Daily Archives: August 2, 2022

Rolling into August with questions

With Georgia’s fall camp nearly upon us — isn’t “fall camp” one of college football’s great anachronisms, by the way? — Graham Coffey has three questions:

  • 1. Who will play Guard?
  • 2. Which WR’s are healthy?
  • 3. Who will start in the secondary?

All are good ones, although I admit number two concerns me a little less than do the other two, at least for now, mainly because with that tight end room, I’m not that worried about Todd Monken cobbling together a viable passing attack.

With regard to issue number one, the problem there starts with injuries and recoveries.

Georgia’s offensive line room is filled with talent. Tate Ratledge was by far Georgia’s best Guard during fall camp last year, but his lisfranc injury on the season’s first series ended his year before it ever started.

Is Ratledge fully healthy? Kirby Smart has said they will be careful with Ratledge as he returns to full speed drills and taking contact. Will he be ready in time for Georgia’s opener against Oregon?

I have no idea about that, but Ratledge’s pulling ability made a real impression on me in the one G-Day game he appeared in.  If he’s healthy, he starts.  It’s that simple.

Warren Ericson, though not Ratledge’s equal, did start a number of games last season, despite playing injured.  Where does he fit in?

Graham mentions a couple of other candidates.

Devin Willock’s 6’7” 355 pound frame is tantalizing. He has been the buzz of practices for a couple of years now and can really move folks in the run game. He played 87 snaps for Georgia last year and he had some nice moments as a run blocker. Is his pass blocking ability polished enough for him to take on a starting role this year? On G-Day he got a lot of work against the first team defensive line and performed admirably. Still, there were times where he had trouble with Georgia’s very athletic lineman.

The other leading candidate appears to be Xavier Truss. He was the choice to replace Warren Ericson at RG last year when he was injured against Tennessee. After a couple series he settled in, and the big man started opening some impressive holes in the second half in Knoxville. He allowed one pressure on 64 snaps and showed he could be relied upon in a pinch.

I have a hard time thinking either supplants the first two, if both are fully recovered, but that’s what the next four weeks are for.

As far as the secondary goes, you can certainly pencil in two spots with Ringo and Smith, but from there, it’s a bit murky at present.  One reason for that being another injury/recovery situation:

Tykee Smith transferred into UGA before last season after being PFF’s highest rated slot defender in all of college football. He is an excellent blitzer and has fantastic coverage skills, but injuries derailed his 2021 season. In two years at West Virginia he produced 54 “stop plays” (A stop play is when an offense fails to gain half the yards needed for a first down on 1st or 2nd down and fails to gain a first down on 3rd down).

He only played 7 snaps for Georgia last year. 6 were at Star and 1 at Free Safety. If he is healthy where does he play? What about Javon Bullard? He flashed some impressive speed in the spring game and picked off Stetson Bennett on the goal line to end the first half.

But the rest of it boils down to experience and consistency.  For example, Georgia’s most improved player in the postseason was William Poole, who went from being routinely toasted in the SECCG to being lockdown when last we saw him in Indy.  Which Poole do we get now?  If he’s really taken that step forward, and Tykee Smith is fully recovered, does Smith take Jackson’s place at safety?  (Jackson is stout against the run, but a liability against speed in pass coverage.)  And, all health aside, who steps up to play corner opposite Ringo?

… Kamari Lassiter is the returning CB with the most career snaps other than Ringo and started opposite of Ringo in Georgia’s spring game. In just 79 coverage snaps last season he gave up 19 yards per catch on 9 receptions while being targeted 14 times. Those snaps are almost all garbage time and his 171 yards allowed are half or more of the amount of yards that Ringo and Kendrick gave up in over 6 times the snaps played.

Nyland Green was a much heralded recruit in the Class of 2021, but he played just 4 snaps last season and we don’t know where he stands heading into fall camp. He was the 2nd team DB on G-Day but struggled at times.

Opposite of Green on G-Day was true freshman Daylen Everette. He showed some moments of five-star potential. In other moments he looked like a guy who was just a few months into being a college student.

Georgia’s 2022 recruiting class featured one of the best collections of defensive backs in school history. Everette, Thomas and Starks were part of it, but it also included other names. Marcus Washington was a heralded 2023 CB recruit who decided to reclassify into the 2022 class this spring.

Houston native Julian Humphrey was a top 100 player for most of the cycle before shutting down some of the nation’s best receivers in his class at the Army All-American Bowl and becoming a five-star.

Jaheim Singeltary is another five-star who joined the class out of Jacksonville, FL. For much of the recruiting cycle Singeltary looked like he might be the top Cornerback in his class.

Talent, sure.  Experience, not so much.

Thoughts?

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Everybody has an Alliance until they get hit in the mouth.

Ah, yes, once upon a time… those heady days when the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 were all singing from the same CFP hymnbook.

The same Alliance that in February scuttled a 12-team expansion because (take your pick):

— The process was moving too quickly, ignoring any number of issues that affect (and stress) student-athletes.

— There was too much “uncertainty” in such a dramatic move.

— Student-athletes shouldn’t be playing a 17-game season.

— Television shouldn’t have a hand in dictating conference expansion in college football.

Now?  The tune, she has changed.

What that formally looks like still hasn’t been decided, but the notion of a potential 16-game playoff continues to be perpetuated. Kliavkoff mentioned the dynamic in the room changing now that Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is expected to tamp down his demand for automatic qualifiers, one of the key stumbling blocks for the 12-team playoff. He also mentioned one of the ACC’s issues — a 365-day calendar review — is underway and likely to be resolved.

“I’m in favor of expanding the College Football Playoff,” Kliavkoff said. “I don’t have particular issues between 12 and 16. I understand the arguments for and against.”

But one thing lives on.

Always.  Be.  Doing It For The Kids.

5 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant

He’s no Todd Monken.

Last season, Iowa finished 120th nationally in offensive yards per playBrian Ferentz, the son of head coach Kirk Ferentz, is the offensive coordinator.

“If you have two first-round tight ends, shoot, if you’re the offensive coordinator they want to fire you no matter what anyways,” Ferentz told the Banner-Herald. “If you don’t put your two best players on the field at the same time, they definitely want to fire you. Shoot, my mom could look out at our roster in 2018 and know that our two best players offensively were those two tight ends.”

“The real trick is not getting them on the field at the same time, that’s easy,” said Ferentz, who coached the tight ends from 2018-2021 and is entering his sixth season as Iowa’s OC. “There are a lot of offenses out there that live in a two-tight end set the majority of the time. It’s a little bit less common now. …The real trick becomes how do you ensure those guys are the ones getting the ball? That’s no easy feat.”

It’s hard to believe they weren’t more productive.

22 Comments

Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

“Now I just hope I’m not penalized for doing the right thing.”

I always love it when the NCAA plays the classics.

Drew Singleton was watching the TV show “Power” at his grandmother’s house last December when his phone rang with an opportunity he never saw coming. Rutgers had received a late invitation to play in the Gator Bowl just days after the linebacker had decided to enter the NFL Draft, and as a result, Singleton had a decision to make.

Should he skip the bowl and focus on his pro career?

Or should he rush back to Piscataway and grab his helmet?

Most players in his position understandably choose to sit out the postseason game to avoid injuries. But for Singleton, the pull to play was strong. He grew up in Newark and wanted to represent New Jersey on the big stage. He knew the Scarlet Knights faced long odds playing a talented Wake Forest team on short notice, and that as a defensive leader, he could help.

… Singleton is pursuing a waiver to return to Rutgers for his fifth year of eligibility. The NCAA denied the former Paramus Catholic star’s initial application for reinstatement because he had accepted money for training expenses from an agent after he began preparing for the NFL Draft — money that he has since repaid.

You can probably already guess the punchline.

Singleton not only did what he believed was right for Rutgers. He was injured while doing it. He said he badly sprained his ankle on a special teams play in the Gator Bowl, requiring him to wear a boot for three weeks.

He believes that injury held him back during the critical pre-draft workouts and may have contributed to him not becoming a late-round selection. Two of his Rutgers teammates who sat out the bowl — receiver Bo Melton and running back Isaih Pacheco — heard their names called at the draft.

“A lot of the guys decided to sit out, which I totally understand and respect,” Singleton said. “But me being a Jersey kid, a Rutgers guy, I just wanted to represent my school the right way. I’m just praying that wasn’t my downfall, that me doing what I thought was right wasn’t my downfall.”

Dude, do you know how long it’s been since the NCAA has had a clean shot at behaving dickishly about amateurism?  Don’t hold your breath on them doing the right thing.

22 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

“Just go win the game.”

Pat Dooley’s advice to Florida on how to beat Georgia this season is timeless.

Don’t have a turnover-fest in the last minute of the half. Be fast, but don’t hurry. Play at a different level. Georgia is going to be really good again this year, but Florida can win by playing smart and efficient. Now, just go do it. This is big-boy football and you are big boys. There is a gap, but it’s not that wide. Just go win the game.

I bet Dan Mullen is kicking himself right now for not having thought of that.

36 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Today, in sweating the small stuff

What’s the over/under on the number of times Kirby Smart mentions this between now and the season opener?

I mean, talk about your decided schematic advantage…

28 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Musical palate cleanser, “you got it, buddy” edition

I almost went with “Knowing Me, Knowing You” as the header for yesterday’s Dan Lanning post, but decided to save the song for an MPC today — except instead of posting the ABBA original, I’m giving you a live cover by the great Marshall Crenshaw.  Enjoy.

13 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized