Pick a story line
Should I start with the obvious? 27 is unreal. How did we end up with a kid that’s willing to tote the ball 32 times in his first game back from a vicious injury, never doubting the plan of his coaches one time. He’s the story
How about a kid that was hungry for more playing time, joined this team a month ago and somehow locked down one of Kirby Smart’s most important positions at Star? Maurice Smith looked aggressive, instinctive and athletic. His redemption is the story.
But what about the kid who had to grind to even qualify, showed up late this summer, made summer honor roll and took his first carry 19 yards for a pivotal TD? Brian Herrien showed promise in his first game as the Thunder to Elijah Holyfield’s potential lightning. His persistence is the story.
All these stories are captivating and their combination produced a Georgia win. But I want to focus on the journey and juxtaposition of a former five star and an walk on Athens native.
Lamont Gaillard broke into initial recruiting rankings as a five star and one of the best players in the country. He was sought after by elite teams and heavily sought by Todd Grantham at Georgia. Gaillard made a commitment and Grantham eventually left for Louisville at season’s end. When Jeremy Pruitt arrived at Georgia, the recruitment of Gaillard ended. Pruitt did not see the qualities in Gaillard necessary to play D line in a Pruitt defense. Gaillard took a late official visit to Louisville but had already built a comfort level at Georgia and decided to stick to his commitment without being heavily recruited. Lamont showed up at Georgia overweight and underwhelming. He was immediately deemed a project and given little chance to see meaningful reps in practice. I don’t give Rob Sale credit for much, but give he and Sam Pittman some praise. The transition to OL and transformation of Lamont’s body has allowed Georgia to recover from what has been lackluster OL recruiting over the past several years. Gaillard started at RG and opened up plenty of interior holes for 27 to run through. From a guy I thought would never see the field at Georgia, to a RS sophomore starter, Lamont’s turnaround has been astounding.
Christian Payne was a total meathead from Prince Avenue Christian without a lick of ball skills or instinctual movement. When he showed up to his first Georgia practice, I quickly asked myself which high valued booster was Christian’s uncle. Watching him go through ILB drills was painful on the eyes. But he has found an irreplaceable niche at FB. It’s not often that a team recruits a FB nowadays, it’s a spot normally filled by walk on’s not athletic enough to play RB. But I cannot tell you how valuable Payne was to the Georgia win Saturday night. Every long rushing TD featured a pivotal block from 41. He is relentless in locating someone to block on every snap. This position may take a higher toll on your body than any position on the field (ask Merritt Hall). But Payne got better as the game wore on. The combination and stamina of Payne and Chubb was too much for UNC to deal with and eventually broke the game open. Christian is now ranked as the #1 FB in America according to Pro Football Focus.
Nick Chubb is the story. But Christian Payne and Lamont Gaillard have compelling stories of their own
It was so refreshing to see a Georgia offense with some versatility again. I bet Brian Schottenheimer had the same breakfast of vanilla yogurt every gameday morning before calling the same plays week in and week out. We get it dude, you really like 5 yard curl routes. How about trying something over the middle or checking the pulse of the TE on 3rd and 7. Jim Chaney’s offense looked multiple. These are the teams you hate to prepare for. So many formations and personnel groupings for Defensive coordinators to consider. Here are some examples.
- Heavy use of 12 and 13 personel (12- 1 RB and 2 TE’s, 13 1 RB and 3 TE)
- Spread concepts when Eason was in the game. Stronger arm, more outside throws
- Get your playmakers the ball. Chaney is famous for the best players having the most opportunities with the ball (Chubb 32 carries and heavy utilization of Mckenzie)
- Toss power concepts. Sony Michel will be dangerous in this, not to mention Chubb
- The most talented TE group in America utilized in both the run and pass game
Chaney’s unpredictable and versatile offense is dangerous with players like Isaiah Mckenzie, Sony Michel and Charlie Woerner. All three will have huge years. I will have some film breakdowns later in the year with more tape.
III. Recap | Position grades
- Quarterbacks: B
No bad decisions. Greyson Lambert still doesn’t have a clock in his head. Can make more difficult reads over the the middle in the short passing game. Eason looked as good as he could in his first action. Quick clock and release. Willing to test the Defense deep
- Running Backs: A+
Chubb gets an A++ and a kiss from the teacher. Brian Herrien looks like a very solid backup option with power. Tough running style with some quicks. Add in Michel, Holyfield and Sir fumbles a lot....Dangerous backfield with depth
- WR/TE: B+
Isaiah Mckenzie and the TE’s hold this group up. Some excellent blocking from Nauta, Woerner and Blazevich. Gotta have a guy step up as a go to every down receiver
- OL: B
Lanes for Chubb against a bad run D. Pass protection was suspect at times. Catalina almost got charged with involuntary man slaughter as he let a free rusher hit Eason
- DL: C+
David Marshall was a pleasant surprise. Rochester and Trent held their own but too many big runs and yards per carry
- OLB: B-
Lorenzo had a ton of pursuit tackles and a decent amount of pressure. He was flying around but needs a more consistent pass rush. Bellamy was quiet and dropped a pick. They can both be better
- ILB: A-
Roquan and Natrez are the real deal at inside backer. Athletic and can cover sideline to sideline. They will both make game winning plays before the year is over. Reggie Carter is great for depth but does not have enough game speed to start. Couldn’t catch TJ Logan on his touchdown run.
- Secondary: B
Maurice Smith and Malkom Parrish balled out. Juwaun Briscoe got beat deep a few times on what should have been huge plays. If he keeps playing like that he will give Mecole Hardman and Tyrique Mcghee a chance to see minutes. Dom Sanders didn't play like Dom Sanders.
IV. Georgia vs Nicholls St | Athens, Ga
This is where I am going to save some space and some boredom. I don’t know much about Nicholls St. My days of learning the 3 deep and every formation for North Texas, Troy and Charleston Southern are over. I once spent upwards of 30 hours diagramming every run play Charleston Southern ran that season and it was my nightmare. So here is my game preview for Nicholls State. The Colonels feature two defensive tackles who starred in Netflix’s “Last Chance U”. Marcel Andry and Ronald Ollie both attended East Mississippi Community College and it is very cool that they will get to live out their dreams of playing in an SEC stadium. Ollie is actually a bit of a playmaker so his game will be interesting to watch. Seems like a much humbler kid than another East Mississippi player that Georgia will play this year.....That’s it! There’s your Nicholls State scouting report. The spread is UGA -50. Get it done and let’s move on Dawgs.
V. SEC Predictions
VI. Bucky’s Easy Money of the Week
We were 2-2 last week. I didn’t make you any money. I failed you. Time to double down.
VII. Recruiting- The Jim’s and Joe’s
Gotta Have em:
1. Jake Fromm Houston County (Warner Robins, GA) QB 6-2.5 224
This one is easy. He’s a Georgia commit but the numbers make him impossible not to mention. 1,368 yards and 11 TD’s in 3 games. Completing 72% of his passes. Unreal. What a huge flip by Kirby.
2. Leonard Warner Brookwood (Snellville, GA) ILB 6-4 226
Love this kid. Huge length, great speed, good instincts. He causes havoc in the middle of the field and is also a playmaker on special teams (already blocked a handful of punts this year). Plays for an excellent coach in Phillip Jones at Brookwood
Need to see More:
1. Walter Grant Cairo (Cairo, GA) OLB 6-4 236
I am going to pick guys with a bunch of stars. Some could be great, others could be big misses. The natural playmaking and insticnts I see in Warner are missing from Grant’s game. Grant is huge and has potential to add even more good weight and become a physical freak. But he does not play with aggresion. There is potential no doubt, get Grant running full speed in the right direction and he is a force. But his game speed and power do not match his off field physique.
See you next week at 2-0 and #8 in the Country