Category Archives: The UGA Vault

What the Hell is Jacob Eason? A Call to Quit the Hot Takes


 

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.

 

Really weird things show up when you search “Jacob Eason GIF.

 

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.

 

Category Freshman Sophomore % Improvement
Attempts 256 348 35.94%
Completions 135 194 43.70%
Completion Percentage 52.7 55.7 5.69%
Yards 1749 2523 44.25%
TD 7 19 171.43%
INT 13 10 -23.08%
Efficiency Rating 109 128.9 18.26%

 

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.

 

Conclusion:

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/

Andrew

Georgia Beat Auburn. What the Hell Happened?


That was fun.

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Let’s start with that, as it is a perfect (albeit more entertaining than much of the game itself) portrayal of Saturday’s 13-7 win between the hedges. Now that you’re ready to run through a brick wall, let’s dive into it.

FRESH HELL, DEFENSE, WHAT WAS THAT?!?!

Auburn entered the Georgia game third in the nation in rushing, at 300 yards per game. Auburn finished Saturday’s game with 164 yards TOTAL. Last I checked in with y’all, I was of the mindset that Auburn would march up and down the field on Georgia’s young (but talented) front. Put it this way: Auburn ran for 543 yards against Arkansas, who allowed 12 versus Florida. While Florida ran for a pedestrian 100 against the Dawgs, pure transitive projection states that we should’ve expected the Barn to hit 4,525 yards on Saturday.

Everyone simply did their job and played perfect assignment football in this game. Trent Thompson and Jon Ledbetter got pressure up the middle, Roquan Smith, Davin Bellamy, and Reggie Carter cleaned up anything the front couldn’t handle, and Malkolm Parrish had an outstanding game making plays in space. When you can force Auburn largely out of its initial read and force Sean White to beat you with his arm, good things can happen.

Mission Accomplished

Mission Accomplished.

If I had the technology (or the time) I’d love to go back and show y’all some GIF’s of what made this performance so great. In true 2011 Alabama fashion, Georgia was able to constrict the field with great consistency. That only happens against inept offenses or when everyone is winning their 1-on-1’s. Mad props to EVERYONE associated with the defensive gameplan.

OFFENSE: A WORK IN PROGRESS

Effeciency? Check.

Big plays? Check, with the caveat that a few were called back.

Mistakes? OH YEAH I’D SAY THERE WAS ONE, TERRY GODWIN.

Even though 6 points is nothing to be super proud of, the Georgia offense was consistent in moving the ball and allowing the defense to have the performance stated above. Besides bookend three-and-outs to end the 2nd and start the 3rd…there were no three-and-outs by the Georgia offense. That’s amazing progress. The running game was able to sustainably get forward progress and allow Jacob Eason to not throw out of 3rd-and-12, as had become the norm. And Eason played his most composed game of the season. I think we’re going to grow to enjoy his scramble drill bombs over the next two years– his deep sideline throws to Riley Ridley and Javon Wims were electrifying.

The offensive line came through with their most consistent performance, and did so against the most talented defensive line they’ll face. Props to them.

4,51 yards per play won’t win you a ton of games, but when you can do it and play keep away (can’t say I saw this offense running 76 plays against anyone) you give yourself a chance.

RODRECSPECS DA GAWD

That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Go Dawgs.

Georgia Fans: Help Dudes Who Are Helping Dudes Help Dudes


Dude Emeritus here, back from the dead to grow some whiskers.

I can’t grow facial hair. There. I said it. But in the spirit of raising some cash for men’s health issues I’m doing the whole #Movember thing. This is all about dudes helping dudes help dudes.

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.

 

Day 1:

day-1

 

Day 2:

day-2-blog

 

Day 3:

day-3-blog

 

And as you can tell by this video, I’ve been really working over-time on that beard.

 

Thanks for your consideration.

 

DONATE HERE.

 

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 chadfloyd@kw.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.
nsn-nov3

Georgia Fans – The Second Annual #FreeBeerTailgate Presented by @DudeYouCrazy and @JasonIsASmith Goes Down This Saturday!


Last year, Andrew (@DudeYouCrazy) and Jason (@JasonIsASmith) graciously organized the #FreeBeerTailgate before Georgia’s home game against South Carolina. Needless to say, it was an overwhelming success. Free beers were had and Georgia curb stomped some Cocks. In the spirit of continuity, THE EVENT IS BACK! And we’re hoping for equally impressive results—both during the tailgate and on the field.

Along those lines, we’re ramping the event up even further this year to include some live broadcasting via Periscope and maybe even Facebook Live if we can figure out what exactly Facebook Live is and how it works. So don’t miss out on your chance to participate. And did I mention Free Beer? That’s kind of the point of the #FreeBeerTailgate. There will be FREE beers.

Here are the details.

  • Who: Anybody in Athens for the Georgia / Tennessee Game
  • What: Free Beer
  • When: Saturday (October 1) from 10 AM until 3:00 PM
  • Where: Between the North Campus Parking Deck and the Jackson Street Building (map below)

 

 

  • How: This is the best part. This is probably the easiest contest/promotion we’ve ever done. Here’s how to win:
  1. Find Andrew and Jason.
  2. Give Andrew and Jason a free beer.
  3. Win all the respect and recognition the internet can afford.

 

 

Go Team!

R.I.P. SEC: Michigan Signed the Best Recruiting Class of All Time


Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh brought in celebrities galore to his “Signing Day of the Stars” on Wednesday. What an event.

Ric Flair. Derek Jeter. Tom Brady. Jim Leyland. Todd McShay. Lou Holtz. Mike Shanahan. Something called Migos.

What a cast! My only beef with the day is that it needed more star power to be on par with the group of new signees. After all, no program has ever hauled in a recruiting class quite like what Michigan brought in under the most electric recruiter in the electric history of electric recruiters.

When all was said and done, Michigan had not only signed the nation’s top player (Rashan Gary) but also wrapped up zero additional 5-star prospects giving the Wolverines an unprecedented total of one 5-star signees. No school in the country more than tripled that tally (though Alabama and Georgia remain in the running for the services of Demetris Robertson and could vault to four 5-star signees).

This unparalleled Signing Day of the Stars finally cemented Michigan’s place as an elite program. If there was any doubt about the sustainability of Michigan’s upstart program, surely it has been squashed now. A program with as little tradition as Michigan doesn’t coincidentally happen upon as many 5-star recruits as powerhouse programs like Houston and Mississippi State. Harbaugh didn’t accidentally sign 4% of the nation’s 5-star players. He did so with sleepovers, dab-dances and khaki pants.

School 5-Star Signees
Alabama 3
Georgia 3
Ole Miss 3
LSU 2
USC 2
Florida State 1
Ohio State 1
Auburn 1
Clemson 1
UCLA 1
Penn State 1
Oklahoma 1
Arkansas 1
Mississippi State 1
Houston 1
Michigan 1

 

But it’s unfair to judge Michigan’s never-before-seen talent boon purely by 5-star players.  In total, 51.72% of the players in Michigan’s 2016 class were rated as 4 or 5-star prospects. No school in the country saw a higher percentage of elite talent. Except for LSU (75%), Florida State (72%), Ohio State (72%), Alabama (71%), USC (70%), Georgia (65%), Clemson (65%), Ole Miss (63%), Auburn (57%), Miami (56%) and Texas (54%).

And boy, this Michigan class is deep. Twenty-nine total signees! Alabama, a former perennial national championship contender, could only find 24 recruits. Hell, no team in the allegedly powerful SEC could sign more than 26. Michigan had its way in recruiting wars—29 different times.

Kingston Davis, a Prattville, Alabama native, didn’t even receive a scholarship offer from the Crimson Tide because Alabama coach Nick Saban knew he couldn’t land him. Score one for Harbaugh. Sean McKeon, an already-enrolled tight end, had offers from everyone—Boston College, Virginia Tech, Air Force, Temple, Syracuse, UConn, Yale, Old Dominion, UMass, Harvard, Columbia.—but he’s all Wolverine. Florida product Devin Gil could have had his pick of Sunshine State gridiron titans, but he spurned offers from Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Central Florida and South Florida to be in Ann Harbor. Gil’s teammate Josh Metellus held offers from Colorado, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Southern, Miami (Ohio), Middle Tennessee State, South Alabama and one other school. Guess where he wound up? He’s going to that one other school. Guess what school that was? Surprise, surprise: Michigan.

Michigan’s recruiting class climbed from 37th last year to fourth-runner-up (but really, first place) in 2016. And the Wolverines haven’t seen a class this dominant since way back in 2013 when Michigan hauled in the nation’s fourth best class. And we all know how that turned out: Championships.

So where does Michigan go from here? Well, the next college football championship has already been won. So it’s probably time to start thinking about next year’s Signing of the Stars. I’m thinking next year this thing should be held on the moon.

 

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

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