In some regards, this is nothing new. But I ‘m thoroughly intrigued to see how the depth chart shakes out at:
- Offensive Guard
We know D-Swann will be back to occupy a corner spot, no matter how non committal Pruitt may be. Swann has started games in each of his first three years in Athens and every game over the past two seasons. The other spot (and nickel spot) seems fairly open.
The safety spot should feature Corey Moore and Quincy Mauger (both played a respectable amount and started several games in 2013), but J.J. Green may also be a factor there now. Additionally Reggie Wilkerson and Tramel Terry could work into the rotation.
On the offensive line, the questions aren’t as open-ended but it will still be interesting to see how the rotation shuffles.
Read more on these three position groups here, but which area concerns you most?
That’s all I got/
Touche, Missouri. I have now been wrong about you each of your first two years in the SEC, and I no longer know what the hell to expect from you. In year one, your SEC opener against Georgia scared the bejeezus out of me, because I was a believer in James Franklin and your spread attack. Last year, you were 5-0, and I went to a wedding the night before the game, never intended to show up before halftime, and when I arrived it was 27-7.
Missouri. The gateway to the West, the enigma of the South. Not even located in the South.
Unlike your last unexpected ascendance in 2007-08, a two-year span that saw you win 22 games and hit #1 in the polls for a week (note: Kansas, Boston College, and South Florida also had cameos in the top 5 in that stretch), I don’t see any way you’re going to maintain the standards set by last year’s team. Anyway…
Five Players to Watch
1) Kony Ealy and Michael Sam, DE: These guys could lead the SEC in sacks, both are terrors.
2) James Franklin, QB: The type of accurate dual-threat that really makes an offense impossible to predict.
3) Dorial Green-Beckham and L’Damian Washington, WR: Big, physical threats with enough speed to take the top off defenses, opening holes for…
4) Henry Josey, RB: Look for him to gash defenses for about 7 YPC and upper-teens touchdowns.
5) E.J. Gaines, S: Could be the beneficiary of the pressure Ealy and Sam get on opposing QB’s. Expect Mizzou to force a LOT of turnovers this year.
Oh…wow. All of those guys are gone. So in addition to leading the SEC in sacks, and the NATION in turnover margin, and putting up the most yards per game in the history of your program, you lose the guys responsible for ALL of your statistics?
Yikes. Let me try again.
1) Markus Golden, DE: Funny thing about last year is that while Ealy and Sam took home the accolades, their second team at DE contributed 11 sacks. Golden was responsible for 6.5 of those last year and I’ll have him on my All-SEC team.
2) Marcus Murphy, RB/KR: Although he specialized in kick returns last year, the shifty back should carry more of a featured role in the offense. He netted 9 TD’s on just 92 carries last year.
3) Braylon Webb, S: He has 30 starts under his belt, and should be coming to an NFL special teams unit near you in 10 short months.
4) Maty Mauk, QB: Hall is not huge on him, as he only completed 51% of his passes last year. I look at the TD/Int ratio of 11/2 and think his low completion percentage is a factor of conservatively not wanting to screw up in lopsided wins over Florida, Tennessee, and Kentucky (3 of his 4 starts).
5) Shane Ray, DE: The other DE referenced in the Golden piece, Ray is more the Sam to Golden’s Ealy. An NFL ‘tweener who could put up big numbers this year.
Random Betting Tidbit
If you believe in everything evening out, Missouri is your team for easy money this year. +16 turnover margins generally don’t replicate themselves year-to-year, and neither do 11-3 records against the spread.
With the exception of their early game against Toledo (-16, won by 15), their record matched up with their performance ATS perfectly. Beat the spread? Win. Fail it (-2 against South Carolina and pick-em against Auburn) they lose. Crazy.
On Thursday, Georgia fans’ Twitter feeds were inundated with #GeauxDawgs as Bulldog coaches and athletic personnel alluded to the commitment from Michael Chigbu, a 4-star wide receiver. Coaches of course are forbidden from publicly mentioning commits by name. That’s why you see area codes and cryptic references to prospects whenever a new verbal comes in.
In any event, our friendly UGA Special Teams Coach took to Twitter in the most coy way possible…
Stay smooth, mythical Special Teams Coach.
That’s all I got/
Georgia included a defensive depth chart in their media guide at SEC Media Days. I’m not sure how accurate it was or how it was derived as several oddities existed. For example, J.J. Green, who seemed like a lock for the star position in Jeremy Pruitt’s defense, was listed as the starter at strong safety. A walk-on (for better or worse) was still listed as a starter at cornerback. Ray Drew was still listed as a third-teamer. Those three things may all come to fruition, but the list as a whole seemed like some combination of obvious assumptions, dart-throwing and lip service.
In any event, Jonathan Taylor was listed third at the lone nose tackle position behind Mike Thornton and Chris Mayes. Thornton is a a senior; Mayes is a junior. Lamont Gaillard (an incoming freshman) also figures to be a factor at that position at some point in the future. Taylor would have been a sophomore with two years of eligibility left following the 2014 campaign. But now he’s gone, and that helps in the recruitment of Trent Thompson (the nation’s second-best recruit and top DT per 247Sports).
With Taylor gone, Georgia’s returning depth chart in 2015 likely looks something like this:
- Chris Mayes, Senior
- Lamont Gaillard, Sophomore
Mayes started eight games and played well in 2013. A big season out of him could mean early entry into the NFL Draft. After all, at that point he’ll have spent four combined years at JUCO and UGA. Conversely, an average or mediocre campaign in 2014 could mean he’s subject to being leap-frogged in 2015.
We don’t know what Gaillard will amount to or how long it will take him to get there.
The point, as I discuss in part here, is this: Taylor’s dismissal renders the nose tackle position open for an elite talent to come in and seize right away in 2015. That’s got to be attractive to Trent Thompson, who already favors the in-state Bulldogs.
That’s all I got/