Category Archives: Georgia Football

Jerry Palm’s Playoff Projection

This would cap a pretty good season for Georgia, no?  Or would you feel disappointed that the Dawgs wound up just outside the top four?

As a side note, Palm is projecting that Georgia Tech’s bowl streak comes to an end. (And that’s with ten ACC teams going to the postseason.)  That probably wouldn’t be such a good thing for the genius.

About these ads

64 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football

Coming down to the wire

We’re less than two weeks away from the opening kickoff, and there’s still plenty up in the air with regard to Georgia’s two-deep.  I thought I’d take a moment and try to stumble through where things stand, by position group.

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback.  We’ve known who the starter is, but as far as Mason’s back up goes, it’s still too close to call.  It wouldn’t surprise me if that battle carries into the regular season.  (As long as Mason stays healthy, that’s not too big a deal.)
  • Tailback.  There was never any doubt about Gurley being number one.  And it looks like Marshall has recovered from last season’s injury, which makes him the obvious number two.  The rotation behind them will be fun to watch.
  • Fullback.  It wasn’t a mess when fall practice started, but because of Hall’s forced retirement, it’s one now.  I know the coaches are saying otherwise, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hicks line up some there in addition to H-back.
  • Wide Receiver.  Another area where injuries have made a hash of the rotation.  What we know right now is that Bennett and Conley are starters; what we don’t know is when Mitchell and Scott-Wesley will see the field again.  That means there is plenty of opportunity for others to jump into the rotation.
  • Tight End/H-back.  Jay Rome seems to be returning to health.  He’ll start if he can.  Hicks will start at H-back.  Jordan Davis has had health issues of his own, but seems likely to play.  Blazevich seems to be making something of an impression, but it’s unlikely he’ll do more as a true freshman than back up.
  • Offensive Line.  If we’re to believe the coaches, depth is not an issue, with eight or nine ready to play in a rotation.  That being said, we still have no idea (1) where John Theus will line up; (2) who will play left guard; and (3) who will play opposite Theus.  I would think it would be nice to settle on the five starters soon, to build cohesiveness, but, then again, I’m not Will Friend.

DEFENSE

  • Defensive Line.  They’ve got eight guys who can play and there’s been stability in the scrimmages with the first-string line.  Between the depth and Rocker, I’m not worried about the defensive front.
  • Linebackers.  Starting-wise, it’s the most stable position on the team.  But Lorenzo Carter sounds like he’s certain to crack the rotation at outside linebacker.  (The idea of having Carter, Floyd and Jenkins on the field together in obvious passing situations makes me drool a little.)  Stability aside, there’s no way I expect Pruitt running these guys into the ground the way Grantham did.  We’ll see more subbing in the opener than we did for the entirety of 2013, I suspect.
  • Secondary.  It’s Damian Swann and a cast of thousands right now.  As J.J. Green put it about the Star position, “Pruitt don’t even know who it’s going to be…”  The question is when’s he going to settle on the other starters.

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Placekicker.  Marshall Morgan, bitchez.
  • Punter.  Collin Barber seems to have won the starting job back.  Richt indicated that Erickson may still be called upon to pooch punt.  So that looks like last season.
  • Coverage Teams.  Very little talk about who will man the coverage teams.  And there are some stalwart special teamers who will have to be replaced this year.
  • Returner.  It’s obvious that they would like for McKenzie to grab the start.  But it’s also obvious that Richt is nervous about handing the starting role to a true freshman.  I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s a decision that goes down very late in camp.  What’s interesting beyond that is that we’ve heard very little about the mix of players who will make up the rest of the return teams.

So, to sum up, I feel good about the defensive front seven and Morgan.  I’m optimistic about the offensive skill position slots, even with the injuries.  I’m nervous about Mason’s health.  I’m really nervous about the secondary.  And the rest?  Wait and see mode.

What do you guys see at this point in the preseason?

56 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Sunday afternoon buffet

Eh, let’s clean out the pantry.

  • Gus Malzahn promises “clarity” on how he’ll use Nick Marshall in the opener.  Won’t that be dependent on how much of a game Arkansas gives Auburn?
  • Tennessee claims it drew 40,000 to an open scrimmage.  Let’s see how they turn out in November.
  • DJ Shockley is as puzzled by Georgia’s SEC championship drought as anyone:  “It’s beyond amazing, and I can’t even imagine how this has happened,” Shockley said. “It’s almost like a string of bad luck. I look back at all the talent that has been there since I left and the guys that Georgia has put out, and it’s just amazing. It’s one of those things that has baffled me just like it’s baffled the fans.”
  • Can you believe Will Muschamp has had a hard time recruiting élite offensive talent to Gainesville?
  • Brandon Larrabee makes a solid point about how LSU does a good job surviving its NFL departures.  But, man, the Tigers sure have to replace a lot of skill position experience this season.
  • I don’t think it’s a good sign if Ted Roof thinks from watching Tech scrimmages one of the things his defense needs to improve is the pass rush.

14 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

Damien Gary wants a little Dawg porn.

Per Weiszer,

Georgia’s all-time leader in punt return yardage isn’t a big fan of playing it safe by relying too often on fair catches.

“I’m kind of gritting my teeth when I see that,” said Damien Gary, who racked up 1,253 punt return yards from 2000 to 2003 and is now running backs coach at Charlotte. “I understand the game especially being a coach now when you have a safe opportunity, but I definitely love seeing good returns.”

The article, as you might guess, is written about the potential of Isaiah McKenzie to bring life back to Georgia’s moribund punt return game – the Dawgs didn’t have a punt return longer than 17 yards last season – but it’s really about the struggle going on inside Mark Richt’s head.

Richt’s intentions were good when he signed McKenzie, who had some crazy stats as a returner in his senior high school season.

“That’s one of the more exciting things about his high school career that made me really want to go after him,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said Friday. “I thought his ability to return punts and kicks could help us a lot.”

But there’s still some Logan Gray haunting Richt’s soul.

Before Richt hands over the punt return duties to McKenzie, he has to trust the freshman that he can count on him to secure the ball.

“That’s why I’m telling him, every rep I’m watching,” Richt said. “There is no `I’ll do it game day mentality.’ It’s ‘I’m going to do it in practice to prove to coach I can do it.’ That’s not just him, that’s anybody back in that spot.”

Or maybe he’s just channeling his inner Vince Dooley.

“What you’d like in a return man, but like I told him and the rest of them, I’m going to base the decision on who that guy is on how well he fields the ball and how well he protects the ball. If you don’t field the ball and don’t protect it, it doesn’t matter how good you can run. And that punt return especially is so much different in college than in high school. They’ll punt it out there, you’ll catch it in space in high school. College, it’s way up there, it’s hanging, you’re sitting there waiting and waiting and waiting and here they come. They’re right on top of you — 95,000 people, millions of people watching on TV. It’s just a whole different deal. That’s the thing you concern yourself with a true freshman.”

Hey, don’t stop with true freshmen.  Damian Swann managed to turn the Vanderbilt game around all by his lonesome with a botched catch.  (And that was on punt safe!)

There are times when I wonder why Richt doesn’t just say “screw it, I’m not sending anyone back to field this punt”.  But maybe he should listen to Damien Gary a little bit.

“It’s an opportunity to give the offense some extra yards,” Gary said. “It would be nice to have some good return men that could kind of help the offense back there.”

As the saying goes, no guts, no glory.

39 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

192.77

I really didn’t feel like taking the time to fisk this absurd post about Grantham because it was such obvious bullshit on its face, but Tyler brings the smack here, if you’re so inclined.

One thing in particular he writes bears repeating:  “On the most obvious of passing downs, Georgia allowed a staggering passer rating of 192.77, a full 25 points higher than Arkansas.”  That’s a stat I’ve taken note of before.

If that’s a situation Jeremy Pruitt can’t improve dramatically this season, then we’ve seriously overestimated the guy’s coaching prowess.

60 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Old habits die hard.

With all the usual caveats about preseason happy talk in mind, I still like what this little story represents:

Corey Moore had done the drill wrong, and Jeremy Pruitt wasn’t happy. He was even more unhappy when Moore began trying to explain why he had messed up.

“Is that what you’re gonna have, what we had last year, making excuses?” Pruitt said, according to Moore.

Moore, a senior safety, shook his head and said “no.” And Pruitt went on with the drill.

“That’s what we need,” Moore said later in an interview. “Some people hate it. But, at the end of the day, it’s gonna be for the best.”

This, too.

“He puts you in every scenario in football, live football,” Moore said. “That’s what we need, and what we didn’t have last year.”

Moore used this word to describe Pruitt: “Perfectionist.”

“He feels like if someone’s not doing their job in the program, you should confront them,” he said. “If he’s not doing his job, he wants you to confront him, and if you’re not doing your job he’s gonna confront you. I feel like that was our biggest thing last year, we didn’t have too many people confronting each other, and just taking accountability when we were wrong.”

Such as that time in practice.

Again, it may prove to be a lot of offseason talk. Four years ago, defensive players were also bullish on the changes brought by Todd Grantham. But Grantham’s changes were more schematic. Pruitt’s have been different and, the Bulldogs fervently believe, stronger.

As I’ve said repeatedly, the end of Martinez’ stint was marked by players who didn’t believe in their coaches.  Grantham came in and changed that attitude by showing that he knew football.  The problem was that his NFL-type approach left his players second guessing themselves, especially the young ones who struggled to learn his complicated system.  Pruitt seems to be aware that job one is getting the players’ confidence in themselves back.  But that means breaking down a lot of ingrained behavior he inherited when he took over.  Even if you think he’s a good enough coach to get his players where they need to be, it’s not likely to be a smooth, overnight transition.  More like fits and spurts… with the hope that some sort of corner gets turned by mid-season.  I guess we’ll know it’s working when Corey Moore stops making excuses.

38 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Saturday morning buffet

It’s time to eat.

14 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, Recruiting, SEC Football, Whoa, oh, Alabama

Scrimmage, scrimmage

Stats from last night are here, if you’re into trolling.  The only thing of interest to me out of those is the run-pass ratio of 81/41.  Since that’s not a likely mix for the regular season, it looks like they wanted to test the candidates for the secondary early and often.

As for more general observations, from what Seth Emerson caught, it sounds like it was a sloppy night, perhaps because some of the kids were pressing in light of Richt raising the stakes.

Richt said he made clear prior to the scrimmage that it would be vital in deciding playing time going forward.

“Maybe some guys got a little uptight with that, I don’t know,” Richt said. “But there’s gonna be a lot more pressure when there’s 95,000 (in the stands) and a few million people watching. But there was just too much of that for this time of year.”

On a better note, Richt is keeping hope alive on one front.

Isaiah McKenzie did not participate in tonight’s scrimmage, but he will be ready to go for Saturday’s special teams scrimmage. Richt said McKenzie is in “heavy consideration” for both return jobs, especially punt return.

“It was one of the more exciting things about his high school career, that made me wanna go after him, because I thought his ability to return punts and kicks could help us a lot,” Richt said.

Bottom line:  still a lot of work to be done before Clemson comes to town.

32 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Jeremy Pruitt’s coaching philosophy, in two sentences

Short and sweet.

“It’s not about what we as coaches know. It’s about what the players know,” said Pruitt. “You can’t play fast if you’re not in shape and you know what you’re doing.”

This season there are a lot of little things I’m looking forward to not missing – the frantic handwaving, Herrera chewing out a DB after a touchdown for missing a signal, a substitution penalty after a timeout, etc.  And the towel.  Always the towel.

34 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

It’s only special teams, but I like it.

Interesting note about Georgia’s scrimmage tomorrow:

The Bulldogs practiced in full pads for two hours Thursday and will hold their second scrimmage tonight and scrimmage special teams Saturday night.

A scrimmage devoted to special teams?  I can’t recall that Richt has done that before, but I must say that if this is an indication that he really means to get serious about improving the unit’s performance, I’m not gonna complain about it.

35 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football