Author Archives: dudeyoucrazy
The Kirby Smart Hater’s Guide to Georgia’s 7-0 Start: Analysis of a Team Completely Devoid of Identity
For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing this over at Dawg Sports. For reasons that are a combination of baffling and hilarious, I’ve moved this (and all my writing) back to my internet backyard. Please continue reading Dawg Sports. Those folks are awesome, and I may or may not stumble back over there in a stupor some day.
With all that out of the way…welcome to the Kirby Smart Hater’s Guide to Georgia Football, where we give a voice to the fans who will never be happy with Kirby Smart at the helm in Athens.
Undefeated. Seven and zero. Seven and oh. 7-0. Lossless.
No matter how you say it, sounds pretty good right? Unfortunately, football is game of inches, not a game of records. And this Georgia team is still coming up short.
This is Year 2 of the Kirby Smart experiment (I know! It seems like he’s been here forever!) and this team is still completely devoid of identity. Last night’s win over the worst team in the SEC was a microcosm of the Bulldogs’ ongoing struggles.
Defensively, Georgia was a disaster against Mizzou. It wasn’t Octoberfest for Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, it was Locktoberfest and he was getting drunk on points not pints. His efficient Tiger offense scored in almost every quarter against Georgia’s first-team defense, and he torched an allegedly healthy Bulldog secondary time and time again. Think the defense is this Georgia team’s calling card? Think again.
Offensively, a lackluster showing was less surprising but no less indicting.
Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm looked “like a freshman” setting Mizzou up with a short scoring drive after an ugly interception, but to some extent that’s expected. A little bit less anticipated was Fromm’s me-first approach to the ground game. Fromm called his own number for a four-yard touchdown scamper late in the first half despite the fact that six different Bulldogs ended the game with a higher yards-per-carry average. Fromm kept the ball on four runs en route to just 14 rushing yards. Meanwhile, Mecole Hardman (who averaged 35 yards per carry) only got one chance. There’s no “I” in “Jake Fromm” but the end of his last name and the end of his first name is a big, fat “M-E.” Makes sense why Georgia seems to be moving backwards offensively in the end.
Responsibility for all the struggles can’t be heaped on Fromm. He is just a freshman, after all (not sure if I mentioned that). On the ground, no one stepped up. Despite 51 total rushes for the team, nobody reached the 100-yard mark — not senior leaders Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, not proven sophomores Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien, and not D’Andre Swift’s parents’ son. In the passing game, the lack of leadership was also clear. No Bulldog logged 100 yards receiving.
Who is this team? Does Kirby Smart know? He looked downright unengaged in his post-game interview last night when he made Roquan Smith and Sony Michel talk to the world. At some point, Georgia’s going to need a leader to step up. It would be nice if that leader was Kirby Smart, the guy paid to lead this team.
Yes, Georgia is 7-0 at this point, but who is this team? Will we ever know? Are the Bulldogs for real good? Are they bad? What are they?
What’s frustrating is that while we search for answers with a second-year coach, the coach we had in our back pocket is making waves with the Hurricanes (no disrespect to those impacted by tropical storms). In back-to-back weeks Mark Richt’s Miami team has heroically conquered Florida State and Georgia Tech in the final seconds. That’s what his team does. His team wins big games in dramatic fashion when it matters.
It’s hard watching that while Georgia tries to stay out of its own way.
The Kirby Smart Hater
Hugh Freeze is out.
And DudeYouCrazy is in…
People forget that I applied for the Ole Miss gig in 2012. Ultimately, the athletic department went in another direction. As it turns out, I was overqualified from a morality standpoint.
My application is below from 2012 is below (but you may have to enlarge the images). Best believe I’ll be applying again.
I’ve won as many games with legitimate talent at the SEC level as Hugh Freeze. But I’ve done that without incurring a single NCAA violation and without calling hookers on my work phone. This job is mine.
That’s all I got/
For a guy who had a flat-out average year for a college football quarterback and a pretty good year for a true freshman college quarterback, there sure are a lot of varied opinions on Jacob Eason. He seems to either be great or awful per most fans (Georgia and otherwise), and there’s not much room for middle ground.
He’s hot take central. LeBron or MJ? Today’s Golden State Warriors or 1990s Chicago Bulls? Is Jacob Eason the next Tom Brady or is he Ryan Leaf on opiates? These are real conversations that people are having. Somehow, Eason a player who played exactly to normal expectations as a true freshman, is on one end of the extremes.
He’s excellent. Or he’s awful.
I guess if you take any snippet of his 2016 performance in isolation, you could convince yourself of anything.
- Good: He out-played the no. 2 overall pick and the top quarterback selected in the NFL Draft during a head-to-head matchup in 2016. Eason completed passes at a higher rate, threw more TD passes and accounted for nearly three times as many yards per attempt as North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky. Oh, and this was Eason’s first college game.
- Bad: Eason struggled mightily against some mediocre opposition. In a loss to Georgia Tech, for instance, he barely connected on 50% of his passes, threw two INTs vs. just one TD, and needed 27 passes to rack up 139 yards trough the air.
- Good: He played well in some of Georgia’s easiest games at home. Just ask Louisiana-Lafayette, Vanderbilt and Nicholls State.
- Bad: He struggled mightily on the road against some SEC foes. Against South Carolina and Ole Miss he connected on just 21 of 53 pass attempts for 168 yards.
But that good/bad ratio isn’t all that staggering for a true freshman playing for a first-time head coach behind an atrocious offensive line. And understand, that it’s “not all that staggering” to the positive or the negative. That is to say, you’re insane to think Eason merits Heisman consideration (one Fox Sports columnist has him one of 15 favorites for the award) and you’re equally insane to think he’s going to lose his job to incoming signal-caller Jake Fromm.
And yet, those are two of the more prevailing theories this offseason. Nowhere to be found is the notion that Eason may be, well, pretty good and improving. Normal is not allowed for Jacob Eason. And that’s not just because expectations are so high. Again, some fans actually want Lee Fromm’s son (sup?) to start. So what should we expect from Eason in the immediate future – meaning in 2017? Here are two base cases.
Low-End Scenario: Very Modest Improvement
I really like passing efficiency as an entry-level measure of QB play. It takes into account completion percentage, yards per attempt, TD/INT ratio and everything else that is easily measured.
By that stat, Eason was below average in 2016. His passer rating was 120.2 – good enough for only 90th in the nation among players with 15 attempts per game and an appearance in at least 75% of team’s games. That’s not very good and among 109 eligible QBs, that puts him squarely in the bottom quartile. But what’s interesting is that Eason’s outliers (on a game-by-game basis) fell much more to the downside than to the upside. You’d expect that from a true freshman in the SEC—at any position, really.
How do we see that? Well, let’s look at individual games. Eason’s season-long efficiency rating of 120.2 reflects the sum of all his attempts, completions, TDs, INTs and yards. It’s not just the average of each game’s efficiency rating. But his average single-game rating was 124.25.
If we remove Eason’s best game (185.9 rating against North Carolina) and his worst game (51.4 vs. South Carolina), his average game rating increases to 125.27. So his worst game was worse than his best game was good. This trend continues. If we remove his second-best game (165.6 vs. LA-Lafayette) and his second-worst game (70.9 vs. Mizzou), his average game output increases again to 126.83. If we remove his third-best contest (154.2 vs. TCU) and his third-worst contest (91.9 vs. Florida), his average game increases to 127.91. If we remove his fourth-best (148.4 vs. Vanderbilt) and his fourth-worst(92.5 vs. Tech), Eason’s average game efficiency increases to 130.9.
Now, this is a flawed experiment for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that removing Eason’s four best and four worst games leaves only 5 games to measure. So let’s pause this side of the experiment at removing just Eason’s three best and three worst games. This leaves us with seven of 13 total contests and something close to Eason’s Middle-50% of games. His average efficiency rating in those games was 127.91. But here’s his entire statistical line for those seven games:
- Attempts: 232
- Completions: 135
- Completion Percentage: 58.2%
- Yards: 1,661
- Touchdowns: 9
- Interceptions: 5
- Total Efficiency Rating: 126.82
I think it’s reasonable to assume that the most-modest improvement for Eason would be something like that. I’m not budgeting anything on the upside (again, I’m taking out his best three games), but I am counting on his worst games to be less bad.
For a 13-game season that projects him to do this (with minor rounding):
- Attempts: 431
- Completions: 251
- Completion Percentage: 58.2%
- Yards: 3,085
- Touchdowns: 17
- Interceptions: 9
- Season-long Efficiency: 126.82
Based on last year’s numbers, that would place him in the following spots nationally among qualifying QBs:
|Stat||Projection||Projected Rank||Comparison from 2016|
|Attempts||431||18||Daniel Jones, Duke (430)|
|Completions||251||26||Richard Lagow, Indiana (253)|
|Yards||3,085||38||Ryan Finley, NC State (3,055)|
|Touchdowns||17||60||C.J. Beathard, Iowa (17)|
|Interceptions||9||56||Clayton Thorson, Northwestern (9)|
|Efficiency||126.82||70||Daniel Jones, Duke (126.3)|
Where are all the hot takes on Daniel Jones and Clayton Thorson? Was C.J. Beathard (a third round pick in the 2017 Draft) about to get beat out by an incoming freshman? Is Ryan Finley going to win a Heisman this year? Is Richard Lagow the most polarizing player in the Big Ten?
If Eason improves only ever-so slightly, he’ll basically be an average QB. Given what Georgia historically does on offense, the strengths at running back and the talent on defense, I don’t think average QB play makes or breaks the Bulldogs’ season. You can get to Atlanta with the statistics above if the rest of the team is up to snuff.
High-End Scenario: The Next Stafford
For better or worse, Matthew Stafford is the obvious comparison for Jacob Eason. And based on freshman campaigns that’s not a totally inaccurate discussion. Both played in 13 games. Neither was the full-time starter. Both had tremendous highs and discernible struggles. Both had all the arm talent in the world, both needed to improve in decision-making, touch and accuracy.
Here’s how Matthew Stafford performed as a freshman and then as a sophomore.
Want to know the realistic ceiling for Eason in 2017? Apply those rates of improvement to Eason. Here’s where you end up.
- Attempts: 503
- Completions: 293
- Completion Percentage: 58.2%
- Yards: 3,505
- Touchdowns: 43
- Interceptions: 9
- Season-long Efficiency: 141.81
How would those figures stack up compared to the national landscape in 2016? Check it out:
|Stat||Projection||Projected Rank||Comparison from 2016|
|Attempts||503||6||Ryan Higgins, LA Tech (496)|
|Completions||293||9||Brandon Silvers, Troy (293)|
|Yards||3,505||20||Brad Kaaya, Miami (3,532)|
|Touchdowns||43||2||Jake Browning, Washington (43)|
|Interceptions||9||56||Clayton Thorson, Northwestern (9)|
|Efficiency||141.81||36||Greg Ward Jr., Houston (141.7)|
Again, this just isn’t a murderers’ row of noteworthy passers. There’s a little more name recognition here (Greg Ward Jr., Jake Browning, Brad Kaaya), but it’s not like Eason’s year-two ceiling is that of Deshaun Watson or that leprechaun from Oklahoma.
If we consider these data points — attempts, completions, yards, TDs, interceptions and efficiency — as the standard for how prolific a passer is (statistically), it’s hard to get too worked up about Jacob Eason. On the low-side (just removing his three best and three worst games), he projects to finish with an average national ranking of 44.7 in those major categories. On the high-side (Stafford-level improvement from year 1 to year 2), he may post an average national ranking of 21.5 in those major categories.
That seems about right for the rising sophomore. I think Eason will be a Top-45 QB in 2017. I don’t think he’ll crack the Top 20. For what Georgia wants to accomplish, that’s perfectly fine. But that’s not performance worthy of blatant disregard or blind praise.
So everybody chill out.
We can stop with the Jacob Eason hot-takes. After all, you can’t spell “National Championship Season” or “Losing Season” without E-A-S-O-N.
That’s all I got/
Conventional wisdom and (likely) prevailing logic implies that Myles Garrett will be the first man off the board during Thursday night’s NFL Draft. But last time I checked the Cleveland Browns have the top (and 12th pick). Cleveland’s perennial Draft mismanagement combined with a need for help at basically every position (except maybe offensive line) is a recipe for disaster. And at this late hour there are some rumors that North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky could take the top spot.
You just can’t do that. Trubisky’s relative inexperience will be mentioned ad nauseum this evening but that point is worth belaboring. This is not the traditional blue chipper path to the NFL.
- Trubisky was the nation’s 6th-best dual-threat QB per 247Sports.
- He picked up many notable offers – the nation’s best program (Alabama), an allegedly resurgent SEC power (Tennessee), a Big 10 staple (Michigan State) and even his home-state Ohio State Buckeyes.
- He chose to attend North Carolina with a May 2012 commitment in a January 2013 enrollment.
- This made sense because North Carolina had dismissed its head coach Butch Davis the summer before his commitment (right before fall camp) and it had an interim head coach during the season preceding his commitment. Always a force, North Carolina was 3-5 in ACC play in 2011.
- The bullet-point above was mostly to rib Chad Floyd and to point out that it was odd for a truly elite prospect (if he was one) to choose North Carolina for anything other than home-state loyalty (which didn’t apply) or immediate playing time (which didn’t come).
- North Carolina played two quarterbacks in 2013. Both threw for more than 1600 yards. Neither had a Polish last name. Is Trubisky a Polish last name? I feel like it is. Either way, neither was named Trubisky. That guy redshirted. #Elite
- In 2014, Marquise Williams held onto the job. Williams was passable as a passer. His passer rating was 58th in the nation and only 61 full-time QBs posted better yards-per-attempts.
- Trubisky attempted 78 passes as a backup in 2014 and posted a QB rating of 114.2. His best game came against Virginia when, just 23 months after arriving on campus, he completed 100% of his passes and finished 1/1 for 16 yards and a TD.
- Always destined for greatness, Trubisky was a backup once again in 2015 as Marquise Williams improved by reducing his completion percentage and throwing for precisely as many yards as he did the year before. Trubisky attempted even fewer passes in 2015.
- But in 2016, he took off.
In his lone season as the go-to quarterback for the Tar Heels, Trubisky was pretty good. North Carolina turned a Top 15 ranking at the end of 2015 into a pre-season no. 20 (per the Coaches poll) and Heels were ranked in the Top 20 all the way up until the first game of the season. Trubisky opened his career at 0-1 thanks to a loss to first-year head coach Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs. He threw for 156 yards on just 40 attempts (nearly four yards per attempt) and didn’t throw any interceptions (or passing touchdowns). Recruited as a dual-threat, Trubisky was electric with his legs rushing three times for seven yards.
He rebounded and North Carolina climbed back into the Top 25, but they didn’t stay there and finished the year un-ranked.
As a starter (for his entire career – four whole years in Chapel Hill), Trubisky played seven FBS opponents with winning records against FBS opponents. This is, by my estimation, the broadest measure one can find of Trubisky’s starting experience against average-or-better opposition. Those seven games are detailed below.
Those numbers, on average, are fantastically pedestrian. For Georgia-fan context, these numbers are worse than what Greyson Lambert put up in 2015 in terms of efficiency. But, that should not surprise you. After all, Lambert and Jacob Eason threw for 29 more yards than Trubisky on 20 fewer attempts in 2016’s match-up. Seriously. Trubisky threw for 156 yards on 40 attempts. Lambert and Eason threw for 185 on 20 attempts.
Any GM drafting Trubisky is hoping for the type of performance he put up against Florida State and Pitt. But they’re equally likely to get the Trubisky we saw against the Dawgs or the one that threw for 58 yards on 33 attempts against Virginia Tech. There’s not enough film on this guy to merit a first (or Top 10) pick and what is on field is not consistently good.
Intangibles become huge this time of year, but it’s hard to put too much stock into Trubisky’s moxie, etc. He rode the bench while North Carolina went 13-13 over all and 8-8 in conference play in 2013 and 2014. The Tar Heels went 8-0 in conference play and 11-3 overall in 2015 while he attempted just 47 passes. The Tar Heels under-performed expectations (or at least rankings) and took a discernible step backwards offensively. In terms of scoring, this was the worst offense of the Larry Fedora era.
- 2015 – 40.7 Points Per Game
- 2012 – 40.6 Points Per Game
- 2014 – 33.2 Points Per Game
- 2013 – 32.7 Points Per Game
- 2016 – 32.3 Points Per Game
Who wants him?
That’s all I got/
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/