Daily Archives: September 28, 2021


Find you somebody to love as much as the folks at Roll ‘Bama Roll love ranking Georgia no better than third in the country.

Usual caveats: The criteria are nebulous, far-ranging, and capricious — strength of schedule, bad and good coaching, injuries, exigent circumstances, home/away results, defense or lack thereof, offense or lack thereof, line play, power poll-ishness, can you cover a spread (Vegas is pretty smart about how good a team is), head-to-head where possible or prudent, and my own lying eyeballs.

At least they’re consistent.



Filed under Georgia Football, The Blogosphere

Today, in fun stats

Somebody just posted a comment that made me look this up.

Did you know that, through four games, there is only one team in the country that hasn’t allowed a red zone conversion for a touchdown?  Of course, when you’ve only allowed four red zone conversion attempts all season (also first nationally), the odds are more in your favor for doing that.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Third Arky thoughts

I ain’t got nothin’ but love for Sam Pittman.  As a Georgia fan, how can you not?  He’s just a good guy and he was a great assistant coach in Athens as Kirby Smart built his program.

He’s also turned out to be a helluva head coach.  That Brian Fremeau tweet I posted this morning about Georgia’s net ypp?  Arkansas is fourth on that list, with a 3.16 net ypp in non-garbage time play.  That is a well coached team, in other words.  No, the Hogs don’t approach the Dawgs in the talent and depth department — something that might be exacerbated in Arkansas’ first road game of the season — but this team is no slouch.  They’ve earned their 4-0 record and top ten standing.

And, to be honest with you, there is one intangible that concerns me.  Sam Pittman is playing with house money right now.  Nobody expected Arkansas to be in as lofty a position after four games as they are now, just like nobody is expecting them to run through their current four-game gauntlet (TAMU, Georgia, Ole Miss and Auburn) unscathed.  A loss on Saturday isn’t going to be anywhere near the end of the world for Pittman and his team.  That makes them dangerous.

A well coached team throwing out everything but the kitchen sink to pull off an upset is a little scary.  Especially with a noon start.  I expect Kirby will have his team ready to go.  He’d better.


Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Georgia Football

Second Arky thoughts: when the Hogs have the ball

As a passer, KJ Jefferson is having one weird looking statistical season, folks.

Let me tell you, it’s not easy to crack a 200+ passer rating when you don’t complete 50% of your pass attempts.  His best completion percentage of the season came against Texas, but other than that, he was decidedly mediocre then.  However, it didn’t matter because Arkansas destroyed the ‘Horns on the ground with 333 rushing yards.

He’s at his best throwing the deep ball and he’s got one of the best receivers in the conference in Treylon Burks to throw to.  Burks was a handful against TAMU’s very good secondary and I expect no less this week, especially after seeing South Carolina’s Josh Vann’s success against Georgia in that regard.

Jefferson has been terrific as a running quarterback so far, which should concern Georgia fans almost as much as it does Dan Lanning.  He’s gained 230 yards on 32 attempts (7.19 yards per carry) and is a real key to what Arkansas does in their run game, which is the Briles spread-power run game.  Arkansas bogged down offensively after he was injured in the TAMU game.  He did come back at the end — among other qualities, the kid is a real gamer — but it will be worth watching that come Saturday.

Make no mistake about it, Arkansas wants to run the damned ball.  Their run-pass ratio is 47/21, which should be no surprise for a Pittman-coached bunch.  That should make for a fascinating challenge for the conference’s best run defense.

I would expect that Georgia on defense is going to take a similar approach to the Hogs that Odom wants to take on the other side:  conservative.  Keep everything in front of them, force Jefferson to rely on a short passing game, and focus on preventing Jefferson’s legs from doing much damage.

In short, win the line of scrimmage and this game should take care of itself.  Just like every other week.


Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Georgia Football

First Arky thoughts: when Georgia has the ball

I get what you’re trying to say there, Kirbs, but with all due respect and with one significant exception, it kinda is.  Same head coach, same defensive coordinator, same defensive scheme.  The back eight — keep that number in mind — is full of familiar faces, including a bunch of super seniors who got a new, COVID-related lease on their college careers.

The significant exception is the defensive line, which is all new from a personnel standpoint, as Pittman went shopping in the transfer portal and brought in two linemen from Missouri (which explains both Arky’s improvement against the run and Mizzou’s decline in that department) and one from Illinois State.  And let me tell you, those three ripped TAMU’s o-line a new asshole last weekend.

So, let’s stop there for a minute.  Forget the scheme; if you can dominate the line of scrimmage with three defensive linemen, you can conquer the world.  Making sure that doesn’t happen this Saturday is Matt Luke’s Job One.

Okay, back to scheme for a minute.  If you’ve heard any punditry chatter in the past couple of days, you’ve heard all sorts of odes to Barry Odom’s scheme, like this from Matt Hayes:

What better way for Arkansas to continue a magical season than doing what it does best: finding a way to run on Georgia (no one has), and confusing the Georgia passing game with defensive coordinator Barry Odom’s patient yet effective umbrella defenses.

It’s a 3-2-6 zone arrangement that counts on the defense keeping their collective eyes on the quarterback, keeping everything in front of them and shooting a defensive back at the quarterback when the timing is right or the QB rolls out of the pocket.  It was certainly effective against Texas A&M’s rookie quarterback, who looked like an inexperienced deer caught in the headlights.  In his defense, he played behind a makeshift offensive line.  His head coach’s play calling didn’t do him a lot of favors, either.

Now is when it’s worth mentioning that Arkansas isn’t playing the Aggies this week.  JT Daniels isn’t Zach Calzada.  He’s an experienced quarterback who knows how to deal with zone defenses.  His offensive line isn’t nearly as banged up as TAMU’s was.  (One thing that didn’t get much attention from that game was how Fisher was forced to keep his stud tight end in to block much of the game because of how shaky the o-line was.)

He’s also got some weapons at his disposal that Calzada didn’t have.  Start with Brock Bowers:

The Razorbacks’ defense is a nightmare for quarterbacks, who almost always have to check down to receivers underneath coverage because of coordinator Barry Odom’s propensity to place six defensive backs on the field. Bowers might not only be a strong safety valve for the Bulldogs’ offense, he’s also the toughest skill-player matchup the Razorbacks have faced this season. He could be the key for Georgia’s offense cracking that top-15 defense this week in Athens.

With Washington’s return, along with Fitzpatrick, I expect Georgia to live in 12 formation for the Arkansas game.  I also expect to see Daniels make a living out of backs leaking out to catch the ball in space vacated when Odom elects to shoot a DB to put pressure on him.

Another thing I expect that doesn’t involve Daniels is Monken is going to exploit the Hogs’ relative lack of speed at linebacker with a lot of outside runs.  There are lots of things he can call to force Odom to close that umbrella, so to speak.

If I sound a little confident, it’s only because that’s what Monken was able to do last year with Stetson Bennett at quarterback in his first game last season.  Georgia wasn’t great running the ball, but Stetson picked the Arky defense apart, going 20-29 for 211 yards and 2 TDs, forcing Odom to change his coverages.  It’s hard to think Daniels can’t improve upon that, as long as the offensive line does its job.


Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Georgia Football

About that noon start

A couple of really good points from Seth Emerson:

In other words, we fans may not like it, but ESPN loves it.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football

A few words of punditry praise

A couple of things to share from the national media about the Dawgs…

From Brandon Marcello:

In a year we all expected Arik Gilbert to break out as Georgia’s best tight end and receiving option (personal issues have sidelined him), another talented freshman has instead blossomed into a superstar: Brock Bowers. I’m here to say he’s also the nation’s best tight end and soon the country will take notice with high-quality matchups on the horizon.

He’s not necessarily as dynamic as the hybrid receiver/tight ends like Kyle Pitts of last season, but Bowers is every bit as dangerous in the red zone. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Bowers leads the Bulldogs with 18 catches for 272 yards and four touchdowns, earning him the nation’s fourth-best offensive grade among tight ends, according to Pro Football Focus.

… Bowers is averaging 9.6 yards after the catch, a dangerous stat for a tight end capable of streaking down field and also playing the atypical role as a pass catcher in front of linebackers. Bowers signed with Georgia as the nation’s No. 3 tight end, according to the 247Sports Composite, but the true freshman has proven to be the best in the country, regardless of classification.

High praise, indeed.

Then there’s this note from Pat Forde:

The Kirby Smart coaching tree (2). Not only is Smart’s Georgia team undefeated, but two of his former assistant coaches are 4–0 and leading renaissances at Power 5 programs. Sam Pittman, who coached the offensive line under Smart at Georgia from 2016 to ’19, has Arkansas rolling. The Razorbacks have recorded double-digit victories over Texas and Texas A&M—games that will resonate in recruiting in the Lone Star State—and Pittman is an early leader for national Coach of the Year. Among those in contention for that award with Pittman is the guy who coordinated Georgia’s defense from ’16 to ’18, Mel Tucker. His second Michigan State team is 2–0 in the Big Ten and has three wins over Power 5 competition after a dramatic overtime victory over Nebraska on Saturday.

Hey, it’s not a biggie, but it sure beats hearing about how Kirby handles the quarterback position.


Filed under Georgia Football

Observations from the armchair, silent Admiral edition

This is going to be a truncated Observation, because, let’s face it, a chunk of Bulldog Nation switched this bad boy off after the first quarter.  And, really, by taking Daniels and Davis out then, too, Kirby was sort of doing that as well.

Anyway, bullet points:

  • There may be work left to be done on the o-line with regard to run blocking, but pass pro Saturday was otherworldly.  The amount of time Stetson had on some places was beyond ridiculous.  I’m glad they got Jones extended time at left tackle, some with Salyer moving to left guard, but Jones still has a ways to go in the consistency department.  Mims played pretty well at right tackle.  Guard play, especially Shaffer’s, was improved.
  • I don’t think enough has been said (which, I admit, is saying something) about how big it’s been for the three freshman receivers, Bowers, McConkey and Mitchell, to step up and fill in for a decimated receiving corps.  It’s not just that they’ve filled the breach; their improvement week over week has been outstanding.  (Between youth and Daniels’ injury, it’s getting easier to understand why the offense was so constipated in the Clemson game.)  All three of them are ahead of expectations — at least mine — going into the season, which is a tribute to their talent and their coaching.
  • This offense is going to be hell on wheels when all the skill position talent gets back.
  • Running back play was dependable and efficient, rather than explosive.  There was only one running play of more than 20 yards, and that was McConkey’s end around.  But Georgia managed almost 250 rushing yards when the dust settled.
  • The next time Georgia runs a short yardage play, may I suggest they run it with Daijun Edwards?
  • Speaking of efficient, that was some quarter of work from JT Daniels:  9 of 10 throwing (and the one incompletion was a drop), 12.9 ypa, 2 TDs.  More than that (if that’s even possible), he was in complete command of his game.  He knew where he was going from the snap, his throws were perfectly placed — again, that TD pass to McConkey was unbelievable — and his mechanics are so much better than they were last year, it’s not even funny.
  • If Stetson could get over that one annoying tendency to force at least one pass per game, he’d be the perfect backup.  Outside of the pick, he played a good game.  That being said, it’s clear he’s the number two, as Beck wasn’t given much of an opportunity to run the playbook
  • Defensively, Jalen Carter had himself a game, didn’t he?  Total beast.
  • It’s kind of hard to show out when Vandy only ran 46 plays and the bench was emptied early, so I can’t say there were a lot of individual players who stood out, but when you also hold an opponent to 77 yards of offense, the work was being put in.  The one defender I do want to mention is Kelee Ringo, who played well in his first start, with a couple of nice passes defended.
  • If there’s one tiny nitpick to make about the defense, it’s that it took a little time for them to adjust to a running quarterback, but adjust they did.  Overall, Vandy only managed four first downs and was an abysmal 2-13 on their third down conversions.
  • Okay, a second tiny nitpick:  this was the first game of the season without a defensive score.  But, with the shutout, the defense is still outscoring opposing offenses on the year.
  • Special teams didn’t screw anything up and forced a key fumble on a kickoff that led to a short field touchdown.  I’ll take it.
  • It’s kind of fun to watch Monken screw with opposing defensive coordinators.  Did you catch the shift that emptied the backfield and put everyone on the line of scrimmage, forcing Vandy to call a timeout because they couldn’t figure out how to line up on defense?
  • Nothing much exotic from Lanning, because sometimes it really is all about the Jimmies and Joes.
  • Kirby did a good job getting the troops ready.  Not always an easy thing when you’ve got a noon kickoff against a bad opponent.

Really, there’s not a lot more to be said.  Onward and upward to an Arkansas team that’s feeling awfully good about itself right now.


Filed under Georgia Football

Mo’ league, mo’ games

Kirby Smart has one more thing in common with Nick Saban.

On future SEC scheduling with the upcoming expansion…

“I think the conference expanding is going to allow us more opportunities to play more teams. It’s going to depend on what format the presidents and Commissioner Sankey decide to go with, but that’s the least of my concerns right now, I promise you that. I don’t know what they plan to do. I’m certainly in favor of being able to play more SEC games because it’s good for the league.”

Now, if only the conference decision makers will listen to their two top coaches and do the right thing.  Because no matter how you try to jigger it, playing an eight-team conference schedule with sixteen SEC teams is going to suck.


Filed under SEC Football

Sky high

Is this good?  I think this is good.

Brian runs his stats after he eliminates everything in garbage time, so if you think about how the South Carolina game played out, that’s why his net ypp number is higher than mine.

In any event, Georgia’s been pretty friggin’ dominant all season is the message here.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!