This week's installment of By The Numbers will be a quick one as I don't want to continue feeding the depression of the fan base. So let's just get to it shall we?
In last week's post I made mention that UVA's defense was actually better than every team left on the schedule minus uga, only allowing 4.6 ypp which was 16thnationally. Let's say that was the first indicator of how the weekend would go. If I remember correctly, Georgia Tech hasn't won at Virginia but twice in almost three decades, once in 1990 and again in 2009. For whatever cosmic reasons you may wish to place blame on, Georgia Tech has some serious issues playing UVAon the road. That's indicator two. The third and most obvious indicator that the team might not perform well against UVAwas their performance leading into the game. For three straight weeks things seemed to decline, be it the WR's dropping passes, the QB not making his reads, or the bland and quite predictable play-calling.
To put it simply, the result should have been expected.
Let's get the pain over withquickly. 272 yards rushing for 5.13 ypp is not far off the average for the year, but 24 yards passing for 3 ypp is 10 yppless than the current average. The previously mentioned UVA defense held Georgia Tech to a total of 296 yards (almost 100 less than our worst and 150 less than our season average thus far) for 4.85 ypp, right on par with what they have been averaging for the year.
Our defense gave up 5.79 ypp rushing and 7.11 ypp passing, both being more than our averages of 4.47 and 5.9 ypp respectively. Our overall ypp margin was -1.31 as well. I'm not overly concerned with the defense for this game because our offense gave them no help whatsoever with only a couple of sustained drives. The defense was just on the field too long. I know, what about the run defense you ask. Here's the thing with that. How do I get mad at the players for their 4-3 background and their physical measurements? I can't, I won't, and neither should you. Our defensive line is unfortunately not put together from 3-4 linemen, but instead guys who grew up understanding a 4-3, were recruited because they physically met the 4-3 requirements, and on some occasions are converted offensive linemen. So, I forgive them for being pushed off the line and or outplayed against a larger and, in my opinion, a better offensive line.
However, there are some issues that should be elevated quickly. The poor tackling has been a problem all year, but what was at first a few random occurrences has grown to be a system-wide issue. I won't even attempt at quantifying it because the point is that almost every player on the defense seems to think they don't have to wrap-up, that they don't have to go through the ball carrier, and that attempting to tackle someone from the waist up is a good idea. This issue resides in both the linebackers and secondary primarily and in many cases is what led to a majority of Virginia's large runs. This is an issue that is a by-product of plain laziness, is unacceptable, and needs to be rectified in a hurry.
Positive take-away? Hey, we're still 6-1 and we're still bowl eligible. Another might be now that we have this loss, maybe we can continue with a more realistic expectation for the remainder of the season. A final positive might be that almost all issues are fundamental and mechanical things that should be correctable with proper training and practice. That may not mean it will all be fixed by the end of this season, but this team is young and there aren't any sure-fire draft pick stars so it should be a heck of a returning team.
Oh, one more positive. We get Jacory"INT" Harris next week. TO HELL WITH MIAMI!