Folks are jumping on the John Chavis train right now as the most likely choice for UGA's new DC. He's certainly a step up from Willie Martinez, and he's a proven solid commodity in the SEC.
Now that I've gotten past that....
People were upset about the points total that Martinez's teams seem to give up, particularly in blowout losses to Tennessee and Florida. And I can certainly understand that. In one year, John Chavis was able to bring LSU's ppg surrendered down from 24.15 to 16. That's pretty good. The same kind of improvement for UGA next year would bring us down to around 18ppg. Anything below 20 is good....and I'd love to see us below 15 again.
That being said, there's another obstacle Georgia must overcome, and that is beating Florida. Richt is now 2-8 against the Gators. Chavis was the DC at Tennessee from 1995-2008. In that stretch, the Vols were 4-10 against the Gators. In comparison, the Dawgs were 3-11 under at least 5 different Defensive Coordinators in that span. In games against Florida at TN, Chavis's defenses surrendered an average of 30.2 ppg. This season, LSU under Chavis held FL to 13, only his fourth sub-20 point contest against the Gators.
From 1995-2008, UGA averaged giving up 29.7ppg to the Gators. This season, we surrendered 41.
What do these numbers tell me? Well, I dunno. Chavis can probably improve our defense. The improvement shown by LSU would suggest that. But, in our goal to once again be dominant in the east, I'm not sure he'll bring us that.
Against Spurrier at USC, Chavis' UT defense went 2-2, averaging 22.75 points surrendered from 2005-2008. LSU didn't play USC this season. UGA went 3-1 in that span, averaging 9.5 surrendered. Better players at UGA than TN? Possibly. Kentucky and Vandy aren't real players...so then the question becomes, can Chavis stop TN? He'll have to be better than Martinez, but is he the best possible candidate? That's not for me to decide.
All I'm saying is, if Chavis IS the hire, before we go trumpeting the new glory in Athens, let's go ahead and circle that date in Jacksonville. We will have played 8 games by then, and even if we're 8-0, we won't have a difinitive answer on Chavis until after that game. Our pass rush improved greatly this season, so I expect that to continue...and the young talent in the defensive backfield really came along as well. If Chavis is the guy, he'll have some high quality safeties (with or without Jones) and corners to work with. So then it comes down to playing a Florida team which will be rebuilding a bit...but 8 games in, they'll be potent. If we beat Florida and keep their points below 20, we'll have something to be happy about. If we don't, then we'll have plenty of reason to question the move.
We fired Martinez so that we could get a DC who will bring us back to being a Championship defense. Chavis's defenses are two-for-five in SEC Championship games, with both wins coming more than a decade ago (one led to TN being given the first ever BCS Championship). Many fans who speak against Richt say that he came into the league when the coaching talent was less than it was today. The same would then hold true for the championship years for TN. In three SEC Championship game appearances this decade, Chavis' defense has averaged 30ppg surrendered.
In Georgia's three SECCG appearances, we averaged 17ppg surrendered.
Different years, different teams, apples, oranges...I know all of this. My point is simply that in the same coaching atmosphere, in the same division of the conference, we can hardly say that Chavis has done remarkably better than our own defensive coaches did, in so much as creating a "Championship Program."
But hey, no contracts have been signed yet. Maybe we'll get Mike Tomlin to leave the Steelers. He's gotta want a bigger challenge.
After a comment by Paul Westerdawg (georgiasports.blogspot.com), I decided to look into CHAVIS v MEYER as opposed to CHAVIS v FL. Here's what I learned:
I certainly won't argue with Chavis' success in recent years against Meyers' offense....that's relative success, anyway. When you hold a team 13 points under its average, but still give up 30, that's nothing to be excited about.
Also - and I haven't gotten into deep analysis (looking into special teams scores, or scores by the defense), but am looking purely at scoreboard finals here -
in Chavis' five games against FL, he has a 1-4 record, the same as Martinez. In the first three years, TN was 1-2 against FL, giving up 32ppg. UGA was 1-2 against FL, giving up 21.7 ppg.
In the past two seasons, UGA gave up an avg of 45ppg, and Chavis' D (TN then LSU) avgd 21.5ppg surrendered.
I don't know if I just made the case for Chavis or not, but it looks like he's gotten ahead of the curve against Meyer. Definitely will make me feel better about the hire if it happens.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
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