Georgia’s Jimmies and Joes, Xs and Os

Team Speed Kills takes a look at two-deep talent across the SEC, using the Rivals rankings and weighting the backups to count 75% of what starters do, and the results for the red and black probably won’t surprise you too much.

On offense, Georgia’s getting pretty good bang for the buck.

The Bulldogs had one of the nation’s best offenses last year, and it should have another great one this year. So what’s the deal with the lower rating? For one, two members of the two-deep did not get star ratings as high schoolers: starting FB Merritt Hall and backup TE Rhett McGowan. They got one star apiece from me for these purposes. Second, UGA just has some three-star guys in their starting lineup: WR Michael Bennett, TE Kenarious Gates, C David Andrews, and OT Xzavier Ward. The second line only has one five-star and three four-stars as well. Bennett plays better than a three-star, obviously, and Aaron Murray and Todd Gurley at the least are four-star guys who play like five-stars. The consistency of scheme, quality coaching, and experience on that side of the ball means that the performance will be well above what the recruiting stars would suggest.

Not sure why Year2 got sucked in on the Ward hype, which means that Georgia’s rating average is actually a little higher than what he computes, as both Theus and Houston (and how weird is that to type in here?) rated more than three stars coming out of high school, but his overall point is accurate.  And, again, beating a recent dead horse, how much of that overperformance should be credited to what Coach Ball has gotten out of Georgia’s receivers?

On the other side of the ball, it’s a familiar story by now.

And yes, that is Georgia in third. All of the concerns about the Bulldogs’ defense this year come from basically two places. One, nearly everyone you’ve heard of from last year’s unit is gone. Two, we haven’t yet seen Todd Grantham deal with turning over the core of a defense like this. He doesn’t just yet get the automatic vote of confidence that Nick Saban, John Chavis, or Will Muschamp already do. By recruiting rankings anyway, the defense actually rates quite a bit higher in talent level than the offense does, and it would be even higher if one of the backup safeties wasn’t Connor Norman (who wasn’t rated in high school). The Bulldogs are reloading talent-wise; it’s up to the coaches to do the rest.

Again, I don’t think that assessment is unfair at all.  I don’t know how well the defense rolls out early on, but I do expect to see a solid unit as the season progresses.  There’s just too much talent to expect otherwise.

One side note – I keep coming across stuff that makes me see similarities between Georgia’s and Texas A&M’s chances this season.  Obviously you never know how things will play out, but it’s hard for me to understand how anybody in the preseason projects a wide difference between the two programs.  It’s not so much that I’m judging one to be better than the other – although Georgia certainly projects to have a higher upside on defense than A&M – but to think (hey, SI!) that TAMU is the third best team in the country and Georgia no better than twelfth is something that deserves an explanation.

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14 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

14 responses to “Georgia’s Jimmies and Joes, Xs and Os

  1. Johnny Manziel is recognized in Montana. That’s the only difference. I hope Bama beats the daylights out of A&M on September 14.

  2. greeneggboy

    SI always lists Georgia low in their polls. As a rule, if placing a bet based on an SI college football poll, take their Georgia ranking and divide by three.

  3. TL

    Not to be too pedantic, but neither Kenarious Gates nor Rhett McGowan is a tight end.

  4. The SI ranking seems odd not so much that I think UGA being 12th is out of the question, but A&M at 3 and Florida at 9 is…strange. I’m not sure how much those who compiled this looked at schedules (which of course they shouldn’t at all, but it’s the only explanation I can think of). I just don’t get the Florida hype. Defense will be no better than last year (which was damn good, admittedly). Offense won’t be much better. Games like SoCar won’t happen again, but games like Bowling Green, Mizzou and La-Lafayette might.

  5. Gravidy

    The guys who put together the SI rankings all got a sweeeet deal on Manziel’s autograph.

  6. Scorpio Jones,III

    What’s cool is that we get to know stuff early. For us, real early, for A&M, pretty early. If knowing stuff early is good, that is. Nobody has ever accused me of being a pedant, TL, but when the guy doing the talking thinks Rhett McGowan is a tight end, you gotta wonder if they guy can add, ya know?

    SI…Oh, Sports Illustrated…who gives a snap? Have not read one a them thangs since they said ugly things about the 1980 team.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      That guy needs to rest up at a Holiday Inn. McGowan at 6’0 -180 is one of the smaller TE’s on the Georgia roster while Gates at 6’5-330 is one of the largest TE’s to ever play the game. ;-)

      • Dog in Fla

        “Gates at 6’5-330″ is ample enough to be a quarterback for Dan Mullen

        • AthensHomerDawg

          An athletic big man, Georgia’s OC has been been successful moving him to OT and sending him down field to block agile DB’s on pass plays.
          Bobo has an I-Pad…… and it is red.

          • Dog in Fla

            Not only that, Bobo’s I-Pad is bigger, better and smarter than the standard issue iPad to which we have access. Plus it’s more colorful. It portends that Bobo will capitalize on the offense he has this season thereby eliminating any remote chance that this would be a Fifty Five Years and One Month offense that would demolish his coaching career at Georgia.

            • AthensHomerDawg

              Heralded in by Dog In Fla…. the Ding-Dong the Wicked Witch Crayon meme is now officially dead here at GTP! Bravo! Bobo now has an IPAD.

    • Macallanlover

      I honestly haven’t read Sports Illustrated in 30+ years, individual articles like this, yes when pointed out. That magazine has become better known for booty shots than being judged relevant on sports….particularly CFB. This isn’t to say they can’t have an opinion on silly pre-season rankings but does anyone think they have a staffer in NY with a better feel than posters here do about CFB? That said, arguments about pre-season rankings are pretty stupid (see USC and Arky 2012 for recent examples).

      When I worked with SI folks back in the 70s on some projects, they were more the type of guys who could wear a Giants jersey or discuss the Stanley Cup playoffs comfortably than someone who could pull up a stool at the local pub in SEC country and speak intelligently on RB’s, or defensive line depth charts. Thanks for reminding me they are still in business though.

  7. NRBQ

    The only thing SI deserves credit for is bringing us Kate Upton.