clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Charting the Tide, Defense and Special Teams | Georgia Bulldogs

New, 31 comments

A strong pass rush was too much for the inexperienced Bulldog quarterbacks to handle

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Connelly invented all of this; check out his college football analytics blog, Football Study Hall.

But first, a GIF is worth a thousand words:

I’m still going to give you the words, though. You don’t get off that easily.

Confused?

  • Air Yards — The down-the-field or vertical yardage gained on a pass play as a result of the quarterback’s throw (i.e., prior to the receiver’s involvement), as measured from the line of scrimmage. So for forward passes thrown behind the line of scrimmage, the Air Yardage would be negative. This metric is also tracked on incomplete passes — underthrown balls are measured from where the ball lands, and overthrown balls from where the intended receiver is. Balls tipped at the line or thrown away are not measured. The companion statistic on completed passes is yards after catch — the sum of Air Yards and yards after catch on a completed pass equals the yardage gained on the play.
  • Catch Rate — The number of balls caught over the number of targets for an individual, or how often a receiver makes the catch when targeted.
  • Disruptive Plays — A sum of sacks, stuffs (tackles for loss on a ballcarrier, as opposed to a QB on a pass play), blocked kicks/punts, passes defensed/broken up, interceptions, and forced fumbles. Think of these as things that got you multiple helmet stickers when you were playing peewee.
  • Distance Splits — Aside from the quarterback performance chart (which is in terms of Air Yards), all distances refer to the yardage to go for that particular down, not how much yardage would be required for a successful play (see Success Rate).
  • Percent of Total for Rushing and Passing Splits by Down — These numbers refer to the percentage of first down plays that were a rush, second down plays that were a pass, and so on, NOT the percentage of rushes that were on first down. For example, the sum of first down pass frequency and first down rush frequency will be 100%, but the sum of first, second, third, and fourth down rush frequencies will be well in excess of 100%.
  • Garbage Time — Defined as when a game is not within 28 points in the first quarter, 24 points in the second quarter, 21 points in the third quarter, or 16 points in the fourth.
  • Pass Direction — One the quarterback performance chart, the pass directions (left, middle, right) refer to the third of the field the ball was thrown to, as defined by the hash marks, relative to the direction the offense is moving (i.e., from the quarterback's perspective). 'Left' throws are to the leftmost third, 'middle' throws are to the area between the hashes, and so on.
  • Run Directions — See the figure below. Defensive letter gap terminology is on the top in blue, and offensive hole terminology is on the bottom in green. Rushes are coded as 'Left Tackle' if they head through the left B and C gaps / the 3 and 5 holes, and so on.
  • RunDirection

  • Success Rate — A 'successful' play is defined as gaining 50% of required yardage on first down, 70% of required yardage on second down, and all of the required yardage on third and fourth downs — required yardage is another term for the distance required for a first down on a given play. Success rate is simply how often a team is successful.
  • Target — The intended receiver on a pass play. All pass plays have intended receivers, with the exception of passes that were tipped at the line, thrown away, or otherwise thrown in such a manner as to render identification of an intended receiver impossible.
  • YAC — Passing Yards After Catch, the amount of yardage gained by the receiver after catching a pass. YAC + Air Yards = Passing Yards.
  • iPPPIsolated Points Per Play, the amount of Net Equivalent Points gained per successful play. This is the best explosiveness metric the advanced stats community currently has; read more about it here.
  • Line Yards — The number of rushing yards on every run attributable to the offensive line’s efforts. Read more about it here.
  • Highlight Yards — The number of rushing yards on every run attributable to the running back’s efforts. Line Yards + Highlight Yards = Rushing Yards. Read more about it here.
  • Opportunity Rate — The percentage of carries where the back has an opportunity to accrue Highlight Yards; read more about it here.
  • Running Back Rating (RBR) — An overall quality metric for running backs, this is the product of Opportunity Rate and Highlight Yards per Opportunity.

Individual Performance

Disruptive Plays
Player VS.
UGA
2015
Season
Total PBUs STFs INTs Sacks FFs BKs Total
Fitzpatrick, Minkah 2 4 1 --- 2 --- 1 8
Humphrey, Marlon 2 4 2 1 --- 1 --- 8
Allen, Jonathan 1 2 --- --- 3 --- --- 5
Devall, Denzel --- 1 3 --- 1 --- --- 5
Reed, Jarran 1 3 1 --- 1 --- --- 5

Observations

I just can’t get over how well these freshmen DBs are playing. Minkah Fitzpatrick absolutely showed out, blocking a punt he smoothly took to the house and adding a sack off a perfectly-executed corner blitz. Fellow new face Marlon Humphrey had a few issues in coverage, but picked up a pass break-up and his first interception of the season. Jonathan Allen and Jarran Reed defensed a pass apiece at the line, and Tim Williams picked up his first defensed pass of the season as well. Williams collected the other sack on Georgia QB Brice Ramsey, who threw an additional interception returned for a touchdown by Eddie Jackson. Cyrus Jones and Geno Matias-Smith[1] both knocked down a ball, with yet another impressive freshman in Ronnie Harrison picking up a late interception from QB Greyson Lambert. D.J. Pettway, Ryan Anderson, and Shaun Dion Hamilton rounded out the production with a stuff apiece.

1 | Who appears to have been afflicted with a touch of Justin Woodall, at least with regards to tackling.

If it seems like there’s more to this chart every week than last year, you’d be right. The 2015 Tide defense has been absurdly productive with the disruptive plays, and are currently tied for first in the country for passes defensed. The secondary play, particularly across from Jones, is demonstrably better, but the big change is with the front seven, both in terms of improved pass rush but more notably with respect to balls batted down at the line of scrimmage. When asked why the Tide are so good at this, Dalvin Tomlinson offered the following insight:

"I guess before we used to just put our hands up on top of the offensive linemen instead of the passing lanes between the offensive linemen, because most quarterbacks don't throw the ball over the offensive linemen."

Well, that makes a whole lot of sense, doesn’t it? Thank you, Bo Davis.

Overall Defensive Performance

Quarter Breakdown
Metric 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
Plays 18 81 20 96 1 62 0 14
S. Rate 38.9% 35.8% 15.0% 25.0% 0.0% 22.6% --- 42.9%
iPPP 0.8 0.7 0.9 0.9 --- 1.6 --- 2.3
Pass % 33.3% 46.3% 57.9% 67.0% 100.0% 76.3% --- 42.9%
P. S. Rate 16.7% 35.1% 0.0% 26.2% 0.0% 26.7% --- 66.7%
P. iPPP 3.1 1.0 --- 1.1 --- 1.7 --- 3.1
Rush % 66.7% 53.8% 42.1% 33.0% 0.0% 23.7% --- 57.1%
R. S. Rate 50.0% 37.2% 37.5% 26.7% --- 14.3% --- 25.0%
R. iPPP 0.4 0.5 0.9 0.7 --- 0.6 --- 0.9

Observations

That interception Jackson returned for a touchdown? Well, that was Georgia’s only offensive play in the second half that shows up here, because the resulting 31-3 score pushed the game into garbage time. The Tide tacked on another touchdown on their next possession, which provided the necessary insulation to absorb the 83 yard touchdown that served as most of Nick Chubb’s production on the afternoon.

Georgia’s lone effective drive in the first half was on their third possession, a 14 play, 71 yard march marred by penalties and other boneheaded errors. That drive contained their lone successful pass of the game before garbage time, the 36 yarder to Malcolm Mitchell that was nestled perfectly inbetween multiple defenders by Lambert. That’s reflected in the sky-high iPPP for first quarter passes, but again, that was it. There were a few more nice completions in the game, but they either occurred in garbage time or were not successful.[2]

2 | An example of the latter was Terry Godwin’s reception on the aforementioned drive, which was unsuccessful but made the ensuing field goal manageable.

I found the rushing numbers surprising, as it seemed like Georgia was completely shut down by the Tide. Their success rate in the first quarter wasn’t bad at all, but you can see how low the iPPP was. These runs were of the five-yard-on-first-down variety, which are useful but not particularly explosive. Aside from a couple of 15+ yarders at the end of the first half, there wasn’t much here for the Bulldogs before garbage time began.

Formation / Playcall Breakdown
Call Plays Percent of Total Success Rate iPPP
VS.
UGA
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
Shotgun 23 59.0% 80.2% 21.7% 28.6% 0.4 1.1
Pistol 0 0.0% 1.2% --- 66.7% --- 0.8
Under Center 16 41.0% 17.8% 31.3% 28.9% 1.2 1.0
No Huddle 26 66.7% 52.2% 23.1% 29.5% 1.0 1.1
Huddled 13 33.3% 47.8% 30.8% 28.1% 0.5 1.1
Play Action 5 12.8% 12.6% 20.0% 43.8% 3.1 1.7

Observations

In stark contrast to the Tide’s previous opponents, Georgia is much more of a throwback offense — lots of I-formation, lots of work under center for the quarterback. As a result, Georgia QBs lined up under center about 40% of the game before garbage time, well over twice as often as the typical Tide opponent in 2015. They were relatively effective plays as well, good for an iPPP of 1.2.

The second part of this chart is a nice example of what the no-huddle does for you. Georgia, like Alabama, has married their pro-style concepts with a no-huddle approach more and more in recent years. The no-huddle plays were successful less often,[3] but were twice as explosive as huddled ones. I don’t have data to suppor this, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s a trend that shows up for most teams in college football. When you fail to gather yourself and set up the next play in a huddle, your offensive personnel may not always execute well, but when they do they tend to catch the defense either tired or a bit off-guard.

3 | Usually loathe to agree with Danielson, but he’s right that good things happen when you take your time.

Personnel Breakdown
Group Plays Percent of Total Success Rate iPPP
VS.
UGA
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
10 12 30.8% 25.7% 25.0% 24.6% 0.4 1.0
21 11 28.2% 14.6% 36.4% 35.1% 1.2 1.0
11 10 25.6% 28.1% 20.0% 31.0% 1.0 0.9
20 2 5.1% 9.1% 0.0% 34.8% --- 2.4
12 2 5.1% 5.5% 50.0% 28.6% 0.1 0.9

Observations

Georgia kept it pretty basic with the personnel, opting for 10, 11, or 21 personnel over 80% of the time. 10 personnel is usually a decent look against the Tide for explosiveness, but Georgia got absolutely nothing from that set with an iPPP of 0.4. 11 personnel was significantly more explosive when it did work, but that was only on two plays, a success rate 10% lower than the seasonal average. Georgia’s most common 21 personnel look was the classic I-formation, and it was the most efficient and explosive of the three main groupings they used in this one.[4]

4 | Most of that was the one successful pass, which was play-action out of the I.

Down and Distance Matrix
Distance Metric Down
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
Short
(0-3 Yds)
Plays 0 1 1 10 3 18 0 3
S. Rate --- 0.0% 100.0% 60.0% 66.7% 38.9% --- 66.7%
iPPP --- --- 0.2 1.8 0.1 1.4 --- 0.2
Medium
(4-6 Yds)
Plays 0 2 3 16 2 15 0 0
S. Rate --- 50.0% 33.3% 18.8% 0.0% 33.3% --- ---
iPPP --- 0.6 1.2 0.8 --- 0.8 --- ---
Long
(7-10 Yds)
Plays 13 89 7 42 4 21 0 1
S. Rate 38.5% 28.1% 14.3% 31.0% 0.0% 14.3% --- 0.0%
iPPP 1.1 1.0 0.9 1.0 --- 1.3 --- ---
Very Long
(11+ Yds)
Plays 2 9 2 16 2 10 0 0
S. Rate 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 37.5% 0.0% 20.0% --- ---
iPPP --- --- --- 1.2 --- 1.7 --- ---

Observations

The one area Georgia really excelled in this game was in short yardage, where that veteran line was able to get just enough push to pick up the first down. Add a little distance and the Bulldogs got a whole lot of nothin’, with the exception of first-and-tens, where they were a bit more successful than the Tide normally allows.

Front Seven Performance

Rush Splits by Down, Distance, and Direction
Metric Attempts Rush % S. Rate iPPP LY/Att.
VS.
UGA
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
All Carries 16 52.6% 38.9% 56.3% 37.8% 0.3 0.2 2.8 2.2
1st Down 10 80.0% 52.0% 40.0% 19.5% 0.6 0.6 3.3 2.1
2nd Down 4 41.7% 33.3% 50.0% 40.9% 0.7 0.8 2.8 2.9
3rd Down 2 27.3% 22.6% 100.0% 33.3% 0.1 0.2 1.0 1.4
Short
(0-3 Yds.)
3 75.0% 64.5% 100.0% 47.1% 0.1 0.2 1.3 1.0
Medium
(4-6 Yds.)
2 60.0% 35.5% 50.0% 11.1% 1.2 1.2 4.5 2.3
Long
(7-10 Yds.)
10 52.2% 36.9% 40.0% 25.6% 0.6 0.7 3.2 2.5
Very Long
(11+ Yds.)
1 33.3% 27.3% 0.0% 40.0% --- 0.9 1.0 4.6
Left
End
0 0.0% 10.8% --- 50.0% --- 0.5 --- 3.2
Left
Tackle
3 18.8% 8.1% 33.3% 50.0% 1.1 0.7 2.7 2.6
Middle 6 37.5% 48.6% 50.0% 13.9% 0.5 0.4 2.7 1.7
Right
Tackle
5 31.3% 20.3% 60.0% 33.3% 0.5 0.5 3.9 2.8
Right
End
2 12.5% 12.2% 50.0% 55.6% 0.2 0.7 1.0 2.4

Observations

This game is a great example of why we look at explosiveness metrics alongside efficiency ones, because efficiency isn’t everything. Georgia was significantly more successful running the ball than the typical Tide opponent,[5] but they got very little out of those successful runs. They were slightly more explosive than the Tide’s other opponents on the year, but given Georgia’s reputation coming in, that’s not saying much. One notable success for the Bulldogs was push up the middle and behind RT Kolton Houston, where they outpaced the Tide’s season averages by a full yard.

5 | Keep in mind this is just in the first half.

Opposing RB Performance
Metric Attempts Opp. Rate Hlt. Yds. / Opp. RBR
VS.
UGA
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
All Carries 16 31.3% 24.6% 3.9 2.9 1.2 0.7
1st Down 10 40.0% 23.1% 2.6 1.6 1.1 0.4
2nd Down 4 25.0% 33.3% 9.0 5.0 2.3 1.7
3rd Down 2 0.0% 12.5% --- 0.5 --- 0.1
Short
(0-3 Yds.)
3 0.0% 0.0% --- --- --- ---
Medium
(4-6 Yds.)
2 50.0% 25.0% 9.0 4.8 4.5 1.2
Long
(7-10 Yds.)
10 40.0% 25.6% 2.6 2.7 1.1 0.7
Very Long
(11+ Yds.)
1 0.0% 80.0% --- 2.5 --- 2.0
Left
End
0 --- 37.5% --- 3.5 --- 1.3
Left
Tackle
3 33.3% 33.3% 8.0 5.3 2.7 1.8
Middle 6 16.7% 9.4% 9.0 3.3 1.5 0.3
Right
Tackle
5 60.0% 40.0% 0.8 0.9 0.5 0.4
Right
End
2 0.0% 37.5% --- 4.3 --- 1.6

Observations

The opportunity rates reinforce what I’ve said above regarding success rates and iPPP — overall, the Georgia RBs were slightly better than the garbage the Tide had seen previously, which equates to complete domination given the inherent talent and reputation of Chubb and Sony Michel.[6] The big numbers in the RBR column came on limited reps, so that’s not tremendously concerning. Georgia’s success running straight up the gut was tiresome, but given the push they got from their veteran line, it’s not terribly surprising.

6 | Who was every bit as impressive to me as Chubb. Different kind of back, but I can see how he got the five-star rating.

Secondary Performance

Opponent Quarterback Performance
Air Yards Metric Left Middle Right Totals
4 3 9 16
Behind
L.O.S
Comp. % 1/1 (100.0%) 0/0 (---) 1/1 (100.0%) 2
S. Rate 0.0% --- 0.0%
iPPP --- --- ---
0-5
Yards
Comp. % 2/2 (100.0%) 0/1 (0.0%) 1/3 (33.3%) 6
S. Rate 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
iPPP --- --- ---
6-10
Yards
Comp. % 0/0 (---) 0/1 (0.0%) 0/2 (0.0%) 3
S. Rate --- 0.0% 0.0%
iPPP --- --- ---
11-15
Yards
Comp. % 0/0 (---) 0/0 (---) 0/1 (0.0%) 1
S. Rate --- --- 0.0%
iPPP --- --- ---
16+ Yards
Comp. % 1/1 (100.0%) 0/1 (0.0%) 1/2 (50.0%) 4
S. Rate 0.0% 0.0% 50.0%
iPPP --- --- 3.1

Observations

One. Successful. Pass. The combination of Lambert and Ramsey only completed 7 of 16 overall before garbage time, which in the absence of explosive gains is simply not going to get it done against the Tide or any other defense. For all of the decent push that offensive line got on running plays, they were harried by the Tide front seven’s improved pass rush, and like the Tide’s previous four opponents, unable to stop the defensive line from affecting pass attempts at the line of scrimmage. That, in conjunction with poor conditions, made for a long day for Lambert and Ramsey.

Pass Splits by Down and Distance
Metric Attempts Pass % S. Rate iPPP
VS.
UGA
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
VS.
UGA
2015
Season
All Passes 18 47.4% 61.1% 5.6% 30.2% 3.1 1.4
1st 3 20.0% 48.0% 33.3% 31.3% 3.1 1.3
2nd 7 58.3% 77.4% 0.0% 34.6% --- 1.4
3rd 8 72.7% 66.7% 0.0% 25.0% --- 1.6
Short
(0-3 Yds.)
1 25.0% 35.5% 0.0% 63.6% --- 2.8
Medium
(4-6 Yds.)
2 40.0% 64.5% 0.0% 35.0% --- 0.8
Long
(7-10 Yds.)
11 47.8% 63.1% 9.1% 27.7% 3.1 1.2
Very Long
(11+ Yds.)
4 66.7% 72.7% 0.0% 20.8% --- 1.6

Observations

The key to stopping the Bulldogs offense was to limit the rushing attack as much as possible, and put the game on the shoulders of a suspect quarterback. That’s exactly what the Tide did, and it worked to perfection. Nothing more to add here — one successful pass! One!

Special Teams Performance

Punts and Kickoffs Performance
Metric ALABAMA GEORGIA
Punt Hangtime 4.17s 3.76s
Gross Points per Punt 3.75 3.88
Net Points per Punt 3.36 2.85
Kickoff Hangtime 3.95s 3.90s
Gross Points per Kickoff 6.58 5.94
Net Points per Kickoff 4.08 3.60

Observations

Hard to take too much away from the kicking stats, as it seemed like the conditions, particularly in the third, affected the specialists as well. Marshall Morgan’s final kickoff was shanked off the tee, which is not something you see often. A weak kick, sure, but not a wounded duck that’s spinning around the wrong axis of the football.

J.K. Scott had one or two great punts, including one that became a touchback when Tony Brown had trouble locating the ball, but otherwise seems a bit off, particularly when contrasted with his world-beating form of a year ago. I’m not an expert on punting technique, but I’m not sure I buy it’s something to do with his drops. I don’t see how a true freshman comes in and earns the mantle of best punter alive, and then mysteriously forgets how to drop the ball onto his foot. No, this is either mental, an undisclosed injury, or Bobby Williams is exactly as bad at his job as we all think he is.

Adam Griffith didn’t have the best day kicking off, but again it’s hard to say how much of that might have come from the conditions. He reached the end zone all but once, but didn’t get much air under the ball, allowing return opportunities for the Bulldogs. Fortunately kick coverage was great Saturday, as was punt coverage outside of the aforementioned misstep for Brown. The Tide returners had a fine day, including several decent kick returns from Damien Harris, who may have supplanted/replaced Kenyan Drake in that role. Jones fielded the ball well on punts, and ripped off an exciting 23 yarder on his final punt return of the day.

ROLL TIDE