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February 10, 2013

Grantham's defense, Part Two

As a follow up to the earlier post, I took a look at a few other defensive metrics, just to see how we fared.

The first was to take a look at Football Outsiders' defensive FEI ratings. I only included the cohort that Georgia is in, but as you can see from the key below, we did really well ever where but explosive drives. Given our rank in long plays allowed, that isn't a surprise.

-.47616Notre Dame12-110-.5576.61825.37923.0381.16083.28914.09433
-.43919Penn State8-431-.48612.59014.37922.0678.16487.31728.14151
-.41220Texas A&M9-23-.10749.66752.42839.09831.14659.34540.08631
  • DFEI: Defensive FEI, the opponent-adjusted efficiency of the given team's defense.
  • DE: Defensive Efficiency, the raw unadjusted efficiency of the given team's defense, a measure of the actual drive success of its opponents against expected drive success based on field position.
  • FD: First Down rate, the percentage of opponent offensive drives that result in at least one first down or touchdown.
  • AY: Available Yards, yards earned by the opponent offense divided by the total number of yards available based on starting field position.
  • Ex: Explosive Drives, the percentage of each opponent offense's drives that average at least 10 yards per play.
  • Me: Methodical Drives, the percentage of each opponent offense's drives that run 10 or more plays.
  • Va: Value Drives, the percentage of each opponent offense's drives beginning on their own side of the field that reach at least the team's 30-yard line.
  • DSOS: Defensive Strength of Schedule, the likelihood that an elite defense (two standard deviations better than average) would have an above-average DE rating against each of the offenses faced.
Florida (1st), Alabama (4th), South Carolina (5th), and LSU (6th) were the SEC teams rated above Georgia in the DFEI rating.

One other thing I found fascinating were the S&P ratings. Georgia finished 14th in the country in Defensive S&P. Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, LSU and Texas A&M all finished in front of Georgia from the SEC. We were 9th in expected point allowed, finishing only behind Alabama and Texas A&M in the conference. For a team that did well nationally in pass defense, we were fairly pedestrian (47th) passing downs S&P and general passing S&P (44th).

There are two things I take away from this. First, perhaps teams were wrong in assuming running the ball was the better way to approach beating Georgia. While there are reasons for doing so, such as keeping Georgia's offense off the field, perhaps teams undersold the importance of throwing the ball, considering Georgia faced fewer pass attempts per game than all but a hand full of teams. For reference, Georgia was 22nd in rushing S&P.

Second, that expected points stat reflects the Dawg's top 20 standing in red zone conversions allowed. Considering Georgia faced a fairly high number of red zone attempts (ranked mid 50s in the nation) by opponents, this reflects just how tough it was to score on the Dawgs once a team got inside the red zone.

Looking over the stats, it is pretty clear that Georgia did pretty good on the season, but ended up having very good games or fairly bad games. With the offense we have, we could get away with having bad games. The worst offensive game we had was probably the worst defensively game we had.

To no one's surprise, that game was Kentucky. Fortunately, they were having one of their worst seasons in many, many years.



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