This may be the most concise description of the Georgia Way, as practiced by Butts-Mehre, that I’ve ever seen.
Donnan, who preceded Richt, said in the past Georgia wanted to see results before it made big investments. Now, the school’s leadership understands it needs to spend on the front end to be the very best.
“For me and Richt, it was more, ‘Hey, you do it, and then we’ll get it.’ As compared (with) Kirby it was ’Hey, we’re gonna get it and you go ahead and do it,’” Donnan said.
Two things here. One, in his first five seasons, Richt did produce results, not that it made much difference to upper management. Second, I can’t think of a stupider approach to running an SEC football program once Saban showed up at Alabama.
At least they finally got desperate enough to give the keys to Kirby.
Alabama’s passing game this season ain’t what it used to be. And it’s not Bryce Young’s fault. It’s due to a receiving corps that lacks a dominant player.
Through eight games, Alabama’s leading receiver is Ja’Corey Brooks with 376 yards. That is the fewest yards the Tide’s leading receiver has amassed entering the ninth game of any season since 2013, when Kevin Norwood led the team with 348 — and Norwood hit that mark while appearing in only seven games.
||Leading receiver (8 games)
Alabama is spreading the ball out this season — five players have at least 20 catches and 250 receiving yards — but that could be more the product of not having an elite wide receiver it must keep on the field every play.
This time (post Metchie and Williams, that is), the transfer portal didn’t supply the answer.
Jermaine Burton and Tyler Harrell were Alabama’s attempts at recapturing the success it had in drawing Williams from the transfer portal. Burton’s production has been spotty. The junior has 20 catches for 306 yards and three touchdowns, with two of those scores and nine of those catches coming in gimme games against Utah State and Vanderbilt.
Harrell was a summer arrival from Louisville billed to have top-end speed. Saban in August revealed Harrell had a foot sprain but termed him day-to-day when he had yet to make his debut in mid-September. By mid-October, Harrell had yet to see the field and Saban said he would not discuss the details of his injury. Harrell was available to play against Tennessee but did not play until the closing minutes of a blowout win over Mississippi State.
Sometimes, you go to the well too often. Not that recruiting has been much help.
Alabama dipped into the transfer portal in part because there were not obvious home-grown solutions at wide receiver this past offseason. After the Tide struck gold in recruiting at wide receiver in 2015 (Calvin Ridley), 2017 (DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs), 2018 (Jaylen Waddle) and 2019 (John Metchie), the past three classes have not produced as immediate results.
It’s a good thing Bryce Young is a major talent.
A couple of charts from Seth Emerson ($$):
Stetson’s game has shifted more downfield of late, although I wonder if those numbers also reflect the way opposing defenses have been attacking Georgia’s screen game. (Kenny McIntosh had 21 receptions in Georgia’s first four games and eight in Georgia’s last four.)
Tennessee isn’t great defending the deep ball, but they aren’t bad, either. With one exception: the Vols have four picks on those sort of passes. And guess what? Per Seth, all three of Bennett’s interceptions this season have come on throws of more than 15 yards.
If there’s one thing Stetson needs to keep front and center in his plays, it’s to remember that he’s got an offensive coordinator who’s very good at scheming receivers open and that there’s no pressing need to force a throw into a contested space. He doesn’t need a repeat of the Florida game in that regard.
Yeah, ask Arkansas what they thought about the crowd at Sanford Stadium.
The Athletic ($$) has some to share with you.
- David Ubben: “Can Georgia at least slow the red-hot Vols?Multiple coaches pointed to two ways to do it: slow Tennessee’s run game and pressure Hooker. But both have to happen with only five or six bodies. Georgia is one of just a few teams with the talent level and depth to do it.”
- Stewart Mandel: “… the most important thing Georgia needs to do Saturday is not turn the ball over like it did against Florida.”
- Joe Rexrode: “Slowing them down on first down is the key to playing all tempo offenses,” Gibson said. “A negative play, a sack, anything that can get them off rhythm. Now they’re thinking a little bit more.”
I didn’t say they wouldn’t be obvious. Still, I suspect Kirby’s been honing in on slowing UT’s running game this week, if for no other reason than that’s one of the hallmarks of his coaching philosophy. Which leads to the final piece of advice:
“If you had to pick one thing to help you stop this offense,” Spencer said, “it’s the week of preparation.”
Georgia may not win Saturday, but it won’t be because they were outcoached.
But, outside of Brock Bowers, he doesn’t think much of the rest of Georgia’s offense.
Accurate, or nah?
I think it’s a little overstated in that Monken schemes guys open. (Again, for example, check out the wide open Washington that Bennett bypassed to throw his second interception against Florida last week.) But there’s no question that Georgia’s deep passing game is limited, compared to what we saw last season.
That all being said, does it matter much? After all, Georgia is second in the country in offensive yards per game.
Marc Weiszer ($$) surveys nine national pundits, the likes of which include Heather Dinich and Dennis Dodd, for their predictions on which team comes out on top Saturday. The results, I suspect, will surprise most of you. They surprised me. (I’ll post the tally in the comments.)
Stewart Mandel ($$) was not one of the nine. Here’s his prediction:
No. 1 Tennessee at No. 3 Georgia (-8), 3:30 p.m., CBS
It could be that Georgia is talented and physical enough to bully Tennessee and disrupt that offense. But Josh Heupel’s team is no fluke. The Vols blew out LSU in Death Valley, put up 52 on Alabama and beat a top-20 Kentucky team 44-6. Neither a hostile atmosphere nor the Dawgs’ athletes on defense figure to intimidate them.
Tennessee 42, Georgia 40
Pick: Tennessee +8
The king is dead. Long live the king!
Should be interesting to see what happens when the big money sharks swoop in closer to game time.