Thursday, January 28, 2016

Free Throw Woes

Let's go back to 2009 when Mark Fox was hired. In the spring, Fox embarked on his first ever Bulldog Club tour. At the Rome event on April 29, a young man asked a question. I don't recall exactly what the question was, but Fox answered the question with a question. The exchange went something like this.
Coach Fox: Do you know what a free throw is?
Young man: No sir, I do not.
Coach Fox: Neither do my players.
When I read about it the next day in the paper, the zinger was music to my ears . I'd been beside myself about Georgia's free throw shooting for years. When you compare Georgia's free throw shooting under Dennis Felton to Nevada's under Mark Fox, you can see why Fox would drop such a line.

Georgia (Felton)Nevada (Fox)
Note: there are 345 Division I men's basketball teams. In Felton's final year, which was also coached by Pete Hermann after Felton was let go during the season, only 37 teams had a worse free throw shooting percentage than Georgia in all of Division I.

The difference between the two schools in the chart above is staggering. Nevada made a higher percentage of free throws, while at the same time shooting more, in all five seasons. And isn't even close! Fox's Nevada teams never shot less than 70% from the line, while Felton's teams over the same five year span never even sniffed 70%.

Ok, so now let's take a look at what Georgia has done since Fox arrived. It's pretty interesting.

YearFTFTAFT%FT% RankTrend
* Stats are through the first 18 games of the season

Georgia actually got off to a pretty good start in Fox's first season, increasing the FT% by .080. This kept up with the trend of a Mark Fox team never dipping below 70%. Since that inaugural season though, Georgia has yet to get back up over that 70% mark.

Another interesting thing to look at is the trend year over year. Georgia has yet to improve their free throw shooting percentage in back to back years under Fox.

Also, can you tell by the attempts when Charles Mann arrived at Georgia? (Hint: he attempts a whole lot of free throws)

So what does all of this mean? I've stated several times on Twitter that Georgia is losing games due to poor free throw shooting. Am I right? That's tough to figure out without looking at each free throw attempt. Increasing your free throw percentage will also increase your attempts, assuming you make the front end of a few more one and ones.

For the analysis below, I threw that out for simplicity. If we just increase the number of free throws made based on the existing attempts, could Georgia have won more games this season? The answer is yes.

Three of Georgia's losses were significant (Seton Hall, Florida, and Texas A&M), so I'm going to focus on the remaining four losses. The table below shows the Points For, Points Against, Free Throws Made, Free Throws Attempted, Free Throw %, and Adjusted Free Throw % (this is the FT% needed to win the game).

OpponentResultPFPAFTFTAFT %Adj FT %
ChattanoogaL (OT)909228450.6220.689
Kansas StateL666817250.6800.800
Ole MissL717222340.6470.706

Immediately Chattanooga and Ole Miss jump out as games Georgia should have won. In fact, with only one more free throw made Georgia beats Chattanooga in regulation. It's also not unreasonable for Georgia to hit over 80% to beat both Kansas State and LSU.

I have no idea how this can be fixed, but I hope it is eventually. This isn't something that can be ignored any longer. Georgia's poor performance from the foul line is causing them to lose games.

All stats referenced are from

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Who Are We?

I fired off this tweet when I woke up this morning, the day after Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide won their fourth national title in the past seven years:
I meant every word of that; however, I do hope people can't stand Georgia and Kirby Smart for what I deem as the right reasons.

To explain, let's go back in time. Let's go back to September 27, 2008, the eve of the infamous blackout debacle against the Tide which many feel was the turning point of both the Saban and Richt eras (in opposite directions). On that date, The Deaner wrote this gem. I cracked up reading this when I came across it recently. Here's the full post:
I'm a big football fan. I love football. I love the players, I love the strategies, I love how the game evolves over time like two roommates adapting to each other's Madden strategies. What I don't love is hearing about the coaches....incessantly. I'll be a hypocrite for 6 minutes though and write about one coach in particular. 
Why don't I like it? Because I don't like to spend my time listening to stories about people like Nick Saban. He's the poster child for ego-maniacs in sports. He's a self-promoting, self-tanning, self-aggrandizing sleazeball. During the time period when he pulled a Petrino on the Dolpins after bolting LSU the stories that came out from the "little people" that worked with Saban sealed it for me. When I make a baby that turns out to be a 6'4" QB with a laser rocket arm I don't want someone like Nick Saban dripping body bronzer on my couch while giving Deaner Jr. the hard sell on why he should come to whatever program Saban is Forbesing and bilking out of private jets, homes, cars, and money. Recruiting Reshrmuiting, I'm glad Saban isn't my coach. 
I feel like convincing myself to root for a guy like this would be like rooting for the Yankees, the Lakers, and Jeff Gordon. No thanks. A lot of Saban apologizers seem to think that you can't run a program with a likable head coach and still stay competitive... I can think of at least two examples and they're both in the SEC. Enjoy your run Bama. You'll all end up hating him too.
The Deaner recently welcomed his first born son into this world. I sent his own post back to him with the following question: if Deaner Jr. does turn out to be a 6'4" QB with a laser rocket arm, can he play for Kirby Smart?

He didn't answer, but boy do I hope the answer is yes.

Tony over at the Georgia Sports Blog and Waitin' Since Last Saturday podcast has said that The Georgia Way is Dead. That if we fired Mark Richt clearly we are not "that" program anymore.

While I agree that the Georgia Way as it was is no more, I do hope Kirby finds his own Georgia way. I hope he wins championships, but I hope he does it with class. I hope opposing fans can't stand him because they can't beat him, not because they can't stand him as a person.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pro Dawg of the Week

Our week 7 Pro Dawg of the Week is Todd Gurley. Todd scored the first and second touchdowns of his NFL career against the Cleveland Browns. You can follow Todd Gurley on Twitter @TG3II.

Here are some other Pro Dawgs of note from the official Georgia Football Twitter account.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Pro Dawg of the Week

Our week 5 Pro Dawg of the Week is Ramik Wilson. In Ramik's first start in the NFL, he recorded four tackles. He also returned a fumble for a TD. You can follow Ramik Wilson on Twitter @WilsonRamik.

Here are some other Pro Dawgs of note from the official Georgia Football Twitter account.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Anthony Dasher Gives Me Hope

After Saturday I kept thinking to myself, "we were beat just as bad by South Carolina in 2012 and still were five yards away from playing for the national championship." But then my next thought would always be, "yeah but we had Aaron Murray." Then tonight, I see this gem of a tweet from Anthony Dasher, and I think he's saying there's a chance.

Pro Dawg of the Week

I'm bringing back an old feature.

This week has to go to Todd Gurley. In only his second game as a pro, Gurley rushed for 146 yards on 19 carries. He also caught two passes for 15 yards. Finally, Gurley showed that not all running backs need their quarterback to tell them when to go down (I'm looking at you, New York Giants). Oh yeah, and this is all coming off of a torn ACL suffered on November 15th.

You can check out Todd's highlights from the NFL's YouTube channel here: Todd Gurley Highlights (Week 4) | Rams vs. Cardinals | NFL

You can also follow Todd Gurley on Twitter: @TG3II

Finally be sure to follow the official Georgia football account on Twitter to get weekly updates on great NFL performances from Pro Dawgs.

Monday, October 05, 2015

The Blocked Punt

If we're going to win the east, special teams play has to improve. One of the best ways to improve is to learn from your mistakes. Here's a quick video explaining what went wrong with the blocked punt. If you watched the game on tv, then there isn't really anything new here for you. But if you were in the stadium like I was, you were probably scratching your head as to how this was so easy.

Georgia Isn't the Only Team That Lays Eggs

The reaction to Saturday's loss from the national media has mostly been along the lines that Georgia laid an egg again. That Georgia always lays an egg. That this is the problem with the Mark Richt era. Here are some examples.

Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports writes:

As that list of fall-apart games goes on, Georgia eventually must ask itself if Richt’s tenure should go on.
There is an excellent chance that the school would regret getting rid of Richt the same way Tennessee regrets getting rid of Phil Fulmer. You could do a lot worse.

Even the AP jumped in:
Georgia added to its reputation of flopping in the biggest games.
Ok. I get it. Georgia has had some bad games, but you don't need to look any further than Georgia's opponent on Saturday to see that it happens to everyone.

Considering Florida's dismantling of Ole Miss, I have to wonder how good Ole Miss really is. The fact is Alabama handed that game to Ole Miss on a platter with 5 turnovers. Maybe Ole Miss just isn't all that good. Maybe they should have beat Alabama by a lot more when you take all those turnovers into account.

Georgia turned the ball over 4 times against Alabama and gave up a blocked punt for a touchdown. Alabama was good enough to make Georgia pay dearly for those mistakes.

But I digress. Let's look at Alabama's losses the last few years (all as the favorite).
2015 - Home loss to Ole Miss
2014 - Road loss to Ole Miss, and a neutral loss to Ohio State in the Playoff
2013 - Road loss to Auburn in the "Kick 6" game, and a neutral loss to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl

So what's the difference? The difference is we give Alabama and Nick Saban the benefit of the doubt because they've won 89 national titles (just ask their SID).

Does Georgia fall short in at least one big game a year? Yes. Does Alabama do the same thing? Yes.

The Dawgs just need to put this behind them and focus on the remaining games.

Monday, May 06, 2013

UGA License Plate in North Carolina - Deadline Approaching

I just got an email from the Alumni Association, and I couldn't find this information posted on the web anywhere. Here's a copy and paste of the email.
We are thrilled that the North Carolina Alumni Chapters have been working toward an official UGA license plate in North Carolina. After one year, we have only received 172 of the 300 orders needed to make this Georgia dream a reality.

We know how much you love UGA, and we wanted to make you aware of the June 30th deadline that has been set for license plate orders. It only takes $25 to order your plate. If the goal of 300 is not met, then all orders will be refunded.

The process is the following:

•Please CLICK HERE and print out the NC DMV Application for a Collegiate Insignia License Plate.
•Be sure to fill in the College Name, then complete the document with your personal and vehicle information.
•You must complete a separate form for each vehicle in your household.
•Send your completed form(s) and one check payable to the University of Georgia to:

Ms. Shea Landers
University of Georgia Alumni Association
298 S. Hull Street
Athens, Ga. 30602

Please help us reach the 300 application minimum!

Thank you for your continued support for the University of Georgia, and Go Dawgs!