Don’t come to this blog for your Disney Dawg outlook of the week. This post is about ball, players and execution. I told you in my podcast last week that a loss was likely coming. Even in the offseason, this looked like a terrible matchup for Georgia. Now does that mean I personally didn’t buy into a 3-0 start and have a rosy, undefeated disposition prior to last weekend? No it doesn’t. But once down 14-0, reality set in and it wasn’t as hard to swallow the rest of the onslaught. Yeah, spending $90 on a ticket that would have been better used on red at a table in Vegas hurt a little bit. But this matchup never provided a possible Georgia W.
The outcome of this game was in no way scheme driven. How many Ole Miss TD’s came as a result of a missed sack/tackle or a 1 on 1 secondary breakdown? Damn near all of them. It is extremely hard to admit this and it is something that I hope I never have to repeat in the future. Georgia is currently at a competitive disadvantage to Ole Miss when it comes to the skill level of players on scholarship. How on earth is that possible? How can a school with little success over the last two decades, a less than impressive academic reputation and relatively weak home recruiting base surpass Georgia in talent? I’ll skip over the NCAA investigation. In my experience, any illegal recruiting activity that exists has little to do with overall roster talent. But man, isn’t it a convenient recruiting excuse for fan bases to use. Don’t be that guy. No, this comes down to consistent recruiting success for Ole Miss and one absolutely horrendous class for Georgia in 2013.
Everyone has heard of the ghost of this class. This was the first class I got to see in action as true freshman. As a recruiting fanatic, I was unbelievably excited to watch these guys perform in person as opposed to on tape. After day 1, you could see that 15 of them would never see significant playing time at Georgia. After a week, you could easily see that at least 5 more would also never play SEC ball. There were numerous, unbelievable misses that set Georgia back for the past 2 years and will continue to do so throughout this season. There is a reason that so many true freshman have played this year and last year at Georgia. While it’s a great recruiting pitch, it is extremely alarming that almost zero utility was pulled out of the 2013 class. 34 kids. 13 transfers. 4 legitimate contributors.
Now was this the only reason for the Ole Miss beat down? Certainly not. We could blame another poor showing by the offensive line, the kicking game and the defensive backfield. However, it is very telling that Georgia was punched in the mouth early and showed no resiliency in punching back. That type of fight comes from both upperclassmen leadership and coaching. I will give Kirby and staff a break here as this is the first time they have had to deal with such a situation. But your senior leaders should be able to pick your team up no matter who the coach is. The 2013 recruiting class was not able to provide many guys that can do that.
II. Ole Miss Recap
Athletic/Long receiving and TE core with the ability to stretch the field. Mobile, elusive and playmaking QB. Relentless sideline to sideline sprinters on defense. This matchup hit at the core of every Georgia weakness. Small, inexperienced DB’s had no shot against one of the most talented receiving corps in the country. One thing I noticed was that Kirby was making almost all of the defensive calls and signaling them in. I really don’t like to criticize coaches because I have experienced the schedule and stress that they endure every day. But if your head coach is calling all the defensive plays and your DB’s are struggling mightily against everyone’s pass offense, what exactly is Mel Tucker’s role? Slightly worrisome. Lorenzo Carter is allergic to making big plays and Georgia’s nonexistent pass rush allowed Chad Kelly to elude, scramble and rush for everything he wanted. I will say this for the 3-4th time this year; D’andre Walker has got to get more snaps. He has the fastest get off on the team and brute strength that allows him to vary pass rush moves. He will create plays but he needs even more opportunity. It’s a win-win with #7 taking limited snaps and #15 in to replace him. Georgia’s offense continued to struggle in the run game. The Ole Miss defense was the perfect scheme to play against Georgia. The Dawgs have had a tough time in the interior run game this year and continued that trend last Saturday. Ole Miss has a tremendous amount of speed on the outside and made the perimeter run game challenging. The Dawgs were down quickly and turned to the passing game where they saw an injured defensive backfield consistently lock down receivers (not to mention some very charitable drops). Looking back, we all should have seen this blowout coming strictly based on talent and matchups.
III. Tennessee Preview
Although I made Journalism my major for about 11 days in college, I never took a journalism class. However, I would assume they advocate giving readers major takeaways in presenting an argument. I’ll give you one. One critical point that will determine whether Georgia moves to 4-1 and the East Frontrunner or into the forgotten wasteland of the bottom of the East. Can Georgia’s defense make Josh Dobbs uncomfortable and careless with the football? If so, they have a very good chance to pick up a crucial win. We have seen time and time again that Dobbs will make huge mistakes with the football when given confusing looks. Hell, even App St and Ohio made him look terrible. If the Georgia defense cannot keep contain and pressure on Dobbs, they will have a hard time stopping both an impressive run game and QB improvisation.
You stop Dobbs and force careless turnovers, you hand the ball off to your offense against a young secondary. Chubb’s uncertain game status certainly does not help, but dynamic ball carriers are the least of Georgia’s worries. Early run establishment will begin to confuse the young players in Tennessee’s secondary an open up the entire field for Eason. Certainly another huge game but this is why changes were made in the offseason. We will begin to see this week if the changes immediately translate into big East wins or if this year is destined for another TaxSlayer bowl. The home crowd will be huge as always and it will be Tennessee’s first true road game.
IV. SEC Predictions
V. Bucky’s Easy Money of the Week
We went 2-2 last week. You didn’t make any money. I failed you. Still making money at a better rate than government bonds overall at 10-6. Time to Double Down Dawgs.
Gotta Have Em’
1. Richard LeCounte III Liberty County (Hinesville, GA) S 5-10.5 174
Easy. He’s a five star. He balls on both side of the ball. Immediate contributor for Georgia. I feel a little proud on this one because I brought LeCounte to the attention of Coach Pruitt while scouting Raekwon Mcmillan at Liberty County. He didn't receive an offer until much later but we don’t have to tell anyone that part.
2. Matt Landers Lakewood (Saint Petersburg, FL) WR 6-5 182
Sure handed receiver with Length. He has solid production this year and I think he was a steal. Slight upgrade from Xavier Jenkins from Lowndes. He will Georgia’s tallest WR target from day 1
Gotta See More
1. Latavious Brini Mater Academy Charter (Hialeah, FL) CB 6-2 200
Georgia cannoot afford to be picky on corners. However, Brini has not played a high school game this year due to a mysterious injury. His length and ball hawking are needed, but the Dawgs cannot afford to miss in the secondary in the 2017 class.
VII. Previous Volumes
Go Damn Dawgs