Well the eight best part of football season is here. It's time for the inquisition.
This week UB faces its biggest test of the year so does the inquisitor! "Dawg Sports" is one of the most motley fan bases there are, and they root for a team ranked number six in the nation that returns it's star skill players and a massive defensive line.
But like all giants the Dawg's do have a weakness. Their defensive backs really, really don't want to play the first couple weeks of the season. Or they can't pass up a good party.
Throughout the spring and summer Georgia defensive backs were dropping like flies. During the first week of the year no less than three defensive backs are out.
Georgia Bulldogs Football 2012: Do We Have Any Defensive Backs Left? - Dawg Sports
the position of greatest concern heading into this Saturday’s G-Day game is, of course, defensive back, where the Georgia Bulldogs have been hit hard by what might circumspectly be called "attrition." With Brandon Boykin, Sanders Commings, Jakar Hamilton, Jordan Love, Nick Marshall, Derek Owens, Bacarri Rambo, Chris Sanders, and Branden Smith all either gone or unavailable for at least the first game or two (or four) of the season, the question is, "Between returning roster players and February’s signing class, who’s left?"
And that's our in, both in this game and for the inquisition.
How do you get a Georgia fan to talk? Well the inquisitor has the location of an underground rave going on tonight and if Dawg Sports does not talk let's just say you'll know where to find their defensive backfield tonight, they seem like htey type that can't turn a good party down.
Vineyarddawg, for Dawg Sports spills the beans.
If one thing worries you about Buffalo what would it be? Where is Georgia the most vulnerable on defense and offense?
As one who was raised on the trademark pessimism of Vince Dooley and Larry Munson... everything worries me about Buffalo. You guys have the best damn long-snapper in the country, and that scares the crap out of me. (I'm only 61% kidding.)
On defense, we are most vulnerable in the backfield. As Steve Spurrier likes to point out, Georgia always has a few good players suspended for its early games, and this year is no different. Arguably our two best players in the defensive backfield, Safety Bacarri Rambo and LB Alec Ogletree, are going to be out (though Mark Richt won't confirm this, but all the rumors and hearsay says they got busted for smoking pot, and UGA has a zero-tolerance policy for that kind of thing). Also, starting CB Sanders Commings will be suspended for this game. We will have Branden Smith starting at CB, who we previously thought might also be suspended, so it's not quite as bad as we had feared. There will definitely be an experience gap, there, however, which could be exploited.
On offense, our biggest questions are on the offensive line. We technically return 3 players with significant playing experience, but one of them, Kenarious Gates, is switching positions from Guard to Tackle, and he's the man anchoring the line at the all-important Left Tackle spot. Also, we will have a freshman, John Theus, starting on the line. And I don't care how heralded a recruit he was... if you've got a freshman starting in the SEC, you've got trouble. Georgia's style is to set up the pass with the run, and if we can't effectively run behind this line and set up play-action, then our offense will be even more maddeningly inconsistent than it was last year.
There is always a "last year bias" when predicting winners, so all the "experts" seem to think that LSU and Alabama will automatically go undefeated in the SEC again this season (except for their game against each other) and that Georgia will win the East. The problem is that there are a lot of good teams in the SEC, and it's a herculean task for any team to go undefeated even once, let alone twice. I think both LSU and Alabama will have at least one loss, and possibly two.
It would be foolish to think that Tyrann Mathieu's dismissal won't affect LSU at all, but they had talent upon talent around and behind him, so it won't be a season-breaking loss. Les Miles has made his living going 10-2 with 12-0 talent, with the lone exception being 2011, so there's no reason to think he won't do that again this year. Texas A&M has a first-year head coach, so they won't be a serious contender (though they could pull an upset or two). And Arkansas without Bobby Petrino is... well, it's Arkansas with John L. Smith. They'll be good, but not as good as they were last year.
As for the SEC East, I think it's just as much of a crapshoot this year as it was last year. Florida's defense will be significantly improved in year two of Will Muschamp, but if their offense can't score under their first-year OC with a second new scheme in two years, the defense won't be able to help them too much. If the Gators' offense can find a groove, however, Florida might be the team to beat in the East. If not, they could go 3-5 in the conference. It's just that close in the East.
On paper, the Dawgs are the favorites, but as long as South Carolina has Lattimore on offense and Clowney on defense, they'll be a serious competitor. And as long as James Franklin stays healthy at Mizzou, the Tigers should be a threat, too. A lot of people seem to like Tennessee this year, but they replaced 70% of their coaching staff in the offseason. That's not a recipe for success. I guess I'd have to pick South Carolina and Georgia as the co-favorites, but any of the four teams I mentioned could win the division.
Finally, the gap between the SEC East and the West isn't nearly as large this year as it was last year. Whether it's Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, or Mizzou playing Alabama or LSU in the Championship Game, either team should have a real chance to come out with the title.
Well, certainly not to that extent. On defense, we generally rotate players based on the formations and coverages DC Todd Grantham wants to set up in each situation. On offense, OC Mike Bobo is frequently second-guessed for his near-constant rotation between running backs in the backfield. We do have 4 good backs who can run, but he switches them out on virtually every down, which prevents any of them from "hitting a rhythm." We've had fair results with this system, though, and it's something Mark Richt has done basically since day one in Athens, so it is what it is. If Georgia gets ahead by more than 3 TD's in the second half, though, we might see the standard "empty the benches and get the young guys some experience" that you always see in mismatches.
I'm not predicting that's going to happen, mind you, because a scrappy MAC team like Buffalo legitimately worries me. If it does happen, though, we'll likely see more rotation than normal at all positions.
Aww how can you not like an SEC blog that give a scarppy MAC team their due... See you all tomorrow!