Seth Emerson asks the Schottenheimer question we want to hear – what’s he likely to do?
“Protecting the football is important. It’s first and foremost in an offensive system,” Davis said. “A guy that understands football that can run the system, in and out of run-game checks. I would say a cerebral player who understands the game. I wouldn’t say, with what they’re gonna try to do, that you have to have the most talented guy in the world. You have to have a guy who protects the ball, makes good decisions, and can throw the ball accurately.”
Nick Chubb need not worry. Schottenheimer has coached under defensive, ball-control head coaches (Jeff Fisher and Rex Ryan), and will not come to Georgia trying to light it up.
“He’s well aware that Chubb’s probably his bread and butter,” Rams general manager Les Snead said, adding: “He’ll do some play-action pass.”
Tweaks? Not much.
“He’s going to bring the element of a little more, I guess you’d call it broader set of play calls. You won’t put the NFL playbook into a college playbook, obviously. So I’m sure he’s figured that out. He’s definitely been a guy who – when he was here we were a team that liked to run the ball. When he was with the Jets they liked to run the ball.”
All in all, it sounds a lot like the playbook Georgia ran out of last season. Not that I’m complaining, mind you.
Seth Emerson is out in St. Louis this week, checking out the Rams camp, which makes sense when you consider the comings and goings between there and Athens.
I wish Todd Gurley the best, but it’s the latter that of interest to me. So it’s interesting to me that Schottenheimer seems to be better though of in St. Louis than much of the grumbling after Richt hired him would lead you to believe.
There was quarterback Austin Davis, who started nine games for the Rams last year.
“He’s one of the most knowledgeable football coaches I’ve ever been exposed to,” said Davis, who was a rookie out of Southern Miss when he encountered Schottenheimer two years ago. “His understanding of all facets of the game, protection, pass game, run game, was really good for me because I got to learn everything that he knew. He brings a lot of experience. He’s an NFL caliber coach going to the college ranks.”
And there was Jared Cook, the All-Pro tight end for the Rams, who played at South Carolina, one of Georgia’s rivals.
“He’s a good, quality play-caller, in my opinion,” Cook said. “He’s not gonna take too many risks. He’s gonna call it simple, it’s up to you to go out there and make the play happen. … I think he’ll do a good job at UGA.”
Sure, as Emerson notes, that could be nothing more than people not wishing to speak ill of the recently departed. But Schottenheimer’s former general manager does cite one mitigating factor in his apparent lack of success with the Rams offense:
But Snead, a new-breed G.M. who believes in analytics, scoffs at those traditional numbers. He has others, like this one: NFL teams who lose their starting quarterback only win 26 percent of their games.
“We won 40 percent,” Snead said. “We’re not writing home, saying we’re successful. (But) we did it with a young team. Schotty did it with the youngest team in the NFL three years in a row.”
Schottenheimer, as you probably know, was without his for the last season and a half.
None of which is to say that he’s destined for greatness at Georgia. It’s just to say that it’s probably wise to keep an open mind about what may be coming down the turnpike this season.
Shit’s about to get real. Questions are about to get answered.
- Does a quarterback step up and separate himself from the pack before the season opener?
- And who’s snapping the ball to whoever that may be?
- Is Keith Marshall a fully functional SEC running back again?
- Does Trent Thompson live up to the hype?
- Which of the newbies surpasses the hype and surprises us?
- Does Georgia have a punting game? (The Munson question of August, right?)
- How many changes in the starting secondary does Pruitt run through in a month?
- How many positions can Leonard Floyd line up at?
You get the idea. Add your questions in the comments.
David Wunderlich makes the argument that Florida is the biggest wildcard in the SEC this season. I disagree with the “biggest” label he uses – to me, that belongs to a LSU team that, if it fixes its problem at quarterback and Kevin Steele proves not to be an enormous drop-off at defensive coordinator, wins the SEC, but if not, could easily lose five games again this season. But beyond that, how much of a wildcard can a team be with this much baggage to overcome?
It’s hard to fathom the wreckage that Jim McElwain has to sort through with the offense in Gainesville. This program was on the forefront of offense under Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer, but now, just putting together an above average unit would be a significant improvement. The past six years of defense-first Gator football have been like watching Alabama try to outscore teams with an Air Raid offense and no defense.
The last quarterback to have an above average season for the program signed in January of 2006, as did the last receiver to have at least 900 yards. The last time it had the same wide receivers coach from one year to the next was 2008-09, and it basically had grad assistants take the job in two different seasons. The offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach spot has turned over five times in the last six seasons, while the offensive line coach spot has turned over four times in the same span. It has alternately tried to run a spread option with a pro-style quarterback (2010) and a pro-style with a spread option quarterback (2012-13). It tried to build that manball pro-style scheme while signing four total offensive linemen across 2011-12. If there’s a mistake to be made with an offense, Florida has probably done it in the past six seasons.
Now I like McElwain (or at least I don’t dislike him, which is a helluva concession in my book for any Gator coach), but to expect him to walk in and effect a serious turnaround overnight on offense strikes me as bordering on the miraculous. And that’s before you even get to what he has to work with on the offensive line, which is where David really has to stretch to make his point with this:
The offensive line is not in great shape, but it could turn out to be OK. There are three good options at tackle in talented sophomore David Sharpe, two-time FCS All-American grad transfer Mason Halter, and five-star freshman Martez Ivey. Senior Trip Thurman takes over at center, while converted D-lineman and redshirt sophomore Antonio Riles impressed coaches in the spring at one of the guard spots. That means UF might conceivably only have to start one freshman on the line, which is far better than things were looking months ago.
Could and might, the building blocks of any successful line.
So here’s what you’re left with to make a case for dark horse…
But if the offensive line stays healthy, Grier comes through, and the expertise of McElwain and Nussmeier build an offensive scheme that fits its disparate parts, Florida could be a divisional dark horse. The teams on the conference schedule that look a cut above it—Georgia, LSU, and Ole Miss—all have potential quarterback problems that could hold them back. If the great secondary makes big plays, Florida could have a chance to win all of its SEC games. It’s too thin, inexperienced, and unsettled to do so, but it could be in every game towards the end.
There are enough ifs in there to put Vanderbilt in a bowl game.
Florida plays five conference opponents that are ranked in the preseason. If the Gators run the table and go 8-0 in the SEC, McElwain isn’t a head coach. He’s a wizard. Either that, or the SEC is a lot worse than everyone thinks.
UPDATE: A little more of a realistic view from Bill Connelly, with this conclusion…
The upcoming Football Outsiders Almanac 2015 gives the Gators a 56 percent chance of going 6-6 or 7-5, a 14 percent chance of doing better, and a 30 percent chance of doing worse. I could see eight wins, but 2015 is about 2016 and beyond.
Figure out what you’ve got on offense, figure out your next generation on defense, win a big game or two, and win the fans back.
Andy Staples looks at how college football broadcasts will be delivered to consumers in the future and asks a lot of questions that the people running the P5 conferences ought to be asking themselves today…
It’s quite possible that rights fees have hit their zenith, and athletic departments need to prepare for the fact that their revenue is not going to grow at the rate it has over the past 15 years. It might even dip as viewers adjust to a new world and figure out how they want to pay for it.
Chances are we’ll end up paying about what we pay now to watch college football in 10 years. But we’ll be far more aware of how much we pay, and we’ll be sending that money to different places. That’s why Iger’s comments should have every athletic director and conference commissioner thinking about how their leagues are positioned for their next deals.
… but probably aren’t. Hey, it’s not like there’s a crisis this second, right?
In just a few short weeks college football returns, so I know you’ve got an appetite.
- Over at Team Speed Kills, you’ll find a list of the top ten SEC revenge games of 2015. Not surprisingly, given last season’s low points, Georgia makes the list twice.
- And here’s a list of the most expensive college football tickets on StubHub. Alabama-Georgia sits at number three.
- Attention, Bert! Academic stress increases injury risk among college football players.
- Tough times in Gator Country – Last season, Florida made $93,300 in six home dates (minus the Idaho rainout).
- There are fourteen new coordinators in the SEC this season.
- Well, there’s one tradition the SEC hasn’t abandoned – coach whining.
- Can you guess which team Bill Connelly is writing about when he says, “There’s no question that it’s a long road back to top-10 finishes, but this is still a top-40 team with top-20 potential.”?
- Year2 asks the musical question “Which top ten teams are most likely to finished unranked?“, and fits Georgia second on that list.
- The opposite of the Georgia Way is “waiting to see the thing play out”.
- Kevin Trahan finds that the new Big Ten scheduling rules are about TV money as much as the playoffs. And why should they be any different from anything else motivating college football decision making these days?