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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bad vs. Ugly: Tebow Takes on the Dawgs' D

It's sort of odd, isn't it? Georgia has struggled to the point of fans demanding coaching changes on Mark Richt's staff, and yet, thinking the Dawgs have a shot to beat No. 1 Florida -- the defending champs and the same team that beat Georgia by 39 last year -- doesn't seem entirely unreasonable.

The rationale, of course, is that while Florida clearly appears to be the more talented team, the Gators have hardly been impressive, despite their unblemished record. Last year, Florida blew the doors off all comers, save a flukey loss to Ole Miss. This year, it's all been a struggle, even against also-rans like Arkansas and Mississippi State.

So, assuming Georgia's coaching staff has done its job during the bye week, the Bulldogs could potentially be poised to upset the Gators, right?

Well, maybe. But there's also a reason that Vegas calls Florida a 16-point favorite.

That said, it's intriguing to see the fallout surrounding Florida in the wake of yet another mundane offensive performance against an otherwise lackluster opponent last week.

From Chris Low's blog yesterday:

Florida’s passing game: The Gators rank a robust 80th nationally in passing offense this week, which is one spot behind Ohio University and three spots behind South Florida. Florida can’t throw it down the field at all right now, which better improve if the Gators want to win a second straight national title.

Those are the stats alright. No more Percy Harvin. No More Louis Murphy. No more Dan Mullen. And now? Florida simply doesn't have a vertical game.

Heck, it's gotten so bad, some Florida fans are asking for Tim Tebow to be benched in favor of backup John Brantley. Sort of puts that whole Joe Cox-Logan Gray debate into perspective.

Of course, we've heard this before, right? Struggling passing game gives Georgia's beleaguered secondary a shot at redemption? Actually, I wrote about it before the Vandy game just two weeks ago.

In that contest, Georgia's D actually took advantage of the Commies' struggling passing game. But that certainly hasn't always been the case, and Tebow is certainly a good bit better than Larry Smith, even if his star wideouts aren't on the roster this year.

In fact, Georgia has allowed three different quarterbacks -- Stephen Garcia, Ryan Mallett and Johnathan Crompton -- throw for at least 300 yards already this season. And none are exactly superstars just yet. Just compare how those three fared against Georgia with how they fared against the stalwart defense of Alabama:

vs. UGA
Garcia 31-53-313, 2/1
20-46-214, 0/1
Mallett 21-39-405, 5/0
12-35-160, 1/1
Crompton 20-27-310, 4/1 21-36-265, 1/1

Actually, there's an even more direct comparison for Mallett and Crompton, who have both played Florida this season, too. Against the Gators, Crompton was 11-of-19 for 93 yards, no TDs and 2 INTs. Mallett was slightly more successful, but his line of 12-of-27 for 224 yards and a TD still didn't come anywhere close to his huge performance against the Dawgs.

And again, Tebow is a better QB than any of those three.

So the basic question is this: Which will mean more come Saturday -- Florida's 80th-ranked passing offense or Georgia's 90th-ranked passing defense?

Before you answer though, remember this comparison as well:

Arkansas' pass defense is even worse than Georgia's, ranking 111th nationally.

When the Dawgs took on the Hogs, Joe Cox threw for a whopping 375 yards and five TDs.

When the Hogs played Tebow's struggling offense, the Gators threw for just 255 yards and one TD pass.

So Tebow is better than Crompton/Mallett/Garcia, and the Dawgs couldn't stop them. By that logic, Georgia won't stop Tebow.

But Georgia's D is better than Arkansas' D, and Arkansas did stop Tebow. So by that logic, he's in for another frustrating day against the Dawgs.

Which is really just a long way of saying, we really don't know what the heck will happen. But that alone is probably cause for encouragement for the Dawgs.


the anonymous suckup said...


You say Tebow is a better QB than Mallett, Garcia, and Crompton. I certainly don't dispute that, but this post is about passing stats alone. I, for one, think Mallett is a better passer than Tebow. I know it is a nit-picky point, but Mallett torched the UGA defense for over 400 yards. I think it is safe to say Tebow won't be doing that - at least not as their offense is currently constructed.

But your larger point about Garcia and Crompton is well taken. Georgia made both of them look like Joe Montana - which they obviously aren't.

Once again, Florida fans, let me make myself clear before you flame me. I said Mallett is a better passer, not a better QB. If I were picking the next QB for Georgia, I would take a Tebow functional clone in a heartbeat.

David Hale said...

That's probably a pretty fair criticism, Suckup. And to take it a step farther, I think Arkansas probably has a far better batch of WRs/TEs. Of course, even if Tebow were to get about 70% of the production Mallett got against Georgia, that'd probably be way too much.

Anonymous said...

The difference between Teabag and the rest of the QB you mentioned is Tebow is fundamentally flawed. He has neither the physical nor mental ability to "pick apart" a secondary. Tebow doesnt think (or throw) like a QB. With that said, i fully expect him to hit #6 on 2 TD passes of 50+ yards both when Bryan Evans has deep 3rds.

Urban Meyer, unlike our coaches, will find the week spot (Evans) and exploit it.

I still think we got a shot...

the anonymous suckup said...


Yep...70% would still be way too much. And I wasn't disagreeing with your post - just nit-picking as usual.

Your point about Arkansas having better WRs and TEs makes me think we are living in a Bizarro SEC. The fact that we are even discussing whether Arkansas has better receivers than Florida is very strange. What happened to Florida's receiver talent? I guess it went the same place Georgia's running back talent went. *sigh*

Dawg '85 said...

I'm hopng the bye week really benefits the young up-and-comers in the secondary. Surely some extra film time, growing confidence from playing time, and an extra week to preapare... ALL point to more PT for Rambo, Boykin, and Smith.

Just in case, I've hired a pack of H1N1 infected middle schoolers to hound Bryan Evans all week for autographs.

Blog Goliard said...

One of my personal categories that helps me make sense of the world is relevant here. The category is: "Things that are very good, yet still wildly overrated."

It can be a tricky category to maintain and explain. When we try to argue that something is wildly overrated, people can automatically presume that we're saying they're mediocre or bad. But even excellent things can be overrated and overpraised, and it can skew our perception. Absolutely anything human, from the greatest to the humblest, can be overhyped.

Anyhow, Tim Tebow has lately become my Exhibit A in this category.

BillyD said...

Mallet is a much better passer than Tebow. Tebow has looked awful most of the year. I still don't trust Willy and our defense though.

We are going to need to creative plays to get in the open field against UF's great defense too. Hopefully our OL and RB's show up and Cox has the best game of his life. Otherwise it's going to be UGLY.

rbubp said...

Blog Goliard, I just don't get what has taken so long. The guy is not a real QB--he is and has always been a running back who throws, a modern-day George Gipp.

So, you know, take away a good OC and good WRs, keep Tim his same Baby Rhino self with a dash of decreased ability to read defenses and no improvement in arm strength, and you get this single-wing museum-artifact knuckle-dragger thing UF calls an offense. Certainly doesn't look like any kind of "spread" I've ever seen...the only thing spread are the claims of how overrated Baby Rhino is after running the ball 30 times a game and tossing two pick-6s against the other Bulldogs.

I just don't get why people didn't see this coming. There's a reason the NFL ain't buyin' it.

Anonymous said...

So mr. Terron sanders of UF still wants to punish us for the 'celebration.' Not surprising, after all Meyer said it will forever be in the minds of the gators. We need to accept that UF is gonna use that as motivation just like last year, but now we have motivation after what they did last year. I think part of our struggles in this series is due to us worrying about the gators instead of us focusing on ourselves. We need to worry about our game, stand up to the gators and take them head on like we did 2 yrs ago. This game is all about pride and manliness for UGA after what happened last year.