Some random d-line thoughts

Two things about this Gentry Estes piece on the defensive line:  (1) as nervous as we are about the state of the line in the wake of Taylor’s dismissal, can you imagine how much worse it would be if Garner had still been the position coach last season and he and Grantham had stuck with their “play the starters until they drop” approach?; and (2)  is there a picture of Tracy Rocker at work that isn’t intimidating as shit?

(Photo by John Kelley/UGA Sports Communications)

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31 Comments

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31 responses to “Some random d-line thoughts

  1. Spike

    GATA Rocker!!

  2. Rp

    The Taylor dismissal leaves us a little short on the big boys. We only have Mayes and Johnson left in the 300+ category with Gaillard coming in. However, everything we are hearing is that Pruitt does not much care for the 300+ guys. Also, every difficult game on our schedule is against a spread offense so i tend to think we are still in good shape with what we have. We are pretty loaded on 280’ish and athletic d-liners.

  3. Scorpio Jones, III

    Play all of them at the same time, let God sort out the secondary. :)

  4. Cojones

    Hope Rocker has the “Slit and suction” ready for Toby.

  5. DawgPhan

    I think that having Rocker as the DL coach is going to be a great improvement. Overall I would say we have significantly upgraded the coaches on defense with Rocker being the biggest.

    Having someone like that coach our guys is just incredible.

  6. Gentry, one of the writers I respect, did a nice job sizing up the situation.

    I’m not as comfortable as he is that we have good “depth”. I would say it was OK before Taylor was lost, and on the thin side now. And at DT, where Taylor was, we’re thin for sure.

    Exactly how thin depends on what kind of shape some of these interior guys are in, and we don’t know that yet. If the glimpse we had of Toby Johnson last week is any indication, we might be disappointed. Even if we get 100% physical buy-in, there’s still a ways to go. Estes put it this way ….

    Rocker appeared to be looking for something this spring he never saw.

    So we still need to players to step forward. But even if all goes well, we’re still going to miss Taylor. In certain situations – short yardage, goal-line, run downs vs. teams who like to run straight at us – Taylor can’t be replaced. We just can’t replace his strength and body-type. Estes mentioned his tremendous upside, and we were about to see it, IMO.

    (1) as nervous as we are about the line in the wake of Taylor’s dismissal, can you imagine how much worse it would be if Garner had still been the position coach last season and he and Grantham had stuck with their “play the starters until they drop” approach?

    It would be awful, as would the rest of the defense if Grantham were still here. And probably should include ST’s with that as well.
    ~~~

  7. Hamster Tollhouse Cookie LaBrea IV (aka W Cobb Dawg)

    I thought Wilson did a fine job last year, especially considering he was picking up the pieces of garner’s mess and had to deal with CTG’s D. If these guys are truly in better condition, Rocker should have a pretty good group. Taylor won’t be missed – if was good he wouldn’t have been redshirted because of the low number of DL’s in ’12, and he would’ve been on the field more last season.

    • Joe Schmoe

      I think it is pretty simplistic to say that guys can’t get significantly better from one year to the next. Some guys take 2-3 years in the program to get in shape / understand the system before they have very productive careers.

      • Hamster Tollhouse Cookie LaBrea IV (aka W Cobb Dawg)

        True, but there’s no basis to say Taylor fits the ‘gradual improvement’ mold you describe considering he accomplished essentially nothing in 2+ seasons with the program. Jenkins & Geathers left after 2012, so we needed NT’s to step up last year. Mayes & Thornton stepped up, while Taylor wasn’t much of a contributor. At best, it seemed he might break into the DL rotation and provide extra depth. Its nothing but a wild guess to assign more importance to Taylor than his past performance merits.

  8. Chuck

    Rocker was indeed a great player, but I don’t know if that translates into great coaching. Hope so.

    We’ll miss Taylor but there’s no sense fretting about it – he couldn’t stay. I hate it for him because as someone who has been a defense attorney, I can argue to minimize the checks, I can argue to minimize his reaction to the emotions of a relationship, but both in matter of months? I hate it for him because I have been to Millen and it is a very poor (economically) area. About as bad as Sparta, I would think. I would guess there are mainly people there who struggle and work hard, but not that many thugs, so I am surprised. Hope he gets it turned around.

    • DawgPhan

      You do know that this isnt his first coaching job, right?

      • Chuck

        I wasn’t sure, but regardless, we thought CTG was going to be Da bomb…and I guess he was but in a different sense than we originally thought. Right now, I am willing to be 15-0. Just not willing to bet the ranch just yet. :)

  9. Skeptic Dawg

    The D-line was one of the very few bright spots from an awful 2013 defense. While the loss of Taylor is huge, I expect the D-line to take another step forward with the addition of Rocker and Pruitt. As stated often and early by many on this site, the loss of Grantham is the greatest addition for this program. While 2014 will be a rough year from a win/loss standpoint, we SHOULD see improved defensive fundamentals.

    • Dawgoholic

      Rough year from a win/loss standpoint and improved defensive fundamentals – What???

      Assuming an average amount of injuries – like we’ve had in most years – 06, 07, 09, 10, 11, and 12, and improved defensive fundamentals, I’d be shocked to see us finish with less than 9 wins. While that’s not a great season, or even a really good season in my book, it’s not a rough year from the win/loss standpoint. You must be assuming we’re going to lose to virtually every team we play that has a pulse and that none of those teams will have a significant injury.

      I’m not booking an early January flight to Dallas right now – or even making early December plans for ATL, but I’m not thinking about a bowl game in Tennessee either.

      • The talent on this team is severely lacking in multiple spots, most importantly OL, S’s and DB. I believe we will see improved fundamentals from the secondary, yet they will still struggle due to lack of talent and inexperience. As for the W/L total, I expect to see 7 or 8 wins. The OL will be a major issue this season derailing the offense, while at the same time wasting the talents of Gurley, Mason and the WR’s. Losses will come from Clemson, USC, Auburn and one or two more. 2015 will be a better year. Pruitt will have a full year of recruiting, players will have experience and understanding of the new system.

        • Dawgoholic

          Understand your thoughts. I disagree because I think Gurley, Marshall, Malcolm Mitchell, Leonard Floyd, and Jenkins will make some big plays that allow the team to win some games they might not otherwise. If Pruitt turns the secondary into one of the 5 best in the conference, the team could do even better if Mason proves to be up for the challenge.

          • I sure hope your version of the 2014 Dawgs shows up as opposed to mine version. No one wants to sit through another 4 or 5 loss season. I just don’t believe the team has enough talent and experience to win more than 8 games.

            • Dawgoholic

              Me too. I’m interested to see what Mason does. His skill set is a good bit different from the guys that Bobo has had success with as OC.

              • Dog in Fla

                That different skill may not be a problem for the Marks. Remember reading something in which CMR said when he was OC at FSU, the starting QB’s rotated through on a 2 year basis (and sometimes even a 1 year basis) as a starting QB.He acknowledged that made Greene, Stafford and Murray unusual in that respect.

                Recall that CMR had QB’s with different skill sets among Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke, etc.:

                “Richt’s notoriety has been gained through an innovative and exciting offensive style and a long list of excellent quarterbacks. Naturally, Richt’s most famous protégé is Charlie Ward, who is the most decorated player in the history of college football. Richt has sent five quarterbacks into the NFL since 1987. Current Washington Redskin Casey Weldon was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1991. His teammate at FSU, Brad Johnson, was a Pro Bowl selection for Washington last year. Kanell was the starter for the New York Giants during most of 1998, his third year in the NFL, and is now with the Atlanta Falcons. Richt pupil Danny McManus was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs and the Canadian Football League and is currently the starter for the Hamilton Tiger Cats. Peter Tom Willis, who is in his second season as the color analyst on the Seminole Radio Network, was drafted by the Chicago Bears and spent three years in the NFL before becoming the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Storm.

                His starting signal caller in 2000, Chris Weinke, will have a chance to break every major FSU career passing record during his senior season. Richt will also work with Marcus Outzen, Jared Jones and true freshmen Fabian Walker and Chris Rix.”

                http://www.seminoles.com/sports/mfootbl/mtt/richt_mark00.html

                Am confident there are no two better in the country at coaching a QB than the Marks.

        • Joe Schmoe

          Why do you think that a weak OL will “derail the offense”? Bobo has managed to have one of the best offenses in the country for a number of years without the benefit of a consistent OL.

  10. I Wanna Red Cup

    I am just not concerned about the D line even without Taylor. We have good depth with lots of players who played significant snaps in 2013. The only concern about smaller linemen would be when we play Arky. They will try to pound with big lineman. I like the “quicker is better” philosophy and continue to believe our D line and LBs will be a strength of the team. Coach em up Rock and company.

    • Joe Schmoe

      Wilson and Herrara are thick LBs who are excellent in run support (coverage not so much), so I have feeling pretty good about our run defense even without Taylor.

  11. Emerging from Allie

    Where is all the Toby Johnson talk coming from? I believe either Rusty Mansell or Jake Rowe reported seeing him at Dawg Night and said he looked to be in great shape.

    • Probably coming from me. I’m the guilty one, your honor.

      I saw a video from the kids cancer charity thing they did, last week I think, and caught a glimpse of Johnson. And it scared me, because he looked fat, lots of belly fat. Maybe it was just a tight jersey or maybe it wasn’t him.

      It was just a glimpse, but I saw somebody like that and it jumped out at me. “In shape” would be the last thing that came to mind. If it’s wrong, I apologize to everybody. Hope it is.
      ~~~

  12. Will Trane

    Nobody knows. Well, maybe Dabo and Old Ball Coach have an ideal or two. Inside zone read. Taylor was a big boy, except when it came to women folk…he just could not man up.
    Big boys don’t cry. Little ones do. So maybe weight could be an issue if you can not get your ass into the play or point of attack, Speed is great as long as you are not having to track it down from 5 to 10 yeards behind the play. That’s almot enough yards to move the chains and to recycle the downs.
    One week and it begins.