Julian Rochester’s odds of playing in the opener appear to be getting buttah and buttah.
Daily Archives: August 8, 2016
If this account is true, the only thing that surprises me about the Maurice Smith story is, after all that’s gone down, that Nick Saban “doesn’t feel like it’s in Smith’s best interest to leave Alabama”.
Well, that and why he thinks Smith would want to stay in the first place.
Will the ACC go with an eight-game conference schedule, or a nine-game version? One possible answer may surprise you a little…
Speaking at Tech’s media day, Bobinski brought up an intriguing alternative to the nine-game league schedule – keeping the league schedule at eight games but requiring that teams play two non-conference games against power-conference teams. The ACC already has a mandate that goes into effect in 2017 that league teams play one such game.
… but the reason surely won’t.
The impetus for the discussion is the desire to provide inventory for the ACC Network, whose 2019 launch was made official in July. The channel will broadcast 40 regular-season games annually. The conference has already agreed to expand its basketball conference schedule from 18 games to 20, starting in the 2019-20 season.
Gotta have product, man.
Between the playoffs and the networks, it’s getting to be a tougher world for cupcakes.
Offensive coordinators gonna offensive coordinate, and the jury will be out on Jim Cheney in that regard until we see how the offense performs. I’m hopeful that last year turns out to be a low bar to exceed, as opposed to it being the new, post-Bobo normal.
But as much as we tend to focus on play calling and scoring, we tend to overlook the other part of Chaney’s job, that of position coach. It’s a big deal, too. You don’t have to look any further than last year, when none of Georgia’s quarterbacks appeared to improve over the course of the season, to realize that.
Fortunately, Chaney’s got enough of a track record as a quarterbacks coach to give me some reason for comfort.
During his four seasons as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator, Jim Chaney helped quarterback Jonathan Crompton improve throughout his senior year in 2009 and then oversaw the development of Tyler Bray.
After arriving at Arkansas in 2013, Chaney discovered a program that had enjoyed aerial success with Ryan Mallett and Tyler Wilson but was left with untested sophomore Brandon Allen.
Chaney is now the offensive coordinator at his third Southeastern Conference locale, and the situation he is encountering at Georgia is different from previous stops. The Bulldogs have an ongoing competition among Greyson Lambert, Brice Ramsey and Jacob Eason, with Lambert having won 10 games a year ago and with Eason the top-ranked quarterback nationally in the 2016 signing class.
“This is a little unique in that I think we have three kids who can go out and perform on the field, and I have not had three guys who can go out and play,” Chaney said Saturday in a news conference. “Everybody has their opinion on the quarterbacks. It’s a polarizing position. You get a victory, you get told how great you are. You get the losses, you get told how bad you are. That kind of comes with it.
“This also is a unique situation with the age group of these three kids we’re competing with right now to find out who is going to play and who is not, so it’s been a lot of fun.”
Chaney and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker were made available to the media Saturday for the first time since their hirings, which for Chaney was mid-December. New Georgia head coach Kirby Smart lured Chaney from Pittsburgh, where he spent just one season but had an impact.
Pittsburgh went 8-5 a year ago and finished runner-up in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division with Tennessee transfer Nathan Peterman at quarterback and having lost All-ACC tailback James Conner before the season with a knee injury.
“One of the key reasons I went after Coach Chaney was his quarterback development,” Smart said. “I saw what he did at Arkansas and then with Tyler Bray and also the (Matt) Simms kid at Tennessee, and then he had a transfer come into Pitt last year. I have a lot of respect for his development at quarterback…
We all remember Beyond Crompton, but, as I’ve mentioned before, what Chaney did with Nathan Peterman last season at Pitt borders on the remarkable, especially when you consider he did it with the Panthers missing their stud running back all year. I have a little faith for 2016 that we’ll see more out of the quarterback position, regardless of who starts, than we did last season.
I’m not going to delve too deeply into what I saw Saturday afternoon, because it was just a practice, but there were a few things that caught my eye.
- First off, jeez, it was hot. I sat in the 200 section, in the shade, and it still felt like a furnace. My hat’s off to those hardy souls who braved sitting in the sun. I don’t know how you people didn’t melt. (And that includes the players and coaches.)
- The new turf’s got a little ways to go before it looks lush. The hedges were looking fine, though.
- Overall, the practice was run efficiently, with plenty going on. Even when the offense and defense were broken down into 7-on-7 groups, the linemen were organized on the sidelines, working. Coaches were supplemented with plenty of support staffers.
- Kirby Smart is a hands-on kind of coach. He was heavily involved with the defense, all over the field. He can definitely chew some ass, and did, often.
- In case you’re wondering, yes, they do work on trick plays in practice. (From what I saw, they need to keep on working on a couple of ’em.)
- My favorite moment of the day was Nick Chubb clearly relishing having hands put on him. They weren’t allowed to tackle to the ground, but there was one play where he was sort of wrapped up, but pulled himself through. Crowd loved it.
- By the way, the coaches weren’t kidding about Chubb being able to do what everyone else did. But his touches were limited, compared with some other backs.
- Speaking of other backs, Elijah Holyfield looks like he’s going to contribute some this year. He’s a little more compact than Chubb and a little shorter than Michel, but his upper body is really put together. His vision and foot speed are SEC-caliber.
- The biggest surprise on offense was Tyler Simmons. I knew he was quick, but he also looks smooth for a true freshman. I’ve seen G-Day and Saturday’s practice, and between the two, my anxiety about the wide receiver position continues to lessen.
- In case you need the reassurance, yeah, the tight end position is loaded. Nauta looks like a player. I wonder where they’re gonna find enough balls for the group.
- Chigbu continues to impress. He’s got the kind of size that comes in handy in the red zone and he looks more confident than he did last year.
- The quarterbacks? I hate to sound like the coaches, but they all had their good moments and their bad ones. I saw all three make some beautiful throws, but most came in 7-on-7, when there wasn’t a pass rush. When they went 11-on-11, all had their times when they struggled. Nobody’s pulled ahead, based on what I saw. But none of the three are out of it, either.
- That being said, Eason has the best arm of the three.
- If Saturday was any indication, Jim Chaney intends to get the ball in Isaiah McKenzie’s hands early and often, by whatever means necessary.
- There is a clear drop in overall quality from the first-team offensive line to the second, which isn’t a surprise. Catalina is big and strong, but he’s not used to the speed of SEC defensive linemen, as Thompson got past him easily a couple of times I saw with quick inside moves. It’s early, though, and it’s clear the coaches would like to see him grab the first-team left tackle spot.
- Roquan Smith is coming on. He is quick on blitzes and – wonder of wonders – easily picked up and covered Blazevich on a crossing pattern well enough to prevent a pass completion.
- Dom Sanders is ridiculously smooth. The way he baited the quarterback on his interception was almost unfair. He is Georgia’s best defensive player. All I can say is that if Kirby’s right that he’s just a second-team All-SEC defensive back, the conference must be loaded.
- Trent Thompson, as I indicated before, looked unblockable. If he stays healthy, he’s going to be a handful.
- The other defensive back I came away being impressed by was Juwuan Briscoe, who is really good at positioning himself in space.
- I knew Mecole Hardman was fast. But there’s high school fast and then there’s college fast. He’s just fast. And athletic. I saw him make a good move to break up a pass and the two blocks he had on special teams were stunningly quick, especially the second one. He’s not staying off the field this year.
That’s all I got. Anyone else there can chime in with your observations in the comments. Assuming you survived the blast furnace, that is.
Damn it, ‘Bama.
How could you walk away from this?
Okay, it may not have been pretty, but it was so ‘Bama.