A major sign of the times in college football is its perpetual arms race: Texas A&M’s shiny new $200 million facilities. Michigan’s petty attempts to stay ahead of everyone in capacity. Even Notre Dame’s throwing down $60 million on a press box addition.
In other places, incompetent management forces athletic departments to run into problems. Tennessee just now got done paying Derek Dooley and Bruce Pearl, neither of whom have been at the school since at least 2013. Maryland famously left the ACC for the greener financial pastures of the Big Ten because of Debbie Yow’s mishandling of funds.
Georgia? They’re doing what your grandparents advised when they gave you a $50 savings bond that one Christmas. They’re saving!
The article is angled specifically around the possibility of paying players in the future, but its good to know that Georgia has a hefty rainy day fund.
Dude Emeritus Andrew Hall (@DudeYouCrazy) joins host Chad Floyd (@Chad_Floyd) for a brief apology for ANOTHER lost episode and a rehashing of the good, the bad, and the ugly (mostly good!) of Georgia’s 2017 Signing Day class.
Since podcasts aren’t a visual medium, this is the tweet Chad references when citing Ameer Speed as his favorite player in the class:
Catching some sun while waiting for NSD☀️😏 pic.twitter.com/DvoWO6lMDl
— $peed (@OG__speed) January 31, 2017
Subscribe and listen however you want to listen, assuming you listen on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spreaker.
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.
College football is the world’s greatest sport. But it could be improved.
Previously, I wrote about the absurdity of the divisional alignment of the SEC, ACC, and Big Ten. As it relates to my beefs with major college football, it is my opus: why does it take 9 years for Georgia and Texas A&M, conference ‘rivals’, to play?
Today, let’s take down an issue that rears its ugly head occasionally: the length of games and pace of play. The College Football Playoff championship game lasted until almost 1 a.m. this year. CBS games (you know…the SEC’s headliner matchup each week) averaged about 4 hours. With the advent of high-tempo spread offenses and ALL of the TV money, its no longer feasible to sit down for a nice noon/3:30/7 schedule on a Saturday and not have the day’s most compelling matchups overlap.
Not all of these ideas will be good, but a combination of a few would help.
- Get rid of clock stoppages for first downs. This is so stupid. College football necessitates a stoppage to reset the chains, but the NFL doesn’t?
Old Dominion was right in the middle of FBS’ 128 teams with 273 first downs this past year, or 21 per game over their 13-game season. Assuming Old Dominion is perfectly average and their defense gave up the same, you’re looking at 42 first downs per college game (with certain conferences and teams skewing this, obviously). Assuming maybe 7 of these are touchdowns, the clock stops for those already. It seems fair to call it 12 seconds for the ref to blow the clock live, so for 35 touchdowns you’re at 420 seconds, or 7 minutes saved.
Solution: Only stop the clock for first downs in the last two minutes. Seems a fair compromise, and you’ve taken 5-7 minutes off a game’s average runtime.
Regulate commercial stoppages.lol this won’t happen, but can we at least eliminate the touchdown-commercial-kickoff-commercial-play from scrimmage combination? I don’t need to get a beer after the kickoff, Isaiah McKenzie isn’t here anymore to force a celebratory chug.
This definitely won’t happen, but in a nice utopian society it would at least be considered.
- Stoppages for out-of-bounds plays. Again, you can do this in the last two minutes of each half for competitive purposes and compelling finishes, but a 2nd-quarter 6-yard bubble screen where the slot receiver steps out to avoid getting crushed by a sideline-to-sideline defensive end does not necessitate stopping the clock.
Army runs the triple option, and is our median in plays per game at 70. Let’s say there are 140 (which, given the above info, is low), and 30 (again, seems low) end up out of bounds.
At 15 seconds per play (low again!) you’ve cut out another 6 1/2 minutes. A more radical solution follows:
- Stoppages for incompletions. Won’t happen, because its so ingrained in our football-watching DNA. But what if the clock kept running after an incomplete pass?
Our old friends at Old Dominion check in at #64 in passing offense, and threw 154 incomplete passes over 13 games. Assuming their opponents did the same, you’re looking at 23.7 incompletions. 20 seconds of stoppage per, and you whack another 6 minutes of time off the clock. For a more plodding offense (cough Georgia) the time elapsed between plays is closer to 30 seconds, so your 3:30 SEC on CBS slugfest could realistically be 11 1/2 minutes shorter.
I propose a compromise: stop the clock for a set amount of time (8 seconds was the top speed I remember the good Oregon teams running) and then start it. It would shave 5 minutes off the runtime for any game.
Are any of these solutions good? Do you have something better? Hell, given that we’re obsessed with college football, are long games even a problem? Let us know.
(Minor programming note: Andrew and I intended to gush about this class this morning on the podcast, and we will…tomorrow).
Georgia signed a hell of a recruiting class. I started to write a snarky article on how we STILL couldn’t beat Alabama, or how Kirby can’t close (similar to the Tennessee and Vanderbilt games) but I’ll save that for another day.
The Dawgs filled a TON of positions of need, and in so doing solidified their chances of improving on 2016’s 8-5 record.
Who is going to crack the two-deep right off the bus?
Jake Fromm: The nation’s #3 pro-style signal caller would be getting Jacob Eason hype…were Jacob Eason not on campus. The hope would be for Brice Ramsey to maintain the QB2 role, and allow Fromm to redshirt. I’m willing to bet he plays if Eason succumbs to any kind of extended injury, and he may use spring ball to win the #2 job outright.
Georgia fans should hope for a redshirt.
D’Andre Swift: Swift is a 5’8, 220 lb. wrecking ball, and as such seems a perfect fit for Jim Chaney’s pro-style O. The problem(s)? Chubb. Michel. Herrien. Holyfield. Its a good problem to redshirt such talent.
Jeremiah Holloman, Mark Webb, Trey Blount, Matt Landers: Javon Wims and Riley Ridley gave Georgia some much-needed length (as well as the potential to make explosive plays on the outside) in 2016. Terry Godwin should assume Isaiah McKenzie’s slot role, and Michael Chigbu may develop hands. All this is to say, these four shouldn’t HAVE to make an immediate impact, but all have the talent to crack the two-deep.
I’d keep a particularly close eye on Holloman, as the nation’s #18 receiver is in for spring. He and one of the other three, at least, will see action, as Mark Richt’s bad (BAD!) receiver recruits get phased out. I look for Wims/Ridley/Godwin to be the primary set, with Chigbu and perhaps redshirt freshman Charlie Woerner (looks more like a TE to me) manning the second team on the outside. The backup slot is wide open.
None signed, none needed. This position is loaded for 2017.
Hey! The whole reason we’re here (mostly).
D’Marcus Hayes, the nation’s #2 JuCo OT, is already on campus and needs to assume a starting role. Isaiah Wilson, Andrew Thomas, and Netori Johnson are all national top-100 recruits, and should play to start the backbone of a dominant line with holdovers such as Ben Cleveland for 2018 and beyond.
I already wrote about this in greater detail.
Another spot where Georgia recruited well, but doesn’t necessarily need immediate impact. Julian Rochester, Trent Thompson, Jonathan Ledbetter, Da’Quan Hawkins-Muckle, John Atkins, and Tyler Clark all return. Chauncey Manac and Mikhail Carter were two of the standouts from the 2016 class.
Having said all that…talent will prevail. Rochester, Thompson, and Ledbetter seem like locks to run with the ones, but this is Georgia and suspensions will happen. Malik Herring could be a factor at end, and Devonte Wyatt has the size to be a factor on the interior.
I’d expect someone to crack the rotation, but not make an immediate impact this year.
Robert Beal, Jaden Hunter, and Walter Grant all register as guys to be excited about watching. Lorenzo Carter, Roquan Smith, and D’Andre Walker already fit the bill.
I fully expect Beal and one more to crack the rotation here, if for no other reason than to see who’s going to take Carter’s spot on the strong side in 2018. Also, Georgia seems more (insert Rodrigo Blankenship joke here) invested in special teams under the new regime, and 4-star linebackers are ideal in kick coverage.
Again, more about who returns. Natrez Patrick and Davin Bellamy should be entrenched as starters. Reggie Carter and David Marshall should be entrenched as reserves (though Marshall has the versatility to end up at DE or OLB).
Monty Rice is in for spring ball, so again could get a leg up as a depth piece. Nate McBride just seems like one of those dudes who will redshirt and become a beast as an upperclassman.
A more interesting watch will be Jaleel Laguins, a 4-star who redshirted last year.
Malkolm Parrish, Juwuan Briscoe, and Deandre Baker all return, but none is without flaws. I expect Mecole Hardman to step up and take somebody’s spot as well, so corner isn’t what I’d characterize as a weakness, per se.
Tray Bishop, William Poole III, and Ameer Speed all provide length that the previous three don’t provide. Think Dre Kirkpatrick and others at Alabama. These guys will play.
Richard Lecounte and Deangelo Gibbs (a possible WR) are already on campus, and thus will provide depth in the backfield and on special teams, with an eye on taking over for Dominick Sanders and Aaron Davis in 2018. The size of the corner recruits adds more possibilities for safety depth this year.
Our favorite! Who knows what to expect with Blankenship now, as Georgia gave a scholarship to Wofford grad transfer David Marvin. Marvin is a boomer, and by reading the tea leaves will be the favorite to win the placekicker job.
Georgia not only plugged holes in its 2017 roster yesterday, but it built what could be a NASTY trenches-and-secondary team for the future. They handpicked some skill position talent on offense, and the class represents an immediate talent upgrade across the board.
If guys like Lorenzo Carter, Dominick Sanders, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Davin Bellamy (holy hell how did we manage to keep ALL of them?) had gone pro, some of these signees would be thrust into more important roles. For the time being, though, anticipate a veteran bunch taking the lead in 2017 with the fruits of Kirby Smart’s first class at Georgia to be borne down the road.