Daily Archives: April 19, 2022

All I want for Christmas is a 14 formation in the red zone.

Seth Emerson brings the schwing! today ($$).  I guarantee you won’t be able to finish his piece about the transformative potential of Georgia’s tight end-oriented offense without needing a cigarette or a cold shower.  Or both, maybe.

There’s talent…

How loaded is Georgia’s tight end from? There have been 11 tight ends over the past three years ranked among the top 150 overall recruits in their respective class, per the 247Sports Composite. Three of them now play for Georgia: Gilbert (fifth overall) in 2020, Bowers (105th in 2021) and Delp (105th in 2022). And that doesn’t include Washington, who was listed as an athlete in the 2020 class, where he was the No. 23 overall prospect.

There’s also the mad scientist/evil genius ready to deploy the talent.

There’s also a reason Todd Monken, the offensive coordinator who also has a new deal coming, is known for dynamic thinking. It was a little over a year ago, when someone asked him about getting Washington more involved, that he offered a hint of what was to come: “You’re hopeful we have enough skill players that they have to defend the whole field, and all the players on the field are capable of making plays, which is a sign of a really good offense. The best offenses have that in terms of weapons, tight ends, wideouts and running backs, which gives you the opportunity to take advantage of mismatches and make them defend the field.”

Monken’s offense has already been making liberal use of the tight ends: The Bulldogs had at least two tight ends on the field 51.7% of the time last season, the highest rate in the SEC and eighth-highest nationally. Of those plays — 492 in all — 85 of them were with three tight ends on the field, which was also the most in the SEC, and fifth-most in the nation.

It can’t be that hard to lead the country in four tight ends on the field, can it?  I mean, in for a penny, in for a pound, and all that.

Seriously, after all the shit talking we’ve heard from rival fan bases about how stodgy and unimaginative Georgia’s offense has been under Smart (not without some justification, admittedly), it’s gonna be a real treat to hear your Daily Gator whine about how difficult it is to defend Manball 2.0 this season.

29 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

A couple of follow up scrimmage impressions

I have yet to watch the complete G-Day replay, but I have to say this breakdown of key plays from the scrimmage reinforced a couple of impressions I took away from the live action.

First, I hate to talk shit, but I’m nervous about what I saw from the safeties.  Here’s the first big completion of the day:

Jackson gets turned around and Smith’s just a half step slow in his coverage.  It wouldn’t be the last time either would occur.

This was almost shocking to see.  When’s the last time you saw an opposing player bounce off a Georgia defender like that?

I have to think Smith is less than 100% healthy.  Jackson is better in run support, but he lacks top end speed and his coverage skills can be exploited by a team with sufficient receiving talent.  (To be fair, he was limited physically Saturday.)

So, yeah, color me a little concerned about the position.

On a more positive note, while I wasn’t happy with Bennett’s inconsistent play, which I thought stemmed to some extent from a lack of focus, he showed late in the scrimmage, when he brought the Black squad down the field for the winning score, what he can do when he’s engaged.  Take a look:

That was well done from start to finish.  He trusted his line to give him the time to check away from his first option and hit Gilbert in stride with a great throw over the trailing safety.

He followed that with what may have been his best throw of the day.

Again, it started with trusting the protection.  It finished with putting the ball in the only place he could have gone with it.  Roughly thirty yards downfield to the opposite sideline, that was a big time throw.

I’m not worried about Bennett.

21 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Life after Metchie and Williams

Ian Boyd just goes there.

I know everyone will say, “Georgia just did it!!!!” but the reason Georgia managed to win a title with defense, solid run game, and steady-ish quarterback play is because Alabama’s pro-style passing game (and pass defense) was taken out by injury.

It’s funny how it’s always the other guy’s injury situation that’s determinative.

If you can get past that, Ian’s piece, about whether Alabama should be the favorite to win a natty this season, is informative.  First of all, he makes a good point that it’s not all about Bryce Young, at least historically speaking.

Consider first of all the history of college football teams returning topflight quarterbacks in the 21st century. The occasions in which they won the National Championship are actually relatively rare.

Here’s the list of the quarterbacks who did win the title in the 21st century:

You can quibble with my “returning star” designations if you like but I think it’s fair to say none of the guys with “no” in that column were being hyped before the season as Championship steersmen due to their previous year’s play. There are plenty of names on the list who are famous for their play as quarterbacks, but you’ll notice on inspection that they became famous DURING their championship seasons and not before.

Within this decade in particular, you see that top returning quarterbacks very rarely won the championship. Why? Well probably for the same reason Alabama didn’t win in 2021 despite having a top quarterback. They couldn’t field healthy, NFL-caliber wide receivers in the championship game. The exceptions to the rule are all dual-threats, who didn’t necessarily need the same sort of highly-skilled supporting cast. Anyways, Young isn’t a dual-threat in the same sense of a Vince Young, Deshaun Watson, Tim Tebow, etc.

Okay, okay, we’re back to the Metchie and Williams thing again, but you know what?  Metchie and Williams ain’t showing up for this year’s championship game, either.  It remains to be seen what kind of receiving corps ‘Bama cobbles together, but nobody on their current roster managed to step up consistently in Indy except for Jermaine Burton. (Heh.)

Meanwhile, perhaps an even bigger concern is the Tide’s offensive line, which did not have a great showing on A-Day.  Here’s what Ian says about them:

… In the spring game, the Tide started the following two players at tackle:

Left tackle: Kendall Randolph, a 6-foot-4, 298 pound 6th-year senior who has previously made his name at Alabama as a jumbo tight end.

Right tackle: J.C. Latham, a 6-foot-6, 325 pound sophomore and former 5-star.

They also have former 5-stars Tommy Brockermeyer, Amari Kight, and Tyler Booker who are currently behind the two names listed above on the tackle depth chart. Now add in the following considerations:

  • Neither Randolph nor Latham can block Will Anderson at all. This is no major sin, most tackles aren’t great against Anderson, but it’s a concerning data point for a position that already circumstantially appears to be an issue. Especially if you watch closely to see how they looked trying to block Anderson and others. Neither of these guys are All-SEC caliber tackles right now.
  • Alabama had Kyle Flood coaching the O-line in 2020, Doug Marrone did it in 2021, and now Eric Wofford has the job. Flood was there in 2019-20, before that Brent Key had the job for three consecutive seasons and before him was Mario Cristobal for a three-year stretch. Turnover is normal but this is pretty significant to have three guys in three years overseeing the most development-intensive positions in football.
  • Tyler Steen was available for a reason. Despite serving as a multi-year starter for Vanderbilt, he was never All-SEC and a review of his film does not reveal an athlete who’s going to be a star left tackle for a National Championship contender.

Even PFF, which has Alabama number one in its preseason top 25, has reservations about that o-line group.

The only thing in the way of this team avenging their 2021 national title loss is the offensive line. Left tackle Evan Neal was the only offensive lineman on the Tide’s roster in 2021 who earned a 70.0-plus single-season pass-blocking grade, and he’s now off to the NFL. In replacement, Alabama brought in Vanderbilt transfer Tyler Steen, but he has yet to crack a 70.0 pass-blocking grade in three years playing in the collegiate ranks.

That they’re excited about Steen says more about the current state of their o-line than you’d typically expect to hear from ‘Bama quarters.

So, to summarize…

Alabama’s National Championship setup on offense was in 2021 (or 2020, obviously) when they had a high draft pick at left tackle, two NFL wide receivers, several experienced role players, and then the star quarterback. They’re going into 2022 without established star receivers or any particularly good offensive tackles.

Can Saban make that work?  He’s the GOAT, alright, so I’d be crazy to discount the possibility, but I’m not seeing it as a slam dunk.  Has he ever won a natty with a downright mediocre offensive line?

45 Comments

Filed under Alabama

To the transfer portal, lads!

It’s roster management season, peeps.

The Georgia Bulldogs signed 24 players in the 2022 class during the Early Signing Period and added five more in February. By our best calculations, the 29 signatures would put Georgia at 90 scholarship players on the 2022 roster. That number could be lower, as it is possible some of the incoming class are not on scholarship in their initial year or they utilized one of two forward counters on signees instead of transfers. Unlike last year, seniors who decide to take advantage of the COVID-19 waiver for a super senior season will count toward the 85 scholarship limit. Again, this number is expected to fluctuate over the coming months with transfers in and out of the program.

That’s with Mims back in the fold.  Assuming that there are a few transfer players out there the staff would like to bring in — the whispers I’ve heard are there may be three or so — some current hounds are going to have to be unleashed.

The funny thing as you go through the roster breakdown in the linked article is that there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of fluff there.  Should make for an interesting next couple of months.

***************************************************************************

UPDATE:  And so it begins.

39 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Transfers Are For Coaches.

The ring’s the thing.

Okay, they’re gaudy.  Yes, they tend to be over the top, with too much information.  (Do we really need to be reminded about 1980 again?)

But when it’s my team that’s got one to celebrate, they’re beautiful.

11 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stylin'