These anonymous takes from eight coaches and team staffers who have either seen tape or been in games against Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and/or Ole Miss start off reading like some of the best rat poison/Dawg porn you’ve ever seen.
“They’re impressive up front, to say the least,” an SEC personnel staffer said. “Jordan Davis looks like he was created in a lab somewhere. Adam Anderson and guys like Quay Walker — when it comes to pass-rush ability, they’re elite. They’re really good players. Their secondary, I’d say it’s above average. They don’t have a whole bunch of first-round draft picks back there right now to my knowledge, but they’re good players.”
“They’ve got, no lie, like four edge rushers and they’ve got like six interior d-linemen they can put in there,” an SEC defensive coach said. “Those dudes are freaks. ‘99’ (Davis) gets a lot of hype and he’s good, but ‘95’ (Devonte Wyatt) and ‘88’ (Jalen Carter) — ‘88’s going to be special. He was my favorite player in 2020 out of all the defensive players in the country (in that recruiting class). That kid can play football, man. He’s playing real good. ‘95’s playing real good, too. He doesn’t look as imposing as ‘99’ and ‘88,’ but he probably makes the most plays out of the interior d-linemen. And then, of course, they’ve got those edge rushers, and Nakobe Dean’s playing really good.”
“I’d be very surprised if they won,” an SEC team official said of Arkansas. “I just think Georgia’s too talented. I just think it’s not even close, especially on defense. I think Georgia’s defense will just suffocate them. And Arkansas has kind of had a gauntlet, too. They had to play a full game versus Texas even though they won handily, and then had to play a full game versus A&M. Georgia’s going to be fresh. They’re going to be ready to go. They haven’t had to play a full game other than the Clemson game. I would be surprised if it’s close.”
“It wouldn’t surprise me if Georgia beat them 37-17 or something like that,” another SEC staffer said. “I think if Arkansas and Ole Miss played right now that Ole Miss would beat ’em. Arkansas’ going to lose in my opinion — based off personnel, they’ll lose to Georgia, they’ll lose to Ole Miss, they’ll lose to Alabama, and they may drop one more. I still think Arkansas is far from being an SEC West contender.”
But that’s just the defense. Things seem to kind of defuse when the conversation turns to the other side of the ball.
“Arkansas has a really good front,” an SEC personnel figure said. “They do the ‘rush three and drop eight,’ and they can get pressure with three. And I think Georgia has a good o-line, but it’s not what you’re used to in the Kirby Smart era with the o-line at Georgia. I think their o-line is good. It’s not first-rounders and draft picks everywhere like they’ve had in the past. If they can get into some man-coverage situations, the receivers at Georgia can win, but Arkansas does a good job of understanding zone coverage and baiting you into throws. But I would say the Georgia o-line versus the Arkansas d-line would be a matchup that Arkansas has a little bit of an advantage.”
… As for Georgia, the offensive line isn’t the only aspect of the Bulldogs’ offense that opposing SEC staffers described as being solid but not elite. Wide receiver is another.
“The big knock I would say on them is that they don’t have anybody in that receiver room that’s super scary to me,” a personnel official said.
And there are at least some around the conference who put QB J.T. Daniels in that same “solid but not elite” category.
Okay. Tell me more.
“One of the biggest question marks with Georgia is at quarterback,” a personnel figure said. “Daniels has shown that he’s good enough at times. But how good is he? And can he win the game if they need him to win a game?”
JT is 7-0 as a starter at Georgia. They’ve never needed him to win a game in all that time? If that’s the case, here’s hoping the streak continues.