"The Stats Don't Lie"
You hear that all the time. Well, I suppose that's true. The Georgia Bulldogs DID have the 116th best redzone scoring percentage...or, the 5th worst as some would call it. Yes, they allowed the opposing team to score 91% of the time that the opponents got inside the 20. That's horrid.
Nevermind the fact that the raw number was 29 scores...which was actually good enough for #22 in the country. Oh, and only two teams (Alabama, Boise State) gave up less than 20 scores from within the redzone.
So we're clear, Georgia only allowed their opponents into the redzone 32 times. 32 times in 14 games. That's less than 3 possessions per game. Let's not forget turnovers inside the 20, either. I can remember a few of those (how about losing to South Carolina after a couple?). Six teams in college football allowed their opponents to enter the redzone less often. Six.
I'm not trying to sing high praises on our ability to prevent scores, I'm really not. Doing further digging, I found that Georgia allowed their opponents into the redzone 8 times in every month of football. 8 times in September (Aug/Sep actually, due to the first game being in Aug), 8 in October, 8 in November, and 8 in December (December/Jan...yay bowl game). What's scary? The D allowed 7 scores in Aug/Sep, 6 in October, and then 8 in Nov and 8 in Dec/Jan. After GA/FL, our defense did not stop ANYONE in the redzone.
Yup, that's frightening.
Let's look at it....
1st game after Florida - New Mexico State... 2nd quarter, NMST gets to the 11, pushes to the 5, and settles for a field goal. 4th Quarter, playing against reserver, NMST hits a big pass to the 10, then scores on a run. (2nd TD is from outside redzone - long pass from 22)
2nd game after Florida - Auburn - 1st quarter, AU gets a HUGE pass of 45 yards to the UGA 10. Then, they get some penalty help, and on a 3rd and 4 hit the FB/TE freak Lutzenkirken for a TD. They don't sniff the redzone again.
3rd game after Florida - Kentucky - 1st quarter, UK gets a HUGE pass of 46 yards to our 15. They end up with a field goal. 2nd Quarter, Malcome fumbles on the UGA 27. A couple passes and a pass interference penalty later, and KY has a 1st and goal at the 2. The Dawgs give up the score. And, Kentucky ends their redzone attempts.
4th game after Florida - Georgia Tech - 2nd Quarter GT drives the option game down to the UGA 9. Three plays later, they kick a field goal from the 4. Then, a steady option drive goes 80 yards in 7:07 and results in a score. ouch. 4th quarter, GT hits a 36 yard pass to our 17. Two plays later, they score on a 16-yard run against our backups.
5th game after Florida - LSU - We're up 10-7 in the third when the wheels come off. Murray fumbles on our 26. Two plays later, Hilliard hits a 15 yard run for a TD. The next drive, we three-and-out, punt and they return it to the 17. Three rushes (and an incomplete pass) later, and they score again. We throw a pick. They get a few good runs, including a 20-yarder to our 9. Jefferson hits a pass for TD. The final two LSU scores are off a 49-yard run, and a pick-six.
6th game after Florida - MSU - 3rd Quarter, Murray throws a pick at our 48. They have a good sustained drive, and score. Murray throws a pick-six for their second score of the quarter. 4th quarter, they hit a 50 yard pass to our 9. On third down, they hit a seven yard TD pass. Later, they drive from their own 15 to a 1st and goal from our 1 on a mixture of medium and long runs and passes. Maybe the defense was gassed. Either way, we give up a TD for the tie, sending us into OT. In OT, they kick a field goal from the 18 and a field goal from the 11.
In summation, yeah, it wasn't the way you want to end a year on defense. Every time an opponent got into our Redzone, they scored. Sure, it was only 16 times in 6 games, but that's still too many. But, what did we learn our greatest weakness is? Well, it appears to this casual observer that if we eliminate redzone turnovers, and huge passes, we reduce the number of opportunities even further. Also, the two OT possessions are pretty much gimmies anyway. The drives start on the 25, so all they need is five yards to get a "red zone" possession...and a fieldgoal from 20-and-in is considered a gimmie.
Does our redzone defense need to improve? Of course it does. But, was it as dire as the stat of 116/120 would lead you to believe? Not a chance in hell.
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So funny, I was about to email you about that blog referencing this stat. I knew you would be able to debunk it. My gut was that we turned it over deep a lot. Forgot (repressed) all the long passes though.
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