Category Archives: Georgia Bulldogs

Tua Tagovailoa is Overrated and He Does NOT Scare Me – THIS IS NOT A DRILL


 

Tua is a good football player. He’s a great player. He’s probably going to win the Heisman. But I think a lot of quarterbacks could put up video game numbers against the passing defenses Alabama has faced this year. But first, a look backwards…

Most people (Georgia fans in particular) seem to think Tua Tagovailoa finished last year’s national championship game 1-for-1 for 41 yards and a TD. Well fine, that’s technically how he finished the game. But prior to that moment here’s how his game was going:

  • 13 of 23 (56.5% completion rate)
  • 125 passing yards
  • 5.4 yards per attempt
  • Two TDs (one thrown to someone other than the guy who caught it)
  • One INT (into a field of red jerseys)
  • Two sacks for combined losses of 20 yards

He finished the game (in its entirety) with a QB Rating of 149.4. That’s a good number. Maybe even a really good number. But that’s not what we would now consider a TUA NUMBER. You see, this season Tua has posted a year-long QB Rating of 212.5. That’s not only tops in the country, it’s the highest by nearly 6 points (Kyler Murray is second at 206.8). Further, here’s 15 years’ worth of historical context. These aren’t just random dudes. These are the national leaders in each of the past 15 seasons.

Year Player Rating
2018 Tua Tagovailoa 212.5
2017 Baker Mayfield 198.9
2016 Baker Mayfield 196.4
2015 Seth Russell 189.7
2014 Marcus Mariota 181.7
2013 Jameis Winston 184.8
2012 A.J. McCarron 175.3
2011 Russell Wilson 191.8
2010 Kellen Moore 182.6
2009 Tim Tebow 164.2
2008 Sam Bradford 180.8
2007 Sam Bradford 176.5
2006 Colt Brennan 186.0
2005 Rudy Carpenter 175.0
2004 Stefan LeFors 181.7

Nobody is even close!

Tua is not human!

Except…when he is.

Remember, against Georgia in January his QB Rating was actually 149.4. That figure wouldn’t have been anywhere close to leading the country at any point over the past 15 years. Further, it would rank 32nd this year.

“But that was last year,” you may be saying to yourself. “That was true freshman Tua against a much better Georgia defense.”

Well, Tua has looked human a few times this year as well—against LSU and Mississippi State in particular. Here are his lines from those games:

  • LSU: 25 of 42 for 295 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT (rating: 129.5)
  • Mississippi State: 14 of 21 for 164 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT (rating: 138.5)

What do LSU and Mississippi State have in common with last year’s Georgia squad as it relates to passing defense? Well, all three defenses are pretty darn good against the pass. Case in point: the 2017 Georgia Bulldogs and both the 2018 LSU Tigers and 2018 Mississippi State Bulldogs all gave up fewer than 6.0 yards per pass attempt. That’s pretty damn good.

  • 2017 Georgia – #2 nationally, 5.6 yards allowed per pass attempt
  • 2018 Mississippi State – #3 nationally, 5.4 yards allowed per pass attempt
  • 2018 LSU – #14 nationally, 5.9 yards per pass attempt

Tua has been relatively ho-hum against three top-15 pass defenses. What’s that have to do with this Saturday’s game? Well, Georgia (this year’s Georgia!!!) ranks 12th in the country at 5.8 passing yards allowed per attempt. By that measure, these Bulldogs are more alike than different from the past three teams that have brought Tua down to earth. But what’s wild is this: Tua hasn’t really seen any other defenses anywhere close to this—at least not this season. Here’s how the rest of his 2018 FBS opposition shapes up.

  • Arkansas State – #49 nationally, 6.9 yards allowed per pass attempt
  • Auburn – #51 nationally, 7.0 yards allowed per pass attempt
  • Tennessee – #87 nationally, 7.6 yards allowed per pass attempt
  • Missouri – #92 nationally, 7.7 yards allowed per pass attempt
  • Ole Miss – #100 nationally 7.9 yards allowed per pass attempt
  • Arkansas – #114 nationally, 8.5 yards allowed per pass attempt
  • Texas A&M – #117 nationally, 8.5 yards allowed per pass attempt
  • Louisville – #119 nationally, 8.5 yards allowed per pass attempt
  • Louisiana – #121 nationally, 8.5 yards allowed per pass attempt

Tua has played exceptionally awful passing defenses. Period. Even with Mississippi State and LSU included, the cumulative average of these figures is that Tua has played eleven FBS defenses this year who have, on average, given up 7.5 yards per pass attempt. For what it’s worth, Georgia Tech’s passing defense has allowed exactly 7.5 yards per pass attempt and ranks 81st in the country. This has nothing to do with Tua, but Jake Fromm posted a passer rating of 255.6 vs. Tech last week. Good quarterbacks have good games against bad pass defenses. That’s a tale as old as time.

This is what matters:

  1. Tua Tagovailoa is a really good quarterback.
  2. He looks unapproachable because he’s played terrible defenses.

What’s that have to do with this game? Again, Georgia’s pass defense is not terrible. Further, if you’re looking for Tua to be worth a 14-point spread by himself because he has put up crazy numbers, you’re looking for a false indicator. For even more context, consider Georgia’s passing game. When adjusted for context, Tua becomes a bit more relatable – even to a Georgia QB (Jake Fromm) that some Bulldog fans don’t want starting (shoutout to the Fields Fanboys).

Why does Fromm lag Tua so much in national perception? A few reasons:

First and foremost, Fromm doesn’t pass as much as Tua. Much has been made of Tua “never playing four quarters.” Fromm doesn’t always play four quarters either. But irregardless of how much either player plays, the fact remains that Tua has attempted 269 passes this year and Fromm has attempted 233. That 36 pass gap may not seem like a lot, but Tua has thrown about 15.5% more times than Fromm. Put another way, Fromm has never attempted 36 passes in a game – so he’s more than a full game behind Tua in attempts. In fact, in his last two games Fromm has attempted just 21 total passes. Further, since the loss to LSU, Georgia has five games (all against FBS competition, three against Top 25 teams, two away from home against Top 25 foes). Fromm has averaged just north of 15 pass attempt per contest over that period. Why? Because Georgia’s average margin of victory in those contests has been north of 23 points per game. For what it’s worth, Fromm is a combined 62 of 85 (73 percent) for 827 yards (9.7 YPA) 11 TDs, 1 INT and a rating of 195.02.

But sure, it’s Tua whose numbers suffer because his team crushes opposition so badly.

If you throw more (as Tua does), you should throw more completions (and Tua does). But the completion percentage of these two is roughly equivalent. Fromm has hit on 69.1 percent of his attempts. Tua has an edge at 70.3 percent. Where Tua runs away with this thing is that he has a lot more touchdowns (36 to 24), fewer interceptions (two to Fromm’s five) and a higher yards-per-attempt average (11.9 for Tua; 9.6 for Fromm).

But let this be perfectly clear: Fromm has played MUCH better passing defenses. Here is where his foes stack up by the same measure as above (yards allowed per pass attempt):

  • LSU – #14 nationally, 5.9 yards per pass attempt
  • Florida – #19 nationally, 6.1 yards per pass attempt
  • Kentucky – #31 nationally, 6.4 yards per pass attempt
  • MTSU – #39 nationally, 6.7 yards allowed per pass attempt
  • Auburn – #51 nationally, 7.0 yards allowed per pass attempt
  • Vanderbilt – #68 nationally, 7.3 yards allowed per pass attempt
  • South Carolina – #76 nationally, 7.4 yards allowed per pass attempt
  • Georgia Tech – #81 nationally, 7.5 yards allowed per pass attempt
  • Tennessee – #87 nationally, 7.6 yards allowed per pass attempt
  • Missouri – #92 nationally, 7.7 yards allowed per pass attempt
  • UMass – #124 nationally, 9.0 yards allowed per pass attempt

Fromm’s 11 FBS foes boast an average defensive YPA of 7.1. Another way to think about it is through the lens of common opponents. Tennessee is the fifth-best passing defense Tua has faced but the ninth-best faced by Fromm. Missouri is the middle-man (number 6 of 11) for Tua. Mizzou is the next-to-last defense Fromm has faced.

Also, I didn’t include FCS opponents because neither QB should really care about showing out against those folks. Tua, predictable, padded his stats (18 of 22 for 340 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs) against the Citadel in late November.  Fromm did little more than a warm-up against Austin Peay, hitting on 12 of 16 passes for 157 yards 2 TDs and 0 INTs. If you remove those games, Tua’s season-long rating falls from 212.5 to 208.6. Fromm basically stays the same—in fact taking out the cupcake moves him up from 179.4 to 180.8.

I’m not saying Fromm is as good as Tua. I’m certainly not saying he’s better. I’m just driving home the point that the quality of opposition played should matter. So, what’s the statistical prediction for Tua in this game?

I’m expecting something like this: 22 of 36 for 290 yards, three TDs and 1 INT. That equates to a rating of 150.7.

How about for Fromm? Last year he was 16 of 32 for 232 yards 1 TD and 2 INTs. He’s a better player and I think Georgia’s offense is better. But I don’t think he’ll throw 30 passes. So give me: 15 of 24 for 225, 2 TDs and 0 INTs. That’s a rating just shy of 169. Nice.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

 

 

Report: Georgia’s Defense is Trash


I turned 31 last week. Tough pill to swallow. Every year I feel a little bit older, but the LSU game really aged me. You see, I’m old enough to remember when Georgia was a nationally relevant football program. I’m something of a dying breed in that regard.

Kirby Smart, so it seems, has ruined Georgia football. Even among his true peers – programs who have changed coaches recently – he looks bad. He’s lost to Ole Miss, Tennessee, Florida and now LSU in his incredibly brief tenure. Not exactly a murderer’s row of quality opposition.

Frankly, the state of Georgia football is so dire heading into the annual tilt with Florida in Jacksonville that I can’t in good conscience preview the game itself. We already know how that’s going to end up. In lieu of a preview and a prediction, here’s a step-back look at the season so far.

Over the next few days I’m going to power rank the worst parts of the 2018 Georgia Bulldogs. As a word of disclaimer, Kirby Smart is clearly the worst facet of this program. As such, you could list him in every single one of these spots. But these are the single components that have been most disappointing thus far. Yesterday, I addressed Georgia’s deficiencies in the running game and the team’s Special Teams woes. Earlier today, I hit on the Passing Game. Now let’s address the defense.


Deandre Baker gets a pass here (because he never gets one thrown his way in real games…boom!), but literally no one else does.

It doesn’t matter who lines up at the other cornerback spot, he’s gonna get beat. Everyone seemed shocked when a true freshman couldn’t cover anybody against LSU. I wasn’t, because he couldn’t cover anyone in any other game either.

I would say that Georgia made LSU QB Joe Burrow look like a Heisman candidate, but I’m not sure that’s entirely true. It would be hard to give Burrow the Heisman over LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (a career high of 145 rushing yards on just 19 carries) or LSU receiver Justin Jefferson (a career-high of 108 receiving yards on a career-high six catches). Honestly, if LSU played Georgia every week we might have the first shared Heisman Trophy in college football history. Can you imagine? The Heisman Trust proudly presents this year’s Heisman Trophy to the quarterback, running back and receiver that got to play Kirby Smart’s defense every week!

But it’s not like Kirby’s defense was just bad for one game. The defense stays bad.

Some interesting stats:

  • Georgia ranks 117th nationally and last in the SEC with just nine sacks.
  • Georgia is even worst in sack yardage (122nd in the nation). Edging out only Akron, Bowling Green, Oregon State, Georgia State, Tulsa, Texas State and UConn.
  • Georgia is 98th nationally in interceptions with four. Only Texas A&M trails Georgia within the SEC.
  • Georgia is 71st nationally in fumbles recovered which propels the Bulldogs to 84th in the country in total turnovers forced.
  • MTSU scored seven points against Georgia which is the most points scored by the Blue Raiders against a Power 5 opponent since October of 2016.

 

Don’t be surprised if the Dawgs make Dan Mullen look like a capable offensive mind tomorrow.

Until next time,

 

The Kirby Smart Hater

Jake Fromm is the Worst Big-Game Quarterback at Georgia Since the Jim Donnan Era


I turned 31 last week. Tough pill to swallow. Every year I feel a little bit older, but the LSU game really aged me. You see, I’m old enough to remember when Georgia was a nationally relevant football program. I’m something of a dying breed in that regard.

Kirby Smart, so it seems, has ruined Georgia football. Even among his true peers – programs who have changed coaches recently – he looks bad. He’s lost to Ole Miss, Tennessee, Florida and now LSU in his incredibly brief tenure. Not exactly a murderer’s row of quality opposition.

Frankly, the state of Georgia football is so dire heading into the annual tilt with Florida in Jacksonville that I can’t in good conscience preview the game itself. We already know how that’s going to end up. In lieu of a preview and a prediction, here’s a step-back look at the season so far.

Over the next few days I’m going to power rank the worst parts of the 2018 Georgia Bulldogs. As a word of disclaimer, Kirby Smart is clearly the worst facet of this program. As such, you could list him in every single one of these spots. But these are the single components that have been most disappointing thus far. Yesterday, I addressed Georgia’s deficiencies in the running game and the team’s Special Teams woes. Now let’s discuss the Passing Game.


Because I’m such a nice, level-headed analyst I’m not going to mention how bad Jake Fromm was against LSU. I refuse to dwell on the fact that he completed 47% of his passes, threw twice as many INTs as TDs and got sacked eleventy squillion times. But I will focus on his season-long struggles.

Through seven games, Fromm is barely throwing for more than 200 yards per contest. Georgia has locked in a bowl bid (can’t wait to visit lovely Memphis, TN for the Liberty Bowl this December!), so Georgia will get 13 games this season. If he maintains his blistering pace for six more games, Fromm will pass for 2,617 yards this year—that’s 201.3 yards per start. If you’re disappointed in that tally coming from a guy who will end this season with 27 career starts, you should be. That’s worse than what Jacob Eason threw for on a per-start basis as a true freshman back in 2016. (As a reminder, Kirby ran Eason off in favor of Fromm.) This is Gresyon Lambert-level futility within the passing game. But maybe that shouldn’t surprise us. After all, Lambert threw for 300 yards in 13 starts (one time against South Carolina) as many times as Fromm has thrown for 300 yards in 21 starts.

Fromm wasn’t just bad in the most recent big game, he’s also bad at having big games. Consider recent full-time Georgia starting QBs and their affinity for 300-yard games.

 

Player Starts at Georgia 300-Yard Games Starts Per 300 Yarder
David Greene 51 8 6.4
D.J. Shockley 12 2 6.0
Matthew Stafford 37 3 12.3
Joe Cox 13 1 13
Aaron Murray 52 10 5.2
Hutson Mason 15 2 7.5
Greyson Lambert 13 1 13.0
Jacob Eason 14 2 7.0
Jake Fromm 21 1 21.0

 

By these measures, Fromm is the worst full-time starting quarterback at Georgia since the Jim Donnan Era. Way to go, Kirby!

 

Until next time,

 

The Kirby Smart Hater

Georgia Football: Special Teams Play Has Taken a HUGE Step Back and Could Cost the Dawgs in Jacksonville


I turned 31 last week. Tough pill to swallow. Every year I feel a little bit older, but the LSU game really aged me. You see, I’m old enough to remember when Georgia was a nationally relevant football program. I’m something of a dying breed in that regard.

Kirby Smart, so it seems, has ruined Georgia football. Even among his true peers – programs who have changed coaches recently – he looks bad. He’s lost to Ole Miss, Tennessee, Florida and now LSU in his incredibly brief tenure. Not exactly a murderer’s row of quality opposition.

Frankly, the state of Georgia football is so dire heading into the annual tilt with Florida in Jacksonville that I can’t in good conscience preview the game itself. We already know how that’s going to end up. In lieu of a preview and a prediction, here’s a step-back look at the season so far.

Over the next few days I’m going to power rank the worst parts of the 2018 Georgia Bulldogs. As a word of disclaimer, Kirby Smart is clearly the worst facet of this program. As such, you could list him in every single one of these spots. But these are the single components that have been most disappointing thus far. Earlier today, I addressed Georgia’s deficiencies in the running game. Now, let’s address Special Teams woes. 


Rodrigo Blankenship went from superstar to bust awfully quickly, didn’t he?

He’s missed more field goals than the rest of the team combined and is on pace to drastically under-perform his stellar 2017 campaign. Hot Rod averaged one field goal miss for every five games played a year ago. He’s missed twice in just seven games this year. Not only that, but he’s taken a decisive step backwards on mid-range kicks. As a freshman, he connected on 75% of field goals from 30-39 yards away. Last year, he was 100% (a perfect 6 for 6) from that distance. This year, he’s hitting just 50%.

Georgia has taken a step back in punting as well and as a result the Dawgs are officially worse at all special teams activities except punt returns.

Category 2017 National Rank 2018 National Rank
Field Goals Made 10 24
Field Goals Percentage 8 25
Punting Gross Average 12 63
Punting Net Average 9 85
Kickoff Return Average 20 43
Punt Return Average 31 11

 

If you don’t think this stuff matters, then you must be Kirby Smart. Don’t be surprised if Georgia loses another contest because of Special Teams.

 

Until next time,

 

The Kirby Smart Hater

Georgia’s Running Game is an Embarrassment


I turned 31 last week. Tough pill to swallow. Every year I feel a little bit older, but the LSU game really aged me. You see, I’m old enough to remember when Georgia was a nationally relevant football program. I’m something of a dying breed in that regard.

Kirby Smart, so it seems, has ruined Georgia football. Even among his true peers – programs who have changed coaches recently – he looks bad. He’s lost to Ole Miss, Tennessee, Florida and now LSU in his incredibly brief tenure. Not exactly a murderer’s row of quality opposition.

Frankly, the state of Georgia football is so dire heading into the annual tilt with Florida in Jacksonville that I can’t in good conscience preview the game itself. We already know how that’s going to end up. In lieu of a preview and a prediction, here’s a step-back look at the season so far.

Over the next few days I’m going to power rank the worst parts of the 2018 Georgia Bulldogs. As a word of disclaimer, Kirby Smart is clearly the worst facet of this program. As such, you could list him in every single one of these spots. But these are the single components that have been most disappointing thus far. Today, I’ll start with the running game.


Heading into the season, we knew the running game might need some fine-tuning. One doesn’t simply “replace” Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Those guys don’t grow on trees. And they apparently don’t grow on Georgia’s roster either.

Last year, Georgia led the Southeastern Conference with 3,876 rushing yards (no other school was within 375 yards of that total). Currently, Georgia doesn’t even lead Georgia in rushing yards. Seriously, the Bulldogs trail both Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern in rushing yards. Tech’s racked up 2,476 yards on the ground; Georgia Southern sits at 1,929; UGA is at 1,584. Within the SEC, Georgia trails Alabama (1,735), Mississippi State (1,645) and Kentucky (1,621). Among the national powerhouses with stronger running games than Georgia: Every service academy (Army, Navy and Air Force), Coastal Carolina, Western Michigan, Cincinnati, Troy, UNLV, Louisiana-Lafayette and UAB.

What in the name of Herschel is going on? Honestly, I’m not sure. Neither is Kirby Smart, apparently, because he has no idea who to run. The Bulldogs are averaging 5.8 yards per attempt, which is a halfway-decent total. Part of the problem, however, is the Dawgs’ refusal to give the ball to the most talented runners on the team. Elijah Holyfield is having an okay-ish season and has racked up 7.5 yards per attempt, but four runners have averaged more yards per attempt than Holyfield. Unfortunately, those four runners have been given just 28 carries. Georgia is running the ball with the wrong people.

Player Carries This Year Yards Per Attempt Appropriately Used?
D’Andre Swift 71 5.1 Way too many carries
Elijah Holyfield 65 7.5 Too many carries
Brian Herrien 30 5.9 Way too many carries
James Cook 30 5.5 Too many carries
Justin Fields 18 7.6 Not enough carries
Mecole Hardman 4 9.0 Not enough carries
Demetris Robertson 3 32.3 Not enough carries
Tyler Simmons 3 26.7 Not enough Carries

 

If Georgia gave the most carries (Swift’s 71) to its best runner (Demetris Robertson) and so on and so forth, the totals above would look like this:

 

Player Revised Carries Yards Per Attempt Total Yards
Demetris Robertson 71 32.3 2,293
Tyler Simmons 65 26.7 1,736
Mecole Hardman 30 9.0 270
Justin Fields 30 7.6 228
Elijah Holyfield 18 7.5 135
Brian Herrien 4 5.9 24
James Cook 3 5.5 17
D’Andre Swift 3 5.1 15

 

Georgia has left nearly 3,200 yards on the table (3.176) by not appropriately allocating carries. That may not seem like a lot to Kirby Smart, but an extra 454 rushing yards per contest would be really helpful if you’re trying to win football games.

At the end of the day, that comes down to coaching.

 

Until next time,

 

The Kirby Smart Hater

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