Category Archives: Georgia Football

The defensive front and GATA

Jason Butt puts together one of those “five things we know” lists and while some of what’s there we’ve hashed out a bit here, there are a couple of things he mentions that are worth noting.

Summer crucial for defensive line: At least for Georgia’s season-opener against North Carolina, the defensive line will be down two key contributors. Chauncey Rivers (second marijuana arrest) and Jonathan Ledbetter (underage possession of alcohol) are suspended for it, with Rivers missing Georgia’s first three games.

It’ll be imperative for Georgia’s other young defensive linemen to make strides this summer during voluntary workouts. Michael Barnett and DaQuan Hawkins are coming off of minor knee injuries and will look to heal back to 100 percent before preseason practice begins in August. Georgia lost four linemen up front, including Chris Mayes and Sterling Bailey. Sophomore Trent Thompson will be counted on to provide more of a leadership role on the defensive line in 2016.

More pass rushers needed: Davin Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter will have big shoes to fill this season but have the talent and physical ability to get it done. Bellamy emerged last year as a productive player and Carter has been commended for his work ethic this spring, evidenced by being a recipient of the team’s Coffee County Hustle Award. Behind those two, however, are some unproven outside linebackers. D’Andre Walker had 4 sacks at G-Day and could be primed for a bigger role in 2016. Chuks Amaechi played well in spots last season and should be good to go once he’s healed up from labrum surgery.

Freshman pass-rushers Chauncey Manac and David Marshall will also have plenty of opportunities to get on the field early. It also remains to be seen how much cross-training Georgia does with Natrez Patrick, who could move from inside to outside linebacker in certain substitution packages.

Ordinarily I’d say the idea that you’re going to get a major contribution right out of the gate from of a true freshman defensive lineman showing up for fall camp is farfetched (admittedly, not impossible, though), but the opener against North Carolina is one of those situations where necessity appears to be the the mother of invention.  Is Mel Tucker on the mother, so to speak?  You’d have to think he, Smart and Rocker will be doing a lot of brainstorming in August trying to find pieces to fit around Thompson.  And more than anything, Lorenzo Carter needs to make himself into the real deal this season.

The more I look at Georgia’s front seven, especially the line, the more I think it may hold the key to Georgia’s chances more than any other area on the team for 2016.  That includes you know whom.

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A quarterback timetable, of sorts

I’m not sure this is quite as specific a thing as Marc Weiszer interprets it to be, but it is a thing nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Georgia coach Kirby Smart signaled Thursday that it could be deep into August before the Bulldogs sort out their quarterback pecking order, but he did lay out a timetable of sorts to determine a starter.

Fifth-year senior Greyson Lambert, redshirt junior Brice Ramsey and freshman early enrollee Jacob Eason are competing for the job.

“Each one of them can throw it,” Smart said Thursday on SiriusXM. “Some throw it better than others. Some make better decisions than others and some handle the huddle better than others. We’ve got to sit down and figure this thing out in the first 20 or so practices (in the preseason) to start dissecting who the guy’s going to be.”

I suppose that boils down to what he means by “dissecting”.  That could be anything from an established pecking order to more time in the film room trying to get a handle on things.

What’s perhaps of more interest is that as much as Smart harped on quarterback mobility in an earlier discussion with Stewart Mandel, the immediate dilemma appears to turn on a different factor.

Smart said each of three candidates’ ability to communicate “is probably the No. 1 thing,” a quarterback needs.

“If you have one guy that can fix a guy on the line of scrimmage, can say it right, it just takes so many errors and self-inflicted wounds out of the problem if you can just communicate,” he said. “Some guys do that better than others. There’s a lot of value in that.”

Smart said recently that Lambert’s ability to “fix” things on offense is one of his stronger attributes. He said on G-Day coaches didn’t have a lot of shifts and motions and “crazy stuff” but kept it simple.

I don’t know if that’s a way of keeping all three in the mix as long as possible to ensure the greatest amount of competition or if it’s simply a heads up to us not to be surprised if Number 11 steps out in the Dome to take the first snap from center in the opener.

Or it could simply be that the coaches right now aren’t any more certain of who winds up being the guy as we are.

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A banner year

2018 is shaping up to have quite the home schedule.

Georgia’s 2018 football schedule is quickly coming into the view. The Bulldogs entered into an agreement with Murray State to play a game at Sanford Stadium on Sept. 15 of that season.

UGA will pay the Racers $500,000 for the trouble. That’s according to the terms outlined in a contract turned over to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday in compliance with an open records request. The contract was signed by Murray State Athletic Director Allen Ward on March 7 and by UGA AD Greg McGarity on March 28.

Also included in documents was the contract for the recent agreement between Georgia and the University of Massachusetts to play a football game on Nov. 17 of 2018. It revealed that UGA will pay the FBS team $1.5 million to come to Athens for that game. The Bulldogs released the news of the addition through its sports communication office but did not include the contract terms.

Remind me again why adding a ninth conference game to the schedule would be bad.

By the way, if you’re interested, it sounds like UMass is starting a trend.

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“I know where he’s coming at. I know it’s a set up.”

Dial this clip up to the 1:30 mark and listen to Kirby’s great response to Saban’s and Spurrier’s suggestion that Georgia is the best coaching job in the SEC.

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Ludagate and the arrogance of ineptitude

After the news came out about Ludacris stepping up to appear at G-Day, somebody asked me what I thought he was being paid for that.  Reflecting on what major acts pull down at concerts these days – the Stones made enough at their last Atlanta show to pay Georgia Tech more than half a million dollars just to use BDS for a couple of hours – and the fact that the deal was put together on short notice, I guessed between fifty and a hundred thousand dollars.  Big time entertainment ain’t cheap, especially when you can’t pass the cost on to ticket buyers.

And yet look where we are now.  Ludacris was praised for stepping up and bailing out Greg McGarity, puts on what was by all accounts a successful show, but a $65,000 paycheck and a box of condoms later, it’s all turned to ashes somehow.  Really?  “Artist gets paid major bucks and has a quirky shopping list” is supposed to be scandalous somehow?  On what planet?

A little perspective might be in order, methinks.

Starting with Kirby Smart.

Kirby Smart mostly talked football during a Thursday interview on the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum Show. But at the end of the interview Georgia’s head football coach was asked about the G-Day Ludacris concert, and revelations about UGA’s contract with the rap star…

“To be honest with you I don’t have much of a reaction,” Smart said. “I wasn’t privy to the contract, and didn’t see much of it. I’ve only seen the publications of it, and obviously we’ve gotta do a better job of managing situations like that.”

Oy.  Dude, no.  You look at Finebaum, grin, crack a joke about artists being temperamental (M&Ms references are always good for a chuckle in this context), thank Ludacris for stepping up in the program’s time of need, praise the energy he contributed to the day and move on.  What you don’t do is mutter some ominous threat about doing a better job in the future.  And what’s that gonna be, anyway?  Telling the next act to bring their own rubbers to Athens?

We all know what this is really about.  Kirby, McGarity and the entire athletic department apparatus don’t have time for that shit.

Smart didn’t elaborate. Earlier in the interview, he did make an oblique mention about “distractions” when asked about managing expectations for highly-touted freshman quarterback Jacob Eason.

“I think the best thing you can do is provide distractions, Paul, which seems to be what we’re able to do here in Georgia is get a lot of distractions for him,” Smart said. “Because we’ve had a lot of other stuff going on that has kept him out of the media.”

Gee, maybe he should be a little more grateful, then.

Mockery aside, this is what the change in the Open Records law is really about.  It’s not to protect recruiting secrets, or about preserving Butts-Mehre’s precious energy. (How hard is it to multi-task in an era of bloated support staffing, anyway?)  It’s about the reality that these guys absolutely suck at PR and don’t feel like making any effort to improve.  Call it “The Butts-Mehre Relief Act of 2016” and at least be honest about it.

Hell, just think about the absurdity of this particular situation for a minute.  Smart didn’t read the contract, but presumably somebody in the athletic department did.  And by “somebody”, I mean McGarity.  (If he didn’t, then perhaps there’s your real scandal.)  Georgia knew what the terms were well before the information got out to the public, and yet the athletic department was either unwilling or unable to prepare a competent explanation in the time it had available to do so.  So it left Kirby Smart hanging instead.

Now there will be even less need to devote effort to things like that, as time heals a lot of self-inflicted wounds.  It’s the mark of an organization that doesn’t give a shit about making an attempt to look competent and confident in how it manages its affairs and instead preferred to look for an easy way around that.  It’s the same kind of attitude that I took exception to in this post.

They simply don’t care.  Maybe you’re fine with that.  I presume if you’re in the “just win, baby” camp, that’s likely.  If you are, maybe you can explain to me exactly what a box of condoms has to do with winning and losing.  Because I’m not seeing how success on the field and making the effort to be accessible are mutually exclusive.  I guess that means I’ll never be AD material.

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UPDATE:  C’mon, man.

The late addition of landing Ludacris to perform prior to last Saturday’s G-Day game brought added excitement to Georgia’s spring football game, but Sanford Stadium may have been filled up anyway, Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said.

“It probably was overrated with the fans that came,” Smart said Thursday in an interview with SiriusXM Radio. “I really think a lot of people had already made their minds up that they were coming anyway. It ended up being a great atmosphere for our recruits. It was really cool. I know the recruits enjoyed it. Some of the players did. Some of them were kidding me about Ludacris because they say that’s my generation. I’ll leave that to each person to make his own decision.”

Now if he says the same thing about blasting loud music over Sanford’s PA system during games…

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Need a G-Day game hype video?

Okay, here’s a G-Day game hype video.

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All in.

This is pretty damned cool.  It was amazing to watch in real time, too.

 

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