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Post Is perfection attainable?

Tuesday December 16, 2008

Javon Ringer has had one heck of a season, and he even received mention on six Heisman ballots. His 1,590 yards and 21 touchdowns put him in the national top 3 for both categories. Accordingly, he’s aimed high for the last game of his college career. He wants to have a perfect game.

"That’s why this bowl is so good. The perfect game for me would be something like 25 carries, 200 yards, three touchdowns and a victory. That’s the way I want to go out."

I’d be surprised if a top-quality back like Ringer didn’t have such goals for himself. Let’s look deeper at how he racked up those yards:

In six games against teams that finished with six wins or fewer, Ringer put up 1,131 yards and 14 touchdowns. That’s a solid 188.5 yards per game and 2+ touchdowns per game. Ringer put up at least 120 yards in each of those games and had at least 194 yards in four of them.

In six games against teams that finished with seven or more wins, Ringer tallied 459 yards and 7 touchdowns. That’s 76.5 yards and just over 1 touchdown per game against better competition. He went over 100 yards only once against a team with a winning record, and that was a 124-yard performance against 9-3 Northwestern in which he carried the ball 35 times.

Now I have no reason to suddenly get cocky about Georgia’s defense, but the Bulldogs – for all of our sackcloth and ashes – are still very much a winning team and have had reasonable success against the run from traditional offenses.

The thing that had held Ringer back the most this year has been getting carries against better opponents. If you look at his numbers, you’ll see that in seven of Michigan State’s games, Ringer was a workhorse with well over 30 carries. Five times though he was held under 27 carries and failed to go over 100 yards in each of those games. (It should be noted that he was fighting a nasty virus during the Wisconsin game in which he rushed for 54 yards on 21 carries.) It also hasn’t helped that the Spartans fell behind by 20+ early to both Ohio State and Penn State. Comeback mode necessarily limited Ringer’s carries against those opponents (16 and 17, respectively).

Of course any back that racks up 1,500+ on any kind of competition deserves plenty of respect and attention from a defense, and Ringer will get it from Georgia. A similar analysis of Knowshon Moreno’s season will find that he didn’t hit 100 yards against good teams in each of Georgia’s three losses, but we don’t consider him any less of an impact player. The Bulldogs can most help themselves by coming out strong on offense and changing Ringer’s role in the game.

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