A comment yesterday got me wondering about UGA's points off turnovers. Yesterday, I looked at non-offensive scores from select opponents over the past few years. I decided to look at the past two year's turnover numbers and see if there is anything worth getting worked up over there.
First, I didn't count KO or punt returns for TDs in this category. I wanted to look at defense vs. offense in the classical sense of the definitions. Second, I counted any turnover returned for a TD as being inside the 20. Not completely accurate, but I you have to count that somewhere.
Opponent's scores off turnovers
UGA's total turnovers: 46
# of opp scores off turnovers: 21
Opponents taking over inside 20: 10
Pt value a of TO: 5.6
UGA's scores off turnovers
Opp total turnovers: 61
# of UGA scores off turnovers: 26
UGA taking over inside 20: 14
Pt value of a TO: 5.3
Both UGA and our opponents scored TDs anytime the ball was given to them inside the 20. As you can see, our opponents had a slightly higher point value to their turnovers, mainly due to the high percentage of TDs we gave up when we turned the ball over. It was shocking to me that nearly 40% of all turnovers became touchdowns for opposing teams.
Three games stood out to me as I did this. I talked about South Carolina in 2011 in the earlier post. Last year's SEC Championship Game is another that stood out. All three interceptions resulted in touchdowns for LSU, including Mo Claiborne's return. When you count Mathieu's punt return, that accounts for 28 of LSU's 42 points. The third game was the 2012 Tennessee game. Four turnovers resulted in TDs, including a pick six and two fumbles recovered inside Georgia's 20.
I have no idea what national numbers look like, but CJ Schexnayder at Roll Bama Roll did a similar exercise for Alabama and found that (from 2007-2001) Alabama's turnovers were worth anywhere from 2 to 4 points per turnover, with opponents getting slightly fewer points per turnover. If that is any guide, we are doing very well when we get the ball back via turnover, but aren't doing that great, at times, when we give up turnovers.
Which leads me to a thought about coaching. Some back of the envelope calculations gives me somewhere south of 30% of all opponent drives Georgia faced resulted in a score in this time period. Furthermore, we have were good one year (2012) and very, very bad one year (2011) at Redzone Defense. So teams have nearly half again better chances of scoring on Georgia simply by getting the ball back with a turnover. While you can put some of that on those 20% or so of opponent possessions that started inside the 20, that still does not account for all of that increase.
Is there a coaching reason that we could look at? Are their coaching things that could be done in practice that would better mentally prepare guys to go from 'thanks for getting the ball back' to 'we just gave it back, don't let them score?'