Category Archives: SEC
Georgia included a defensive depth chart in their media guide at SEC Media Days. I’m not sure how accurate it was or how it was derived as several oddities existed. For example, J.J. Green, who seemed like a lock for the star position in Jeremy Pruitt’s defense, was listed as the starter at strong safety. A walk-on (for better or worse) was still listed as a starter at cornerback. Ray Drew was still listed as a third-teamer. Those three things may all come to fruition, but the list as a whole seemed like some combination of obvious assumptions, dart-throwing and lip service.
In any event, Jonathan Taylor was listed third at the lone nose tackle position behind Mike Thornton and Chris Mayes. Thornton is a a senior; Mayes is a junior. Lamont Gaillard (an incoming freshman) also figures to be a factor at that position at some point in the future. Taylor would have been a sophomore with two years of eligibility left following the 2014 campaign. But now he’s gone, and that helps in the recruitment of Trent Thompson (the nation’s second-best recruit and top DT per 247Sports).
With Taylor gone, Georgia’s returning depth chart in 2015 likely looks something like this:
- Chris Mayes, Senior
- Lamont Gaillard, Sophomore
Mayes started eight games and played well in 2013. A big season out of him could mean early entry into the NFL Draft. After all, at that point he’ll have spent four combined years at JUCO and UGA. Conversely, an average or mediocre campaign in 2014 could mean he’s subject to being leap-frogged in 2015.
We don’t know what Gaillard will amount to or how long it will take him to get there.
The point, as I discuss in part here, is this: Taylor’s dismissal renders the nose tackle position open for an elite talent to come in and seize right away in 2015. That’s got to be attractive to Trent Thompson, who already favors the in-state Bulldogs.
That’s all I got/
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.
DudeYouCrazy Preseason SEC Ranking: 11
The 2014 Missouri Tigers in One Question
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?
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.
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.
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:
- Central Florida
- South Carolina
I just really don’t see Missouri winning more than three of those six contests.
That’s all I got/