UPDATE: Upon further review, I don’t think Monken was conceding anything about where Salyer plays.
We have (Justin) Shaffer who comes back as a returning starter and Jamaree (Salyer). Then you’ve got Warren McClendon and yet you’ve got a good number of talented young guys who are pushing those guys. So really, in terms of the depth chart, it’s a work in progress. I do anticipate a good number of guys working with the ones and the twos. You’re talking about on the left side, we’re looking at Amarius (Mims) and Xavier Truss as well. [Emphasis added.]
Interestingly, the Big Ten now sports a higher collective SP+ average than does the SEC. Here’s why:
The Big Ten ekes out the advantage over the SEC, in part because of how little SP+ thinks of the SEC East. Georgia and Florida are each in the top 12 overall, but no other East team ranks in the top 40, and two rank outside of the top 80. The Big Ten’s bottom teams grade out just better enough to give it the edge. (The SEC still has Bama, though. That’s an edge, too.)
Before you ask, yes, the ACC is significantly worse. But not Clemson, unfortunately.
As the header indicates, Clemson’s scheme doesn’t rely on having an overwhelming line group.
Fortunately for them, the offensive system they run does not require elite offensive play to be successful. Misdirection is a hallmark of Clemson’s run blocking schemes, and it allows them to create better angles for their offensive line to block the first and second-level defenders and wider running lanes for their backs.
The author thinks the matchups favor Georgia, but not across the board.
Overall, Georgia’s defensive front matches up well against Clemson’s offensive line. On the perimeter, Nolan Smith and Adam Anderson will be facing one of the best matchups of their careers, Smith in particular. Smith’s greatest weakness is his length, and at times, he has struggled against offensive linemen that can use their long arms to keep him out of their bodies. Clemson’s left tackle does not have the length to make that a factor.
However, the best matchup for Georgia is along the interior offensive line. The best unit on the Georgia defense is the interior defensive line. Stars Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt both returned for their final season for the Dawgs and are also joined by sophomore Jalen Carter, who is poised for a breakout season following a solid freshman campaign. They will be facing the weakest link along the Clemson offensive line and should be able to wreak havoc in the middle of the field. This mismatch should disrupt the timing of the Clemson offense and create pressure for Clemson’s first-year starter at QB, D.J. Uiagalelei.
Eh, maybe. I think the bigger issue is whether Clemson can generate enough on the ground to keep from being one-dimensional. If the Tigers can, Uiagalelei should be okay.
In a clip that echoes many of the same points Brent Rollins made (which makes sense, since he asks pretty much the same question as in the header) Graham and Josh look at what Notre Dame and Ohio State did last season to exploit the Clemson defense. It’s worth watching, because they post successful plays from both losses.
I do want to temper any sense of unbridled enthusiasm you may get watching that with a couple of considerations. One, we’re all drooling over what Monken is going to be able to do with his tight end room, but it’s worth remembering that his top three players at the position (I’m not including Gilbert, since he’ll be used as more of a flex option) have a whopping total of seventeen catches between them. We’re counting on potential a lot more than production at the moment. That may work out, but who knows for now?
Two, I don’t think Ohio State’s offensive line has gotten the credit it deserves from that game. They didn’t just hold their own against Clemson’s defensive line; they pretty much won in the trenches all night. I know I’m repeating myself here, but if we get the same production in the opener that the Buckeyes did, I think you can pretty much ignore the rest of the fine points, because, barring some unfortunate, diarrhetic attack of turnovers, the Dawgs are winning that game.
What gives me the most grounds for optimism, though, is Todd Monken, who’s been through the wars on both the collegiate and professional levels. I don’t see him being spooked by Venables. He’ll have his charges ready. It’ll be up to them to execute the game plan.
“You’re going to run into the occasional weirdo,” graduate transfer defensive tackle Antonio Valentino said. “That’s just always like, ‘Bro, what’s the point of being negative on the Internet?’ I find comfort in the fact that you probably wouldn’t say that to me in person. It’s OK. You do what you want to do, I’m going to do what I want to do.”
Valentino’s approach seems to be a healthy one. It’s not one that comes by default, though perhaps it might in the years to come…
“I think it all just depends on how you use it,” Valentino said. “It just depends on like, ‘Bro, we’ve got to understand this is the Internet.’ I get on the Internet to have fun and look at stupid stuff and laugh and send memes to my friends and stuff like that.”
But the sheer exposure to social media platforms can also take a toll if they’re not careful. Knowing that you’re constantly in the limelight is key.
“We talk to the guys all the time,” Turner said. “You’re out in public you’ve got video, you’ve got cameras. You never know who’s videoing you. You’ve got all these social media outlets which give people a chance to express their opinions. So you can’t get caught up in it.
“If you’re living through social media, that’s a bad idea because now you’re letting other people shape your ideas, shape your personality. If you listen to that and constantly looking at that stuff, at some point it will affect you. It’s another thing of what I call outside noise. You know, people listen, guys listening to people outside the building.”
“And Georgia fans, don’t be turds. Enjoy this. Soak it up. It’s awesome. If you don’t win this year, it’s still not a failure. It’s a heck of a run. Back-to-back in the Playoff era hasn’t been done. So, to ask for a third I feel like it’s gluttonous. I feel like it’s not OK. But we’ll be in the mix.”-- David Pollack, On3.com, 5/9/23
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