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UGA’s Flip Chart


Baker and Wilson may very well go, but I think Godwin and Slayton are firm – though the “surprise” of the Auburn visit for Slayton is interesting.

(Personal note: I always wonder how much counterintelligence goes into the recruiting process. Are there spies that just watch where these guys might go? I bet Bama has one.)

To be fair to both sides, I like Buchanan and Chatman to come to Georgia. I think the late pushes under Schotty kind of make sense and with a new OC Georgia isn’t perceived as “late to the table.” Also I find it interesting that McGraw is still viewed as up for grabs. 247Sports actually has him going to Georgia in one article.

Originally posted on College recruiting blog:

We’re one week away from signing day, and it’s setting up to be a wild, wild finish for UGA.

The Bulldogs have already had five recruits de-commit and go elsewhere, but they’ve already flipped five others from other schools. So it’s a draw so far?

That’s a crazy high number, but that’s how modern-era recruiting works I guess.

And what’s even crazier is that UGA is almost guaranteed to do some more flipping in either direction over the next seven days.

Did you realize six UGA commits visited other schools this past weekend? Six? I can’t ever remember that many this close to signing day. But the good news is none of them switched, at least publicly.

On the flip side (no pun intended), UGA has brought in three recruits committed to other school within the last week. And more could be on the way this weekend.

Confused or overwhelmed…

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Georgia Football: As National Signing Day Approaches the Pressure is on Pruitt and Defense, not Schottenheimer and Offense

Georgia cares about its defensive presence.  The numbers support that story.

Jeremy Pruitt is making head coach money.  His $1.3 million annual total would rank 67th among head coaches.  His salary in 2015 will be more than what Boise State’s Bryan Harsin, Marshall’s Doc Holliday and Memphis’s Justin Fuente earned in 2014.  And those men coached teams that finished in the Top 25 of the Coaches Poll.

Pruitt’s salary is more than the entire assistant staff budget of 62 schools in 2014.  In total the defensive coaching staff is earning more than $2.25 million.  The money is backing this Georgia defense.

Not surprisingly, so is recruiting.  Georgia has seven early-enrollees (plus one UAB transfer).  Seven of those eight players play defense.  Of 19 hard commites (Per 247Sports) 10 will definitely play defense and an 11th (athlete Shquery Wilson) could settle on that side of the ball.  Georgia’s two leading uncommitted targets, Roquan Smith and Arden Key, both play defense.  If Georgia were to land them both and Wilson were to settle in the defensive backfield, 20 of 29 new Bulldogs would be on the defensive side.

So while it’s trendy to discuss the “risky” hire of Brian Schottenheimer, a potential quarterback controversy and the concept that Nick Chubb is all we know about the offense, the real pressure is on Jeremy Pruitt.

Pruitt has a nice debut season in 2014, but it’s hard to say it was a grand slam.  While improvements defined the season for the most part, each of Georgia’s three losses could be pinned on the defense.

Pruitt himself took the fall for the South Carolina loss, and he did so rightfully.  “I felt like there was probably 10 or 15 plays throughout the game where I put them in a situation where they didn’t have a chance to be successful, and that’s my fault,” he told Chip Towers of the AJC.  The accuracy of those numbers can be questioned but 10 or 15 plays represented somewhere between 13.9 and 20.8 percent of South Carolina’s offensive plays that day.  Combine that disturbingly high ratio with Pruitt’s utter confusion as to how a 35-point offensive effort by Georgia could possibly be to blame, and it’s fair to peg that loss on the defense.

Nobody looked good in the Florida loss, but allowing 38 points to an abysmal offense that averaged just 20.1 points per game vs. SEC competition (and a nearly identical number vs. Power 5 Conferences as a whole) is no way to wring one’s hands free of guilt.  And the damned spot left by 418 Gator rushing yards (and only six pass attempts) sure isn’t coming out anytime soon.

And 399 rushing yards allowed to Georgia Tech is equally hard to ignore.  Sure, the Yellow Jackets finished the season second nationally in rushing yards per game, but in 13 other contests Tech averaged 338 rushing yards per contest.  Pruitt’s defense nearly allowed a 20% premium.  Time and time again the Yellow Jackets picked up crucial conversions, moved the football and ate clock.  Time and time again the defense came up short.

By all accounts the defense improved tremendously against the pass, and that’s hard to dispute.  Georgia finished second in the nation in passing yards allowed per game (158.4) and 11th in pass defense efficiency (106.4).  Todd Grantham’s last defense in 2013 finished 60th (227.4) in yards allowed per game and 85th (134.7) in pass defense efficiency.

But as evident as improvements against the pass may have been, steps back against the run were equally obvious and still quite painful.

In 2014, Georgia finished 78th in rushing yards allowed per game (175.6).  In 2013, Georgia was 42nd in rushing yards allowed (148.2 per game).

As a whole, Georgia improved in total defense by 43 yards per game and dramatically in points allowed (from 29.0 to 20.4) in Pruitt’s first year.  But the other question remaining is how much of that success (particularly in scoring defense) can be attributed to forced turnovers?  In 2013 Georgia forced just 15 turnovers.  In 2014 that number almost doubled to 29.

I’m not a blind subscriber to the “Turnovers are Totally Random” school of thought, but I don’t think turnovers can be predicted either.  According to, Georgia forced 13 fumbles in 2014 and recovered 13.

That ratio seems so absurd that it defies logic, but if it is true it’s certainly not to be expected moving forward.  Over the preceding three seasons Georgia actually averaged more fumbles forced (10 in 2013, 21 in 2012 and 17 in 2011 for an average of 16 per year).  But only once (17 recoveries in 2012) did Georgia match 2014’s number of recoveries.  In 2011 Georgia recovered 70.6 percent of forced fumbles, in 2012 that number rose to just shy of 81 percent and in 2013 the figure was an even 80 percent.  Those numbers are strong, but they’re not 100%.

So what does all this mean?

It means the defense got better in 2014.  I can argue against that notion but I can’t do so with much integrity.  As a whole, the defense got better.  But did that improvement surpass expectations for 2014?  That much is debatable.  Passing defense got better, rushing defense got worse, total defense improved some, scoring defense improve a lot, turnovers forced were (possibly) inflated and in the end Georgia’s three losses all came with woeful defensive blunders.

Georgia is betting big on Pruitt.  I’m not going to say he’s undeserving, but I’m not ready to unequivocally say he’s earned a 53% pay increase yet either.  In any event, he’s getting his guys on the recruiting big board.

If he comes up short, it will be hard to blame Richt or McGarity but I think we all know Richt and McGarity won’t be a duo if such a scenario comes to pass.

That’s all I got/


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Georgia Football: I’m not digging Dawgs’ recruiting momentum

I’ll be brief, but something about the Van Jefferson decommitment and the miss on Donte Jackson is rubbing me the wrong way.

I’ll grant two obvious points:

  1. Missing on two elite talents that had Georgia in the running hurts. Obviously.
  2. Both were out-of-state prospects with other viable suitors.

But suddenly national signing day feels an awfully long way off—in a bad way.

I wrote about Jefferson here, and I’ll take a closer look at recruiting over the coming days.

That’s all I got/


X’s and O’s Junkies, Eat Your Hearts Out

If you notice a recurring theme to my posts, you know that I love everything SBNation does. The following link is no exception.

Ohio State shut down the vaunted Oregon spread option attack with a base 4-3. Daniel could speak more to what (if any) adjustments the Oregon offensive line could have made to mitigate tOSU’s attack, but this is just brilliant. I’ve spent the past hour and a half reading and re-reading this article.

FOOTBALL: Cardale Jones + NFL Championship Weekend Picks

Yesterday, Cardale Jones (he of the three starts and the national title and the amazing tweet) announced in a high school gym that he’d be returning to THE Ohio State University for another season of MeyerBall. Unlike what these festering wounds on the face of sports journalism would have you believe, he is not the first player to announce that he’s staying with an event. Hell, he’s not even the first Urban Meyer quarterback to do it. Remember Tim Tebow, walking journalist wet dream and weirdo evolution denier? He did this in The Swamp, and you’ve got a problem with a kid doing it in a high school gym?

Having dismissed problems with the delivery of this announcement, I’m of two minds of the actual announcement itself. On the one hand, it’s always a good thing when kid makes his education paramount, and that should be applauded. I personally made my college choice based on post-graduate opportunity (and now I’m writing for you people. Ball dropped, past Daniel), so maybe I should support this return to school. Hell, this kid said he wasn’t here to play school, and now he sees the value of education. On the other hand…

He wasn’t just handed a lottery ticket, he was handed an actual CHECK. People got mad about the ‘not here to play school’ tweet, but his scholarship says FOOTBALL, and this was the best situation he could have hoped for. Three games equals small sample size, but you want to tell me NO TEAM would take a flier on this kid? The only thing scouts love more than proven commodities is a prospect with a limitless upside that they can sell to their bosses. “Strike while the iron is hot” is the well-worn saying, not “Let hot irons cool, and hope they heat up again via a similar unforeseeable, unprecedented series of events”.

Why come back? J.T. is going to be the starter, since he’s Urban’s recruit and Cardale isn’t. Which means he’s going to spend ANOTHER year on the bench learning Meyer’s offense for free, as opposed to learning an NFL offense and getting paid to do so. He’s going to be a 23-year-old back up on a VERY good football team who will be hoping all this goodwill he’s gained through his play has a 1 year shelf life. Good luck with that.

On to this weekend’s games. As always, home team in bold:

Green Bay at Seattle

When We Last Saw Green Bay: Aaron Rodgers carried his team past America’s Team the Cowboys on a leg and half. Much has been made of the Dez Bryant catch/non-catch, but what no one is talking about is that even if Dallas had scored, they had yet to demonstrate an actual ability to stop and/or slow down the Green Bay hydra offense. Let’s say Dallas scores there; anyone want to bet against Rodgers in crunch time on a big stage? That’s what I thought.

Week 1 saw the defending champs take the Packers out behind the woodshed, and that was with a healthy Aaron Rodgers. I think he’ll be better in regards to attacking the secondary, but this is a Seattle team in full Spurs playoff ass-kicking mode. Eddie Lacy has taken more of the load down the Packers’ stretch run which should help tire out the Seattle defense, but Rodgers’ health and willingness to challenge the secondary will make the difference in this game.

When We Last Saw Seattle: Kam Chancellor and company were reminding the Panthers front office that they really need to build their skill positions more thoroughly to make their team more competitive. The Seattle octopus defense was in full display, slowly chocking the life out of Carolina over the course of a few hours. Offensively, Russell Wilson did Russell Wilson things, and the coaches were able to hold Marshawn to 17 touches, presumably so he can do things like this against Green Bay:

Lost in the domination that was the Seattle win last week, Carolina did put up a fight and more than few numbers. Cam Newton completed 23 of 36 passes and two touchdowns, and Green Bay is better offensively in every way to Carolina. A lot of the effect of the octopus plays out via intimidation, and it appears Rodgers has passed the point of being able to be shook.

THE PICK: Let’s not bury the lede: the Seattle defense is like Devestator, and is appropriately terrifying for opposing offenses. Especially on the biggest stages. Especially IN Seattle. But this Green Bay offense is the perfect storm; there’s no way to cue on a single receiver, they have a punishing running back who is an effective receiver in the passing game, and the offensive line does a great job against a 4-man rush. Seattle wins, but the smart play is that Green Bay is going to cover. This is going to be the best game of the weekend, and I can’t wait.

Packers (+7.5) over Seahawks

Indianapolis at New England

When We Last Saw Indianapolis: The Colts were presiding over the funeral pyre for Peyton Manning, and getting John Fox fired in Denver. I watched this game, I’m staring at the stats as I type this, and it still makes no sense to me. Luck turned in a very Luck-ian performance (not great, but with high points), ending up completing 63% of his passes for 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Adding in a running game that could be generously called anemic, and…nope. Still makes no sense.

Logical or not, this Colts team spent the year beating up on the AFC South (congrats on winning your division by having a quarterback!), and now they’re in the AFC Title game. There’s much to be said about Andrew Luck vanquishing the quarterback standard bearers of the AFC on his way to a Super Bowl. Sounds like a great story. But, that’s a real tall order.

When We Last Saw New England: Baltimore and New England met again, and again produced another instant classic, where the Pats erased two 14-point deficits to take the win. This time, it took New England pulling out all the stops; getting a touchdown pass from Julian Edelman, and exploiting a loophole to confuse the Baltimore defense as to who was a legal receiver. If you ain’t Belicheatin’, you ain’t tryin’!

The biggest variable for the Patriots this year has been the health of Rob Gronkowski, as their entire offense seems to hinge on that giant meathead’s ability. He clocked in last week at 7 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown, so it’s safe to assume he’s feeling fine. If this were some other team, their lack of a running attack would worry me and any other logical observer of football. Since it’s the Patriots, I’ll assume this is the logical evolution of football, and I’m just behind.

THE PICK: Last week, these two teams ran the ball for a combined 41 times, with neither team breaking a hundred yards. I don’t know what game these two are playing, but I bet it’s built on a passing attack and being super watchable and entertaining. Points are going to come in bunches, and I’ve learned about betting against Tom Brady.

Patriots (-7) over Colts

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