Monday, September 11, 2006

Props to the Secondary

Turns out that our DB's probably don't like the term "secondary". Sort of an inferiority thing. Why? Because they are more than holding their own after two games. Let's look at this for a second. The secondary was the single largest question mark on the team outside of "will Reggie make the next step". But in terms of unknowns, nothing was more questionable than our coverage team after losing 3 starters.

Well, first point is that we just faced two big passing teams. We all know about Notre Dame's high powered offense that throttled Penn State but struggled down the field in week 1 against the Jackets. We also know that Samford, albiet not as talented as Notre Dame, liked to pass a lot........... and did.

At the end of two weeks, here are some affirmations that we just might not have to worry as much as advertised:

- GT's passing efficiency defense is #10 in the nation. While pass defense is only #62 in the nation, this only takes into account total yards given up per game. Pass efficiency defense takes into consideration yards, completion percentage, attempts, INT's and TD's. So while they've giving up some yards, they're short gains, not the big plays and they're holding firm in the redzone.
- GT has yet to give up a TD through the air. It took Heisman candidate Brady Quinn to his 2nd game to get his first TD pass.
- GT's Jahi Word leads the ACC in passes defended with 5.
- GT has only given up 4.8 yards / attempt thru 2 games.
- Kenny Scott is a stud. Why? When was the last time you heard his name called? Folks, people just aren't throwing the ball his way - thus giving JW Daniels all these pass-break-up attempts. When you don't hear your corner's name called, that's good.

Non-secondary related, but a couple of other interesting stats after 2 games
- GT leads the ACC in punting at 48 yards/punt. This also happens to be #4 in the nation. We also lead the ACC in net punting average at 41.42 yards, which is #12 in the nation - way to go Durant Brooks!
- GT leads the ACC in fewest sacks allowed and is #6 in the nation. Last year the Jackets also led the ACC and finished #6 in the nation. Of course when you're rolling out your QB and letting him throw OB a lot, then you aviod a lot of sacks.

Two bad stats - 1st, kick-off return coverage - GT is 118th out of 119 I-A teams, giving up 36 yards per return. Only Florida Atlantic is worse. However, Clemson is getting closer at #114 in the nation............. Second, time-of-possesion. Coach Gailey hung his hat on this one, but this year we're 87th in the nation.

In case you're interested, some stats about Troy:
- rushing defense is #18 in the nation
- scoring defense is #24 in the nation
- total defense is #28 in the nation
- punt returns are #22 in the nation
- they are #13 in the nation in total sacks (7)
- tied for 22nd in tackles-for-a-loss
- sacks allowed #6 in the nation (tied w/GT)

Bottom-line is that they also have a fast, athletic defense that attacks and goes after the QB.