2019 presents yet another way Kirby Smart will try to emulate his mentor.
The heightened expectations surrounding the Georgia football program haven’t changed even after the departures of a pair of coordinators who helped the Bulldogs reach the national title game in 2017 and came close to a return to the College Football Playoff in 2018.
Kirby Smart’s team this season is widely pegged to reach the final four. If the Bulldogs do, they’ll be the rare team in the playoff era to accomplish that after losing both coordinators from the previous year.
Of the 20 teams to reach the playoff in the five years of the system, only Alabama last year did so after a turnover in both its offensive and defensive coordinators.
Georgia will try to join the Crimson Tide this season with James Coley replacing Jim Chaney as offensive coordinator and Dan Lanning stepping up as defensive coordinator to succeed Mel Tucker.
Ironically, Nick Saban finds himself doing the same thing again in 2019.
… It wasn’t as if Florida was attracting a large amount of blue-chip talent before Mullen’s arrival. In Jim McElwain’s classes, blue-chip prospects (four and five stars) made up 34.3 percent of Florida’s signees. That number is at 58.5 percent under Mullen, counting attrition and the 2020 class so far. The problem is an alarming one: Georgia is at 87.3 percent in the same time frame. [Emphasis added.]
Yeah, that’s a problem.
The mag isn’t in the stores quite yet, but Phil Steele is already out there on the promo trail. If you’re a Georgia fan, sounds like he’s calling for more of the same.
Meanwhile, the Georgia Bulldogs will crash the party as the SEC second invitee.
“SEC Country is OK with it, but the rest of the country is like, ‘Oh my goodness,’ but I’m picking two SEC teams this year. When you look at Georgia, they are loaded both offensively and defensively. They’re a better team than they were last year. And last year, they gave Alabama everything they wanted in the SEC Championship Game.
“I think you have an undefeated Georgia and an undefeated Alabama battling for the SEC title game. I still think the loser makes the playoffs.”
Steele picks ‘Bama to avenge last year’s defeat to Clemson in the national title game. Sigh.
I know Georgia is expected to roll over Vanderbilt in the season opener, but Vandy is an SEC team, which means while the ‘Dores may be short on depth, they’ve got some players. Here’s a list from Dawgs247 of a few names to watch. In particular…
RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn: The 5-foot-10 215-pound back was tremendous a year ago. He averaged just under eight yards per carry en route to a 1,244-yard, 12-touchdown season and it was his first as the feature back. He won’t have Khari Blasingame around to spell him but he has to be considered one of the top play-making running backs in the SEC. His blend of speed and power isn’t easy to come by.
In my humble opinion, Vaughn is the most under the radar player in the conference. Even in last year’s rout in Athens, he still managed almost nine yards a carry. Damned good running back.
This list has been making the rounds on several message boards this offseason.
Say what you will about Florida football so far this year, it hasn’t been uneventful.
Found this posted on Instagram:
Check out those play action stats. That’s what an effective ground game will do for an already good quarterback.
Somebody mentioned James Brown’s remarkable Love Power Peace live album in the Playpen comments Wednesday, so here’s an example of what he’s talking about.
And here’s a bonus, a live clip of the song:
That sucker just crackles with electricity. If you don’t own this album, you really should.