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October 24, 2010

Third and Grantham

Much like their prior two games, the Dawgs were workmanlike Saturday. They scored on a couple of long, bruising drives that were reminiscent of the Tech game last year. The run blocking was much better last night, resulting in a record five rushing TDs from a tailback benched earlier in the year for ball security issues. Then, when UK made a big mistake with the fumble on their own five, the Dawgs were there to cash in some easy points. The turnovers that killed us the last two years are suddenly bouncing our way. The Dawgs got four Saturday, three fumbles and a Sanders Commings INT in the UGA endzone. Oh yeah, Boykin had another 100 yard kickoff return. Ho-hum.

Overall, I'm not going to complain about much of anything, considering I left both Starkville and Boulder utterly convinced that the 'Cats were going to beat us for the third time in five games. So, I'm excited that we've got a shot at a bowl game, something I thought utterly unimaginable on the flight home from Colorado.

With that said, Saturday's game illustrated a worrisome defect in our defensive play. UK converted nine of fifteen third downs. That's sixty percent and two of the unconverted third downs were late in the fourth quarter when UK was in desperation mode. Even counting those last two, UK outperformed their season third down conversion rate by 15%. Georgia's now allowing opponents to pick up third downs at a rate of over 42%. We're very likely to be last in the conference in third down conversion defense when the stats are updated Monday.

A bigger problem Saturday night was the way our third down defense allowed all those conversions. Generally, the defense performed well on first and second downs. That set up several third and longs, the goal of every defensive coordinator. We just couldn't take advantage of those third and longs. UK converted nine third downs. All but one were third and more than five yards to go. Three were third and really long (10, 12, and 15). We just can't keep that up. So, either our coverage skills have to improve or we have to get better pressure on third downs. With those kinds of numbers, it shows our third down pressure ain't working. When the blitz comes, it's ineffective. When we don't bring pressure, our zone defense is still full of the same holes that were there last year.

"Third and Grantham," a comment of derision among Dawg fans, must turn into a term feared by opponents. So far, we're a long way from that.



Anonymous said...

I'm very happy with how our defense is progressing after one preseason of a big defensive change. We saw how good LSU’s defense was a year after Chaves had some time with them (Cam Newton is an exception to any defense). We can be better and need to be better with the teams we play, but I feel confident about our defense’s potential than pervious years (may not feel good about their actual performance but I think this is temporary).

Our secondary will figure out how to play the ball instead of the man by next year, but we are very vulnerable to the pass and Kentucky showed that. I’m more worried about Florida’s quick passing game than Auburn’s Cam Newton’s running game.

Let’s go Dawgs!!!!!!!!

Dubbayoo said...

Given Texas is now 4-3 after getting crushed by Iowa State who would still take Muschamp over Grantham?

chefboyardee said...

There were a couple of 4th and longs in there too, I think.

Richard said...

Great post. Third Down, on both sides of the ball, is the story of this team.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to point out though that most of UK's passes to convert those third downs were on Mr. Vance Cuff. That was their salve for our burns. Find Cuff and convert. He has been a major dissappointment thus far. If Smith were healthy, I don't think he would sniff the field.

My English Bulldog said...

Thanks for this post .....................

Chris S said...

While I agree the consistency in giving up third and long conversions is disturbing, it's a much less disturbing than if the defense wasn't forcing third and long as much as they have been. When the defense is leaing opponents with third and short, it's usually a tough problem to fix because it goes to fundamentals, like dominating the line of scrimmage. Getting stops on third and long is usually more a function of players learning their assignments in the nickel package or tweaking the play-calling scheme. It's an easier fix.

Overall, the Bulldog defense did give up yardage and points, but they also created points an turnovers, and the breakdowns came with the game already in hand. I'll take the toughness and intensity I'm seeing from Grantham's defense over what we saw the last few years any time, even if it means some growing pains with busted assignments.

Bryan said...

This domain name deserves more than the effort you guys are putting into it. I understand you have lives, but if you don't have time then turn it over to someone who does.

Ryan said...

I agree with Bryan, I think you guy(s) need to incorporate other bloggers to pick up the slack if you can't. I really am not meaning this as an indictment of PWD and Quinton but this blog used to be the best of the best. Now with PWD posting once every month and the guy who couldn't carry Hale's jock, dawg reading has gotten very slim...

Anonymous said...

Give me Grantham any day over Willie. Cuff is this year's Bryan Evans.

jb said...


Am I missing something? doesnt texas still have a better record than we do?

Paul Westerdawg said...

Bryan / Ryan,

Thanks for the feedback. I'm not interested in adding anyone. Thanks.


Bryan said...

So you're okay with this blog going from #1 to barely in the top 10?

Paul Westerdawg said...


I've said numerous times that I made a decision to blog less so I could focus on other things. Namely my real job and a fine woman.

And yeah...I'm obviously fine with where I am or I would change things.

And for the record, I'm #3 in traffic. Unless you can find 7 UGA *fan* blogs that out draw mine other than Blutarsky and Kyle King and put me in 10th. Media blogs don't count because it's their job.

If you think it's not time consuming to do this...try it some time. To do it the way I was doing it in 2008 takes 2+ hours per day.

I'm happy with this site. If you aren't, read Blutarsky's site. It's very well done.

Thanks for your interest.


Dubbayoo said...

I'd prefer more content too but anyone who thinks they can do better should STFU and start their own. Coming up with a catchy UGA name shouldn't be any harder than producing daily constant content. Why should they pass their hard work on to you? If you can do better do it from scratch.

I have only posted in my own blog (unrelated to UGA) twice this year when it used to be twice weekly.

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