Its always easy to tell whose the offense's most important weapons. Just look at the yardage and touchdown totals. But its harder to figure out who the play makers are on defense.
Last year we created a rating system that makes comparisons between different defensive players possible. How does a quarterback hurry compare to an interception? Stuff like that. We invented a scoring system based on the idea that the defense's goal is to get the offense off the field and every stat a player accumulates moves the team closer to that goal.
We began by looking at interceptions. An interception is a stat attributed to one player that constitutes a total stop. We gave the stat a value of 10 points. Its an arbitrary amount, but we needed it as a base for establishing proportionate scores for other stats. We then set the value for a forced fumble at 5 and a fumble recovered at 5, thus the total value for forcing a fumble and recovering a ball are equal to a interception. For other stats we track how often they occur and how many stops the Georgia Tech defense makes. To get the value of a tackle we simply divide the number of stops made by the number of tackles. For interceptions, sacks and other such things we track how often a stop occurs before the offense makes a first down. We multiply the fractions by ten to get the point value.
here's a summary of the points for those of you who missed it the first time.
INT = 10
FF = 5
FR = 5
Tackle = 1.42
Tackle for loss = 5.75
Pass Break Ups = 4.27
Sacks = 5.56
Quarterback Hurries = 4.27
Note that the value for all stats but INT's and fumbles will change throughout the season. The less stops Tech makes, the less valuable a tackle will be and so forth.
Last year the results of this system seemed to mirror our observations on the field pretty well, but then again last years defense was pretty strong everywhere. The team finished 28th in scoring defense. This year the team is very weak in a few spots and that may be throwing off the count as opposing teams scheme to take advantage. In any event, now that you understand the scoring system you can now search the roster for players who may be over or under rated because of its biases. Here's the scoring list to date for players making a major contribution.
Morgan Burnett - 88.24 points
Brad Jefferson -81.16 - Last years LB scored much lower. This was due in part to the fact that none of them could stay healthy, but it was also due to the fact that fewer runs made it to the second level. Jefferson is fourth on the team in tackles, has forced two fumbles, intercepted one pass and broken up two more.
Jerrard Tarrant - 63.22 Tarrant is second on the team in tackles, which is not a good thing for a corner back. People are throwing at him a lot. He does seem to have good ball skills having broken up 3 passes. Coaches have said he's inconsistent.
Derrick Morgan - 61.93 Double teams suck don't they.
Sedric Griffin - 58.24 He's a bit of seven yard sheriff with only 1.5 tackles for loss and one bass broken up
Mario Butler - 56.97 6th on the team in tackles. 2 interceptions
Anthony Egbuniew - 32.79 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 of those for sacks in limited action
Dominique Reese - 32.68
Two other players rate well on a per game basses, but haven't played a lot yet.
Cooper Taylor - 26.28 - 8.8 per game - 11.5 tackles and an interception in 2.5 half games. Cooper missed time with a heart ailment for which he underwent surgery
Rashaad Reid - 19.27 - 9.6 per game - A bad shoulder has kept Reid out of some games. It looks like the return of Cooper and Reid could really help.
What don't you see? Defensive tackles. Last years tackles ranked near the top of the charts
TJ Barnes - 16.40 - RS FS - 6'-7" 341 lbs
Jason Peters - 16.35 - RS SO - 6'-4" 273 lbs
Ben Anderson - 11.41 - RS JR - 6'-2" 275 lbs
Logan Walls - 5.66 - RS SO - 6'-2" 286 lbs.
the low scores in part can be attributed to the fact that defensive tackles often spend a lot of time occupying blockers and allowing other players to make plays, but last years tackles made plenty of plays for the jackets. That and none of the linebackers on this team are making tons of plays.
These guys are small and/or young. People, even experts, really undervalue line play, which is stupid. Why do you think Oklahoma is struggling this year? Could it be because they graduate four starters from their offensive line?
Ben Anderson has been the only tackle to show flashes this year. He might have a few tackles for loss with a bit of luck. He was the player that flushed Ponder from the pocket late in last Saturday's game. D. Morgan got the sack when Anderson chased Ponder his way.
The one player on this team with the potential to break out and make a huge difference on the defensive line is TJ Barnes. He is the only player with the size to play consistently well against top flight competition. Until Barnes makes that leap, Tech's simply not going to have the ass to hold down the center of the line against anyone this year.