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Friday, May 21, 2010

Defense Wins Championships

Somewhat interesting post from Chris Low looking back at the last 10 years of SEC champions.

The stat that jumped out at me is this: Of the past seven conference winners, six have finished in the top 10 nationally in total defense. The lone exception? That'd be Georgia in 2005 (which was a very odd year because the Bulldogs also had the worst total offense finish of any team on the list that season).

And as Low points out -- even the SEC title game losers have strong defenses. In the last decade, only Tennessee's 2007 team stands out as particularly poor defensively (finishing 70th nationally) and only two others finished outside the national top 20.

In addition to the strong national finishes in total D, Georgia's 2005 squad is also the only one since 2002 not to finish among the three best defenses in the conference, too.

Of course, the 2005 season aside, what really matters is what's happened lately.

Here's Georgia's finish defensively each year since its last SEC title:

2006 -- 3rd SEC, 8th nationally
2007 -- 3rd SEC, 14th nationally
2008 -- 6th SEC, 22nd nationally
2009 -- 7th SEC, 38th nationally

It's also worth noting that just once in the past 10 years has an SEC champion finished in the top 10 nationally in total offense, and seven of the past 10 conference winners finished outside the top 20.

So while Aaron Murray will continue to get a lot of attention, it's probably safe to say that the best indication of how far Georgia can go this year will be how effectively Todd Grantham can put a stop to that downward trend on defense.

26 comments:

Ben Rockwell said...

And what did that 2007 UT team do to our beloved Dawgs? Stomped a mudhole in us and then walked it dry.

That is all.

j.leonardjr said...

I don't like that post. Can you delete it?

Those stats are disturbing as I don't think jumping up to one of the Top 3 defenses in the SEC in just one season is going to be an easy task considering the switch to a new scheme. I guess we can hope for a 2005 type of a season.

SECC in '10...Please said...

People say Murray and the D are the two keys to the season...but I really think the key for the season is the OL. A dominant OL, which we have potential of becoming, does two things:

1. Protects Aaron Murray. Let a D put 8 in the box and deal with AJ and Orson 1 on 1.

2. Keeps our developing D off the field, which in turns helps our total defense statistic.

IMO, Searles and the OL need to be similar to the 2002 OL for us to have a shot at going to ATL.

Ben Dukes said...

I'm not surprised, given that my own research (http://dawgsview.blogspot.com/2010/04/thing.html) outed the relationship between offensive and defensive rankings and the BCS title. I would expect the same to be true in the SEC.

It's interesting to me that Low uses the "total defense" and "total offense" numbers instead of "scoring defense" and "scoring offense." To me, and to the rules of the game apparently, it's all about the points on the board...not the yards gained.

As for our ranking in that regard, South Carolina was third in the SEC last year with 300.69 ypg. Georgia was 7th with 339.38. that's a difference of 40 ypg. Now, compare that to the PASSING ypg where SC gave up 163 YPG through the air, and UGA gave up 213. That's a difference of 50 yards per game.

Basically, our pass defense was AWFUL, no surprise, and that made up for MORE than the difference between UGA being #7 or #3. The strengthening of our defense against the pass alone will improve our conference ranking.

All of this hinges on Grantham getting what he needs out of his players. His aggressive style should pay dividends in the "disrupted pass play" area...but it could also result in a few receivers busting big gains as well. We'll see what happens.

pcsjax1 said...

You guys are right on the money! Look at Richt's conference record during the same time frame:

2006 4-4
2007 6-2
2008 6-2
2009 4-4

pcsjax1 said...

You guys are right on the money! Look at Richt's conference record during the same time frame:

2006 4-4
2007 6-2
2008 6-2
2009 4-4

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to have an offense for the 1st time in the Coach Richt Era.

Our 2 SEC Championships were BOTH with the # 49 NCAA Total Offense.

Not impressive, now is it ?

On this junk that UGA fans, alumni, recruits, players and supporters would answer the question that Coach Richt is on the hot seat.

No.

It is so very far from true that we would vote that he is.

It is clear that we are not at all satisfied.

So much promise the first 5 years.

Now, this second 5 years of the Coach Richt Era has not shaped up well at all.

The biggest stubbornness on Coach Richt’s part is not that he waited to make necessary changes to Special Teams and Defense until after last season, but that he is giving up being head coach, CEO, to take over for the offensive coaching staff when they too obviously should have been, and were asked to have been when Willie Martinez was fired.

That and that we have prepared only DJ Shockley as a back-up QB in the entire 10-Year now this season Coach Richt Era. There are those who say that DJ was played some to be prepared when David Greene was here, only because of a promise Coach Shockley made Coach Richt promise DJ when Coach Richt redshirted DJ 2001.

Really the issue boils down to 3 wins 8 losses vs Top 10 Final AP Poll teams AND 8 losses vs not ranked in the Top 25 Final AP Poll teams in the Coach Richt Era. That, and like you say the off-field issues demonstrated on field by 4 years in a row averaging # 96 in NCAA Penalties along with 4 years in a row of 21 fumbles a year all last 4 years and 14 interceptions a year all last 4 years too. # 9 in SEC Football graduation rates in the latest NCAA study released for us 2010. 39 arrests / suspensions the last 3 years according to David Hale macon.com you refer to above for UGA leads the nation.

Anonymous said...

This is 4 years of 10-10 vs SEC East Opponents, the last 4 years now and counting. We cannot get out of our own division of our conference. And, this is the 5th year in a row now when we face South Carolina in Game 2 this up-coming season on the road at night and should we lose that game with our QB not prepared yet again, Coach Richt will have a LOSING RECORD vs SEC East teams over the last 5 years.

38-14 the last 4 years is good for only # 19 in the nation.

14-game seasons nowadays and we average 10 wins.

The bone-headed favorites we have continued to play on Offense, punctuate the personnel decisions the offensive coaching staff continues to make. Questionable personnel decisions on offense have led to Georgia being unable in 2010 Signing Class to recruit the offensive players in this state of Georgia. A state which finds only 3 other states, California, Florida and Texas who send more of their high school players to the NFL.

Orson Charles with 23 catches his freshman year not made starter until the game number 12 because Aron White had 3 catches his freshman year by direct contrast. How in the hell can that be right ?. Knowshon Moreno should not have been redshirted so we only got the best RB here in 30 seasons for only 2 years. Washaun Ealey whom we ripped the redshirt off in the 3rd quarter of the 5th game was the # 11 best Running Back in the Nation. He led the team in rushing and should have had more than 2 starts, and they not even the last 2 games. How is it that we threw Branden Smith 2 passes to all season, just as we threw only 2 passes to Marlon Brown. Zach Mettenberger should have played against Okie State, not just Joe Cox with the flu and with his chronic shoulder both.

Anonymous said...

# 1 in the nation and we averaged 14 carries by Knowshon Moreno in the 3 losses of 31 to nothing at half at home to Bama, 42 unanswered at JAX, and 29 unanswered to a lousy Georgia tek team who obviously would not have been ranked had they not beaten us. # 1 in the nation and 14 players are arrested / suspended that very night.

9-4 in 2006 no QB prepared
8-5 in 2009 no QB prepared
9-4 in 2010 no QB prepared 10-3 ? It will not be better than that.

I have as much hope and optimism for my alma mater as anyone, and I am truthful that you will not reply with a post that you think UGA this year will be better than 10-3. Further, we lose 14 seniors after this season and 5 juniors, all of whom are starters.

28 games we scored no more than 2 touchdowns in the Coach Richt Era and we lost 23 of those 28. We only lost 4 games the entire Coach Richt Era when we scored more than 2 touchdowns. The offense is the problem.

•Off-field incidents continue to plague and embarrass the program.

•Georgia is just 10-10 against the SEC East after 2005 until today

Does the overall record of Coach Richt smooth over the more recent problems ?

No. It is absolutely unacceptable here at UGA to be 10-10 vs SEC East the last 4 years in a row and face South Carolina to have a LOSING RECORD vs just The SEC East then the last 5 years.

It’s not a surprise that somewhat tepid draft results have come during some tumultuous seasons in Athens. With the exception of 2007, the program hasn’t measured up to what it was through 2005. And, with the exception of the 2009 draft, the Bulldogs have landed in fewer of the valuable high round selections.

Talent is much less than when he first arrived, and the glaring personnel decisions on offense have contributed mightily to our offensive woes the last 4 years, and certain to continue both this season with no QB prepared yet again for the 3rd time starting 2006 and after this season losing 14 seniors and 5 juniors all of whom are starters.

I'd say we have a great defense and special teams this year and struggle on offense, costing us our own division, keeping us out of The SEC Championship Game for the 5th consecutive year, and keeping us again unable to beat a Top 5 Final AP Poll team in any bowl game the entire Coach Richt Era.

Anonymous said...

We haven't beat a Top 10 Final AP Poll team in any bowl game the entire Coach Richt Era.

This is because we have had very poor coaching for the entire 9 year Coach Richt Era, especially and still on Offense.

Rival said...

Way to focus on the positives, Anonymous.

It's posters like you that give "journalists" the fodder for their next hot seat column.

CMR made changes, which is what he should have done. We just have to wait to see what happens.

You're not helping.

You're hurting.

BTW, I was suprised to see the good defensive stats finish in the league for the '06 squad. I do not remember that...

meansonny said...

Can we stop with the "stats" regarding our record versus top 10 AP finishes?

If we beat the team, the chances that they qualify as a top 10 AP diminishes by about 90% and they do not get included in the stat.

It's a bogus record that fuels only the negative because the positive will never be quantified.

Anonymous said...

2002 Georgia Bulldogs roster :

Gerald Anderson
Boss Bailey
Billy Bennett
Greg Blue
Kevin Breedlove
Reggie Brown
Tyson Browning
Decory Bryant
Nic Clemons
Kentrell Curry
Thomas Davis
Dale Dixson
Terrence Edwards
Marquise Elmore
Gordon Ely-Kelso
George Foster
Ray Gant
Damien Gary
Robert Geathers
Fred Gibson
Tony Gilbert
Kedric Golsten
David Greene
Arnold Harrison
Daniel Inman
Max Jean-Gilles
Tim Jennings
Michael Johnson
Sean Jones
Jonathan Kilgo
Ian Knight
Kareem Marshall
Bryan McClendon
Martrez Milner
Demario Minter
Quentin Moses
Cory Phillips
David Pollack
Ronnie Powell
Mario Raley
Dennis Roland, Jr.
Ryan Schnetzcr
DJ Shockley
Musa Smith
Jon Stinchcomb
Johnathan Sullivan
Darrius Swain
Randall Swoopes
Russ Tanner
Tony Taylor
Jeremy Thomas
Will Thompson
Bruce Thornton
Ken Veal
JT Wall
Ben Watson
Derrick White

Do you honestly believe that we have 57 players on today’s roster that compares to these here when Coach Richt came here 10 years ago now today ? Does the 2006 roster look better than this ? Does the 2007 roster look better than this ? Does the 2008 roster look better than this ? Does the 2009 roster look better than this ? Does the 2010 roster look better than this. Given the worst recruiting class ever in the Coach Richt Era just now for 2010, by all accounts, and with 14 seniors and 5 juniors all leaving after this up-coming season – all of them starters – does the 2011 roster look better than this ? Is this because of the Coaching Staff of Coach Richt the entire 9 years here that we don't have and haven't had since Jim Donnan's recruits graduated, a roster like the 2002 roster here at UGA ?

Anonymous said...

In recent days, Ben Dukes former Bulldog has spoken out in chart form showing us where Coach Richt’s Offense has ranked every year starting 2001 until today, and the average rank for Coach Richt Era on Offense is NCAA # 52 Total Offense for UGA. Rex Robinson former Bulldog has spoken out about the direction of this Bulldogs’ Football Program and how there is no discipline on or off the field that the players run the show in Athens. Buck Belue has spoken out recently as well about the general direction of the coaching staffs in the entire Coach Richt Era.

Every single publication in the U.S. has spoken out about Coach Richt on the hot seat, and all have concluded that yet another 14-game season with us at least 4 games short will absolutely put Coach Richt on the hot seat. There is no publication that does not conclude this very point.

The utter failure of the current offensive coaching staff is no more apparent than in Coach Richt’s own words to the press here 3 weeks ago announcing in public forum that he is TAKING CONTROL OVER THE FAILED OFFENSIVE COACHING STAFF. If it is not failed, why is Coach Richt taking over for it ?

And, if it is NOT a FAILED Offensive Coaching Staff, why then in this state did UGA sign none of the top offensive all-start players 2010 ?

I have repeatedly asked if the reporters covering this program as beat writers have interviewed all these top in-state offensive stars in this state and asked them about the UGA offensive coaching staff, all everyone coaching a position they themselves did not play in the arena themselves. This while we play favorites on offense, bury better players deep on the depth chart, totally bungle all sense of credibility in redshirt or not redshirt an offensive player here, and leave the recruits all wanting to play offense anywhere but here where for 4 years running we have averaged 39 Arrests / Suspensions in just the last 3 years off the field while on the field we for 4 years average # 96 NCAA in penalties, average for 4 years running 21 fumbles a year, and average for 4 years running 14 interceptions a year – leaving us looking at South Carolina in Game 2 or Coach Richt will be 10-11 vs SEC East that night in the last 5 years then.

Too much to ask the in-state offensive all-stars why they ALL signed with other SEC schools, you know the ones beating us ON THE FIELD ? This coaching staff for 9 years of the Coach Richt Regime has been no good, as it appears to EVERYONE, and Coach Richt stubbornly kept the offensive coaching staff, preferring to tell he is going to do their job and his this up-coming season. For 9 years, Coach Richt has had a horrible coaching staff and the recruits have spoken.

I fail to see how Coach Richt has addressed the Offensive Coaching Staff by telling the press last month that he, Coach Richt, is taking over for the failed offensive coaching staff ? Could you explain that to me please ?

While you are at it, explain to me why all the former players here at UGA and all the national press, including David Hale, are supposed to shut up about all this Decline in The UGA Bulldogs' Football Program for the last 4 years in a row now ?

Anonymous said...

Bogus stat of what your won / loss record is in The Coach Richt Era against Top 10 Final AP Poll teams at just 3 wins out of 11 games (3-8.) ?

First, let me address the other half of that point on mine meansonny :

I said that Coach Richt in the entire Coach Richt Era has won only 3 games against Final AP Poll teams and lost 8, removing us from consideration to then beat in a big bowl game on the National Stage a Top 10 Final AP Poll team AND that he has LOST 8 MORE GAMES to teams NOT RANKED in the Final AP Poll Top 25 even.

As for Alabama, last season for example :

BEAT # 2 Final AP Poll Texas 2009
BEAT # 3 Final AP Poll Florida 2009
BEAT # 10 Final AP Poll Virginia Tech 2009
BEAT # 17 Final AP Poll LSU 2009.

That is 4-0 just LAST YEAR meansonny, more wins over Final AP Poll Top 25 teams. And, in one season last year Alabama beat three (3) Top 10 teams in the Final AP Poll Top 10, while Coach Richt has beat 3 in all his years here, now Year 10 this up-coming season, while LOSING 8 instead. Quit making excuses for Coach Richt’s failures vs Top 10 Final AP Poll teams meansonny.

Let’s look at Florida, also an SEC team beating us, the year before last :

BEAT # 5 Final AP Poll Oklahoma 2008.
BEAT # 6 Final AP Poll Alabama 2008.
BEAT # 13 Final AP Poll Georgia 2008.
BEAT # 14 Final AP Poll Ole Miss 2008.

That is 4 MORE Top 25 Final AP Poll teams yet another SEC team beat. Two (2) are Top 10 Final AP Poll wins by Florida the year before last (And, to listen to UGA fans citing the USA Today Coaches’ Poll Top 10 Finish by UGA in 2008, that is again 3 Top 10 Final Poll teams Florida beat in 2008 – as many once again like Alabama last year that Florida beat the year before, as Coach Richt has beat in all his entire career here now starting year 10 with but 3 wins over Top 10 Final AP Poll teams and 8 losses for entire Coach Richt Era.)

I thought this was bogus meansonny ?

I thought this never happens meansonny ?

BOTH of the last 2 years, for example, SEC teams OTHER THAN UGA have BOTH won as many games against Top 10 Final Poll teams as Coach Richt has in his ENTIRE CAREER here now starting year 10. And, both of them went UNDEFEATED at 3-0 in just 1 year while in now his Year 10 here at UGA, Coach Richt is 3-8 vs Top 10 Final AP Poll teams.

By the way, Won / Loss record is NOT A STAT, it is our WON / LOSS RECORD against non Top 25 Final AP Poll teams of which Coach Richt already has 8 such losses and 8 more losses to Top 10 Final AP Poll teams of whom he has beat but 3.

Since when is whether you won or lost the game, a stat ?

We ALSO are 10-10 won / loss over the last 4 years against just SEC East teams, and 5 of those are against SEC East teams NOT RANKED in the Top 25 Final AP Poll. By your theory they should be ranked because they BEAT US. And, not ranked because we beat them. Yet, once again, it is COMPLETELY the opposite.

NOT BOGUS. Good try meansonny. Chime in whenever you feel the need meansonny. I will be here.

meansonny said...

You're comment about record v. Stats was correct... Right up to the part were you subclassify the data and make inferences from the numbers. The fact that you posted your "thoughts" on the subject is laughable.

If we're looking at records, let's do it.

Uga has the same number of wins as Florida since 2001. So Florida is obviously losing to someone, too. Richt and Uga have have 35 more wins than Bammer, too.

Have we struggled in the East? Heck yeah. There was a strecth in 06 and 07 where we lost to every team in the East in a row (0-5). The redeeming quality is that the team never gave up on the coach and UGA finished #2 in the AP (you like the AP, don't you).

meansonny said...

A couple of quick questions on some points made anonymously...

Who are the 4 Other juniors that will be leaving the Bulldawgs after the 2010 season? I'm sure someone might leave with AJ. But there's a good chance that it only follows a great performance this season. If we get 4 other Juniors to go Pro, I like our chances in the East next year.

meansonny said...

There are comments regarding the offense where it is stated that Richt plays favorites.

What players is he hiding on the depth chart? Orson Charles? He got a ton of PT last year. Who cares what player took the first snap of a game? There were a ton of guys who get worked into the mix.

So I ask... Who on offense is buried on the depth chart favoring someone who is less prepared or less qualified?

Ginny said...

Just ignore this Anonymous guy. He posts the same exact information on all the AJC blogs.It's not even worth your time to try and argue because he'll just throw out some more useless numbers.

Anonymous said...

Hi, BuLLLdawg, or whatever.

Kathleen said...

Amen, Ginny. Between this board and the times I venture onto the AJC board, I can't count how many times I've seen the same tired quotes over and over again from him. If no one reads it the first, second or third time and replies the way you want them to, how about coming up with new material for like the 12th or 20th time you re-post something??

Or save us the time and just copy/paste the link to the post and we can click on it if we want to try to read it the 100th time.

Anonymous said...

Your silence regarding the LOST finale is deafening. Please post soon.

Trey said...

Anonymous is so redundant. Anonymous needs a date.

Coon Dawg said...

Please explain to me what happened in "Lost". I feel like I know less now than when I started. It seems that it was just a story about the characters with a bunch of diversions related to the Island/science fiction to keep people interested. I would like to whip the producers asses!

Layton said...

the lost finale didn't kill you, did it, david?

and ben dukes, you aren't from macon, are you?

Ben Dukes said...

Layton - I'm not from Macon. Originally from LaGrange. I think there is a Ben Dukes in Macon...at a church there, but I am not him.

As for "anonymous"...

He missed the point of my statistics entirely if he's assuming that I'm using them to build any kind of case against Richt.

Offensive coaches didn't play what they coach?

Searels played O-line at Auburn. Bobo played QB at UGA. John Lilly played QB and WR...so I believe he knows enough about a passing game to coach TEs.

As for McClendon and Ball, well...Ball has a history of coaching both Runningbacks and receivers.

WR is a more coaching-heavy position. What I mean by this, is that a kid has to be coached up more at that position to be ready to play than a runningback will. So, you put the more experienced coach with the harder-to-learn position.

Besides, assuming McClendon could teach AJ Green how to play WR is akin to assuming I could coach David Pollack. He'd make MY resume better, but I doubt my tuteledge would do too much for his skills. That's nothing against McClendon, he's a dedicated coach. But, Green is a more talented receiver than Bryan was, and would benefit from a more seasoned coach.

So, I disagree with anonymous's assumptions that our offensive coaches don't know what's going on. Also, I believe I showed that having a top-ten offense is not necessary when winning a title. And, I believe I also showed that having a top-ten offense in the SEC is pretty rare.

All the hemming and hawing that people like "anonymous" do is important though, because #1, it shows that they are true fans of the team, and want us to do better. Also, they're pointing out deficiencies that many blind followers of the team won't see. Now, some of these conclusions are misdirected, but still...

And, it's important to remember this:

If UGA goes 11-1 this season, wins the east, beats Bama in Atlanta, and goes on to win the NCG, fans like this will tell us that we finally did what they've been saying we need to do, and THAT is why we won.

So get ready for an "I told you so" of epic proportions.