Georgia Football: Tray Scott, a “Meh” Hire
Let’s get the good news out of the way first: Tray Scott is a dead ringer for Killer Mike, which adds INSTANT credibility to a program in the state of Georgia, or anywhere really:
Now the bad: after watching Tray Scott coach defensive line firsthand at North Carolina for two seasons, I feel he represents a pretty substantial downgrade for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Maybe I’m a little too close to see the good. Maybe Gene Chizik’s defense, predicated on an extreme ‘bend but don’t break’ mentality was skewed towards defensive linemen occupying blockers in order for the linebackers to make plays. Given the lack of talent in North Carolina’s linebacking corps relative to the rest of the defense, I sure as hell hope that’s not the case.
Maybe it was a talent/experience issue. Carolina’s two-deep on the line consisted of, in 2016, at least three underclassmen, and for the second straight year doesn’t graduate any seniors with NFL aspirations (though junior DT Naz Jones declared early and is likely a 2nd-3rd round pick). There are three former 4-star recruits at DT, one at DE on the depth chart, with a bunch of “high threes” sprinkled in.
Or maybe Tray Scott was not a very good defensive line coach. Some numbers (as per usual, from Bill Connolly’s Football Study Hall):
|Rushing Success Rate||49.40%||117||46.20%||95|
|Adjusted Line Yards||88||117||92.90%||95|
|Power Success Rate||68.20%||81||67.60%||69|
|Standard Down Line YPC||3.42||124||3.30||108|
|Passing Down Sack Rate||4.90%||108||9.90%||18|
|D-Line Havoc Rate||4.10%||87||5.10%||56|
Now, the optimist would say Scott improved those numbers in his two years at North Carolina.
The realist would say that, besides the passing down sack rate (which includes blitzing LB’s and DB’s, obviously), there is not much to write home about. Most frustrating is an inability to stop the run. You may recall Baylor’s 645 rushing yards (a bowl record) from the Wing-T in the 2015 Russell Athletic. Or Nick Chubb and the Georgia offensive line looking like world-beaters after week 1 of 2016. Either way, the defensive line did not hold up, ranking among the bottom 10 in the nation in stuff rate (runs of no gain or for a loss) in both of his seasons.
Can he recruit? That was a mixed bag for UNC. He’s credited with two four-stars from the 2017 class, DE Jake Lawler and DT Xach Gill, in addition to three-star DT Jordon Riley. He was also given credit for a McEachern (Powder Springs, GA, of all places) WR who is grayshirting for Carolina. His 2016 recruits? One coup in Kyree Campbell failed to qualify, the other, DE Nolan DeFranco, is a project at best.
His misses are more interesting. DT Dexter Lawrence of Clemson grew up 30 minutes from Chapel Hill, and the Heels were never really a factor. DE Nick Coe went to Auburn after publicly declaring North Carolina his leader early in the process.
Scott’s results leave a lot of unanswered questions for Georgia. One would have to hope that inexperience (both as an FBS coach and among his personnel) and circumstances (Chizik’s vanilla defense) played a role, but the track record is not good.