Daily Archives: January 12, 2022

Show your ass? At Georgia Tech, you can do that!

Gotta give the Stingtalk crew credit.  I knew, given time, those little pointy brains could come up with some sort of rationalization to explain away a Georgia national championship.  I mean, if there’s a bunch that’s got plenty of experience rationalizing, it’s those folks.  Anyway, they didn’t disappoint with this:

A First Class Natty Is When You Win Your Conference … Then The Title Game.”

Bless their hearts.  Not that they’re likely to have any first-hand experience with that during my lifetime.

93 Comments

Filed under Georgia Tech Football

Montana buckles under the weight.

Boy, it didn’t take long for a Georgia fan to ask Stewart Mandel ($$) that question.  You know the question I’m talking about.

Will UGA finally get some respect from fans in Montana? — Timothy M., Atlanta

I can’t even tell you how beautifully poetic the timing of Georgia’s national championship is — almost exactly 15 years after I first ticked off the Bulldog blogosphere by suggesting random fans in Montana wouldn’t recognize their helmet, and just in time for my once-every-five-years update to the Program Pecking Order.

I’ll be publishing the next installment very soon. Spoiler alert: Yes, Georgia, you are now kings.

When they finish listing Kirby Smart’s accomplishments as a head coach, they’ll have to add that to his resume.

51 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

All things must pass.

Yes, it’s a little churlish of me, but I find myself irritated that the general public, or, perhaps more accurately, the pundit class, is ready to move on from vibes of the national championship that I’m still wrapping myself in like a comfortable blanket to start talking about important things, like way-too-early 2022 top 25 lists and Heisman Trophy contenders.

That being said, there is one immediate, post-game development that legitimately falls into the life comes out you fast category.

It’s roster management season.

Georgia’s well-stocked quarterback room this season consisted of Bennett, five-star Southern California graduate transfer JT Daniels, Carson Beck and five-star freshman Brock Vandagriff, and it’s hard to imagine that quartet returning intact. Ditto for the running back quintet of Zamir White, James Cook, Kenny McIntosh, Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards, though each has eligibility remaining with the NCAA one-time rule.

Inside linebacker Nakobe Dean, cornerback Derion Kendrick and defensive linemen Jordan Davis and Travon Walker still have remaining eligibility as well but are expected to move toward the 2022 NFL draft, so Smart has a busy few weeks ahead and is well aware of that.

“We’ll probably have a few kids go into the portal who we’ve had discussions with who held that off out of respect for the team,” Smart said. “We’ll have that, and everybody will think that’s a terrible thing, but in some cases it’s actually a good opportunity for kids. We’ve got 16 or 17 midyears who have enrolled, and we’ve got to finish off this class.

“We don’t know how many spots we have, because we don’t know what some guys are doing, like Lewis and other guys, but there’s a lot of work to be done.”

Ameer Speed and Jaylen Johnson announced their decision to enter the transfer portal yesterday and it’s likely that Smart already knows more about how many spots he has to work with than he’s letting on.  Also, remember that the NCAA is giving programs a mulligan this year with regard to rosters, allowing teams to replace up to transfers with additional signees in their 2022 signing classes.

Right now, there are two basic truths in college football personnel:  kids are gonna transfer and some programs are going to do a much better job managing their rosters in the wake of that than others.  While you can’t control the former, I have no doubt that Georgia will be on the right side of the latter.

84 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Transfers Are For Coaches.

Kirby did it his way.

The only sour note for me during a truly memorable night was the asshole Georgia fan sitting behind me.  (He may have been drunk and obnoxious, but it didn’t make him finer.)  Ten years ago, he would have been sitting in the Sanford Stadium stands, railing about Bobo after every play that didn’t result in a touchdown.  Monday night, it was about constantly giving Monken advice — Georgia should run the damned ball, throw the ball to Bowers or throw the ball to Pickens on every play, depending on the result — and about how Georgia was destined to lose because Stetson Bennett was not national championship material.

The obnoxious part was easy to discern.  The drunk part?  Well, buddy, when you feel it’s important to repeat the exact same point six times in a row, despite the fact that everyone around you, including your wife, is trying their damnedest not to become involved in the conversation, it’s a pretty good clue you’ve loosened your sensibilities with the devil’s beverage.

I mention this, not because he was right —  mercifully, Bennett’s touchdown pass to Mitchell shut him up for the rest of the night — but because it reflected a similar talking point sober fans were making here at the blog during the time between the SECCG and Monday night.  Georgia wouldn’t win the rematch, hell, couldn’t win the rematch, because Kirby didn’t build his team the way Nick Saban built his.

While the building part of that is true, it missed the larger point I went out of my way to make several times here; namely, that Bennett was fine for Smart’s and Georgia’s purposes as long as he wasn’t asked to do the one thing he wasn’t really good at, chasing an opponent with an explosive offense.  Georgia was going to have to win with defense and Bennett playing within himself.  As Matt Hinton put it before the game,

Smart has made some concessions to the spread revolution but never embraced the premise quite as fully as his old mentor. The Bulldogs’ insistence on sticking with Bennett behind center when most of the outside world expected his run as QB1 to be temporary was implicitly a bet that the defense would render the question academic. If they succeed in making a blue-chip, NFL-ready superstar look ordinary enough to win with a former walk-on on the sport’s biggest stage, it will be a landmark victory for the counter-revolution. Can defense still win championships in college football? We’re about to find out.

So we did.  It turned out to be the SECCG that was Georgia’s outlier, not the body of work from the other twelve games.  Imagine that.

You can find all sorts of takes on what the key to the game was, but for my money, the biggest of them all was that Georgia never found itself down by more than one score.  Yes, Bennett was shaky to start the game out, but he never found himself in a situation where he had to operate outside his margin of error.  He managed to regroup after his questionable fumble, when Georgia was still only five points behind, with the great throw to, and even better catch by, Mitchell.  But even there, he took a shot on a free play due to the ‘Bama offsides penalty.  He didn’t force a throw because he felt like he had to be the hero, and that’s because he was never forced to play hero.

In other words, the defense allowed Bennett to stay within himself when it counted.  Just like Kirby drew it up.

151 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

My, how the strategery turntables have turned

December 9, 2021:

Q. This is for Coach Saban and Jordan: What did you guys do to really fluster Stetson Bennett tonight and obviously force him into a couple of huge mistakes?

JORDAN BATTLE: I think the main thing in this game was our disguises. We put in a lot of disguises this week. That was the big thing. Just have his eyes wandering around before the play. I think we did a good job on the back end and linebackers stemming and disguising. So I think that was a big part of the game.

NICK SABAN: I think that you try to change the picture as much as you can and make the quarterback try to make decisions after he gets the ball in his hand. Stetson Bennett to me is very instinctive, very good player. If he knows what the picture is — and I couple times tonight when he knew what the picture was, that’s when he made plays, and several big plays.

So I think us changing the picture on him a little bit helped. We have to play the ball better in the deep part of the field. We’ve had a couple of those the last couple of weeks that are things that we need to do better, but all in all, I think that was probably the one thing that helped it the most.

Pass rush always helps you. If you get good pass rush. We affected him in the pocket. He scrambled some, which is — you hate, but you’re also affecting a guy when you do that because you’re not throwing the ball on time.

January 10, 2022 ($$):

“I think that they switched up some stuff, had different tendencies,” Young said. “And I have to process that faster, just make the right play for the team better than I did tonight. So they changed some things, and I wasn’t able to execute.”

Alabama ran a stunning 85 plays Monday night.  That was the highest number of plays Georgia had to defend all season.  Bryce Young, the Heisman Trophy winner, put the ball in the air 57 times.  No other offense had attempted more than 48 passes against Georgia’s defense this season.  On paper, you’d think that would have been a disaster for the Dawgs, but Young finished with his second worst passer rating of the season.  Sure, the two picks were a factor in that, but the bigger deal was only averaging 6.5 yards per attempt.

Georgia made Young work for everything.  In the end, that worked for Georgia.

50 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Listen up!

In case you need it (and you know you do), Josh has done his usual service to Dawgnation posting the natty synced to the Georgia radio broadcast for your enjoyment.

27 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Another cannon shot

Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, the Gamecock fan with outsized expectations is back, baby.

The day after Georgia wins the championship Carolina “fans” are out in force writing off our chances vs them for the next century. It’s bad enough so many have retreated to the hen house to lay eggs instead of strutting around the barnyard crowing. Did they stop teaching South Carolina history in school here? Has the entire next generation descended from Northeast transplants? (that’s as kind as I can put it).

When have we not been outnumbered? When have we not been the underdog? When did everyone believe in us and no-one doubt us? Where are the descendants of those that stood tall at Fort Moultrie? Does Marion’s sacrifice not continue today? Where are the men of Cowpens and King’s Mountain and don’t give me any crap about Camden as Gates was a British Yankee. Where are men with the courage of Pickens and Moultrie? Do we no longer posses the spirit of Travis or Bonham? Would the Alamo have even been an event and Texas a Republic without Travis and his stand against overwhelming odds? Did the men under Hampton, Kershaw, Gregg and Longstreet surrender before the fight? Hell no!

Alright!  Who’s with him?

36 Comments

Filed under 'Cock Envy

Saving his best for last

Okay, I’m not about to tell you Monday night was Todd Monken at his best at Georgia.  ‘Bama had done an excellent job prepping for what he was throwing at them and the Dawgs offense struggled to move the ball much of the game.

But this may have been his best call of the season:

The broadcast didn’t do the way Alabama’s defense was totally fooled on that play justice.  Live, it was utterly clear that they bit on the runner first and Bennett keeping the ball second.  Rosemy-Jacksaint’s block was great, but I think Bowers makes it in no matter what.

Just a brilliant play call and design there.

59 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

TFW your coaching tree bears fruit

Say what you will, Nick Saban was gracious in defeat.

“But I love Kirby. I think Kirby has a lot of respect for us. He did a great job for us for a long time. If we had to lose a national championship, I’d rather lose one to one of the former assistants who certainly did a great job for us and has done a great job for his program and his team.

“If any team deserves — they deserve it. They played great all year. We were the only team to beat them in the SEC Championship game. And we just couldn’t finish the game tonight like we wanted to.

“But I think Kirby has done a really really good job there. I congratulated him on the win. I’m really proud of him. And I’m proud of the way he’s been able to coach his team and the consistency that they’ve played with all year.”

29 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules

Coach 30 wins a natty.

Come for the first minute of ‘Bama mockery; stay for the final thirty seconds.

That’s the way to finish a college football season, Coach.

18 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football