Buck's Blog
Buck's Blog

Disappointed With Solid Class?

   Looks to me like the 'Dogs put together a solid recruiting class, despite the Grantham-NFL reports and Rodney Garner exiting for Auburn. Coach Richt was able to address some big-time needs on defense and get his QB of the future, in Brice Ramsey.
   I really like Ramsey. Nice throwing motion. Throws a nice deep ball. His development may have been stunted, because he was running a Wing-T offense at Camden County HS. Look for Mike Bobo to clean up the footwork and balance quickly. Percentage should improve. He's got a chance to be the guy in a couple years.
   My count says we signed 9 DB's. And for good reason...only Swann returns in the secondary. So, the competition is on. Spring practice should be really interesting for the CB and Safety position groups, because there is playing time to win.
   Look forward to seeing Shaq Wiggins & JJ Green at CB. Scouting report states they are playmakers. Safety Tray Matthews is the top-rated player in this class. You know he's thinking about making an impact immediately, with Rambo & Williams gone.
   Looks like the 'Dogs got Ramsey a few playmakers too. Tramel Terry looks to bounce back from a knee injury. Little buzz around JC WR Jonathan Rumph too. He's a big 6'5" target.
   So the class lacked that signing day kick. That's just not Richt's thing. And I'm sure the staff will hit the LOS hard in the 2014 class. That will be a huge need.

Garner Leaves For Auburn

   Thanks for 14 years of service, but don't let the door hit you on the way out. Know what I mean? Coach Garner was a loyal assistant for a long time, but he's now with one of the enemies. And will be re-recruiting many of the Bulldog targets for Auburn. 
   The point being this: You're either with us, or you're against us. It's a cold business. 
   I look at this move, from the Georgia perspective llike this: This gives us an opportunity to improve. And that's not a knock on Garner. Coach Garner did a good job for a long time. But maybe it was time for a change. New direction. New leadership. Freshen things up. Take it to an even higher level.
   It's roughly 6 weeks before National Signing Day. So, this is serious business. Especially this year, because the 'Dogs are after so many defensive linemen...and now, the D-Line coach is an unknown. It helps that this is a dead period in recruiting. Gives us time to get someone hired and get regrouped, before we are back in front of the recruits.
   Look for Coach Richt to make an impressive hire at DL/RC. 
   Will that mean we can get Carl Lawson (who must not be a Garner fan, after he was given the cold shoulder for a long time from the new Auburn DL coach)? Need to be in front of him quickly. Will Nkemdiche give us another look? Can we sell Montravius Adams? Those are the Top 3 rated players in the state. Coach Garner wasn't able to get a VC from any of them. It's time to knock on those again, with a new DL coach to introduce.
   Garner is going back home to Auburn. Can't blame a man for that, right? Thank him for his contributions at Georgia and get ready to outwork him.

How to Beat Nebraska

   Enough of this talk about the 'Dogs not being excited to be in the Capital One Bowl. Don't you believe that Nebraska is bumming about coming back to Orlando? Cornhuskers had their sights set on the Rose Bowl. Both teams are dealing with disappointment.
   Expect this Georgia player leadership group to step up here. The NFL Draft can wait.
   Jarvis Jones and Aaron Murray have been outstanding leaders. Plus, Tavarres King, Shawn Williams, Christian Robinson, Cornelius Washington and John Jenkins have all helped lead the way. I'm expecting this group of upperclassmen to rally around each other.
   Erk Russell made the "Just One More Time" phrase famous at Georgia. It applies here.
   It's the last time together for 15 or so starters. They want to go out a winner. Convinced of it!
   Nebraska's offense will attack Grantham's defense with a "Ground & Pound" plan. Expecting the Georgia defense to break down at some point. Worked for Alabama, right? The Cornhuskers will come at us with both the "Power Run" AND the "Option." Quarterback Taylor Martinez is a dangerous runner, which complicates things.
   Got to play the run tough, especially on 1st down, because Grantham wants to put them in long yardage situations. Martinez has been a turnover machine. Get them in 2nd and long/3rd and long situations, where Martinez has to throw it around under pressure...and the 'Dogs defense can force 3-4 turnovers.
   Nebraska's defense has struggled to stop quality running attacks. UCLA, Ohio State & Wisconsin all pounded them. Now they are concerned about handling Todd Gurley. Legit, right? Gurley has been a beast! But if they gang up against the Georgia running game, Murray carves them up. King and Mitchell go crazy with big plays.
   The Georgia balance on offense creates some big issues for the "Blackshirts." By the way, the Georgia O-Line played tough against Bama.
   I'm expecting a quality performance out of the 'Dogs. And a nice win. Something like 41-20 would be enjoyable.

Grantham's Defensive Changes

   Coach Grantham is going to have a busy 2013. Todd is going to have to replace 12 starters. That's a lot of new talent to incorporate into his scheme. Got a lot of work to get done. 
   Seniors exiting are: Abry Jones, John Jenkins, Cornelius Washington, Michael Gilliard, Christian Robinson, Sanders Commings, Branden Smith, Shawn Williams and Bacarri Rambo. That's nine dudes who played a lot of snaps the last couple of seasons.
   But wait; there are some draft eligible juniors who will leave too. Jarvis Jones is gone. Kwame Geathers might be out of here. Same for Alec Ogletree. So, the final tally is 12. That's 12 starters and 618 tackles this past season.
   The D-Line needs rebuilding quickly. Garrison Smith is a stud. But who lines up next to him? Michael Thornton capable of stepping in? Lot of questions up front. No wonder we're after 8-10 DL in this recruiting class.
   At Linebacker, Amarlo Herrera looks like a warrior inside. Ramik Wilson has the talent to elevate his status. But this unit goes from deep to questionable. 
   The 'Dogs Secondary get hit hard. We lose both safeties and two corners. Again, no wonder Richt's staff is going after DB's hard right now on the recruiting trail.
   Obviously, playing time is a good sell in recruiting. All these guys want to play immediately. So, the void up front and in the secondary should bring in an impressive group of talent. But how many can really step in and play in 2013?
   BIG QUESTION #1: Can Ray Drew take over at DE and be an impact guy? It's time to find out.
   BIG QUESTION #2: Will Jordan Jenkins take over for Jarvis Jones and be an impact, playmaking talent?
   BIG QUESTION #3: Does Coach Grantham find a spot for Josh Harvey Clemons?
   If those 3 guys can step in and play ball, the 'Dogs Defense might be able to handle all of the new faces. If not, there will be concerns heading into Clemson.

Bulldogs Get Cap One Invite

   So, it's Georgia versus Nebraska in the Cap One Bowl. 
   Sounds like the Cotton Bowl, the SEC office, Greg McGarity and the Cap One Bowl had a busy week. Sources were telling me it was back and forth all week long. And then, the last 24 hours were obviously more than a little bit crazy.
   I feel a little let down. So close to playing for the BCS National Championship. Then, the final BCS poll comes out tonight and we fell down to #7. And out of the BCS Bowl scene. None of this makes good sense.
   Florida is the Sugar Bowl host. Looks like 3 teams not ranked in the BCS Top 14 are in BCS bowls. And 5 teams ranked 7-11 in the BCS are locked out. Northern Illinois is in? The 'Dogs ranked #7 is out? What an insane system. It's corrupt. And has been for decades. 

Heartbreaking Loss to Alabama

   Toughest loss, since the 1983 Sugar Bowl to Penn State. Might take 30 years to get over this one too.
   The 'Dogs had Alabama on the ropes and just couldn't finish them off. Up 21-10, after the blocked field goal, scoop and score, it looked good. But Bama refused to roll over.
   And when we went 5-plays, 75 yards and scored on Gurley's 8 yard run to go up, 28-25...it looked good. But that's when Swann got beat deep.
   Thought we might pull it out at the end, when Murray took us down the field, with time running out...but C.J. Mosley made a big play, with the tipped pass that Conley ended up catching. 
   That was one of the great games in SEC history. Both teams left it all on the field, after an awesome battle. Only way that game gets better, is if we win. Losses like that hurt for a long, long time.
   And yes, I would have spiked it on a "clock play" at the end, without looking to the sideline. Although, I do understand the other way to play it...call a play and run it, so the defense doesn't have time to get as organized. But spiking it gives the offense 2 shots at the end zone, instead of just one. 
   The other thing I was wondering was why Jay Rome wasn't on the field for that drive. Got to have your best targets on the field, right? He's already scored once. Not sure why Coach Lilly didn't play Jay more. Bet Rome didn't get in their for 5 plays in the 2nd half. Don't get that. Big target. Can run. Might have scored on that last completion that Lynch had, prior to the last play. 
   But the obvious difference was our inability to slow down the run, during the 2nd half. Lacy and Yeldon gashed us. Big Jenkins, Geathers and Garrison Smith looked gassed. And Coach Garner didn't have any other DL he could send in to stop the bleeding. 
   Tip your cap to Alabama. They dug down deep to get this one.

How to Attack Alabama Defense

   Kirby Smart has done an outstanding job turning over this Alabama defense. They've replaced 7 starters off that BCS National Title team, without much drop-off. And four of those guys were among the first 35 players taken in the NFL draft. Talk about reloading.
   The Bulldog offense will need to be sharp to score against this unit. Our balance should help. How do you attack an outstanding defense? With balance. Mix the run and the pass. That's what we do.
   Key #1: Get Todd Gurley going quickly. Find him some run lanes to hit. Establish some run game success.   
   At the point of attack, David Andrews will be brawling with Alabama nose tackle Jesse Williams. This match-up is big. Lee & Burnette will assist in handling Williams. Can't allow this guy to disrupt the run game. Coach Bobo will probe the Alabama front with a few different run schemes to see what can be effective. Need to run it effectively some, so they can't just gang up against our protection schemes in the passing game.
   Key #2:  King & Mitchell are going to have to make some tough catches in tight coverage.
   The Tide likes to play a lot of underneath man coverage, with safety help over the top. Windows will be small. There will be some bumping going on. Got to make the tough catch in traffic. Also, big plays in the passing game would be huge too. One thing I learned many years ago about playing against top CB's is this: try and take advantage of their aggressiveness...double-moves can get them to bite, trying to make the big play. So, go after Dee Milliner some. Both Tavarres and Malcolm are dangerous, big-play guys. Dial up a few double-move routes (out and up, slant-and-go).
   Key #3: Give Aaron Murray enough time to read coverage and get rid of the ball. Keep the pocket clean. Theus on Adrian Hubbard is a key match-up.
   Key #4: Hold on to the ball. Can't win this game with turnovers. The defense is playing tough. Punt it and let those guys Hunker Down. Turnovers would be a killer.

The 'Dogs "Big Edge" vs. Alabama

  The 'Dogs have a match-up advantage against Alabama. It's Jarvis Jones. Got to figure if the 'Dogs are going to win, Jarvis has got to play big. 
   After watching the Alabama OT's on video this morning, I noticed something that might allow Jarvis to make a huge impact. Both Kouandjio & Fluker were outstanding run blockers, but they looked a little vulnerable in pass protection. Both seemed to be really concerned about the speed rush. Their first move was to jump outside quickly. 
   That not only leaves Jarvis with that move, but also that move back inside. He obviously has both.
   Jarvis Jones just dominated the Gators O-Line. Took them apart. Remember the numbers? He had 13 tackles, 3 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries. Dominated them. Need some more of that in this game.
   Of course, it would help if: 1- Georgia played from the front...got an early lead, which would make Alabama throw it a little more than normal (63% run). That would allow Jarvis more pass rushing opportunities against those 2 huge tackles, and 2- Got to play the run tough, so you get them in more 2nd down/3rd down and medium distances (more pass plays).

Can Play With Alabama If...

   Georgia has more playmakers than Alabama. Convinced of that one. Of course, matching up on the edge has rarely been a problem for our 'Dogs. We've got plenty of athletes. Guys who can run around on the perimeter and make plays.
   Count them: Malcolm Mitchell, Tavarres King, Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall, Bacarri Rambo, Damian Swann Alec Ogletree, Shawn Williams, and the great Jarvis Jones. That's nine strong. Bama doesn't have that many.
   Georgia can match up with these guys. Seriously.
   But I do have one big concern...Can we block them? That's the key to victory.
   Can young sophomore center David Andrews hold up against senior brawler Jesse Williams? Can freshman sensation sensation John Theus hold up against long and lean Adrian Hubbard? Can big Gates block Damion Square?
   These are critical questions. And it's difficult to judge where our offensive line is at right now. The quality of competition since seeing the tough Gators in Jacksonville has gone down. Think about it; Ole Miss, Auburn, Georgia Southern and Tech didn't present much of a challenge. Alabama will.
   Can we block them?
   Murray needs a clean pocket to carve them up. Gurley needs some running lanes to gash them. Can we block them? I wonder. Can't wait to find out though.  

Pressure on Eagles DC

   Put yourself in the shoes of the Georgia Southern Defensive Coordinator Jack Curtis. He's got to come up with a plan to slow down this Georgia Offense. So much is being made of Georgia's Defense defending the triple option, but this side of the ball is a total mismatch.
   Murray is carving up secondaries, since that off-day in J-ville.
   Gur-shall is doing major damage too.
   Bobo's unit has outstanding balance right now. And don't think Kirby Smart hasn't noticed that. Georgia's Offense can run it and throw it. Also, the 'Dogs have multiple playmakers. Guys that can take it to the house. 
   Even the O-Line has developed into a solid unit. David Andrews has come through at center. John Theus is quickly developing into a dominant force. Gates and Beard look strong next to each other. Dallas Lee can pull, run and block the 2nd level. Burnette was strong, before his shoulder injury.
   For Georgia to beat Alabama...this O-Line will have to perform. Andrews will have to handle brawler Jesse Williams. Theus has to handle a long & athletic Adrian Hubbard. Got to keep the pocket clean for Murray. Have to open some running lanes for Gur-shall.
   The O-Line needs to dominate Georgia Southern's defensive front. And then, they need to handle GT's D-Line. Got to improve before Alabama shows up.