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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Yes We Can": Delivering Hope to Bulldog Nation

Here's a comment from Greg, who writes: David- you apparently LOVE analyzing numbers.

Can we get some analysis that gives us some sort of hope or optimism this afternoon?

I know there isn't much to go around-- We have a running game that averages fewer yards per carry this season than Joe Cox would be if he just took the snap and snuck into the pile instead (yes, that is after I remove the 80 and the 61-- and you know exactly what I'm talking about).

Can you maybe find some evidence to tell us how Aaron Murray is going to take the reigns next year, and teamed with a superior WR/TE corps and, if we're lucky, a running back and an O-Line with Trinton Sturdivant, lead us to the promised land?

We need something positive to talk about going into this weekend.


David: First off, I know the blog has been a bit numbers heavy this week so far. While I do like doing a few posts on the stats each week, this time it's not entirely my fault. With last week's furlough, I had very little actual reporting to work from so far because the first interviews I had done in 10 days were yesterday afternoon. So the numbers are about all I had to work with. It'll get better as the week goes on, I promise.

Second, for those of you looking for some good news -- It's not that I'm not looking. In fact, while it certainly wasn't a ringing endorsement, I did blog yesterday about Florida's struggles in the passing game and on Monday about the idea that moving Clint Boling to the left side of the line might be a good step in the right direction.

But how about something to actually feel good about? How about the perfect scenario for a Georgia win this week?

In truth, that's probably what needs to happen. Georgia needs to play its best game of the season in all three phases and probably have a few breaks go their way to come out on top -- but I don't think that's so far fetched.

For one, the Dawgs are coming off a bye week, so there's no excuse for each unit not to be better prepared for this game than they have been for any since the opener. And if you'll recall, the D actually looked pretty good in the opener, and while the offense struggled, that was at least in part due to a ton of first-time starters and a QB with the flu.

Secondly, it may have only been against Vandy, but Georgia's last win was a much needed boost of confidence. Hearing Mike Bobo talk about why he went to the sidelines, noting how little confidence some of the younger players seemed to have, I think that shows just how important a small taste of success might be. To steal the old cliche, whether you believe you can or you believe you can't, you're right. (I think a great man named Stewie Griffin said that.)

And third, the SEC has reached its tipping point with the referees. Yes, Florida has gotten all the calls this season. Yes, Georgia got screwed out of a victory because of a bad call. But at this point, the officiating blunders are so obvious that the league simply can't afford another one. That can only benefit Georgia. And truth be told, the Dawgs are probably due for a few breaks in other areas, too.

It's hard to predict a Georgia win, but it's not so tough to envision a scenario in which it could happen. A Brandon Boykin touchdown on special teams gives UGA seven points it didn't have to get against the Gators' stout defense. A Tim Tebow pick sets up another easy seven. Florida's D might be good, but A.J. Green is better, and eventually, he'll break a long one for another seven. Throw in a lucky break here or there and a couple of field goals from Blair Walsh -- avenging his worst outing of his career a year ago -- and all of a sudden Georgia's got 34 points, which is more than enough to beat the struggling Gators' offense, right?

It's a lot of 'ifs' but none of them seem unreasonable.

Oh, and here's one other worthwhile bit of info:

YearUGA Total Yards
Fla Total Yards
2002 294 381
2003 390 324
2004 405 458
2005 286 261
2006 215 319
2007 413 343
2008 398 373

Since 2002, Georgia's record against Florida is just 2-5, but last year's was the only game the Bulldogs lost by more than seven points, and Georgia has actually had more total yards than the Gators four times in seven games, including last year's "blowout."

On average, UGA has tallied 343 yards per game of offense, while Florida has tallied 351 yards per game. What that tells me is, if you take away the final score, these two teams have been essentially even for the past seven years. Moreover, Georgia's two least productive games were when Joe Tereshinski made his first career start filling in for an injured D.J. Shockley and when Matthew Stafford was starting just the fourth game of his career as a true freshman. Give the Dawgs a couple more bye weeks and a bit more experience at QB, and there's no reason to think they wouldn't be well out ahead.

Oh, and before you say, "Well, that doesn't account for our crappy defense," there's this:

Year
Fla. Avg. Yards
vs. UGA
Diff.
2002 406 ypg
381 <-25>
2003 391 ypg
324 <-67>
2004 427 ypg
458 +31
2005 373 ypg
261 <-112>
2006 396 ypg
319 <-77>
2007 457 ypg 343 <-114>
2008 445 ypg
373 <-72>
TOTAL 414 ypg 351 <-63>

Georgia's defense has held high-flying Florida to below its season average (by a pretty wide margin, I might add) in six of the past seven games. The only time they didn't hold the Gators in check, actually, was 2004 when the Bulldogs won.

It's probably also worth noting that the four best performances by the D in terms of holding Florida below their average yardage all came under Willie Martinez. He may have his faults as a coordinator, but he seems to have the Gators' number. (And let's not forget, Florida won two national titles during that stretch and had Ron Zook coaching them while Brian Van Gorder helmed the Dawgs' D.)

So how's all of that for optimistic info?

Now, let's get to our next comment, which was posted anonymously: NO Greg he cannot.

David was breast fed in the northern journalism tradition of "bitch, bitch bitch,tear them down". Its a part of his DNA. How he ended up in Macon, Ga is a great mystery.

His snyde inclusion of CWM's throwaway comment "I don't know if we can slow him down." is exhibit A. Oh David, that was rich journalism.

But you know what David says, "If you don't like my analysis go to georgiadogs.com."

David: Oh, right. I forgot. Skip all that stuff I just wrote. Please go to Georgiadogs.com instead.

P.S. Accurately quoting a source is actually pretty commonplace journalism, rather than "rich" and you spelled snyde wrong.

P.P.S. -- If you have a question or comment, don't forget we'll be chatting live at noon tomorrow at Macon.com/UGAChat. You can go there now and post your questions, and I'll spend an hour providing the answers (or close approximations of answers) tomorrow at noon.

10 comments:

Greg said...

David-

That almost convinced me to jump off the "fire Willie" bandwagon. Bravo! That's really saying something.

People can bitch and moan about the fact that a lot of the recent blogs are negative (and I did a little bit before) but the bottom line is that the subject material warrants a good bit of criticism right now.

Our offensive line is going to be a HUGE factor this weekend because of the skills of FLA's front four (or 8, really, if you look at their two-deep). Let's hope old Stacy can put something cohesive together rather than playing musical chairs just to play musical chairs.

As much as a FLA fan would love to hear it, I think the defining picture in my mind of last year's game was Spikes tearing through our line and leveling Knowshon in the backfield. We have to win the battle in the trenches and get some sort of a push out of both lines if we want to have any chance to win this game.

They are way too fast for us to lose the game from a physicality standpoint and still hope to come within 2 touchdowns them where it counts.

Ben Rockwell said...

Thanks, David; it's a pretty dreary time right now, but we do forget that for the most part UGA has been in every game with UF since CMR got there except for last year. Now, that could be a mental hump or it could be karmic justice for the all the times a better UF team was felled by a lesser UGA team; I don't know.

Even in big, intense rivalries there are outliers (2002 Tech, anyone?), and I think last year may be the same (hoping...). No one gave the Dawgs a chance in 1997, and we pantsed them that year. Anyone think Mike Bobo isn't telling the kids that this year as motivation?

We've got the talent, this isn't a BAD coaching staff, and there's no pressure on the Dawgs to actually win this game like there was last year. This might be set up perfectly...

Macon said...

David, I for one love the blog and the depth you put into it. I would much rather read your information than most of the other opinions (AJC) stuff. My only hope is the idiot commentators that plague the AJC blogs don't find a place here on yours.
You do a great Job and the Macon Telegraph is lucky to have such a professional as yourself on Staff,

Anonymous said...

Hale-

Regardless of whether or not UGA wins this weekend, this will be the biggest stage of Joe Cox's career. I would love to see him win this game.

What is the status of Spikes and the UF defense in regards to injuries?

Jamar said...

David,

Just saw Vince Vance got arrested this morning. Discipline will be handled in-house, and he won't be suspended, according to the ABH.

Anonymous said...

Anon- ESPN reports that Spikes and the rest of the FLA defense should return this week just in time to play us. FML.

the tri guy said...

I love your theory David, but we're not scoring a special teams touchdown against them. Meyer puts the kind of emphasis on ST that Richt SHOULD put on them and they're not going to cost UF points.

For all the talk of lesser UGA teams beating Florida in the past, I've been to 4 GA/FL games in my life when I thought UGA was CLEARLY the better team (1992, 2002, 2003, and 2005) and yet lost to a UF team coming off a bye.

It's karma and we owe them, I truly think we are going to win. But....we HAVE to score first, and our receivers and DB's must pull, grab, and push as much as UF's and MAKE the officals call a penalty.

Knoxdawg said...

"Hello, Urban, I come bearing a gift. I'll give you a hint. It's in my diaper and it's not a toaster."

Stewie Griffin

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm a journalist, myself, and I think you do a great job of being balanced and fair, David. Don't let clueless people bring you down.

Anonymous said...

It will be an all out war. 2 reasons.
#1 This Gator team doesn't have Percy Harvin.
#2 This is basically Georgia's bowl game.

Georgia will show up well prepared. The question is will someone finally step forward and make plays when called upon outside of AJ Green.

After we win this game, and we will win this game, people will glance at the schedule and realize a Gator loss in Columbia would put the Dawgs in the SEC Championship game.