Author Archives: tardawg1014
For all the nice things one can say about the job Jim Harbaugh has done at Michigan, he’s not perfect.
See, a couple of typos and clerical errors cost the Wolverines a highly-touted offensive line recruit. They misspelled his name and thanked him for attending a camp he…did not attend.
Harbaugh was unable to keep one recruit, but he retained Clint Copenhaver. Wisconsin could not sway him, and one wonders why.
— Clint Copenhaver (@copietime43) August 23, 2016
If you read this blog, you probably follow other Georgia sites, and know by now that Jacob Eason took all of the first-team reps at Wednesday’s practice. This comes on the heels of Kirby’s self-declared “huge” scrimmage early in the week, after which he said the quarterback competition was still wide open.
Jacob Eason will take the first snap of the season in Atlanta in two weeks, and will probably take every meaningful snap for Georgia for the next three years. Prepare yourself for some growing pains and some AMAZING upside.
If you put a gun to my head, I’d say rolling with Eason for North Carolina is the right call. One needs only to look back to the 2014 opener, when Clemson started a senior stud named Cole Stoudt while some scrub named Deshaun Watson came off the bench and led some nice drives in his first collegiate appearance at Sanford Stadium, of all places. Watson was CLEARLY the better option, but came on too late to make a real impact on the 45-21 Clemson loss.
North Carolina, Georgia’s opening day opponent, will put some points on the scoreboard. Allow their explosive offense to establish some momentum and it could be a long day. Eason, freshman jitters and all, gives Georgia the best chance to win the opener. Here’s why:
- Besides maybe Brice Ramsey (I’m assuming his decision-making is still less than ideal), Eason is by FAR the best option to push the ball vertically. North Carolina’s biggest weakness is the run defense, and they relied on safety help vs. the ground game a ton last year. S Donnie Miles led the team with 128 (!!!) tackles last year. Pushing him into pass coverage is a good thing for the Dawgs, as it’ll open running lanes for whoever the hell is going to be running the ball.
- UNC straight up lacks a pass rush. DE Mikey Bart led the team with 6.5 sacks last year, but the report is that he’ll be missing the game. EVERY other Carolina defender with more than one sack last year is gone, or injured. (UNC’s DL, their biggest weakness, is currently missing 3 of 4 starters from fall practice injuries). Eason is going to have a comfortable pocket.
- More subjective, but: This is the most meaningless game (from a W/L perspective) on Georgia’s schedule, but…Georgia just sold its soul for Kirby Smart. Mark Richt won 50 games over his last 5 years in Athens. Even in the honeymoon phase, Smart needs to get off to a good start to justify the move.
- Re: the last point: get Eason reps against a real team. Georgia follows with a nice, easy win against Nicholls States, which will net some valuable experience. Then, the grind starts: at Mizzou, at Ole Miss, Tennessee. If Georgia goes 2-1 in those (with a Tennessee win, preferably) the SEC East is Georgia’s to lose.
Is starting a true freshman in Week 1 a good idea, though? Being an early enrollee helps. Stolen from an article written in 2013, though, only six starting freshmen had a national-average quarterback rating. Terrelle Pryor, Matt Barkley, RG III, Braxton Miller, and Teddy Bridgewater are the notable names on that list– and Eason certainly has that pedigree. Check the article, there’s an AMAZING correlation between recruiting rankings and performance– 21 other true freshmen in this sample were downright bad. If Georgia were playing for 2017, well:
But that project lumped in redshirt freshmen with the guys coming directly from high school, and the subsequent years have dramatically widened the gap between those two categories. (Future quarterbacks can thank Andrew Luck, Kellen Moore, Taylor Martinez, Aaron Murray, Johnny Manziel, Brett Hundley and Marcus Mariota for wrecking the redshirt curve.)
Georgia’s not playing for 2017. Not after the Richt firing. Eason is going to play, as well he should.
Eason has comps since that article was written, as Brad Kaaya and Josh Rosen have a) high-profile jobs; b) started their first games barely after starting fall classes; c) were heralded recruits; and d) were early enrollees.
Kaaya: at Louisville (L, 31-13): 17-29, 174 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, adjusted QBR of 40.6
Rosen: Virginia (W, 35-14): 28-35, 351 yards, 3 TD, 0 picks, adjusted QBR of 90.1
A reasonable expectation is for Eason to land somewhere between these two. Rosen’s performance was patently absurd, but he didn’t match that QBR for the rest of the year. Kaaya improved, but was inconsistent.
If Georgia fans are prepared for some uneven performances (and its not actually about the fans), the 2016 season will be volatile yet exciting. Eason will follow Kaaya (2017) and Rosen (2018) as likely top-5 draft picks, but he’s not going to be a Heisman contender from jump street.
All told? I like the move. Go all-in with the future, take some lumps, profit in 2017.
First up, 13 minutes of the highlights of 2016. YouTube user CNTaco now has my subscription. RIP to Malcolm Mitchell, who gets leveled by Reggie Ragland in the game we’ve all blacked out.
This was the first one listed for Georgia, and besides the headbanging metal is REALLY well put together. Almost makes you forget the offense didn’t exist after September.
(I totally forgot about Malkolm Parrish stiffarming his own teammate telling him to get down after the pick in the Tech game at the 1:15 mark. Coach Richt lost control of his defense.)
And finally, this one gives you the feels:
The Coastal is peak college football– unpredictability, #GoACC memes, weird teams like Georgia Tech, former powers including Miami and Pitt…just a strange amalgamation of teams.
So much so, that last year was the first year in 11 tries that the Coastal’s representative in the ACC Championship game navigated the regular season unscathed. North Carolina, in winning its first division title, ran roughshod over the rest of the division (and weak crossover opponents).
Don’t expect that to be the norm going forward. The division has four contenders separated only by their crossover schedules (Virginia Tech avoids Florida State and Clemson), and…not much else.
The ACC Coastal
7) Virginia. They hired Bronco Mendenhall, so they’ll take the cake as the dirtiest team in a league full of them. They’ll force a frontrunning team *cough* Miami *cough* into dumb retaliatory penalties and win a game or two they shouldn’t.
Back to Bronco for a second, UVA is set to remain at the bottom of the division because the transition from recruiting the weird BYU bubble to the Mid-Atlantic is a stark one. His early enrollees from this spring:
Studly group, to be sure. True story: the black guy transferred to Northern Illinois during spring ball.
6) Duke. They’re still riding the coattails of a Peach Bowl loss to Johnny Football and David Cutcliffe’s relationship with the Manning brothers. It still…kinda works. I don’t see more than one winnable road game for them (Northwestern, Notre Dame, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Pitt, Miami) nor do I see them holding serve at home vs. Virginia Tech or UNC…so let’s nip that momentum in the bud, finally.
5) Miami. Everyone’s darling to win the division, I’m breaking stride and thinking they finish behind one of the non-contenders (Georgia Tech). ACC home games vs. FSU, UNC, and Pitt are no joke, and they don’t have a homefield advantage to speak of, anyway. Richt with less of a talent advantage will lose more games than we’re used to him losing.
4) Georgia Tech. Could win the division a la 2014, could tank again a la 2015, either way Paul Johnson is saved again only by his FULLY GUARANTEED BUYOUT.
3) Virginia Tech. And so goes the theme of this division. They could win it, or Bud Foster could decide he doesn’t like working for Justin Fuente (unlikely, Fuente is apparently a helluva dude) and blow the whole thing up. Basically, it comes down to JC transfer Jerod Evans doing Cam Newtonish things.
2) North Carolina. I’m too close to this situation, obviously, but a 2-3 start with losses to Georgia, Pitt, and Florida State and the Heels are in trouble. Hell, their next two after that are VT and at Miami. Cautionary pessimism here.
1)Pitt. Yes, I picked them last year before the James Connor cancer diagnosis. He’s back, and set to play WR, DE, and kick returner, apparently. While that’s not necessarily a great idea, they bring back a huge offensive line and a stout (never doubt Pat Narduzzi) defense.
Five Games Worth Watchin’
See, this is where the Coastal gets hard.
- (tie) Pitt at UNC, Sept. 24. VT at UNC, Oct. 8. UNC at Miami, Oct. 15. Miami at VT, Oct. 20. VT at Pitt, Oct. 27 (back to back Thursdays!). Pitt at Miami, Nov. 5. Six games between the four best teams– Miami, UNC, and VT get two at home, Pitt gets one. Otherwise, HELLO HOMOGENEITY!
- Florida State at Miami, Oct. 8: Al Golden’s Miami did an amazing job of keeping games against FSU close…when they had no expectations. CMR can achieve Schnellenberger/Johnson/Davis status FAST with a win to get to 5-0.
- Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee, Sept. 10: I mean, its being played at Bristol Motor Speedway. I came up with this idea in my first DYC post back in 2013. Timestamp: 5/10/13. Announced: sometime in 2014. I’m a genius.
- Pitt at Clemson, Nov. 12: Even if Pitt emerges from the scrum of Coastal foes, they will probably get knocked right back into the manpile.
- UNC at Florida State, Oct. 1: If my pessimism about Carolina sustaining success is unwarranted, a showdown of undefeated top-10 ACC contenders is on the books. If this is the case, I will be in attendance.
Players to Know
Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami: He’s been shoved down our throats as Felicia from Friday’s son, as a perfect Richt project, and is actually a damn decent quarterback. But he got first-team preseason votes over Deshaun friggin’ Watson. He could be on that Hackenberg trajectory.
Quin Blanding, S, Virginia: The ‘I’ve never heard of this guy and my NFL team drafted him in the middle of the first round’ guy. Also, I have a thing for Sean Taylor prototype safeties.
Marcus Marshall, FB (B-Back for those initiated with CPJ’s offense), Georgia Tech: KEITH’S LITTLE BROTHER! Unlike Keith, he absorbs contact. Tech’s offense needs competence at B-Back and QB to be successful, and Marshall put up 7.6 yards per carry as a true freshman. That’ll do.
E’Juan Price, DE, Pitt: 1st-team All-ACC last year, now bookended by senior tackles and a Tennessee transfer (Dewayne Hendrix) who is a stud in his own right, Price could blow up.
Mack Hollins, WR, UNC: Suspended for the first half of the Georgia game for targeting in the bowl, Hollins is 6’4 and runs a legit sub-4.4. In so doing, he averaged 24.8 yards per catch en route to 8 touchdowns last year. And he’s overshadowed by Bug Howard and Ryan Switzer somehow.
I promise you this, faithful readers: if the noon SEC Network game doesn’t interest you (and it rarely will), I highly suggest you invest your early games in the ESPN/ESPN2 Coastal game du jour. With Narduzzi, Richt, Mendenhall, and Fuente replacing deadbeats, Fedora stepping it up, Johnson doing Johnson/Tech things, and Cutcliffe overachieving, the Coastal is on the road to being downright treacherous.
Or, at the very least, more exciting than the two good teams and four dwarves in the Atlantic.
This is just stupid enough to work.
This is the ACC’s long con. After an astounding run of mediocre football, the league has two clear powers and a second tier that…isn’t all that bad. The powers (and maybe Louisville) should run roughshod over the rest of the league, as they each get four bye-weeks-that-count-as-conference-wins based on the fact that none of the rest of the second tier resides in the Atlantic.
The ‘Woof’ Demographic
7) Wake Forest. The Deacs have two ACC wins in the past two years. In neither of those wins did they score more than six (6) points. Its baffling, horrific, and wildly entertaining. After back-to-back 3-9 campaigns, the Deacs should be out of “year zero” phase with Dave Clawson, and at least scratching the surface as the ACC’s Vanderbilt. They almost doubled their offensive yards per game from 2014 to 2015, so that’s something!
6) Syracuse. I could be wrong, but I don’t think there are too many instances of a team bereft of talent undergoing a scheme overhaul and improving. They play the rest of the bottom tier on the road, so I should pick them last, but…DINO BABERS! (Jimbo, Dabo, and Dino in one division. What a world.)
5) Boston College. Could secretly not be terrible if Patrick Towles (erstwhile the Kentucky QB) can get them…12 points a game? He’s already a winner in my book.
— Chad Floyd (@Chad_Floyd) August 6, 2016
The Perpetual 6-6
4) N.C. State. Dave Doeren has yet to beat a P5 opponent who finished the season with a winning record. His 18 wins in three years in Raleigh include: Louisiana Tech, Richmond, Central Michigan, Georgia Southern, Old Dominion (TWICE!), bad USF, Presbyterian, Syracuse and Wake (twice each!), Troy, Eastern Kentucky, and South Alabama. That leaves road wins against a 6-7 2014 UNC or a 4-8 2015 BC as his best wins. SOMETHING TO BE DESIRED!
Two playoff contenders and everyone’s favorite cyclist
3) Louisville. Yes, they’re getting a huge bowl bump because Lamar Jackson looked like Michael Vick in dismantling Texas A&M. But with a stout D, their close losses (Houston and Clemson by a combined 6 points last year), and the ‘Bobby Petrino offense bump’, they could make some noise with an early home date vs. FSU.
2) Clemson. Since I’m allowing my judgment to be based strictly on theories I’ve developed as a college football fan, I give the Atlantic nod to Florida State. Clemson has replaced a TON of its D for two years running now. Like we’ve seen with recent LSU teams, that works for one year. The second is where the depth deteriorates to a level that makes amazing play more unsustainable. Speaking of amazing, though, Deshaun Watson still exists.
1)Florida State. You’ll hear pundits question whether they have a quarterback. My rebuttal: JaMarcus Russell, Christian Ponder, and E.J. Manuel all got PAID playing for Jimbo Fisher. Can you tell me with 100% confidence the Browns wouldn’t trade into the back of the first round to nab Sean Maguire next year? If you can, they have two young guys who should be able to perform with the ENTIRE REST OF THE OFFENSE, Dalvin Cook and the OL included, returning.
Five Games Worth Watchin’
- Clemson at Florida State, Oct. 29: Back in 2013, I novelty-liveblogged this game as the resident ACC homer at the site. Now? I think its legit every-season appointment watching, joined only by LSU/Bama. Stanford/Oregon is the only other rivalry I’d put in that echelon over the past 3-5 years.
- Florida State at Louisville, Sept 17: Oddly, this was already scheduled. More oddly, it was scheduled as a nooner. UL has the chance to get a surprising leg over the ‘hawg, so to speak, and create some chaos.
- Louisville at Clemson, Oct. 1: Following my rationale that the rest of this division doesn’t matter yet?
- Clemson at Auburn, Sept. 3: Now?
- Florida State vs. Ole Miss, Sept. 5: NOW? Yeah, the college football Monday nighter is a doozy this year.
Players to Know
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: Last year was his only healthy year, and…uhh…he was worth 47 TD’s and 4500 yards. That’ll do.
Dalvin Cook, RB, FSU: HOT TAKE ALERT! Cook, not Leonard Fournette, Christian McAffrey, or anyone else, is the best RB in college football. He put up 7.4 yards a carry against 9-man boxes with a bum hamstring last year.
Derwin James, S, FSU: (They also have the nation’s best safety.)
Josh Sweat, DE, FSU: The one that got away for Georgia fans, he should be healthy and a terror this year.
Devonte Fields, DE/OLB, Louisville: He was the Big XII Defensive Player of the Year as a true freshman. Sound like a typo? Its not, he transferred from TCU. Last year, he had 10.5 more sacks. It’d be neat to see him win in another conference.
Josh Harvey-Clemons, Shaq Wiggins, Louisville: Remember them? #GRANTHAMEXPRESS
Matt Dayes, RB, N.C. State: He missed the last month of the season due to injury, and still had good enough numbers to merit a second-team All-ACC appearance. Which is to say, he COULD be in Cook/Wayne Gallman/Elijah Hood territory when healthy. Holy hell, RB in the ACC is stacked.