So good to see you again as we look to start the season and defend the title of “Liberty Bowl Champions”. If we haven’t met yet, I am your lowly Dawg servant Brooks Tilley. I worked as a defensive student assistant for 2.5 years under both Todd Grantham and Jeremy Pruitt and of course head coach Mark Richt. I am washed up and have a real job now but I still have to dump my excessive Dawg thoughts somewhere. I will be bringing you my perspective every week on both the game from the prior week as well as the upcoming opponent. Hopefully we can also dip into some recruiting and other fun.
All aboard the hype train. Ya boy is seated in seat 1a and I even checked a bag (which I have a fundamental disagreement with). I fought the good fight, I resisted, I replayed the disappointing years over in my mind. But I just couldn’t shake that unwarranted optimism that runs deep in the heart of every Georgia fan.
I’ve seen us projected for 10-2, 11-1, I’ve even seen Barrett Sallee’s crazy ass project us for the national championship. I love your enthusiasm Barrett but chill, sir. We’ve got a suspect offensive line, special teams that will burn your eyes and a QB that likes downtown Athens just a little too much.
If you put me on the spot and ask me for my season prediction, I got the Dawgs at 9-3. That factors in a loss to Auburn, and 2/3 against Notre Dame, Florida, and South Carolina. If Kirby makes major strides in game management, I think he steals us another and we get to 10-2 with a chance to make a huge statement in the SEC championship game. So yes, I have fully boarded the hype train and I feel better about it this year than I have in a while (lulz, I’m gonna look so stupid if we go 7-5 again).
Freshmen to impact 2017
Nowadays, if you don’t have a deep list of freshman contributors, you’re missing a major piece of an elite team. Redshirts are a thing of the past. Don’t listen to a coach that tells you they are still evaluating their freshman players well into fall camp. The first day the pads come on, the coaching staff knows what they’ve got. They know if a dude is a contributor at an SEC level or if he is a recruiting evaluation bust.
In 2013 we knew almost immediately when fall camp started that the class would be a major bust and would negatively affect the program for a few years. Little did we know it would bring a new DC, a new OC and eventually a brand new lead man. Why would coaches keep using redshirts when they themselves can have a shorter shelf life than 4 years? They either want to break that RS and turn a freshman loose immediately or speed up his exit from the program. Either way, other than special situations (see Jake Fromm hopefully), redshirt freshmen are becoming less and less prevalent.
That being said, there are plenty of freshmen who will have a say in Georgia’s 2017 season. Here is what you need to know on each.
Andrew Thomas RT- Dude is a freak. I wrote about this around Signing Day when Thomas’ fax came in but his arms must have been crafted by archangels. He has longer arms than all but one NFL OT in Ryan Clady. Every picture I see from practice reports show Andrew Thomas locking out defensive linemen who can’t get into his chest and one teammate even reported “he can scratch his knees standing straight up”.
Georgia’s recruitment shift from unathletic fatties to full grown men will serve them quickly this season. Thomas is Georgia’s long term solution at LT, a very mature young man and a future first round draft pick. Count it, hype train boarded.
Walter Grant OLB- I was so nervous that Grant could be a waste of a scholarship and knew he would be a longer term project. Well word out of camp is that I was wrong. To hear this much about his ability this early is a very good sign. He always had the physical prowess but the fact that he has put it together enough to be mentioned consistently by upperclassmen tells me he is in line to contribute immediately. If Grant can figure out the playbook, he will quickly pass D’Andre Walker as Georgia’s third option pass rusher.
RLIII S- Richard Lecounte shifts from recruiting extraordinaire to starting safety with Malkom Parrish missing time. I started to get a bit nervous as camp wore on without hearing mention of Lecounte. But he quickly re-established his physical reputation and put enough of the playbook together to get valuable playing time. He is one of those sneaky young dudes that somehow gets a pick early in the season…
D’Andre Swift RB- Keep reloading RBU. A little concerned with how quiet news on Swift has been after such a strong start to camp. But he will get it figured out and be a huge contributor this year. Too good to keep off the field. His combo of compact size and speed confuses me. How does a man that stubby get moving so quickly? We may never know, but I dig it.
Mark Webb WR- Freshman in a junior’s body. Should be both a possession and vertical threat with solid hands. He will be the first freshman WR to score a TD.
5 Dudes you already know about that will have big seasons
• Mecole Hardman
• Charlie Woerner
• Johnathan Ledbetter
• Terry Godwin
• Javon Wims
Quick App St Preview
I'm not going to speak too much to the play of this year's team until I get some game reps on film. So the Jim Cheney hot seat session is off until next week. But I will quickly talk about App State. Really solid team with an experienced QB. Indiana showed that you can stick with big boys with this formula. Ohio State ended up blowing them out with depth and I’m hoping that is what Georgia will do.
When was the last time we truly whipped anyone's ass, a game when the final outcome was never in doubt? Last I remember was South Carolina in 2015 when Greyson Lambert apparently got blackout drunk before the game and played out of his mind. That sweet blissful feeling is so unfamiliar now. Even when playing Nicholls St, my sweet heart and overworked liver don’t even get a break.
It shouldn’t be that way at a top tier SEC school and I'm hoping we can make strides in Smart's second year to whip the ass of people we pay to come play us. That being said, App State went 10-3 last year and won the Sun Belt.
But they are still getting too much credit for beating Michigan ten years ago and taking the "Champions of Life" to the wire last year. Georgia should wear this team down with the run game and be able to convert some vertical shots. This Georgia defense should be very solid and if they can overcome the loss of Malkom Parrish in the backend, there should be no problem holding App State under 17.
Enough is enough. The first step to becoming an elite team is mercilessly beating teams that walk away from Athens with a paycheck. Georgia 31 App State 17
Bucky’s Easy Money of the Week
*Disclaimer- was told that this bitmoji does not look like me but I don’t listen to haters (stay in your lane
Overall Record: 27-21. Double Down this season my friends.