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October 6, 2014

Death by a thousand cuts: Georgia's defense

That is the only way I can explain why the whole thing about our defense not being good is a thing. Because when you look at the stats, there is nothing in them, besides the points per game, that make me freak out, and that isn't terrible. We are thoroughly average.

And while the ppg thing isn't great, the Dawgs don't suck at any one thing.

More importantly, the Dawgs are doing very well in a few key places:
  • 12th in the nation in opponent 3rd down conversion.
  • Georgia is only one of two teams in the nation that hasn't given up any plays longer than 40 yards. More importantly, we've only give up two rushing plays of more than 20 yards, and none more than 30 yards. 
  • Even the ppg stat is a significant improvement over last year's 29ppg (granting we still have a couple of teams that are in the top 15 in scoring). We are at 21ppg. After game five we were giving up 26ppg last year. 
  • The Dawgs are only giving up 112 yards per game rushing, which is good for 5th in the conference and 26th in the nation.
The negatives about this is we are giving a lot of 10-20 yard plays, both rushing and passing.

Those rushing stats have also factored into something else important: Georgia is 5th in the conference, 38th in the nation in opponent red zone attempts. Teams aren't getting into the red zone, and teams aren't scoring from outside the red zone.

The downside is that if teams get into the red zone, they are scoring at an 80% clip, with 2/3 of those becoming touchdowns. Even in the red zone, the defense is strong, only giving up 6 completions on 17 attempts. Regretfully, four of those are for TDs. 

And that is the bigger problem for Georgia's defense. We are bend, but don't break. Then we run out of field. Throw in the four rushing TDs we've given up, opponents are scoring touch downs on about one of every four plays from inside our red zone. This is reflected in our S&P defensive ratings being ranked 52nd. 

Not sure what there is to be said about this, but just something I've noticed as we are nearly half way though the season.

One last thing: we are abysmal, last in the nation, defending the pass when teams are 3rd and 4-6 yards. The line: 11-15, 9 of those for first downs, a 243.60 passer rating, and 5 of our 7 passing plays allowing 30+ yards. We've also given up 3 of our seven passing TDs in this situation. In all other third down situations, we are average or better. Again, not sure what I can take away from that, but it is something to think about going forward when we see 3rd down and 5.


All stats are from

UPDATE: Blutarsky has one answer I've been pondering:
Basically, this is VanGorder ball, without the All-American players. BVG’s defense worked, like all great defenses do, because it could consistently generate a four-man pass rush. That’s not something the current defense is capable of providing.
Add in the ability of, or lack thereof, the safeties/CBs to defend seams when an ILB releases a quick receiver in zone coverage, then we are on to something.


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