Category Archives: Georgia Football

Getting special on special teams

I really try hard not to drink the preseason Kool-Aid, but when Kirby pushes a cold glass of tasty beverage into my hand, it’s hard to resist sometimes.

Here’s what he had to say about special teams at yesterday’s post-practice presser (say that three times in a row, fast).

In terms of special teams coverage units, what are you looking for to shore up those areas this year?

‘’Number one, is a great kick because the best way to shore up your areas of coverage is to kick the ball where it’s supposed to be, how high it’s supposed to be with what hang time it’s supposed to be done with.  We’ve improved first and foremost in that area.  Rodrigo (Blankenship) did a great job of kicking off in Saturday’s scrimmage.  He had some of the best hang times we’ve had.  David (Marvin) did as well, but Rod had a little better hang time.  Punting, Cam (Nizialek) got great placement and hang time.  But, the number one thing, coverages have fast, big guys.  We’ve got a lot of starters playing on our punt team.  We’re still assembling the kickoff team.  The goal is to have guys buy in and realize the importance of it.  It’s not a down off.  So we have a lot of competition.  That’s the biggest difference I noticed from last year.  There’s a lot of guys fighting for spots on special teams because they know that if they don’t get those spots, they might not make that travel roster.  So we’re looking for fast guys that make good decisions.’’

How many of the true freshmen do you think might make these units?

‘’I don’t know an amount.  I mean, Swift was showing up.  Mark Webb was showing up.  Walter Grant is showing up. Several guys…Nate McBride is showing up.  There are a lot of guys that are showing up.  They’re all in the mix, and I think after Saturday’s scrimmage we’ll know more of the 2-deep on the special teams.  And there’s some real good competition.  But that’s where those guys are going to make their waves early.’’

Down, boy.

Seriously, what’s not to like there?  He knows what he wants, mechanically speaking.  He’s aware that the talent level on the coverage units has to improve. And it sounds like he’s found the lever to motivate guys to want to participate.  I don’t know about you, but that checks all my boxes.

If there’s one area that can improve rapidly based on recent recruiting success, it’s special teams.  Sure, there are always going to be a few super subs who make their marks there, but generally speaking, it’s just like any other area in that greater athleticism likely leads to better results.  Lord knows after last season, they could sure stand for some improvement there.

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Today, in skinning the offensive cat

This reads like one of those posts where the author thinks he’s got a unique insight on something, throws some stats out, but really has no idea where he’s going.

Champions simplify; they do not diversify.

When considering the many challenges facing the 2017 Georgia Bulldogs offense, Bulldogs fans might keep that axiom in mind.

Yes, the development of sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason remains the most significant factor in whether the offense excels or sputters. Yes, the line needs better play from returning veterans or an infusion of help from newcomers. Yes, a receiver or two must deliver some big plays to alleviate pressure on Eason and the running back duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.

All those aspirations are fine, but another goal keeps getting attention this preseason: diversifying the offense…

Using so many potential weapons sounds good in theory, but it doesn’t actually happen so frequently. Indeed, statistics show that spreading the wealth is not necessary to win a championship.

Diversifying the offense doesn’t necessarily mean using every skill position player on the roster in equal measure.

A look at recent national champions is informative.

The past five national champions: Clemson (2016), Alabama (2015), Ohio State (2014), Florida State (2013) and Alabama again (2012). For the most part, they did not spread the wealth. Instead, they fed their best players.

Well, duh.  Does anyone really think that Elijah Holyfield’s and Nick Chubb’s carries this season are going to be roughly equal?

It all goes back to something Mike Leach wrote in Swing Your Sword.

… To me, a balanced offense is one where each skill position touches the ball, and every position contributes to the offensive output.  There is nothing balanced about running it 50 percent of the time and throwing it 50 percent of the time if you are only utilizing two or three offensive skill positions and only attacking part of the field…[Emphasis added.]

… I think it’s almost impossible to have a great offense if you have only one or two guys touching the ball.  That one guy had better be really, really special, a Hall of Fame type of talent, like Herschel Walker was at Georgia in the early ’80s…

…  People get overly impressed by that artificial balance, where it’s half run, half pass, but with only a couple of players touching the ball.  You can run the ball every snap, but if you’re in the wishbone, and everybody touches the ball, that’s real balance.  Or you can throw the ball every snap, and if everyone touches the ball, that’s real balance.

If you’ve got that otherworldly talent, in other words, feed the damned beast.  In the absence of that, you take advantage of what the defense gives you and if spreading things around best enables you to do so, go, dog, go.

Nick Chubb is going to get the ball a lot because he is an All-American-level talent.  As we sit here right now, there isn’t a similar type player in the receiving corps.  It’s only reasonable to expect Jim Chaney’s offensive strategies to reflect that.  You can diversify looks and formations and still get the ball in the hands of your best players.  It’s all a matter of figuring out what works best and implementing that.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

“I’d be the first to tell you that I was hard on Terry last year.”

As somebody who thought Terry Godwin was woefully underutilized last season, I’m glad to hear he’s back in Kirby’s good graces.  This is profuse praise:

“As far as depth of routes, running the routes, catching the ball, making plays, blocking people,” Smart said. “And a lot of that was from outside. It wasn’t just inside. He can play inside. He does great with it. But he’s become more valuable to us outside. And I mean value as far as vertical threat. Just catching the ball.

“He’s very consistent in what he does. He made a couple plays out there today, where you start seeing the guy is really becoming the guy that we expect him to become.”

Chaney is right there, too.

“I think Terry’s done a wonderful job,” offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said recently. “He’s put a few pounds on. He’s gotten stronger. He looks a little faster to me. Terry, once again, is familiar with the offense, and he’s doing a wonderful job out there.

“I think he’s got exceptional hands. I think his mind’s in a great spot. I think his attitude’s fantastic, and I love how he’s working right now.”

The guy has the best hands on the team.  He needs to be deeply involved in the offense.  It sounds like his coaches are down with that.

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“I don’t know what I’d do without an Uga.”

I’m a sucker for stories about Georgia’s iconic mascot, and this one certainly serves.  I love this bit in particular:

In the years since Uga’s beginnings, the mascot has graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and appeared in multiple movies. When Georgia won the 1980 national championship, Uga III received an inscribed championship ring.

“He didn’t have a finger,” Seiler said. “So I wore it for him and still do.”

That’s one ring you’ll never see for sale on eBay.

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“Looking back, Dooley admits there was one game that changed his life more than any other.”

Hardly a surprise as to what game that was.

On Jan. 1, 1981, Dooley’s Bulldogs turned back Notre Dame, 17-10, in the Sugar Bowl to claim Georgia’s first and only Associated Press national championship, forever making Dooley a national-championship coach.

“Now that it’s all over, I think it did,” Dooley said. “What everybody would like to do as a coach is have a team that would be undefeated and then the undisputed national champion, and that’s what Georgia did in 1980. They always found a way to win, and there was no question that Georgia was the undisputed national champion. That was very, very special.

“Everything has to fall in place for that to happen. Some teams play a long time and never win a national championship, and other teams have things fall into place a couple of times just right.”

What makes his reflection particularly remarkable is that it’s easy to forget Dooley almost didn’t coach that game.

In early December of 1980 and only two days after Georgia had defeated Georgia Tech to complete a perfect 11-0 regular season, it was announced by The Birmingham Post-Herald that Vince Dooley was leaving UGA and heading to Auburn to replace the resigning Doug Barfield.  Citing sources, the newspaper declared Dooley had decided to return to his alma mater when he was also promised the athletic director position.  Reportedly, Auburn was offering a contract of anywhere from $1 million for five years to $1.8 million for eight – a nice chunk of change 30 years ago for an Athletic Director/Head Football Coach.

With the Sugar Bowl less than a month away, who would replace Dooley immediately began being discussed.  The logical and leading candidate was defensive coordinator Erk Russell – Dooley’s top assistant since they arrived together to Georgia nearly 17 years before.

If Dooley was going to leave for Auburn, Russell stated that he “would like very much to have the head coaching job [at Georgia].”

Dooley was lobbied for the switch by his former Auburn teammate and Alabama Governor Fob James.  In the end, he turned down mama and stayed in Athens.

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Mark Richt is a liberal plot.

I appreciate the thoughtful responses Sunday’s post about Charlottesville generated, even from those of you who disagreed with me.  That being said, I have to tell you that none of you came close to touching the sheer, concise brilliance of a comment my post spawned at the HOTD message board.

In fact, I’m going on record to say that in more than ten years of blogging, it’s the greatest comment about a GTP post I’ve ever read.

Still has his head up CMR’s ass so liberal was a given

If you’re a Georgia fan, in twelve words, that has it all, don’t it?

And some of you thought my post was political.

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Filed under Georgia Football, GTP Stuff

For once, you done good.

As much grief as I give Greg McGarity, it’s only fair to dish out praise when he’s deserving.  Here’s a case for that:

Fans seem to be happy that they are getting a break from noon kickoffs. The Appalachian State game is on Sept. 2 at 6:15 p.m. and the Samford game on Sept. 16 is at 7:30 p.m.

“The number of noon games we have had previously and the reaction we’ve had from our fans and others was that was not a desirable time,” McGarity said. “Frankly, among all conference teams, especially in the central time zone, that’s not a great time, but we all know that’s part of the TV package. We did ask for any consideration. It’s never guaranteed, but we did ask for some consideration for non-noon kickoffs whenever possible.”

He listened and he asked.  You can’t ask for more than that.  From such small gestures of courtesy, fan appreciation is born.

Feel free to make it a habit, sir.

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