Ahhh…

Cold beer.  Fried chicken.  Athens on Saturday.  Football in Sanford Stadium.

I’ve missed you.  That must be why I can’t get this smile off my face.

I’m heading out.  Consider this your invitation for a game day thread in the comments section.

I’ll be back in touch on the other side.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“They have the capability of playing with us. You can’t take them lightly.”

Welp, at least they’re trying to get everyone’s heads in the right place for today’s game.

Richt won’t allow his players to overlook the Warhawks, who totaled 36 sacks a year ago, lost four games by seven points or fewer and barely lost to Texas A&M 21-16.

“They showed us film of them going into the fourth quarter with Texas A&M,” junior receiver Reggie Davis said.

A little fear of potential embarrassment never hurts, I suppose.  But if this team is going to step up this year and avoid the missteps that prevented 2014 from being a great season, it’ll take something more than that.

Davis said he and his teammates haven’t talked about what Louisiana-Monroe did in 2007 and 2012. In his eyes, it’s more important to focus on what this year’s Warhawks team is capable of doing.

“I believe upsets really happen when teams take other teams lightly,” Davis said. “Those guys were recruited just like you were. They play football the way you do. They put on pads like you do. Saturday, it’s just all about who wants it the most that day.”

Really, I can’t imagine there will be a motivation problem today.  If you can’t get up for an opening game, you’ve got bigger problems than avoiding embarrassment.  But down the road, it’s about finding out every week what it takes to be the one who wants it the most that day.  That’s the step I want to see this team take next.

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Filed under Georgia Football

The same, but different

One of the journeys we’re about to embark on today, grasshoppers, is to see what sort of changes Brian Schottenheimer has worked into the Georgia offense.  I’m a big believer in an if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it approach, so I’m both intrigued and a little nervous.

The reality is it probably won’t be much different from life with Bobo.  But it won’t be exactly what we’ve been used to seeing, either.  Clear?  Hardly.

“We’re not going to reinvent the wheel,” Schottenheimer said after he was hired. “We’re going to run the football. Obviously, that’s a big part of what we’re doing.”

Tight end Jeb Blazevich said “for what we do, I feel like it’s still very similar. I feel like it’s still very explosive at time and we’re able to wear them down with the running game as well as get those explosive passes over the top.”

Still, it won’t exactly be the same old Bulldogs offense, even though it will be built around star tailback Nick Chubb. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

“Sometimes I think that’s a good challenge,” Schottenheimer said about adjustments the wide receivers had to make in route concepts. “They’ve been running coach Bobo and coach Richt’s scheme for a long time, so they kind of come into meetings (and) are like, `Whoa, this is different.’”

Georgia’s system and the one Schottenheimer has run have been sort of joined together.

“If you take the guts of what we did last year and the guts of what we’re doing this year, the overlap is very high,” Richt said. “I mean 80 percent. We’re pretty much doing the same kind of thing. We’re protecting very much the same. We’re running the ball very much the same.”

Some of the new wrinkles have evolved in the months since Schottenheimer was hired in January.

“It’s been interesting,” Richt said. “When you run a system like he’s been running a while, there’s a lot of good things. There’s a lot of things he’s liked. Some of those things he’s liked are new to us, and you’re like, `Hey, I like that, too, a lot.’ And there’s a lot of things that we’ve been doing that’s been pretty good around here. We’ve been kind of feeding that to him, and he’s like, `Hey, I like that.’ So there’s certain plays that are creeping in that maybe weren’t being practiced quite as much on the front end for certain situations and things of that nature that we had done in the past.”

Schottenheimer has picked up Georgia’s tempo. Some of the red zone offense came from the NFL and the terminology being used has changed.

“He’s got the right kind of ego to be open to new ideas and vice versa,” Richt said. “We want to learn, too.”

The most obvious change is likely to come in the use of the tight ends, based on what Schottenheimer’s done in the NFL and, to be honest, based on the relative strengths, at least early on, of Georgia’s receiver groups.  We shall see what we shall see.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Performance and the perception gap

As I suspected, the final preseason F/+ numbers – the marriage of Bill Connelly’s and Brian Fremeau’s advanced stats metrics – came out extremely favorably for Georgia, in this case, fourth.  That’s quite a bit higher than the Dawgs find themselves in the AP’s preseason rankings.  Bill wonders why.

Georgia (F/+ No. 4, AP No. 9)

Why the numbers like the Dawgs: Georgia is consistently good; the Dawgs have finished 14th or better in F/+ for four consecutive years and were fourth last season. They return maybe the best running back in college football (Nick Chubb), a well-seasoned offensive line, and an active, super-athletic back eight on defense. Mark Richt recruits well and wins 10 games each year when the injury bug isn’t particularly cruel. From the perspective of recent performance and returning talent, they are easily the surest bet in the SEC East.

Why the media doesn’t (as much): They dropped the ball last year, laying one of the season’s biggest eggs in a blowout loss to Florida and blowing the SEC East title (to Missouri, which the Dawgs beat by 34 points on the road) in the process. They struggled defending powerful run games last year and must now replace three linemen. And yes, they have a new quarterback.

One more thing: when Richt lost offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to the head coaching job at Colorado State, he replaced him with Brian Schottenheimer. When fans (in this case, those of the St. Louis Rams) lose their offensive coordinator and celebrate wildly, that’s a scary sign.

Of course, all Schottenheimer has to tell his new quarterback is, “Put the ball in Chubb’s (or his awesome backup’s) belly.”

For five of the six teams here, part of the difference between perception and projection might come because of the quarterback position. It’s interesting, and it makes sense, as simply using returning starters doesn’t give extra weight to the quarterback position.

But if everyone expects Georgia to take a heavy reliance on Chubb & Company to lighten the load on Lambert, you’d think that last point wouldn’t factor so much into perception, wouldn’t you?

13 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Again with the bulldog puppies?

Hope this works out better than the last time we saw this prop.

45 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Malcolm Mitchell’s advice to (some of) Dawgnation

Chill, people.

Georgia senior receiver Malcolm Mitchell has played in two SEC championship games. He was the intended receiver of the ill-fated final play of the 2012 loss to Alabama. He knows how close it can be.

So he shakes his head at the idea that this year is championship-or-bust.

“It’s always funny how the people who don’t play tell us what it’s time for,” Mitchell said, chuckling. “But we know what needs to be done. And it’s our job to get it done. And if you’re part of the Bulldog Nation, you’ll let us get that job done, and just be there beside us as we do it so we can all reap the benefits from it.”

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Fabris Pool reminder

For those of you who have signed up but not made your selections yet, those picks aren’t going to choose themselves.

And for those of you want to play but haven’t enrolled, there’s still time.  Click here to sign up.

15 Comments

Filed under GTP Stuff