Author Archives: dudeyoucrazy
Note: Unless specifically noted all rankings, ratings, etc. via the 247Sports Composite. Also, publish time on this bad boy was 6:00 p.m. ET on February 1, 2017. So pardon any developments in the evening.
There’s an awful lot to like about Georgia’s 2017 recruiting class, but if you’re a light follower of recruiting like myself (and like Chad) it may be hard to know where to begin. So with that in mind, I’ve sifted through the rough to find the five diamonds that you—an avid follower of recruiting or a casual Georgia fan—will find most encouraging.
1. This is Georgia’s Best Class Ranking—Maybe Ever
If you believe in college football rankings, then this is the best Georgia recruiting class ever. I believe in rankings because 1. The correlation between success in recruiting and success in games is rich and 2. The correlation between individual player ratings and NFL futures is rich. I’ve talked about this at length so do some research if you’re a nerd (check this out).
So, as a believer this class is insane relative to Georgia’s already high standards.
The 247Sports Composite (which combines all major recruiting services) has the Bulldogs ranked third in the nation. They’ve never finished higher (data going back to 2000). The 2006 class was also third (but with a lower average rating, fewer 5-star signees and fewer 4-star signees).
Rivals.com has Georgian ranked third as well. That’s the best recorded on the site (which posts data since 2002).
Scout.com pegs Georgia with the second-best class in the nation. The Bulldogs have never topped that spot.
ESPN tabs the Dawgs as the nation’s third-best class. Again, this is the best class reported by the site.
So if you buy that class rankings matter, this is an epic success for Kirby Smart! Even if you buy the myth that Georgia out-recruits its peers (it doesn’t: See Alabama, LSU and Florida over the past decade), this is a huge class.
2. This Class is Incredible – Numerically Speaking
Georgia’s average recruit rating (per 247Sports) is 92.71. That’s the third-best tally in the nation behind Ohio State (94.47) and Alabama (93.61). That’s really a fantastic number. Consider other elite classes in the last ten years (2017 classes italicized).
- 2017 Ohio State (94.47)
- 2015 Alabama (93.64)
- 2017 Alabama (93.61)
- 2014 Alabama (93.59)
- 2010 Florida (93.55)
- 2010 Texas (93.55)
- 2013 Alabama (93.25)
- 2009 USC (93.16)
- 2012 Alabama (93.09)
- 2016 Alabama (92.85)
- 2017 Georgia (92.71)
Now, the numbers above just represent individual player averages. Another way to look at this would be by evaluating 247Sports (again, they compile all sites’ data) total class ratings. For 2017 the Top 5 classes are as follows:
- Alabama: 322.53
- Ohio State: 310.97
- Georgia 300.98
- Southern Cal: 296.12
- Michigan: 293.77
Those numbers take things into account like actual class size. In other words, these ratings give preference to Alabama’s 29 signees over Ohio State’s 21, even though the average rating of committed Buckeyes was higher. This is a combination of quality and quantity.
Where does Georgia’s rating of 300.98 stack up historically? Consider how many classes bested that total over the past ten years:
- 2017: 2 (Alabama, Ohio State)
- 2016: 1 (Alabama)
- 2015: 2 (Alabama, Southern Cal)
- 2014: 1 (Alabama)
- 2013: 2 (Alabama, Ohio State)
- 2012: 1 (Alabama)
- 2011: 0
- 2010: 2 (Florida, Texas)
- 2009: 0
- 2008: 0
3. This Was NOT a Weak National Class – Georgia Just Killed It
The bullet-points above support this case. At worst, Georgia’s class rating of 300.98 would rank third among its peers in any class over the past decade. And, this class would only rank third four times in the last ten years (this year, 2015, 2013 and 2010). So by that measure, this is a strong national class. Case in point, it would have been the second-best class in the nation in 2016, 2014 and 2012. It would have been the best class in 2011, 2009 and 2008.
- Best Class in 2008: Notre Dame (294.67)
- Best Class in 2009: LSU (291.33)
- Best Class in 2011: Alabama (298.50).
Further, consider how the nation’s third-best class has held up each of the ten years prior to 2017.
|Year||No. 3 Class||Average Rating||Total Rating||5-Star||4-Star|
Now Consider Georgia’s 2017 class:
|Category||Result||Better Than No. 3 Class AVG||Rank Among Previous 10 Classes|
|Average Rating||92.71||YES||Tied – 2nd|
|5-Star Players||2||NO||Tied – 5th|
|5 & 4-Star Players||20||YES||First|
4. Georgia Landed Elite Players All Over The Field
- Richard LeCounte III is the no. 2 safety prospect in the country.
- Jake Fromm is the the no. 3 Pro-Style QB in the country.
- Deangelo Gibbs is the no. 4 safety in the country.
- D’Andre Swift is the no. 4 running back in the country.
- Malik Herring is the no. 4 strong-side defensive end in the country.
- Isaiah Wilson is the no. 5 offensive tackle in the country.
- Nate McBride is the no. 6 inside linebacker in the country.
- Netori Johnson is the no. 7 offensive guard in the country.
- Robert Beal is the no. 8 weak-side defensive end in the country.
- Jaden Hunter is the no. 9 outside linebacker in the country.
- Andrew Thomas is the no. 9 offensive tackle in the country.
- D’Marcus Hayes is the no. 2 JUCO offensive tackle in the country.
In total, 12 new Georgia signees rank among the nation’s Top 10 at their respective position. Six play offense, six play defense.
Seventeen of the nation’s Top 200 high school prospects signed with Georgia. That’s staggering. Only Alabama snagged more Top 200 players (with 18).
5. Georgia Locked Down the State
I do think in-state recruiting can get a bit blown out of proportion. Get the best players you can get; I don’t care where they’re from. But by practically every measure Georgia held its own in Peach State.
The state’s top prospect was a QB, Davis Mills, heading to Stanford. He’s regarded as the top QB in the class. Georgia got the third-best Pro-Style passer in the class (Fromm) and the No. 2 Pro-Style QB last year (Eason), so it’s not a shock that Mills went elsewhere. Aubrey Solomon, no. 3 in the state and the nation’s second-best DT went to Michigan.
Outside of that, it’s hard to find much fault with what Georgia did in-state.
Five of the Top 10 players in the state are staying home. In addition to Mills and Solomon, Georgia missed on three defensive backs—AJ Terrell, Xavier McKinney and Jaymest Williams were ranked 7th, 8th and 9th in the state respectively. But, Georgia signed two DBs who ranked second (LeCounte) and 6th (Deangelo Gibbs) in the state.
Players 11-16 in the 247 Composite State Rankings ALL chose Georgia. So 11 of the Top 16 will suit of for the red and black.
That’s all I got/
Atlanta is a better sports town than Boston. Period. And I don’t even like having sentences that simply read, “Period.” But to open this article with anything less definitive, less concise or less accurate would be a disservice to the loyal readers of this online watering hole.
“But Boston has more titles than Atlanta,” the Massholes will surely contend. I’ll yield that point, but not before posing a question. When did sports become all about numbers? People who waste time counting things rather than enjoying the moments are precisely what’s wrong with the sports world. Advanced analytics, PERs, DVOAs and BYOBs have diluted every bit of the art that once defined sports. Just ask Meryl Streep. There’s actually some underlying truth to her observation that football is not “art.” It’s not. At least not according to the Bean Counters in Beantown counting championships. Football—and every other sport for that matter—is math in Boston. I hate math. Real sports fans hate math.
In Atlanta, football is art. Atlanta fans don’t love the Falcons for the number of championships they’ve won or for the PSI figures representing deflation of balls or for the number of hours between the time their QB found out his GF was pregnant and the time he dipped out or for the number of people their former tight ends killed. No, Atlanta fans love the Falcons because they passionately enjoy the art of sport. Advantage: ATL.
And that theme—the edge for Atlanta—isn’t just a football thing. It’s across all sports.
Nerds will point to the Red Sox and their 93-69 regular season mark in professional baseball last season as proof of Boston’s “superiority.” If you’re an analytics guru that probably does seem like more than Atlanta’s 68 wins. But Braves fans value things other than wins. Atlanta fans value…well…value. With a payroll of $166,770,400 a year ago, the stuck-up, private school punks from Boston cashed in on their daddy’s credit card in a major way as the Red Sox paid $1,793,230.11 per victory. The humble, grinding, hard-nosed, never-given-anything Braves only paid $1,195,424 per W. Sports aren’t just about the money in Atlanta.
Take Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan as an example. Matt Ryan loves football. He loved it so much that he agreed to play the sport for free for several years in Boston. How’s that for passion? Unless you’ve played football at the collegiate level, you can’t comprehend the sacrifice Ryan made just to toss his beloved pigskin. But after four, arduous, miserable years in the sports-unfriendly town of Boston he just couldn’t take it any more. He took a job playing football in Atlanta. Sure, he’s making money but this was never about money for Matt Ryan. He would have kept playing for free if Boston wasn’t such a crappy town, probably. And even though he is getting paid, he’s working for a discount compared to Tom Brady. Brady took home nearly $29 million in cash this season. Ryan, a lover of sport, made less than $16 million.
How’s that for money ball, Billy Beane? Oh that’s right! Billy Beane wisely turned down overtures from the Red Sox back in 2002 so he could stay in a real sports town (Oakland). How about that? Now that’s real foresight by Mr. Beane. After all, most of Boston’s sports heroes get out of town as quickly as possible. Beane skipped that part of the process by avoiding Beantown altogether.
Think about it. Larry Bird retired at the age of 35 (from the Boston Celtics) just so he could come back out of retirement with a less flashy job back in Indiana. How insane is that? He left the spotlight in an alleged sports town so that he could take on a behind-the-scenes role in the midwest. That would be like Ryan Gosling capitalizing on whatever the hell La La Land is, retiring, leaving Hollywood and resurfacing in Nebraska as a guy who works lighting on local car dealership commercials. That would never happen because L.A. is actually a viable contender as a “good town for celebrities and movie stars.” Boston, however, is not a good town for sports. Just ask Larry Legend.
Larry wasn’t alone. Hell, the entire Boston Braves baseball organization eventually found its way to a real sports town (by way of Milwaukee) before making their way to an even realer sports county (well, that part might not be true).
And mass-exoduses aren’t just a thing for athletes and teams from Boston. It happens to sportswriters too. Bill Simmons is literally nicknamed “The Sports Guy,” and he left Boston as soon as he could. Even media personalities who criticized Simmons for leaving eventually came to their senses and left Boston for New York City.
But what about all those SPORTS in Boston? These teams are great at everything!
I bet the 17,565 people who attended Bruins games (on average) during the 2010-2011 season sure appreciated that Stanely Cup run. It’s wild that one out of every 38 Boston residents checked out those games. Oh, but I shouldn’t poke fun of hockey game attendance, should I? After all, Atlanta lost the Thrashers because attendance was so poor. Yeah, Atlanta (a real Sports Town) did dump the Thrashers after the team averaged just 13,469 fans per contest during the 2010-2011 season (the same year as the Bruins’ title). When that happened, the Thrashers were still pulling one out of every 33 Atlanta residents to home games. Atlanta was putting more butts in seats per capita than the Bruins but that wasn’t up to Atlanta’s standards, so GTFO.
But Boston fans really “get” sports. Boston is great at everything. Just look at the Celtics. Right now the Celts are sitting on a 27-18 record, well ahead of the Hawks’ 27-19 mark. Further, the Celtics are absolutely owning the Hawks in head-to-head play this year, boasting a 1-0 record thanks to a 103-101 win. Can’t compete with that success.
I mean it’s clear why teams from Atlanta are so incredibly intimidated by Boston sports teams.
It’s just hard for us Atlanta fans to not be daunted by Boston’s sports prowess. After all, Boston hosts all kinds of major events. Oh, wait. I’m thinking of Atlanta.
- Olympics: In Atlanta in 1996 // Never in Boston
- Super Bowl: In Atlanta in 1994, 2000 and upcoming in 2019 // Never in Boston
- NCAA Football Playoff Championship: In Atlanta next year // Never in Boston
- NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four: In Atlanta in 1977, 2002, 2007, 2013 and upcoming in 2020 // Never in Boston
- NBA All-Star Game: Last in Atlanta in 2003 // Last in Boston in 1964
But I’m sure all these events are in Atlanta because it’s such a crappy sports town. I’m sure they’re not in Boston because the selection committees just don’t want to make things too much nicer for such a great sports town.
But on to the game at hand.
First things first: This “dynasty” we hear about from New England? I find such chatter to rank somewhere between hilarious and incomprehensible. You do realize that the Patriots are one loss to the Falcons away from having 1-3 record in the Super Bowl over the past 12 seasons, right? Do you get that Bostonians? And the Falcons are simultaneously one win over the Pats from matching Belichick’s total number of titles over the past dozen years and quadrupling his winning percentage in Super Bowls over the same time period. Will the Falcons have a Dynasty if they win? Apparently anyone with a Super Bowl title over the past 12 years can claim a dynasty. So in that regard, I personally am one Lombardi Trophy shy of having a dynasty. Calling the Patriots a “dynasty” is like saying American Idol is the most popular show on television. I’d listen back in 2005. But I was also in high school then.
But who am I kidding. The Falcons don’t really have a chance against the Patriots.
Oh, those dominant Patriots! You know, the ones who have been outscored 300-249 in 13 all-time match-ups with the Falcons.
No one could ever match Boston’s football prowess—not this year! No one except the mighty Seattle Seahawks (who lost to the Falcons 36-20 just a few short weeks ago) and the mighty Buffalo Bills (who canned their coaching staff). Oh, who could every beat those 2016 New England Patriots?
May the best Sports Town win.
Prediction: Falcons 38, Patriots 33
Dabo Swinney, It’s OK to Act Like You’ve Never Been There Before; But You Should Act Like You’ll Be Back
I gained a lot of respect for Dabo Swinney during the playoff. I think a lot of people did. I’ve been pretty “meh” on the guy in general. The Clemsoning meme was always pretty good, but as a Georgia fan I know all about missed should-be-easy opportunities. So in that regard, I thought he was probably a better coach than the nation assumed. But I wouldn’t have classified him as a great coach. The fact remains that he lost an average of nearly four games per year over his first six full seasons (2009-2014, which excludes a 4-3 opening campaign in 2008). I thought he benefitted from a weak conference/division with a diminishing Virginia Tech program and rebuilding projects at Florida State and Miami. Obviously, Florida State is fully “back” and Miami and Virginia Tech may be headed there. But there’s something to be said for a coach who can lose five games in a season but still win his division (which Swinney did in 2009). The guy won his conference despite losing four total games in 2011.
So heading into 2016, the 2015 season seemed like it might have been an outlier. No matter how you slice it, last season stood out. Consider Dabo’s season win totals: 9, 6, 10, 11, 11, 11, 10, 14. That last number seems to pop. How about final rankings (Coaches Poll)? Unranked, Unranked, 22, 9, 7, 15, 2. Again, that second-place ranking kind of stands out.
But at the same time I felt all season long that Clemson was deserving of the playoff and on the shortlist of teams capable of beating Alabama for two very related reasons:
- They had almost beaten Alabama in last year’s national championship game*.
- Deshaun Watson is the best player in college football.
Notably, I didn’t give Dabo Swinney much credit for either of the points above. Sure he was the head coach and he got Watson on campus and put coaches in place to develop his talent and built a roster around him. But I didn’t give the guy that much credit. But credit is due now.
You’ll see the asterisk next to point number one above. And I think this is as good a place as any to remind everyone of that game. We’ve apparently all moved on from how epic last year’s national championship game was. Everyone is talking about Monday’s game and comparing it to the iconic Texas/USC BCS National Championship as the greatest title bout in modern college football history. I guess we’ve re-written or forgotten Alabama’s 45-40 win over Clemson last year. There were eight lead changes in that game:
- Bama leads 7-0.
- Clemson ties 7-7.
- Clemson leads 14-7.
- Bama ties 14-14.
- Bama leads 21-14 then 21-17.
- Clemson leads 24-21.
- Bama ties 24-24.
- Bama gains 31-24 lead and doesn’t relinquish it.
And there was no shortage of individual accomplishments:
- Deshaun Watson racked up 478 yards of offense and four scores.
- Jake Coker threw for 335 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs on 25 attempts.
- Four Clemson Tigers registered more than 60 yards receiving (Wayne Gallman, Jordan Leggett, Hunter Renfrow, Charone Peake).
- Derek Henry ran for 158 yards and three scores.
- O.J. Howard logged five catched for 208(!!!) yards and two TDs.
- Kenyan Drake had a 95 yard kickoff return for a TD.
That game was an all-time classic. But now that we have a newer version with an underdog victory and a revenge story, that game is forgotten. Now it’s Monday’s game vs. all the others. A 45-40 championship game is an “also ran” after a 35-31 championship game, I suppose.
Along those lines, my fear here is that recency bias and revisionist history will change the narrative of Clemson’s dramatic win over Alabama on January 9, 2017. The narrative may soon be that Deshaun Watson (again, the best player in the country by my estimation) came out and rolled the tide for 463 yards of offense and four touchdowns. The narrative may soon be shortened to “Alabama didn’t have an answer for Deshaun Watson.”
That storyline is an injustice to Watson, however. The reality is nobody has really had an answer for Deshaun Watson over the last two seasons. Sure, he racked up 941 yards of offense and eight scores against Alabama in sequential championship games. But he’s accounted for 10,431 yards of offense and 97 touchdowns over the past two seasons. This is as much about Deshaun flourishing as it is about Alabama struggling.
And that ties in to another potential injustice: a lack of credit for Dabo Swinney. People may forget Deshaun Watson’s early-game struggles. They may rightfully be overshadowed by the sum of his four quarters. But we shouldn’t forget what Dabo Swinney and his staff did for the entirety of the game.
Offensively, Clemson ran 97 plays on Monday night. 57 passes. 42 rushes. That’s nearly 23% more plays than the second most prolific play-runner Alabama faced all year—Ole Miss with 79 total plays. The Crimson Tide defense wore down. That go-go-go offensive game plan, simple and perhaps obvious, was well-executed throughout the contest even when the Tigers weren’t scoring points. Clemson had 19 plays of offense in the first quarter despite kicking off to start the game and committing a turnover. The Tigers then reeled off more than 25 offensive plays in each of the game’s final three quarters.
Defensively, the Tigers remained tough even as Alabama mounted an early lead and things seemed destined to get out of hand. After taking a 14-0 edge in the game’s first 20 minutes, Alabama was held without a touchdown for nearly 25 minutes of game time.
Swinney kept his squad tuned-in even as Alabama took a seemingly insurmountable lead. He stuck with his game plan, trusted the game plan and put his team in position to win the game. Late in the contest, he trusted his play-makers, showed patience even as some (myself included) panicked about clock management and left the Crimson Tide reeling from a gut punch with just one second remaining (is that familiar, Bama fans?).
I mention all this (the 900 words above) to say simply: I’ve got no problem with Dabo Swinney acting like he’s never been here before. He hasn’t been here before. And a lot of people, including me, didn’t expect him to be here. The dude was in elementary school the last time Clemson won a Natty. His name is Dabo for goodness sake. Dabo’s don’t get nice things. Dabo’s don’t get respect. And yet, here he is.
I gained enough appreciation for Dabo Swinney during the playoff that I’m willing to overlook post-game comments like:
And to see my guys fight, just believe me. I told them tonight, I told them that the difference in the game was going to be love. It’s been my word. My word all year’s been love. And I said, “Tonight we’re going to win it because we love each other. We’re going to love each other.”
The difference in the game was
Pick Plays Deshaun Watson Mike Williams’ recovery from multiple headshots Philanderer Lane Kiffin being replaced by recovering drunkard Steve Sarkisian as offensive coordinator a week before the national championship game Bo Scarbrough breaking his leg with 17 minutes to play love.
I can look past those comments because I recognize that Dabo Swinney is a better coach than I thought and I appreciate that he’s never been here before.
But going on the offensive against a sports talk radio show host like Colin Cowherd in your post-championship presser? Come on, dude. What is that? Cowherd’s certainly not above reproach. But you just won a national championship and in your press conference you’re doing this?
What was that? “I’m not a fraud, you’re a fraud. You didn’t do your homework. Print that, media. You guys only had us ranked second in the nation in the preseason behind Alabama. And guess what, we might have been the second-best team in the country with two seconds left on the clock, but with one second left and with no seconds left we were the best. You might be a fraud too. Let’s talk about all the people who didn’t see that final drive coming. I’m gonna name names while these two gentlemen flank me and look confused. We’ll celebrate tomorrow. Tonight, we name names because what’s the point of being a champion if you can’t be petty?”
I’m not calling Dabo Swinney a fraud. Colin Cowherd did that. But I will say that Dabo Swinney looks unbelievably desperate in the exact moment at which he should be at his career’s pinnacle of comfort and confidence. He just won the national championship and he looks shaken by a radio guy.
Dabo, you’re the most desperate national champion in the history of college football. You gonna call me out on that next time you win the big one?
Probably not. Because there won’t be a next time.
That’s all I got/
Dude Emeritus here, back from the dead to grow some whiskers.
The crew from my day job is doing a contest, and I really don’t want to lose to a bunch of Big 10 and Pac-12 amateurs in my office. So show me some love by donating to the cause (not to me…just to my fundraiser). In exchange, I promise daily updates on my facial hair non-progress.
And as you can tell by this video, I’ve been really working over-time on that beard.
Thanks for your consideration.
And, because Chad is horrible at deadlines, we should mention he is running a similar campaign in via his real estate business.
Essentially, the idea is this: call him with a ready-to-go client referral, and he donates in your name. $100 in the Charlotte, NC area, $25 literally ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD.
No contests here, but he wants to at least beat the last two years’ combined total of just over $500.
Donate your own money here, or contact Chad at email@example.com to connect him with someone in need of help buying, selling, or investing in property.
His selfie game is not nearly as strong, but his beard game is electric. Watch out for this one, folks.
#1. You Can Still Laugh at Tennessee
I want to live in a world in which Tennessee isn’t much better than average. For the past decade or so we’ve been blessed with that world. And based on what we’ve seen so far (including Saturday), we still live there. Rankings and feel-good-Butch-Jones-Definitely-Doesn’t-Look-Like-He-Walked-Off-The-Set-Of-Beavis-And-Butt-Head opinions be damned, does anyone really think Tennessee is a Top-10 team? Because I don’t. Georgia’s not a good team and Tennessee needed a collapse by a whole unit and a lot of luck to get the win. Make no mistake about it, Tennessee is in the driver’s seat in the East*. But winning the East isn’t the long-term end game here. They’ll get run by Bama or whoever wins the West.
*Believe it or not, Tennessee hasn’t “locked up” the East quite to the extent that people believe right now. They have Texas A&M on the road this week and next week Alabama comes to Knoxville. You can’t quite assume both of those are losses but I think there’s a better chance that Tennessee goes 0-2 in those contests than 2-0. Georgia needs Tennessee to lose at least three to get back in the division race, but Florida just needs them to drop one. And even lowly threats like South Carolina, Kentucky and Missouri (not Vandy) could get scary for the Vols when you consider just how awful Tennessee is capable of being for prolonged periods.
Tennessee trailed App State for 60 minutes. Tennessee didn’t lead VA Tech for the first 25 minutes of play. With 11 minutes left to play, Tennessee was clinging to a 2-point lead against Ohio (University…not State). Florida led Tennessee by 21; Georgia led by 17. This is not a team with a penchant for playing complete games. So the collective “we got this” mentaility of Vol fans who haven’t been to an SEC Championship Game in 3,229 days and haven’t won one in 6,512 days (but who’s counting?) is a bit premature.
#2. Jacob Eason
He’s so much fun to watch. Like…transcendentally fun to watch in the fourth quarter.
#3. It Was Better
A loss is a loss but compare Georgia’s performance on Saturday (a game some would say the Dawgs should have won) with what the team did a week earlier in Oxford (a game some would say the Dawgs didn’t even play) and even lackluster performances against the likes Missouri and Nicholls State. This was better. I’m not sure how you could collectively say otherwise.
#4. Jacob Eason
He’s also not Greyson Lambert. Just wanted to circle back around and hit that one.
#5. Brian Herrien
I love this kid and at this point in the season I think we can safely say this isn’t a one-off success story. He’s good. He’s consistently good, too. Herrien has logged carried in four games this year, he’s averaged 4.9 YPC or better in each contest, run for at least 45 yards in each game and hit a run of 15+ yards in every outing. He’s good. He’s consistent. He’s 18 years old. Get a load of his game log:
- UNC: 7 carries, 59 yards, 8.4 YPC, 1 TD, Long of 19
- Nicholls: 8 carries, 47 yards, 5.9 YPC, Long of 23
- Ole Miss: 11 carries, 78 yards, 7.1 YPC, 2 TDs, Long of 16
- Tennessee: 15 carries, 74 yards, 4.9 YPC, Long of 15
#6. Natrez Patrick
A lack of QB pressure and questionable play in the secondary has taken some of the shine away from linebackers like Natrez Patrick this season. But the NatPat (TM) had himself a game on Saturday. 10 total tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 sack and another QB hit. Big game. The NatPat leads the team in tackles (both solo and total), is second to Trent Thompson in TFL, tied for first in sacks.
#7. Young Defensive Front
In addition to the NatPat, consider the other players in Georgia’s front seven who are making plays. Trenton Thompson is second on the team in tackles, first in TFLs and tite for first in sacks. Roquan Smith is doing big things. D’Andre Walker is starting to come into his own. Julian Rochester is becoming a force. It’s terrifying to think about what this unit might look like next year. Lorenzo Carter may be tempted to go pro early (though I’m not sure 5.5 career sacks in 31 career games get him there), but if he stays Georgia stands to return everything along the front line.
#8. Jacob Eason
I mean Tennessee DBs stopped running because they thought the kid couldn’t throw the ball that far. He flicked his wrist and that should have been the end of the game. Geez.
9. Kirby Smart
Oh, I’m going to go there. Whether or not he gets Georgia to where Georgia wants to be remains to be seen (and even if Georgia was 5-0, the same sentiment would ring true), but I love the direct, unambiguous language he uses after a loss. “Bottom line is we’ve got to do better’ we’ve got to do better than them,”
Smart is a results-driven dude in a results-driven scenario and I don’t have major beef with anything he’s done so far with the program. Could Georgia be in a better spot right now? Sure. I think we all think the Dawgs could/should be 4-1 and the gap between there and 3-2 seems insurmountable given Tennessee’s sequential wins against the only presumed challengers for the division (Florida and Georgia).
But put all of this in perspective. Georgia’s first loss was to Ole Miss, a team that was tabbed as the 11th or 12th best team in the preseason (by the AP and Coaches respectively). Georgia’s second loss came to Tennessee, a team that was favored in the game and that was ranked in the preseason Top 10 by both the AP and the Coaches. Georgia entered the year ranked 18th by the AP and 16th by the Coaches. Polls don’t matter that much and preseason polls are kind of a joke, but who saw a schedule featuring three top 25 teams in the first 5 weeks (UNC was also ranked by both major polls)—two of which were ranked ahead of Georgia—and said, “We have to be better than 3-2 in year one of a new coaching staff with a freshman QB?” I didn’t.
10. It’s South Carolina Week
We hate South Carolina, remember? Sure, we hate everyone. But right now we hate South Carolina. Night game on the road in Columbia…whew boy, I’m tired of Sandstorm already.
That’s all I got/