“There is talent all over that place.”

If this season turns out to be a disappointment – and I’m not claiming that it is at this point – I don’t see how the post-mortem avoids pointing in a certain direction.

Georgia has yet to produce three first-round picks in the same draft, but one NFL scouting director believes that stat will be short-lived.

“Ogletree may be the best linebacker in the conference from an athletic standpoint and everything he can do on the field,” the scout said, “and Jones is probably the best pass-rusher from a linebacker position in the conference. Jenkins doesn’t make a lot of plays, but he’s 360 pounds.

“Jenkins is a first-rounder on size alone, and you look at the way the league is going with 3-4 defenses. Those guys get drafted, because there aren’t a bunch of them.”

Senior safety Shawn Williams has appeared on some first-round mock drafts and is “the toughest of that bunch” according to the scout but may land in the second round. There will be more. Many more.

“They’ve got a defensive line there that’s NFL caliber with Jenkins, Kwame Geathers, Abry Jones and Corneluis Washington,” the scout said, “and then you go to the back end where you’re looking at two safeties who are going to play in the league with Williams and Bacarri Rambo. There is talent all over that place.”

At least eight Georgia defenders could go in the draft, and eight is the most total selections the program has provided in any previous draft. That was in 2002.

That’s a lot of talent to be ranked thirty-third in total defense, especially with five SEC teams ranked in the top twenty.  But the good news is that the talent looks like its rounding into shape.

Georgia’s defense somehow managed to hold Florida and Ole Miss to 165 fewer combined yards than the Bulldogs yielded against Buffalo and Florida Atlantic. The Bulldogs were not at full strength earlier in the year, when Ogletree and Rambo were suspended for the season’s first four games, but they are certainly dominating at the right time.

There’s still plenty left to play for, so this may well turn out to be a happy case of better late than never.

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59 Comments

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59 responses to ““There is talent all over that place.”

  1. Rick

    We’re seeing the defense now that we should have seen all along. But are we really? It’s a very encouraging two games, but two games nonetheless. If we continue to play like this, we’ll give bama a good game and have a decent shot at pulling off the win (which is all any reasonable fan could ask for). If it’s a mirage, a blowout to bama (and yes, a chance of dropping a game to either AU or GT) is in the cards, and any disappointment is on the D. The O, considering the weaknesses we knew we would have along the line, has been aces.

    • Hackerdog

      That’s what most people seem to be overlooking. At the start of the year, everyone thought the D would be awesome, perhaps a little soft to start the year with the suspensions, and the O would be in trouble. Could RS4 and a couple of freshmen replace Crowell? Could our OL, that had about 2 starts collectively, perform well enough? Could Lynch and Rome replace Charles and White?

      The team is doing about as well as most people hoped. It’s just been the offense carrying the defense, instead of vice versa.

  2. section Z alum

    would take a serious face-plant at season’s end for this to feel like a disappointing season.

    • I’m inclined to agree with that. South Carolina game aside, I think most of us are pretty reasonable fans and given the option would have taken a 10 win season, trip to Atlanta, and a team that is good enough to challenge the machine from Tuscaloosa if offered at the beginning of the season.

      • gastr1

        Somehow, though, I’m not entirely convinced yet that a faceplant in Atlanta won’t happen.

        Trying to feel better every day…

        • Dog in Fla

          I don’t think a faceplant will happen, but even if it does, we’ll always have the win over Florida :)

          • Dawgfan Will

            Indeed. I know that there are those who would excoriate such thoughts, but if we indeed make it to Atlanta and proceed to trip over our own genitalia, all I’ll have to do to make myself feel better is play Youtube hightlghts from this year’s Cocktail Party.

          • Hackerdog

            Plus watching USC fumble away the one game lead we handed them. :)

  3. Joe Schmoe

    If we win out and don’t get to play for the national championship (a lot of ifs there I know), then our ridiculous moral superiority rules around drug testing should be squarely to blame. We should have been hitting our stride in Columbia but were instead trying to break to All-Americans back into the lineup. The affect of those suspensions on the chemistry of the defense cannot be overstated.

    • NC Dawg

      Or maybe just continue to require the kids to honor their end of the deal they made when they joined the team and accepted a scholarship. If they really have NFL millions on the line, they could actually be expected to be responsible enough not to toke up. Like it or not, that’s why they committed to do when they signed on. Break the rules, pay the price. It’s part of the growing-up process.

      • Krautdawg

        I’d agree with your argument if the 18-year-old brain had fully-developed risk- and consequence-assessment capabilities. But it usually doesn’t, often not until age 25. Which for me means our current strategy will keep making examples out of a few kids in the hopes that others will notice. Whether that will work is uncertain; what is certain is that we’ve chosen a regular competitive disadvantage to see if it does.

        If we really want to get rid of drug use, I say create a drug-avoidance program that starts as soon as the kids arrive in Athens. These things work in prisons and our drug courts; they’ll work with football players.

        • austintwo

          We didn’t make examples out of Tree and Baccari “hoping others would notice”; this was the 2nd drug violation for each. We just needed them to actually notice for themselves. Rambo is a 5th year senior and Tree is 21, it really isn’t that much to ask.

          Also, I’m pretty sure we have already implemented a drug avoidance program; definitely seems to need beefing up, though.

      • Joe Schmoe

        Why does this punishment have to be automatic suspension? There are other ways to punish players that don’t hurt the team (e.g, running stadiums until you puke your guts out). These mandatory suspensions not only hurt the team they make the issue public which is damaging the overall image of the program and the school even those these issues are far from unique to UGA

        • Dawgfan Will

          In his interview with Dan Wetzel, Richt said that he thinks losing playing time gets their attention moreso than physical punishment. I would like to agree with him, but I think our results don’t really back up that theory.

          • Joe Schmoe

            I think he is just towing the party line. The mandatory suspensions were part of Adams efforts to clean up UGA’s party school image. I don’t think Richt would take this approach if he had is druthers.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        I’d agree with your argument if the University drug tested the entire student body. All these players were just doing is the same stuff the rest of the kids in Athens were doing–and don’t give me that “they’re on scholarship and should be held to a higher standard” nonsense. Virtually every student at UGA is on some sort of scholarship, grant, government loan or a combination of all of those. To paraphrase your argument: “If they really have millions from a career post graduation on the line, they could actually be expected to be responsible and not toke up. Like it or not, that’s what they committed to do when they signed on. Break the rules, pay the price. It’s part of the growing-up process.” Except we don’t expect the regular students to behave or grow up and we don’t discipline them for the same conduct.

        • PNWDawg

          Wow, we all think a slap on the wrist is ok since more severe punishment affects the national championship picture or because the others on campus get to do it without consequences (allegedly). Simple solution – if you want to do drugs then don’t play football. Easy. There are plenty of students who don’t do drugs or get arrested as part of the college experience so I don’t buy the everybody-is-doing-it mentality or undeveloped risk- and consequence-assessment abilities. You don’t have to be a fully developed adult to figure that one out.

          And if any of you think a 35-7 beat down is because a couple of guys smoked weed (again?) then you are sorely mistaken.

          BTW, smoking a little weed here and there had some serious consequences on my life down the road. So forgive Mark Richt for caring.

          • Wow, PNWDawg – this post specifically and your posts in general, plus the fact that I am a reformed pot-head attorney have combined to pique my curiosity. You sound like someone I’d love to grab a beer with (or a coffee if you…uh, have to go meetings or something – click on my handle and you’ll see that I can relate). And isn’t it a rule that to live in the PNW you have to submit a urine sample that’s marjuana-positive?

            GTP – bringing people together since 2006.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            My point is the hypocrisy of all this. If you are gonna drug test the jocks you should drug test the entire student body. The consequences you speak of above from weed use are not limited to football players. So why not drug test all the students if it’s such a good thing?

            • I think if you tried this with the general student body you’d get all kinds of legal challenges, most of them on constitutional grounds. It would be untenable.

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                Exactamundo! So why is it legally OK to test jocks when you can’t legally test the students as a whole?

            • Chris

              I agree. Why hold student-athletes on scholarship to a different standard than students on academic scholarship?

              Why drug test for weed at all? Its not even a performance enhancing drug.

          • Krautdawg

            We’re not talking about “slaps on the wrist” unless you think that’s Richt’s only option besides suspensions. I’d agree that reducing drug use — or at least making it damn clear to kids where it leads — is a legitimate goal. But we’re a football team, so it’s not our only goal. The question is whether automatic suspensions are the ONLY way to make kids pay attention to drug policies while we try to win a championship. I don’t think it is.

            For one, if reducing drug use is your goal, there are more effective drug-prevention methods than random testing & punishment. Second, suspensions aren’t the only effective punishment around. Subject a kid who toked to Coach Grantham’s whim for a week, and I guarantee the kid will learn to say no.

            In the end, I suppose I see drug prevention as necessary but ultimately incidental to our larger goals as a football team. Probably comes from our different experiences — I do honestly hate to hear you had to deal with real-world consequences b/c of drugs.

            • PNWDawg

              Are there more effective solutions than suspensions? I won’t say there aren’t but I can’t think of a more motivating factor than missed playing time. The big deal to me is they are high-visibility representatives of the university who are breaking the law. That’s what separates them from the regular student body, IMO. In the grand scheme of things I don’t think weed is a big deal but it’s the law nonetheless. They know up front the consequences and it’s them that let the team down as opposed to the policy. Is it so important they smoke weed that it’s worth the missed playing time? Do they have to have it?

              My real-world consequences haven’t been too severe and I don’t have any judgments towards the players who have been busted. My point is there are plenty of students out there who get in trouble while using and don’t necessarily have the golden football ticket to bail them out. So don’t feel too sorry for Rambo because he gets tested and the rest of the student body doesn’t. And I maintain that didn’t cost us the game against S.C. It didn’t help but it wasn’t the primary difference.

              As for the tennis team and the less-visible student athletes? They just need to remember ‘puff, puff, give’. :)

        • austintwo

          Non-athletes are disciplined for marijuana violations.

          Also, I don’t think we are drug-testing the football players except after they’ve committed an initial violation. (Not sure about that, please correct me if I’m wrong.)

  4. Well all these fans are not reasonable. Some are never satisfied. With a one loss season and a chance for the SECC. you would think that would be enough to satisfy those dismal Dawgs, but noooo……

  5. We’re going to have to learn a LOT of new names and numbers in 2013.

  6. NC Dawg

    I’m satisfied and happy with the season, but I sure would hate to end it with a blowout loss. Even then, I would say the end was disappointing, but the season wasn’t. But …. let’s beat Auburn, then ‘Bama.

    • Russ

      “….let’s beat Auburn, then GSU, then the NATS, then ‘Bama.”

      Fixed that for you.

      • Seriously. No season’s a success if it doesn’t involve a win over little brother in Atlanta.

        • Macallanlover

          That just isn’t true by all but the most extreme among us. Disappointment in a narrow sense? Yes, but only because all losses are disappointing for fans. Losses to in-state rivals are above some others to many fans, but losing to GT is minor when you can trade it for an SEC title. We have dozens of wins over GT, we only have one dozen SEC titles, they are far more precious and ANY season is a success if you win one.

          Do you think SC wouldn’t trade several wins for their first ever SEC? Or Florida over FSU? Or Tn over Vandy? If we have fans that confuse an OOC game with the importance of a championship game we have really got our priorities mixed up. I want a win against GT one week a year, and even that week I am more concerned about the SECCG if we are going to be in it. Sorry, I wouldn’t play those with minor, nagging injuries against GT if I thought it would improve them in the title game. Given GT’s reputation for cheap shot blocking, I would be very concerned about the health of our guys on Thanksgiving weekend. Can you imagine the uproar if we were to lose Jarvis, or Jenkins, or Ogletree because of the GT offensive line blocks?

          I am in favor of making them a home only, every four year opponent like GSU, and moving them up on the schedule. I know that isn’t a majority opinion among fans, but that is how I feel aout that game since they put up the white flag and ran from the SEC. I respect those with opinions that differ from that position but it is the way I feel. I enjoy beating them regularly but the risk/reward balance has changed the way I view it.

          • Russ

            Didn’t realize it was “either/or” I want to beat all our rivals, and Tech is certainly a rival to me, regardless of whether their team sucks or not. I can’t see enough victories over Tech. It was just how I was raised.

          • Wolfman

            I enjoy beating them regularly too, but I hate losing to them more than anything in the world. I respect your opinion, but I would feel really really dirty if we lost to them then went to the SECCG. I hate them so much.

            • 1000 of the proverbial cocktails to that. Especially because they are at the end of the season. Losing to them if we’re in position to go to the SECCG would in most years mean being knocked out of the MNC picture. LSU in 2007 being the only exception I can think of.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            I have changed my view, too. I thought for a while that we should play Tech in Athens every year although I am pretty certain that they wouldn’t go for that. I now am of the opinion that we should continue to play Tech every year as a home and away game but play Georgia Southern in Athens the week before the Tech game every year.

  7. And check out Peter King’s mid-season awards: Justin Houston and Geno Atkins are listed as the best players on their respective teams. He calls Atkins the second-best interior lineman in the NFL. We haz playerz.

    • Macallanlover

      Geno improved dramatically during Senior Bowl practices and that game. Scouts in Mobile raved about him in practice and reporters said he was one of the players who made himself a lot of money under the eye of scouts who visited Mobile. It seemed to carry over into the NFL regular season games th elast two years. He was good while at Georgia, but he wasn’t nearly this disruptive. Good for him. Garner might need to ask Geno what the changed with his technique those first few months. I saw him down there and he was one of the two most dominant DL on the field.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Geno’s improvement after leaving Athens might have something to do with who was coaching him on D in Athens, too. Just sayin.’

        • Macallanlover

          I wasn’t going there but the difference was dramatic and a big step up from the way he played just weeks earlier. I like RG, and we have some talent in the NFL, but our DLs seem to get tied up with blockers, just cannot shed them, and we don’t get much penetration from the position.

    • austintwo

      Remember Marcus Dowtin? He made the Jets this year. Irvin and Wynn made NFL (Wynn has SB ring); our D had personnel even in 2008-2010 frame….

  8. pantslesspatdye

    In unrelated news, Caleb King picked up a DUI this morning.

    • I’m sure StingTalk is all over it as evidence of more thUGA running wild.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      “King also was previously arrested for failing to appear for a court date on a speeding ticket and declared academically ineligible in his final year at Georgia. He went undrafted in the supplemental draft before signing with the Minnesota Vikings. The team released him in the spring.”

      Sometimes I wonder if these kids don’t get by middle school will they ever put it all together. He wasn’t a college prospect unless he played sports.

  9. Cojones

    Somehow, “better late than never” doesn’t satisfy that nagging feeling in the back of the mind.

    We had long enough (since spring break) after known suspensions to train replacements who already have playing experience at those positions to have placed a more capable D on the field for the first several games. No excuse satisfies me(as of now) as to how 2nd tier teams could tear our D butts up pounding it on the ground. If the suspended players continued to practice with the 1st team as we have been told, when and where did their replacements get their training?

    Something is still there that won’t be discussed by the team until the end of the year, hopefully. Meantime, I’m not sold on the excuse thus far used because the ends to those thoughts don’t jibe with what has happened on the field and the concomitant explanation. I feel guilty about my paranoia, but de trut; it make me free.

    I will wait and see as I already had up to the SC game, but when I saw the ease of the first pass TD, I knew the problem was still there. The next two games should have kissed that feeling goodbye, but they didn’t. I loved them and appreciated the effort it took for those wins. They were fun games to enjoy. I am surprised at my own nagging feeling right now and don’t like it any more than anyone reading this, but it’s there.

    • Cojones, SNAP OUT OF IT! Scorp give CJ something to stop this “nagging feeling.

    • Cosmic Dawg

      I know how much you love this team and thinking positively, so I appreciate where you are coming from, and I wonder if you feel a little bit of this, too:

      I think if the Dawgs win out this year but don’t get to play for the NC it will be a great season, a truly great season, no matter what.

      But I *like* this 2012 team so much – from what we can tell, a pretty darn good group of kids – and with so much potential. Even if we win out, I won’t be able to help feeling a sense of disappointment b/c of the Sakerlina game, just because this team would probably not have played up to its potential, and could have had it all. If they’d left it all on the field in Sakerlina, they (and we) wouldn’t have that regret.

      I sure don’t want to sound ungrateful for this awesome season we’re having. And I was pretty okay with how the 2009 and 2010 seasons ended up, to tell you the truth, because we just got some bad breaks and those teams were not loaded with the talent of this 2012 team. It’s just that you get so few opportunities at the golden ring – coordinators in place for several years, lots of senior players, a down year in your conference, few offseason injuries, a winnable schedule, etc – that it would be a little bittersweet to get so close and not make it happen.

  10. AlphaDawg

    TK and Marlon both may get drafted, they will both get an invite to a camp. I think Dick Sam #4 will get an invite to a camp also. You cannot teach size and speed and DickSam has both in spades. I could see him make a team, if he can show he can cover KO and Punts.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      DJ Ware is in his 7th year…. mostly a special teams player. So yeah…. DickSam could do that.

  11. Greg

    The defense hasn’t always looked pretty, but they’ve done what they’ve had to do to win games this season. Even in the SC debacle, 2 of the 3 early TD’s were on a punt return and off a short field due to a Murray pick. It obviously wouldn’t have mattered what the D did that day considering the O couldn’t score a point until the final minute of the game versus the SC scrubs.

  12. W Cobb Dawg

    I’d be interested to read the scout’s thoughts on why we underperformed for so much of the year. They obviously think the talent is here. Do they think it’s the player’s motivation or learning ability, or whether the coaching is inadequate. Wouldn’t that be the kind of feedback from professionals CMR has sought out in the past? I’m not trying to rag on any of our players or coaches, but I’d like to know what the pros think we need to improve on.

    • That is an excellent observation. The problem is I don’t think scouts look as much at overall scheme and how the talent they look at functions together in one system. They’re focused on their individual targets and what their measurables and technique are.

      I have one thought about how a program can churn out so many NFL recruits without having a corresponding level of college team success. Teams like Bama and LSU – as we hear all the time – are stacked deep with talent across the board. When you’ve got an NFL-quality starter at every position on your defense, for example, a lot of your lower class-men are not getting significant game reps until they are juniors or seniors because they’ve got a guy ahead of them who is an All-American. Georgia is loaded and talented, but we had a brief lull in recruiting during the CWM malaise, and a lot of our best players come in and start contributing right away (for example, we have played a lot of true freshmen this year, relative to the reset of the SEC) and then bolt for the NFL and blossom there in what would have been their junior or senior year in college.

      There are two ways to prevent this from happening. The first is to over-sign and greyshirt, which we have refused to do – and good on us. The second is to bring in a top-five-quality class every year. I think the last two years are evidence that we have started to do that.

      And of course there is an S&C component here, but the Senator has been all over that so I’ll leave it in his capable hands.

  13. W Cobb Dawg

    Why doesn’t Garrison Smith get any love? He’s a junior like Jarvis and ‘Tree. He makes things happen when he’s on the field. I’d love it if he came back, but he certainly seems to have the talent for the nfl.