Georgia Bulldog News - The Blawg House

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Todd Grantham Review - 1 Year and 1 Game

Todd Grantham -

Saturday night I found myself feeling like the defense had made an improvement. We held Boise to more than a few 3 and out's over the first few drives. I just felt like our offense just did not give them enough time to rest. As I was talking this over with a good UGA buddy of mine, he told me about 680 the fan's Chuck and Chernoff discussing whether Todd Grantham had done anything in his tenure at Georgia to justify his $750k per year position.

Since he was hired, I have taken the wait and see road. I have wanted to believe that we have been more fundamentally sound and better on defense since Grantham's arrival - just because I wanted to believe it. Well, after talking with my buddy, I decided to crunch the numbers.

One of the things I like to do is take stats and try to see if there are trends or stats that state where my team is doing well, where we can improve, and what is our weakness. I took all of the key defensive stats from Georgia's 13 games last season and 1 from this season and plugged them into a spreadsheet. Please take a second, and open this spreadsheet. 

Georgia Defensive Stats (2010 - 2011)

As you go through the spreadsheet, you'll notice I broke the stats down into different areas - Overall stats, stats vs. non-cupcakes, stats in wins, and stats in losses. One of the things that popped out at me was not that we play so much better in wins, or so much worse in losses - it is that we play pretty darn average to poor across the board.

Let's look at wins vs losses with the non-cupcake games (because, let's be honest - they don't matter when it comes to playing real football). Typically, like to say, "when we win, our defense does great, and when we lose, our defense does poor." Well, the results speak for themselves. In the 4 non-cupcake games we've won, Coach Todd Grantham's defense:

  • only gives up about 2 fewer first downs than the average in all games
  • gives up about the same 3rd down conversion percentage - a blistering 45%
  • gives up less rushing yards - but still way over 100 yards per game
  • right on the average of 200 yards passing per game
  • close to 20 points per game

Say what you want - but that is a far cry from defensive dominance you'd expect in wins. That means that the defense is giving up over 330 yards per game and the offense is having to score 21+ points per game to win - in the SEC, where defense is king - that is TOUGH!

So, if we're that bad in our wins, how bad is it in our losses? Well, the numbers don't lie. In the 8 losses we've had with Coach Todd Grantham as our defensive coordinator, we:

  • give up 21 first downs per game
  • teams are converting 46% of third down tries
  • over 180 yards rushing per game
  • close to 200 yards passing per game
  • QB's are completing 67% of their passes
  • giving up over 28 points per game

Needless to say, if we want to win, our offense better STEP UP! The numbers don't lie, and while you'd love to say this is the 2nd season and we'll be better. There isn't a stat in the Boise State stats that says we'll do anything better than the average. In the SEC, they say defense wins championships - for Georgia, we better start scoring points like vintage Texas Tech if we want to hold any kind of gold in December or January.

Isaiah Crowell - Boise State Review

Isaiah Crowell - David Mann

A friend of mine, Georgia Byrd, is a featured columnist over at the Bleacher Report. She did a write up called Georgia Football: Grading Isaiah Crowell's First Game. I really like Georgia and she's as good of a person as she is a writer. I just wanted to take it a step further with some video and plays to show maybe Isaiah didn't play the best game - but for what he had in front of him - he did pretty good.

I like backing up some of my views with film and diagrams so that the average football fan can see what is trying to be accomplished with what actually happens. Yes, yes I know Isaiah kicked Murray's leg on his first carry and I know he missed a big time block. But, if you look at the video below - which features Cordy Glenn - you will see, when the OL does do its job and when they don't, Isaiah still makes something happen with his talent and vision.

Let's go to the film:

00:28 - Outside Zone from Gun

This play is interesting. While I am sure Georgia believes that they have the numbers (from the backside guard through the playside, Georgia has 7 men blocking 6 men), Boise actually has 7 and close to 8 men in the box). This play has to be executed perfectly and the blocks below must be executed to perfection for this play to work in this situation.

Outside Zone 1

This play is set up with a max gun look, twins left, and the tight end, "Y," tight to the LOS (line of scrimmage). Using zone rules, the backside tackle must reach to get the backside DT. The center must hold his man and allow the backside guard to reach, and then the center must get up to the linebacker. The play side guard must seal the playside DT, and the playside OT must get up to the LB. The FB's job is to seal the edge off the hip of the playside tackle (PST). H must get the ball, press the heels of the LOS, get on the "waterfall" and get up.

At the snap, we have failure automatically. The BSG does not get his head across to help the center, so the center cannot get up to the linebacker. The big problem is, the playside guard does not get his head across, the DT gets penatration, and the entire play is dead, should Crowell carry out the play as designed.

Using his vision, and God-given ability, Crowell cuts back, finds a little lane and gets what he can. Not bad for a play blown up from the beginning.

1:01 - Outside Zone from I-Formation using motion

This is why I love looking at film and understanding concepts of football. I always say, be conceptual in your attack. Have plays that you can conceptually run out of multiple formations that can be successful. The following play is the exact play as before, except, the set-up and execution are much better. Crowell is able to run free and show what he can do.

Outside Zone 2

As you can see, we're running the same outside zone play as before. All of the line's rules are the same - zone block to the playside. The FB now motions from the outside (which keeps the CB from popping over to the play side) and his rule is the same - kill anything off the hip of the PST and seal the edge.

At the snap, everything works to perfection. Boise is vulnerable because of 2 things - they don't adjust to the motion which means they are outnumbered and they run a pinch stunt, leaving the OLB as the only person to seal the edge. Figgins does an excellent job of putting away the OLB.

Crowell does exactly what he is supposed to do. Takes the handoff, presses the heels of the LOS, gets on the waterfall, and gets upfield. The only person who gets in the way is poor Michael Bennett (#82) who has no one to block and is trying to block down field.

1:20 - Pass Protection

We all know about Crowell's missed assignment that left Murray out to dry. But was his pass-pro all bad? I mean he is a true freshman, so he couldn't be any good as pass pro could he? Let's see...

At the point in the video above, Georgia runs a play-action pass from a traditional pro-left set. At the snap, Murray does a good job of faking to hold the ILB's, and Crowell does a good job of picking up the alert blitz on the outside. Sure, I'd like to see him with a better fake and more up in the pocket, but at least the young man sees what is coming and does something about it. Although the shoulder he gives him does the job, you'd like to see him give a good chip and get lower. Look at point 2:21 to see a good example of this.

Isaiah will struggle at times. Everyone likes to say, well Knowshon could have come in and played right away. I'm sure he could have, but he took his lumps privately on the scout team and not in public like Crowell. However, if we can get those hogs upfront to just execute, I have a feeling we can have a special back carrying the load for us. He will learn from his mistakes and has the obvious capability of doing it correctly.

As Mrs. Byrd says,

Crowell’s talents and versatility are limited by his team’s performance.  Superior play-calling would also help him prove his efficiency.  In other words, Crowell can’t win the game alone. With Spurrier declaring that his team will be an improved team by this weekend, Crowell will depend on a motivated Bulldog offensive line to open up the holes for potential breakouts.

They were not who we thought they were...

Interesting quote from Drew Butler...

Drew Butler on #Boise: "We weren't as prepared as we thought we were." - "After the game the focus went straight to #SouthCarolina." #UGAless than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

Maryland's Uniforms

Everyone has had their say-so on what they thought about Maryland's Under Armour uniforms last night they wore against Miami. 

If you haven't seen them, here is a picture from last night's game...

For some reason though... I just felt so uncomfortable watching them. Kind of like I was watching something from another world... then it hit me... As I got a glimpse of their helmets from two different angles, I I figured out what they reminded me of:


Yes, that is Tri-Face from The NeverEnding Story series. When Maryland took that last pick six, I just yelled out, "ARTREYU!!!!"

SEC Rankings - Week 2

The Blawg House's SEC Rankings

Each week, the Blawg House will look at how the SEC faired in its weekend's games, and we'll try to give our perspective as to who we feel is at the top of the nation's top conference.

September 6th, 2011

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0)
While it would be easy to slip LSU into the top spot after what they did to Oregon, Alabama was just solid in a lot of areas of the game. McCarron seems to be playing a little better than Sims - although both of them tossed a pair of picks in the game. Richardson is just a stud, and I'm sure they were holding him out to keep him fresh vs. PSU. The QB's better protect the ball this weekend, because Penn State will definitely take more advantage of 4 picks than Kent St. did. 

2. LSU Tigers (1-0)
T-A-L-E-N-T: That is what the Bayou Bengals' defense is made of. The Tigers made the most of the 3rd ranked Ducks' turnovers and pulled away late in the game. Defense may win championships, but your offense better be prepared to score some points. While the tandem of Ware and Ford got it done this weekend, Lee better start being more efficient (10/22 for 98 yards) with the ball if he wants to lead this team to the BCS.

3. South Carolina Gamecocks (1-0)
Was this a scare or a message by the Evil Genius? You have to wonder if Spurrier wanted to send a message to Garcia by sitting him at the start of the game for Shaw. However, when he did get in, the offense steam rolled ECU. Garcia was 7/15 for 110 yards and a score & added 2 more on the ground. Combine that with Lattimore's 100+ yards and 3 scores, and you've got one dangerous offense. Georgia better get ready.

4. Arkansas Razorbacks (1-0)
If you haven't seen Arkansas' Joe Adams' two punt returns, you need to youtube them right now! This one is just incredible. Tyler Wilson, Mallett's successor, was very efficient and successful, throwing for 260 yards and 2 TD's as Arkansas romped over Missouri State 51-7.

5. Florida Gators (1-0)
Chris Rainey said after the game that the pro offense was the best thing that had ever happened to him. I'd say the same thing after seeing his and the rest of the Gators' stats: 197 yards rushing and 271 yards passing. Brantley was successful throwing the ball, something he struggled with a lot last year under Urban Meyer's offense. We'll see how they do against some real competition.

6. Mississippi State Bulldogs (1-0)
This team is quickly becoming my 2nd favorite bulldogs. Dan Mullen's offense had a ton of explosive plays in their destruction of a pretty awful Memphis team by a score of 59-14. Relf, Ballard, and Lewis helped the Maroon and White Dogs march up and down the field all night. They could play an interesting role in the West. 

7. Georgia Bulldogs (0-1)
Ugh... it was a rough showing. They'll have a little shot at redemption this weekend vs. the Gamecock's & their high powered offense. 

8. Auburn Tigers (1-0)
Man, really, Utah State. I was impressed with the late drives and onside kick late in the game, but I have a feeling it is going to be a long year on the plains. 

9. Tennessee Volunteers (1-0)
Dooley's team took a step out of the SEC cellar with their performance against a rather weak Montana team. Ball protection has to be a focus after having 6 in the game - luckily none were lost. 

10. Ole Miss Rebels (0-1)
Big fumble in the end helped BYU turn around a 13-0 Ole Miss lead in the 4th. Houston Nutt and the Rebels get a break with Southern Ill coming to town. 

11. Vanderbilt Commodores (1-0)
Ok, ok it was Elon, but not bad Vandy - who was considered to be the worst team in the SEC before... 

12. Kentucky Wildcats (1-0)
... Kentucky played a terrible game against WKU. Pretty awful night from an offensive standpoint - less than 100 yards rushing and passing. 

"That little inside zone play..."

USC's Marcus Lattimore

As we head into game week vs. the Ole' Ball Coach and his Gamecocks, we're going to take a look back at last year's match-up. In 2010, South Carolina defeated Georgia in Columbia 17-6 in what was Marcus Lattimore's coming out party. He romped his way as the SEC's top tailback by rushing for 182 yards against Todd Grantham's first year defense. After the game, Spurrier took a jab a Grantham.

"That little inside zone play, the NFL doesn’t run that play,” Spurrier said. “So that’s a new little scheme, I guess. Anyway, you’ll have to ask them. I’m sure they knew we were going to run it, but they certainly didn’t stop it much."

Sure, Todd Grantham fired back at Spurrier in the media, but, this year, he'll need to do a lot more than jab the Evil Genius to lead the Dawgs' Defense to victory. The first thing the Georgia D will need to do is fix what went wrong vs. the inside zone read that gashed the Georgia D. First, what is the inside zone read? The inside zone read is a fairly popular concept with today's spread offenses. It uses zone blocking schemes and a handoff option out of the gun to keep defenses on their heels. Lets look at the blocking concepts vs. Georgia's 3-4 defense (or 4-2-5, which is what I'm sure we'll see).

Inside Zone Read

The whole point of this play is to use the defense against itself. The defense MUST play assignment football and not be selfish. The key read for the QB is the BSE (back side end). If he crashes into the backfield, the QB pulls and gets what he can. If he stays, the QB gives and the running back either presses the heels of the playside A gap, or looks for the cut back should the defense over pursue. The key for the defense is to get take up blockers up front, not let the linemen get up to the linebackers, and for the backside in to SQUEEZE down on the backside tackle. As you can see in the diagram, the BST wants to get up to the linebacker by going across the end's face. Should the DE feel this, he must squeeze and not get up field. This accomplishes 2 things, it keeps the BST off of our ILB, and closes the cut back lane for the RB. Inside, our NT must demand a double team and not let the C to get up to the LB. The playside offense will just try and wash out the defense. The key for those guys is to squeeze back and try to fight the block. In the secondary, the backside linebacker and safety MUST fill down to take away the cutback. Lets see, compared to our keys, what we did wrong last year:

0:10 You can see the backside DE does a good job standing his man up and squeezing down. However, the OLB (#50 D. Gamble) flies up field and leaves a HUGE cutback lane for Lattimore. The TE just lets him go outside because he knows he is making his job easier. The safety (#18 B. Rambo) does not fill fast enough and Lattimore barrels him over into the endzone.

0:55 Another goal line situation. We have everyone rolled up, which should make stopping this play easier, because we have the numbers. At the snap, again the OLB (#42 J. Houston) flies up field. The end man on the line of scrimmage - because is is not touched - seals off the linebacker. The line and other linebackers do their job, however, because the OLB flies up field and doesn't chip the EMOLS (end man on line of scrimmage), he is the ONLY person that can make a play. He flies too far up, and when he realizes Lattimore is going to cut back because the playside A is washed, all he gets is an arm tackle on Lattimore as he goes into the endzone. These are two small examples of how going for the kill shot and being selfish will cost you the game. Hopefully we work on our assignments this week and learn how to stop the non-NFL play - or else, Lattimore and Co. will be one step closer to Atlanta and we'll be one step closer to chaos in Athens.