Category Archives: General Sports
With the Clemson game being tomorrow, I decided to sit down with Clemson insider John Eckley and get his thoughts on the game. John is a Clemson graduate who knows his Tiger football better than anyone I’ve ever met, and surprisingly, has a full set of teeth.
What are Clemson’s biggest strengths?
Defense. Clemson’s front seven returns almost everyone including Vic Beasley and Grady Jarrett and the back four should be much-improved with the addition of Mackensie Alexander and others. Dabo Swinney has said Alexander would have started last year, had he not pulled up with a groin injury that plagued him all last fall. This is clearly a team that will need to be carried by its defense after the loss of so many offensive weapons from last year’s team.
What position scares you the most for Clemson?
I can think of several places that make me nervous including wide receiver, placekicker, and even running back, but the clear answer is quarterback. In many ways this is a best-case scenario for Clemson at the position, having a seemingly poised fifth-year senior to replace the most prolific QB in school history, but when Saturday night gets here and 93,000 Georgia fans are yelling for his head on a silver platter, it’s just impossible to know how a kid is going to react. All indications are that this kid is a cool customer and he has NFL bloodlines, but it’s hard to imagine a tougher scenario for a first start.
What scares you the most about Georgia/ What will Clemson have the hardest time with with Georgia?
The four-headed monster that is Georgia’s running game. While I don’t claim to have any idea if the two five-star freshmen will play, the amount of talent in the backfield is sick. Speaking of sick, that’s how I feel when I’m reminded of the fact that Clemson finished second for both Gurley and Marshall. Additionally, a Pruitt-led Georgia defense comprised of lighter, sleeker, more hurry-up-no-huddle-equipped defenders also concerns me.
Biggest breakout player that people might not have heard of or at least really played yet?
While I could easily go with the up and coming tight end Jordan Leggett who will undoubtedly get more touches due to loss at WR or with redshirt freshman shutdown corner Mackensie Alexander, my outside the box prediction is Wayne Gallman, the former Grayson standout. You may remember him as being Robert Nkemdiche’s teammate, but don’t forget that he was a four star prospect in his own right. But the real reason I think he could be a standout is both a combination of the fact that I’m not sold on the man in front of him, senior D. J. Howard, and the fact that he is a punishing runner. Clemson is going to have to have a runner who can generate yards on his own against a front seven like Georgia’s, and I’m not convinced Howard is the guy.
Who will be the star on the defensive side of the ball in this game?
The easy picks would be Vic Beasley or Grady Jarrett, but I’m going to go with linebacker Stephone Anthony. Stephone is coming off a great off season and a career performance in the Orange Bowl. If Clemson is to have any chance in this game, it’s going to have to tackle well on the second level, and that starts with the leader of this group.
Who will be the star on the offensive side of the ball in this game?
Charone Peake. From this point forward known as the poor man’s A.J. Green (PMAJG) due to his similarities in stature and speed but probably not in overall talent, Charone Peake is the lone four star leftover from Clemson’s 2011 recruiting class that produced both Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant. PMAJG was poised to breakout last fall prior to suffering an ACL tear. Much like Georgia’s own Malcolm Mitchell, after fighting through rehab, PMAJG tweaked his knee and had to have it scoped. Unlike Mitchell, he is set to play on Saturday and is said to be experiencing little ill-effects, but will the lack of practice time that resulted affect his conditioning? My guess is that he will be given his touches regardless due to Clemson’s glaring need to find someone on the outside who can be a playmaker.
What will Clemson’s game plan likely be?
Defensively, with Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley out, I think it’s reasonable to think that Clemson will send a good mix of blitzes to try to put pressure on a relatively green QB. Clearly, establishing control at the line of scrimmage when Georgia has the ball will be a challenge with Gur-shall back in the mix, but if somehow the Tigers are able to make the Dawgs one-dimensional, it really could make things interesting. Clemson believes its D-Line with Vic Beasley, Grady Jarrett and co. is one of the best in the country.
Offensively, it’s likely that we’ll see a much different approach than we saw last year. The talk out of Tigertown has been of a much more Auburn-like attack with more focus on the run. However, I’m just not convinced that Clemson is going to be able to run the ball consistently. I would expect a considerably greater emphasis on getting the ball to Clemson’s two young tight ends Jordan Leggett and J. J. McCullough. With such a loss of playmakers, here’s to thinking the Tigers will spread the ball around and give a number of players an opportunity to step up.
Terry Godwin – ☆☆☆☆☆
Rivals – #8 Overall; #1 ATH; #2 in GA
247 Sports – #49 Overall; #4 ATH; #7 in GA
ESPN – #35 Overall; #5 ATH; #6 in GA
Importance To This Class: #1
What Stands Out?
Terry could very well be the best receiver recruit UGA has had committed since AJ Green in 2008. From watching his film, there’s no glaring weakness that I’m able to see. He has great speed, great agility, and ball skills second to none in the class of 2015. I’m amazed at how fluidly he runs and shakes off defenders, and you can tell right away that this is going to be one special kid.
How Will He Fit In?
With the loss of so many offensive playmakers next year, Godwin is exactly what this Georgia team needs. I don’t think it’s going too far out on a limb to say that he could be starting at wide receiver for his first game as a Bulldog. Since AJ Green left in 2010, UGA hasn’t really had an elite wide receiver who’s demanded the defense’s attention. Sure Malcolm Mitchell has shown spurts, but we’ve never gotten to see what he can really do due to all his injuries. For the last few years, Georgia has just had “possession” receivers. They haven’t been bad, but they haven’t done anything spectacular. I think Godwin changes this. With defenses having to respect the strong running game of Georgia, Godwin will be able to stretch the field and have an enormous impact. Like AJ Green, Godwin will force teams to put an extra defender on him, leaving other, also talented, playmakers in single coverage. Another way I believe Godwin will be featured is with the jump ball. Think AJ Green vs. LSU:
It will certainly be fun to have another receiver who you can throw it up to and know he’s going to come down with it.
I also believe Godwin will have a huge impact on the defensive side of the ball. He has stated many times that he would like to play both ways, and he’s certainly capable of that. It’s has been ages since UGA has had a shutdown cornerback, and it would be nice to feel comfortable about that position instead of it always being our question mark.
Check back daily for more recruiting updates!
Georgia Football: A New Look for the Worst Special Teams in College Football, UGA Modeling Itself After Georgia Tech, and Leonard Floyd: SEC Defensive Player of the Year – Daily Dose of Dawg
Georgia Trying to Change Its Special Team Woes
Last year, with the exception of Marshall Morgan, Georgia’s special teams were abysmal. Every time they took the field, you covered your eyes in fear, and with good reason. The Bulldogs were ranked dead last in total return yards with 465, 122nd in punt returns with just a 2.92-yard average, and 108th in kickoff returns at 18.6. There were two high punt snaps, two blocked punts for touchdowns, a kickoff return for a touchdown, two muffed punts, and a fake field goal for a touchdown.
Still, Mark Richt, refused to hire a special teams coordinator, but he did restructure some things to hold more people accountable. Chip Towers of the AJC has the story here.
Slight Renovations to the Bulldogs Appearance
A week after his death, Georgia will honor legendary Bulldog, Dan Magill, by sporting a “MaGill” sticker on the back of the helmets.
For some reason, UGA has also decided to change the appearance of its field by having alternating light and dark bands.
When you look at this picture your thought process probably goes something like this: “Hey, that looks pretty cool! Hmm that looks kind of familiar though. Ok, I’ve definitely seen that field design before, and it’s not a good thing.”
Well that’s because the Nerd Herd also features this exact same look.
Really Georgia, I expect much, much more out of you.
Big Things to Come From Stud Linebacker, Leonard Floyd
In his freshman season at Georgia, Leonard Floyd was one of the few bright spots on the team. He was always flying around terrorizing quarterbacks and was one of the main reason the Dawgs beat LSU. But still, time after time you would watch #84 getting picked apart while in pass coverage. Our genius of a defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham, had a smash-mouth pass rusher dropping back to cover wide receivers on a regular basis, and that was a big problem. Thankfully Jeremy Pruitt brings brains with him to Athens, and Floyd will be used differently as a result. Pruitt has assured us that the “pass coverage days” for Leonard Floyd are over, and the “see quarterback, hit quarterback” days are upon us. I look for Floyd to have a monster season in his new role, and winning SEC Defensive Player of the Year is not a stretch at all.
Edward Aschoff of ESPN thinks Floyd is one to keep your eyes on as well. Story here.
Recruiting Quick Hits
Roquan Smith – UGA and Florida seem to be the teams to beat for the 4-star linebacker out of Montezuma, Ga. As I said yesterday though, I still think Roquan is a Georgia Lock. He’s great friends with some of Georgia’s current commits including Trenton Thompson and always speaks very highly of the Dawgs. In this interview with Michael Carvell, Roquan talks abouthow he’d love to play with Thompson and that it would clog the line and allow him to move around more freely. Look for Smith to commit sometime in the next few weeks after he visits for the Clemson game.
Rashad Roundtree – Michael Carvell was able to get another great interview with Augusta safety, Rashad Roundtree. Roundtree has been rather quiet about his recruitment so far, but two teams, Georgia and Ohio State, seem to have risen to the top. In this interview, Rashad spills a little more than he has in the past as he says that Georgia and Ohio State are his leaders and that he will definitely take official to those two schools. He then says he only plans on taking two or three visits altogether.
At the end of the video, Rashad says something very interesting. He is asked to give a hint on his recruiting. His response: “The school will have the color black in it.” With Ohio States colors being scarlet and grey, you have to assume Rashad is hinting at the Bulldogs. I think he’ll wait until after his football season ends to commit, but Rashad is all Dawg.
Jayson Stanley – Last Friday, Stanley, one of Georgia’s top wide receiver commits for the class of 2015 tore his ACL and is out for the season. Mark Richt, unlike some other coaches (Nick Saban), will of course still honor Jayson’s scholarship and is excited to have him up at UGA. Jayson seems like a very hard working kid, and I fully expect him to be ready to go next fall if needed.
Michael Carvell also caught up with him in an exclusive interview.
As Daniel Palmer has said many times on this site, we don’t encourage gambling, but recognize that we can’t curtail all degenerate behavior. As a value added to the already awesome service of being your source for Georgia football, I’m going to try to pick out five betting lines each week that could theoretically (were gambling legal, or if you could find an outlet) win you some dolla dolla bills.
Week 1 is always a tough nut to crack. Its impossible to predict which new starting QB will go gangbusters and which will throw four picks, which team will have 17 penalties and derail an otherwise promising line, and the nature of week 1: I know Idaho is going to get slaughtered, but will it be by 30 or 40 points?
Having said all that, I’m going to ramp down expectations for the week and pray for the folks that take my word as gospel for two reasons:
– I want you to make money.
– I really think you should get on board with a more credible source of words.
1) Ole Miss (-10.5) over Boise State
This one has all the elements. Boise’s only three games against even remotely comparable talent to Mississippi’s last year were all losses by more than 10.5: 38-6 against Washington, 37-20 against BYU (like I said, remotely), and 38-23 against Oregon State in the Hawaii Bowl. They lose coach Chris Pederson and replace him with a guy who is a lot more spread-oriented in his philosophy, which could lead to some mistakes. Meanwhile, many (myself included) expect a major step forward for the Black Bears.
2) Houston (-10.5) over UT-San Antonio
Last year, Houston won this matchup by 31 in San Antonio. This year, the game is being played in Houston. More importantly, just last night I called Andrew the “Larry Coker of sports podcasts”, and this gives you reason to watch football on Friday night, if you’re so compelled. I’m not compelled, but hey it’s out there.
3) Auburn over Arkansas (+19.5)
To be clear, I still have Auburn moneyline. But Arkansas should be one of those ‘not quite winning but much improved’ teams this year, and Nick Marshall is likely to miss A WHOLE PLAY of action following his marijuana ‘citation’. I feel really good about this one, which means I’m probably wrong.
4) Florida over Idaho (+36.5)
Yeah, I know Florida has a new OC in Kurt Roper that should allegedly boost their scoring. But Will Muschamp is still the coach, the ball is going to stay on the ground, and the clock is going to run. Florida topped out at 31 points last year in a win over Tennessee. A 34-0 or 38-3 score here seems likely, so give me Idaho.
5) Southern Cal over Fresno State (+22)
Fresno may be the best non-Power 5 team out there this year, and possesses two solid transfer quarterbacks who should ably replace departed Derek Carr. S.C. is ridiculously talented, but still remains somewhat enigmatic in the Lane Kiffin fallout.
SEASON RECORD: 0-0 LAST WEEK: 0-0 (because…obviously.)