown on the board and gained 300 yards on the ground against the Wildcats. It should also be noted the two teams that shut down Georgia prior to their clash with the Wildcats, Florida and Missouri, rank first and second in the SEC in yards per play allowed…

For the record, in conference play, Georgia currently ranks fourth in yards per play allowed.  Auburn ranks tenth, just ahead of Kentucky.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“I think you’ve got to harp on ball security every single day.”

You may be surprised to hear this, but for the second straight week Georgia faces a conference opponent ranked lower in all major team offensive and defensive categories, i.e., scoring, total, passing and rushing.

One place where Auburn clearly has the upper hand, though, is turnover margin.  At plus-5, the Tigers are third in the SEC.  Georgia is eleventh, at minus-2.  Most of the difference isn’t on the defensive side, it’s by the offenses, where Auburn has turned the ball over ten times, compared to Georgia’s sixteen.  Considering what a pick machine Jeremy Johnson was before being benched, that difference is even more pronounced over the past few games, as Auburn has only turned the ball over once in its last five games while Georgia has lost thirteen over its.

So it should be no surprise to hear this.

Ball security is being emphasized heavily this week after Georgia had three fumbles Saturday against Kentucky, losing two of them.

“Guys that hold that ball have to hold it like their life depends on it,” coach Mark Richt said on his radio call-in show Monday night.

Georgia has eight lost fumbles in nine games, which ranks 12th in the SEC and 88th nationally. The Bulldogs had seven lost fumbles in all of last season in 13 games.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

About the offense…

“We came in and talked to the staff on Sunday and I said, Hey we need to make some changes. To repeat what we’ve been doing over the last two weeks wasn’t working,” Schottenheimer said. “So we kind of put our heads together. I’m proud of them. We brainstormed some stuff, we put a plan together. And most importantly these young men went in and executed.”

Gosh, don’t hurt yourself with too much back-patting there, fella.

Yes, the offense showed its first signs of life since the second half of the Tennessee game.  But that’s a low bar.

Take a look at the game log for Kentucky’s defense.  The context for Georgia’s performance isn’t particularly impressive.  Yes, the 300 rushing yards is the most given up by the ‘Cats; however the 90 passing yards is the fewest.  Georgia’s 390 total yards ranks only fifth most for Kentucky (out of nine games), behind such powerhouses as Auburn, Louisiana-Lafayette and South Carolina. Georgia’s average yards per play was under UK’s seasonal average.

More importantly, it was obvious from watching the game that Florida marked a final point for the coaches’ patience with Georgia’s three scholarship quarterbacks.  There is zero confidence in putting not just a game, but a series, in the hands of Bauta, Lambert or Ramsey.  That’s reflected in the stats, too, as Georgia only attempted 19 passes on the day, and the average yards per passing attempt was an anemic 4.7.  By comparison, the Dawgs averaged 5.77 yards per rush.

On the season, the team passer rating is now a below average 129.77.  In case you’re wondering, the next worse rating I could find at Marty’s site was 131.46, which was the year Joe Cox was the starter.  Every other season of Georgia football since 2007 saw ratings no worse than the upper 140’s.

It’s incredible how bad this has gotten, when you consider that Mark Richt cut his teeth coaching passing attacks.  And as many have pointed out, it’s not like the problem crept up on the staff suddenly.

Georgia’s offense is run-oriented, not by design, but by necessity.  Any time it faces a defense that can close down the run, you can forget about scoring.  Lucky for Schottenheimer, what’s left on the schedule are the 45th, 76th and 94th ranked rushing defenses (surprisingly, perhaps, it’s Georgia Southern that’s 45th).

When people point to Eason’s arrival next season, it’s not to hail him as a savior, it’s merely in hope that he’s got enough talent to be above-average.  That, too, is a sadly low bar.  But it’s an accurate reflection of where the offense is right now.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

About the defense…

Did I mention that Kentucky’s offense isn’t very good?  I thought so.

Anyway, even with that in mind, yesterday Georgia managed to limit the ‘Cats to season lows in passing yards, plays run and total yards.  Only Florida has held Kentucky to a lower yards per play average.

Not too shabby, in other words.  Nor is this.

That red zone conversion rate is the best in the conference, by the way.

Considering what a train wreck the offense and special teams have been at times, not to mention youth and personnel issues on defense, I’d say Pruitt’s held his own.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Tale of the tape: bend and break

Interesting notion from Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer about what he considers to be the most relevant way to track a defense’s prowess:

Like many coaches these days, Spencer doesn’t pay much attention to total yardage stats. He feels like the most apt barometer to measure a defense’s worth is points per possession. It’s not something the NCAA keeps tabs on officially. Brian Fremeau (@bcfremeau), a writer for Football Outsiders, does chart such advanced stats. Michigan ranks No. 1 in the points-allowed-per-possession stat at 0.83, followed by Alabama, Wisconsin, Clemson and Boston College. Spencer’s defense is a respectable No. 31.

Well, you know what comes next, right?  To the Statmobile!

If you click on the link in that quoted passage, start by reading Brian’s definitions:

Points Per Drive data are a function of all offensive possessions in FBS vs. FBS games in the given season, excluding first-half clock kills and end-of-game garbage drives and scores. Teams are ranked by net points scored per drive (NPD), the difference between points scored per offensive drive (OPD) and points allowed per opponent offensive drive (DPD). Points per value drive for the offense (OVD) opponent offenses (DVD) are calculated on possessions that begin on the offense’s own side of midfield and reach at least the opponent’s 30-yard line. Points per long drive for the offense (OLD) and opponent offenses (DLD) are calculated on possessions that begin inside the offense’s own 20-yard line.

You want to familiarize yourself with those terms before you read how they illuminate Georgia’s season to date.

Georgia is a mediocre 49th in net points per drive, which is an accurate reflection of a 4-3 record against FBS opponents.  It’s the breakdown between the offensive and defensive sides that’s the eye opener.

On offense, Georgia is 94th in points scored per drive, 116th in points scored per drive that reach the opponent’s 30-yard line (hey there, red zone offense!) and 57th in drives that begin inside their own 20.

It’s quite the opposite story for the defense:  22nd in points allowed per drive; 14th in points allowed per drive that reaches Georgia’s 30-yard line; 5th in points allowed per drive starting inside the opponent’s 20.  In other words, the Dawgs’ defense is plenty good when it’s allowed to do its job of keeping points off the board.  It’s just not being given the circumstances to do so.  Constantly losing the field position battle  – Georgia has fallen in Brian’s FEI field position rankings from first last season to 87th in 2015 – is killing this team.

Explaining this season doesn’t take a degree in rocket science.  You can see it in the stats. You can see it in the stands.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Stats that make you go, “dayum”.

How bad an October was it for Georgia’s offense? Welp,

Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty brutal.

In fact, in the case of the last of those three listed, I’d say it’s off the charts.  Georgia is the only team in the country that didn’t score a touchdown in the red zone during the entire month.  For comparison sake, here’s the number of red zone TDs Georgia scored in its previous seven Octobers:

  • 2014:  10
  • 2013:  9
  • 2012:  4
  • 2011:  8
  • 2010:  17
  • 2009:  6
  • 2008:  8

You read that correctly.  Even in 2013, in an October in which Aaron Murray wound up with no one to give the ball to on offense, Georgia somehow managed to find the goal line from the red zone nine times.

By the way, you should also consider that in some of those years, like 2012, Georgia only played three October games.  This season, there were four.

This offense is dysfunctional in a way we’ve never seen before under Richt.  Sure, personnel has changed to some extent, but not that much.  You can probably guess which way my finger points.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“So … about that “competence” thing.”

Bill Connelly gently damns Brian Schottenheimer.

Bobo coaxed a 155.8 passer rating out of Hutson Mason in 2014 and a 135.9 out of Joe Cox in 2009. Three Georgia QBs have combined for a 131.5 so far in 2015, and that includes Greyson Lambert’s long-forgotten early stretch against South Carolina and Southern. Take those two games out of the equation, and UGA’s combined passer rating falls to 107.8.

For a frame of reference, Wake Forest’s passer rating this year is 110.1. New Mexico’s is 109.5. Purdue’s is 111.2. Yeah.

Georgia had to replace its longtime coordinator, quarterback, and top two receiving targets. Regression was conceivable, even likely. But this goes beyond regression.

Beyond regression lies incompetence.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!