Category Archives: Georgia Football

More schedule talk

David Ching has this to say about Georgia’s 2016 slate:

Final analysis: SEC teams rarely play two Power 5 nonconference opponents in one fall, but that’s what the Bulldogs will do with UNC in the opener and rival Georgia Tech in the regular-season finale. That said, Georgia’s slate is not especially daunting. The Ole Miss-Tennessee stretch is the only spot on the entire schedule where the Bulldogs play consecutive scary games. Still, there are four or five contests that are anything but gimmes. The good news for Smart is that Georgia gets three challenging opponents (Tennessee, Auburn, Georgia Tech) at home. Further, aside from Ole Miss, Georgia’s other true SEC road games come against teams — Mizzou, South Carolina and Kentucky — that all fell short of bowl eligibility last year. However, the Bulldogs will play at Sanford Stadium just six times thanks to neutral-site games against UNC and Florida. ESPN’s Football Power Index rates Georgia’s schedule as the 16th-most difficult slate in the FBS, but that ranks eighth among SEC teams. By the conference’s lofty standards, this is a manageable first set of games for Smart & Co.

FPI bullshit aside, this lays out pretty nicely for the Dawgs.  If they can manage their way through the first five games with a winning record, the odds are pretty strong they’ll be headed towards at least a nine-win season.

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Barking up the wrong celebrity fan tree

With all due respect, Ed Aschoff, no, no, no and …

a1avy3zceaa-b0o

hell no.

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At least they got one.

Pro Football Focus lists its top 101 players in college football here.  It’s an interesting list, in that the site goes into extensive use of analytics to justify the selections.

If you take it seriously, then it’s a little depressing to see only one Georgia player there — Nick Chubb at No. 12.  For comparison’s sake, there are six SEC teams with more than one player.  And in terms of the schedule, note that Florida shows up with four players, while Tennessee and North Carolina each have three.

No, it’s not a be all and end all comparison.  Depth matters, obviously.  But if you’re a top tier SEC program that’s been chasing elite talent, it’s hard not to think it should show a little better on a list like this.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Tastes great vs. less filling

Here’s a good thought piece, inspired by the Athlon rankings of college football coaches, from Rocky Talk Top Top Talk.  The question he asks is whether it’s better to have a head coach who’s an elite recruiter, or one who’s an elite tactician.

Of course, as he notes right off the bat, we’d like our man to be both, but there simply aren’t that many of those types out there.  Second place?

Perhaps the best strategy is to have an elite recruiter – as we’ve seen, it’s almost impossible to win a title without elite talent – and make your coordinators the expert tacticians.

And as I think about this question in the context of Georgia football, Smart comes in with a clean slate.  What do we think we’re getting in him?  Early indications appear to show he will turn out to be one of the better recruiters in the country, but as far as directing traffic goes, we won’t know for sure until game time.  And some of that will no doubt be built based upon how good his staff is tactically.

Is Smart the master recruiter good enough by himself to bring Georgia a conference championship?  (I don’t think anyone would argue that Smart the master tactician would be without a sufficient talent base.)  Before you dismiss that thought, consider what Les Miles has accomplished in Baton Rouge.

Honestly, and at risk of sounding like a broken record here, I’m not so much looking for a master tactician as I am someone who’s focused enough to stay on top of the details.  If Smart can handle that better than Richt did, and bring in the elite talent, I think we’ll be fine.

 

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A case of mistaken identity?

I gotta tell you, this is one of the weirder Georgia recruiting stories I’ve seen lately.  The Dawgs just got a commitment out of Matt Landers, a lanky receiver out of Florida.  That’s not the weird part.  This is.

Landers is the son of the former UGA basketball player Tony Cole. Cole had some very bright moments on the hardwood during his three seasons in Athens.

“He said when he was there playing basketball he had a fun time going to school on that campus,” Landers said. “He said I will love it there.”

Landers has thought about wearing No. 1 or No. 21 at UGA. That would be his father’s old number from the hardwood.

“I’ve thought about that,” Landers said. “That would be cool.”

Please tell me there was more than one Georgia basketball player named Tony Cole.  Because if not, that means Landers is the son of this Tony Cole and I’m hardpressed to remember any bright moments on the hardwood for him.  (I also can’t imagine that Tony Cole telling his son he’d love it at Georgia.)

Then again, I don’t remember that Tony Cole being around for more than one season.  Anybody know the answer to this?

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“It’s so hard, you might as well pick some big ones…”

Here’s a criticism several have voiced here at the blog.

In fact, he applauds the pair for the emphasis they appear to be placing on the OL, something (Matt) Stinchcomb said wasn’t always the case with the former Georgia regime.

“I like the emphasis on focusing on offensive line and getting the right guys. I do like that,” he said. “I will say, as much as I respect it, and I appreciate Coach (Mark) Richt and what he did, one thing that I did not agree with the idea with the offensive line was kind of just a commodity. I think it worked that way at Florida State.”

As a former offensive lineman, that saddened Stinchcomb.

We saw that attitude right off the bat, as Richt outsourced offensive line recruiting to Neil Callaway, and we saw it in the last season, when an over-matched Rob Sale was handed the metaphorical keys to the car.

So Stinchcomb’s larger point (see what I did there?) is that it’s not so much Pittman’s emphasis on big linemen that matters nearly as much as the head coach caring enough about the offensive line to make sure it’s an area of strength.

I can’t say for sure every place where I expect the team to be improved from Richt to Smart, but I don’t have any difficulty believing, given time, the offensive line will be better.

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“I’ll say anything less than nine wins would be disappointing.”

Bruce Feldman has done an excellent job of summarizing about how I see this year’s Georgia team at the moment.

I suspect Jacob Eason, the touted true freshman quarterback, will be the Dawgs starter sooner than later even if it’s not in the opener against UNC. He’s talented, but keep in mind that unlike some other also hyped true freshman QBs, Eason didn’t quite face the same level of competition in high school these other guys did. Adjusting to the speed of the SEC could take more than many expect.

If Nick Chubb is back to 100 percent, the offense should still be formidable, although they do have to fill some holes on the O-line and there is pressure for a new No. 1 WR (Terry Godwin?) to emerge. Maybe 6-5 JC transfer Javon Wims can be that guy.

Losing to any ACC team that isn’t Clemson or Florida State in Atlanta won’t look good to UGA fans, but UNC is underrated. I still think the Dawgs win, but the double of at Ole Miss and then Tennessee is much trickier. My hunch is Georgia opens 3-2, but after that things ease up a bunch. They get Auburn and Georgia Tech in Athens and Florida is a fringe top-25 team this year.

Eason and Chubb are the wild cards.  The schedule is Georgia’s friend.  The talent should suffice to get the program to at least nine wins, if the coaching is able to overcome the lapses in focus that tripped up Richt on occasion.  Which I why I agree with Feldman that, barring a catastrophic injury run such as we saw in 2013, less than nine wins is going to be a disappointment.  Should that happen, it’s going to be a reflection on the coaching staff more than the roster.

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