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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

If You Can't Be Good, At Least Be Original

One of the things I think we can all agree with Mark Richt on is this: Georgia's turnover ratio is killing the Bulldogs in every aspect of the game.

But just how bad has it been for the Dawgs?

In a word? Epic.

Here are the worst turnover margins by any FBS team in the past decade...

Team Year TAs GAs
Margin Record
Wash St.
2008 13 38 -25 2-11
New Mex St
2005 15 38 -23 0-12
E Michigan
2002 11 34 -23 3-9
Wyoming 2008 14 36 -22 4-8
Rutgers 2001 20 42 -22 2-9
C Florida
2003 12 34 -22 3-9
Miss. St.
2003 19 40 -21 2-10
Miami (OH)
2009 15 36 -21 1-11
SMU 2004
11 30 -19 3-8
Washington 2004 23 42 -19 1-10
Georgia 2009 8 26 -18 6-5
Buffalo 2000 16 34 -18 2-9

That's right... with two games left to play, Georgia owns the 11th worst turnover ratio in the last 10 years.

But more than just Georgia's presence on that list, there should be two other things that jump off the page at you.

The first is the takeaways. Most of the teams on that list were exceptionally turnover prone, and while Georgia has coughed it up too much this season, the Dawgs aren't close to historically bad.

But on the defensive side of the ball, no other team on that list has done a worse job of creating turnovers. In fact, here's the complete list of teams that finished the season with single-digit takeaways since 2000.

Team Year Takeaways Record
Marshall 2007 7 3-9
Georgia 2009 8 6-5
Illinois 2005 8 3-8
Illinois 2003 8 1-11
2004 9 3-8

Indeed, Georgia has a chance to tack on a few in its final two games, but as things stand, this isn't just a defense having problems. This is a defense that ranks among the worst in recent memory at creating big plays and swinging momentum.

Of course, there is the other number that you have no doubt taken stock of.

Of all the teams listed on both charts, only two have finished the year with more than three wins -- Wyoming last year (which, ironically, beat Tennessee!) and Georgia.

In fact, going back to that first list, the combined record of the other 11 teams is 23-108 (.175).

Georgia's record is 6-5 and they're headed for a bowl game.

I have no idea what to make of that. Do we praise the coaches for overcoming so much adversity? Praise the players? Or blame them? Do we give Willie Martinez credit because this year is such an aberration or blame him for creating so few takeaways?

Quite honestly, amid a season of utter ridiculousness at Georgia, this might be the single strangest stat I've seen.


Matt said...


I've been thinking the same thing all year...."how in the world do we have a winning record with this bad a turnover ratio???". What this even mean? Cant figure this team out.

MoDawg said...

I think the stat that really jumped out at me was the win/loss record compared to the other teams on that list. Even with all the turnovers and lack of takeaways, UGA still has a winning record (for now). I think that speaks to being a good team, though not at the level where they should be and speaks to their resolve to come together.
The coaches and players come under a lot of fire, as well they should, but I prefer to think that this team is only an assistant or two away from being great. They just have to find the right mix, and I feel like Richt will do that at the end of the year.

MT said...

What jumps out at me more is looking at that Murder's Row of teams we are in company with.

The only program you could even remotely argue having any shred of a winning tradition is Washington, and that might be a bit of a stretch too.

Besides Central Florida, the rest of these schools are in relative wastelands of recruiting talent too.

With the stretch of top 10 classes we've had for quite some time, I think this more than anything else is an indictment of the serious undercoaching that has gone on this season.

rbubp said...

I think the lack of takeaways is connected to the in ability to read plays well combined with playing a passive/protect base defense.

Our pass rush has gotten better but our lack of well-timed blitzes and the secondary's hands of flint have eliminated TOs in the passing game; just the other night Vance Duff had the ball thrown right at him on the sideline, and, of course, he couldn't catch it. The secondary's and LB's poor reading skills have left them only able to react to routes rather than read and jump.

In the running game we don't have enough big hitters and almost never run a run blitz unless it's a goal-line stand. And then "the ball hasn't bounced our way." Really, it's lack of aggression that's responsible in the running defense.

I think it is very possible that the defensive penalties last year, many of which where personal fouls on plays that created crucial would-be turnovers (Alabama, Florida), may have really affected the psyche of the defense. They are afraid to take chances. Combined with the lack of studying film, you get this result.

BTW, David, I watched the tackle Rennie made on Randall Cobb a couple of times. It was a great play. I'm going to submit, though, that he actually made a BETTER play on the one right after where Cobb crossed the goal line for the TD--Rennie was being blocked, got away (he was held, really), went down to his knees and, while STILL ON HIS KNEES, stopped Cobb in his tracks and pushed him back with D'Angelo Tyson's help. It was a direct impact, and Rennie, the smaller player who was also in the more vulnerable position, was able to hit a head-of-steam Cobb waste-high, with no available leg drive, and stop him COLD at the goal line.

The only other play I've seen Rennie make that was like that in amazingness was the one at South Carolina last year where I swear he moved faster than a speeding bullet to hit the back at the goal line and cause the fumble that saved the game. I would love to see a good highlight reel of Rennie plays, though, one that has more than just that nice tackle in the '07 UF game. He is something else.

rbubp said...

Sorry, Vance Cuff, not Duff.

jferg said...

Back through the early-mid 2000's, we didn't necessarily need turnovers because A)David Greene made few himself B) Our defense just stuffed teams and created tons of 3 and outs.

I'd bet if you compared opposing offensive plays run vs turnovers created, you'll see that is where this year's team is the epic fail. i'd bet those early-mid 2000 defenses played 20-30% LESS plays and therefore their "turnover per play ratio" is much better.

DH, how good are your sources versus other UGA reporters? Cause there is some serious stuff flying around out there....

PatinDC said...

I think it means that we have been able to win some shoot outs. Out talent on offense is being wasted playing catch up I guess.