Category Archives: Georgia Football

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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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

“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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Filed under Georgia Football

“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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Filed under Georgia Football

One more SEC East scheduling point

I noted yesterday that Georgia has at least a slight edge in scheduling over Tennessee because of the cross-division matchups.  If LSU is as good as some people believe, you’d have to think Georgia has a similar advantage over Florida.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

“The Bulldogs… are a legitimate contender in the SEC East.”

Steelemas doesn’t come until next week, but if you hie thee over to his website, you can read Phil Steele’s Georgia preview today.

He ranks the Dawgs 23rd, well ahead of Florida, but likely to be at least as far behind Tennessee.  He thinks the offense will improve from last season and the defense will hold its own, but notes that Georgia won four close games in 2015 and the coaching change as potential limitations.  Overall, as the header to this post indicates, he’s pretty lukewarm about Georgia’s chances.

As far as the individual units go, it’s a mixed bag, but he does point to some concern about the loss of so much productivity at linebacker and, of course, special teams.

There are always a few fun stats tossed in.  In this case, Georgia is riding a ten-game winning streak against Ole Miss, including five straight in Oxford.  (Kirby isn’t, though.)

It’s also worth checking his seven years of offensive and defensive stats.  Based on his yards per point metric, last season marked the most inefficient offense at Georgia since Stafford left, and by a pretty significant margin over 2014.  Defensive efficiency was a different story, as the team turned in its best effort there since 2012, with a lot less NFL draft picks.

Dig through it.  There’s plenty there, as you’d expect from Steele.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

If “good-but-not-great” didn’t cut it for Mark Richt, should it for Greg McGarity?

Seth Emerson takes a look at Georgia athletics since McGarity became the AD.

It has now been six full school years since Greg McGarity took over as Georgia’s athletics director. While many will judge him ultimately by how the two most visible sports (football and men’s basketball) have fared, the school has a total of 21 sports. And looking at it on the whole, frankly, the needle has not moved much in either direction.

By one measure, things have slightly improved under McGarity: It went from 20th in the Director’s Cup standings – the NCAA’s all-sports annual measurement – the year McGarity arrived, to a few spots higher. Georgia ranked 12th in the most recent Director’s Cup standings, which include everything but baseball. McGarity expects Georgia will end up 15th in the final standings, and third among SEC schools, behind Florida and Texas A&M.

“We’ll finish ahead of some schools that people think of as premier programs,” McGarity said. “We’ll finish ahead of Oklahoma, and Notre Dame, Penn State, a lot of schools that we are in the conversation about as far as top programs in the country. So across the board it’s a great testimony to a great balanced sports program.”

But that’s still far from where Georgia was a decade ago. It routinely finished second to Florida among SEC schools, and occupied a spot in the top 10 seven times between 1999-2008. The Bulldogs were second in the nation in 1999 and third in 2001. And things have definitely improved since the low point of consecutive 20th-place finishes in 2010-11.

By another measure, things have slipped a bit: In Damon Evans’ six years as athletics director (July 1, 2004 until his ouster almost exactly six years later), Georgia teams won 11 NCAA titles and 23 SEC titles. In McGarity’s six years, there have been four NCAA titles and 19 SEC titles.

Some good, some bad.  Sound familiar?  How about this?

There were some fans already calling for Stricklin’s removal, but McGarity – who has yet to fire someone he himself hired – opted not to make Stricklin the first.

“These positions are not popularity contests, as we all know,” said McGarity, referring to his own. “They’re about making some tough decisions at times. And just doing the best you can.”

Shades of Willie Martinez.

Of course, this is all merely an exercise.  McGarity will be judged primarily on Kirby Smart’s success and secondarily on not bankrupting the athletic department.  All the rest is commentary, at most.

It’s the Georgia Way,  peeps.

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Filed under Georgia Football

In the end, will Georgia’s schedule be the difference?

David Wunderlich revisits his study of peer programs each SEC team will face in 2016 in order to come up with some win projections.  Here’s his methodology:

… I did a dead-simple estimation for this part. For every game against a team above its peer group, I gave that team a loss. For every game against a team below its peer group, I gave that team a win—this includes FCS opponents, as they’re not included in S&P+. And then, I had team would win half of its games against its peers. They’re toss up games, so let’s just make them coin tosses for now.

And here are his results.

Team Est. Wins
Alabama 11.5
LSU 11
Georgia 9.5
Tennessee 9.5
Florida 9
Ole Miss 7.5
Mississippi State 7.5
Arkansas 7
Auburn 7
Texas A&M 6.5
Missouri 5.5
South Carolina 4
Vanderbilt 4
Kentucky 3.5

So, even with Tennessee sporting a better S&P+ ranking than Georgia, both teams finish with the same number of projected wins.  One big factor for that is that the Vols have to punch above their class once, against Alabama, while Georgia doesn’t face a similar challenge.  Is that enough to make the difference in which team emerges as the winner of the East?

It might be.  The bottom of the division appears weak and you’d have to expect both programs get through that unscathed.  That’s four wins right there.  Historically speaking, Florida presents a similar challenge to both UT and Georgia.  That leaves the head-to-head matchup, which is in Athens this year, and the cross-division meetings where Georgia travels to Ole Miss and hosts Auburn while Tennessee has Alabama at home and Texas A&M on the road.

It doesn’t mean that Tennessee’s chances to return to Atlanta are totally dashed if it can’t beat the Tide, but you can make a decent argument that its margin for error is virtually wiped out if it doesn’t, especially if the Dawgs pull off a win in Oxford.

Georgia-Tennessee in Athens is huge, but the third Saturday in October may be shaping up to matter almost as much.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football