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.