After three games in 2014, we saw Georgia pound Clemson into submission, lose disappointingly to a South Carolina team that turned out to be much worse than we thought and the time and beat a shitty Troy team by 66 points.
It appeared we had a Heisman Trophy candidate in Todd Gurley, a shaky pass defense that Spurrier exposed (which really meant that Pruitt had a way to go shaping what little talent was at his disposal after all the offseason departures), impressive depth at running back, among other things. Even with the loss in Columbia, there was still reason enough to hope that between what Georgia had shown and the way the rest of the division looked, the season still had plenty of promise with regard to returning to the SECCG.
Yeah, that worked out about like we thought.
Obviously, then, you never know, but what is there to take away from Georgia’s 3-0 start this season? Here’s what I see:
- Recruiting. The rumors about the staff being dissatisfied with the talent level after the end of the 2013 season have credence, based on how much of the two most recent classes has been pushed on to the field already. As I said the other day, it’s a new era in roster management.
- Coaching. Quite the balancing act they’re trying to pull off this year – being competitive in a tough conference while overhauling the talent. The soft early schedule has helped, no doubt. But this staff appears to be more than solid from a teaching standpoint. We already knew what we had with Pruitt in that regard. What Schottenheimer has done with Lambert and Sale’s work with the offensive line have been positive developments, for sure.
- Psychology. It’s subtle, but between the way the team handled the usual pesky adversity that’s part of going to Nashville and the way everyone appeared unaffected by playing the OBC, it just feels like there’s a different mindset at work this year. Of course, we’ll see on October 3rd how different things really are, but still…
- Offense. Geez, what can you say about the running backs at this point? The offensive line has solidified. Malcolm Mitchell looks like Malcolm Mitchell. Schottenheimer’s reputation for making use of the tight ends appears justified. If Lambert’s development isn’t a mirage, it looks like a group that can continue scoring points at the clip we’ve become accustomed to of late.
- Defense. The defensive line looks better than I expected. The talent improvement in the secondary is obvious. The linebacking group is as deep as we thought. And as a whole, the defense is playing more comfortably within Pruitt’s scheme. The two concerns: one, I’m still not seeing a defense that can handle the mid-field passing game and two, the green backups. The latter will get better as the season progresses, but it would be nice to avoid the injury bug for a while.
- Special teams. Clearly, more talented. Equally clearly, still plenty of hiccups. Again, you have to think inexperience on the coverage teams plays a part in that, so things should improve there as the season goes on. (I still don’t get why Georgia can’t find a kicker who can consistent bury kickoff for touchbacks, though.) Barber does look better. I hope Morgan’s day in Nashville was just one of those things. He’s certainly capable of more.
- The division. It’s hard to see where the East overall is much better in 2015 than it was last year. So there’s that.
What do y’all see?