There’s a part of me that’s ready to say, “Jeff Driskel, 3rd team quarterback”, drop the mike and walk off into the darkness.
(By the way, Steele has Gurley and Wilson on his first team All-Americans list.)
Enjoy the morning’s offerings.
Okay, here you go.
Friend of the blog Ed Kilgore had a comment last week that I wanted to revisit:
Assuming we might now go a couple of weeks without additional attrition, it’s increasingly clear the ’14 Dawgs will be an outfit with large strengths harnessed to one big weakness and a question mark. When Phil Steele’s unit ratings come out, I betcha Georgia is in the top five nationally at RB, WR and LB. That would be amazing, and usually the sign of a serious national championship contender. But Lord only knows where we would rank in the secondary (not in the top 50), and the OL rating has to be relatively mediocre at present.
I think Steele will also have the d-line ranked respectfully. But special teams will likely also fall into the “Lord only knows” group. (For 2013, he ranked Morgan 3rd in the country and the rest of special teams 107th.)
Overall, Ed’s spot on, it seems to me. This year’s edition of Georgia football will marry big pluses to some very shaky minuses. Which is where coaching comes in, figuring out how to maximize the strong suits to work around the flaws. Shoot me if you like, but I’m not particularly worried about Bobo holding up his end of the deal on that. Last year, despite all the injuries, Georgia’s offense managed to average 112.6 yards per game more than its opponents allowed. Steele ranks that tenth best nationally.
Defensively? Maybe Pruitt’s got more to work with than we suspect. Steele measured Georgia’s 2013 defense holding its opponents below their average yards per game. Obviously, that doesn’t tell the entire story. Special teams killed Georgia on several occasions. So did a poor turnover margin. (Georgia was +1 in its wins and minus-8 in its losses.) Turnover margin is partly random and partly good preparation, so there’s only so much you can do beyond putting your faith in our old friend regression to the mean. (Improvement in this category certainly couldn’t hurt.) But special teams have been crying for a fix for several seasons. Now would be a good time to do something about that.
With a minimum of ten years’ experience,
Active FBS coaches ranked wins per year.
1. Stoops (Okla) 10.7
2. Meyer (OSt) 10.6
3. Richt (GA) 9.7
4. Miles LSU 9.5
5. Saban Ala 9.2—
Phil Steele (@philsteele042) March 27, 2014
What’s remarkable is that two of the coaches on that list – Miles and Richt – have been on hot seats in the last five years.
Phil Steele’s compiled his 2014 returning starters list, which you can see here. It’s easy to read too much into this, but there are still a few SEC-related items worth noting.
You guys see anything else?
The season opener is about a month away, so maybe it’s time to get the ball rolling, discussion-wise. Thought it might be fun to start a conversation by looking at Phil Steele’s rankings of each team’s units and seeing how they stack up against each other. Steele has Georgia ranked ninth and Clemson fifteenth in his preseason top 40, but has them spaced farther apart in the one power poll he publishes. In that, Georgia’s sixth and Clemson’s 20th.
Here’s how he breaks down the respective units (he lists the top 45 nationally at each position):
I see two talented offenses, except that Georgia has a more balanced running threat (Clemson does have a couple of freshmen backs from whom it’s hoping for big things). That’s probably not such good news for the less highly ranked defenses. Subject to our old friend turnover margin, I’m seeing Gurley and Marshall as difference makers, but I’m a little concerned about who wins the special teams part of the night. What do y’all see?
The buffet table is cranked up and ready to go.
Mmm, mmm good…
The buffet line is open.