“A healthy Georgia is a dangerous Georgia.”

So sayeth Paul Myerberg in his preseason preview of the Dawgs.  But not that dangerous – after all, he ranks them fourteenth.

I think a best-case scenario would find Georgia atop the East Division and in the midst of the playoff conversation, though this isn’t really a team worthy of being viewed as more than a dark-horse championship contender. Take the offensive line, for example, which could be a weekly nuisance. Or the defensive line, which has depth but not a tremendous amount of next-level athleticism, if that makes sense. Consider the secondary, which clearly lacks the sort of experience and consistency Pruitt demands from this vital grouping. These are the weaknesses that leave Georgia outside the nation’s top eight, to cite one number; these are also weaknesses that could very well be addressed before midseason, though I doubt Georgia gets its ducks in a row in time for Clemson and South Carolina.

That’s not unfair.  Push comes to shove, I’d rank South Carolina ahead of Georgia right now, too.  Simply put, the ‘Cocks have fewer holes than does Georgia.  But I think Georgia has a higher ceiling.  The question for 2014 is how quickly the coaches can get the team climbing higher.

I have a minor quibble with Myerberg’s well researched piece.  I wonder if it will be Leonard Floyd who will be coming off the field in obvious passing situations; my bet is on Herrera, as Pruitt tries to maximize pass rush pressure from the linebackers.  Other than that, you may disagree with his overall assessment, but you can’t say he doesn’t have valid reasons for it.

 

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34 Comments

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34 responses to ““A healthy Georgia is a dangerous Georgia.”

  1. sUGArdaddy

    Senator, the closer we get to the season the more I’m not sure about the Cocks. It will be bananas in Columbia, but I’m not sure how good that team is. They lost the best defensive player in the country (and in school history and in the last 10 years of CFB). They lost the best QB in school history who was a first down machine. Ace Sanders, Andre Ellington, and Vic Hampton…all gone. Those guys made a lot of huge plays the last couple of years. Sutton and Quarles were beast along w/ Clowney on that D-line…all gone.

    Their secondary is in worse shape that ours. Their D-line is a shadow of it’s former self. They’ve got solid WRs, but no game-breakers. I’m not sure I can name a player on their defense. I’m not sold on Thompson as a QB. He was wretched last year when called upon. They didn’t score a point vs. Mizzou with him at the helm. Mike Davis is nice, but what do they have behind him? Their O-line is supposed to be good, but that matches up against one of our greatest strengths, and how many running and passing lanes will open up without Shaw’s running ability to account for?

    Spurrier’s a mastermind, but I think he’s got less to work with. I’m a huge jimmies and joes guy. Now, I believe Spurrier and Pruitt can coach guys up, but you need some horses. I don’t see the elite horses in Columbia. There’s no Lattimore. No Clowney. Frankly, I don’t see how a veteran offensive line gets you ranked #9. They may surprise me, but they lost A LOT. They’ve made this run based off recruiting the elite talent in South Carolina. From 2009-2012 they signed Mr. Football in South Carolina (Stephon Gilmore, Lattimore, Clowney, Shaq Roland). We’ve signed the last two (Tramel Terry & Jacob Park). Funny how they made that run from 2010-2013. Roland’s the last of that bunch, and I think the least talented. If they are really good this year, it will solely rest on the shoulders of having an elite coach because I’m not sure they’ve got top shelf talent in a lot of places. But I’ve been wrong before.

    • I disagree with you about the secondaries. SC’s got to break in two new cornerbacks, but the safeties return. That’s better than Georgia’s situation.

      The SC o-line is better than Georgia’s going into the season.

      They’re as deep at LB as Georgia. Maybe deeper.

      Davis is a fine back. The depth at RB is at least serviceable. And Davis has proven to be durable.

      I think Mason is going to be fine, but Thompson has more experience.

      Also, the ‘Cocks aren’t breaking in an entirely new defensive coaching staff.

      I’m not handing the East to SC just yet, but if I had to name a pecking order (see what I did there?) going into the season, I’d reluctantly set them first in the division. Georgia’s just a little more unproven to me at the moment.

      • sUGArdaddy

        That may be right. I’m not sold on Thompson just yet. I’d take Hutson in a heartbeat over him. And we have Todd Gurley, which is my fall back stance. If we have a healthy Todd Gurley, we’re going to be pretty doggone hard to beat. I just think he’s that elite, and I don’t think the Cocks have anyone to match them.

        Fascinated to watch their game next Thursday. They’ll be well-coached and he’ll have some players. I’m just not sure he’s got enough right now that are going to ‘win the game.’

        I’m of the opinion that most teams have a good LB or two. Most teams have a good DB. Most teams have at least one decent RB and a WR that can hurt you. I like to ask:

        -Can your QB win the game? Make the the 3rd and 11 throw he’s inevitably going to have to make?
        -Do you have a difference maker at an offensive skill position? An RB or WR that can take over the game?
        -Do you have a defensive player that can make a play or takeover a series to change the game? A DE that will make a sack/strip? A corner that will make a pick? An LB that will make 2 consecutive tackles for loss?
        -Is your kicker terrible and going to cost you the game?
        -Do you have a ST unit/player that can change the game?

        Offensive lines CAN takeover and win games, but it rarely happens. Bama’s ’12 OL was one of the best ever assembled. They could do it, but most can’t. SEC defenses have too many elite players up front that are going to eventually make plays. It seems their fire-power is located in places that don’t make as big a difference. Hey, that’s why they play the games.

      • uglydawg

        Are you saying Georgia doesn’t have a pecker?

      • I’m not handing the East to SC just yet, but … I’d reluctantly set them first in the division.

        I like your take on this one. Right now, I give us no better than a 50/50 chance to win in Columbia, and it’s a game we must win, IMO.

        I think it gonna come down to how much we can grow up between the first and second game. That we have the bye is a blessing, because it gives us a chance. But this thing is going to be a bloody war, and many of our kids have never seen anything like it before.

        There’s going to be very little margin for error, and with last year’s staff we would have no chance whatsoever. But Pruitt, with an extra week, will give us a fighting chance. And that, along with Gurley, could get us over the hump.
        ~~~

    • JCDAWG83

      I hope you are correct about the talent at chicken college. It is a given that Spurrier will out coach Richt, he and many others do every year. If Georgia is going to win that game, the Georgia talent will have to be superior. I think we may have better overall depth of talent, but I’m not 100% certain our best 22 and their best 22 are that far apart.

      • It is a given that Spurrier will out coach Richt, he and many others do every year.

        You must have missed last year’s game.

        • sUGArdaddy

          Indeed, perhaps he missed the other 5 times in 9 years (that’s a 5-4 record) that Richt miraculously outcoached the Head Ball Coach. Steve must’ve had too many coors those days.

        • JCDAWG83

          Getting out coached doesn’t necessarily mean you lose the game. Talent wins a lot of games for Georgia.

          • Irwin R Fletcher

            Just so I get this right…Richt lucks into wins by talent while Spurrier draped all those SEC Championship banners at Florida using scheme alone. Spurrier’s scrappy bunch of two stars at South Carolina like Jadeavon Clowney, always overcome their limitations.

            What a bunch of garbage. Spurrier is a great coach…and great coaches don’t get beat by bums on a consistent basis.

            • Don’t forget that Richt only won with Donnan’s players. It’s amazing – the man can’t win with his own players except when he does. God, I both love and hate our fanbase.

          • AusDawg85

            Fine…sneer at Richt but Bobo used his talent to beat SOS’s top D talent in the 4th Q so at least give credit where it’s due. SOS did.

          • So Georgia was that much more talented than SC last year? Not buying it.

            • JCDAWG83

              Was SC more talented than Georgia the previous three years? Is that easier to buy? Not for me.

            • charlottedawg

              why the hell do people get into this pissing match of “so and so isn’t a great coach they just win with talent” or the flip side of the coin (usually with tech) “Johnson’s really great considering he has to play only two star recruits”. Last time I checked recruitng and development accounts a for a huge proportion of a program’s success. Over a large sample size, winning is a direct function of the talent of a coaching staff.

          • D.N. Nation

            Dude, Georgia beat South Carolina so well last year that its assistant coaches were fighting on the sidelines. Was that good coaching for the Cocks?

  2. Macallanlover

    I think his assessment is dead on. We do have a high ceiling, and could succeed wildly to win the SEC, but at this point we have too many legit questions to answer to deserve a Top 10 ranking. Looking at the schedules, timing, etc., I think it is fair to make us a slight underdog to SC with them hosting the game and having a good chance to control the tie-breaker. Hard to expect others to give us a more than a fighting chance.

    I am getting more optimistic as I read the practice and scrimmage observations but will pinch myself to stay grounded. I think we will exceed expectations but feel Myerberg’s analysis is what most CFB observers and analysts should say about UGA.

    • Irwin R Fletcher

      I think he and others are sleeping too much on our d-line. We may be missing the difference in how the d-line is being coached and trained for play this year. They didn’t show ‘athleticism’ because they were never asked to do that. They were space eaters for the most part. From what some folks saw yesterday, it sounds like Rocker has them playing at a different level and that the offseason shift has really affected them.

      A great front 7 covers a lot of sins in the secondary.

      • Macallanlover

        +1 I think our success or shortfall will be the OL’s performance. I don’t think we have to be dominant, and we won’t, but we have to be more consistent than we were last year.

  3. “…the Cocks have fewer holes”

    huh-huh, Beavis

  4. Moe Pritchett

    Was that write up an indictment of UGA, or a tee ball participation trophy. Too many oxymorons in such a short paragraph. This one statement,
    “the defensive line, which has depth but not a tremendous amount of next-level athleticism”
    may sum his article. I do tend to only agree with the Senator, in that right now, I would put USCe ahead of us…….but with a good chance to out coach the OBC in his own yard. Someone please send him a case of Rocky Mountain Spring water.

  5. DawgPhan

    it’s a long season. I think that UGA’s schedule is a little more favorable than USCs. I would give them the east based on that. both teams will be good. Beating USC in columbia is going to be a big point in this season.

  6. D.N. Nation

    Paul’s rolling with the idea that South Carolina simply won’t lose two games in the SEC, which means they’ll stop their annual tradition of WTF faceplant (’12 Florida, ’11 Auburn, ’13 Tennessee). We’ll see.

    If you want some sort of prediction when that would happen, pick the week that Spurrier talks the most sh*t about Nick Saban for no good reason.

  7. ! Fred Russo

    In the put your money on the best coach. Thats Stevie!

    • Macallanlover

      He looked like it when he has the huge talent edge but he is much more gettable these days. I don’t concede him best coach at all, although he may be the best sideline coach on offensive calls I have seen. Not even near the best HC, imo.

    • Way you write makes you come off like some Robo-puppet.

  8. W Cobb Dawg

    Shaw’s legs won a lot of games for scu. thompson is a big dropoff in talent and playmaking ability.