Saturday, July 31, 2010

Not Antother Regression to the Mean Post

In looking at College Football Stats for background information on two posts I wrote earlier this week, I came accross some turnover stats that really surprised me. Georgia progressively got better in the turnover department as the season progressed.  Thinking back, that makes sense, but it certainly didn't feel that way as the season was happening.  Perhaps it was the prevailing sense of dread there was going to be a gut wrenching fumble at some point in every game or that a ball would be thrown to a defender that could drive a salmonella laden ice pick in our eye.  Maybe it was just me.

While the Dawgs never progressed in picking up fumbles (with only two recoveries on the season, you really have no way show a gain) and remained consistent with 2-3 picks per month, the improvement through the season in interceptions thrown and fumbles given up is marked.  Not to overstate the importance of the running game shifts during the season, when you look at the stats, you start to feel much better about the running game situation in 2010 when you consider that of the turnovers Georgia had last season (28), 8 of the 11 fumbles happened by Oct 10th (the Tennessee game), and 13 of the 17 interceptions happened by the WLOCP, which saw the emergence of the different offensive philosophy.

Turnover Margin by month

                            Fum   Int      TOs     Margin    Mar/Game    Nat Rank total TOs
in August/September    

7          5        12       -9              -2.25              112T
in October   

1          8          9       -6              -1.50                68T
in November    

3          3          6       -2              -0.50                59T
in December/January    

0          1          1        1               1.00                  8T

As Georgia relied more on the run as the bread and butter of the offense, fumbles and interceptions went down.  As Joe started to do what Bobo wants Murray to do, that is do his job to his ability, Joe actually became a much more effective QB because he wasn't put in the position (either by necessity of game plan or in his head) of having to fully carry the offense. 

Now, the open questions remain:  Does Aaron Murray have the maturity to know what 'doing his job to his ability' means? AND Is Aaron Murray's ability more like David Greene's or Joe Cox's?  I can't answer the first one yet and haven't seen enough of Murray to say anything other than Murray was more highly recruited than either Cox or Greene, for what that is worth.  I do know that I was less unsure about last season at the end of July than I am at the end of July this year.  I also know I had a lot more confidence in Joe Cox than others did, but I counted on the running game to help him more than it did.  As you remember, especially early in the season, confidence in both was misplaced. 

What does all of this mean?  Honestly, I don't know. It could end up like the Chinese oil spill: much, much worse than we are lead to believe. There are too many ifs on the defensive side of the ball to feel better than slight bullish on +8 wins. The biggest 'if' right now is if the offense, especially early in the season, has to outscore teams, will they be able to?

Hopefully, starting Monday, we'll be able to better answer those and other questions a bit better.  Suit up and hit something boys and girls.  Football is here.

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