Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dawgs find new life while riding the couch this week

50% of Dawgfans out there have written off the season. The other 50% are looking for a miracle.  In a season like this, that's kinda what you have to do.  The injury bug has been a mothra-sized pain in the, well… pain in the everything really.  The training room looks like the casualty tent in Apocalypse Now.

Yet, we stand 6 days from a game in Jacksonville with greater light at the end of the Atlanta tunnel than many believed possible going into this morning.  We all knew Connor Shaw was injured.  Things were setting up oh-so-well for Mizzou, as they were facing their third straight team with MAJOR injury issues.  Sure, for Cackalacky it was only one guy - but it was THE guy.  Don't believe me?  Compare the 0 points South Carolina had prior to Shaw to the 27 points they scored with Shaw in the game.  For those who didn't watch, and haven't read anything, USC won 27-24 in 2nd OT.  The first half of the second OT was the first time in which South Carolina led the game.  See, Spurrier called on Shaw in the 3rd quarter, and he led the Cocks back from a 17 point deficit to a 17-17 tie and then an OT win.

The win kept South Carolina's hopes for a possible trip to Atlanta alive.

Of course, it also kept UGA's same hopes alive.

So now, UGA will head to Florida with something to play for.  UGA will head to Florida with Todd Gurley back in the lineup.  And, UGA will head to Florida with a defense that has definitely seen its share of improvement over recent weeks.

For those who, like me, think we can still make it to Atlanta, we need Mizzou to stumble twice more. With Tennessee, Ole Miss and TAMU on the schedule, 2 losses are possible.  Mizzou loses two more, and UGA loses no more…and we're in Atlanta.

But it all starts on Saturday for UGA.  We have to put Florida away for the 3rd time in as many seasons.  With Gurley back in the lineup, I think we have a damn good shot at that.  Despite what a number of mailbag trollers and gut-feeling bloggers will tell you, this defense is getting better.  It's taking time, and it certainly isn't pretty…but the defense is getting better.  They're making stops.  They're causing turnovers.      They're doing what they have to do.

Will it be enough?  Only time will tell.  The next two offenses Georgia faces aren't the best.  If they can continue to improve, and gain more confidence, the Dawgs will have a nice opportunity to beat their 3rd top 10 team this season (Auburn) and they'll need to if they want to go to Atlanta.

And Mizzou will have to lose 2 more games.

Who's ready for a fun end to the season?


Saturday, October 12, 2013

You Want to See A Championship Team

2013.  The University of Georgia.  National Champions.

That's what you want to see.  That's why you watch the games on Saturdays.  That's why you scour the blogosphere for the rest of the week.  That's why you dig through the numbers in my blog.  That's why you dare to click on a Bleacher Report article.  That's why you follow every link The Senator puts on his board.  You are a Dawgfan, and you want to see our team as National Champions.

We lost the first game.  Your pride was hurt.  But still, you want to see us as National Champions.  You listened to the experts when they told you that it's ok for Georgia to lose that game.  If there was gonna be one, it had to be that one.  It had to be the Non-Con game that was against a great football team.  You want to see our team as National Champions, so you keep tuning in.

Though the game was tight, we BEASTED South Carolina.  Normally you get excited when The OBC throws his visor.  This time, he threw in the towel.  He went to the locker room with timeouts in his pocket, an 8.5 minute drive having pounded all the fight out of him.  Our defense was less than stellar, yet still you believed.  Because you want to see our team as National Champions.

We struggled against LSU.  We were able to pull out a gutsy, emotional win...but we looked bad on defense doing it.  The kid who was too salty to be a Dawg almost cooked our goose.  But we have faith in a player who has done nothing but do everything right since day 1.  He played out of his mind, and we beat the second #6 team we'd faced.  In the waning moments, when our defense faced Mettenberger, you thought we might lose.  You've "seen too much Georgia football" - maybe you've just been a fan of sports in the state of Georgia for too long.  The Braves.  The Falcons.  The Dawgs.  They'll give you heart attacks.  So, when Metts got into the shotgun, you put your hands over your eyes....but you split two fingers, because you just had to watch.  Because you want to see our team as National Champions.

Then we went into a "trap" game.  A team with nothing too lose, playing against a team with everything to lose - except its starting Tailback, who'd already been lost - in one of the largest, loudest stadiums in all of college football.  We'd come off an emotional win.  We were wounded and tired.  Player after Player went down to injury.  You couldn't believe it.  You thought "this is where it all ends.  This is where "living dangerously" finally catches up to us.  We gave up a fourteen point lead in the second half.  You wanted to hurl your remote at the tv, and shut it off.  But you didn't.  You watched, because you want to see a Championship Georgia Team.


You know what a Championship Team is?  They're a team that's been through the ringer.  They've faced it all.  They've seen adversity, and had to fight through it.  They've stared down the barrel of  a painful loss, and laughed at the next bullet in the chamber.  The "easy road" does not make a champion.  A Championship is unlike anything else in competition.  You look back, and you have to think "Just how in the hell did we get here?"  A Championship Team is special.  They are unified.  They have one goal, and they will push themselves - and each other - to the brink in order to succeed in that goal. They do not make excuses, but learn from their mistakes.  They take ownership and responsibility, and when the chips are down, they buck up.

Just watch this afternoon.  Watch these Georgia Bulldogs.  See if they have what it takes.  They face a confident 5-0 Missouri team.  They're missing a TON of starters.  They're missing leadership.  They're missing talent.  They're missing production.  The defense is learning on the job.  The offense is patchwork at best.  They are looking up at Everest, and realizing they left their boots on the plane.  They have no time, no room, no need for excuses.  They have to adjust.  They have to survive. They have to fight through the adversity and the pain and every surprise that comes at them, and they have to win.  They have to do that, because You want to see the 2013 Georgia Bulldogs as National Champions.

Go Dawgs.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

About that Offensive 3rd down success rate...

Seen a lot this week about how bad UGA is at converting on third down, and I thought folks were talking about DEFENSE.  But then I saw people saying we were uncharacteristically bad on 3rd down on offense.  So, I decided to look into it.

UGA's 36.92% is indeed 83rd in the country.  That sounds really really bad.  It's even worse when you look at the fact that we've converted only 24 3rd downs all year, good for 101st in the country.


Of course, then you have realize that Georgia also is tied with the 100th most 3rd down attempts (65).  Or, as some would say... 22nd best.

Oh, and at HOME, we're at 42%, which is good for around 50th in the country.

We've run on 27 of the 65 3rd downs.  We've converted 4 FD.  We have 1 rushing TD on 3rd down.

5/27 is 18.5%.  We convert on 18.5% of 3rd downs by rushing.

Our best down-to-go distance?  3 or less.  We're average 2.22 yards on third 1-3.  On 3rd and 4-9, we're averaging less than a yard per attempt.  On third and 10+, we're averaging 5.17 YPC...but that's not great, considering the to-go is 10+.

We've passed on 38 3rd downs.

Again, we do well on 3rd and 1-3.  We're completing 83.3% on 3rd and 1-3 (5/6 with 3 FD and 1 TD).
3rd and 4-9 we're 11/19 with 6FD and 2 TD.   On 3rd and 10+, we're 6/13 with 2TD, 2FD and 1 INT).  Murray's completion mark of 57.9 on 3rd down is his lowest on any down (2nd down %age of 70.6 is his highest).

Interestingly enough, Murray is better on 3rd and 7-9 (63.6) than on 3rd and 4-6 (50).  But, 3rd and 10+ is downright scare.  Murray's only completing 46.2%.

So, we're seeing what we know - while "GEORGIA FOOTBALL" is power running and built on being able to blow folks off the ball, on 3rd down, they're dropping the ball.  The passing game is where we succeed on 3rd down.

Also, here's a fun one for you - we've made a 1st down on 1st down 47 times.  38 times we've done it on 2nd down. 21 times we've made a 1st down on 3rd (3 more by penalty).  We've scored 10 TDs on 1st down, 9 TDs on 2nd down and 6 TDs on third down.

We can see that Georgia's offense is at its best on 1st down.  We get the most 1st downs, and we get the most TDs.  3rd down is our worst down.  We've made less 1st downs, and less TDs.

Of course, that's all based on raw numbers.  When you start to break down all of them by percentages, you find that our "Success" percentage (either scoring or getting a first down) on 3rd down isn't that far off from our other downs.

47/175 = 26.85%
38/114 = 33.33%
21/65 = 32.30 % (I'm guessing we've converted-by-penalty 3 times, since we have 16 passes and 5 runs which have converted)

So, while we put so much stress on 3rd down because its our "Last chance" (before our actual "last chance") to get a 1st, the 3rd down Offense is not, from a %age basis, lacking so much from the rest of the offense.

Ok, that was exhausting.

Go Dawgs.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

About that second half defense...

So, now hopefully you've seen that the defensive backs WEREN'T God-awful in the first half.  I mean, seriously...I HOPE you understand that by now.  Now, let's take a look at the second half.

LSU's 1st possession

1st and 10, LSU 25.  I formation Normal - Base 3-4.

Mettenberger Play-Action to Landry, 10 yards downfield.  Langley plays the ball perfectly, makes a hit right as the ball gets there, and knocks it away.

1st and 10, LSU 36.  Offset-I right, Twins Right - Base 3-4.

They bring Landry in motion in from the sideline to just inside the other wideout. Play-action.  Landry drags across the formation and Mettenberger hits him at about 5 yards, on the opposite hash.  Langley was covering on the play.  Now, people are gonna say Langley wasn't "Tight enough" - but what those people apparently didn't see is that Langley had to run around Jordan Jenkins to stay on Landry.  That's what created the space.  That's how the offensive play was designed.

3rd and 2, UGA 21.  Shotgun Empty Doubles, TE left.  We look almost like we're in a 4-3.  It's 3-4 personnel, but we have 4 with hands in the dirt, and three LBS standing back about 4 yards.  

We rush 4, but the pocket holds well.  Metts throws it to goalline for Beckham, but misses him.  Tray Matthews was defending on the play.  Danielson goes on about how "Swain" (Swann) is signaling for "where is my safety" - which he wasn't.  See, he wasn't saying that, because the safety was lined up just inside of him, and had man coverage on the slot receiver on that side.  But, Danielson is a grade-A idiot when it comes to saying stuff that will make our fans go crazy, and that's exactly what happened.  I can't tell you how many times I've read about THAT EXACT PLAY when people are referring to our D not knowing what's going on.  Oh, and by the way, that play WAS AN INCOMPLETE PASS.

They kick a FG.

LSU's 2nd possession

2nd and 7, LSU 23.  Offset I.  TE left, FB right, 2 WR stacked right.  Base 3-4, both Corners playing on the L side (due to apparent man coverage)

We rush 5, but the pocket holds.  Landry runs a drag.  This looks very much like the play from their first possession, except Landry never came in motion.  He started in the back of the stack.  Also, Swann is covering him, and instead of tracking around Jenkins, he bumps Jenkins over into coverage on Landry.  Jenkins doesn't keep up as Landry crosses the formation.  Harvey-Clemons misses a tackle, and Landry gets up the sideline a bit before being brought down by Tray Matthews.

2nd and 9, Georgia 49.  I Formation, Twins Left.  Base 3-4

The throw a quick-WR screen out to Landry.  Beckham cuts Swann, taking him out of the play.  Langley takes a rough angle at first, but adjusts it and makes the tackle.

1st and 10, Georgia 40.  Offset I Formation, Twins Right.  Base 3-4.

Play Action.  We rush four, and just miss on getting there as the ball is thrown.  Mettenberger throws a strike down the middle to Kadron Boone at our 10 yardline, but Tray Matthews lays the lumber, and knocks the ball loose.  Incomplete pass.

2nd and 10, Georgia 40.  Shotgun Trips Right, Back Left.  Base 3-4.

We rush 4, and they screen it to Hill.  It was read well by Chris Mayes, who lunged to trip Hill.  Sterling Bailey (credited as Garrison Smith by Verne and Gary) makes the final tackle.  

3rd and 4 - False Start.

3rd and 9, Georgia 39.  Shotgun Trips Right, Back Left.  2-4-5

We look like we're in a deep cover -3 here.  It's hard to know for sure, but I think Swann is dropping to the right third, Matthews has the middle third, and someone else has the left third.  Harvey-Clemons appears to have Landry 1:1.  Landry beats him with a good route, and Metts puts the ball on the money.  Swann and Matthews can't get over in time, and Landry scores a TD.  Danielson proves again that he's an idiot.  He says GA didn't know what defense they were running because the WR to the left is uncovered.  Apparently, we're even good at disguising defenses in INSTANT REPLAY, because we had a safety up on the line, who immediately falls out to cover that receiver.  Most likely, we're hoping Metts makes the wrong read and throws a quick slant to that receiver, which would likely have been picked off.  Metts doesn't bite on that, and instead is able to hit Landry over the middle.

LSU's 3rd Possession

1st and 10 LSU 41.  I formation, Twins right, TE Left.  Base 3-4, both Corners to Twins side.

Play-Action.  We rush 4, drop 7 into zone.  He throws a 10-yard comeback route to Beckham.  Swann makes the tackle after another 7 yards.  Pretty basic stuff there.  Not a back-breaker.

- end of third quarter -

2nd and 5 from UGA 37.  I Formation, Twins Left, TE Right.  Looks like a Base 3-4.  CBS was late getting back to the action as they were holding on a shot of Verne a nd Gary for some reason.  Metts throws it quick out to Landry in the flats.  Beckham cuts Langley, but Langley stays on his feet and hits Landry.  Matthews meets him to assist on the tackle, a yard behind the 1st down line.  Brings up 3rd and 1.  

I haven't been talking about running plays, but the next play is an Option out of the I-formation, and we shut it down for a 1 yard gain.  Unfortunately, they only needed 1 yard.  But, Tray Matthews came up and made a hell of a good stop.  Our line got good penetration, and we made a stop on the edge.  Important.

 1st and 10 from UGA 32.  Ace formation Twins Left with a TE right, and an H-back (wing) right.  Base 3-4.

Metts drops back.  They call it a play-action, but it looked pass all the way.  Our DE gets cut on the left side, and Jenkins rushes too wide on the right.  No pressure.  Mettenburger sees his TE break open behind Leonard Floyd, who is playing a hook-zone.  What Metts doesn't see is Harvey-Clemons coming over behind him.  He hits his TE in the hands...JHC hits him in the chest.  Incomplete pass.

2nd and 10 from UGA 32.  Shotgun, Trips Left, Single back right, single W/O right.  Base 3-4.

Harvey-Clemons shows blitz, but bails at the snap.  Herrera also fakes a blitz.  Mettenberger gets confused when we don't blitz.  We rush only three, and flush Metts.  He steps up, and Ramik Wilson runs straight at him, forcing a check-down throw which is very nearly intercepted by Jordan Jenkins.  Sadly, the pass is simply incomplete.

3rd and 10 from UGA 32.  Shotgun Twins Left, TE left, HB right, single w/o right.  2-4-5 defense.

This is the "Mettenberger hits Landry on an unbelievable pass" play.

We have two deep safeties, both who stay near the middle of the field.  Landry is covered well by Josh Harvey Clemons.  Harvey-Clemons is playing underneath, because he has help over the top.   Mettenberger throws into triple-coverage anyway, and places the ball perfectly.  There's simply nothing you can do on that one.  Our guys were in position, and played the ball correctly...Mettenberger and Landry just got the better of them.

2nd and Goal from the 2.  This is where we give up the TD.

What happened?  Well, basically, we lost our edge defense.  We're playing 6 on the line, 4 behind them, and one corner out against their only wideout.  Basically, they outmaneuver us when Ray Drew gets sealed by BOTH the TE AND the FB.  None of our LBs nor JHC come down outside.  We basically gambled that they were coming up the middle, and they went to the left.  Because we didn't have anyone scrape the edge, it was a walk-in score.

LSU's 4th Possession

1st and 10, LSU 25.  Offset I-Right Normal.  Base 3-4.

Pre-snap, Swann shows blitz, then backs off, then shows blitz, then backs off...then blitzes at the snap.  The tackle steps wide to pick him up, allowing Jordan Jenkins to run right inside him, straight to Metts for the sack.

This play was actually a double-corner blitz with Jordan Jenkins also rushing.  Langley came from press coverage on a blitz on the other side.  Nasty.

2nd and 17, LSU 18.  Offset I-Left, Twins Left, TE Right.  Base 3-4

Fumbled snap.  It looks like we had 3 LBS coming on a blitz, but it could have been two LBs, and then Wilson just reacted to the fumble.  I really don't know.  Either way, they covered it up, and it brings up third down.

3rd and 23, LSU 12.  Shotgun Empty-Doubles.  TE to the left.  We're in 3-3-5 personnel, but no one is in the camera view other than the down linemen.

This is the play.  This is the one that has our genius fanbase screaming for the heads of our DBs.  This is the play that people are saying defines Todd Grantham's mediocrity.  This is the play, more than any other, that I wish wouldn't have happened, because it gives idiots some form of self-imposed legitimacy.

What happened?  Well, we actually get a decent pass rush, forcing Metts to step up in the pocket.  Unfortunately, no one is there to clean him up.  From what I can tell, the offense is running 5 vertical routes.  Everyone just go for the first down line, and Metts will throw to whomever he thinks is open.  In this situation, he decides to throw it to Beckham, between Wilson and Floyd and in front of Mauger, who made the tackle.  Floyd and Wilson were both in zone, and Beckham simply split it.  Mauger was in a deep zone, and came up to make the tackle, just as is his assignment.  He actually was giving our Corner help on the widest receiver who was headed up the sideline.

This play pissed our fanbase off because many of them wanted us to blitz.  Of course, many of those same people were asking why we were blitzing earlier in the game when a blitz got beat for a big throw.  So, you know, genius fans.  Here's the 17-beers and three quarters of a game-in logic: "It's 3rd and 23! You have to trust that you won't give up the big play.  You have to put the pressure on and force the QB to throw a bad ball.  That's what you HAVE to do."  Of course, this exact same playcall worked 3-4 times against South Carolina.  The fact is, you're much more likely to give up a huge play on a blitz than you are on a deep drop.  Did it suck to give up the first down?  yes.  Would our fanbase be even more rabid if we'd been hit for a bomb TD there?  Yup.  But, I'm not here to talk about what if's.  I'm telling you what happened.   Moving on.

2nd and 9, LSU 39.  I formation, Twins Right, TE left.  Base 3-4.

Playaction.  We rush four.  They drag Landry across the formation, and hit him for a decent gain.

1st and 10, UGA 47.  Offset I Right, Twins Right, TE left.  base 3-4.

Play-Action.  We go Corner-Blitz, and Langley takes a bad angle.  He pushes upfield instead of cutting underneath Jenkins, who was rushing outside.  Something he'll learn from in the film room this week.  Metts hits Landry on the same "Drag" (which is being called an "Over" route by Danielson, so maybe it's an "Over").  They get about 12.

1st and 10, UGA 35.  Offset I-Right, Twins Right, TE left.  Base 3-4

They go play-action, and run a zone-buster combination of routes.  Hurts us, because we're running a zone.  Beckham comes from the outside, running a Post.  Swann can't go with him because he has to cover the back coming to the boundary...I think. It's possible that Leonard Floyd should be following that back into the Flat.  It depends on the specific zone call.   We have three LBs between the hashes, so it looks like that may be a bust.  Either way, there were two deep routes, and 3 short/intermediate routes.  The way the play was designed, we would definitely be in trouble if sitting in zone.

We have two deep safeties, and they converge for the tackle, but the damage is done.   Harvey-Clemons was assisting Langley with the deep route on that side of the field.  From what I can tell, Matthews had the responsibility of defending that pass, and he had to stay deep until Beckham cut off his route.  At the moment Beckham turns, Matthews moves on him, but he's not faster than the football moving from Metts.

1st and Goal at the 8.

They line up in a Heavy I formation, with one wideout to the right.  Exact same formation as on their previous TD.  They run the same play.  We still don't set the edge.  Actually, Drew does a better job of setting HIS edge.  He takes on the widest guy on the line, and stones him.  This play is supposed to go up the middle, but Hill cuts it to the left when he sees no space.  Leonard Floyd is still looking inside, and doesn't pick up on Hill bouncing.  By the time he sees it, it's too late.  They score.

LSU's 5th possession

1st and 10 LSU 24.  Shotgun Trips Right, HB left, single wideout L.  2-4-5

We rush four, Floyd runs a twist and takes Metts down immediately.   Mettenberger got smashed so hard, they called a timeout.  Gave up their only timeout with 1:30 to go, and on their own 18.

2nd and 17 LSU 18.  Shotgun Twins Left, TE, HB, WO right.  2-4-5

They send their back in motion, pulling Swann to the boundry and getting him off Beckham.  We rush four, their protection holds.  Mettenberger hits Beckham crossing into the middle.  Linebacker on Beckham is just a bad matchup.

1st and 10 LSU 35.  Shotgun Twins Left, TE left.  HB,WO right.  2-4-5

We rush 6.  Metts tries to hit Landry crossing the middle, but can't.  Harvey Clemons defending.

2nd and 10 LSU 35.  Shotgun Trips Left, HB, WO right.  2-4-5

We rush 5, with stunts.  Ray Drew deflects Mett's pass.

3rd and 10 LSU 35.  Shotgun Twins Left, TE left.  HB, WO right.  2-4-5

We send five, with two over the center.  The halfback picks up the 2nd guy, and Metts gets the throw off to Landry.  Harvey Clemons defends, and whether he knocked Landry, or Knocked the was incomplete.

4th and 10 Shotgun Trips left, Bunched.  HB, WO right.  2-4-5

Metts motions his Hback in from trips to the backfield.  Jenkins rushes outside, attempts to jump this back, but gets tripped up.  Floyd runs a twist, and even though he doesn't come clean, he forces a bad throw by Metts.  The ball sails over the head of Beckham, and is nearly picked by Matthews.  But, since it's 4th down...we don't even need the turnover.

We kneel the ball, we win the game.

So there it is, every single pass attempt against our defense, and a few other plays as well.  So, in re-watching the game, and in breaking it down, there's no way in hell I can agree with the dominant attitude out there that our team is not any good in pass defense.  It's simply not true.

Did we lose on some plays?  We sure did.  We have a couple of pass-rushing beasts in Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd.  We have a solid Defensive Line.  We have some very talented young DBs who are going to have to grow up, but who played very well over all in this game.

For the most part, what we saw in this game was an NFL OC, and NFL QB and two NFL wideouts who executed a gameplan against a very young secondary.  I don't think the majority of Georgia fans understand that.  Cam Cameron was calling plays in the NFL last season.  The plays he diagrams are very high-level plays.  The guys starting in our defense are very young.  Still, they played their assignments well for the most part.  They gave up more points than we wanted to, yes.  But, they definitely don't "suck" as many fans and bloggers are attempting to put forth.

Mettenberger is a pro talent in his fifth year at LSU.  He makes throws that 95% of college quarterbacks are not going to make.  Those receivers make catches that 95% of receivers are not going to make.  You basically saw two NFL offenses take on two college defenses this weekend.  And ours won.

Future is bright.

Go Dawgs.