I. Season Intro
What a ridiculously long off season it has been. I legitimately watched Vanderbilt’s game by game season recap last night on the SEC network. What a sad hour that was. I really hope for Derek Mason’s sake and for the sake of my "week before the season starts" viewing pleasure next year that they are better in 2016. I think they torture inmates at Guantanamo with the film from 2015 Vandy vs Mizzou. Anyway, back to the Dawgs.
I worked for 2.5 years for the Georgia football program as what could be called a "slappy". I did the film labor, was master of the slappies (scout team) and took all the MF’s one could ever dream of. It was the hardest and most rewarding 2.5 years of my life. I worked on defense under coach Grantham in 2013 and coach Pruitt in 2014. I have an obnoxious amount of thoughts on Georgia Football on a daily basis and I need a damn outlet besides my coworkers and fiance. So hopefully you will all oblige and find some entertainment in my thoughts.
II. Off Season Recap- The Dawgs’ Resurgence
Let me start by saying this on Kirby Smart. The man plans every single minute detail of this program and the media attention it receives. Take today for example. A source leaks that Greyson Lambert is your starting QB and a team spokesmen confirms. Two hours later, 4 Star RB D’Andre Swift, #1 All purpose back and #1 player in PA commits to Georgia. Swift moved his commitment from 8pm to 1pm late last night at about 9:39PM. That was about 1hr after (8:37pm) Jacob Eason tweeted "Trust the process" presumably after being told he would not start Saturday (since deleted). If you think Kirby wasn’t on the phone asking D’Andre for a favor, I think you underestimate him. When 2016 WR Demetris Robertson finally committed to Cal on May 1st, 4 Star 2017 WR Trey Blount committed two hours later. Every single announcement, commitment and statement is planned and coordinated to present Georgia as a national power with momentum. It is genius, it is necessary, and I love it.
I know nothing about X’s and O’s. If you’re reading this looking for a breakdown of how Georgia’s Gov Trips Y Sniff out of 11 personnel will look in the Dome, please look elsewhere. I hated that aspect of the job while I did it and I still hate it. But one thing that was glaringly obvious at the end of last year was that a Brian Schottenheimer coached offense was not going to get it done. We are in the heart of the best recruiting in the country. Georgia high school football is unreal and we bring in studs, play makers and athletes every single year (except 2013….yikes). Let the boys run. When Coach Richt initially relinquished the responsibility of calling plays, he put an absolute genius in charge. Mike Bobo is the most intense competitor I have ever met. His offensive mind and undying will to win protected the Georgia offense and Coach Richt for 7 years. There was no question that our offense would drop off; it could not sustain that level of excellence. The combination of injuries, QB play and offensive scheme created an abysmal year for what had to be the worst 10-3 team of all time. Brian Schottenheimer is an experienced and knowledgeable coach that would blow my mind with offensive terminology. But the bottom line is this: Bama, Tennessee, Florida- L,L,L. Changes had to be made an unfortunately that included the best man I have ever worked for in Coach Richt.
Enough has been said of Kirby Smart. He has me convinced via the way he speaks and the way he has recruited that he is more than capable of leading an SEC power. So let me approach my confidence in Smart from a different perspective. My confidence in Coach Smart is mirrored by my total lack of confidence in Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn. Every interview Kirby gives is familiar, passionate and real. You feel connected, you feel inspired, you feel understood. You connect with Kirby’s vision and understand how he relates to young kids with incredible aspirations. Every Dan Quinn quote is canned coaches’ speak. No player is inspired, encouraged or connected to a way of speaking they could find in a fortune cookie. He hasn’t coached any games but I’m thankful for the man leading the Dawgs.
III. Georgia vs UNC | Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Why don’t they go ahead and start the deconstruction on the Dome now so we don’t have to play there. I’ll even front the advance on making sure the roof on the new dome gets closed, Arthur. Just please don’t make us play in the Dome where we are 0 for our last 3.
I get Kellen Moore/Doug Martin flashbacks any time I think about an opener in the Dome. The human horse and the muscle hamster provided the first of two beatings in the Georgia Dome that year.
Dude even looks like a horse in a superman costume
The Honey Badger starred in the second beating and that one got so bad they didn’t even require LSU to cross the goaline with the ball. Zebra just puttin those hands up early thinking about how he’d rather be at the ACC championship.
Honey Badger don’t give a ….
Not even going to cover the 2012 SECCG. I think we are good….
Aside from the fact that the Dawgs play this one in the Dome, they play a very tough UNC team. As Marquise Williams put up huge numbers last year, I quickly googled UNC’s roster and was relieved to find him as a senior. However, I failed to consider Mitch Trubisky. Many analysts believe Trubisky will throw for more yards this season with more consistent play than Williams. He will not bring as much pure play making and mobility as Williams. My focus will be on Georgia’s turnover minded secondary vs Trubisky’s pocket QB approach. How will the Dawgs back end respond after successfully stopping the run game. Can Dom Sanders force a pick? Or will Trubisky use talented veteran receivers to balance the Elijah Hood based running attack. Established balance for UNC spells trouble for the Georgia Defense.
Speaking of Elijah Hood, he would have easily fit into the recruits I love section (below) coming out of high school. I drooled over his HS tape and shrugged it off as he initially committed to Notre Dame. His tape was unreal out of high school. Ran people over play after play and improved his speed tremendously between his junior and senior year. They finally gave him the reigns last year and he established what is now a feared rushing attack.
Let’s focus this week on Georgia’s Defense and their progression through fall camp.
First up, The defensive line. Trent Thompson has to be a superstar, end of story. He has to be the anchor of this young group. He must play sound football while also having the ability to single-handedly disrupt the run game and grab an occasional sack. John Atkins brings experience and a big body. Julian Rochester, Daquan Hawkins, Johnathan Ledbetter, and Michael Barnett are the swing men that determine if this unit is SEC caliber or Swiss cheese. 2/4 have to be serviceable and durable starters. Michail Carter and Tyler Clark are freshman that could see big minutes based on early practice reports and body types. I like Carter to play a big contributor/starter role by end of season.
Gonna keep this simple. Roquan Smith and Natrez Patrick are the long term solution. Reggie Carter is the instictive, smart vet. All 3 will get playing time and all 3 will be vital. Roquan and Natrez perfectly counter balance each other. Roqaun is slender and athletic with tremendous ball skills. Reminds me of Telvin Smith from FSU and now the Jags. Natrez is thick and Kirby’s prototype ILB. In good shape here.
Davin Bellamy and Chuks Amaechi will be consistent. Lorenzo Carter has to be more consistent but no one has a bigger ceiling. Ceiling doesn’t mean a ton anymore when you are a junior so it is time to turn it on and keep it on. D’Andre Walker is a 3rd down game changer but has to refine his knowledge of the playbook to meet more than just a pass rushing role. He is the type of player whose knowledge may limit his reps in practice but will change a game in certain situations. This position is the key to Georgia’s defensive success. Pressure here leads to better play from every other group, especially the secondary.
It’s amazing to me how interchangeable everyone seems to be in the secondary. For example, Qunicy Mauger gets hurt, corner Aaron Davis slides back and takes his spot. It seems that in Mel Tucker’s secondary he wants the 5-6 best DB’s on the field at all times no matter skill set at corner/safety/star. The interchangeable 7 at the moment seem to be Dom Sanders, Malkom Parrish, Quincy Mauger, Aaron Davis, Juwaun Briscoe, Rico McGraw and Maurice Smith. Behind them you have emerging young guys such as Mecole Hardman Jr, Tyrique McGee and Deandre Baker. I expect the freshman Hardman and McGee to see extended roles as the season progresses
Since there was finally an announcement on the starting QB today, I have to make mention of it. In my eyes, it doesn’t change anything. It’s the same initial game plan: establish the run game. It’ll be the same early passing scheme: short timing routes and check downs. Greyson Lambert will be just as nervous as Jacob Eason would be: there is a talented 5 star freshman breathing down his neck with the threat of being pulled at the first sign of weakness. And finally, we are still going to play 2 QBs. I just do not believe that Kirby would throw a freshman into the fire to see if he will sink or swim. Even if Eason started, Lambert would have seen reps. This takes the pressure of off Eason to come in later in the game and let it rip a bit.
This situation mirrors the 2014 Clemson Tigers. Cole Stout was the experienced, less talented starter while Deshaun Watson was the freshman 5 star. Stout got off to a bit of a rough start and Watson got his first shot at the end of the first quarter. He lead an efficient drive and threw an absolute dime directly over the head of Ramik Wilson for a 3oyd TD to Charone Peake. It was unreal. I sat in the press box and said to myself "well there was nothing we could do about that throw". The moral of the story is that Kirby is protecting Eason from the totally unrealistic expectations of a 99yd TD drive on his first series. Nothing has changed, both guys will play. If it works out as well for Kirby as it has for Dabo, the Dawgs are in good shape.
IV. SEC Predictions
V. Bucky’s Easy Money of the Week
Had some great success in losing money for my friends with my Easy Money of the Week. Feel free to join the fray.
VI. Recruiting- The Jim‘s and Joe’s
As much as I hated X’s & O’s, I loved the Jim’s and Joe’s side of my job. Anytime I could breakaway from opponent film to watch recruit tape was time well spent. So many things go into a successful ball player both physically and mentally.
Huge pickup in 4 star RB D’Andre Swift today. Brendan Douglas graduates and good seasons by Michel and Chubb leave you with Brian Herrien and Elijah Holyfield left on the roster next year. Talented freshman but Georgia needed at least two RB’s in the 2017 class with early playing time potential and I think they have them. An all out push to add Cam Akers wouldn’t hurt either….RBU is alive. Watch for UGA to add Swift’s cousin, 4 star WR Mark Webb to the commitment list before next week is over.
Every week I will cover 2 dudes I love and 1 dude I am not totally sold on yet. Think of it as Love/Hate for weekly fantasy only with high school kids. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. It’s easy to cover 5 and 4 stars but I will try to break into the 3 star range as well.
Gotta Have Em:
1.Malik Herring Mary Persons (Forsyth, GA) DE 6-3.5 265
Great frame to grow into once he reaches the college level. Expect his playing weight in college to hover around 285-290. Unreal athleticism. Does a back flip every time he knows a camera is around. Love his play at DE. Huge for UGA to land him as the 2017 DL class is very thin in the Southeast. Decision date for a commitment is nearing with Clemson, UGA and Bama as the finalists
2. Ty Chandler Montgomery Bell Academy (Nashville, TN) RB 5-11.5 195
Fresh off a commitment to Tennessee. Georgia may have been full anyway with the commitments of Toneil Carter and D’Andre. But Ty is gonna be a big time back to miss out on and it hurts that much more that he will head to Knoxville. Running style reminds me of Myles Jack. I know Jack doesn’t have a ton of RB tape to work with but hear me out. Chandler makes subtle moves that make above average speed look blazing fast.Good vision to setup early moves that break him free for big gains. Physical when he needs to be. Hard to tackle his size 1 on 1 in space. Might have missed a good one.
Gotta See More:
1. Nate McBride Vidalia Comprehensive (Vidalia, GA) ILB 6-2 220
Everyone has McBride as elite 4-5 star prospect and I understand why. I am just not totally convinced. Unreal verified track speed. Ridiculous times in 100m. Plays very well against kids in his classification due to physical dominance. Need to see more because he doesn’t have much tape due to injuries. Easy to see the speed but not convinced of natural instincts at LB. A talented physical specimen but not enough tape to monitor progression
Hope you enjoyed it! Hopefully I write Volume 2 with a (1-0) record. Go Damn Dawgs!
Brooks Tilley graduated from the University of Georgia, where he served as a student assistant on the staff of coach Mark Richt, including work with defensive coordinators Todd Grantham and Jeremy Pruitt.