Cereal bowl, get it? Har har har.
I’ll be here all week, folks. Try the veal.
Cereal bowl, get it? Har har har.
I’ll be here all week, folks. Try the veal.
… Jake Fromm is working on being “twitchy”.
“I’m trying to get more intentional with my feet,” Fromm said. “I’m trying to get twitchier. Tom Brady, he plays with unbelievable twitch in the pocket. He’s so quick. When he runs a 40, he’s not that fast, but in the pocket he’s so twitchy and so fast.”
Morris and Fromm, known as a pocket passer, spent a lot of time this offseason on playing in a contested pocket under “bad scenarios.”
“He’s a really good athlete and he has a great pocket presence,” Morris said. “He’s very twitchy in the pocket. You can see sudden movements, sudden slides, sudden little bitty half-man movements that get him out of trouble, but they’re not dramatic. I think that’s who he is.”
That work should strengthen Fromm’s arm, Morris said, “because you don’t have the luxury of using your lower half,” which should enhance mechanics.
Fromm finished 11th in the country in completion percentage last season, at 67.3%. Morris has a goal of 72% for Fromm this season. Talk about ambitious. But I wouldn’t put anything Fromm puts his mind to past him.
SEC offenses lined up with three or more receivers on 69.7 percent of offensive plays in 2018, according to Sports Info Solutions, a steady increase over even the previous two years. It was 62.9 percent in 2016, and 65.3 in 2017.
The steep increase in passing among SEC teams dates back further: There were an average of 28.5 passes per game thrown by SEC teams in 2012. By last year it had increased to 32.3 per game.
But it’s not just that Texas A&M and Missouri and their up-tempo offenses joined the league. When Alabama and Georgia met in the 2012 SEC championship, they were two teams that together averaged 26 passes per game. By the time they met again in last year’s SEC championship, the two power-football teams were averaging 27.4 passes per game.
And so the defenses have reacted, to the point where calling anyone a 3-4 or 4-3 defense is antiquated. They may call that their base defense. But Georgia was in a version of the nickel – 4-2-5 or 3-3-5 — about 70 percent of the time last season.
It’s not your granddaddy’s SEC any more. Or your daddy’s, for that matter.
So, a random question that popped into my head while I was reading Matt Hinton’s SEC preview here: how much should we expect Georgia’s offense to carry the team this season?
The reason I ask is because Matt’s All-SEC team is pretty consistent with most I’ve seen. The Dawgs placed three offensive players on it, along with Fromm and Wilson as honorable mentions, while only one defensive player, Reed, appears, and that as an honorable mention.
Sure, that doesn’t take into account Georgia’s depth, where it has an edge on every SEC team not located in Tuscaloosa, but if having those special talents is what elevates a team to elite, it’s not a stretch to say that Smart is perceived to have more of that going for him on one side of the ball.
Of course, counter to that is the change at coordinator, although I’m not convinced it’ll be all that dramatic, and the turnover at wide receiver, which suggests that Georgia will likely be as conservative with its emphasis on the run game as it was in 2018, at least coming out of the gate as Fromm hones his skills with a new bunch of wideouts.
I don’t think Kirby wants a team that’s carried by the offense — indeed, one of Georgia’s strengths over the past two seasons is how balanced in been in all three areas of offense, defense and special teams — but he’s also sharp enough to know you’ve got to play to whatever strengths you’ve got. So, again, how much should we expect from the offense this season?
Here’s a really good dive into Georgia’s recruiting approach from a former beat writer, Gentry Estes.
I discussed some of the data he analyzes before, but he does a nice job of putting things in context over the past five or six years in Athens. First, it’s worth noting again how much things have changed over time, measured against Alabama.
Last year, Georgia spent more on recruiting than did the Tide, but of even greater significance, note the percentage increase from 2013. That’s a serious chase down. And the ramp up largely coincides with Smart’s arrival.
Georgia’s football recruiting expenditures have more than quadrupled in recent years, going from $581,531 in the 2013 fiscal year, when Mark Richt was head coach, to roughly $2.63 million in 2018 (not adjusting for inflation).
… From 2015 to 2018, Georgia exceeded its budgeted amount for football recruiting by $2.38 million (an average of $593,948 per year), according to information obtained by the Courier Journal separately from the NCAA reports. The overage peaked at $945,966 in 2016, when Georgia’s budgeted amount was $1.25 million. That budgeted amount increased to about $1.9 million in 2017 and $2.27 million for 2018, as well as for 2019.
Smart knew from his time in Tuscaloosa that it takes a large financial commitment to recruiting to succeed in the SEC. Perhaps the most important thing he’s accomplished at Georgia is convincing the administration that such support was a necessity.
“Really, (recruiting costs) are just a reflection of the coach and how they approach recruiting, how they approach official visits, how they approach the entire world of recruiting,” McGarity said. “… I would just say you have some coaches that are visionaries, and a lot depends on who you surround yourself with and where you’ve been.
“I think in the case of Kirby, he had experience at other institutions, saw some things that we could do better. So we’re moving forward in a lot of those.”
… In 2018, Georgia spent $2.63 million on football recruiting and roughly half — $1.36 million — on all other sports’ recruiting combined. The next highest sport was men’s basketball at $341,064.
The price tag for football recruiting was more than Georgia spent for athletic financial aid for its six men’s teams other than football ($2.45 million) and for travel for all of its women’s teams combined ($2.37 million).
“I think Kirby would be very aggressive in recruiting,” McGarity said. “It just is the style and the approach that the head coach desires to take. … I think he’s going to find ways — as he talked about at (SEC) media day — what are the incremental improvements we can make that may make a difference?
“Because there’s a thin, thin line between really being good and great. And what can you do to close that gap?”
I don’t say this to be snarky, but to be realistic: there’s simply no way you would have heard that sort of talk out of Butts-Mehre five or six years ago. (As a reminder, Estes brings up the Pruitt-IPF story in contrast to the present.) And while the results speak for themselves,
Only three teams — Alabama, Clemson and Georgia — have played in the past four national title games, and each of those three ranked in the top five nationally among public Power Five colleges in 2018 recruiting expenditures, with Clemson (fifth at $1.79 million) coming in behind UGA, Alabama, Texas and Texas A&M.
Georgia’s 2017, 2018 and 2019 recruiting classes ranked third, first and second in the country, respectively, in 247 Sports’ composite rankings. The next highest spender, Alabama, ranked first, fifth and first in those three years.
… it is to McGarity’s credit that he was willing to take a leap with Smart’s vision and fund the effort. The good thing going forward is that with the success Smart’s had, I doubt we’ll hear complaints about financial support of the football program any time soon. The days of Georgia bringing a knife to an SEC recruiting gun fight are over.
UPDATE: Another former beat writer does some math.
This is not a snark-driven post, believe it or not. Dan Mullen dropped his first depth chart of the season, and it’s a good picture of the Gators’ strengths and weaknesses going into 2019.
The first thing to note is that this is a seasoned team. No true freshman has cracked the starting lineup and only one redshirt freshman, at offensive right guard, has. Of the 22 starters on offense and defense, I count 17 who are juniors and seniors and many of those are players who have redshirted.
That’s the kind of roster that made Mullen comfortable at Mississippi State. I might also add that’s the kind of roster that plays well for Grantham.
Ah, but then there’s depth. And it’s not pretty in a couple of key areas. Three of the backups on the offensive line are freshmen. So are both of the backup cornerbacks.
I’ll have my SEC preseason predictions up on Friday, but everything I see here reinforces my belief that if Florida stays healthy, it’s good enough to win nine or ten games this season. However, there’s definitely an issue to keep an eye on if Mullen starts losing offensive linemen or corners.
I know everyone’s got their own opinions about Gary Danielson (mine being, he’s a great color analyst, but not so great when he wanders afield). One thing he’s among the best at is reading situations and formations to anticipate play calls. With that in mind, here’s a story he tells about one time he was too good, at least in Gus Malzahn’s mind, when it came to anticipation. Dial it up to about the 9:45 mark to hear about a jump pass play and Malzahn’s reaction when he heard about Gary’s call.
Personally, I don’t find that to be a big deal — I can’t imagine there are many defensive coordinators watching the SEC on CBS to get playcalling tips — but, then again, I’m not being paid $7 million a year to be paranoid about things like that.
Jake Rowe posts his final call on Georgia’s offensive roster here. I find the exercise interesting in that he factors in what he’s heard and season from practice.
While there aren’t a lot of shocks, it’s worth noting a few tidbits.
“Especially in the wake of two or three months of bad news,” Finebaum said. “The first half of the year they were on a roll. They had a good recruiting class, maybe overhyped a little bit, but it was momentum building. But really ever since all the back and forth with Georgia, it’s almost as if bad karma struck the Gators. But they have had nothing but attrition, players in trouble, players bailing out. They did pick up the linebacker from Georgia, but it’s really been a calamity of bad news and really crippling because their schedule is so difficult. This is a game that pretty much everyone, except for delusional fans from the U, has as a win.”
And here’s your basic one-sentence dismissal.
“You go up and down the roster, I don’t see how they match up to Georgia, that’s really the issue,” Finebaum said.
My, how things have changed.