Opportunity awaits you in the beautiful SEC East!

Notice the “curious incident of the dog in the nighttime” aspect to this passage from John Pennington’s analysis of what lays in front of James Franklin’s successor at Vanderbilt?

And what better time for a new coach to enter the SEC East?  Missouri just went from 2-6 in the East to division champs. Florida’s coach is on a red-hot seat.  South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier will soon turn 69 and he — like Franklin at VU — is just about the only coach to have success at his school in the past 100 years.  There are no guarantees Carolina’s program will continue to excel post-Spurrier.  Tennessee is likely to be mediocre again as Butch Jones tries to re-stock the Vols’ roster. And Kentucky is still at the bottom with Mark Stoops having to basically start from scratch.  Who knows if/when Tennessee or Kentucky ever find stability?

Granted, last year’s jump by Mizzou suggests that our views now might not mesh with what actually occurs over the next couple of seasons… but on paper, the East is the place to be if you want to make three million bones a year and coach in the SEC.

Only one school isn’t mentioned there.  And I don’t think it’s because Pennington believes the Georgia program is seriously flawed.

There’s no reason Georgia can’t put itself back on track next season, provided some serious attention is paid to shoring up this past season’s weak spots… and maybe having a little better health.  But the East should be up for grabs for the next few seasons, anyway.  Carpe diem, Dawgs.

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72 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

72 responses to “Opportunity awaits you in the beautiful SEC East!

  1. stoopnagle

    Develop youth on defense
    Bring Mason along
    Keep Gurley healthy
    Shore up the ()*&^%%&(I special teams.
    Fix the f^$#(__ special teams
    Get the *&^%#@)_)(& special teams right.

    That should get us there.

    • Rocket Dawg

      How about maintain our Kickoff coverage, punt coverage, Xp/FG kicking and fix the punt return/fair catch part.

  2. ColoradoDawg

    I don’t know if you’ve seen this article at EDSBS, but it brings up another serious flaw that needs to be addressed: the amount of talent flowing out of the state. Whatever happened to building a wall around the state? Then again, it is somewhat offset by the players Richt manages to pull from out of state (FL, NC, NJ, etc.).

    I’m sure there are some statistical issues with his methodology, but I’ll leave that to wiser minds to uncover.

    http://www.everydayshouldbesaturday.com/2014/1/2/5266320/the-fifty-states-of-college-recruiting

    • Cosmic Dawg

      I skimmed a pretty interesting article about academic preparedness of athletes in college football and basketball that the Dawgbone linked to yesterday: http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/07/us/ncaa-athletes-reading-scores/index.html?c=&page=1

      I was surprised CNN did that deep of a piece. But it got me wondering – there’s no excuse for not maxing out our scholarships, but does CMR pass on some of these highly touted kids because they have no business in college AT ALL? Is he possibly trying to hold the line there more than some of the more desperate schools?

      That would explain a lot, and wouldn’t be something you’d necessarily talk about a lot in public, hence some of the mystery about why UGA didn’t go after so and so.

    • I would say that since the majority of the best players UGA has produced in recent years have been from out of state (Stafford, Moreno, Green, Charles, Murray, Gurley, Marshall) there’s probably less to the “defending of the borders” meme than some would suggest. People like to thump their chests and believe that every kid in Georgia should want to go to the state school, but that’s crap. Sometimes the opportunity for a kid is better at another school, and sometimes the opportunity for Georgia is better with a kid from another state.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Non-qualifiers, partial qualifiers are a problem in Georgia, and a problem FOR Georgia. Part of the problem with attrition in our recruiting classes is that the kids wind up in junior college and either don’t make their grades or don’t come back to us.

        If you think Bama and its little brother have the number of issues we do in this area I would appreciate the name of your vendor.

      • Macallanlover

        Agree with you. I understand the “hometown pride” aspect to this but I really don’t care where our talent comes from. (I blame the citizens and fans in the Georgia towns for not having established the atmosphere and mind-set that any one offered the chance to play in Athens should do so. Impossible to do these days but there should be a strong lean to the state’s primary team. On the plus side, that isn’t happeneing in Florida, Texas, SC, TN, MS, etc. either.) I would like to see what the percentage are of players who get into behavior/scholastic problems at UGA by in state and imports. Bad eggs are hatched everywhere but it seems Georgia is the home state of a disproportionate number of our problem children. Just curious if that is so, I honestly don’t know.

        • Scorpio Jones, III

          Mac, I can’t help but note: Cam Newton…Georgia, Nick Marshall…Georgia. This is probably a comment more on the culture of football in Georgia, not on academics, but…

  3. D.N. Nation

    James Franklin to freaking Penn State. A match made in felonious, bad-touch heaven.

    Will this jerk be allowed to bring his own referees? It could get dicey in the B1G otherwise.

    • David K

      It’s a great hire for Penn State if you ask me. What he’s done at Vandy is extremely impressive. Unfortunately, he’s a complete dick and rubs everyone who plays against him the wrong way, but he’s found a way to win so you can’t find fault with the results.

    • There’s a joke somewhere here involving Franklin’s past comments about how he targets his assistant coaches, but I’m not clever enough to think of it.

  4. Irishdawg

    Someone whom I’m too lazy to properly credit brought up an excellent point yesterday vis-a-vis special teams; the punt game is what needs fixing. Stop muffing returns and punt snaps and ST would be pretty good. I would love to see us block punts a couple of times a year like Richt’s early teams, but I don’t want to seem greedy.

    And James Franklin is a whiny gash. That is all.

    • David K

      There’s no reason we shouldn’t be attempting to up a return for a dangerous return man who is solid on fielding punts and capable gaining a few yards at a minimum, and sometimes taking it to the bank if he gets a few blocks. Right now our philosophy is to not block anyone, sell out to not give up the fake, and then fair catch the punt. Somehow we turn that into a Chinese Fire Drill with regularity.

      • Dog in Fla

        Only because our Committee of Special Teams Coaches is still afflicted with Melvin Ingram Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

        • uglydawg

          I really do think a lot of the punt return problem was CMR’s mindset that field position was no problem with AM at the helm…But now…Maybe we’ll see someone returning punts (and that doesn’t mean “returning” as in giving back to the other team).

      • King Jericho

        With as potent as our offense has been the past few years with Murray, there’s been no reason to risk the punt return. Then again, we’ve screwed it up being conservative. Is having a dangerous punt return game a counter to the other team going for a block? I don’t know special teams.

        • King Jericho

          I worded this poorly: Is going for a punt block potentially leave you more open to a bigger punt return?

    • Didn’t we block a punt and a FG (or PAT) this year?

  5. BMan

    If his players start diving at the back of the knees of Ohio State players, it will be a big deal in the mind of Urban Meyer. Gawd, talk about a meteor game if those two are on the sidelines.

  6. Dog in Fla

    Wait until James finds out that in Happy Valley, the hotness of assistant coach wives doesn’t matter as much

  7. Dawgwood

    Do ya’ll think Bobo gets an interview?

    • sniffer

      For Vandy, yes, I would think so if he is open to relocating. On the other hand, Vandy has moved up the list as a place for head coaches to look at. They (Vandy) may look first at current head coaches and see who is interested.

  8. Go Dawgs!

    Quarterback. Quarterback. Quarterback. Quarterback.

    Defense. Defense. Defense. Defense.

    Address those two glaring needs, and Georgia’s in the Dome next fall. But they are GLARING needs and I’m not sure they’ll be fixed. I’m not banging on Hutson Mason, either. But I do not buy the theory that he only has to be average and let the rest of the talent carry him. This is a quarterback-driven offense even with our wealth of running back talent. I am willing to believe in him.

    But the defense? I see no evidence, at all, that they’ll be any better than the last two years. Todd Grantham is who he is. We’ve seen it now. When you’ve got NFL stars talking about how much more simple their defense is than the one they ran in college, that’s a problem.

  9. Skeptic Dawg

    When you take a look at the issues surrounding the Georgia football program, you quickly realize that they are not quick fixes. Additionally, you have to ask if the personnel is there to make the necessary improvements. O-line – a constant issue in Athens for several years now. It appears that there is not an SEC-caliber tackle on the roster right now. Until I see otherwise, this will continue to be a major issue for quite some time.
    Defensive (primarily the secondary and overall scheme) – Were this issues solely related to youth? I have my doubts given the lack of player development over the course to 2013. Only time will tell. And what exactly is Grantham looking to accomplish with his defense? There seems to be zero playing personality with this highly talented unit. But we are stuck with it for at least one more season.
    ST’s – I completely fail to understand what the goal of this unit is in regards to punts. If it is to merely fair catch everything fine, but why no be aggressive going after the punter? To me this speaks to Richt’s lack of attention to detail more than anything. Kick the ball thru the end zone on kickoffs. Not too hard. ST’s should be an area of aggression, not one of complacency that we have seen from this staff.

    As for the competition in the SEC East, time will tell what Mizzou becomes, but I am leaning towards a solid team much like SC.
    USC- now on par with UGA and the talent in Athens with a coach edge.
    Florida will not be down forever.
    Tennessee is closer to Vandy and Kentucky than they are to Mizzou and USC.

    One can only hope that 2014 will not be another 3-5 loss season that we have come to know all too well.

    • uglydawg

      I think we didn’t go after the punter for the same reason we fair catched most punts. Why risk a roughing penalty and give the ball back, and why a fumble to the same outcome? He believed..and rightfully so, that field position was not much of a problem with AM at QB. This may change.

    • sniffer

      Were this issues solely related to youth? I have my doubts given the lack of player development over the course to 2013. Only time will tell.

      Grantham, et al, certainly developed Jarvis, Alec, Baccari and a few others. Yes, they were special talents, but they did develop. Herrera and Wilson also developed nicely this year. Jordan Jenkins didn’t have the year many of us anticipated, but he had a solid year. My point is this. Without a doubt, Granthams’ defense has developed players. Please don’t list the players who you think haven’t developed. Your sampling size is too small and the defense DID get better as the year progresses. I will admit, they didn’t pass the eye test far too often, but, you know, stats don’t lie and all that…

      • Skeptic Dawg

        On a serious note, what aspect of the secondary did you see improvement from? I noticed the same missed tackles, blown assignments and poor coverage from week #1 thru the bowl game. I specifically pointed put the secondary and not the front 7. The front 7 did show progress week in and week out. I am all for placing blame and giving praise when it is deserved. The defense AS A WHOLE does not deserve praise.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Not fair, SD. The D-line and LBs were pretty good by season’s end. It was the DBs that stunk all year. Maybe it is as simple as bad coaching by Lakatos. He’s leaving. If we get a first rate DB coach maybe he can straighten the DBs out by next season. Then, hopefully, UGA has a solid D.

          • Skeptic Dawg

            Mayor, I clearly stated in my initial post that my issue with the D was the secondary and the overall scheme. Not sure if Sniffer ignored that or just happened to miss it. Either way, my point was fair, valid and dead on. What is unfair is singling out Jones, Rambo, and Ogletree. Are you guessing that Lakatos is leaving, or is this a given? Gratham would be wise to dump him.

  10. Will Trane

    Steve Spurrier, the ” Joe Pa of the Carolina Gamecocks and the SEC”. Speaking of coaches, ACC. What a damn circus. You have Dab-A-Do, PJ, Cutcliffe, the guys in charge of the Criminoles, and the return of Petrino. Whew what a list of famous and infamous coaches.

    • Peteydawg

      Uuuuuuhhh jimbo is a stand up guy and great coach. Agree with other ones.

      • uglydawg

        Man…I wonder if Vandy will consider CPJ from GT. I hope not. We need him at GT and we would have to prepare for the tripop in just a week leading up to Vandy….plus, GT might luck up and hire a competent coach.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          I’d be happy with CPJ as HC at Vandy. And no, Tech won’t luck up and hire a good HC.

  11. Bulldawg165

    I have a feeling Florida is going to be formidable a lot sooner than some give them credit for. They have a dang good defense and only need an offense that is merely competent for them to be a force.

    Tennessee will eventually come back to life but I don’t think they will ever have a hay day like they did before Fulmer’s downfall.

    Defense under CTG will be average at best and special teams will be a net loss, thoug hopefully not a big one. Maybe the two combined will not be so bad that our scoring D falls in the bottom half of the conference.

    Mason will make a few bad decisions every now and then and throw a ball that we wish he didn’t. It’s his first year as a starter and I fully expect that to entail all of the growing pains that almost all other first year starting QBs have to deal with. Not trying to knock him because I’m sure he’s talented, but we’ve been spoiled with AM’s performance the past couple of years and it’s time we regress to the mean.

    Spurrier will continue giving us fits and who knows what is going to become of Mizzou.

    • Say what you want to about the Gator D… Any time you rank lower than Kantucky you are in for a seriously bad season.

      “SCORING OFFENSE G TD XP 2XP DXP FG Saf Pts Avg

      Texas A&M……….. 13 78 73 0 0 10 2 575 44.2
      Auburn………….. 14 73 66 2 0 15 0 553 39.5
      Missouri………… 14 71 66 1 0 18 0 548 39.1
      Alabama…………. 13 65 65 0 0 13 1 496 38.2
      Georgia…………. 13 58 57 0 0 24 0 477 36.7
      LSU…………….. 13 61 60 0 0 13 0 465 35.8
      South Carolina…… 13 57 54 1 0 15 0 443 34.1
      Vanderbilt………. 13 49 48 1 1 15 0 391 30.1
      Ole Miss………… 13 49 44 1 0 16 1 390 30.0
      10.Mississippi State… 13 48 40 1 0 10 0 360 27.7
      11.Tennessee……….. 12 35 34 0 0 14 0 286 23.8
      12.Arkansas………… 12 30 29 0 0 13 0 248 20.7
      13.Kentucky………… 12 30 28 0 0 12 1 246 20.5
      14.Florida…………. 12 27 24 1 0 12 1 226 18.8″

      • Bulldawg165

        versus conference competition they ranked 11th. http://www.cfbstats.com/2013/leader/911/team/offense/split07/category09/sort01.html

        Your rankings are a bit skewed because Florida’s OOC opponents were Miami and FSU — probably the toughest out of the entire conference.

        Regardless, they were still way, wayyyy behind the top offenses in the league but they had a plethora of injuries along their OL. They aren’t going to have a great offense next year by any means, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they were middle of the road which would be a huge help to their defense, which was second in the conference in scoring against conference opponents: http://www.cfbstats.com/2013/leader/911/team/defense/split07/category09/sort01.html

        • Maybe it’s just me, but – considering UF’s third OC in four years, new OL coach, no depth at QB, a weak receiving corps and offensive line – I’d be a little shocked if Florida’s offense is middle of the road in a conference that’s gotten a lot stronger on that side of the ball in the past couple of years.

          • Bulldawg165

            Even in a conference where 6 out of the top 7 scoring offenses are replacing their starting QBs and number 8 is replacing it’s head coach?

            • Which of those teams do you see UF passing?

              • Bulldawg165

                I can’t pick out any of them in particular because I don’t keep up with other schools enough to know who all they are losing. I just don’t think it’s much of a stretch for Florida to overcome the likes of Ole Miss, Miss St, Vandy and one of those other 7. Plus they had a lot of folks injured this year just like we did (though I’m unsure of the respective sides of the ball except for a few o-linemen)

    • uglydawg

      165…I’m not accusing you of being a troll, but if you’re a Dawg fan you must be the most negative one in the world. Most people are seeing and predicting good to very, very good things for UGA next year.

      • Bulldawg165

        lol. I agree with a lot of the positive stuff people have posted as well but it’s already been said so why rehash it? Sorry if it bothers you that I offer up alternative viewpoints as opposed to just being an echo chamber.

        For the record:
        -I think Gurley and Marshall are going to be a heck of a duo next year.
        -I think the blindside tackle position will be better because Theus will have an extra year of experience
        -I think Mason will be helped tremendously by the return of JSW and MM which will help to offset the drop at QB with Murray gone
        -I think our DBs are going to be better at coverage and I’d be surprised if our defense wasn’t in the top 1/3 of the conference in turnovers given the experience and simple regression to the mean

        Is that better? :)

        • Russ

          Florida has been an OC away from being good the last 3 years and they have changed each year. That much churn is really bad for a program, though I hope they continue churning for a while. Each of their previous OC hires has (on paper) been a pretty good hire. Just didn’t work out. To me its a cautionary tale.

          • Bulldawg165

            “to me its a cautionary tale”

            How is that relevant to anything that I’ve said? What about Auburn, though? Is that a cautionary tale? What about Florida when they fired Zook and brought in Meyer? Cautionary as well? Sheesh. I really don’t want to get into an argument about it in this thread because it’s very off topic but it’s intellectually inconsistent to cherry pick situations that turned out bad while ignoring situations that turned out for the better.

            • Rob

              Tebow made Meyer.

              • Bulldawg165

                Right. Because they didn’t win a NC in 2006 when Tebow played primarily mop-up duty with a few meaningful snaps scattered throughout.

                Cam Newton getting kicked out of Florida is probably the reason people have the perception about Meyer.

                • Mayor of Dawgtown

                  If Cam Newton doesn’t steal that laptop FU has 2 more crystal footballs and Meyer is still at FU.

                  • JC

                    I have thought this several times and then thanked the lucky stars for Cam’s grubby stealing fingers. Somehow seeing AU win a NC in 2010 was easier to stomach than knowing UF would win another.

                • Dawgfan Will

                  There was some good coaching by Meyer in 2006 to do the best with an offense that was less than stellar, combined with one of Charlie Strong’s best defenses. It was, in fact, very similar to Richt’s 2002 season, complete with 1 loss. The difference being…

            • Russ

              How is this about you? I just said that constantly changing coaches isn’t necessarily a good thing. See UT, see Cheatzik (though he did have the coaching skill to get Cam Newton), heck see Bama as they wandered around for years before landing Saban as their second choice. Yes it can work out. No it doesn’t always work out.

            • Dawgfan Will

              By the same token, though, it’s intellectually inconsistent to point to the one good coach Auburn and Florida hired amidst the crap that came before and after and say that we could have that too. Since Spurrier, Florida is 1 for 3 on good coaches. Auburn is 50/50 since Tuberville (and I won’t even mention the whole Petrino fiasco there). Alabama went through how many average-to-embarrassing coaches after Stallings before getting lucky when Rich Rodriguez turned them down. Tennesse…well, don’t get me started.

              So you can say that we shouldn’t cherry pick. But when I look at those odds of landing an improvement over Mark Richt, well, thanks but no thanks.

        • uglydawg

          ‘TIs…keep it up!
          Happy people are healthier.

  12. TomReagan

    “Who knows if/when Tennessee or Kentucky ever find stability?”
    It amazes me how far down Tennessee has fallen, and how quickly people have forgotten that they are, historically, the #2 team in the best conference in the country.

    • Rex

      That being said, when are we going to fire all of our coaches and hire someone new and better.

      • uglydawg

        Rex, if you’re comment is “tounge in cheek”, forgive my lack of sophistication and ignore the next sentence.
        Rex, would you please tell us what coaches you would hire today?

    • The other Doug

      The state of Tennessee doesn’t produce a lot of talent, so the Vols have to go out and lure the kids from other states. That’s awfully tough when you suck.

      • Dawgfan Will

        Yep. I am honestly starting to believe that Tennessee may be permanently relegated to second-tier status. A whole generation of players have come through middle school and high school during the dumpster fire. It’s got to be a tough sell for a coach. Jones seems to be recruiting well, but it’s a dicey situation if it’s not managed well and the wheels could come off yet again at any moment.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Cogent observation DW. The history of NCAA football is strewn with the wreckage of once prominent programs that fell down and couldn’t get back up. Look at Minnesota. Purdue. Ole Miss (at least they are having marginal winning seasons again). UT is fighting UK for the bottom spot in the SEC East and I hope UT gets it–permanently.

          • Dawgfan Will

            I live about 10 minutes from the Tennessee state line and went to UGA in the 90s, so believe me when I emphatically say, “Me too, brother.”

  13. godawg

    Could this be an opportunity to put Agent Bobo in place? We have Sleeper Agent Smart in Tuscaloosa, Unfortunately Agent Dooley, while doing a good job while he was there,blew his cover. Now we need to find an agent to step in when the Ball Sack step down….hmmmmmm…..

  14. The optimist in me sees the rest of the SEC East getting crushed my early entrants and senior graduation. The optimist also sees a schedule that, while certainly not easy, is manageable, especially if 11-1 is the mark to reach to have a shot to play into the playoffs.

    The pessimist sees a QB who will struggle getting the ball down the field, an OL that is nothing if not consistently inconsistent and Grantham as the DC.

  15. TennesseeDawg

    Georgia will find a way to blow it no matter how flawed the rest of the East is

    • Dawgfan Will

      Because we’ve only won the East more times than every other school in it since Richt has been our coach.

  16. Carolinadawg

    “There’s no reason Georgia can’t put itself back on track next season, provided some serious attention is paid to shoring up this past season’s weak spots… ”

    Aren’t you getting tired of writing that every year? I’m certainly tired of reading it.