I’ve got no real new information to present to you in the Spring. The SEC Network and ESPNU are showing too much basketball, preview magazines aren’t out yet, and recruiting rankings will have zero effect on the 2015 season. This is my attempt to keep you in the loop with some of Georgia’s potential obstacles for next season.
If you’ve been following the postseason podcasts, blogs, and Signing Day chatter, there are a LOT of people picking Tennessee as the darkhorse in the SEC East for 2015. Why the unbridled optimism for a team that yet again failed to finish .500 in league play? For a team who will have about 2/3 of its players in their first or second years in the program?
There’s a lot that could go right for the Vawls in 2015, but a lot that could go wrong too.
Josh Dobbs, and the emergence of an actual QB:
Dobbs was not a world-beater once he replaced the injured Justin Worley, but 63.3% of his passes found Vols receivers. He also brought an element to the UT run game not seen since Brent Schaffer: a real threat to run the ball. Dobbs finished with 469 yards on 104 (SPOILER ALERT: that is not good) carries. Not many college running backs get 200 carries, as Dobbs would have in a full season of action. An injury, and they’re right back to square one (remember Nathan Peterman in the third quarter or the Georgia/Tennessee game?)
Dobbs has weapons:
I spent all preseason last year shouting from rooftops that Marquez North was the second best wideout in the SEC. He rewarded me with…30 catches for just over 300 yards in an injury-plagued sophomore campaign. Joining him in and out of the lineup were Josh Malone, Von Pearson, and Pig Howard, all highly-rated guys in their own right. As their WR’s grow up, this passing offense becomes prolific.
The 2014 Vols replaced all 5 starters on their offensive line from the previous year. This year? Just one. That paves the way for massive human being Jalen Hurd (899 yards, 5 TD as a freshman) to continue to do his thing.
So yes, Tennessee’s offense is highly, highly skilled.
A strong finish and a beastly Signing Day
I said it in the intro, I’ll say it again. Signing Day 2015 will have almost no effect on this year’s results. Having said that, Tennessee pulling in it’s third straight top-10 class is
admirable confusing things that make you go ‘hmm’. This year, the focus was more on reloading the defense, as they brought in two consensus five star tackles in Kahlil McKenzie and Shy Tuttle.
On the field, the Vols won 4 of their last 5. A convincing win against Iowa to close out the season is another cause of this ‘contender’ optimism, but say it with me one more time: BOWL GAMES ARE OVERRATED!
Did I dig into the defense?
Nah, not yet. They lose A.J. Nicholson though, and he was a monster.
But the schedule, though…
With a permanent crossover rival in Alabama, the Vols’ schedule always appears among the most daunting in the league. With a series against Oklahoma finally ending this year, it daunts all the more. The Vols play six straight games (all but a trip to Florida are at home) to open the season, concluding with a home date against Georgia on October 10. Coming off the bye, they go to Alabama and then play November against the fairly pedestrian SEC East.
There is the OUTSIDE chance that Butch Jones’ third Tennessee team plays to a similar trajectory of Hugh Freeze’s at Ole Miss. Early opportunities to pick up high-profile wins against Oklahoma and Florida, and a home tilt with Arkansas, could theoretically boost the Vols into the top 10 before Georgia comes knocking.
Or, s**t hits the fan as it has done for the past decade, and we have another 5-7 win Tennessee team, with a fanbase angling for someone to come in and coach up all the talent Jones has inexplicably assembled in Knoxville.
NEXT: IDK, whoever I feel like. Probably South Carolina though.
This is a new weekly blog breaking down the past week in the NBA. In today’s advanced-metric stat world, pace and space offenses have realized the value of open threes and driving the lane. We here at DYC grew up on 90’s basketball: John Tesh theme music, Ahmad Rashad on the sideline, and Michael Jordan mid-range jumpers.
At my previous internet home, I did Mid-Range jumpers as a quick way to whip around big stories. Since the weekly Hangover has replaced the need for that, I’ll be using Wednesday afternoons to wrap up some news from around the Association. I’ve had this planned for a while, so don’t think I’m just capitalizing on the unquestionably biggest story from last night.
- I was having a nice evening last night, live tweeting some choice Tuesday night programming, when my twitter feed exploded during the last few minutes of The Real World with the news of Derrick Rose’s latest knee injury. Comparisons like Penny Hardaway and Brandon Roy have been tossed around over the last few hours, but I’ll just say this: it’s unfair that this guy’s body keeps betraying him and I hope he can bounce back again, as he was playing his best ball post-first knee surgery right before the All Star Break.
- Speaking of injured former MVPs, Kevin Durant is back on the shelf, with an aggrevation of his foot injury. Unlike Derrick Rose, his most recent procedure appears to have been elective, and is designed to keep him fresher in the playoffs. Also unlike Derrick Rose, Durant has a teammate who can more than step up in his absence. And he has.
- Rajon Rondo and Rick Carlisle got into a screaming match on the sideline last night, resulting in the point guard getting benched for the final 20 minutes of game time. I hope you had February 24th in the pool, as this was an eventuality, not a possibility.
- Sam Hinkie is rumored to be looking into trading Joel Embiid for a lottery pick. This guy is determined to ruin basketball, but is doing a great job securing his employment while lying to people’s faces.
- Cleveland has won 17 of their last 19, LeBron just passed Scottie Pippen on the all time assists list at 30 years old, and Kevin Love hit 8 threes last night. Can anyone prove that LeBron isn’t behind this Love injury? Is he going to order a hit on the Hawks next? I’m worried.
- The Sloan Conference is coming up, and that means papers have started to leak. Given all of our writers fall easily into the cross section of sports fan (duh) and nerd (seriously, go count the number of DudeYouCrazy‘s posts that involve graphs and charts), this piece on NBA defense stole more of my life than I’d care to admit.
- Y’all gonna argue with him?
- Weekly Hawks Update: 44-12, 1-1 since the All Star Break, 1st in the East by 7.5 games, 2nd in point differential at +6.1, 2nd in points allowed per game, 3rd in points scored per game.
This has been your first installment of Mid Range Jumpers. I’ll be back here every Wednesday to drop more knowledge dimes next week.
(In basketball-speak, a dime is an assist. You’re welcome.)
Love this? Hate it? Think I’m an idiot? Don’t just curse at me under your breath, head to the Dude You Podcast iTunes page, and leave a 5-star review to make sure I know it, and have your voice heard on the air. Follow me at @dpalm66.
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Georgia Football: Why are we pretending to be surprised by Chris Conley’s performance at the NFL Combine?
Georgia’s offense reached new highs over the past four seasons. Over that same time period, no player accounted for more receiving yards than Chris Conley. So why the hell are we pretending to be stunned by his athleticism?
He ran a 4.35 at the combine—that’s damn fast. He jumped a million inches on the broad jump. He set a combine record on the vertical. Perhaps from a testing standpoint, he surpassed what was expected. But are we really floored that the most productive receiver in one of the most prolific offenses in the country is athletic?
The guy stood out in run-heavy offense. That’s hard to do. He did it against the nation’s best competition. That’s even harder to do. He did it in surprisingly sexy ways. Again, harder still to do.
Consider the following about Chris Conley:
- He averaged 16.6 yards per catch over the course of his four year career. For reference (not for comparison), A.J. Green averaged 15.8 yards per catch as a Bulldog.
- He caught a touchdown pass once every 5.85 receptions. Green scored once every 7.22 receptions.
- As a senior, Conley averaged 18.3 yards per reception while catching 36 passes. Only one other Bulldog in the last 20 years (Tavarres King in 2011) posted a YPC figure in excess of 18 while also hauling in 35 or more passes. Of note: Over that time frame 31 Bulldogs hauled in 35 or more receptions in a single season and failed to surpass 18 yards per catch.
- More than 76% of Conley’s 117 career receptions resulted in a first down or a touchdown. That’s just stupid. He was above the team average by such a measure each and every season.
- Last year, 77.8% of Conley’s receptions moved the chains or put points on the board. For the rest of the team, that number was 67.4%.
- Each of Chris Conley’s final 15 collegiate receptions resulted in a first down or a touchdown.
- Conley was an animal on late downs. He hauled in 29 career passes on third or fourth down. All but two resulted in a first down or score. Those 27 chain-moving or point-scoring receptions resulted in an average gain of 18.11 yards. The average amount of yardage needed: 6.04.
What part of these facts implies that Conley is anything other than a gamer?
Further, think about what you know about Chris Conley. He commits to mastering everything he does. He graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA. He recorded a 3.0 or higher in each academic term at Georgia and collected a cumulative GPA of 3.32. He won Georgia’s Sportsmanship and Ethics Award. He sat on the NCAA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. His Star Wars fan film has nearly 500,000 views on YouTube and is almost Hollywood-ready.
Why would a guy who clearly has athleticism (see numbers above), an impeccable work ethic and a history of performing his best in the biggest moments not do well at the Combine?
Read more of my thoughts on Conley here.
That’s all I got/
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Once upon a time there was a formerly homeless walk-on running-back at Baylor named Silas Nacita. Nacita was one of the feel-good stories of last year as he scored three touchdowns for Baylor and made Academic All-Big 12 by reportedly studying cell phone pictures of his class readings because he did not have the money to purchase textbooks, much less a place to live.
The NCAA, naturally, took a giant dump all over this great story and declared him ineligible for receiving impermissible benefits.
Allegedly, those benefits were from a family friend who, according to Nacita’s tweet earlier this morning, “didn’t want me sleeping on floors and wondering how I was going to eat my next meal.” In other words, someone (perhaps this family friend was also a Baylor booster?) paid for Nacita to have food and shelter, but (allegedly) nothing more.
Nacita, as of this morning, is no longer on Baylor’s football roster.
In other breaking news the NCAA and its administrators look like heartless, soulless asshats (again).
Surely, we will see a correction to this ruling by the end of the day. Still, don’t hold your breath. The NCAA has had problems with homeless players before….
Here is Silas Nacitas’ statement released via Twitter this morning: