Daily Archives: December 29, 2020

“That was the curious incident.”

There is a shit ton to unpack from this Todd Monken quote:

During the interview, Monken revealed that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic caused some early setbacks with Daniels prior to his arrival in Athens last June.

“The pandemic was obviously a setback in terms of his rehab, so getting him here was probably the best thing we could do,” said Monken. “Once he got here, all he did was work his rear end off to try and get healthy, to learn the offense.

“He’s a rare individual in terms of loving football and studying the game. He didn’t get his opportunity early on, again, due to his health. He was eventually healthy, but he requested to go down to the other end (scout team) to continue to work. He continued to work and compete, and when his opportunity came, he took advantage of it.”

Monken was asked if there were any regrets.

“Obviously, there are things, I’ll be 55, and I look back at things I could have, should have, and would have done differently. But there’s no sense in looking back at that,” Monken said. “The moment JT played and prepared, it was time to move forward. And I think he’s done a great job, not only for his opportunity, but since then.”

What I get from that is:

  1. Daniels wasn’t physically ready when he signed with Georgia.
  2. His recovery time was further delayed due to the pandemic.
  3. He recovered, but wasn’t game ready, so he practiced with the scout team.
  4. It appears he was game ready prior to the Mississippi State game.  (In time for Jacksonville, in other words.)
  5. The decision as to when to start Daniels was Monken’s call.

It bears repeating there is no mention of Kirby Smart in that quote.  Monken doesn’t even say “we”.  Maybe it’s time to consider the possibility that Smart’s kept his hands off the wheel more that he’s been given credit for in certain quarters.

73 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Call me maybe.

Cryptic response from Daniels:

I’m not saying it’s not truthful, though.  He’s had a rather eventful year, to say the least.

37 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Monken speaks.

Brevity is the soul of wit, my friends.

That would make for a good t-shirt slogan.

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

UPDATE:  The man is rolling.

You’re not the only one.

16 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

The Portal Master™ is optimistic.

Shot.

Chaser.

Dan, I’m not sure “excited” means what you think it means.

24 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators...

Montana isn’t impressed.

Man, oh, Mandel ($$).

Peach: No. 8 Cincinnati (+7) vs. No. 9 Georgia | Noon Friday (ESPN)

Kirby Smart will make sure Georgia doesn’t take this game lightly. I just think Cincinnati is the better team. The Bearcats’ defense was dominant all season, including against more explosive offenses than even JT Daniels-version Georgia. And we know the Bearcats will treat playing in the Peach Bowl like it’s the Super Bowl. Cincinnati 26, Georgia 23

I’m not sure we’ll see another pundit predict a motivated Georgia team loses this one.

Allow the Dude to retort.

29 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

The challenge of Desmond Ridder

If you think about it, he ain’t lying.  Ridder has had a fine season.

Junior quarterback Desmond Ridder has completed 162 of 244 passes (66.4%) for 2,090 yards with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions, and he also has rushed 83 times for 609 yards (7.3 per carry) and 12 scores.

“He’s long, so he covers a lot of ground,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “He makes the right decision a lot. When you’re playing a guy who’s played as many games as he has, it’s like he’s seen it before. Quarterbacks who have a lot of experience don’t make mistakes.

“He makes guys miss on the perimeter and can take off on scrambles for a 50-yard touchdown run, and you can’t really account for that as a defensive coordinator when you’re trying to cover all the weapons they have.”

Those passing numbers account for the seventeenth-best passer rating in the country.  He’s tenth in ESPN’s total QBR.  But it’s the rushing numbers that cause me real concern — Ridder leads all Cinci rushers with at least ten carries in rushing yards per play and his twelve rushing touchdowns rank twelfth nationally.  He’s a real threat in the red zone.

By the way, did you know which defense ranks dead last in opponent red zone conversion rate?  That’s not a good combination.

Ridder also has some experience facing P5 defenses during his career.

As for Ridder, a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder from Louisville, Kentucky, the Peach Bowl will provide the second grand stage of his career. The Bearcats have two wins over UCLA and bowl victories over Virginia Tech and Boston College in Ridder’s three seasons guiding the offense, but last season’s game at Ohio State yielded a 42-0 loss.

“They talk about this as big guys versus little guys, and we’re always out to prove everyone wrong,” Ridder said. “We go out and play with a chip on our shoulder every game, and that won’t change this game. We’re going up against one of the big guys in the country, and we’re going to see and feel that unlike we have all season.”

He doesn’t sound intimidated, and I don’t mean that in the talk is cheap sense, either.  He is going to be a handful and it’s going to be up to Georgia’s OLBs and defensive tackles to keep Ridder from breaking contain.  Let’s just say it’s probably going to turn out to be a big deal that Ojulari decided to play this week.

18 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“You have to adapt and change as the offenses adapt and change.”

If you’d have told me at the beginning of the season that it would be Georgia’s defense needing to regain its footing at season’s end, I would have thought you were being unduly pessimistic, but here we are.

The last time UGA football defensive coordinator Dan Lanning held court with the media things were so bullish around the Bulldogs defense that he felt the need to mention that his guys weren’t anywhere near the level of the 1985 Chicago Bears.

A lot has transpired with Lanning’s defense since that August preseason Zoom session and the one he held Monday ahead of Friday’s Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl with Cincinnati.

The Bulldogs still rank high in stats, but showings against Alabama and Florida were humbling and are part of the body of work of a team that dealt with key players injured in the second half of the season.

“I know ultimately offenses are ahead of the curve right now,” Lanning said. “You could say it’s related to COVID, but I know within our walls we have a standard of defense here we take a lot of pride in. That doesn’t change based on situation. We take a lot of pride in our mental agility and our ability to adapt.”

As Kirby Smart notes, they’ve gotten the havoc they wanted, but at a cost of giving up the big play, especially to talented offenses.

“One of the key ingredients is can you give people lost yardage plays, tackles for loss, get sacks?” Smart said. “We’ve done that at a higher clip than we have in the past. We have to improve in not giving up as many explosives, then you have a recipe for what you want.”

The stats bear that out.

Georgia is 44th in the nation in plays given up of 30 or more yards with 15 compared to No. 2 in 2019 with 11 (albeit not against an SEC-only schedule), according to CFBstats.com.

“You have to adapt and change as the offenses adapt and change,” Lanning said.

The Bulldogs are tied for 34th in the nation in sacks with 24 and 71st in tackles for loss with 49 after ranking 46th and 60th last season.

(In case you’re wondering, in 2019 conference-only play, Georgia finished fourth nationally in defending plays of 30+ yards.)

Despite giving up more big plays this season, Georgia still wound up being the SEC’s only team to finish with a defensive yards per play number under 5.  Cincinnati is 11th nationally in offensive yards per play, at 6.87.  The Bearcats have been held under five yards per play only twice this season.  In the abstract, at least, it’s the best offense Georgia has faced since the Cocktail Party.

Let’s hope they adapt and change enough by Friday.

8 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Special

DeVonta Smith is my choice to win the Heisman.  He’s had a phenomenal season.  More than that, he’s a phenomenal talent.  Some of his catches this season have bordered on the miraculous.

But did you know there’s an SEC receiver who’s done an even better job of creating receptions?  You should.

The Creators: George Pickens, DeVonta Smith, Kyle Pitts

I hate to divi up this award to three players, but they all are equally deserving. Creating completions by going above and beyond is one of the best ways for a pass catcher to provide value other than consistently being on the receiving end of touchdowns. Whether its winning a crazy jump ball, toe tapping along the sideline, or making an unreal adjustment, George Pickens, DeVonta Smith, and Kyle Pitts separated themselves from the rest of the pack in this regard. Pickens owns a conference-best 10.2% Creation Rate across his 49 targets. Smith created the most catches and touchdowns with seven and three, respectively. Kyle Pitts was the best of both worlds posting six catches (two TDs) and a 9.23% Creation Rate.  [Emphasis added.]

I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but I would really like to see what this offense might look like with a season under its belt and after a normal spring practice.

10 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

This could be fun. Ugly, but fun.

You know, between Dabo using a meaningless vote in a meaningless Coaches Poll to throw shade at Ohio State and now Ryan Day throwing shade right back at Clemson over its reputation for stealing signs, I’m beginning to think the Sugar Bowl has some real potential for a serious case of the chippies.

19 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, Clemson: Auburn With A Lake

“It’s a thrill a minute, you know?”

Here’s an interesting tidbit Marc Weiszer shared yesterday:

While Georgia is still testing three times a week, the Bearcats are testing just about daily, Fickell said, and “still asking our guys to make sacrifices. … One bad day can lead to a lot of different things.”

There have been enough hints and whispers to suggest that Kirby Smart is holding his breath about who will and who won’t be available to play Friday in the bowl game.  As I mentioned yesterday, cross your fingers those Wednesday tests come back with nothing but good news.

It’s gonna be a close call, and maybe not just for players.

Players were able to return home for a few days around the Christmas holiday.

It came during a week where the state had a 14.3 percent positivity rate, higher than the peak of the summer surge, according to Amber Schmidtke, a public health microbiologist who tracks Georgia cases for her Daily Digest. The weekly case total for 18 to 29 years olds in the state has risen 189 percent in the last eight weeks.

Smart is prepared in case he would be affected by COVID protocols like some of his SEC colleagues.

Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt tested positive and experienced mild symptoms.  Alabama’s Nick Saban, Florida’s Dan Mullen and Arkansas’ Sam Pittman also tested positive during the season.

“Every time I test it’s a concern of mine,” Smart said. “I’m not going to share that exact plan because it hasn’t had to come to fruition. But we’ve been through it and talked about it, and have things available for Skype meetings, for Zoom meetings, to sit in team meetings, to be in practice by way of Zoom meetings, to have someone be in charge of gameday decisions. Pretty much everybody in the country has that now.”

It would really suck to get this far, especially after losing the last regular game of the season, and then be tripped up by COVID.

5 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple