Category Archives: SEC

Rambling Spring Thoughts: So, What Are We to Make of Tennessee?


I’ve got no real new information to present to you in the Spring. The SEC Network and ESPNU are showing too much basketball, preview magazines aren’t out yet, and recruiting rankings will have zero effect on the 2015 season. This is my attempt to keep you in the loop with some of Georgia’s potential obstacles for next season.

Dobbs

If you’ve been following the postseason podcasts, blogs, and Signing Day chatter, there are a LOT of people picking Tennessee as the darkhorse in the SEC East for 2015. Why the unbridled optimism for a team that yet again failed to finish .500 in league play? For a team who will have about 2/3 of its players in their first or second years in the program?

There’s a lot that could go right for the Vawls in 2015, but a lot that could go wrong too.

Josh Dobbs, and the emergence of an actual QB:

Dobbs was not a world-beater once he replaced the injured Justin Worley, but 63.3% of his passes found Vols receivers. He also brought an element to the UT run game not seen since Brent Schaffer: a real threat to run the ball. Dobbs finished with 469 yards on 104 (SPOILER ALERT: that is not good) carries. Not many college running backs get 200 carries, as Dobbs would have in a full season of action. An injury, and they’re right back to square one (remember Nathan Peterman in the third quarter or the Georgia/Tennessee game?)

Dobbs has weapons:

I spent all preseason last year shouting from rooftops that Marquez North was the second best wideout in the SEC. He rewarded me with…30 catches for just over 300 yards in an injury-plagued sophomore campaign. Joining him in and out of the lineup were Josh Malone, Von Pearson, and Pig Howard, all highly-rated guys in their own right. As their WR’s grow up, this passing offense becomes prolific.

The 2014 Vols replaced all 5 starters on their offensive line from the previous year. This year? Just one. That paves the way for massive human being Jalen Hurd (899 yards, 5 TD as a freshman) to continue to do his thing.

So yes, Tennessee’s offense is highly, highly skilled.

A strong finish and a beastly Signing Day

I said it in the intro, I’ll say it again. Signing Day 2015 will have almost no effect on this year’s results. Having said that, Tennessee pulling in it’s third straight top-10 class is admirable confusing things that make you go ‘hmm’. This year, the focus was more on reloading the defense, as they brought in two consensus five star tackles in Kahlil McKenzie and Shy Tuttle.

On the field, the Vols won 4 of their last 5. A convincing win against Iowa to close out the season is another cause of this ‘contender’ optimism, but say it with me one more time: BOWL GAMES ARE OVERRATED!

Did I dig into the defense?

Nah, not yet. They lose A.J. Nicholson though, and he was a monster.

But the schedule, though…

With a permanent crossover rival in Alabama, the Vols’ schedule always appears among the most daunting in the league. With a series against Oklahoma finally ending this year, it daunts all the more. The Vols play six straight games (all but a trip to Florida are at home) to open the season, concluding with a home date against Georgia on October 10. Coming off the bye, they go to Alabama and then play November against the fairly pedestrian SEC East.

There is the OUTSIDE chance that Butch Jones’ third Tennessee team plays to a similar trajectory of Hugh Freeze’s at Ole Miss. Early opportunities to pick up high-profile wins against Oklahoma and Florida, and a home tilt with Arkansas, could theoretically boost the Vols into the top 10 before Georgia comes knocking.

Or, s**t hits the fan as it has done for the past decade, and we have another 5-7 win Tennessee team, with a fanbase angling for someone to come in and coach up all the talent Jones has inexplicably assembled in Knoxville.

 

NEXT: IDK, whoever I feel like. Probably South Carolina though.

Georgia Football: Why are we pretending to be surprised by Chris Conley’s performance at the NFL Combine?


Georgia’s offense reached new highs over the past four seasons. Over that same time period, no player accounted for more receiving yards than Chris Conley. So why the hell are we pretending to be stunned by his athleticism?

He ran a 4.35 at the combine—that’s damn fast. He jumped a million inches on the broad jump. He set a combine record on the vertical. Perhaps from a testing standpoint, he surpassed what was expected. But are we really floored that the most productive receiver in one of the most prolific offenses in the country is athletic?

The guy stood out in run-heavy offense. That’s hard to do. He did it against the nation’s best competition. That’s even harder to do. He did it in surprisingly sexy ways. Again, harder still to do.

Consider the following about Chris Conley:

  • He averaged 16.6 yards per catch over the course of his four year career. For reference (not for comparison), A.J. Green averaged 15.8 yards per catch as a Bulldog.
  • He caught a touchdown pass once every 5.85 receptions. Green scored once every 7.22 receptions.
  • As a senior, Conley averaged 18.3 yards per reception while catching 36 passes. Only one other Bulldog in the last 20 years (Tavarres King in 2011) posted a YPC figure in excess of 18 while also hauling in 35 or more passes. Of note: Over that time frame 31 Bulldogs hauled in 35 or more receptions in a single season and failed to surpass 18 yards per catch.
  •  More than 76% of Conley’s 117 career receptions resulted in a first down or a touchdown. That’s just stupid. He was above the team average by such a measure each and every season.
  • Last year, 77.8% of Conley’s receptions moved the chains or put points on the board. For the rest of the team, that number was 67.4%.
  • Each of Chris Conley’s final 15 collegiate receptions resulted in a first down or a touchdown.
  • Conley was an animal on late downs. He hauled in 29 career passes on third or fourth down. All but two resulted in a first down or score. Those 27 chain-moving or point-scoring receptions resulted in an average gain of 18.11 yards. The average amount of yardage needed: 6.04.

 

What part of these facts implies that Conley is anything other than a gamer?

Further, think about what you know about Chris Conley. He commits to mastering everything he does. He graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA. He recorded a 3.0 or higher in each academic term at Georgia and collected a cumulative GPA of 3.32. He won Georgia’s Sportsmanship and Ethics Award. He sat on the NCAA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. His Star Wars fan film has nearly 500,000 views on YouTube and is almost Hollywood-ready.

Why would a guy who clearly has athleticism (see numbers above), an impeccable work ethic and a history of performing his best in the biggest moments not do well at the Combine?

Read more of my thoughts on Conley here.

 

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

 

 

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Weekly Hangover – Menage a Pod


Daniel Palmer (@dpalm66 on the Tweets), Jason Smith (@JasonIsASmith) and Chad Floyd (@Chad_Floyd) get together for a trifecta of hot takes.

 

 

Be sure to download and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here.

Stream online via Spreaker, or check it out on Stitcher Radio.

Georgia Football: Brice Ramsey Stepping Up, Reggie Carter Doin’ Thangs and Other Spring Expectations


I’m looking early at Spring Practice.

Today I highlighted five players with the most to gain this spring, they are (by my estimation):

  1. Brice Ramsey: Owning QB1 is a thing. Right now we don’t know if Ramsey is going to be Matt Saracen closing his eyes and heaving a pass or Matt Saracen insisting “my eyes weren’t closed, coach.” Let’s see who this dude is.
  2. Keith Marshall: The former star has three options: a. Ball out as a part of the offense over the next two years. b. Ball so hard pro scouts wanna find him after this season. 3. Fade away. There’s not a lot of middle ground. Let’s see if this guy can get it back from a health and confidence standpoint. The athletic gifts are still there.
  3. Reggie Carter: Don’t forget, this guy almost beat out Ramik Wilson heading into the 2013 season and injuries may have been a factor in that falling through. Just imagine, if Carter wins that starting spot Wilson never becomes the too-early darling of mock drafts (he was mocked as a first-rounder this time last year) and wouldn’t have fallen from grace with a somewhat average 2014 campaign.
  4. Aaron Davis: Walk-on to Shutdown. 30 for 30. What if I told you…
  5. Anybody at Center: Seriously. I don’t care if it’s Justin Scott-Wesley. Let’s just nail down this position heading into the summer and move ahead.

 

Read more here.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

 

Don’t forget to download The UGA Vault for all your Bulldog needs. It’s free and available on iOS and Android. Just click here.

 

Podcast! Weekly Hangover is Back and Later Than Ever!


Daniel Palmer (@dpalm66 on Twitter) and Jason Smith (@JasonIsASmith) get together to talk about the week in sports and the week in life.

 

Be sure to download and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here.

Stream online via Spreaker, or check it out on Stitcher Radio.

 

 

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