Which Would You Rather Have? An Average Defense or Zero Derp!

The deli by my office has the following sign taped to the cash register:

Honey - 25 Cents

Extra Honey - 50 Cents or More!

I don't go in for the honey much myself, but I feel like the discussion with the cashier goes something like this:

Cashier: so that's a bagel and coffee comes to $3.25 anything else?

Me: yeah could I get some honey?

Cashier: (puts packet of honey in bag) that will be $3.50

Me: you know what, can I get a little bit of extra honey.

Cashier sure: (puts in another honey packet) Sixty two fifty.

Me: Well played madam. But little did you know I've been stealing soy sauce for years.

That's my second favorite New York sign. My favorite is an add for the Zoni Language Center that you can find on the Number 7 Subway. It shows a girl looking frustrated, presumably because she cannot speak English; then in the second frame she's learning English; then to celebrate in the third frame she gives a sideways thumbs up. I love the sideways thumbs up. It reminds me of the blind man who must have been very pleased to have answered the king, after touching only the tail, that an elephant is like a rope. Perfect confidence of a portion belies perfect misunderstanding of the whole. It reminds me as well, of Willie Martinez signalling for the defense to come off the field after holding on third down. We may never see such a perfect occaision for a sideways thumbs up again. 

Or let us hope so at any rate. The Martinez days are behind us, as are the 2011 Gators, and the combined best efforts of the states of Mississippi and Tennessee. Coach Grantham's troups have held four of our SEC opponents to less than sixty yards rushing, four of our opponents to less than 50% passing, and four of our opponents to less than 30% third down conversions. In total the Dawgs rank seventh in the whole nation (also known as fourth in the conference) in total defense, and are in a position to potentially play in the SEC championship with a little help from Arkansas or Florida. The defense is statistically good, but the quality of the opponents is something of an elephant in the room.

After the jump I would like to look at two things with you. First, given that Georgia's opponents have not been of the highest caliber, how should we view the defensive performance and two to what extent are gains by the defense being offset by Derp!       


Stop me if you've heard this one before. UGA hasn't beaten a team with a winning record blah blah blah, rambling wreck. Georgia's wins have come against teams with a combined record of 17 and 23 none of which are better than four and four (although three of them are four and four). Their losses have come against teams which are a combined 14 and 1. This is a fair point. To account for this, I would like to look at how Georgia's defense has performed against each opponent compared to that team's average. I will look at four areas: Total Defense, Opponent's Quarterback Play, Opponent's Third Down Conversions, and Sacks.

In each of the following tables you can see each opponent's (excluding Coastal Carolina's) performance against the Dawgs and how that compares to that opponent's season average.

Several keys:

Opponent Rushing Yards - UGA better / (worse) Passing Yards - UGA better / (worse) Total Yards - UGA better / (worse)
Boise State                      56                    42                 98
South Carolina                   (51)                    44                 (7)
Ole Miss                      80                    15                 95
Mississippi State                   118                    48               166
Tennessee                      96                  (52)                 44
Vanderbilt                   (26)                      0               (26)
Florida                   170                  (59)               112
Total                   443                    39               483

Opponent Comp. % Better / (Worse) Yards Better / (Worse) TD Better / (Worse) Int Better / (Worse) 
Boise State -7 42 1 0
South Carolina 15 44 0 1
Ole Miss 11 15 0 1
Mississippi State 0 48 1 1
Tennessee 1 -52 2 -1
Vanderbilt 16 0 0 1
Florida 20 -59 0 -1
Total 8 39 3 2

Third Down Conversions



Against UGA Against FBS UGA Better / (Worse)
Boise State 33.33 47.25 13.92
South Carolina 28.57 42.61 14.04
Ole Miss 21.43 32.63 11.2
Mississippi State 26.67 39.47 12.8
Tennessee 30.77 41.3 10.53
Vanderbilt 33.33 27.96 -5.37
Florida 15.38 31.63 16.25


Opponent Against UGA Against FBS UGA Better / (Worse)
Boise State 0 0 0
South Carolina 2 2 0
Ole Miss 4 3 1
Mississippi State 5 2 3
Tennessee 2 1 1
Vanderbilt 1 3 -2
Florida 6 2 4


  • Georgia's opponents averaged about 70 yards per game less against UGA than their season average. Only South Carolina and Vanderbilt had a better than average day against UGA at 7 and 26 yards respectively. To put that in perspective, UGA averages right at 400 yards of offense per game and is ranked 56th in the country. 70 yards more per game is Clemson ranked number 17 and 70 yards less is Western Kentucky (or Tennessee) at 101 or 102.
  • Opposing Quarterbacks are completing, on average 8% fewer passes. That's the difference between Aaron Murray at 58% and Landry Jones at 66%. I don't know if that exactly makes you feel better or not....
  • Georgia's opponents are 10% worse on third conversions than against their average opponents. That's the difference between Alabama and Georgia 50% and 39% respectively or between Georgia and Vanderbilt (29%).
  • Georgia's opponents give up a sack per game more than against their average opponent (admittedly skewed by last week's 6 against Florida), that's the difference between Alabama at 1.5 allowed per game and Ole Miss at 2.5.

So that's the good news. Despite playing some lousy teams, Georgia's defense appears to be playing very well even in relative terms. What's the bad news? Cue the Derp!

Game Type Unit  Opponent Yards   Opponent Points   Change of Possession 
South Carolina Fake Punt Punt Return                  86                     7                     -  
South Carolina Fumble Returned for TD offense                    5                     7                     -  
South Carolina Fumble Returned inside the 5 Offense                  57                     7                       1
South Carolina Interception Returned for TD Offense                  25                     7                     -  
South Carolina Missed FG Less than 40 yards Field Goal                   -                       3                     -  
Ole Miss Missed FG less than 40 yards Field Goal                   -                       3                     -  
Ole miss Onside Kick Recovered Kickoff Return Team                  30                    -                         1
Ole Miss Punt Returned for TD Punt Return                  57                     7                     -  
MSU Field Goal Bad Snap Field Goal                    4                     3                     -  
MSU Interception Returned for TD Offense                  72                     7                     -  
Tennessee 50+ Yards in Penalties on a drive Offense / punt team                  60                    -                       -  
Vanderbilt Fake Punt Punt Return                  35                    -                         1
Vanderbilt Interception on goal line Offense                   -                       3                       1
Vanderbilt Kickoff return for TD Kickoff Return Team                   -                       7                     -  
Vanderbilt Punt blocked Punt Team                  70                    -                         1
Florida 72 Yard Pass Defense                  70                    -                       -  
Florida Interception off Isaiah Crowell's head Offense                   -                      -                         1
Florida Kickoff return for TD Kickoff Return Team                   -                       7                     -  
Florida Long kickoff return Kickoff Return Team                  54                    -                       -  
Florida Missed FG Less than 40 yards Field Goal                   -                       3                     -  
Florida Missed FG Less than 40 yards Field Goal                   -                       3                     -  
Year to Date Effect of Derp:               625                   74                       6
Per Game Effect of Derp:                  78                     9                       1

Updating from last week's post, we do some breathtakingly dumb stuff. And it is not cheap. Through Florida, according to my calculations, above (which are a little subjective I admit), the Dawgs have given up 74 points, 625 yards and 6 possesions on sheer derptitude. On a per game basis that's nine points and 78 yards.

Which means.....

The increase in defensive production at 69 yards per game is being more than offset by Derp!

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