Category Archives: Georgia Football

A different kind of happy talk

On the surface, that’s the kind of talk we typically hear in late July as we get ready for the start of preseason practice.  But under the surface, I think it’s indicative of something more important that really is worth appreciating.

Special teams are where you really notice a team’s quality depth.  And because of Richt’s questionable roster management practices over the 2009-2013 period, quality depth was lacking.  How could it not be, with a roster that at one point had fewer than 70 scholarship players on it?  If Richt now observes that there are more athletes on special teams, there’s only one reason for that.

Quite simply, Richt’s got more scholarship bodies to work with.  And that is a welcome development.

There are certainly things Richt’s done that are worthy of criticism.  But he also deserves credit for learning from his mistakes and making the effort to overcome them.  If you’re like me and think that the hesitant way he managed the numbers on Georgia’s roster was his most egregious, then this is a good sign.  It’s talk that makes me happy for the right reason.

102 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

The curse of Herschel

Great piece from the get go (you guys know I’m a sucker for puns, and the header is a good ‘un) about the Georgia running back situation by Matt Hinton.

This is a story about a star running back at Georgia, which means that it is also, on some intrinsic level, a story about Herschel Walker. It’s impossible to avoid: In his three years, Walker so thoroughly embodied the ideal college workhorse that in the three-plus decades since his last carry in a red-and-black uniform, his shadow over the position has only grown. At some point, possibly before he even left campus, that shadow became a permanent feature of the landscape, looming over aspiring recruits and proven commodities alike: The best of the post-Walker tailbacks in Athens include two consensus All-Americans,1 six first-round draft picks,2 and a future NFL MVP, all of whom register in the imagination as mere footnotes by comparison. No broad-shouldered, blue-chip prospect has ever been touted as The Next Rodney Hampton. No fan in the cheap seats has ever been moved by a great run to exclaim, “That kid looks like Tim Worley out there!” No TV producer has ever booked Garrison Hearst or Knowshon Moreno to grant his blessing to the latest heir apparent.

So the bar for what qualifies as a star running back at Georgia is relative, to put it mildly. And before we get around to parsing the bona fides of the current headliner, sophomore Nick Chubb, it has to be said that exultant expectations for UGA rushers over the past few years have tended to produce a lot of false prophets.

I’ll grant you that maybe Matt takes a little artistic license to make his point – I don’t think any of the Georgia faithful, at least when sober, saw Washaun Ealey as the next Herschel Walker – but there’s little question that in general we have a tendency to see if someone can step up and take a shot at filling the myth.  Kinda like back in the days of my misspent youth when we wondered who would emerge as the next Beatles, I suppose.

The most interesting part of Matt’s piece is this chart…

Goodness, gracious. If you look up “workhorse” in the dictionary, Knowshon’s 2008 season is there. (Musa Smith’s 2002 effort is nothing to sneer at either.)

All of which makes what Chubb did last year that much more remarkable.  And it’s a good example of how well Georgia has managed its running backs of late.

So how special can we expect Chubb’s 2015 season to be?  Aside from managing the workload, there’s also an issue of strategy in play.

That may be the case, but even if Chubb and his high-ceiling cohorts are all they’re cracked up to be, the broader question still remains: In an era of efficient, up-tempo offenses and rapidly accelerating scoreboards, is it still possible for a great back, or a group of great backs, to serve as the centerpiece for a championship? On the one hand, college football is not yet “a passing league” in the sense that the NFL is: Although college offenses throw more often than in the past, they still tend to run more than they throw, and ground games in general are as productive as ever. Unlike in the pros, where individual backs have been steadily devalued as short-lived, situational cogs, the every-down workhorse remains a prized commodity in the college game. Still, it’s also been clear for a while that the days of college offenses hitching their wagons to a transcendent talent like Walker or Gurley or Chubb and riding him to a title are long gone unless that type of back is accompanied by a quarterback who can generate some semblance of balance.

Eh, maybe.  Georgia, but for some unfortunate and untimely brain farts, came closer to pulling that off in 2014 than you’d think.  And you’d have to think that with the change at quarterback and offensive coordinator, along with depth questions at wideout, the program is going to try to ride the Chubb train as far as it can.

If that works, then I think Matt is spot on with his conclusion.

Regardless of the final numbers, if under those circumstances Chubb is able to uphold his end of the bargain as the engine of a sustained title run, his place in the most exalted tier of Bulldog greats will be secure.

In other words, we’d be naming the next generation of black Labrador retrievers after him.

96 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

It’s only two letters, dude.

Now he tells us.

One thing Richt mentioned once he was on stage for the UGA Day interview with broadcaster Chuck Dowdle and the subsequent Q&A session with fans was that the official depth chart released earlier this summer should have read “Brice Ramsey or Faton Bauta” instead of listing them as first- and second-team players, respectively. Greyson Lambert, a transfer from Virginia who has entered the quarterback mix, wasn’t on the depth chart then.  [Emphasis added.]

If Richt’s goal is to keep the quarterback race as muddled as reasonably possible, he’s doing an awfully good job of it.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“I can assure you Georgia isn’t any different than Clemson or Florida State or some other teams we play.”

That second win between the hedges has made the genius a little salty, it seems.

Maybe I should say a little more salty.

18 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football

He’s only in it for the money.

Is it just me, or does Matt Hayes seem particularly fixated on Mark Richt’s latest raise?

19 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Georgia-Tennessee: have we got your attention yet?

Field Street Forum links to a Vol site’s analysis of this year’s matchup.  Here’s the conclusion:

Georgia’s won five straight in this one, but ever since the 41-14 waxing in 2010, every game in this series since has been decided by one score, with a couple games coming down to the very final seconds.

The Bulldogs clearly have the upper hand right now, but aren’t at the point of owning this series yet.

I don’t know what the author’s definition of ownage may be, but five in a row is pretty damned dominant, regardless of point spread.

And with regard to that, even there, you can find a little back story.  Yes, every one of the last four games came down to a one-score margin.

  • 2014:  35-32
  • 2013:  34-31
  • 2012:  51-44
  • 2011:  20-12  (Note:  UT scored with 2:45 left on the clock in the fourth quarter.)

But you know what else every one of those four games sported?  A big (at least two scores) Georgia lead.

  • 2014:  21-10
  • 2013:  17-3
  • 2012:  27-10
  • 2011:  20-6

This team has recently had a bad habit of relaxing against Tennessee.  Maybe it’s time to take the Vols seriously for a full sixty minutes.  Try hanging on to that big lead, guys, or stay focused by struggling for the game’s entirety.

59 Comments

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

Assessing Pruitt’s impact

One gratifying thing I’ve found about blogging is that if I wait long enough, eventually somebody comes along to do the heavy lifting for me.

Such is the story with this excellent post over at GloryUGA.com, exploring how much of an impact Jeremy Pruitt had on Georgia’s defense last season.  The stats make a pretty compelling case that when Pruitt said before the season that his two main goals were to increase takeaways and limit big plays, he meant it.

And while the run defense was disappointing in key games, it wasn’t a complete disaster.

Heck, even in the one area in which we took a significant statistical step backwards – rushing defense – we weren’t really THAT bad outside of two anomalous performances.  Those dreadful performances happened and they cannot be ignored, however neither can the fact that we held 8 of our 11 other opponents under their season rushing averages or the fact that without those two embarrassing efforts we were essentially a top 20 rush defense.

All this from a guy who had to install a new defensive scheme and work with a secondary that was depleted from a talent standpoint.  Imagine what he might be able to do with a defense that has a year’s experience with his system under its belt and a rising amount of quality depth.

23 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!