Observations from the couch, ’17 G-Day edition

Let’s not read too much into Saturday, okay?  It was a scrimmage in which Smart, by his own admission, limited what the offense and defense did, and had several key starters missing in action.  Add to that the likelihood that at least a few regular season contributors haven’t even shown up on campus yet, and it seems prudent to curb one’s enthusiasm or despair.

That being said — this is an Observations post, after all — it’s worth sharing a few bullet points from the day.

  • What I’m least worried about.  The first-team defense was missing a starter at every level (Thompson, Smith, Sanders) and still managed to shut down the running game and generate a ton of pressure on Eason.  The defense will be fine.
  • What I’m most worried about.  Holy crap, was the offensive line a major disappointment, or what?  No push and very inconsistent pass protection looked like a rerun of 2016.  (The stacked line they ran behind in the red zone that did zip was the most déjà vu moment of the day.)  What made it especially so was all the happy talk coming out of practice that the offensive line was dominating the defense.  Either there was a bad case of the flu that nobody mentioned or the defense was just taking it easy to boost confidence early on, but, jeez, that was not a good showing on Saturday.  The odds of a true freshman cracking the two-deep jumped enormously, based on what I watched.
  • Oh, yeah, he’s gonna play.  I was impressed with what I saw from Jeremiah “J.J.” Holloman.  Big and physical, ran routes well.  He’s still got some work to do, but there’s definitely enough of a skill set there that he’ll be a contributor this season.
  • Much ado about nothing?  As much love as I had for Tracy Rocker, I didn’t see a drop off in the performance of the defensive line under new coach Tray Scott.  Defensive line play was solid from both the first and second units.  As a matter of fact, the single best play of the day I saw was John Atkins running down Brian Herrien on a run to the outside.
  • Speed all over the place.  I’m probably guilty of saying it every year, so take it for what it’s worth, but there were quicks all over the field.  Terry Godwin, Tyler Simmons and Mecole Hardman all looked particularly good in that regard, which was part of the reason there was a lot of passing yardage on the day.  I can only hope that will pay off on special teams, too.
  • Inside linebacker looks stout.  Smith was out, but Carter and Patrick more than held their own on the day.  I still have to pinch myself every time I see an ILB make a play in pass coverage.
  • Oh, yeah, they’re gonna play.  Gibbs looked physically ready to play SEC ball and LeCounte was all over the field.  If Smart gets significant contributions this season from three of the six early enrollees, that’s a pretty decent batting average.
  • There is no quarterback controversy.  Forget about it, QBR lovers.  Eason was the quarterback who got stuck behind a subpar offensive line and faced the first-string secondary.  It was no coincidence that when the o-line finally got some traction in pass protection in the second half, Eason came alive.  (He’ll also look a helluva lot better when Chubb and Michel are on the field with him.)  It was also no coincidence that Fromm feasted on a secondary that featured only one player on scholarship; against a competent cornerback, that 70-yard touchdown pass would have been intercepted.
  • There is a lot to be excited about with the quarterback situation.  I came away from Saturday’s game thinking that if the coaches manage it properly, Georgia could emerge with a situation I haven’t seen in ages:  an organized quarterback succession involving highly regarded players.  (You know, the kind of thing that makes us envious of other programs.)  Eason’s physical tools are ridiculously impressive and I thought he made a noticeably improved effort going through his progressions.  Yes, he’s still got some ways to go not pressing (the interception was a poor decision, to say the least, and he’s still throwing too many balls in the dirt), but he appears headed in the right direction.  Fromm may have turned in the best performance I’ve seen from a true freshman quarterback at G-Day.  While he doesn’t have Eason’s arm strength (who does?), he’s got enough to get the job done.  He’s got a quick release and terrific pocket presence (better than Eason’s, IMO).  He’s got a little of that swagger you like to see from your quarterback, too.  The biggest limitation I saw from him was that he only worked half the field in his reads, but that’s something that time and experience should improve.  I hate making comparisons like this, but in their own way, Eason and Fromm look like Georgia’s best pairing at the position since Greene and Shockley.  Just get them a damned offensive line, please.

That’s about as far as I’ll go.  Let’s open the floor up for everyone else.  What did y’all see?

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83 Comments

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83 responses to “Observations from the couch, ’17 G-Day edition

  1. Russ

    I sure hope Holloman can block.

    Like

  2. JJ Holloman looked really good. There’s more at WR than we thought, and that’s with some guys still coming in this summer and with Ridley on the shelf. If the TEs don’t have to stay in to help protect, Eason and Fromm have guy’s to throw it to.

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    • Will (The Other One)

      That was my biggest takeaway too. Last season’s offense was certainly hurt by a crappy Oline, but no one other than iMac having a consistent season at WR really hurt. True freshman QB + only one real WR threat + lousy blocking = a mess.
      There’s actually some potential depth at WR now, and Eason’s not a true freshman. Ridley Wims Godwin with Mecole Simmons and Holloman is a good rotation, with Woerner in a wild car WR/TE hybrid role…really hoping the pass game has better luck.

      Like

  3. Uglydawg

    The defense knew that it would be defending the pass. That’s a huge disadvantage to overcome for an offensive line.They pretty much teed it up and went after Eason. It won’t be like that with Chubb and Sony in the backfield. The D will have to play run first and it will make the O line much more effective. I hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 3rdandGrantham

    “It was also no coincidence that Fromm feasted on a secondary that featured only one player on scholarship; against a competent cornerback, that 70-yard touchdown pass would have been intercepted.”

    Yet, unfortunately we’re going to have to endure all the ‘Fromm over Eason!’ talk for the remainder of the off-season. The situations both Eason and Fromm were put in were apples to oranges at best — not to mention the fact that CKS and co. sent a lot more pressure Eason’s way while pretty much completely laying off Fromm — yet again there’s a fair amount of chatter out there that is proclaiming that Fromm is the next Elway while Eason is the next Kim McQuilken.

    Otherwise, I agree that the OL continues to look disastrous, and I’m scratching my head at all the talk that the OL has improved quite a bit from last year — I haven’t seen much, if any, myself. I’m hoping Saturday’s performance was either the ultimate sandbagging effort, or our D this year will resemble the ’85 Bears. If not, we’re in trouble yet again this year on the OL front.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Sanchez

      For all the “improved Eason” talk I heard, it seemed like the same ‘ol from him – locking on receivers, overthrows, holding the ball too long…starting to worry a little.

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      • Athens Dog

        Sam Vaughn seemed to have better mechanics………I’m with you on the worry

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        • Spike

          And I’m with you Athens Dog.. Vaughn looks better. I thought Fromm outplayed Eason. One man’s opinion.

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          • Mayor

            I have always liked Vaughn. Maybe Vaughn should be the back-up and Fromm a redshirt this season. We sure as hell don’t want to waste a season from Fromm because Eason gets hurt and has to come out of the game for a few plays–then goes right back in. BTW, everybody cut Eason some slack. He always gets the worst of the draw. This time, like the Senator said, going against the number one D with an OL that still can’t block my grandma.

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          • Bob's your Uncle

            Fromm didn’t outplay Eason.

            Fromm went up against the No. 2 defense which was sporting 1 scholarship DB on the field. He also had a lot cleaner of a pocket to throw from. That being said. I like what I saw out of Fromm. He played well and there is the potential for him to be very good, but he made some freshman mistakes. If he had gone up against the No. 1 defense, he would have picked off at least twice.

            What I took away from the glorified practice scrimmage was that the No. 2 offense is better than the No. 2 defense, and that the No. 1 defensive front 7 is better than the No. 1 o-line. Georgia has 2 solid QBs to go forward with.

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      • And then making multiple perfect throws nobody else in the SEC or maybe college football can make. Aaron Murray basically sucked for 2 years… just hang tight. The kid is special.

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        • Aaron Murray didn’t suck in 2011. He had one of the best statistical season of a freshman in 2010. For a young QB, the guy was a damn good football player.

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          • he threw 14 INTs as a freshman. Eason threw 8 and a few were tips.

            I LOVE Aaron Murray, but he was frustrating as all get-out for his first couple of years.

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            • 14 as a sophomore, sorry. In 2011.

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            • Murray threw 14 INTs as a sophomore against 35 TDs (146.4 efficiency rating). As a freshman, 24 TDs against 8 INTs (154.5 efficiency rating). Eason 16 TDs, 8 INTs (120.3 efficiency rating). Murray was better as a redshirt freshman than Eason as a true freshman.

              http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/aaron-murray-1.html

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              • Bob's your Uncle

                I think the key sentence in your statement is redshirt freshman vs. true freshman. There is a difference. To expect Eason as a true freshman to play as well as Murray after Murray had a year to learn to play QB in Mark Richt/Mike Bobo’s offense, and then let’s compare the talent on the o-line and WR around Murray versus Eason.

                The fact Murray had a junior AJ Green and a So. Tavarres King at WR along with SR wideout Kris Durham plus So. Orson Charles at TE didn’t hurt his production. Plus, let’s not forget Murray took snaps from an NFL-caliber center in Ben Jones. Then there is also the fact that 2010 is when Bobo started to come into his own as an OC. I’m not sure Murray’s numbers one have been any better than Eason’s if he had to play as a true freshman at QB on the 2016 team with Georgia’s WR situation last season and taking snaps from Kublanow in that offensive scheme.

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                • I agree – it just drives me nuts the historical revisionism when it comes to Aaron Murray. He was a damn good QB for his 4 years. Give Richt/Bobo credit. He didn’t have AJ for his full freshman season. That season ends up very differently if AJ doesn’t get suspended.

                  We’re already seeing the same stuff said by fans about Eason.

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        • Jeff Sanchez

          Yes, that’s what’s frustrating about him for sure

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      • PTC DAWG

        From what little I watched on my divver..I saw two bombs on the money…one was thrown 60+ yards on the money, only a take down by our DB kept if from being 90 yards TD…the other was for a td..around 50 or so if my memory is right…he will be fine. No Chubb or Sony….and I have to believe our D is improved in it’s second year with all the returning players.

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        • Rocketdawg

          Jesus jumped up Christ! Some of you are clueless when it comes to QB play. Did Fromm have a good day? Yes he did. He looked solid against a secondary with ONE scholarship DB!!! ONE! Like the Senator also said he was only reading half the field. He is going to be a damn fine QB when he takes the starting role in 2 seasons after Eason leaves to be the #1 pick in the 2019 draft. To suggest that a true Freshman QB and a walk on outplayed Eason is utterly ridiculous. #10 made two throws in the second half (one to Godwin between two defenders and the TD to Woerner) that most NFL QB’s can’t make. The first team Dline >first team Oline by a lot. The 2’s vs 2’s not so much. For petes sake get off the kids case and give him a chance to play.

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          • PTC DAWG

            I was defending/talking about Eason in my post…Wow, way to jump to conclusions.

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            • Athens Dog

              And i said nothing about Fromm…….he might be a good Qb in a few years. My point was some of the same issues with Eason are still there. I’m pulling for HIM but that doesn’t make me less worried

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              • PTC DAWG

                I get it, but I quit worrying so much about 10 years ago, when CMR Stafford etc on campus and we won nothing of consequence. Show me.

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          • sponge

            “Reading half the field” can be by design. Some plays are designed w/ man-beating route combinations to one side, zone beaters to the other. So his pre-snap read, man or zone, would determine what side the ball would be going.

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      • Bob's your Uncle

        Then you don’t know what you are looking at when you watch QBs play. He didn’t lock onto a WR. He went to his primary WR on the play and if wasn’t there, the No. 2 and then his check down, if he had time. Half the time he was out there, he didn’t have time to go through 3 or 4 progressions if the No. 1 guy was covered and then the No. 2. There were times where the primary WR was covered and he felt pressure and through to the check down. He played fine. He was definitely better than last year.

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  5. I’m not sure Fromm didn’t have the better receivers too. Holloman + Hardman > Chigbu, Wimms, Stanley IMO. They might now know what they’re doing yet, but the natural talent difference is impossible to ignore.

    OL? God help us. What I saw jives with what I heard all last year: the guys behind the turnstile of an OL we had last year were actually quite a bit worse. If Kirby does nothing else, it had better be never, ever, ever letting the OL get in that situation again (I feel like I’ve heard that before…)

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    • Mayor

      Yeah. And we just lost one of the top replacements who could have made a difference. UGA just can’t catch a break with its OL.

      Like

  6. Bright Idea

    Carter and Bellamy schooled the tackles for sure. If they can do that against the other guys and hold the edges then the defense can be really good. If it was a case of the tackles being bad then let’s hope there’s not too many Derek Barnetts on the schedule.

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  7. AusDawg85

    Crowd was impressive. Both QB’s slinging it around was interesting. Really didn’t see much else that impressed, including special teams. Blame that on the format, but I expected to see something different than we have over the years. Where is The Process? Goofing around with celebrity refs…was that imposed upon Kirby by ESPN? Guess we’ll wait to see who we are in September. Just not sure how we are “better” other than a belief that we have a great group of freshman coming in.

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    • Otto

      You always have to question after the spring game, was this unit that good or the other that bad, and how much of the playbook was shown? Did a limited playbook help who?

      It was a somewhat typical Gday for me. QB has an arm, OL was questionable, potential on D. We shall see…….

      Fromm did look better than expected. I’d love to see him get redshirted next year and UGA get a mop up duty capable QB signed next year. I think Fromm sees the field if for no other reason than he is the only real 2nd option. But… it would be great to see Eason succeed this Fall and next year, get drafted high as a Jr, and then Fromm start 2 years. One can dream. I could also see Fromm pushing to be a starter late this year or next spring if Eason’s development stagnates. Hopefully that doesn’t happen and I doubt it will.

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    • I tried to watch as much of the game as I could but the ESPN circus of shadow refs was grating as hell.

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  8. not sure if it’s been mentioned here before but there’s a show that follows fromm (and 2 others) through their last year in HS

    https://www.go90.com/shows/qb1

    Like

  9. Castleberry

    Really liked what I saw from Wims Saturday

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  10. Scott

    Thanks for the observations…I appreciate your perspective and the time you take to share.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. W Cobb Dawg

    I had a couple flashbacks to 2016. Flashback 1: I know there’s some folks who don’t mind when a QB throws the ball out of bounds (for various reasons), but it always drives me nuts. Eason seems to have picked up this habit far better than anything else we’ve taught him.

    Flashback 2: Is it asking too much to see improvement from just one or two OLs? I’m wondering – how many offensive linemen do we throw at Pittman before we realize he can’t coach.

    It was only a scrimmage. It was only a scrimmage. It was only a scrimmage…

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  12. Granthams replacement

    The punter had good hang time. Isaiah Wilson is huge, even standing next to Shaffer and N Johnson.

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  13. Cojones

    QBR? Waiting patiently. tap,tap,tap.

    Can’t anyone at least put them up where we can enjoy a little levity around here?

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    • I’m sure our favorite sock puppet / troll is ready to spring them on us and then be a completely clueless jackass.

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      • AthensHomerDawg

        That made me chuckle

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      • Rocketdawg

        You don’t have to wait for a sock puppet/troll. Read up a few comments where some of our regulars are talking about a walk on looking better than the starter. Complete ridiculousness!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Mayor

          What are we going to do if Vaughn decides he isn’t getting anywhere in Athens and transfers? That really scares me–only 2 Qbs. One a true soph and the other a true frosh.

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          • Rocketdawg

            This is sarcasm right? Please tell me you aren’t serious…

            Like

            • Mayor

              So you think it would be fine to go into the season with only 2 QBs–both underclassmen. Is that what you are saying? Who’s gonna be the scout team QB? When will the back-up (if he’s the scout team QB) get to work with the first team? What if the starter gets injured, particularly if it is a serious injury and early in the season? Then you are left with only ONE QB on the roster. It ain’t the NFL–you can’t pick up someone mid-season. Yeah, you’re right. Nothing to think about.

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          • Spike

            Give him a scholly! He’s earned one..

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  14. doofusdawg

    I’m very excited about Mecole and Tyler returning kicks. Stanley is a big body and looked good back there too.

    If we come out on Sep 2 in the i formation and run a bootleg hitting a slimmed down Woerner in the flat for twenty yards then I will immediately put some serious cash on the dawgs chances to win the east and the mnc.

    We clearly have a ton of talent especially at the skilled positions. Hopefully Cheney figures out how to use it and doesn’t rely on Eason threading the needle for a drive extending first down after two plays into the center of the defense. Regardless it looks like we finally have some receivers who can get off the line of scrimmage.

    Overall looked like a beautiful day in Athens with a lot of enthusiasm. I guess It’s once again going to be a very long summer waiting to cheer for the dawgs. I’ll be day dreaming of a 7-0 record heading into Jax. Looking forward to lots of dawg porn in the interim.

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  15. HVL Dawg

    No mention of the referees?

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  16. sniffer

    Why would anyone try and take any meaning from a made for tv scrimmage? Nothing about this said there was any seriousness to it. Yeah, they ran some plays that looked like real football, but come on. Handwringing and championship calls need to wait until the fall, IMO.

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  17. mikeknowsfootball

    I don’t really share the Senator’s sunny optimism re the Qb performance of Eason since there’s no basis for it. Let’s compare:
    1- Accuracy
    44% Eason 61% Fromm
    To put that in perspective, Eason would have ended up near last in the NCAA there and Eason would have been top 50 if you project that out. He has regressed from his horrific season last year in accuracy, a scary thought for sure. Fromm had 4 drops too of perfectly thrown passes.
    2- Yard per attempt
    8.6 Eason 12 Fromm
    To put that in perspective, Fromm would be leading the NCAA there, while Eason would be in the top 20. Fromm will be hard to bench after showing that kind of productivity.
    3- Sacks
    Eason 5, Fromm 2
    This is a concern as it projects out to a ghastly 65 sacks for Eason, his lack of mobility was an issue, he is a statue and an easy target. Fromm, even with the back up oline, had no problems with mobility.
    4- Interceptions
    Eason 1, Fromm 0
    Eason projects out to surpass Joe Cox. He has issues when pressured for sure with accuracy and interceptions.
    5- Longest pass completion
    Eason 48, Fromm 70
    So much for the no strong arm theory.

    Fromm is more comfortable in this system and is clearly ahead of Eason who is not comfortable. If Smart benches Fromm after that Aaron Rodgeresque performance, hes’ a complete buffoon.

    Our boy Eason is looking more like Jeff George the more you see him, big arm, nothing else. Throws into double coverage worse than AM. Had some ugly throws to nowhere in the dirt.

    Anyone that didn’t see those 2 Qb’s like night and day, need to have their football pass revoked.

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  18. JCDAWG83

    I’m a fan of Fromm but that really isn’t a fair comparison. Fromm faced the #2 D which is much worse than the 1s. I don’t know if Fromm faces the 1s in practice but I’d like to know he does in that situation.

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    • watcher16

      I was actually kind of hoping they would switch Eason and Fromm up at the end to see what Fromm was really made of!

      Like

  19. TMC DAWG

    You heard it here first, Isiah Wilson will be in the line rotation this season.

    Like

  20. My 13 year-old daughter’s biggest take away was that Eason cut his “Flo.” That is what they call long hair on a guy these days.

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  21. In Super Bowl LI Tom Brady’s QBR was 95.2 and Matt Ryan’s was 144.1. Everybody who watched that game knows that stats are what matters. Brady’s terrible. Can you imagine what that projects out to over a career? Well you’re not getting into the HOF with those kind of numbers.

    Meanwhile, if you project Ryan’s QBR over multiple Super Bowls he’d be the best by 17 qbr points. That’s why he has championships and Brady, whose career Super Bowl QBR rating isn’t even in the top 10, just can’t win the big game.

    Mikeknows all of this better than anyone. I’m guessing that he’s the guy that told us how awesome Lambert was. I think the NFL will pass. Fools. Did you see that qbr vs. southern and South Carolina? Do you know how that would project over an NFL season? Greatest QB ever!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I am being serious when I ask this question….has any new player ever had a breakout game on G-Day then breakout for the first time in the season?

    I feel like past GDay games have had big performances from people we never end up hearing about the season forward.

    Maybe I am wrong though

    Like

    • Rocketdawg

      They give the walk ons and scout team kids a lot of reps during Gday. There was a kid who had 100+ yards receiving two years in a row and never saw the field in the regular season. Gives them a chance to “star” in front of the home crowd.

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    • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

      I refer to this as the Ronnie Powell Experience.

      Like

  23. Dawg in Austin

    I sent out an email to my buddies after the scrimmage that is very similar to what your observations were. The only part that I’ll quibble with is around Eason’s improvement. He does not in my opinion move through his progressions fast enough and still seems to believe his arm to get him out of trouble. I think he certainly has more confidence in his understanding of the plays but there is a lot of work to be done still. As for the OL, Sims, Gaillard, and to a lesser extent Wynn look just as bad as they did last year. We need a Wilson to show up in shape and ready to start against App State. On the other hand, I thought Pat Allen and Solomon Kindley looked pretty good. Hopefully they can cover up the hole at center.

    Like

  24. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    I don’t claim to be smart enough to know what progressions a QB should have on any given play, so I can’t say anything about that one way or another. I will say this: I am glad we have both Eason and Fromm, and I am really glad that Fromm doesn’t have to start his freshman year (even though I am sure he thinks he’d be fine). I’d kind of like to be able to redshirt Fromm, but that may not be a luxury we have. Can’t wait for fall.

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  25. Cojones

    All in all, it was a good day that showcased strangers in many positions who were up for the job. Want to believe this is a more focused team than last year and think we have a plethora of maybe-stars waiting to show their stuff in the Fall. Sic’em.

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  26. DawgByte

    My assessment of Eason is not as glowing as yours. I still think Jacob is uncomfortable under Center. His 5 step drop is too slow and prevents him from seeing the field as well as he should. He also seemed to zero in on his primary targets without looking off the D. He won’t be able to get away with that in league play. Chaney needs to figure out how to run the majority of his offense with Eason in the Shotgun. Fitting a square peg in a round hole has never worked and doesn’t in this case. Eason is more comfortable moving in, around and out of the pocket, not running play action!

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    • Uglydawg

      I pretty much agree, but I disagree that he can’t become much better operating under center. Once again, it will all depend on the O line..if they can actually open holes for C&S in the middle, it will slow the pass-rush, help the play-fake, and give the kid some confidence that he can turn his back for a second or two without having someone trying to break it. It also hinges on the play calling..it has to be less predictable and expanded If Eason can come out and show he can hit the bomb with some threatening regularity, it will make screens and draws work better too. To me, those are the two biggest questions..game coaching and the play of the O line. If they are significantly improved this team will be very good.

      Like

    • “Glowing” might be a little strong, DB. I definitely see improvement, but he’s still a work in progress. So is Fromm, obviously. But there’s a lot of potential to work with for both.

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  27. HR

    All I want to say is that you can win championships with a great defense. And I’m liking what I’m seeing.

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  28. Jared S.

    I am extremely saddened to read your review of the O-line. I sighed out loud when I read that. I should’ve known better than to believe all the happy talk….. maybe CKS told them all to hold back and save it for September. (Haha?)

    Like