Daily Archives: September 7, 2015

“He wasn’t happy and neither were we.”

So, how often over the next few days do you think Pruitt’s gonna remind his players that Rashon Ceaser was named Sun Belt Conference offensive player of the week?

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Filed under Georgia Football

A goose egg on the ol’ Fulmer Cup scoreboard

The preseason race is over, the results are in, so it’s okay to take a victory lap now, Dawgs.  The SEC may have embarrassed itself again, but at least nobody can point a finger in Athens’ direction this year.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“I know it’s going to be in the back of our minds that we lost the last time we were there.”

As long as you don’t forget, Jordan.

And remind everyone who wasn’t there about how it felt afterwards.

“There’s never an excuse to slip or underestimate a team,” Georgia cornerback Aaron Davis said, “because at the end of the day they are still an SEC team, they’re a college football team. So anybody can be beat any weekend.”

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Filed under Georgia Football

Observations from the 35, Georgia-ULM edition

They say there’s no preseason in college football, but you could have fooled me on Saturday, because it sure had the feel of a preseason game.

Not that I’m complaining about that, mind you.  Given the realities of this Georgia team – a ton of youth to break in and a starting quarterback with less than two months on the roster – it was exactly what the doctor ordered.  And what I most liked about the day was how well the doctors… er, coaches operated.  There was a sense of control that I’ve sometimes sensed was missing from other cupcake openers, not in the sense that Georgia was ever in real danger of blowing a game, but in how it felt like there was real purpose to how players were deployed.  I expect there will be serious evaluation this week about what they saw from Lambert and the true freshmen we saw all over the place and plenty of coaching up.

On to the bullet points:

  • Okay, maybe Leonard Floyd doesn’t need any coaching up.  What a game.  He still looks a little thin to me, but you can tell his comfort level in this defense is off the charts.
  • Right behind Floyd’s day was Malkom Parrish’s.  He’s really come on.  He and Aaron Davis have the look of being a solid pair of corners.
  • I can hardly believe that Quincy Mauger is the same player we saw wearing number 20 his freshman year.
  • McGraw and Sanders had some weak moments.  McGraw’s a true freshman, so that’s to be expected.  But Sanders whiffed on a couple of plays that led to ULM scores that he should have defended better.  I expect he’ll be hearing about that plenty this week.
  • The sacks by Carter and Jenkins were the definition of explosive.  Jenkins, in particular, looks like he’s refined his pass rushing skills.  There are some opposing quarterbacks who will be violently separated from the football this season.
  • ULM didn’t make a first down until there was a little over a minute left in the first quarter.  Outside of a few quarterback runs on the read option, the Warhawks did little damage rushing the ball.  So you’d have to say the d-line did a decent job on the day in that department.
  • If you didn’t notice, there is a ton of speed on Georgia’s defense.  More than I’ve ever seen.  Sometimes, in unexpected places, like Davin Bellamy, who really showed some quicks.  There is ridiculous depth at the OLB position.
  • Speaking of OLB, I noticed Jake Ganus line up outside in pass coverage on one play.  Ganus turned in a nice game.
  • The defense definitely relaxed during a stretch from the end of the first half to the start of the second.  There was some shoddy tackling in spots, but I also saw a couple of plays where ULM took advantage of an open middle of the field.  Kimbrough wasn’t 100% physically, so that’s perhaps some of it, but I still saw a defense that needs an ILB who can cover.
  • And I don’t know what happened on that first ULM score.  It looked like several players just let the receiver go.
  • On offense, what can you say about the depth at running back?  Greyson Lambert must feel at times like he’s died and gone to heaven, considering what he had to work with last year.
  • What really makes Nick Chubb special – okay, extra special – is his sense of timing.  He reads the field so well and can start and stop on a dime.  His cutbacks are deadly.
  • Sony Michel had a great game, too.  His value as a receiver coming out of the backfield can’t be overrated.  It’s almost unfair to have to defend him and Chubb in the backfield together.
  • But I’m not going to lie to you.  The best story on the day was the real return of Keith Marshall, who ran with authority for the first time in almost two seasons.  He still looks fast and, if anything, showed a surprising power in his running.  It’s almost a joke to call him the best third-string back in the country.
  • As good as it was to see Marshall back, it was almost as good to see that Malcolm Mitchell appears to have his whole game back.  His touchdown catch was AJ Green-esque.  And he displayed his usual toughness with downfield blocking.  You hoped he really was ready to reclaim his status as Georgia’s number one receiver; it was big to get validation of that.
  • Physically, Terry Godwin reminded me of Terrence Edwards a little.  There’s no denying he’s fluid as he runs.  He’s also got great hands.
  • The tight ends were called on for blocking more than receiving, but we were at least rewarded with one nice catch from Blazevich on his touchdown.
  • And while we’re on the subject of one nice catch, hello there, 344-Fullback.  Nice to see you’re still in the playbook.
  • Oh, yeah, Greyson Lambert.  Overall, I thought he had a good start to his Georgia career.  He didn’t turn the ball over.  He didn’t really even have a questionable throw on the day.  It was clear on that sideline pass completion to Mitchell that his arm is more than adequate – if you’re wondering, there’s no way Mason could have made that throw – and he did a terrific job with ball placement on his touchdown throws.  That being said, he’s still a work in progress.  He locked onto his receivers way too much for my comfort.  I saw happy feet on occasion.  Both of those are things that are to be expected with a guy still getting used to his new surroundings, though.  But as the defenses he’ll face are going to be better, his game will need to get better, too.
  • I got some pushback on this yesterday, but Ramsey did well Saturday.  The throw he made to Godwin to convert a third-and-17 was the best pass by a Georgia quarterback all day and again showed what’s so tantalizing about his game.  But it was the screen pass to Michel that went for a touchdown that was special.  Ramsey (and Michel) did an excellent job of selling it, and Ramsey held on to the ball until the last possible moment before floating it with the right touch to Sony.  If you felt bad about Ramsey’s play in the Belk Bowl, Saturday should make you feel more confident about his play.
  • The offensive line had a couple of glitches, like the sack on Ramsey, but overall did the job against a ULM defense that was stacked to stop the run.  (I swear, at one point it looked like there were ten defenders in the box on one play.)
  • Special teams, holy crap!  If you think the defense looks faster, that’s nothing compared to what I saw on coverage teams.  Add to that constant pressure on ULM’s punter, solid punt returning from Davis and Collin Barber, touchback man, and it’s starting to look like an area that’s going to be a real weapon.  It was great to see Barber’s day, all around.
  • Unless my eyes deceived me, I saw Georgia using sideline cards to signal in plays.  Can’t believe that hasn’t gotten a mention.
  • And introducing us to one professor doing important research in the area of narcissism on the internet has to be the best academic tribute I’ve ever heard in Sanford Stadium.
  • I’m about to give up on the whole piped in music thing.  It’s still too loud and the constant music between offensive plays borders on the obnoxious.  My ears were still ringing when I went to bed.  Sadly, it may be time to bring out the earplugs.
  • Judging from the constant smartphone use I saw around me, WiFi kicks ass, though.

The general consensus appears to be that the coaching Saturday was good rather than great.  I assume some of that stems from how vanilla the gameplan was, especially on offense.  But I’m not really sure why that should be held against them.  There wasn’t a need to show much against ULM, as Georgia was clearly more physically dominant, something that was really beginning to take its toll in the second half when the game was called.  The big things were letting a lot of talented kids get a taste of action early on and to ease Lambert into the offensive flow.  As far as I can tell, mission accomplished on both fronts.

What I really like was how this team went about its business.  Early dominance, and then a positive reaction after the mid-game lapse.  There also appeared to be less emotional grandstanding than we’ve seen in past years.  I’m starting to get a good feeling, albeit one tempered by brain farts past.

If the old saw about a team’s biggest improvement comes between its first and second games, then I’m looking forward to what we’ll see in Nashville.  Overall, a good start.

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Filed under Georgia Football

SEC Power Poll, Week One

Well, so much for all the “SEC is dead” talk.  Sure, that’s a stupid conclusion to run to after only a week of games… but you can say the same thing about shoveling dirt on the conference’s reputation after a round of bowl game flops.  The reality is that this is a conference that recruits too well to write off.

Anyway, on to the rankings.  And, yes, I know it’s an exceedingly small sample size.  Except for Vanderbilt.

  1. Alabama.  The Process Abides.
  2. Texas A&M.  It was staggering to see how well TAMU’s defense played.  If that wasn’t a temporary illusion, you have to figure this team just inserted itself into the fight to win the division.
  3. Georgia.  There’s vanilla, and then there’s the Georgia playbook against ULM.  Still, there was no way to hide how fast and athletic this team looks.
  4. Ole Miss.  I really, really like this defense.
  5. Auburn.  Auburn beat a P5 team, but hardly looked like the team many pundits guaranteed would make the CFP. Gus has some coaching up to do with Jeremy Johnson.
  6. LSU. I had to put the Tigers somewhere.
  7. Arkansas.  Played like a team that knows what it wants to do.
  8. Mississippi State.  Put MSU in just about any other division in college football and you’d be taking them a lot more seriously.  But there are enough flaws to make the Bulldogs likely to finish down in the SEC West.
  9. South Carolina.  Spurrier squeezed as much as he could out of his team in beating North Carolina, with an assist from Larry Fedora’s playcalling.  He’ll take it.
  10. Tennessee.  Nice defense you got there, Vols.
  11. Missouri.  Defense looked solid, but I’m not sure how far you can go in this day and age being offensively challenged.
  12. Florida.  Before you get too OMG!!! about a 48-point win, remember that the Gators started last season with a 65-0 seal clubbing.
  13. Kentucky.  A win’s a win, yes.  But that defense sure looks like it needs a ton of work.
  14. Vanderbilt.  At least they covered the spread.

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Filed under SEC Football

Willie Martinez takes his medicine.

And, no, it’s not to coach Tennessee’s secondary this week against Oklahoma.

It sounds like ol’ Two Thumbs has a firm grasp of the bump rule.

According to the letter, Martinez was one of several college coaches who were in the football coaches’ office at the high school in question. At one point, Martinez excused himself from the office, and encountered the athlete in question during that period. During Tennessee’s investigation of the incident, the letter said, it was not able to determine the length of the encounter and obtained responses from other coaches present that said the meeting lasted anywhere from 2-3 minutes to 20-30.

Twenty to thirty minutes?  That’s some bump you got there.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Recruiting, The NCAA

Now it’s Ole Miss’ turn.

To do the NCAA shuffle, that is.

“As a precautionary measure, we are withholding Laremy Tunsil from today’s game until the pending process can be completed,” Ole Miss said in a pregame statement. “We are cooperating fully with the NCAA and feel this is the best way to protect Laremy, our football program and the university.”

Hey, we Georgia fans can tell you all about precautionary measures.  Based on recent history, if he’s already missed more than a half, it’s probably not good.

In case you’re wondering, Mississippi’s next three games are against Fresno State, Alabama and Vanderbilt.

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Filed under SEC Football, The NCAA