Last year, Georgia ranked 10th in the SEC (73rd nationally) in rushing offense with 142.6 yards per game. The natural assumption is that Isaiah Crowell will solve all of that with his arrival in the Classic City. But let's look more closely at the underlying numbers.
Check out Georgia's performance on 3rd downs in 2010:
|Rushing on 3rd Down||Yards Per Carry|
|3rd Down Overall||1.4|
|3rd and 1-3 Yards||2.7|
|3rd and 4-6 Yards||0.4|
|3rd and 7-9 Yards||0.9*|
|3rd and 10+ Yards||2.8|
The numbers on 3rd and 7 or longer are misleading because sacks weigh heavily into those stats, and the sample size is really small. Just focus on how sad those numbers are for 3rd and 1-6 yards. As a point of comparison, Tennessee had high school kids all over the OL and nothing overwhelming at RB and produced better stats in short yardage.
Get stronger up front and we keep drives alive. Keep drives alive and we win more games. Duh.
But it's not just strength that's needed. Consider these yards per quarter stats for 2011.
To me...that's conditioning. To Grantham's credit, the defensive line didn't have a complete 4th quarter collapse like the offense did. And one could argue that being down in so many games and having to throw more to come back lead to more sacks. But still. We didn't go for it on 4th and inches against UCF because Richt didn't believe he'd get it.
You could also point to the fact that we lost five games in the 4th quarter as another compelling stat to believe that it can't get much worse from an S&C standpoint.
Now...fix that issue, and improvement isn't so hard to make reality. Just getting our kids in shape, eating right and lifting with accountability and we can turn things around.
The Risk Point:
Having said all of that...Georgia just hired a guy to be our Offensive Line coach who has never produced an NFL player. Never recruited SEC caliber talent. Only had one winning record for in his very short
We're also losing two starters from this group, and I'm baffled as to who will be our 5th starting offensive lineman next year after Sturdivant (LT), Glenn (RT), Gates (OG) and Jones (C). So it's not like the OL being in shape is a lock to fix everything. But it sure as hell can't hurt.
-- A positive commentary on Friend - LadySportsWriter