Bits and Bytes: Tennessee vs. Georgia

By The Numbers

Bits and Bytes_Key

Now that teams have played 5 games in their schedules, the team statistics are starting to fall into a place where they are perhaps telling us something useful. Up to now, it’s been like looking at baseball standings in the middle of May.

So let’s start with Georgia’s strengths. The SEC team statistics give us the following categories where Georgia are relatively strong relative to other conference schools. Tennessee are not near the bottom in any of these catetgories.

  • 3rd in passing offense.
  • 1st in punting.
  • T-1st in PAT kicking.
  • T-3rd in sacks against.
  • 1st in opponent penalties.
  • 4th in red zone offense.

That’s it. Here are the categores where the Bulldogs are just doggone bad. Categories where Tennessee are near the top are noted in parentheses.

  • 11th in scoring defense.
  • 11th in passing defense.
  • 11th in pass defense efficiency.
  • 11th in total defense.
  • 12th (last) in rushing offense.
  • 10th in total offense.
  • T-9th in first downs (Tennessee is 3rd).
  • 11th in opponent first downs.
  • 10th in kickoff coverage.
  • 10th in 4th down conversions.
  • T-11th in opponent 4th down conversions.
  • 11th in penalties (Tennessee is 1st).
  • 11th in time of possession.
  • 12th (last) in turnover margin.

Here is the list of all Georgia players who are rated in the top ten in the SEC for various categories.

  • Joe Cox – 3rd in passing average per game.
  • Joe Cox – 7th in pass efficiency.
  • Joe Cox – 3rd in total offense.
  • A.J. Green – 1st in receptions per game and receiving yards per game.
  • A.J. Green – T-4th in scoring (points per game).
  • Blair Walsh – 5th in kicking scoring (points per game).
  • Blair Walsh – T-4th in field goals.
  • Brandon Boykin – 5th in kick return average.
  • Brandon Boykin – T-5th in interceptions.
  • Drew Butler – 1st in punting.
  • Rennie Curran – 1st in tackles.

Georgia’s workhorse running back is Richard Samuel. Senator Blutarsky over at Get The Picture, a fine Georgia Bulldog blog, notes that in terms of percentage of team carries and percentage of team rushing yardage, Samuel is the second-most relied upon running back in the SEC, but he is not in the SEC’s top ten rushers.

What They’re Saying

Tennessee Megaphone

John Adams over at Go Vols XTRA relies on NCAA stats to argue that the Vols offense is significantly improved over last season.

Joel over at Rocky Top Talk agrees.

However, John in another post discusses how the receivers are contributing to the offensive woes of the Vols.

Paul Westerdawg over at The Georgia Sports Blog laments about his Bulldog’s kick coverage. He says: “If you have the fastest player in college football returning the kicks, you aren’t going to have a reasonable opportunity to chase him down and tackle him using walk-ons, 280 lb defensive ends, back-up fullbacks and back-up quarterbacks.”

Senator Blutarsky over at Get the Picture argues that Vol QB is somebody that Georgia should be able to defend successfully based on his passer rating compared with other QB’s the ‘Dogs have faced so far. Yep, we’re familiar with that scenario.

MaconDawg over at Dawg Sports looks back at the LSU loss, noting that the ‘Dogs only rushed for 45 yards, critiques Georgia’s offensive coordinator (Georgia scored 0 points in the first half), and laments that the youth and inexperience (QB mostly) have a lot to say for their inconsistent production. MaconDawg’s same article looks at three things that scare the daylights of him: (1) Tennessee’s defense (understood); (2) Tennessee’s offense (especially the run game; he mentions that Crompton is nearly competent when rolling out); and (3) The letdown factor (after Georgia’s hard-fought emotional loss at home to LSU. That’s the most hopeful thing I’ve read all week!

Chris Lowe at ESPN says that Saturday’s game is about Georgia and Tennessee just trying to stay afloat in their seasons.

Chris also ranks Vol RB Montario Hardesty as the SEC’s second-best RB behind Alabama’s Mark Ingram. Chris notes that Hardesty is battling Auburn’s Chriss Todd for SEC comback player of the year with his performance so far this season.

Also, Chris introduces us to Washaun Ealey, Georgia’s true-freshman running back. I get just a little uneasy when somebody talks about a freshman runningback coming to Neyland Stadium.

David Hale over a Bulldogs Blog notes that this week’s meeting between Georgia and Tennessee marks the first time since 1937 the two teams have faced off while neither was ranked in the top 25. David also writes that ‘Dog QB Joe Cox’s biggest problem is not his leadership and not the deep ball, but his mid-range throws. And, Mr. Hale goes on to talk about the QB controversy at Georgia – alot of supporters want Cox out. Hale asks, “What is your alternative?” David, we Vols are all too familiar with that dilemma.

And finally, about something that has absolutely nothing to do with Saturday’s game, Paul Westerdawg at The Georgia Sports Blog talks about plans for a Georgia-Georgia Tech game to open the 2011 season in the Georgia Dome. Is nothing sacred anymore?

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