Daily Archives: April 19, 2021

“G-Day made it obvious that Clemson football will be better everywhere else.”

I’m grateful to Graham Coffey for a thing or two, one of which is being the source for discovering the treasure that is Jeff Benedict, who posts at the Clemson FanSided site, Rubbing The Rock.  I think I linked to this post from a couple of months ago for a quick chuckle.  Now, Graham has pointed out Benedict’s latest work, a detailed study entitled, “Clemson football: UGA Spring game shows Tigers are further ahead“.  Dude brings the smack:

With four and a half months left before kickoff, we all will have to pace ourselves as we look to compare and precisely predict how this game turns out but one thing was clear after watching both teams spring scrimmages – Clemson football is far better than UGA at this point and the score will reflect that UGA is once again nothing more than pretenders instead of contenders.

I was worried how I might fill the gap this summer with the likelihood of a dwindling number of Your Daily Gator posts, but it looks like Jeff is volunteering to step up and help.  Enjoy.

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Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Georgia Football

Super duper

One of the more pointless exercises I’ll see college football pundits and fans go through is pondering how great it would be for the sport to adopt one of English soccer’s great traditions:  relegation.  Never mind that it’s an apples and oranges comparison, if there ever was one — for one thing, you’re matching professional leagues with paid players and college leagues with student-athletes, and, for another, your comparing standalone soccer programs with football programs that are part of a larger athletic department — it’s speculation that some people find hard to resist.

Which is one reason I find the news that the biggest European teams in the sport are planning on putting together their own show, the Super League, with a new wrinkle:  no relegation, just twelve to fifteen permanent members and a few fillers to add in from season to season.  Why are they doing this?  You only get one guess.

Yes. According to their own estimates, each founding member stands to gain around $400 million merely to establish “a secure financial foundation,” four times more than Bayern Munich earned for winning the Champions League last season.

But that is just the start, really: The clubs believe that selling the broadcast rights for the Super League, as well as the commercial income, will be worth billions. And it will all go to them, rather than being redistributed to smaller clubs and lesser leagues through European soccer’s governing body, UEFA. At the same time, the value of domestic leagues and their clubs will diminish drastically as they are effectively rendered also-rans every year.

You’d think the lesson would be obvious here, but, quite the contrary, it’s just juicing a whole ‘nother type of speculation.

LOL.  So much for the excitement of relegation.

You want a CFB Super League?  Sure.  All you need to do is take the top 20 or so teams on this list and add Notre Dame and Southern Cal (they’re both private schools) to them, and voilà!  College football, supersized.

Some people didn’t get enough shiny toys when they were little.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Next man up

With Chuck Dowdle announcing his retirement as Georgia’s sideline broadcast reporter, Marc Weiszer looks at some candidates for whom might be next asked “whatta ya’ got?”.

Suggestions?

85 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Observations from the 30, G-Day edition

Ahhhh.  Rituals can be so comforting, and making the trip to Athens after being away for several months is definitely chicken soup for the Bulldog soul.  The weather cooperated; what started out as an overcast Saturday morning turned into the kind of blue sky and sunshine day that leaves a sunburn to remind me I was there.

And there was football, too.  Lots of football, as a matter of fact, especially if you like watching quarterbacks throw and receivers catch.

As a general observation, I wouldn’t say Saturday’s game was full of revelations.  Quite the contrary, it was far more a day of confirmation:  that Smart wanted his team to throw the ball a bunch so that the offense could work on timing and the secondary could get a workout; that the coaches wouldn’t show much (while the coverages were pretty vanilla, if there was a surprise, it was that there was more blitzing than I anticipated); that there was a clear pecking order at quarterback; that there was some legitimacy to the late developing buzz surrounding Adonai Mitchell; that RBU still has a loaded running backs room; and that Georgia, as I posted yesterday, has done good work attracting talent to the program.

One other nice thing was seeing Pickens walking around without crutches a week after ACL surgery.

This was a glorified scrimmage, so rather than break down a bunch of plays, or point to game changing moments, I’m gonna limit the bullet points to position group assessments.

  • Quarterbacks.  If what you saw Saturday didn’t make you happy with Georgia’s situation at QB, I don’t know what to tell you.  As I posted yesterday, it’s completely night and day from where the program stood when last season kicked off.  That’s not to say everything went perfectly.
  • JT Daniels.  While Daniels looks recovered from his injury and surgery, there were moments when it didn’t seem like his mechanics were totally in sync.  He was lucky to avoid at least one interception on the day.  (Chris Smith, you gotta catch that!)  But that’s fairly minor carping.  For one thing, he didn’t throw a deep ball that hung up the way some did last season.  Sure, that was partly because he didn’t go deep much, but that 59-yarder to Robertson for the Red team’s final score was laid out perfectly.  And he threw a couple of jaw droppers, one to Mitchell and one to Jackson, for touchdowns that showed he can get plenty of zip on the ball when it’s needed.  But what I was most encouraged about was the obvious work Daniels has put in on a couple of fronts.  He’s doing a much better job of stepping up in the pocket instead of running around to avoid the rush, even if the touch sack format of the scrimmage didn’t reward him for doing so.  And it’s also clear how much better his communication with his receivers has gotten.  I’m using the word receivers broadly here — if you get a chance to watch a replay, check out how in sync he and Zamir White are.  There’s a catch in the first half and one in the second half where both know exactly what the other will do on the play.  All in all, it was a good day for JT.
  • Stetson Bennett.  He is exactly the Stetson Bennett we’ve come to know and love.  His first half scoring drive, when he played under control and went 3-3 in leading the Red squad to its first score, was Good Stetson.  His second half interception came on one of his patented “sometimes you just gotta say WTF” plays when he ignored the open receiver underneath, threw deep a second too late and illustrated the exact limit of his arm strength.  He’s perfectly suited for the role of coming in on an emergency basis to keep things on an even keel during a game, but he’s not the guy you’d want to lead the offense over an extended stretch of the season.
  • Carson Beck.  He may have the best arm of the group.  He’s made strides to learn the offense.  He pressed at times and missed some easy reads, but he looked quite good on the two drives he directed for touchdowns when he didn’t try to push things.  Would the coaches trust him to take over the offense if Daniels went down for an extended period of time?  I tend to think so for now, if only because he’s clearly got a better arm than does Bennett.
  • Brock Vandagriff.  I thought he was on his way to launching a spirited G-Day QBR debate in the comments here, at least until he fumbled on his first series.  But while there’s no question about his athleticism, it was very clear that his reads were extremely limited and that he’s got a way to go before becoming a contributor.  Still, there’s plenty of time to develop and there’s no denying his future looks pretty bright.
  • Running backs.  Jeez, what a group.  Georgia didn’t run much Saturday, but, then again, it didn’t really need to.  The coaches know what they have, and what they have should be plenty.  All four backs showed they can play a role in the passing game, something Monken values.
  • Zamir White.  I know there are plenty of folks who don’t see White being the number one guy, but I don’t get it.  He’s a load to bring down.  He’s still the best of the backs in pass pro.  He’s patient waiting for holes to open.  He can be just shifty enough in the open field.  And along with all that, he showed Saturday that he can be a useful option in the passing game.  Somebody needs to tell me what I’m missing here.
  • James Cook.  He’s still the Swiss Army knife of Georgia’s backfield.  He looks a little bigger than he did last season.  He’s a defensive distraction in motion.  As a receiver, he’s a match up nightmare, as his easy reception on the wheel route demonstrated.  (That play came right at me and Nolan Smith’s “oh, shit” body language as the play unfolded was priceless.)  A great 1-2 combination with White.
  • Kendall Milton.  He’s going to follow in the tradition of Georgia under Smart of being that killer number three back.  He’s big enough.  He’s a little more elusive than White.  His pass blocking continues to improve.  He, too, is a viable option in the passing game.  Let’s hope he stays healthy this season, because he’s gonna be a monster in 2022.
  • Daijun Edwards.  Every time I see him run, I come away impressed with his physicality.  I think he also caught a pass or two Saturday, although I don’t remember how he did in pass pro.  A solid contributor.
  • Wide Receivers.  With all the injuries, this was a hard group to evaluate.  Still, a few things stood out.
  • Adonai Mitchell.  He was the talk of the game, no question.  He wasn’t as consistent as you’d like, but you could see where Daniels’ description of him being twitchy comes from.  He’s not as physical as, say, Jackson (or Pickens, for that matter), but as a true freshman with just a couple of months in S&C, that’s to be expected.  I also don’t think he’s 6-4, but I may be digressing there.  Is he just another G-Day flash in the pan, or will he step up in Pickens’ absence to become a significant contributor this season?
  • Kearis Jackson.  Between Pickens and Burton, sometimes it seems like Jackson gets a little lost in the shuffle, but, damn, he can play.  He didn’t have a ton of catches Saturday, but he made two in particular count.  He also gets after it with his downfield blocking.
  • Demetris Robertson.  It took him a while to get going, but he did alright.  He seemed more physical than in times past, as he demonstrated on his touchdown catch.
  • Tight ends.  Heh, heh, heh.  Monken’s gonna be calling a lot of 12 formations this year, my friends.  You already know what the returning two can do and Brock Bowers flashed on a couple of receptions, enough to make me think he’s got a real shot at being in the mix.  (By the way, doesn’t “Brock Bowers” sound like a name straight out of Boogie Nights?)
  • Offensive line.  The talent is there.  How to deploy it is the big question.  Overall, the Red team o-line struggled with the Black team d-line, which was hardly a surprise.  While the blitzing was hardly exotic, there were times when blitzers weren’t being picked up, so there are still issues with communication.  My overall feeling is that the coaches better be able to settle on a starting five sooner rather than later.  Fingers crossed in that regard.
  • Xavier Truss.  He’s better, but still not consistent enough to make me feel comfortable.  It seemed like he was on his game every time the Red team scored.  I watched him stone Nolan Smith and Adam Anderson on back to back plays on the last scoring drive of the first half.  But when he scrabbled, particularly with run blocking, things stalled.  He looked better when Salyer was flanking him at guard, for what that’s worth.  In other words, Kirby’s description of his spring was spot on.  The good news is that he’s capable of winning the starting job if he shows more consistency.  Let’s hope Luke can motivate him.
  • Tate Ratledge.  The closest thing to a surprise on the day was Ratledge getting the start on the Red team at right guard.  The results were mixed.  He struggled handling d-line pressure, particularly from Devonte Wyatt.  (Not that he was alone in that regard; Ericson and McClendon had their rough spots, too.)  But I can see one big reason why the coaches love him:  he can pull like a sumbitch.  How far that gets him remains to be seen.
  • Amarius Mims and Broderick Jones.  Together, they’re first team First To Get Off The Bus, physique-wise.  Otherwise, some good, some bad, as was to be expected.  They both struggled at times with speed rushes.  Jones did a great job blocking the safety on Milton’s TD run.  They benefited from not having to block the first team d-line, obviously.  I didn’t see either of them showing enough to take the starting left tackle spot.
  • Defensive line.  My gawd.  I can’t say enough how big a deal it was that Davis and Wyatt elected to return for another season.  But there’s plenty more behind them.  Travon Walker and Jalen Carter ain’t exactly slouches.  The Red team d-line showed out, too, Tramel Walthour, in particular.  If any of Georgia’s opponents this season are capable of running the ball successfully against that front, my hat’s off to them.
  • Outside linebacker.  Outside of the aforementioned wheel route, Nolan Smith had the kind of day you’d want to see out of a potential all-SEC player.  Adam Anderson had a quiet day, though.  For the Reds, true freshman Chaz Chambliss showed out a little.
  • Inside linebacker.  With Nakobe Dean out, there was no way to see what the final two deep will look like here, but one thing’s clear, there is plenty of speed and athleticism at the position.  Channing Tindall started strong, but seemed to fade as the game went on.  Quay Walker, on the other hand, looks like he’s becoming a keeper.  A little faster than I remember him, he was all over the field making plays.
  • Secondary.  Again, this is another position group in a state of flux.  We already know that Tykee Smith will likely grab the Star spot when he shows up in August.  I’ve already posted that I didn’t see enough to make me think even one of the three primary contenders (Kimber, Ringo and Speed) for the starting cornerback slots locked anything up.  It’s not that any of the three were total busts, but none of the three looked consistently ready, either.  Kimber looks a little slight, but he can sure run.  Ringo doesn’t look fluid at times, but played more physical than Kimber did.  Speed had a couple of solid breakups, but sort of looked like Kimber’s opposite in terms of being better defending the underneath stuff than the deep ball.  Cine and Smith are solid, of course, but they were both stretched more than I’d like by the corner play.
  • Special teams.  Not much was shown, so there’s not much to say, other than Camarda’s two punts, especially the 70-yarder, being total bombs.

Whew!  There you have it, another G-Day in the books.  There won’t be much to hear about for the next three-plus months, other than a few roster management decisions and, hopefully, some good news on the health front.  August will be here soon enough, though.

83 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Just like coach drew it up in the locker room

Well, now.

‘Nova didn’t finish the comeback, though.  Still, that makes for a pretty good memory.

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Filed under College Football

The secondary is a work in progress.

I thought this was the most telling thing Smart had to say in the presser after the G-Day game:

“I know we have a lot of wideouts. It’s going to be a really good competition come fall when we’re at 100 percent health at the wide receiver position. Because some of these guys who got all these opportunities in spring have really stepped up. And then at defensive back it doesn’t change, it’s day to day, we’ve got two safeties we feel like can play pretty good and are experienced. But at corner we’ve got to find guys that are pretty comfortable, can make plays down the field, and can make plays with their back to the wall.”

Between Mitchell showing out as a potential contributor and the likely returns of Burton and others to active duty by August, there will be plenty of options to choose from in putting the receiving corps together.  But I didn’t see the emergence of a starting cornerback Saturday and apparently Kirby didn’t either.  They’re a long way from pushing the panic button, but you sure have to hope somebody takes a step forward over the summer.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Move the damn chains, Todd.

I do love this quote from Daniels after Saturday’s scrimmage.

Among the 28 completions by Daniels were 12 checkdowns to his stable of talented running backs.

“I love throwing the ball deep, and you see that a lot,” Daniels said, “but when you have James (Cook), Zamir (White), Kendall (Milton) and all the guys we have, I think checkdowns are the most underrated and underappreciated aspect of our offense. They’re easy to throw, and it’s very, very rare that the first guy tackles any of our running backs.

“In that two-minute drive against Cincinnati, we had a pass to George (Pickens) and then four or five checkdowns in a row. It’s really just taking what the defense gives you, and we trust our running backs to make people miss them.”

Every time a Georgia quarterback is trained to say take what the defense gives you, instead of balance, an offensive coordinator gets his wings.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Musical palate cleanser, coming out of lockdown edition

Who’s that, you say?  Oh, it’s just Mick Jagger and Dave Grohl, celebrating the coming pandemic’s end, totally like you expected.

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Filed under Uncategorized