My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Willie Martinez: Master of Adjustments?

This info is from Jim F., the A.J. Green of Bulldogs Blog readers. I figured it was definitely worth sharing...

There is a cliché in football that says “Good coaches make halftime adjustments; Good Coaches excel at 'in game' adjustments.” The theory is that coaches are doing what they are suppose to be doing – scheming, whether on the fly with clock running or at the break, once the game starts to unfold.

Note, I know that QB rating is one of the most overused, misunderstood and misleading (at times) stat, but it is quick to find. With that limitation stated look at the table below for the UGA Defense:

RatingFirst Downs
All 972 125.79 41 23 9
1st Half
554 136.57 23 15 6
2nd Half
418 115.29 18 8 3
1st Quarter
305 165.19 13 9 4
2nd Quarter
249 106.33 10 6 2
3rd Quarter
302 147.00 13 6 3
4th Quarter
116 75.8 5 2 0

* stats courtesy of CBS Sports.

Compare QB rating 1st half to 2nd half, 136 to 115. But other indicators drop dramatically as well -- first downs, the “Big Plays" which UGA has been most susceptible too, and most importantly TDs are cut by one-third. Ditto for opponent passing yards allowed.

And once the game gets rolling, look at the second & fourth quarter stats compared to first and third. The fourth quarter defense has been outstanding all year long. IMHO, after all the Xs & Os coaches can think to do, on both sides, talent takes over and UGA players are coming through. No Big Plays over 25 yards allowed, just one TD and 36 percent pass completions. That’s doing SOMETHING right on D.

With the cliché as the criteria, the data says that Willie Martinez is coaching his silver britches off and his scheming has paid dividends.

Back to Dave's comments...

First off, I wish I had enough extra salary to hire Jim on full time. Seriously, great work, Jim.

Secondly, this so clearly underscores what is wrong with knee-jerk reactions by fans that it's almost a shame to have to post it. I'm not saying Willie Martinez is the second coming of Erk Russell. Clearly he has his faults, and at the end of the day, he has to take as much responsibility for what has happened in the first and third quarters as he takes credit for the success in the second and fourth quarters.

But one of the biggest knocks I hear about Willie is that he's incapable of making adjustments, and the truth is, the stats simply don't bear this out.

Now, to use my second "Simpsons" quote of the day, you can find stats to prove anything. Fourteen percent of all people know that.

But these numbers seem pretty convincing, and they aren't inflated by just one or two screwy games. Georgia's defense has been amazingly successful late, and when you consider how much they've been on the field -- Georgia has won the time of possession battle just once this year -- it's hard to argue that the best explanation for that is anything other than some good coaching adjustments by Willie and Co.

Oh, and these stats weren't the only intriguing find by Jim this week. He also noticed an odd similarity, courtesy of Sports Illustrated...


Dawgsopinion said...

I see where you are going with this, however the fact that Willie cannot either get his players motivated or can not breakdown game film is amazing to me. The numbers do drop in the 2nd and 4th quarters but why is the opposing offense being able to run up and down the field in the first and third. I also did a post on my blog,, about how since Martinez has taken as DC our P/G and overall defensive rank have been going up every year. Unless and major change happens the rest if this year then this trend will continue.

MikeInValdosta said...

No numbers to back it up, but UGA, under Richt, has always defended better in the 2nd and 4th quarters.

Not trying to take anything away from Willie, but I do believe our depth is a significant contributor to these stats.

Anonymous said...

I think Mark Twain once said, "There are lies, damn lies and statistics."

I guess I will just forget what I saw in the West Virgina, Tenn, Fla, Ga Tech, Tenn games and other games.

For the record, I have been saying the GA defense was getting worse before the WV game and was ridiculed as not seeing what I saw. At this point, if you do not fire Willie, then hire ex NFL consultants to help both Willie and Bobo get better and be more consistent. They make too much money for these results. I do not want anyone fired but as someone else said, this is not a retirement home. Apparently both these coaches have good qualities so make them better.

Anonymous said...

There is also a flip side to this. The opposing coaches are making adjustments to what Willie is doing as well. I'm sure other coaches have a good game plan as to what they think will work against GA's D, often times things not necessarily shown in previous Game film. What you are seeiing in the second quarter stats is Willie adjusting to what the offenses are currently succeeding with. Hence that same plan stops working. 3rd quarter stats go up again because guess what, opposing coaches make halftime adjustments as well. Willie then counters those adjustments, dropping the stats in the 4th quarter. Opposing coaches are paid big money to make the same type of adjustments we're asking Willie to make. You have to at least give them some credit. The question is not whether Willie is making the necessary adjustments, it's how fast he's able to implement the adjustments. When the defense has to turn around and go back on the field right after an offensive turnover, he has no time to implement the necessary adjustments with the players.

ctdawg said...

I am no Martinez fan but let's look at it another way. Martinez IS good at preparing the D for pro style offenses and Miserable at devising a plan against the spread or zone read option teams. Embarrassing performances against W. VA, FL, Ga Tech and Ok State have proved that. To the comment that they should get an NFL type involved, that wouldn't solve anything as these offenses do not exist in the NFL.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at intensity levels from the 2004 LSU game vs the 2009 Arkansas game.

david said...

would it be possible to get a better link as to where jim f. got these statistics? id like to do this analysis for all teams, or at least a couple other teams in the sec (or jim f. can do it if he prefers :)). im curious as to whether or not other teams also show this trend? if so, then maybe teams just get tired in the 4th quarter, or defenses get up for big stops, or perhaps other coaches are better at adjusting. im not saying this analysis doesnt show something, but you have to put it in context. we have to be able to compare georgia with someone else.

id like to also point out something my friend and i always talk about at games.... the defense just always looks confused. when they are subbing in and out, it seems that no one knows where they are supposed to be, if they are supposed to be in, etc. at one point on saturday, after a defensive timeout, the defense was on the field, and they rushed out another player. then, the coaches tried to put in another player, but pulled him back. complete disorganization (much like this rambling comment!).

David Hale said...

Hey david,

Here's the full link:

Let me know how it goes!


Anonymous said...

It's so funny that one of the things I noticed on Saturday was that Brandon Wood and Abry Jones were in on ASU's 1st or 2nd drive of the game.

We sub very liberally on the DL in the 1st half so that the starters are fresh in the 4th Q.

I think it leads to problems early, but our guys are fresh late.

ColoradoDawg said...

3rd quarter scoring differential: UGA - 25, Opposition - 43. UGA has only turned the ball over twice in the 3rd quarter, so that can't be the only explanation for the disparity. Somebody is making adjustments at halftime, but that must be the opposing OC and DC.

Notice the improvement in the defense's numbers in the 2nd and 4h quarters when our depth takes hold. All that is keeping us in these games is the high level of recruiting CMR has maintained since he's been in Athens.

Willie has to go. He's simple and easy to figure out. CMR needs to take the next step as the CEO of our organization and fire somebody. Being in charge means sometimes you have to be the bad guy.

david said...


im sending you some stats if you want to post them (it didnt seem like i could make them look good on the comments). i will put this here...

in passing yards given up by the defense, here are georgia's ranks in each quarter in the sec: 12, 12, 11, 6. in first downs: 12, T8, 12, T3. in passer rating: 12, 10, 10, 5.

so, it seems to me that the defense's "adjustments" has more to do with starting from a terrible position. its like beer goggles.... yeah, our second half passer rating of 115.29 looks pretty good relative to the first half 136.57, but it doesnt look too good considering that out of Tech, Florida, and Vandy, only one of them (Tech, in the second half) has a passer rating in any half of more than 115.29 (155.3).

IveyLeaguer said...

Willie is a great schemer, I've always maintained that and defended him that way. When it's X's & O's WM is very good. His adjustments pale with that of BVG, but what other DC doesn't? BVG may be the best there is.

The problem, as I've been trying to say for a long time now, is the ability of WM to get the performance he wants out of his players.

A famous coach once said this at a AFCA convention: "I wouldn't walk across the street to hear Bear Bryant talk about X's & O's. But I'd crawl all the way to Tuscaloosa on my hands and knees if I could learn what it is he does to get his players to play the way they play."

The only real difference between BVG & WM is THAT.

Good post, David.


The Watch Dawg said...

Enter the posters that say: "well, I see too many conversions on 3rd and long." We all have certain plays that stick out in our mind more than others because they frustrate us, but the fact is that people tend to only remember those frustrating plays, and exaggerate how often they happened. The Willie Martinez criticism this year, in my opinion, is based more off of what happened last year than this year. The reasonable fan can see where the turnovers have put the defense, and even then how the D has come up with goal line stands or stops in critical moments of the game, and see that Willie isn't as incompetent as half the haters make him out to be.

Bottom line is: Without 3 turnovers a game, right now we're talking about how Willie has turned it around, instead of debating whether he should be collecting a paycheck. And if you don't buy that, go look at the detailed game summary and see where the opponents' points are coming from and where they were starting on the field when they scored them.

Anonymous said...

Time of possession is something to look at also. If Ga offense is on the field more than the defense then the stats are going to decrease. Ga likes to come out in the 2nd half and run the ball and eat up clock. Stats can be manipulated to tell you anything you want. The fact is our overall stats are getting worse each year. You can breakdown the stats all you want but seriously can you sit here and say that the defense is not a problem?

Anonymous said...

If Willie's halftime adjustments are so great how does one explain the increase in numbers/offensive stats from the second to third quarters? It is more logical that it is not WM's adjustments rather than talent and depth of talent UGA has over the opponents they have faced this year. Let's face it UGA has yet to play a "top tier" team this season, yet our defense is getting run..rather thrown all over. While the overall half stats may reflect that WM is a "master" of adjustments the individual quarter stats are more telling. I believe the defensive stats this year reflect one's past time that we Free Willie!!!

Anonymous said...

Two problems with Jim's analysis. First, it ignores the dynamic nature of a football game. If Team A gets a lead, it isn't going to open up the playbook on offense and risk turnovers, which might let Team B back in. So you have to discount another team's failure to score in certain situations. Examples: Tennessee in 2007, Bama in 2008, West Virginia, 2005, etc.. To some degree, OSU in the 4th quarter this year.

Second, one of the reasons we look better in the adjustments category is we look so bad to begin games. I don't think it's exactly a ringing endorsement of a DC to say "he gets his lunch eaten but then figures things out." Part of his job is to confuse the other team from the outset, not wait until they've taken apart his base D to see what he should do to adjust.

What did Cox say after OSU? They were giving us looks we hadn't seen and we had trouble adjusting. How often do you see other teams saying that about our D under CWM?

Just asking.