We Are Watching The Greatest Georgia Defense Ever
Every once in awhile in this passion of mine that some might call a job, I find myself running across a storyline or topic that I just can't put down. And being the numbers dweeb that I am, that often means spending hours haunched over a laptop reviewing and cross-referencing as many data and statistical points as the lords of the annals over their at College-Football Reference possess and provide.
So, after yet another dominant performance from Georgia's defense, I found myself asking the question, are they the greatest ever at Georgia?
After my research, crossreferencing the last 45 years of Georgia Football's performance on the defensive end of the ball, I've come to the conclusion that the answer is a resounding yes.
Let's take a look at some things, shall we?
- Allowing 5.57 YPA through the air
- Allowing 74.8 YPG on the ground
- 0.0 Rushing TD per game.
They are #1 in each category. But what about the most important stat, scoring?
This 2019 defense has allowed just 91 points in 9 games, for a per-game average of 10.11. You guessed it, that’s also #1. Even better than the Dawgs of 1980 and 1981. Who despite most remembering Herschel Walker and the ground game, those teams won with defense.
Which begs the next question, how exactly are they doing it? This team has created just nine turnovers on the season, that's tied for third-worst in the country.
They don't really get after the quarterback either, Georgia has 20.0 Sacks on the season, Chase Young has 13.5 by himself. And they aren't exactly game-breakers in the TFLs department either, their 42.0 tackles for loss as a team tie for 95th in FBS.
So, how does a team that doesn't turn the opposition over, doesn't sack the quarterback, and doesn't disrupt offenses in the backfield on a regular basis put themselves on track for one of the greatest statistical seasons college football has ever seen?
I can think of a couple of reasons:
1.) Tackling - Georgia defenders simply do not miss tackles, and unlike some great defenses in the past, they do it by committee.
2.) Gap Sound - The only way to put up these kinds of numbers on defense without creating havoc is to be insanely sound in your gap fits. Essentially building a wall, while also not allowing your opponent to run around it.
3.) Extremely Talented - They have six, 5-star players on the defensive end of the football, and another twenty-eight, 4-stars. So, not only is there a plethora of talent, they are extremely deep.
Personally, after mulling it over for hours on end at this point, it's not even up for discussion. They are the greatest UGA Defense we've ever seen, assuming they don't wet the bed down the stretch.
In a few weeks, depending on how things shake out I don't think it's unreasonable for this Georgia defense to step outside the microcosm that is UGA football and set their sites on something much greater.
Why can't they enter the conversation with the '79 Crimson Tide, the '86 Canes, the '08 USC Trojans, or that 09' Bama team that Smart was apart of?
Here's a snapshot of the '08 Trojans, '09 Crimson Tide, and this year's Georgia Bulldogs on a per-game basis:
And how fitting, in the 116-year history of the program, they've never needed this caliber of defense more than they do this season. With it appearing LSU is going to be the matchup out of the West, perhaps it's just a coincidence, or perhaps it's perfect timing for the Dawgs. Either way, this defense is a marvel to watch.