A little more GATA is needed.

Not sure how I missed Pete Fiutak’s Georgia 2017 preview, but digging back through the CFN site, I saw he posted it a week or so ago.  While it’s hard to argue with his conclusion…

The Georgia Season Will Be A Success If …

It wins the East. There’s absolutely no excuse. There’s too much talent, too much depth, and too much upside and potential not to get to the SEC title game. Whether or not the Dawgs are good enough beat Alabama – or whoever gets by the Crimson Tide to get to Atlanta – is going to be up in the air, but the East isn’t going to be that great. Don’t win it, and the season is a disaster.

… I’d rather focus on something else he wrote.  Fiutak dug up one stat from last season that maybe hasn’t gotten as much attention as it should:  “they came up with just 62 tackles for loss, by far the lowest total in a long, long time”cfbstats.com confirms his observation.

  • 2016:  62
  • 2015:  76
  • 2014:  71
  • 2013:  81
  • 2012:  91
  • 2011:  100
  • 2010:  79
  • 2009:  90
  • 2008:  74

That’s beyond anemic.  When you can’t even meet Willie Martinez’ standards, you’ve got a serious problem.

Now, we all know that Smart, like any other defense-minded coach, wants players on that side of the ball who are disruptive.  As I discussed in this post from last year, Smart comes straight out of the Saban school of dominant run defense.  A nine-year low mark in tackles for loss isn’t something he wanted, but it may have been the inevitable result of a very green defensive line and installing a new system (Smart and Pruitt may both come out of the Saban system, but that doesn’t mean they share identical approaches on defense.)

Then again, it may have simply been the result of shitty coaching.  (If you think I’m kind of blown away comparing 2016 to 2008 and 2009, well… you’re right.)

In any event, the youth and transitional excuses are gone for 2017.  It’s the second year in the system for everyone and the defense returns every starter from the front seven, plus a bunch of the two deep.  Coming back to one of yesterday’s posts, this is an area where you hope Bellamy and Carter can elevate their games.  All told, if the Georgia defense can’t return to its traditional level of TFLs this season, that would raise some real questions about how it’s being directed.

************************************************************************

UPDATE:  For those of you in the comments writing off Lorenzo Carter, have a look at something from the bowl game.

No, that wasn’t a tackle for loss, but it was one helluva play.

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59 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

59 responses to “A little more GATA is needed.

  1. That’s an eye-opening statistic and not in a good way. Maybe that’s the underlying issue with the red zone defense. If you don’t get teams behind the chains on early downs in the red zone with negative plays, you don’t turn TD opportunities into FG attempts.

    Like

  2. RandallPinkFloyd

    Those 2011-12 numbers are skewed. See Jones, Jarvis.

    Boy, I loved watching that guy play. Talk about a DGD.

    What would Todd Grantham have hung is hat on without Jarvis Jones? Towel boy?

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  3. doofusdawg

    read and react defense.

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  4. Russ

    His prediction sounds about right to me. We should ride a good defense to Atlanta. If Chaney can get out of the offense’s way, we could do great things.

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  5. AlphaDawg

    Wasn’t 2014 Rocker’s 1st year?

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  6. JN

    I’m surprised folks are surprised by this number. Given the scheme and personnel, it will not be as low this year, but probably won’t be top 3 in that list either. 3-4 defensive lineman don’t get piles of TFL’s in general. Add to that Carter and Bellamy and their lack of ability to make plays and the results are exactly what I would think they’d be.

    I’m not trying to sound cynical when I say this, I’m trying to sound as much, “it is what it is” as I can, but the light isn’t going to come on for Carter and Bellamy. That doesn’t happen during your fourth fall. They will both be the same players they were last year. Look for that number to be middle of the pack, at best, this year…and that’s if they offense can actually get enough of a lead to allow Tucker to pin his ears back on occasion.

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    • I can’t believe you’re making me do this, but here are Alabama’s TFL numbers for the past three seasons:

      2016: 118 (1st in the SEC)
      2015: 108 (2nd)
      2014: 96 (3rd)

      I don’t think scheme is the hold back you suggest it is.

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      • Greg

        The simple answer is that Pruitt liked to bring pressure more than Tucker did last year (linebackers and etc) in passing situations…..when you are sending your backers, someone is going to be open…”live and die by the sword”. With that said, I am still not impressed by Tucker…..the defense got worse & I would not be surprised if it does not improve this year. Pruitt worked some magic at UGA, hated to see him go. McGarity is gonna McGarity………

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        • 3rdandGrantham

          Trust me — Pruitt needed to go.

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          • Otto

            Pruitt was an asset to the program and I thank him for pushing for the IPF. However I do understand the Smart and Pruitt likely would not make a good coaching team.

            Yes Bama’s stats are amazing but how long have the been getting top rated classes? I remember reading a decade ago the gripe with Saban was he would deliver a couple of good seasons followed by a rebuilding year. UGA can not be expected to have Bama in the 2nd year with a 1st time HC.

            I will call the way I see the season now losses to Miss. St, UF, and Auburn. If Smart signs another good class I will remain content.

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      • JN

        Of course scheme isn’t what’s holding it back, which isn’t even what I said. Reread the second paragraph.

        Jeremy Pruitt
        2014: 71
        2015: 76
        2016: 118

        Kirby Smart
        2014: 96
        2015: 108
        2016: 62

        What’s the common denominator?

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        • “Given the scheme and personnel, it will not be as low this year, but probably won’t be top 3 in that list either. 3-4 defensive lineman don’t get piles of TFL’s in general.”

          Personnel is the key factor.

          But, again, note both coaches were able to generate defenses that were top 3 in the SEC in TFLs, notwithstanding scheme.

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          • MA

            This (re: personnel), and clearly this. Pruitt’s TFL numbers at GA were (by average) lower than 2008’s total; Kirby’s over the same two seasons averaged more than our peak in the past ten seasons. It’s clearly personnel.

            Now, I’m wondering how the TFL numbers correlate with scoring defense (especially red zone defense)…

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      • Irwin R. Fletcher

        http://www.georgiadogs.com/sports/m-footbl/stats/2015-2016/teamgbg.html

        You can see the game by game here. (BTW…2009 gets a LOT of help from the 15 TFL against Tennessee Tech)

        I took a quick look…the sacks didn’t seem down. The yardage on TFLs didn’t seem down either. So when you talk about the lack of production in that category, it really stems from the inability to make plays behind the line in run defense, right? Those 1 or 2 yard losses where you blow up the run play before it gets started. Totally anecdotal…but that seems about right when you talk about red flags with our defense last year.

        Liked by 1 person

        • So when you talk about the lack of production in that category, it really stems from the inability to make plays behind the line in run defense, right?

          That’s what I think, yes.

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    • Macallanlover

      Going to disagree about Carter and Bellamy, feel you are going to see a move forward purely due to financial motivation. Not getting a high NFL grade last December was a wake up call from two players I felt have more in the tank than they have shown, they knew it, and only came back to prove it. If you are right and they just don’t have the tools, our pressure may look a lot like last season unless we change our scheme to become more aggressive across the front. My prediction is we become very dominant up front in 2017 and lose a lot of talent to the NFL next spring. I do think we are not well positioned to replace what we lose from this front 7 and will see a defensive falloff up front in 2018.

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      • JN

        It’s hard for me to agree with this because this is a lose/lose to me.

        If I’m correct, the byproduct is a lack of pass rush from the edge again this year.

        If you’re right, the byproduct is two negatives. The first is these guys rested on their laurels last season. That doesn’t exactly cause me to exude confidence in our senior leadership this year. The other is we had a head coach and defensive coaching staff who were unable to keep these guys from resting on their laurels.

        Either way, the outcome is a negative.

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        • RandallPinkFloyd

          Not sure how if he’s right, it’s a negative. I get what you’re trying to get at, but the bigger picture (no pun intended) is a positive result. Not all players are always gonna be motivated and I can’t fault Smart/Tucker since they were in the first year and not their recruits.

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          • RandallPinkFloyd

            Also, I will agree that I’m not holding my breath on them making a big jump. Just seems like two guys that look the part, but don’t play it. However, I certainly hope I’m wrong because net result means production for our defense, which is a positive no matter how you want to twist it.

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      • I certainly hope you’re right, but how many guys take “a leap” after 4 years? You sort of are who you are at that point, no?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Macallanlover

          And I may be missing it totally, and both you and JN are right about them being pretty much near their top. My thought is that the individual athlete knows best what is left in the tank when they go all out, and why return if they don’t have another gear? My gut tells me Bellamy has more upside than Carter, but we should get above average play from both. Also feel self motivation is better than anything the coaches can do. How many times have we seen pro and college athletes improve during their “contract/free agent” year? Some guys “rest” their way through college and miss their opportunity, just hoping these two came back hungry and maximize whatever they have to give. Even at last year’s level UGA would not be weak having them on the field, but I hope some improvement will make them difference makers and help put the defense in the Top 15.

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        • Irwin R. Fletcher

          Looked at the SEC stat leaders in sacks last season…Ryan Anderson and Darius English are guys that took a ‘leap’ their senior year last season. MArcus Golden, Preston Smith, and Xzavier Dickson are good examples from 2014. Dee Ford, Michael Sam…

          Anyway, it certainly isn’t out of the question, especially when you look at Carter’s talent, to think he could make a big jump in production…it seems to be a regular occurance for a couple of folks among the league leaders in sacks to be seniors who hadn’t reached that level in any of the years prior.

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  7. DoubleDawg1318

    I don’t think Kevin Sherrer is getting as much value as he should out of the OLBs. Say what you will about Grantham but he sure could coach up OLBs.

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  8. dawgman3000

    Well Senator, I don’t think those numbers were the result of “bad word” coaching as we had a top notch d-line coach in Rocker. I sure hope the new guy is as good as he was. I think it was the result of 1) the 2nd best d-lineman, Ledbetter being absent 2) the coaching transition 3) youth and inexperience and finally 4) I hate to say this but but up to this point, Carter and Bellamy are not top notch outside backers. I think Deandre Walker is a stud though. Maybe with a full off-season of learning Kirby’ system, the guys will play fast rather than worrying about what they’re supposed to be doing.

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    • W Cobb Dawg

      Agree with you on Walker. The kid gets into the opposing backfield like a lightning bolt. We don’t seem to have much use for players who can be so disruptive to the opposing offense.

      Carter & Bellamy might have nfl scouts drooling, but we don’t get much production out of them either.

      Still, we’ve got more defensive talent and experience than anyone else in the sec east. That alone should put us in position to win the division.

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      • dawgman3000

        It’s puzzling to me of how dominant Carter was his freshman year to where he is at this point in his career. His disappearing act has to have David Copperfield envious.

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        • Irwin R. Fletcher

          It’s puzzling how he can basically put up the same stats in 2016 as he did in 2014 and yet you still have fans calling that a ‘disappearing act.’

          2016- 44 Tckl, 5 Sacks, 13 QBP, and 6 TFL
          2014- 41 Tckl, 4.5 Sacks, 16 QBH, and 7 TFL

          It’s totally fair to say that 2015 was a lost year OR that he hasn’t taken a leap from what we saw his freshman year into a dominant, every game force. BUT…if you are going to call his freshman year dominant, then you can’t call last year a disappearing act…or at least you can’t with any sort of a straight face.

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          • dawgman3000

            Yes, putting up those numbers as a freshman is impressive. Putting up those same type numbers as a junior without much improvement is not IMO.

            Liked by 1 person

  9. 3rdandGrantham

    Many of you know I’m all in on Kirby Smart (ok, sorry…perhaps ‘all in’ was a poor choice of phrases). With that said, I am firmly in the camp that, if UGA doesn’t win at least 10 games this year with a trip to Atlanta in December, I will seriously question whether he will ever be successful as a HC and will start to wonder who the new HC might be in ’19-’20.

    Jimmy Johnson once said you know whether a college coach will ultimately be successful by where things stand in the middle of their 2nd year. With that in mind, if UGA struggles with UT or UF — and gosh forbid SCU and GT — then yea, I think it’s perfectly fine to go ahead and push the panic button.

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    • dawgman3000

      I would say we will have clue of how things are gonna go with game 1 verses App St. I had a feeling that Tennessee was fool’s gold after their near loss to them last season. Kirby needs to take care of those guys thoughrouly if he wants us to believe in him IMHO.

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  10. Dave

    Also, if anyone was interested, that ranked 109th in TFL/game last year. Eyeballing an average over the previous several seasons would land is somewhere in the 30’s or 40s nationally.

    I expect the Dawgs to be very stout on the defensive line, freeing up our athletic, and now more experienced LB’s to make a few more tackles behind the line.

    The real question is, will Carter, Bellamy, Walker (anyone else) step up and be a double-digit sack guy this year? I imagine J. Jones was the last one to do it, but that sure does seem like forever ago.

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  11. My biggest concern after seeing last year’s team and looking at what comes back on defense is disruptive plays (TFL, Sacks, TOs). I think UGAs defense is going to be good, but I fear people assuming it’s going to great are in for a letdown.

    I think the OLBs are incredibly overrated, especially when it comes to getting to the QB. They’re “try-harders,” more than anything, which is nice to a point, but you need to get home more often. I also think the secondary is okay. It’s solid. But okay and solid aren’t pushing UGA to elite level defense.

    The offense has so many questions, but I think some of the answers fans (and the media) think UGA has are still open-ended.

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    • Irwin R. Fletcher

      Not trying to be argumentative…but I think this is a bunch of crap. Our D-Line got a lot of hype because of Trent and the freshman playing last year..

      You look at our advanced stats…
      http://www.footballstudyhall.com/pages/2016-georgia-advanced-statistical-profile

      Power Success Rate….110 in the nation.
      Stuff rate…101st in the nation on D.
      Overall Havoc rate was 59th…LB rate was 25th while the D-Line was 111th.

      We got killed with the run on passing downs. Again, that’s just where you take our LBs out of the play with extra receivers and you beat us in hat-on-hat football at the line.

      If anything, based on this thread, the linebackers on this team are incredibly underrated by the fan base.

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  12. I’ve kinda bitten my tongue on this so far, but am I the only one who viewed Carter and Bellamy coming back not as a some sort of vote of confidence for the staff, but two guys who weren’t gonna be drafted likely until the 3rd day, and the most logical decision was for them to try to improve another year?

    Now Chubb and Michel, I do see their choices in a little different light. I just remember when I saw the announcement about everyone coming back that included Bellamy and Carter, my thought was – “You mean they were actually considering leaving?”

    Please note that I’m not trying to trash these guys and we’re better off with them than without, especially with depth. I just don’t think there was any choice that made sense EXCEPT for them to come back. Maybe that makes a light switch on for them, but I’m pretty much expecting the same guys we’ve seen so far in their careers – solid, capable guys with a flash here and there, but not guy’s that are consistently going to dominate or anything.

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  13. TFL and sacks are nice stats but what matters is:

    Setting the edge
    Making teams give up on the run and being one-dimensional

    If you can do those 2 things then you can be good at the stat that matters: points allowed.

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    • Greg

      You’re pretty much right…sacks and tackles behind the LOS looks great, but the end result is what matters most (points on board). Linemen and linebackers have many responsibilities…you can’t just blitz or rush the passer, you give up something….containment, pass coverage responsibilities (linebackers), keys (misdirection) and etc. If you are going to do those things, you need to recognize the play/formation and hope that you are right….or you will get burned. Points is what matters, “bend don’t break”.

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    • Cojones

      Yeah, that worked well against us so why wouldn’t it be swell if it worked for us.

      Like

  14. Snoop Dawgy Dawg

    Leaving aside season expectations, the TFL and Sack numbers simply demonstrate in black and white what I watched last year. It was a defense that was still learning a complicated system. It felt like year one of Grantham. Lots of late calls from the sidelines, lot of hesitation by the back 7. It felt like quintessential read, think, analyze, react. CTG’s D got more TFL, but good lord the front 7 included Justin Houston, Abry Jones, Deangelo Tyson, Akeem Dent, with Boykin, Rambo, and Sanders Commings in the secondary, who all started in the NFL at some point, with Justin Houston being among the best in the NFL.

    I am absolutely optimistic that this year, we see read and react with bad intentions. I’m optimistic we see less frantic signalling up until the snap by Tucker and Smart. I’m optimistic that given more comfort in the defense overall and with understand their fit within the defense and play call, that our linebackers will flow more smoothly towards the ball.

    If they do that, they’re going to start turning some of last years’s 2-3 yard runs into no yardage or negative yardage. If we see that happen, this defense is going to be hell on wheels, and that makes me giddy to think about.

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    • Olddawg 55

      I’m with you on sideline calls coming in late…Smart looked, often, like he was having a fit with his jumping and arms swinging. It was late in the season that I could even recognize that Tucker was DC. Just give them the “reads” from film work and turn them loose. They’d play like wild men and not so hesitant. The time for coaching is before the games..yes, you can tweak the system during the game but don’t go frantic!!

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  15. Uglydawg

    We could actually have a better defense this year and put up a lower number of tackles for losses. If the offense is very dominating in the run game, the opponents will naturally run less plays. Also a defense that is very stout will leave opponents with less plays. Less plays equals less opportunities for TFLs. So those numbers, while certainly interesting and somewhat telling, mean less unless you know the number of plays the opponents ran. Also, a very steady defensive scheme..giving up short yardage and making the offense punt, can be preferable to gambling on defense, getting more TFLs but getting burned every few plays. Changing schedules also effect the numbers.
    But Georgia’s defense and offense were sub-par last year by any measure. Mostly, I blame(ed) coaching. Georgia was no top 10 team last year, but they greatly under performed to put it bluntly. It was the continuation of what seemed to be a downward trend. I hope this year will be a “correction”. Talent is abundant. Coaching is the key.

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  16. People kinda lose me when they start talking in absolutes when it comes to Georgia football. No excuses, huh? When it comes to this staff, I’m probably one of the more skeptical people but even I think some of this ridiculous. Thew old “very have plenty of talent” bit while ignoring how bad our OL was, and ignoring the talent of the competition, is just preheating the hot seat for drama.

    How many years have we heard the “they have plenty of talent so no excuses” garbage? So many gloss right over the most important aspect of football…the line of scrimmage. The defense will have to carry this team if we’re gonna do anything this year. I certainly feel good about Chubb and Michel but Chaney, the OL and, to a lesser extent, Eason, have to improve over last year. Even mentioning win the east or bust raises many blood pressure.

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  17. AusDawg85

    Win the East. Show improvement in all areas. No execuses…none…for any regression given the talent, resources and schedule.

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  18. Cojones

    Everyone should review what has been said in these posts. It saddens me to see stalwart fans questioning any and everything prior to Fall practice; it saddens me more than last season.

    We are anxiously nitpicking and predicting using the barest of data in trying to analyze what went wrong and how to prevent it again this year. This, with a new coach and a barely new team. This B-M fuck is lasting beyond all predictions and has penetrated even the heaviest Kool-Aid drinkers’ rosiest moods so that now we are clinging to oracles and crystal ball predictions as if they aren’t WAGs such that we can continue to get the B-M crowd’s orgasm done. We go around the proofs we have seen in order to make excuses for this FB staff that is unproven after one and 1/2 years; getting to conclusions that are tantamount to disloyalty to those who thrust this shit into our midst in the first place. Yeah, they were cheered on, but so was Trump.

    Revenge of the fans would be most suited, I think, by considering who we would like as a coach and asst coaches throughout this year and blog to that affect as if we are the B-M crowd leading everyone away from tenured coaches as they did to us prior to last season. We can blog about those would-be coaches’ success and who they learned from much better than B-M has done with us. And start all over. The least that would happen would be for a new set of coaches to blow up in front of the Sanford attendees, but, what the hell, we have been conditioned to and are used to that low bar already.

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  19. 69Dawg

    This year we find out if Kirby/Tucker can coach defense or were just Saban’s Paid Graduate Assistants. After last years defensive effort I’ll wait and hope.

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    • richdawgbhillz

      Seriously man? Come on. The DEFENSE? Finished top 20 in the nation in scoring. Sure, when we had big tackles for loss games, 6 or more, we went 2-2, when we had 4 tfl’s or less, we won 4 out of 5. Cause-correlation homey. Ok, offense had major issues, special teams too, but defense ain’t got nuttin to do with why we went 8-5.

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  20. Rampdawg

    See ball, attack ball carrier, arrive into ball carrier with overt and intense destruction of ball carrier the # 1 priority. Repeat over and over and over.

    In the words of the late Al Davis
    “Just win baby “

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  21. Macallanlover

    In that GIF, it also shows Bellamy chasing the play across the field and almost getting involved in the fumble recovery….after almost being stripped of his jersey by the left tackle! That effort on the part of both Carter and Bellamy on that play (as well as 3-4 others on the defense) is what should be shown to them over and over. We have the depth if the young’uns follow that lead. It almost looked “Junkyardesque”.

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  22. Irwin R. Fletcher

    I think the preview hits the nail on the head…’the line is fantastic.’ Uhh…says who? Just because they were a bunch of 4 and 5 stars, doesn’t mean they weren’t green. The can be fantastic, though…that’s the key for me in 2017 on D…Thompson, Ledbetter, Atkins, Rochester, Tyler Clark, Marshall, Hawkins-Muckle, and Carter. No true freshmen among them…that’s where the improvement will come, if it does, in 2017.

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  23. ApalachDawg

    (Don’t brain phart/squib kick a game away
    + Curb stomp our opponents
    + Stop the run
    + Chubb/Sony pound folks into submission
    + Win the east )
    x (On our way to competing with the semi pro team in Tusc…)
    = Celebration in the panhandle

    How bout them fucking Dawgs!!!

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  24. Captain Obvious

    Lorenzo Carter = Ray Drew

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  25. Hal Welch

    I know it sounds like I’m giving Kirby a pass here, but a dozen TFLs less than prior year isn’t even 1 per game. And understanding that the players that are playing might not have been recruited by KIrby’s staff also plays into the differences I believe. That’s not to say that Carter isn’t a good player, but it is to say he’s no Jarvis Jones, Jordan Jenkins, Justin Houston, or David Pollack. I genuinely believe that the step backward our roster took subsequent to the 2012 SEC CG loss is only now beginning to be overcome.

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