Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Another bone from Grantham's yard

Given some of the discussion the other day I decided to lay things out a little with some comparison statistics to see how Grantham's defense is stacking up against the big boys in the SEC - LSU and Bama.


Before you dig in, some explanation. As usual, all stats come courtesy of CFBStats.com. I started this wanting to level the playing field as much as possible and pull out all non-conference games. When I looked at the schedules and results for the three teams I suspected doing so wouldn't clarify the picture anymore significantly. So in the end I started with the full slate and feel this pretty much nails where the three teams performed last season. Obviously Chavis and Grantham had one more game averaged in there with the SECCG. Overall, I doubt that changed things significantly either. Also, I decided to break down the turnovers; the number in parenthesis is the total number of fumbles by opponents. The last two columns show how efficient the defense was in those circumstances. I took the value Marty had on his site and then subtracted from 100% to get a value directly attributed to each defense. For example, if opponents were 45% on 3rd down, the defense grades out at 55% efficient.

2011 Season 
Points Allowed
Avg Pts Allowed


Turnovers


INT/Fum
3rd Down eff
Red Zone eff
UGA
288
20.6
26
14/12 (32)
71.07
9.37
Bama
106
8.2
15
8/7 (18)
75.54
41.18
LSU
158
11.3
17
5/12 (29)
66.03
11.54

Clearly Bama has the better numbers. That much we expected. And Smart's stat line is bolstered by the one column that arguably matters most, Red Zone efficiency. A whopping 41% of the time Bama's opponents entered the red zone they were leaving the field without any points. No wonder the Crimson Tide only allowed 106 points all season.

Some other notes:
  • Clearly the South Carolina game and the SECCG hurt Grantham's overall numbers; two games that were largely not in his control given the offensive and special teams mishaps. However, the Boise, Vandy and MSU games can certainly counter-balance that some.
  • I left the total fumbles in parenthesis partly just to be able to see that 32 in there. That's impressive. A lot of active hands in Grantham's scheme.
  • Grantham's defense is impressive on 3rd down, but clearly has some work to do in the red zone, where Georgia was 116th nationally. (By comparison, LSU was 106th and obviously Bama was 1st...by a wide margin, very wide.)
Now let's go one step further and compare Georgia's 1st and 2nd season under Grantham just for kicks and giggles.


Points Allowed
Avg Pts Allowed
Turnovers
INT/Fum
3rd Down eff
Red Zone eff
2010
287
22.1
18
8/10 (22)
58.14
18.42
2011
288
20.6
26
14/12 (32)
71.07
9.37

Some of you that were pounding on Grantham are about to take that RZ number and run. And overall I would say I'm surprised there wasn't a bigger statistical difference step forward from year one to two of Grantham's defense. After all, he had some key cogs in place last season that were not around in 2010.


However, stats only get you so far. I'll wrap up with something I alluded to in that post the other day. In past years those stats would be used in the off season to hide complacency in the corner. Even as mediocrity became too big of an elephant not to talk about, the coaching staff would entrench themselves in whatever haphazard analysis helped prove whatever overused excuse they were grasping onto. 


You don't get that sense from Todd Grantham. My feeling is that he's just as pissed about every last one of those 575 total points allowed as he is at James Franklin's douche quotient. He's not going to just pat some 5th year senior on the back, thank him for sticking around and send him in to faceguard on 1st and 10.


In short, we're making progress. How much? We may know the answer to that as soon as September 8th.