A couple of thoughts on Eason’s first start

Chip Towers makes a good point about the timing of Eason’s day in the spotlight.

I don’t think it was necessarily Eason’s play in the first game versus that of fifth-year senior Greyson Lambert that dictated this move. And I don’t really think it was what the coaches were seeing in practice, beyond, that is, the fact that the competition apparently remained very close.

No, this may very well have been dictated by the Bulldogs’ schedule.

Think about it: After this Saturday’s de facto practice game against Nicholls State, a struggling FCS team, Georgia is heading into a real gauntlet of games.

There are people out there who will scoff about the Bulldogs’ challenge of having to make the trip out to Columbia, Mo., to face a Missouri team that just lost to West Virginia 26-11. But say what you will about the Tigers, they always play salty defense, have a really talented front seven this year in particular and will be playing their SEC opener at home at night on national television.

As long as I’ve been around this game, I’ve never met a coach who thought the best place to give a quarterback his first start — never mind a true freshman — was in a conference road game at night.

After that, Georgia is on the road against a Top 25 Ole Miss team, back home against a Tennessee team that was picked to win the division, then back on the road to face rival South Carolina.

No, if you were thinking Eason was going to start eventually, then circumstances pretty much dictated that you do it now…

All of which makes you wonder if the coaches had that in mind even before the season’s opener.  If so, the way Lambert and Eason were deployed against North Carolina makes a lot of sense.  I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t really wonder all that much.

Towers goes on to speculate that Smart has left the door open to Lambert performing well enough to win the starting role back down the road as the opposition toughens up, but I tend to think that unless Eason really craps the bed, Lambert’s performance in future practices isn’t going to be a game changer.

As far as this Saturday goes, I do expect a more robust passing attack than we saw last weekend.  For one thing, Eason and the receivers need to work on their timing against a live opponent.  For another, Eason needs to get a lot more reps taking snaps under center.  Ed Aschoff points out one big reason why:  “Eason passed for more than 100 yards in his debut, yet went just 1-of-4 for 13 yards and was sacked on play-action passes.”

Play-action is the bread and butter pass play in a pro-style attack that emphasizes the running game.  It’s great that your quarterback has the big arm to throw it deep, but if he’s not experienced enough to sell the play, he’s not going to get the secondary to bite on it, which means his receivers won’t get much in the way of separation.  It also means that defense won’t pay a price for overplaying the run.

In other words, tomorrow, throw the damned ball, Chaney.


Filed under Georgia Football

70 responses to “A couple of thoughts on Eason’s first start

  1. heyberto

    It’s been interesting to watch all this unfold. I have no qualms either way. No qualms about Grayson coming into the game. Even if we get some losses out of this deal, I remain in the camp that I just want to see improved fundamentals, Improved mindset, a no collapse mentality… so much of which I felt like was there against UNC. I don’t want to say wins and losses don’t matter… but to some degree that statement is true.

    • Wins and losses matter more than anything. I imagine Kirby would say the same thing. Otherwise, why keep score?

      • Derek

        Kirby has said pretty much what Heyberto said. I don’t know if he means it but he’s said more than once that playing “Georgia football” is more important than the scoreboard. Process über alles!

      • LamontSanford

        Agreed. I think Kirby has a Ted Lasso mentality. “There are ties and no playoffs. Why do you even do this?”

      • heyberto

        I’m not saying I don’t want to win.. I’m just saying I don’t have high expectations when it comes to a win/loss record this year, and I’m happy to see improvement, even if we lose.

        • I think your win-loss record against your schedule reflects who you are. If you’re 3-9, you have to accept that your team is not good at all against the competition it played no matter how hard they play. If you’re 11-1 but your team spit the bit in the 1 loss, you still had a darn good season.

          When you see improvement, eventually, that has to show on the scoreboard. Otherwise, you become tech and revel in moral victories.

          • heyberto

            Again… we’re talking a first time head coach who is bringing a cultural change to Georgia Football. We’re breaking in a new QB. We’re lacking quality depth at key positions. If you need us to win all our games to feel like we’re headed in the right direction, you might want to check your expectations. I agree if we miss a bowl or lose to truly inferior talent, I won’t be happy. But losing to our rivals isn’t inherently going to worry me if we see the building blocks paying dividends in how we play. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

            • Derek

              I think we can have both simply because the opposition isn’t what it’s been in the past. Other than OM I’m not sure that there’s a team we play that will have a better roster than us. Also OM is probably our worse matchup because they can force the ball downfield better than anyone else we’ll play. But OM will have played FSU and Bama. I think it’s somewhat remiscent of 2008 when Bama came to town and we had an always tough USC game and a trip out west the week before. They were rested and ready to go. We looked like we needed the week off. Timing can be everything.

            • I agree – I expect the record to be in the 9-3 range. I haven’t moved off that.

              • Derek

                You will…. I think Georgia’s a “buy” so long as we stay healthy. We had a chance to lose to a lesser opponent Saturday night. How many of those are going to happen in a season?

                I worry about how the defense will hold up against a power team and UT and UF will present challenges in those areas. However, with our offense I think they will have a hard time keeping up. Pretty much everyone else is either finesse or inept offensively or both.

  2. Here’s our first opportunity to see if the CKS Bulldogs will play down to their level of competition. Sure, they’ll win. But will they put away a weak team early, or stumble around for a half? Eason will play a role in all that, but it’s the mindset I’ll be looking at.

  3. Jared S.

    We know Lambert is good back-up QB material. I guess over the next few weeks we’re about to find out just how good of a starter Eason will be….

  4. 81Dog

    I just want Eason to walk into the huddle with Chubb, Sony and maybe Holyfield in a full house backfield, look at his guys, and calmly inform them all “On my signal, unleash hell.” That would be pretty badass.

  5. rchris

    If the ‘Dogs by any chance should go 11-1, the only way for them to win it all is for Eason to be playing like s seasoned sophomore rather than a true freshman by the SECCG. Not saying they can go 11-1, but….

    • Derek

      Very true. We’ve got a chance to get there and if we’ve got any chance to win its because Eason has been through enough to handle that situation. I feel better about our chances against Bama than I did last year or if we’d have snuck in there in 2014. You just can’t play vs. Bama unless your qb can make plays. They’re too good at shutting off the run game, even Chubb and co. You have to throw to open that up. Gallman went nuts on Alabama once Watson started making plays down the field. Same with Ezikiel Elliot the year before.

    • dawgtired

      Who’s the “1”?

      • Ole Miss. They bring us back down to earth, which is a good thing. Especially before the East schedule gets rolling.

        • Macallanlover

          I am dreading that game more than any other on the schedule. We may lose others but that one is the only one that we may not keep close. Of course, this early, we could also rise up and grab a hard earned W. Anything is possible but it looks like a bad group of match ups for us. Our OL will have to be much improved and our defense will have to keep Kelly on his back. They do seem to lack a scary RB so that should help us focus on the QB and receivers.

      • PTC DAWG

        Who cares? Sign me up.

      • rchris

        I was thinking Ole Miss as well, but it could be anyone other than the winner of the Florida-Tennessee game, or a real stinker of a team. Anything else, we win the SECCG, we’re in. Of course, I wouldn’t turn up my nose at 12-0.

    • rchris

      I know probably no one will read this now, but after watching the Nicholls game to its sorry conclusion I felt compelled to come back here and say how embarrassed I am for even allowing myself to dream about 11-1. Unless the ‘Dogs find some major focus, especially the O-line, there’s no way we can do that. Maybe they will learn from this, but right now I just don’t know.

  6. DawgPhan

    I am glad he has done what the coaches needed him to do and hope he has great success.

  7. lakedawg

    Just to get under a few folks skin, but CMR would have started him last week and we would have won by a larger score.

    • Jared S.

      (I’ll play along…)

      Maybe if CMR had been OC and QB coach. But not with Schottie in those roles.

      Btw, how’d he get the job of QB coaching job at the Colts? Talk about a cushy job where you don’t have to do anything…..

    • Derek

      I think that a more pertinent debate is whether our problem has been the qb situation all along. I think that CMR and schotty got a bad rap when the real issue was at QB. I also have a feeling that CKS will get too much credit when the fact is that Eason kind of fell into his lap. Of course, it looks like CKS is laying the ground work to maintain that success beyond Eason.

      As much as I preached patience last fall, that’s done and over. We are where we are. I also think that just what we’ve seen in terms of recruiting and identity building that we’re likely to be better off in 2017 and beyond than we would have been had we listened to my advice.

    • The Dawg abides

      You mean the same coach who started JoeT3 over Stafford? That one?

    • Jane, you ignorant slut (aka W Cobb Dawg)

      Stafford is the only freshman QB to play for CMR. All others were redshirted. We even started the totally-unfit-for-sec JoeT ahead of Stafford. There’s absolutely nothing in CMR’s history to indicate he’d start a true freshman in the first game.

  8. diving duck

    A couple of those play action incompletions were Catalina whiffs. Kid didn’t have a chance.

  9. Irwin R. Fletcher

    June 7, 2016

    The whole “Eason starts Week 4” stuff doesn’t make any sense to me. The two games that matter least are UNC and Nichols St and while neither will be a cake-walk, Ole Miss seems like a much harder place to make your first road start than Mizzou. (Although…Ole Miss is likely to be either 1-2 or 2-1 with the former making for a desperate crowd and the latter a hyped crowd with a probable top 10-15 ranking…and have mercy if they are 3-0 with wins over FSU and Bama) …Anyway, I think if Eason is going to be the starter, he starts either in the Dome or in Game 2.

    No need to source me, Chip. Just saying🙂

    Here’s something I want to see which would be different than the prior staff…I used to get the feeling that we were so worried about running up the score that we didn’t simulate pressure or pace..i.e. getting in and out of the huddle quickly, quick subs, hurry up, etc. I would be shocked if the coaching staff don’t look at the score so much as looking at drilling Eason in game situations where he has to make quick decisions, manage the game, etc. Anyway, don’t be surprised to see a sense of urgency even if they are up 28 because the details matter and Eason needs the practice.

    • I’ve been on the same bandwagon since the summer as well. If you want Eason to start at some point, start him earlier than later because you would rather take your lumps against UNC and Nicholls than Ole Miss and Tennessee (and/or Florida and Auburn). The schedule dictates rushing his progression more than anything. I, too, hope they use this game to maximize his learning opportunities. Practice the two minute drill. Practice getting plays called quickly and breaking the huddle. Practice play-action. Get timing down with the WRs/TEs/RBs. Get the work in that the offense needs, and get ready for Mizzou.

  10. Eason needs 20-25 attempts tomorrow. His WRs, TEs, OL and RBs need those attempts, too. If UGA runs the ball 50+ times again I think it will be a wasted affair.

    • Russ

      Yep, give Chubb 10 carries so he can get 125 yards and then sit him. Spread the rest of the 25 carries between Holyfield and Herrien (with maybe a couple for Sony if he’s ready). Then throw the damn ball, Bobo!

  11. Lambert is a good Dawg, but Eason has to be the man if we expect to even sniff the playoff. Lambert can sure come in if nothing else but calm the nerves of Eason/team/coaches/fans if he gets into some trouble.

  12. I’m glad he’s starting but I still would like to see Lambert get a decent amount of snaps. Never know when we’ll need him again.

  13. Go Dawgs!

    I’m expecting to see Lambert tomorrow, too, if Eason does get the start. They’ve got to keep him ready to go just in case Eason goes out there and lays an egg on the road. For that matter, I’m not sure that the staff doesn’t choose to start Lambert on the road against Mizzou and Ole Miss anyway. Interesting year this year.

  14. PTC DAWG

    Put me in the camp that this has been the plan all along.

  15. Normaltown Mike

    I think we follow Malzahn’s plan of playing 3 QB’s in a game, with a twist….Eason at QB, Ramsey at punter and Lambert on the “safe hands” punt returns

  16. ASEF

    Everyone else is playing a freshman QB. Why not Georgia?

    Seriously, it does sort of shift the perceptions of what’s acceptable coaching and what’s not. Eason’s arm and accuracy can burn quarters coverage right now (vulnerabilities are deep sideline routes, especially corners), and it looks like the line can hold up long enough to let those routes develop. And that completely shifts what looks defenses can give.

    So let it rip.

    I would emphasize this demonstrates as much trust in Chaney as it does Eason.

  17. Red Cup

    In addition to the long ball, Eason has very good touch on the swing passes- they seem to always hit the target in stride instead of behind the receiver, at his feet, behind him, etc, things that other QBs do that slows up or ruins the play. Want to see some TE throws as well as some to our wide outs ove rthe middle.

  18. Ugadude

    First, Smart claims to run a merit based approach, and at the least, based on QBR (91 Eason vs 50 Lambert),
    this was a no brainer.

    Second, Eason’s long ball completion showed what Saban desired, and likely Smart desires philosophically,
    running back heavy with an arm to go deep if you bring 8 in the box.

    Third, I found the 27%/73% run-pass ratio fascinating in the first game, 20 pass attempts versus 52 rush attempts.

    I like closer to a 60/40 rush/pass balance so they are never comfortable (40 rushes/30 passes) like Saban usually averages.

    Also, usually you want to be averaging @8-9 yards per pass attempt, and @5-6 yarfds per rush attempt to be Sabanesque.
    9.3 per pass attempt and 5.6 per rush attempt, about perfect.

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