Based on team stats, the Georgia Bulldogs appear confused about how to stop the Alabama football offense. With only one game left in the 2021-22 season (yes, there is an additional meaningless bowl game as well) season stats don’t much matter.
Using stats from games against common opponents can appear to provide insight. Actually, unless the common opponent games were in November, with all teams having identical, healthy rosters, those stats can be misleading.
In terms of stats, the only ones that are relevant leading up to the National Championship game, are those from the SEC Championship game. For Alabama, the offensive goal will be to repeat its 536, 34-point-producing yards. The Crimson Tide defense will also try to reduce the Dawgs’ offensive output to less than the 340 yards gained in the air; particularly the 10 receptions and 139 receiving yards by Brock Bowers.
Looking deeper at the stats from the December game, where Alabama excelled and Georgia failed the most was in third-down conversions. The Crimson Tide was an excellent 7-for-14 on third down. The Bulldogs were a woeful 3-for-12. The Tide was one of the nation’s best on third down throughout the season, in excess of 50 percent. Georgia had been pretty good as well, at a clip of near 50 percent before playing the Crimson Tide.
Given time, Bryce Young and Alabama Football offense will prosper again
The biggest failure for the Dawgs in the SEC Championship game was zero sacks on Bryce Young. Bill O’Brien’s game plan had much to do with that result. Also, the Bulldogs, as good as they are defensively, don’t have a dominant edge rusher. As Nick Saban has often said, getting pressure on the opposing quarterback is far more important than sack totals. The Bulldogs did get pressure on Bryce Young, but the Heisman winner was so adept at execution, that pressure did little to stymie the Tide’s offensive attack.
Taking a close look at the game stats published by both teams shows an unusual discrepancy. The Alabama Crimson Tide stats credit the Bulldogs with eight quarterback hurries. Georgia’s stats are dramatically different, listing the Bulldogs with 15 quarterback hurries.
Explaining the discrepancy in stat records must rely on conjecture. A first thought is quarterback hurries are not an official, NCAA stat and therefore the definition of them is subject to perception. Might there be a particular reason why Georgia would choose a broader interpretation of QB hurries? If there is, it is impossible to decipher.
What we know about Alabama Football and Nick Saban is praise is never excessively dispensed. Players are acknowledged for measurable performance with the same attention to detail Saban demands throughout the program. Does Kirby’s copy of Saban’s vaunted process not concentrate on comparable attention to detail?
An even more bizarre question comes to mind. Inside the Georgia program, did someone, trying to cloud the Dawgs’ zero-sack failure, attempt to minimize it by inflating quarterback hurries? Surely, that is not the case. If, however, it is, such a decision is no way to build a championship culture.
However it is measured, the Bulldogs must pressure Bryce Young effectively or he will dial up another 400 passing yards.