Daily Archives: August 11, 2014

A tale of two position groups

Boy, could the current state of Georgia’s receivers versus running backs be much different now?

RUNNING BACK

The first week of preseason basically confirmed what we already knew here, which is that Georgia is simply loaded at tailback. Todd Gurley, first of all, is reportedly ready to roll and in the best shape of his college career (that’s per Bryan McClendon). For now, there’s no reason to push Gurley’s workload in the preseason.

But the competition behind him could be a heating up a little, as each of the five-star freshmen have shown some strong signs already. There were behind-the-scenes rumbles of Sony Michel really impressing in practice last week. Nick Chubb evidently saw it and raised with a starring role in Saturday night’s scrimmage. Additionally, Keith Marshall has been full-speed ahead coming off knee surgery, and you’ve still got Brendan Douglas competing hard.

So it will be fascinating to see how the Bulldogs will choose to divide up carries when the games start. Again, that’s a very good problem for Georgia to have, but we’d advise you to not assume anything beyond Gurley being the No. 1 option if healthy.

At fullback, Quayvon Hicks‘ move to tight end (though he could still play fullback if needed) has left little question that the job of lead-blocking fullback is Merritt Hall‘s to lose this preseason. Walk-on Taylor Maxey has done some good things and could be pushing for a backup role in certain situations.

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WIDE RECEIVER

In what seems now a familiar trend for this unit, no other area of Georgia’s team right now looks tp be as banged-up as the wide receivers. Malcolm Mitchell remains out for now after minor knee surgery right before camp. Justin Scott-Wesley has been working in a limited capacity at practice, but he’s not all the way back from last fall’s major knee surgeries. Chris Conley has been limited at practice this past week. Charlie Hegedus has also been out with what is believed to be a minor ailment. Freshman Shakenneth Williams wasn’t practicing Friday, and Jonathon Rumph reportedly missed the scrimmage with an unknown issue too.

So … all these absences surely hurt the offense’s firepower during the scrimmage and have made evaluations difficult while already testing the depth at a position that needed to get deeper from last season and appeared to have done that. Blake Tibbs, Reggie Davis and Kenneth Towns look to be benefiting from extra reps at the moment, while freshman receiver Isaiah McKenzie‘ rapid emergence became one of the stories of the first week of practice.

The good thing, of course, is that the big names on the receiving corps should heal over the next few weeks.  But right now it’s easy to see how Bobo might be tempted to go with a heavy dose of the run early on.

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Money to burn

Now this is thought-provoking:

… I’ll just say very loudly:  college sports operates in a not-for-profit accounting world!  In these environments, expenditures rise to match revenues.  Reported surpluses are not a guide to profitability because their is no incentive to grow surpluses so owners can extract these surpluses as profits.  In not-for-profit settings, revenues and revenue growth are the real guide.

What about empty seats at some games, even for big time producers?  Again, the crazy world of college sports has invented this problem largely through setting up games with lower tier teams that generate much less interest.  In pro sports, these are pre-season games, not mid-season games.

So, if at some point student-athletes received a serious share of athletics revenue, would that force schools to improve scheduling to keep asses in the seats/eyeballs on the tube?

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Dear Judge Wilken,

Shorter NCAA:  Since you know our membership is dysfunctional, you need to give us more time to figure out how to deal with your ruling.

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That explains it.

From Paul Myerberg’s Louisville preview:

So the defense needs help; the secondary in particular needs help. That’s not a concern to Parker, obviously, and not really a concern to the staff, and not really a concern to this program: Louisville has shifted from defense-first to offense-always…

If you’re not concerned, Grantham’s your guy.

I bet that was one helluva job interview.  His 2013 resume must have thrilled Petrino.

 

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2013 in review

I go through an annual ritual each August – one last viewing of the prior year’s Georgia games I’ve saved on DVR, before I clear the decks for the new season.  Having just finished that, I thought I’d share a few final observations about 2013:

  • Highest of the highs.  Plenty to choose from here, but it’s hard to beat the last five minutes of the LSU game.  I’m not sure I’ve ever heard Sanford Stadium rock louder.
  • Lowest of the lows.  Auburn’s the easy call, but I’d pick the fourth quarter against Vanderbilt.  I know Georgia was beat up and I know the officiating sucked to high heaven, but no Georgia team should blow a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter to Vanderbilt.  Ever.  Sheer torture watching that unravel.
  • Most valuable player.  Aaron Murray, and it ain’t close.
  • Least valuable player.  You could name anyone in the secondary and you could find a 2013 moment to prove your choice.
  • Most pleasant surprise.  Marshall Morgan turned out to be a rock on special teams.  After his freshman year, who’da thunk it?
  • Least pleasant surprise.  John Theus.  After starting as a freshman, how many five-star recruits lose their starting job midway through their sophomore season?
  • Best drive of the season.  The last drive against South Carolina was enjoyable, especially when the OBC took off the headset, but the drive to end the Florida game was more crucial, given the score.  As a bonus, it took a dumb Florida penalty to close it out.
  • Worst drive of the season.  Pick any one that ended in a blocked punt for an opponent’s score.
  • Best coordinator.  He wasn’t perfect, but Mike Bobo certainly had his share of moments, particularly given the personnel losses.
  • Worst coordinator.  He wasn’t perfect, but Todd Grantham… ah, the hell with that.
  • Most impressive part of the season.  Maybe I didn’t appreciate it as much when I saw it live, but the offense put on a friggin’ show in the first half against Florida – over 200 yards in the first quarter alone.  And that was with key receivers out, Marshall out and Gurley clearly struggling with his conditioning.  If Murray and Wooten had been a little more on the same page, it would have been 31-3 at halftime.  It was the offensive line’s shining moment, for sure.  (Don’t ask me what happened in the second half, though.)

Anything you guys want to add, do so in the comments.

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