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As always, Matt Hinton reviews the data without passion or prejudice, so he certainly cannot be accused of grinding any axes, although I think his ultimate conclusion is a tad harsh, considering the significance of the shift in scheme. (I suspect a similar look at the Crimson Tide’s defense in the first year under Nick Saban would be very nearly as unflattering, although I confess I have not done the math on that.)
The good Doctor’s handy chart provided a valuable snapshot that showed little overall progress, but a couple of encouraging nuggets could be gleaned from the picture he painted. The Bulldogs’ improvement in points per game (from 25.9 to 23.1) and in yards per game (from 339.4 to 335.8) between 2009 and 2010 was minuscule, yet the SEC numbers are more promising.
Last year, the Red and Black gave up 31.5 points per game and 379.4 yards per game in SEC outings. This year, Georgia allowed 25.0 points per game and 355.8 yards per game against conference competition. That’s a difference of almost a touchdown and almost 25 yards in games against league foes, which, when set alongside twice as many total takeaways and a fivefold increase in fumble recoveries, suggests at least some movement in a positive direction, even if there has been one step back for every two steps forward.
By the way, the first commenter following Dr. Saturday’s above posting wrote: “Dawgs don’t deserve a bowl game.” His avatar is a Georgia Tech logo.