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2014 Missouri Tigers Football Preview: Chad Floyd Drops Knowledge


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.

UGA Defense: How to Mitigate John Taylor’s Departure (Updated)


Because we have pretty well-established precedent here, we can logically assume DT Jonathan Taylor is in his last days as a member of the Georgia football program (he is no longer a member of the program). I’m not one to prioritize crimes based on the nature of egregiousness, but aggravated assault on a female strikes me as something Mark Richt will not (and obviously should not) stand for. As witnessed by the fact that two of the four players charged in the ‘theft by deception’ check fraud scandal are already gone, it stands to reason that Taylor (and fellow South Georgia D-lineman James DeLoach) were already skating on thin ice.

As I’ve speculated multiple times on this very blog, I think Georgia is set to transition to a much more multiple look on the defensive side of the ball this year. New DC Jeremy Pruitt runs a defense that can give you multiple looks, and for the purposes of simplicity have called it a 4-2-5 base look.

Given the premium a 4-2-5 puts on versatility, the loss of a 335-pound nose tackle lends itself towards that conclusion now more than ever. It is a formation that is capable of giving offenses multiple looks as the situation dictaces, and with Georgia’s talent at linebacker can show any number of fronts: 3-4, 4-3, 2-5, 5-2, hell, even 1-6 in 3rd/4th-and-forevers (as I refuse to reference the Auburn Hail Mary yet again).

Given my previous predictions, this actually helps Georgia fit more of the mold I expect Pruitt to employ.

Ironically I will lay out below that the 3-3-5 actually serves us better in rushing downs. In a 4-2-5, I expect Jordan Jenkins and either Leonard Floyd or Lorenzo Carter to serve as de-facto DE’s (read: not necessarily good against the run), with a YOKED 6’5 290 Ray Drew sliding inside to man one of the tackle spots.

The main concern in either alignment here is who among Jenkins/Floyd/Carter can serve as what was known under Grantham as the “Star”, who plays more of a hybrid LB/safety role. Floyd acquitted himself well in this position last year, but was really more of a pass rusher. Jenkins had 23 quarterback hurries in each of his first two seasons, so we want him to continue to rush the passer on all downs.

Carter is an X-factor for me. He was a pass rusher in high school as well, and his ability to play in space will dictate how much time on the field he sees this year. If he can’t, he will be a situational guy behind Floyd/Jenkins. Names such as Johnny O’Neal, Shaun McGee, Shattle Fenteng, and Quincy Mauger strike me as better potential fits for a hybrid spot, but in the cases of Fenteng and Mauger, they may be needed as more traditional safeties. (Said another way, we NEED J.J. Green and Corey Moore to take away the deep parts of the field very capably.)

Potential 4-2-5 alignment.

Potential 4-2-5 alignment.

The 4-2-5 allows Georgia’s defense to get fleeter of foot, something Pruitt has said he is trying to do. Looking at the chart, it definitely puts more Georgia playmakers on the field. However, I see this as more of a pass rush alignment, as Floyd and Jenkins setting the edge in run support scares me a little bit.

As mentioned, the Star and his ability to do everything– rush the passer, stop the run, and cover slots and TE’s– is key to the success of this alignment. I like Fenteng as a prospect here for his size (6’2 210) and speed, and the bonus that he was brought in as one of Grantham’s hulking safeties who doesn’t really fit the mold of a modern-day college football safety. Again, assuming Lorenzo Carter is too lanky/not fluid enough.

As a consequence of being a faster lineup capable of playing in space, I see this being the primary scheme when Georgia opens up against Clemson. As it gets three monster pass rushers matched up on opposing O-linemen, this seems an obvious passing down alignment as well, perhaps replacing Herrera with an additional hybrid or DB.

A 3-3-5 look.

A 3-3-5 look.

A 3-3-5 really incorporates two hybrid players, and Georgia’s strength as a defense is in the players who fit that mold. Jenkins, in this diagram, is more a hybrid DE/LB, which, for all intents and purposes, he was last year. This allows the Dawgs to get more size up front in Drew/DT/Bailey, but takes away from the athleticism Pruitt craves. The size and space-eating ability of an extra wide body (Thornton/Mayes/Bailey) serves to occupy blockers against a run-heavy team, such as a South Carolina.

As I have it laid out here, Floyd serves as the Star (a la 2013) as opposed to a rush end (a la the 4-2-5 example above). This makes a lot more sense in running downs for obvious reasons, and still allows Georgia to show a plethora of looks. Floyd and Jenkins can both drop back while Herrera rushes the passer (taking him out of coverage), either can put their hand down and rush the passer…the possibilities are endless.

———————————————————————

It’s altogether possible that these schematic changes would have manifested themselves with Taylor finding a spot on the bench anyway, because he honestly doesn’t fit the mold of a Pruitt DT. The only thing the (probable) loss of Taylor creates is a slight drain on depth from a position that, given the number of 3-4 ends (transitioning to 4-man front tackles, this blogger assumes) on the roster already, the Dawgs can afford.

3:15 PM: He gone.

 

2014 Vanderbilt Commodores Football Preview: DudeYouCrazy Staff Gets Super Salty


Chad Floyd

 

There’s an expression the kids are using these days that is applicable to Vandy fans: “I just can’t.”

After Jason Smith’s excellent preview for Vandy which hit the site on Sunday, we were inundated with tweets from self-righteous Vandy fans for no good reason. Jason was fair and guardedly optimistic as a Vandy supporter, which, given their history, is high praise.

I don’t think this reader understands the concept of comedy/tragedy in Shakespearian terms, and we’ll leave it at that.

For the math and science majors.

For the math and science majors.

Anyway, James Franklin is gone after leading the Commodores to 3 of their 7 all-time bowl appearances. I don’t know if Derek Mason can sustain Franklin’s success (as Franklin’s ties to the mid-Atlantic were a boon to Vandy recruiting) but there’s a chance of a couple years of good coattail-riding for the new regime.

Vandy fans: as a private school wearing black and gold, you are to the SEC what Wake Forest is to the ACC. Except Wake Forest won an ACC title in our lifetime.

Five Players to Watch

  1. Jerron Seymour, RB: I hate the term ‘jitterbug’, as used by announcers to describe running backs short in stature from Barry Sanders to Quentin Griffin to Darren Sproles. Seymour fits that bill, and Uncle Verne called him exactly that on his game-winning jaunt against UGA last year. He had 14 TD’s last year and should be the focal point of an offense lacking in returning skill tallent.
  2. Darreon Herring, LB: As mentioned on the Vandy pod, dude had 10 PBU’s last year, one behind Vernon Hargreaves for best in the SEC East. And he’s a linebacker. He’s the anchor (get it, Vandy fans?) of what could be a stout front seven.
  3. Andrew Jelks, LT: Freshman All-American last year, and the note from Phil Steele is “was recruited by Alabama and Stanford”. See, Vandy fans? You started from the bottom, now you’re here, where here is preview mags highlighting what other schools offered your best players.
  4. Paris Head, CB: Three picks as a freshman last year, and now part of a defensive backfield that returns zero starters.
  5. Steven Scheu, TE: The only guy returning who averaged more than 10 yards per catch on the entire Vanderbilt roster. He had 9 catches last year.

Random Betting Tidbit

In the past 10 years, Vanderbilt is 27-13-1 against the spread when playing on the road as underdogs. Opportunity knocks only three times this year, as they’ll be favored against Kentucky, but play at Georgia, Missouri, and Mississippi State.

 

Andrew Hall

Dear Vanderbilt Fans,

You are right.  We were wrong.  Vanderbilt football is not a comedy in any sense of the word.  It’s not a tragedy, either.  It’s something else.  The only way to describe Vanderbilt football is as a dominant powerhouse defined by stability, consistency and ruthless victory.

Nine or more wins per season is absolutely the standard for Vanderbilt football, any prognostication to the contrary is nothing short of ridiculous.  After all, Vanderbilt has won nine or more games in two consecutive seasons.  And in the program’s storied 124-year history, Vanderbilt has won nine games (but never more) more exactly 3.23% of the time.  Nine victories or more, that is what Vanderbilt does. Just over 3 percent of the time.

Dont’ pay any mind to the 44 seasons of 3 or fewer wins. Forget about the school’s .261 winning percentage all time in SEC play.  Ignore the fact that Vanderbilt has finished in the top three of the SEC East just once since divisions were established in 1992.  Those facts are meaningless.

This is the new Vanderbilt.  The Vanderbilt that James Franklin Vanderbuilt.  He will lead Vandy to prolonged success.  As long as he is in Nashville and the Commodores don’t have to deal with the turmoil that always follows new coaching staffs to middling programs, this football team will remain elite.

Our sincerest apologies for not recognizing all of this.

 

Sincerely,

DudeYouCrazy

 

P.S.  Obviously, Temple, UMass, Kentucky, Charleston Southern and Old Dominion look like wins, but where do the other four come from?  An Ole Miss team that is much improved and beat Vandy last year?  A South Carolina team that some are hailing as the best Gamecocks squad of the Spurrier era?  On the road against a Georgia team that won’t be completely handicapped?  On the road against a Missouri team that is rebuilding from departures after something called a Conference Championship Game?  A Florida team that’s going to be hungry and a maniacal coach fighting for his job?  A Mississippi State team on the road that might have a darkhorse Heisman candidate at QB?  Or a home game against the state’s traditional power as the Vols look to restore balance?  Just curious.  Which four of those should we mark as victories to hit the expected nine wins?  I could have sworn we had Vanderbilt ranked 12th in the SEC for a reason, and I thought part of it had to do with the program as a whole and the schedule. But I was mistaken.

 

Jason Smith

So maybe I should take this opportunity to clarify something from my article that has been clear to pretty much everyone I have since let look at this “controversial” Vandy preview: Comedy is GOOD. In fact, it is great. It means that great things are happening and things are going to work out great. Hero gets the girl. Bad guys go down. Everyone goes home happy.
What I mean by saying that Vandy having a rebuilding year is “comedic” is that Vandy is now a legitimate SEC football power. They actually have rebuilding years like everyone else. This year they will be young. They will win games they should not (Carolina at home, anyone?). They will lose games they probably should win. JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.
That’s a huge improvement considering Vanderbilt used to have “fluke” years where they’d win 5 games (maybe) and then return back to being the perennial SEC bottom-feeder they have been since the Truman administration was in the White House. That’s why I also still stand by the fact that Vanderbilt was always an “unsellable” program pre-Franklin. It took the stability of Bobby Johnson staying there for a billion years to get anyone to think of Vanderbilt as legitimate. Franklin put that program on the map, and David Williams, their athletic director, knows how to play the game from here on out. He hired one of the best new coaches in the country (after he almost had a guy named Gus Malzahn signing on the dotted line three years ago) and paid the man. Vanderbilt is here to stay.
Thus, my saying Vandy is going to have a six-win “rebuilding year” ought to be euphoria for every Vanderbilt fan out there. For the rest of you, calm the hell down. And watch Stranger than Fiction so you get my jokes.
Ugh. I can’t believe I had to use all caps in anything related to Vanderbilt football.

Bulldog Bias: Why SBNation is Wrong About UGA’s Receivers


As someone with a somewhat levelheaded and outsider perspective on Georgia football, my job at DudeYouCrazy often becomes to temper expectations. Today, an SBNation poll ranking the top pass-catching units came across my desk, and ranked Alabama’s receiving unit first with Georgia coming in at number 2. Here, I shirk my normal duties and explain why SBNation is wrong.

Regarding their comments on Alabama: Amari Cooper is the best returning wideout in the SEC, DeAndrew White and Christion Jones are capable as secondary options, and O.J. Howard is a potential (keyword: POTENTIAL) monster at TE. In guys such as redshirt freshmen Robert Foster and ArDarius Stewart, they have potential gamebreakers coming off the bench.

BUT HERE’S THE THING: Does a Sabanization of Lane Kiffin’s offense provide opportunity for these guys to shine? Both Kiffin and Saban-era Alabama have largely ignored the TE, minimizing Howard’s potential impact. Their stable of running backs and preference for ball control limits the number of balls in the air. And the kicker: we’ve never seen Jacob Coker take a meaningful snap of the football.

All of this Alabama shade (note: will probably backfire on me) and I haven’t even gotten to the main point yet: give me Georgia’s group over Bama’s. Here’s why:

No one returns a better 1-2 punch than Bennett and Conley. Depth is a concern, but they’ve got the starting slots covered.

I’m sorry, what?

- Chris Conley and Michael Bennett: as the de facto starters, both guys provide an impressive balance of size (6’3 each), speed (13+ YPC for each last year) and hands (bonus note working in our favor: we lose Arthur Lynch’s case of the poorly-timed drops).

- The two guys returning from injury: Malcolm Mitchell came in to last year as the #1 guy, and spent the second half of his true freshman year as the #1 guy. In 15 starts, he has amassed over 1200 receiving yards– All-American caliber numbers. Scott-Wesley emerged for four games in Mitchell’s place as the ultimate slot weapon: shifty, blazing fast, and improving hands. 19.4 yards per catch is ridiculous in a pro-style offense.

- Jonathon Rumph missed the first 2/3 of the season but finished strong, showing rapport with Hutson Mason. Reggie Davis showed tremendous explosiveness and upside. Both of those guys spent an offseason getting more familiar with the system and in Georgia’s S&C program.

- Jay Rome, I’m speculating, is ready to show us what he’s got as a safety valve for Mason. I’d rather have Howard, but Rome is a similarly sized target who will have space due to the aforementioned guys.

Whomever made the depth argument against Georgia is simply not paying attention. How many total receptions does Alabama return outside of their top 3 WR’s + O.J. Howard? Two. From a guy named Parker Barrineau, who I can only assume was picking up walk-on spot duty.

I agree with the SBNation bloggers on the premise that Amari Cooper is the best wideout in the SEC. You’d be hard-pressed to come up with a reasonable argument against that. However, to argue depth at a position where Georgia has three guys over 1300 career yards and Alabama has three guys who have caught a pass at the college level? Come on.

WR/TE groups in the SEC, re-ranked: 1) Georgia 2) Alabama 3) doesn’t matter because Mizzou lost everyone and nobody else is filling those shoes.

Giving you the business,

Chad

The REAL Story Behind Yesterday’s Recruiting Coup


According to Andrew, yesterday was a pretty big day for Georgia’s 2016 recruiting haul, as they secured commitments from two five-star recruits. Bringing in a top-flight QB early in a recruiting cycle is always huge for momentum, as they tend to be ring leaders among their recruiting class peers. This is all great news.

Unless…we’re being taken for a ride by our fearless leader.

2016 QB Jacob Eason hall2

 

What do you see here? For my money, I can’t get past the fact that this Jacob Eason character is, in fact…

Andrew Hall.

But why? Why would Andrew do this? 

Two theories I can think of, which are intertwined: first, Andrew is a diehard Georgia football fan. I don’t know the nature of his relationship with his wife, but if he loves her more than Georgia football, the man has a heart the size of Sanford Stadium. Getting word of a ‘commitment’ from a Stafford-esque QB out 19 months before Signing Day 2016? A great way to drum up some long-term recruiting success for the Georgia program.

The issue here is, I have seen Andrew throw a football. So either he’s been doing a LOT of training behind the scenes, or Mark Richt, Mike Bobo, and recruiting evaluators nationwide missed the mark on this ‘prospect’.

The fact that Andrew moved recently? Ties right in to this elaborate ruse. All ATLiens will admit to seeing less of Andrew in recent months, and between an intense training schedule and high school classes in Washington state, it all starts to piece itself together.

ruse

Secondly, at DudeYouCrazy.net, we claim not to care about being ‘sources’. In the wake of the Tray Matthews story, Daniel, Jason, and I realized that being the purveyor of new information isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Andrew, on the other hand? Well, frankly it changed him. He has the unquenchable bloodlust to provide breaking information, accuracy be damned. I have the transcript of his conversation with ESPN’s Chris Broussard, who called and congratulated us for breaking the Matthews news.

You were a schemer, you had plans, and look where that got you. Nobody credited you for TriggaTray’s dismissal news. I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to the newscycle with a few anonymous sources and a couple of informal GM polls. Hmmm? You know… You know what I’ve noticed? Nobody panics when things go “according to plan.” Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, Adrian Peterson is retiring, or Kevin Durant is being traded to the Lakers, nobody panics, because it’s all “part of the plan.” But when I say that one little Miami mini-dynasty will die, well then everyone loses their minds! Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I’m an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It’s fair!

We thought we had Hall’s sourcelust bottled up. We kept him busy with SEC previews, Daily Doses of Dawg, and his normal DudeYouCrazy.net siterunner duties. We thought this problem would go away if we ignored it. Never in a million years did we think Hall was capable of this: emerging as a 5-star QB prospect, convincing recruiters everywhere that he was from the Pacific Northwest, and then committing at Dawg Night— and doing it all so he could break the news.

Boy, were we wrong. Please accept a formal DudeYouCrazy.net apology from me, Chad Floyd.

 

 

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