Category Archives: Blog

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

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. 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.



Georgia Recruiting: This Former Bulldog Target Has to End Up at Auburn, Right?

From Seth Emerson at Macon’s Telegraph:

Darnell Salomon, a 17-year-old high school junior from Hialeah, Fla., was one of the more than 100 recruits attending the annual Dawg Night last weekend. He is rated a five-star recruit by the 247Sports Composite, which averages out the rankings of the major recruiting services.

On Saturday morning, two female UGA students reported that an unknown person had entered their dorm room, according to UGA police chief Jimmy Williamson.

“After they were startled and he left, it was determined that a wallet and an iPhone were missing,” Williamson said. “As we investigated, we have every reason to believe that the person responsible for these thefts was a visitor to our campus.”

UGA police chief soon determined that it was someone who was visiting for the football camp, and “were able to determine what room he was staying in,” according to Williamson. They spoke to the two current UGA athletes living in that room, who confirmed a recruit had been staying with them. The police investigators then contacted the football office, which told them the name of the player who had been staying with them.

A warrant was issued for Salomon’s arrest Wednesday. Police waited to charge him until they determined Salomon was 17.

Because Salomon is from Florida, it is not certain that he will report to Georgia to be charged.

Salomon is listed as having 18 scholarship offers in the 247Sports database, including a who’s-who of major football programs: Alabama, Florida State, Clemson, Florida, LSU, Notre Dame, Auburn, Georgia Tech, South Carolina and more.

I’m mostly kidding about the Auburn thing, but it’s a safe bet he’s no longer on Richt’s radar.  And if he did end up at Auburn, Georgia fans would have a field day (or field year as it may be).  It will be interesting to see if any other schools lose interest.  The crime itself is relatively petty (keyword: relatively), but the circumstance surrounding it—again, he was at a recruiting event—likely exacerbate how it’s viewed.
That’s all I got/


2014 Missouri Football Preview: Are the Tigers Getting Up for the Letdown?

DudeYouCrazy Preseason SEC Ranking: 11


The 2014 Missouri Tigers in One Question

What’s left?


Last Year

In 2013, Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel escaped the hot seat by drastically improving on a 5-7 campaign that was the Tigers’ inaugural SEC showing in 2012.  The end results were quite staggering.  At 12-2 (7-1 in regular SEC play), the Tigers claimed the SEC East title and battled eventual conference champ Auburn relatively closely in Atlanta.  Along the way they dethroned SEC powers like Georgia, Florida and Texas A&M and also defeated Ole Miss (ranked 24th in the AP Poll at the time) and Oklahoma State in a bowl game.

It was absolutely impressive.

So why the letdown?  Missouri finished the regular season with a 7-1 record in conference play last year.  Only Auburn and Alabama could match those numbers.  How have they fallen outside of the top 10 in the conference in our preseason rankings?


Everybody’s Gone

In short, they’ve lost a lot.

  • Passing Yards: 68.6% of passing yards departed with James Franklin (a 3-year starter when healthy).
  • Rushing Yards: 50.1% of rushing yards departed with Franklin and running back Henry Josey (a one-time Doak Walker Award Semifinalist)
  • Receiving Yards: Top three receivers (L’Damian Washington, Dorial Green-Beckham, Marcus Lucas) and their combined 2,468 receiving yards (69.7% of team’s total) and 25 TDs (80.6% of team total) are gone.
  • Sacks: Michael Sam and Kony Ealy are gone and have taken their combined 33 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks with them.
  • Tackles: The team’s leading tackler, Andrew Wilson, is gone.
  • Pass Coverage: The team’s best DB, E.J. Gaines (5 INTs, 3 Passes Defended) is gone.


Yes, Maty Mauk is back and he was plenty capable last year.  But he also completed only 51.1% of his passes and that was with the best trio of receivers lining up and standing 6’4″, 6’6″ and 6’5″.  I’m not yet sold out on him.

Yes, Pinkel can coach talent up.  But at some point the talent differential between Missouri and the rest of the league will become a factor.  In 2012, when Green-Beckham struggled to emerge, Franklin was banged up and Josey sat out, it was a factor.  I think it could be a limitation this year as well.


Talent Pool

Is there really a talent differential?  If you believe in recruiting rankings as a whole (which I do), there is a sizable gap.  The data below represents the average recruiting class ranking over the past four years (per 247Sports) of Missouri and each of the Tigers’ 2014 conference opponents:

  • Florida: 7.0
  • Georgia: 8.25
  • Texas A&M: 14.75
  • South Carolina: 15.5
  • Tennessee: 15.5
  • Arkansas: 25.0
  • Kentucky: 38.75
  • Missouri: 40.5
  • Vanderbilt: 45.5


Obviously, talent isn’t everything—especially in small samples and when talent is removed in an untimely fashion due to injury.  That’s why Missouri triumphed in 2013.  But I expect the Tigers to revert closer to the mean of expected performance in 2014.  And for what it’s worth, I expect Florida to do the same.  But as you can see from the numbers above, Florida’s reversion likely calls for drastic improvement; Missouri’s reversion will result in a decline.


Crazy Year

In some ways, the departure of so much Missouri talent is exacerbated by the team’s identity in 2013.  Put simply, this was a team reliant on big players making big plays.  Missouri got 10+ receiving TDs from two different receivers; that’s impressive.  Big players stepped up big.   Missouri led the SEC in sacks thanks to guys like Sam and Ealy.  Big players did big things.

Additionally, Missouri was sixth in the nation in turnover margin last year.  That’s not easily replicated.  Even Pinkel recognized this last week at SEC Media Days saying:

Twice in my career, I’ve been No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin.  Then we’ve had years where we work on it just as hard and don’t get as many turnovers.  I wish I had answer for it because I would be in the top 10 every year.


I would expect some of this to revert to the mean as well.



  • Sept. 6: At Toledo
  • Sept. 13: Central Florida
  • Sept. 20: Indiana
  • Sept. 27: At South Carolina
  • Oct. 4: OFF
  • Oct. 11: Georgia
  • Oct. 18: At Florida
  • Oct. 25: Vanderbilt
  • Nov. 11: Kentucky
  • Nov. 8: OFF
  • Nov. 15: At Texas A&M
  • Nov. 22: At Tennessee
  • Nov. 28: Arkansas


Missouri dodges LSU and Alabama and gets Georgia at home, but this schedule is not favorable.  Central Florida will be stouter competition than most folks anticipate.  Additionally, Missouri will draw their three opponents most in need of improvement (Texas A&M – looking for a new identity post-Manziel, Tennessee – looking to build on progress started in 2013, Arkansas – looking to become relevant again) at the very end of the year.

As far as sure-fire wins go: Toledo, Indiana and Kentucky stand out.  I think Missouri edges Vanderbilt (thanks to home field) and that’s why I have the Tigers above the Commodores.  But that’s still just four wins.  After that, in order of winnability, it shakes out as:

  1. Arkansas
  2. Central Florida
  3. Tennessee
  4. Florida
  5. Georgia
  6. South Carolina

I just really don’t see Missouri winning more than three of those six contests.


That’s all I got/





UGA target will stay at junior college rather than play in SEC this season


This is one of the more bizarre Georgia recruiting stories as of late. In short,

1. A kid enrolls at a JUCO.
2. The kid commits to Texas A&M.
3. The kid finds out he’s eligible sooner than expected to play at a 4-year school.
4. The kid shows up at Dawg Night unexpectedly.
5. He decides instead of playing right away (which he’s eligible to do), he’ll go back to JUCO for another season.

In any event, maybe some extra time gives Georgia the chance to change his mind before next year’s class.

Originally posted on College recruiting blog:

The biggest surprise visitor at UGA’s Dawg Night was Justin Evans, a junior college safety who is committed to Texas A&M.

It has been a wild and wacky week for Evans, who is rated as the nation’s No. 1 safety prospect out of the junior college ranks.

And it all started when the 6-foot, 185-pounder showed up seemingly out of the blue last Friday night at UGA.

Evans, who is a rising sophomore attends Mississippi Gulf Coast junior, told GigEm247’s Taylor Hamm that he was visiting his girlfriend in Atlanta and made a last-minute decision to drive over to UGA.

Nation's No. 1 JC safety, Justin Evans (247sports)

Nation’s No. 1 JC safety, Justin Evans (247sports)

Evans committed to Texas A&M last May and also has offers from UGA, Alabama and Auburn, among others.

Here’s where the story takes a really interesting twist: Evans said that he just recently found out that he’s eligible to enroll at…

View original 599 more words

Will nephew of UGA legend sign with Bulldogs?


Charlie may be known for being Scott’s nephew now, but the kid can play.

He might or might not settle at tight end as Carvell suggests. Currently his size and relative lack of speed make tight end an obvious choice. But as I’ve said before, I don’t always trust high school 40 times. We compare those to what guys run at NFL combines after months of drill-specific prep. A guy in the 4.7 range like Woerner may very well be a 4.5 athlete with a little speed training (or even a better timer) and he may play like a 4.5 guy as is. Plus, at 6’5″, I can deal with some slowness off the gun. I just want him to find the back corner of the endzone for a jump ball.

To be sure, tight end may again be the obvious choice. He’s already 220 lbs. and if he fills out any more he’ll make since along the line. The good news is the guy is considered the nation’s 17th-best wide receiver in his class (per the 247Sports Composite), so he’s going to be a real pass-catching threat regardless of where he lines up. The Composite has him as a 4-star and the nation’s #80 recruit in the class of 2016.

Originally posted on College recruiting blog:

Will the nephew of a UGA football legend sign with the Bulldogs?

Charlie Woerner is a 6-foot-5, 220-pound wide receiver from Rabun County High School. And he’s ranked as the state’s No. 8 overall prospect for 2016.

His uncle is Scott Woerner, the All-America defensive back who clinched UGA’s national championship in 1980 with an interception against Notre Dame in the game’s final minutes.

Charlie already has five early offers, including UGA, Clemson, Tennessee, Duke and UNC. He also has serious interest from Alabama and FSU, among others.

Charlie’s coach at Rabun County is Lee Shaw, who is the father of former South Carolina QB Connor Shaw. Woerner plays wide receiver in high school but projects to be a tight end (where he’s never played) in college.

Woerner looked every bit of 6-5 at a 7-on-7 camp at Lassiter High School last week. Woerner even had the chance to go…

View original 169 more words


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