Steele-y Dawgs

Today’s the day Steele 2014 hits the newsstands.  It’s also the day his Georgia preview hit his blog.

If you want the short version,

  • QB play will be “solid”.
  • OL will drop, but not as much as you’d think.
  • Secondary could be “most improved in country” – although he wrote that before Matthews’ dismissal.
  • Special teams will be top 30 nationally.

Now you’d think that would lead to a fair amount of bombast about Georgia’s chances, but all Steele can bring himself to say in summary is that “UGA is a legitimate contender in the SEC East.” Kinda knew that already, Phil.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Steele without some fun and obscure facts, and here are two he mentions:  (1) Georgia has only lost one home opener since 1997 and (2) If Georgia beats Tennessee, it will be the first five game series streak for the Dawgs since 1924.

Also worth noting are Steele’s efficiency stats – yards per point for offense and defense.  Georgia turned in its highest number on offense (lower is better) since 2008 and its lowest number on defense (higher is better) also since the 2008 season.

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8 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

8 responses to “Steele-y Dawgs

  1. sUGArdaddy

    Interestingly, the year we lost the home opener in that stretch we won the SEC East. However, opening with Clemson provides an opportunity for greatness. You can look at our history and see that the years we opened with a quality opponent and won the game, it really set the tone for a great season, dating all the way back to 1980.

    1980 – @ UT
    1981 – UT
    1982 – Clemson
    1983 – UCLA
    1988 – UT
    1992 – @ South Carolina
    2002 – Clemson
    2003 – @ Clemson
    2005 – Boise St.
    2007 – Oklahoma St.

    Those are some pretty special years. Every SEC championship we’ve won in the last 35 years started with an opening day win over a decent team. Interestingly, some of the best teams opened with very ugly wins.

    The ’80 win in Knoxville was a miracle we won on a late fumble when all they had to do was kick and extra-point distance FG to win. The ’82 win over Clemson was a hard-fought battle. And the win over Clemson in ’02 took a 4th down risk at mid-field by Richt and a missed FG by Clemson late. Escaping Aug. 30 by the hair on our chin means essentially nothing In fact, it can actually be good for a team. Winning builds momentum, and an early season escape sometimes keeps morale up with the reality that you still have much to work on. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to walk out of Sanford around 9:30 that night with a 37-14 victory in tow, but if we just barely get out alive, it could be a good omen.

    All the prognosticators seem to forget that Todd Gurley plays for us. He was healthy in ’12, and we were pretty awesome. When he was healthy in ’13, we were pretty awesome. Pray for his legs, because if he’s healthy, we’ll be pretty awesome.

    • DawgPhan

      I really dont want to do this, but….

      Was 2007 really the last time we beat a quality team to start the season?

      bummer.

      • sUGArdaddy

        Yes, and we’ve had a few opportunities since then (2009, 2011, 2013). So, 0 for the last 3 means that the odds are in our favor, right?

        It’s a crazy sport, though. I was as down as I’d ever been after that Boise game in the Dome, and the next week was a roller-coaster. 0-2 and the end seemed near. Then we reeled off 10 in a row and 22 of our next 26 and two trips to the Dome.

  2. mdcgtp

    I am as biased towards analytics as anyone who follows college football, but I think a lot of Steele’s analysis is designed to impress more than it informs. Very little of what occurred in 2013 has bearing on 2104 for our offense. We do not have Aaron and trying to precisely estimate his value relative to Mason is difficult at best, and impossible at worst. How does one account for the fact that even with Murray, we lost our vertical passing game once MM26 and JSW were injured. Further, how does one compare our backfield, which lost Gurley for 3/4 of LSU, UT,Mizzou, and Vandy and got a player who was nowhere near full strength when he returned. How does one factor in the “freshness” Gurley gets from having Marshall by his side. Marshall who by the way was FANTASTIC against USC and played very good against LSU.

    Stating the obvious, how could one make any projections about our defense given the sheer volume of personnel turnover in the secondary and the change in coaches? Obviously, its a preseason projection of college football and someone’s life is not at stake, but quite honestly, this is a clear cut situation where qualitative factors trump analysis.

    MM26 is one of the most efficient WRs to EVER play college football. If you look at his target and catch numbers on 3rd and long his first two years, you see he was a first down machine.

    While injuries are part of the game, find me another program that lost skill position talent that we did and get back to me. Ultimately, if any of Gurley or Marshall or MM26 plays against Mizzou and Vandy, we win both easily. IF MM26 plays against Clemson, we probably win easily.

    There is little evidence to support his claim that the OL will drop-off in any meaningful way. Not one of the OL who finished their careers were all conference performers. I think it is hard to argue that our OL won’t be equally effective as it was a year ago, and with healthy skill players, their margin for error is larger.

    If we have MM26 back to form, I am not sure how he our WR are not the very best set in the country. I am reasonably confident that our top 3 (26,82,31) best any top 3. JSW is about as proven a playmaker through UT as anyone can have as a 4th WR. If Rumph and Davis gain any consistency, we are probably deepest WR core in the country in terms of proven play makers.

    The question marks are the obvious ones.

    How effective will Mason be? Will he be an “asset” that makes our team better? Will he simply be a replacement level QB that simply has to “do his job”? OR is he so bad that he mitigates the value of our skill players?

    How quickly can we field a consistent defense? I think we are all grappling with similar thoughts. We trust Pruitt knows what he is doing, but it is hard to envision exactly how the defense will look. We don’t know for sure who will play in the secondary, and as a result, we don’t know how that will dictate the schemes we run. Most of what we read is “simple” and “fundamentals”. It is just hard to know how quickly that will happen.

    • CannonDawg

      Well said, mdcgtp. I would only add that, given the strengths and concerns you’ve duly noted, if we can have some of Munson’s Lady Luck smile on us this year, at just the right times, it could be an extraordinarily fun year.

      • Macallanlover

        Nice write-up and perspective. Steele is nothing if not a data machine for CFB, and bless him for doing the heavy lifting. You are dead on about the significance of the weight qualitative factors play but many dismiss those as just excuses and rationalization. Not true, they are the most significant of all factors, and they are unknowns until they are known: impossible to project before the season begins. It all adds up to needing a dose of the PS research, realize it still will always be subjective, and it still all boiling down to some gut instinct. I love PS’ magazine and keep it handy throughout the season, but while all the stats in his ‘bible” might settle some bar bets or make someone sound like a guru, it still comes down to the timing of a few plays at those “special moments” that ultimately decides how teams do and are perceived. Steele may have his special formula of nine power ratings but I subscribe to his In the Pressbox service and he, and his computer miss their share badly, as do all of us who predict CFB.

        I think Steele has us a little high at #7 but it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if we were to end up in the Top 10 at season’s end. The ST’s ranking he has for us is doable and will add to our upside, the secondary cannot be worse than last season(especially with a better front 7), and the OL should be as good, or better this season. Except for QB, all our skill players should be better if for no other reason than it would be hard to have any worse luck with injuries. I still see 9-3 or 10-2 as what we will finish the regular season at but a game either above or below that level is certainly possible. There is reason enough for optimism among Dawg fans but it should be tempered with Cannon’s reminder that lady Luck is the wild card that doesn’t fit into, factor from Steel’s smart machine.

  3. Will Trane

    Are we there yet?
    Leaving this weekend for SEC media days. Can’t take the 24 hour soccer reporting anymore. What can you say about a world title that they play every 4 years and they do not even decide a winner in the opening rounds with ties. Baseball, extra innings; football, sudden death, basketball, overtime; ice hockey, overtime periods. Well you get the picture about America’s sports.
    2 weeks from this coming Monday is the big event. Yep, looking forward to opening day. Can not wait to hear what Commissioner Mike Slive has to say. Preacher man. Mentor to all sport fans in the SEC. And just as important, is what Coach Gus Malzahn has to say about his All-American transfers from CMR’s dog kennel. Gus is glad to have Trey Matthews with him. Not likely to have a potential interception on a last second desperation throw right down between the hashes for a SEC title and National Championship game. After all, the ball if misplayed can go in any direction.
    Adds credence to the fable, “even a blind hog can find an ear of corn every now and then”. Sure old Gus has not gotten over having victory “boomed” right out of his sideline antics.

    • Dog in Fla

      “Are we there yet?” No. We’ll never get there

      “Leaving this weekend for SEC media days.” You must not be taking the Interstate