My world turned upside down.

If you’d have told me a couple of months ago that the hot take on Georgia would be downplaying the secondary and feeling upbeat about the offensive line, I would have scoffed.

And yet, that appears to be where Kirby Smart is now.

Kirby Smart, who so far isn’t all rainbows and unicorns when talking about his team, actually sounded kind of happy about the state of his offensive line, at least when he was asked about it at SEC media days.

“I feel much better now going into fall camp having watched what we had in spring and watched those guys improve under Coach (Sam) Pittman’s tutelage. And Tyler Catalina coming in as a transfer, we hope to give us some competition there for a starting job,” Smart said. “I think the toughest job is staying injury free and trying to find eight guys, nine guys to rotate in there.”

That being said, I’m not sure how far to take that beyond Smart’s obvious satisfaction with Pittman’s coaching chops (duh) and the added depth Catalina brings to the table (also, duh).  Or, as Emerson summarizes,

The question now is where everybody goes. Brandon Kublanow, the only senior returning starter, is also the only one who, barring something cataclysmic, will have a definite position: Center.

Every other spot could see some movement before the North Carolina game. The coaches have a set lineup they’ll come out with on the first day of preseason practice, but there will be a month, especially the first two scrimmages, to see if there should be tinkering.

“I’m sure some things will move,” Kublanow said. “That’s how it always is in fall camp, you’ve got guys shuffling everywhere.”

If there are plenty of moving parts on the o-line, my wish is the same as it is for the quarterbacks:  find a rotation and find it quickly, so the offense has as much time to settle in during August camp as possible.  The obvious big questions surround Catalina, both as to whether he’s good enough to crack the starting line up and, if so, which tackle position he takes.  If those get answered by the first scrimmage, I may begin to cautiously share in the optimism.  If not, I guess we hope Pittman’s a magician.

Speaking of Pittman, here’s a little something the guys at Bulldog Illustrated dug up:

Third, and probably his biggest decision, is what type of blocking scheme Pittman will use.  In a 2010 article written by Buck Sanders of Scout.com, Pittman (while OL Coach at North Carolina) provided an analysis of the three blocking schemes and when they are used:

Zone Blocking

“Zone blocking teams want to cover their linemen.  I mean, that the bottom line and that’s why you saw us go towards a huge zone scheme toward the latter part of the year, because we wanted to cover our linemen for movement.”

Gap Blocking

“Your gap teams are your smash mouth teams, but most teams that are zone teams are also a gap teams at times.”

Man Blocking

“When you start talking about man schemes, you better be really good.  A man scheme is when you put your linemen in a one-on-one block regardless of movement…Those (man blocking) schemes are effective when your guy is just better than the guy he is assigned to block.  You are betting you can physically whip your opponent.”

In the same article Pittman went on to say that, “You go into games with different runs based on the configuration of the defense, or based on who they have over there”.

I suppose that means we’ll know the line’s made it when they’re playing man schemes and whipping the other guys.  I doubt that will be in the opener, though.  Gotta crawl before you can walk.

15 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

15 responses to “My world turned upside down.

  1. Granthams replacement

    I hope Pittman is that good. I’m not comfortable with anything on the OL, including center. Remember the rock solid starter got demoted late last season.

    • DawgByte

      I share your assessment. I’m not comfortable with either our OL or DL. I recently watched the 2015 SC and AU games and our DL was incredible porous on critical 3rd downs. Rocker needs to get on the humping stick and start finding some big interior linemen in the 2017 class. Letting Solomon slip through our fingers is not good. We’ve now lost the state’s top DL two years in a row.

      • Granthams replacement

        I agree with the DL. After Thompson the guys with ther hand on the ground are a big question. Dodging the big smash mouth teams in the west is a blessing this year.

      • JCDAWG83

        Pruitt was dropping linebackers into coverage and having them play back a lot last season to help out the DBs, that hurt our run defense, especially on third downs. This is not a criticism of Pruitt, simply an explanation of why our run defense was not that great last season. I hope the DBs are good enough this season that the linebackers can fill the gaps in run defense and help out our DL.

  2. 69Dawg

    Kirby is apparently wanting to take the pressure off the defense and transfer it to the offense. Little does he know that long suffering UGA fans are wise to this move. How many times have we been told the offensive line would be the strength of the team only to find out they are mediocre. Kirby seems to be taking us back to the days of Vince and Munson. Pour out the Kool-Aid boys. We will find out what we need to know about this team against UNC and not a minute before.

  3. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    “Kirby seems to be taking us back to the days of Vince and Munson.”
    Dawg, I hope so. Mostly those were good times. Wouldn’t mind going back there. Will this team become the Happy Days Dawgs?

    • “Mostly those were good times.”

       The passage of time is not unlike the gauze cover and slightly out of focus lens that CBS uses on Leslie Stahl and Hillary Clinton .......it distorts reality. The good times with Vince were not all that good. During my extended educational stay in Athens during the Dooley Era I don't think we won a single Bowl game even if we were lucky enough to go to one. We managed to lose to friggin  Miami of friggin Ohio. We managed to lose to 4... count them 4 ACC schools in one season and still almost win the SEC. Dooley was great the three years he had Hershel and stunningly mediocre the rest of his career.  Don't misread what I'm saying, I liked Coach Dooley and became a life-long fan while watching his teams but if KIrby does take us back to the Dooley Era he won't last long.
      
      • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

        Just to be clear they played in 20 bowl games in 26 years in an era when there weren’t 30 bowl games to find teams for. He beat Heisman trophy winner Spurrier in Jax and Alabama at Sanford early on. His team won 14 of 19 games against Florida beginning in 1971 (3-3-1 before that), and for the most part he managed that without HW. He beat Tech regularly. Hell, If Kirby can go 3-3 in his first six games against Florida most of us are going to be giddy. If he can get to where he can rip off 14 of 19, whoa nelly. The gauze cover is over the lens of your recollections making them fuzzy – he wasn’t “stunningly mediocre”.

        • I agree with you, but many of the posters here would call Dooley’s record mediocre if Al Gore had invented this medium in the late 60s and early 70s. Dooley had some teams that overachieved (78) and some that underachieved (88), but I don’t think it would be disputed that the ’80 national championship and the following 2 years don’t happen without Herschel. Buck Belue would be selling insurance in Valdosta, and Lindsay Scott would be a footnote in Georgia history without the Goal Line Stalker. A national championship completely changed the Georgia people’s perspective on Vince. I would even venture to say that without Herschel, Dooley finishes his coaching career in Auburn, Alabama.

          • wiki says that Vince’s winning percentage is 715% but if you take out the three Hershel years(i.e. subtract 32 wins and 3 loses) that percentage drops to approx 63 or 64% . That,in the world we live in today, will get your ass fired at Georgia in one big hurry. 63% is somewhere between Ray goof and Jim Donnan territory and we know how that worked for them, I stand by my statement ,take out the Hershel Walker years and Vince was a stunningly mediocre coach( not bad…. mediocre) I believe a winning percentage between Ray Goof and Donnan is the definition of mediocre. I watched UGA lose to Wake Forrest,Virginia and Vanderbilt …..the good times weren’t quite as good as you were told .I was there.

            • I get it. I saw the end of the Dooley era as a student where we wasted possibly the best collection of running backs (until now) Tailback U has produced. We couldn’t play defense and face planted in multiple “big” games. Auburn ’88 in particular comes to mind.

              Coach Dooley would likely not be in the CFBHoF without Herschel and the years from 1980-83. He put together a team that was highly successful and should get credit for that.

  4. ASEF

    I just realized Sam was at UNC during the Butch Davis Era.

    I’m going to give him somewhat of a pass because the OC, John Shoop, was a master of brain-dead play design and play calling, but it should be noted multiple UNC QBs of the era developed a nervous tic from getting drilled by the pass rush.

  5. lakedawg

    Obviously from many comments we have worst returning roster in SEC and all should be crying about what prior staff left us with. Hope we can pull out wins over Nickels, Vandy, and ULL. OL only has 98 starts returning, wonder how that stacks up to other teams?

  6. Cojones

    I dunno, but at the current rate of climb toward the uber zone for the O-linemen and their coach, we may just have a really good offensive showing in Atl. As to the QB tics mentioned; I agree that the O-line puts them there and if there is a QB problem it will certainly be shared by the line and if that should happen, then we have been bozoed into our own uber zone.

    Can’t wait. But if this line becomes what they are leading us to expect (no big worries, put their asses in the dirt) and they prove to be the cat’s meow for opening holes and protecting the QB, then we may get a glimpse at some good QB shows no matter who is in there. QB odds may jump to my mind and we could get some friendly bets going here concerning QBs; their expected pass completion %; their QBRs and their tic developments beginning with the NC game.