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Post Run/pass split and Ohio State comparisons

Friday September 22, 2006

David Ching looks at the run/pass split and notes that while Georgia is heavy on the run in the second half, it’s not much heavier than the split in the first half. The Dawgs run slightly less in the first half but the split favors the run at any point in the game. I would note that the UAB game, in which the split was skewed more towards the run than the other games, was the weaker-looking offensive performance of the three. Balance still matters. Like Ching, I’d like to see what it looks like against Tennessee or a similar opponent. I should have my running game stats browser working by next week, and we can crunch this even more then.

The quarterback situation lends itself to a reasonable explanation for the split. We pretty much figured that we weren’t going to be slinging the ball all over the field with Joe T. under center. Now that Stafford’s in, he’s being brought along. Though he’s not being asked to pass a lot, he cut back on the mistakes last week and became much more efficient completing 10 of 17 with no turnovers. All that plus the nature of the games (a conservative plan was appropriate for all games so far) leads to favoring the run. Not terribly wide-open yet, but the season is young and the need to push things with Stafford hasn’t presented itself yet.

That brings me to a related topic. A commenter over at CFR jumps on the theme that UGA 2006 = Ohio State 2002. I’d heard that before, but CFR gives it a good treatment worth discussing. Though CFR and I often have different views on things, I’m with him here in being skeptical about this theme.

It reminds me of the preseason talk last year when some made the UGA 2005 = Tennessee 1998 leap. Shockley = Tee Martin. Because Georgia had a talented black senior quarterback taking over, they could expect an undefeated season and a national title. Make sense to you? Me neither.

Look, I understand what’s going on. We’re still undefeated. Title hopes might not be especially "realistic" (how I hate that word), but technically they’re still alive. So we look around for champions with good defenses and struggling offenses with which we can relate. Bingo, Ohio State 2002. Alabama 1992 is another popular choice.

Georgia finds itself in the not-so-unique position of having a good defense and an offense that’s slowly coming along as it develops a promising but raw freshman QB. That doesn’t make them Ohio State 2002 any more than it makes them FSU 2005.

I should note that this comparison with Ohio State does a big injustice to Krenzel. He completed just shy of 60% of his passes in 2002, made big plays at the right time, and even led his team in rushing against Miami. He wasn’t Vince Young, but that still doesn’t make a comparison with Tereshinski appropriate. I’ve posted before about my appreciation for unspectacular QBs who get the job done and lead their teams to national titles, but they’re a unique breed and not comparable to every team’s stiff who is struggling to complete 50% of his passes.

Aside: It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t nitpick at one of CFR’s points. He "really hated" that 2002 Ohio State team because "because as great as that team was, they were also more than a little lucky." Sure they were. But luck, narrow escapes, blown calls, and controversy are often a part of a national title season. Colorado’s 5th down. Tennessee-Arkansas 1998. How many events had to come together for the 1996 FSU-Florida rematch? Georgia’s own title season in 1980 was a combination of a relatively light schedule, fumbles by Tennessee and South Carolina, a miracle 92-yard touchdown, and Notre Dame special teams breakdowns. The imperfect, tainted, and even "lucky" national title is a common theme in college football history.

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