No talent, low talent or mo’ talent?

It’s hard to figure out where Georgia stands in the talent department.  My current working theory is that there’s certainly talent on the roster — talent that’s as good overall as any team in the SEC East — but that the roster is imbalanced because of the crater left in the wake of the implosion of the 2013 class.

So I get where Matt Brown is coming from when he writes,

… For now, it’s hard to know what to make of the Bulldogs in 2016. Smart is a great defensive coach, and he hired a good offensive coordinator in Jim Chaney. The offensive line has experience, and if star tailback Nick Chubb, who injured his knee last October, and Sony Michel, who broke his forearm last month, are healthy, the Bulldogs can have a dominant ground game. There are, however, questions in the passing game, with a lack of proven weapons at receiver and the ongoing quarterback debate as Smart decides between playing true freshman phenom Jacob Eason or incumbent Greyson Lambert (or Brice Ramsey, who has spent more time at punter than quarterback).There’s also talent in the defensive front, but a question of how quickly Smart builds depth — especially with tough games against the North Carolina, Ole Miss and Tennessee offenses early in the year. It’s unreasonable to expect an SEC title in Smart’s first year at Georgia, and the Bulldogs are unlikely to win the SEC East either. Last year’s results may have gotten Richt fired, but ultimately Georgia should hope to get the running game going, keep Chubb and Michel healthy once on the field and start preparing Eason for the future, with matching 2015’s results — minus the embarrassing losses — an acceptable target.

(For the record, Brown thinks the Dawgs will come up short on matching last season’s win total, as he projects an 8-4 record for 2016.)

And here’s the thing to ponder:  yes, quarterback is the most important position on the field and that hasn’t sorted itself out quite yet, and yes, by and large, we’ve got a new coaching staff to break in, but I like Bud Elliott’s rebuttal.

As my colleague Bill Connelly has said, winning in college football takes talent acquisition, development and deployment. I agree. But Gene Chizik has a national title, while Mark Dantonio and Gary Patterson do not; acquisition is by far the most important element. By NCAA rule, coaches get just 20 hours per week with their players. Only so much development can be done.

In other words, the Jimmies and Joes matter, and Georgia’s signed more four- or five-star recruits in the last four years than any other school in the division.  Dave Bartoo has a similar evaluation here.

No, I’m not crazy enough to insist this is a guarantee of anything, results-wise.  (After all, Richt got fired after bringing the bulk of the talent in, because he couldn’t get back to the SECCG after the heartbreaking loss in 2012.)

What I am saying is that, while Georgia isn’t Alabama, it isn’t craptastic, either.  There’s talent in Athens and a favorable schedule.  Sure, there’s only so much a staff can do, but in this case, they’ve got enough to work with to have a shot.


Filed under Georgia Football

58 responses to “No talent, low talent or mo’ talent?

  1. I tend to side with Brown (8-4/9-3 kind of season) but I agree UGA is talented. More so than probably any team on its schedule with the possible exception of Tenn. The problem with GA isn’t talent but a lack of EXPERIENCED talent. That’s where Tenn is ahead of UGA right now. I think UF is ahead of UGA in the mental state of things, however. The last two years have been ugly.

    • I have questions about UF. The Gators haven’t recruited as well lately. I wonder about Del Rio. They’ve already lost one offensive lineman for the season. There’s a regression to the mean question as to turnover margin.

      I don’t think they’ll suck – the defense is too good for that – but in my mind right now, UF is kind of interchangeable with UGA in terms of winning the division.

      • DawgPhan

        The upside for UGA is that they have all of issues, but they also have recruited better.

        sort of like the old restaurant saying (and it probably is said other places) Volume hides your sins.

      • SouthernYank

        I think the experience factor is the big difference between UGA and UT.

        As to UF, last year was a reward for their worship of Satan. There is no other explanation. This year, their D will not be as good, and their O will have to really run the ball, because Del Rio ain’t the answer – and as Senator said, that’s because of recruiting. They’re in catch-up mode right now.

      • Disagree. UF’s offensive line is utter garbage. Their quarterback situation is appalling worse than ours, and they lost their leading rusher. Their defense lost a lot last year and they haven’t recruited well since 2012. Last year was smoke in mirrors.

        If Kirby’s new defense can do better at stopping the run, which it should since Smart/Saban likes the hybrid pattern matching defense as opposed to Pruitt, who usually had 6 in the box, then we can beat Tennessee and Florida, or at lest make Josh Dobbs (who is as arguably not as good at passing as Greyson Lambert beat us with his shitty, shitty arm, and whoever Florida is starting at qb beat us with their shitty, shitty arm, then we win the division. Especially if Catalina is decent enough to start at LT (looks like he may be) and Chubb is healthy (looks like he may be), then we take a LOT of pressure off our baby stud QB.

        We have more talent than anyone in our division, with the exception of Dobbs at QB if he’s allowed to run. So there’s that.

        • Cojones

          Thought he was FU’s second best RB with 365 yds last year. I won’t worry about FU this year after someone tells me what happened last year, until then I’m hedging my bets because we had the advantage in manpower last year and looked like shit in that game.

          Look for FU to hit the skids if anything arises again with Antonio Callaway. How a guy could be kicked out of school after an alleged rape incident and be readmitted without ever formally rejoining the team, but is accepted back like he left for a summer break,is beyond me. He was kicked out of school, but never left the team – wow! If his act was no worse than that, then why was he kicked out? Don’t tell me FU would give him (their best player) short shrift concerning evidence early on and then recant their actions, as if they never heard the true story, but kicked him out anyway. That incident is going to catch them at sometime during the season and then we will see what that does to their WRs and Del Rio.

      • Agree they’re interchangeable. I just think they have a mental edge right now, but I could be proved wrong as Kirby could circle that game a bit more than Richt. Or handle it better than, Richt, I should say.

        • D.N. Nation

          Bafflingly, the one guy on the coaching staff who didn’t sweat Florida was Grantham of all people. Helped to have NFL-level talent facing the keystone koppery of Muschamp’s offense, of course…but that didn’t seem to work in ’14.

      • Mayor

        Georgia under CMR always had plenty of talent but not a complete team because of CMR failing to use all available scholarships. How many years did the Dawgs suffer because of lack of O-Linemen? I also remember years when the Dawgs were down to playing walk-ons at RB and having to move players around to cover up having no quality DBs.

    • I think the Dawgs have enough talent to compete in the East. I think they have in recent years too. I think the main ingredient that’s been missing is playing with confidence. If you’re not confident, you play not to lose, which is what they’ve done the past few years. Will it be different under CKS? The time draws near to find out.

  2. Gotta smooth that curve out at positions. We also kill ourselves with half hour practices, being cheap, and rules that let us pat ourselves on the back while others take the heat and trophies. 2012…we had 68 scholarship guys and still almost beat Bama. Bama don’t get down to 68 scholarship guys.

  3. DawgPhan

    As for winning the East I have to think we have a shot.

    Solid talent. Smart is going to coach em up.

    The schedule is pretty nice.

    Look at the UT schedule, they play 3(2 on the road) straight of those elite teams from Bud’s article and before that they play UF, which they havent beaten in a while.

    If UT gets to the bye week with a single loss, they are obviously the east champ.

    But 2 losses, which seems likely and they could struggle to get to the Dome.

  4. DawgPhan

    also of note is that Ole Miss plays 6 teams on Bud’s list and is likely going to have a very difficult season on their hands.

  5. Just don’t get all the love for the Vols. and Booch…..are they the most talented team in the East….me thinks not and over rated, and highly doubt that will come to Sanford and win….

    • Cojones

      Sitting right there with you, Otis. I think this UGA team will smell that out after the game gets rolling and the stadium crowd gets the team in a mood to carve their initials on the opposing players’ chests. That stadium will be in a “Sic’em” mood from the start and we should get our revenge for last year with Chubb leading the way to show them what would have happened if he had played the game.

  6. Sure they have a shot, but there are just too many holes to expect that they can win the East. Please, everyone stop with the “the old staff won 10 games, so this new, improved staff should win 11…blah, blah, blah.” It is an asinine argument given the current roster.

    • DawgPhan

      the current roster that has more talent than just about every P5 program in the country…that one?

      • No. The one that does not have a quality, ready QB, healthy RB, returning OT, proven receiving corps, depth at defensive line, returning PK, etc. That one.

        • DawgPhan

          in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.

        • dawgtired

          dude, I get the sandbagging, honestly I do, but the list of excuses you give for us not to feel like we could match last year’s wins, are almost exactly what we were faced with last year. And, the schedule is similar, so why shouldn’t we expect similar results?

          • What we were faced with last year, in terms of the roster, were very different. I am not sandbagging but just feel like Kirby got left a hot mess in too many areas to compete for a division title in year one.

    • 81Dog

      what makes it asinine? That you don’t agree? Sorry, Coach Lombardi. Make sure and let us know what it’s ok to think, especially about the roster. Nobody expects UGA to go undefeated this year, and who knows what actually happens when the games actually begin, but right now UGA has as good overall talent as any team in the East. Sure we have holes. So does everyone else, and most of the other teams have worse holes than we have.

  7. JCDAWG83

    I really don’t know how the season is going to play out. I can see scenarios where we win anywhere from 7 to 12 games. I do know I’m excited about the season and ready to see it get started.

    • Russ

      Yep, this. I always come up with a way that we could win all our games. But then reality settles in. Still, I could see us having a really good year. My rational brain says a new rookie coach will take at least a year to find his feet, and add a freshman QB into the mix and it compounds it. Next year, I think we’ll take a big step forward (unless we win it all this year, then we can’t take a big step forward).

    • 6claude

      Wonder how/if the talent matrix accounts for attrition? Surprising to be that high after losing over half that class.

      • DawgPhan

        it doesnt. But I dont think that totally invalidates it because everyone loses players.
        Bama just lost a couple blue chip guys in a week.

        • JCDAWG83

          I think the difference in us and Bama is; we can’t afford to lose very many blue chips without it showing up in a major way on the field. Bama is three deep at every position with 4 or better star players. They can lose a blue chip db and not really be affected right away.

          • DawgPhan

            And teams that fall below UGA on the blue chip scale are even less equipped to handle the losses.

            But this is still really about UGA having some talent on their team as based on just about any quantitative analysis.

            • JCDAWG83

              Being out talented has only happened a couple of times in the last 15 years for Georgia. We have always had talent to match up with pretty much anyone we faced.

              We have talent this season, it’s not evenly distributed but we have talent.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      +1. We certainly have a legit shot. We found creative ways to take ourselves out of the division title hunt the past 3 years. We’ve been sleepwalking and underachieving so long everyone discounts UGA as a matter of fact. We have solid talent to match everyone not named bama, but lack depth/experienced depth. I’m psyched to see what a new staff can do with our team.

    • Uglydawg

      You wouldn’t be one to hedge bets or expectations would you? But I’m with you..I just want it to start where we can see what we’ve got…like a kid waiting on Christmas morning!

  8. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    “By NCAA rule, coaches get just 20 hours per week with their players.”

    Does that include support staff or just coaches? I don’t know; beginning to wonder how much Bama uses them and does Kirby follow suit? More and more I am wondering if CMR lacked time management skills and not just the game clock.

    Just this week we got news that the team will not be going to Ramsey. Was that because Kirby can’t swim and doesn’t want to be embarrassed? No, it was because he didn’t want to lose the practice time. Now I’m wondering how much practice time used to be spent on details that the support could address separately. I don’t know. Does anyone?

    • DawgPhan

      We lost practice time anyway because of weather. I guess we can just write this season off. No way we can win with missing an hour of instruction. It’s impossible.

      • Cojones

        Plus all that lollygagging in the pool making the players bond a little more can’t be good for their minds. Makes’um weak and friendly with each other – like a team. And they had the weather loss yesterday, so I guess it’s to no purpose to follow the team any more this year and they will just stumble around untrained. It’s so hard to watch the weather just kill the team’s chances this year.

        Does it count when Richt took them to the Falcon’s indoor facility to practice on inclement days?

  9. Derek

    I hate to be overly simplistic but you gotta score points, stop the other guy from scoring as many points and try to limit mental errors that inhibit both efforts. There is enough talent/depth at enough places on the roster that such is a possibility. However, not all roster spots are equal. In other words, if one of your starting guys when you go 3 wide is terrible, that’s not great but you can overcome that. If you have a stiff starting at TB or QB and you’ve got issues.

    This teams potential or lack thereof relies upon three major factors in my opinion:

    1) how soon are Sony and Nick up to carrying the load? If we have to rely on freshman or Douglass early in games, early in the season, that’s a problem. If Chubb and Sony are full speed and splitting first half work, that’s a problem for our opponents.
    2) who is our QB and why? If we’re playing Eason because he’s the most talented of three piss poor qb’s, with Eason expected to rapidly improve with experience, then that’s not good. My hope is that Eason gets it because he’s really, really good.
    3) what do we try to get out of our defense especially against the better teams that we’ll play? If we try to run Alabama’s 2015 defense that will get ugly at times because of lack of depth along the front and lack of top-tier talent on the back end. If CKS employs CJP’s approach and plays more bend don’t break and just tries to make it hard for teams to put together 8-10 play scoring drives and not risk many big plays, we can be good enough to compete if 1 and 2 is in good shape. Its hard not to get to 35 pts. with a good QB and Nick and Sony so you just have to keep the other team under that.

    So many variables here that anything from 11-1 to 6-6 is literally possible, but I think we could be in a situation were we aren’t that great in September but we’re a team nobody wants to play in November. If you have an established Eason with two (or perhaps more) stud backs, a young but improving wr corp and a defense that is good enough to keep good teams under 30 then you’ve got something.

    I’m hoping that we lose no more than 2 SEC games, sneak into ATL and play a tired, beat up SEC west team and shock the world like we did in 2005. That would create so much momentum for signing day in 2017, and beyond, it would be crazy.

    I’ve been able to have a pretty good sense of what we would be past seasons (I still remember the pre-season bs around here that we would be SO much better without Knowshon and Stafford around dragging us down. Please!) but this year is exciting simply because I have no damn idea. I’m torn between sunny optimism and deep skepticism.

    • Cojones

      If you mean optimism for the O and skepticism (why do my fingers not want to type that word?) for the D, let me upgrade your thinking by suggesting you review each player on D for what each can do individually before they coalesce into a team. As you suggest, this team will be changed from some downer first impressions early in the season to great team expectations by the end of the scheduled season.

      Who do you see as the one team in your 11-1 possibility? When matching up individually, I can’t see one. I expect that we should be able to beat OM, Tenn and FU this year when stacking them man-to-man and omitting bad luck while dodging snakebite.

      • Derek

        I think ole miss is the toughest game on the schedule. They’ve got a kid who can throw it better than we’ll see all year, it’s at their place, and they’ve played pretty good d of late. However they have FSU and Bama before us so who knows? I think between ole miss, UT, UF and it UNC you lose at least one and even if you don’t you get too full of yourselves before your good enough to be and someone who shouldn’t beat you beats you. That’s why I think 11-1 is are most optimistic forecast. Just not good enough to think 12 wins is even a possibility. We’d need some Gus-luck.

      • RugbyDawg79

        +1 and hey Derek Ole Miss will be beat to hell when they play us

  10. CB

    10-2 is real possibility. Barring injury or bad coaching the only teams that should be favored over us are Ole Miss and Tennessee.

    Although, I watched the final installment of Last Chance U this week, and I believe Nicholls State is going to have a solid d-line if nothing else. #RonaldOllie #MarcelAndry

  11. McNease

    I’m guessing that the record will be very close to the same as prior years. The only difference we’re likely to see this year is the lack of an embarrassing loss or two.

  12. tbia

    One criticism I always had of Richt is that he seemed hesitant to blow teams out and let our younger kids get game experience.

    • Cojones

      I thought he didn’t blow teams out BECAUSE he played the younger players in mop-up duty.

      • AusDawg85

        Richt didn’t even bother to win any games. But don’t be upset lefty balls, we at least are now able to root for being mediocre again this season!

        • dawgtired

          “Richt didn’t even bother to win any games.”

          …and if it were’nt for those darn kids he would have gotten away with it.

  13. TMC DAWG

    I think we all are going to be surprised by our freshman this year.Have been told they are really pushing the upper class men this training camp. Will be suprised if we Don’t will 10 this year. Barring injury to Eason. Everyone keep there fingers crossed!

  14. The other Doug

    I see a team with a lot of talent, but no QB. Solve the QB issue and we are the most talented in the East.

    Florida has very little talent on the offensive side, but a great coach. Defense is still great, but getting thin.

    Tennessee has as much talent as UGA going into the season, but they have already hit their ceiling.

    • DawgPhan

      Even with the QB situation, we have the top QB freshman in the country, a 4 star kid with game experience who everyone is just waiting for the light to go on, and a returning starter who was 10-2 last year and only threw 2 picks.

      A lot of teams would really like to have that situation.

  15. Yes, the 2013 class absolutely cratered due to the change at DC and the failure of many of the players to pan out. We still have enough talent to compete with anyone on our schedule. I still don’t think we have a QB ready that can take us to a championship. I hope 1 of the 3 proves me wrong. While signs at WR are promising, I’m not convinced we have a true game breaking player on the outside to keep safeties off the LOS. Ridley or Godwin could be those guys, and Stanley looked much improved.

  16. 69Dawg

    I’ll just reserve judgement until September 3rd. Too many variables to work with. Does Kirby want to win at all cost this year or does he want to use this year as a launching pad for 2017. Who knows?

    • I think he needs to win now. There is absolutely no reason to blow all of the capital and goodwill he has built up over the 8 months or so with a 6 or 7 win season. Many people won’t be happy with 8 either. I’m talking about regular season wins not including a bowl game.

  17. AusDawg85


  18. AusDawg85

    Senator, I hope you cover this topic before the season starts…are we more likely to “Blame Chaney” or lament “3rd & Tucker”?

  19. PaloAltoDawg

    I was expressing some concern to a friend and U Michigan fan the other day about depth, new coach, and so forth. I then said “on the other hand, sometime this year we will line up w/ all skill position players on offense as 5 start players – QB, 2 RBs, at least one of our tight ends, and two wide outs.” His response was “quick your complaining!” There are probably only a few teams nationally that can out that on the field. At our best we should be explosive.