Daily Archives: January 5, 2021

He stayin’.

Man, all those mock NFL drafts… wrong…

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UPDATE:  More good news…

The 2021 offense is going to be hell on wheels.

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UPDATE #2:  And while we’re on a roll…

88 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Reflex

Spurrier gone Spurrier.

If you asked him about global warming, he’d find some way to use it to make a smart ass comment about Ray Goff.

45 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The Evil Genius

Circular reasoning

I don’t mean to pick on Stewart Mandel in particular (okay, maybe a little), but this is the kind of punditry that drives me crazy — from today’s Mailbag ($$) about why he doesn’t respect Texas A&M sufficiently:

… beating a three-loss North Carolina team playing without the sport’s most productive running back tandem in 15 years in a game that was tied with four minutes remaining did nothing to change my opinion. If A&M was one of the three or four best teams in the country, it would have won that game by 25-30 points, much like Oklahoma did against three-loss, stripped down Florida.

Which brings me the point of that exercise. It frustrates me that it’s 2021 and we’re still ranking football teams almost entirely by “number of losses.” You can’t tell me Oklahoma wasn’t one of the four best teams in the country by season’s end. The Sooners beat four Top 25 teams (A&M beat two), including two of the committee’s top 10, Iowa State and Florida, in their last two games (A&M beat one top-10 team all season).

So, “three-loss, stripped down Florida” still counts as a big top-25 win because of style points?  By the way, that top-10 team Mandel mentions that TAMU beat?  That would be undefeated, fully stocked Florida.

I’m not saying whether he’s justified ranking Oklahoma ahead of A&M.  It would be nice, though, if he were a little more coherent about his reasons.

38 Comments

Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles

Playing it safe

I clicked on this Brian Fremeau tweet out of curiosity to see where Georgia finished…

… but my attention turned to the team that finished sixth, Buffalo.

Which brings me to the point of this post — Lance Leipold has an impressive track record as a head coach at two very different levels of college football.  He’s got thirteen years of experience running football programs.  He’s coming from Buffalo, so it’s not like you’d have to spend an arm and a leg to hire him.  He knows how to develop players.  I’m guessing he would be able to hire a decent recruiter, too, for those of the “he’s never been in the South” persuasion (not that that’s stopped Auburn).

So, if you’re South Carolina, why would you hire Shane Beamer over Lance Leipold?  Lack of imagination.  Laziness.  Group think.  All of the above.  Just like most schools.

46 Comments

Filed under College Football

One last net ypp note

I’m not going to revisit the entire conference’s net ypp numbers, because at this point, there’s way too much disparity in scheduling — Vandy played nine games and Alabama will finish playing thirteen — but I can’t help but celebrate one small development in the top four teams’ numbers.

  1. Alabama:  2.84 [net change: +.03]
  2. Georgia:  1.35 [net change: +.10]
  3. Florida:  1.22 [net change: -.49]
  4. Texas A&M:  1.13  [net change: +.15]

One of those is unlike the others.  Nice finish to cap an incredible season, Dan.

21 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Great expectations

One difference I expect to see repeatedly from the pundit class is the perception of where Georgia stands in 2021, compared with last season.  Here’s an example:

Georgia will field the SEC’s best offense

Georgia‘s offense was transformed once JT Daniels entered the starting lineup this season, and that will continue with him under center for a full campaign in 2021. The USC transfer took over as the team’s starting passer following the Bulldogs’ loss to Florida, and he changed the entire look of Georgia’s attack.

Offense with Daniels: 37 points, 307 passing yards per game
Offense without Daniels: 28 points, 209 passing yards per game

A wealth of talent will be around Daniels, especially if running backs James Cook and Zamir White don’t enter the NFL draft. Star wideout George Pickens leads a talented group of pass-catchers that will also be back in Athens. Pickens surged at the end of the season with Daniels starting, averaging 5.5 catches, 93 yards, and one touchdown per game.

The SEC’s top three offensive units this past season – Alabama, Florida, and Ole Miss – all suffered major personnel losses, including three of the four Heisman finalists departing. That leaves the door open for Georgia.

And here’s what a 247Sports piece that looks at the top five contenders for the No. 1 team in 2021 has to say about Georgia’s chances:

The case for No. 1: This is pretty simple. Talent, talent, talent. The Bulldogs were No. 1 in the Team Talent Index this year and were failed by poor quarterback play to start the season (and puzzling decisions surrounding that position). With JT Daniels returning, Georgia might finally have the season-long triggerman to get them back the Playoff and finish the job.

The case against: Do you trust any of what I just wrote? Since Kirby Smart arrived in Athens, no school has been more snake-bit at quarterback.

Current verdict: Georgia doesn’t have to be at its best 10/12ths of the season; an overwhelming talent advantage allows for any number of slow starts and mistakes. But in the ones that matter — Alabama, Florida — the Bulldogs have been let down by a combination of bad QB play and coaching gaffes. That said, assuming Daniels gets a little bit better, and considering the potential for Georgia to make some scary-good roster moves this offseason (like luring home LSU transfer Arik Gilbert), the stars just might be aligning.

I expect there’s gonna be a lot more of that to come.

Unlike 2020, Georgia won’t be discounted for a lack of offensive continuity.  Unfortunately, that was also the case in 2019, and look where that got Smart’s team.

Right now, from this vantage point, it’s easy to conclude this program has all the puzzle pieces to succeed.  Can the staff and players put the puzzle together, especially under the weight of heightened expectations?

41 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

2020: room for improvement

You can read the deets, but here’s what Jake Rowe’s position group report card looks like for the entirety of the 2020 season:

  • Quarterback:  C+
  • Running back:  B+
  • Receiver/tight end:  B+
  • Offensive line:  B-
  • Defensive line:  A
  • Outside linebacker:  B+
  • Inside linebacker:  B-
  • Defensive back:  C+
  • Special teams:  B
  • Overall:  B

Overall: There’s a lot to unpack here. For the most part, players were put in position to make plays on both sides of the ball. There were open receivers and chances for big plays in both wins and losses. A large portion of those weren’t made early in the year and opportunities were missed even after Daniels was inserted at quarterback. Defensive backs had chances to make plays on balls in the air and the front seven had sack opportunities that it whiffed on. Still, it all goes back to the guys making the big paychecks, right? Georgia didn’t meet expectations. When you look back at the season, the quarterback situation was the Bulldogs’ biggest problem and there’s some stuff that was out of the coaching staff’s control. There were some things that happened that you just can’t predict. The entire organization deserves a ton of credit for how the team stayed engaged throughout the year. Guys didn’t give up when goals were off the table but it has to be taken into account that three regular season games were played with those goals essentially off the table. Coming into the year we said that a two-loss season was on the disappointing end of acceptable and we’re sticking to that. The grade we’re giving here didn’t bring home any hardware and it won’t going forward.

You can quibble here and there with the position group grades, I suppose, but it’s hard to argue with that paragraph.  Kirby deserves credit for keeping things together in what was a tough year (especially after Newman bailed), but with the talent he’s amassed, this season should have turned out better than it did.

In particular, those quarterback and secondary grades are telling.  For this program to get where we want it to go, they’re going to have to improve significantly in 2021.  As I’ve already noted, provided Daniels and Monken are around, there’s a very good chance for that to happen with the former.  As far as the latter, Smart’s got his work cut out for him.  At least he’s got some talent to work with.

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UPDATE:  Something of a 2020 rebuttal from Pete Fiutak:

It wasn’t a College Football Playoff season, and Georgia has the talent and ability to be national title good every year, but the losses to Alabama and Florida were before JT Daniels took over and six of the final seven games were away from Athens – but, of course, this was in Atlanta.

In a year when LSU was lousy, big name programs like Michigan and Penn State were lousy, and nothing seemed to quite work right overall, 8-2 with a Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl win? That’s just fine. It’s not where Georgia could or should be, but it was solid.

Those are fair points, but I’m not sure “hey, it could have been worse” really does it for me.

15 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Shall we play a game?

Spur21 sent me an email I’m gonna share with you.

Hey Senator,

As we close out this unforgettable year how about a contest. I’m
thinking a tie in to the Bama / Buckeye game. Winner of the game with
some unpredictable statistics as a tie breaker.

I received the attached watch several years ago and don’t wear a watch so it has
sat in my desk drawer for years. Maybe some well deserving DAWG fan will
put it to use.

Here’s the watch in question:

DSC03231

And here’s the contest:

Pick the winner and for the tiebreaker, predict the difference in QBR between Fields and Jones.  Closest guess wins.

All answers in the comments.  I’ll send the winning picker’s email address to Spur21 to arrange delivery of the prize.  Have at it!

81 Comments

Filed under GTP Stuff

“There’s no two ways around it: Florida’s defense was bad in 2020.”

I can only imagine how hard it was for David to come up with this post.

I didn’t want to write this article. As far as I can tell, this is the article no one wants to write, which is why it’s an opportunity to do it. This is the case for Florida keeping Todd Grantham as defensive coordinator in 2021.

… But Dan Mullen apparently has decided to fire the two secondary coaches and keep his defensive coordinator, and I have to believe there’s a reason for it beyond the simple fact that he and Grantham are friends (though I’m sure that’s part of it). There must be, or else it’s rank nepotism.

Actually, I don’t have to imagine it.  I was writing similar stuff about Willie Martinez when it was becoming clear the bloom was coming off that particular rose.

It really is eerie how Gator fans keep following in our footsteps.

16 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators...

Today, in doing it for the kids

Shorter Mack Brown:  the best way to get players to stick around is to make them play more games.

Again, it never ceases to amaze me that the same people who will jump ship at the drop of a better set of numbers don’t see the wisdom in providing a financial inducement for players to stay through season’s end.  Well, except for that whole “that’s how coaches gonna roll” thing, I guess.

18 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness