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Let us Consider the Gravity of Starting Kwame Geathers and John Jenkins on the Same Line


I want to be clear that I am not referring to the seriousness or importance of determining our starting defensive front. I'm proposing an analysis of "the natural force of attraction between any two massive bodies, which is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them" created by these fellas. Simply put: the combined mass of Geathers and Jenkins at end and tackle respectively will suck the rest of college football into a black hole. It's a scientific fact! Not only will this result in an SEC championship, it's a great opportunity to get rid of other things that have been cluttering up the Bulldawg nation. That playbook Coach Bobo's been using? Unpaid parking citations? Lane Kiffin? Simply place them in the vicinity and Boom! (not that Boom!) sucked into another dimension. For safety, please tie down Carlton Thomas to a secure object.

All right, let's return to the terrestrial plane and take a look at this. What are we talking about here? Everyone is no doubt aware of a couple things.

1) the 2010 Georgia Bulldawgs were somewhat average when it came to stopping the run. They gave up an average of  148.23 yards per game which was seventh in the SEC. By comparison Auburn and Alabama gave up about 110 and Vanderbilt gave up 193. Further, the Dawgs gave up 24 rushing touchdowns (only Kentucky and Vanderbilt gave up more) and allowed first down conversions on 41% of third down's (last in the SEC, although to be fair they were second in short yardage running situations).

2) The personnel used to implement the 3-4 were not really designed for it. Deangelo Tyson is a fine player and at 6'2" 306, is about ideal for a 3-4 end. But that is not where he was playing. Tyson as a nose simply isn't the type of space eater the scheme requires.

3) To address this, UGA enlisted a 6'4" 350 lbs JUCO recruit named John Jenkins to take up a bit more space. This would have created a likely front 3 of Jenkins, Abry Jones (310) and Tyson. Assuming a starting linebacker corps of
Cornelius Washington (269), Jarvis Jones (241), Alec Ogletree (230), and Christian Robinson (230), that group would go 322 per man across the front 3 and 276 per man for the front seven.

4) but then a funny thing happened. During Spring practice Kwame Geathers decided that he might be interested in playing a bit of football this year. The Kwam tips the scales at 350 as well, and seems to have been lighting it up. This lead Todd Grantham to note, when asked about playing both players at the same time that "there aint no rule against it."

I am intrigued. So let's assume that there are two possibilities playing either Geathers or Jenkins, or playing Geathers and Jenkins. I took a look at how those lineups would compare against some other 3-4 defenses:

Front 3 Linebacker Front 7
UGA Geathers and Jenkins 340 243 284
Team A 321 256 284
Team B 327 248 282
UGA - Geathers or Jenkins 322 243 276
Team C 303 246 271

 

So this seems like a pretty cool deal, even if Georgia is only able to play one lineman or the other they are very comparable to the largest 3-4 units in the game. How are those units at stopping the run you ask? Real names after the jump.

Front 3 Linebacker Front 7
UGA Geathers and Jenkins 340 243 284
Baltimore Ravens 321 256 284
Green Bay Packers 327 248 282
UGA - Geathers or Jenkins 322 243 276
Pittsbugh Steelers 303 246 271

 

They were pretty successful. It appears that even if Georgia is able to only play one of these creatures or the other, that they are going to have elite size on the line. So how would these fronts compare to actual college 3-4 defenses. Here is a sampling of them:

  Front 3 Linebacker Front 7
UGA Geathers and Jenkins College 340 243 284
Baltimore Ravens NFL 321 256 284
Green Bay NFL 327 248 282
UGA - Geathers or Jenkins College 322 243 276
Pittsbugh Steelers NFL 303 246 271
Notre Dame College 293 250 269
Cal College 292 247 266
Alabama College 282 248 262
Texas A&M College 297 230 258
BYU College 292 231 257
Georgia Tech College 286 231 255
Stanford College 275 239 254
Duke College 268 235 249
Air Force College 260 224 239
All 3-4 Average 297 241 265
College 3-4 Average 292 224 239
UGA Geathers and Jenkins Over/Under
All 3-4 Average 43 2 19
College 3-4 Average 48 19 45
UGA Geathers or Jenkins Over/(Under)
All 3-4 Average 6 5 6
College 3-4 Average 11 22 32

 

Couple caveats about the numbers: they are based on either Rivals or the NFL team's site, so they are only as good as the source, the starters don't play for the whole game and this doesn't weight the numbers by snaps or anything.

That said it looks to me like either group could be difficult to move around.

Here is how the two fronts we've discussed compare to this likely offensive lines of the UGA opponents in 2011:

UGA Opponent Offensive Lines Average Average Ex TE Excess over Average 3-4 Front 7 Excess over UGA G and J Excess over UGA G or J
Boise State 286 293 47 2 10
South Carolina 295 301 56 11 19
Ole Miss 302 317 63 18 26
Mississippi State 295 304 56 11 19
Tennessee 308 319 69 24 32
Vanderbilt 288 296 49 4 12
Florida 287 297 48 3 11
Auburn 289 295 50 5 13
Kentucky 295 305 56 11 19
Georgia Tech 275 289 36 -9 -1

So what are we saying here? We're saying that when Florida faces a typical college 3-4 their offensive line (including the tight end) generally outweighs the opposing front seven by an average of 48 lbs per man. With Jenkins or Geathers that advantage is reduced by 80%. With Jenkins and Geathers it disappears.

So where does this get us? That depends. That Geathers and Jenkins are huge human beings is not in question. That either of them is an SEC Nose Guard remains to be seen, and that one is a nose and the other an end could be a fantasy. That said, if they can both play especially if it occurs simultaneoulsy, we have to be excited. Neutralizing the size advantage of the offensive line would be a sea change in UGA football that should enable Coach Grantham to use every tool in his schematic toolbox by stopping the run and bringing pressure with fewer players. You simply cannot move 1000 pounds of defensive lineman concentrated in three places the way that you do it in practice. It will change the way that our opponents prepare and play us. I do not think it will be to their advantage. If they can both play they should. Let the big dawgs eat!

All stats from www.cfbstats.com.

Weights etc from the team's site or rivals.

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