Thursday, October 30, 2008

CHINK #3: Can They Pressure Stafford with 3 or 4 Man Rush?

Possible Chinks in the Gator Armor

3. Can they get to the QB with a 3 or 4 man rush? Our O-line continues to improve, but we can we expect from the Gators pass rush?

The Gators have 16 sacks on the season. Of those, 13 came from defensive linemen, 1.5 from MLB and 1.5 from DBs.

Here are their sacks by game compared to the opponents sacks allowed on average per game:

Hawaii: Gators got 4/Hawaii allows 3.63 per game
Miami: 3/2
UT: 0/1.5
Ole Miss: 2/1.25
Ark: 4/3
LSU: 2/1
UK: 1/0.75

As you can see, the Gators are getting an average of 0.4 sacks more than each team has allowed. In other words, the Gators tend to sack these teams more than they are normally sacked.

Through 8 games, UGA has allowed 9 sacks for an average of 1.13 sack per game. Here are the sacks we have allowed and the average sacks per game for the opponent defense:

GSU: 1/2.25
CMU: 0/2.38
SC: 4/1.5
ASU: 1/1.29
UA: 2/1.75
UT: 0/1.75
VU: 0/3.13
LSU: 1/2.29

The Dawgs are allowing 0.92 less sacks per game than their opponents have averaged. In other words, the Dawgs allow less sacks than their opponents normally get.

We know the Dawgs have a young offensive line, but, like last year, the line has improved steadily throughout the season. In fact, this young O-line has allowed only one sack in the past three games and that was with 85 pass attempts. In short, the O-line has protected Stafford well. In addition, we have kept a tight end and/or running back in on max protection frequently in the past few games.

What to expect? Based on performances, I can't see any reason to expect the Gators to sack Stafford as often as they have sacked other QBs, which is an average of 2.29 sacks per game. They will probably get him once or twice. Any more than that will be a disappointment for our offense.

To answer the original question: I think the Gators will have trouble getting to Stafford with a 3 or 4 man rush because of our utilization of max protect schemes with 6 or 7 blockers in pass protection. I think they will get Stafford once without blitzing. If they get him more than once, it will be with blitzes. I don't think they will get him 3 times.

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