How good is UGA’s defense?

I respect what UGA has been able to do defensively this year, but it’s an understatement to say the SEC has been down this year, and UGA has had the fortune of not having to play any of the good teams in the West.  So, how good is the UGA defense, really?  I went through their games and threw out the Coastal Carolina game.  I listed the yards the Bulldogs gave up vs the opponent’s yearly average.

  1. Boise 390yds / (475 avg) -85yds
  2. USCe 395yds / (361 avg) +34yds
  3. Coastal Carolina (FCS) 112yds / (305 avg)
  4. Ole Miss 183yds / (296 avg) -113yds
  5. Miss St 213yds / (372 avg) -159yds
  6. Tennessee 270yds / (342 avg) -72yds
  7. Vandy 349yds / (334 avg) +5yds
  8. Florida 226yds / (337 avg) -111yds
  9. New Mexico St 402yds / (424 avg) -20yds
  10. Auburn 195yds / (338 avg) -143yds
  11. Kentucky 165yds / (263 avg) -98yds

Total: 83 few yards per game on defense, which translates to roughly a 1.20 yard per play differential over the course of the season given the average number of plays being run by their opponents (more if you count Coastal Carolina, but I don’t think it’s relevant).

That’s a pretty impressive differential.  If UGA can keep Tech’s rushing average under 4.5 yards per rush (the Jackets currently average 5.85 yards per rush and 11 yards per pass attempt), they will be in position to force the Jackets into 3rd and medium situations that the Jackets do not excel at.  I think that if you’re Tech, you have to be mindful of how sound the UGA defense has been this year and focus on getting yards on first down – don’t get too cute early, build momentum and get into 3rd and short situations that are manageable.

More to come Wednesday regarding position battles.

Ok, now what?

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